Club statistics

Members:
586
Threads:
228
Messages:
4891
Discussions:
6
Photos:
2

Linn Owners

Electrostatic speakers

entdgc

Wammer
Wammer
Oct 9, 2018
556
489
83
Congleton, England
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
A friend has just picked up a pair of Quad Electrostatic speakers ESL 63's and he is raving about them. I asked him about bass and he said its not bad at all - I had always heard that bass was minimal. I have never heard a pair of electrostatics (and since he lives 300 miles away I won't hear his any time soon) but know they have quite a following. Anyone have any experience that they would like to comment on? If they are that good why don't you (I) hear more of them?

 

Paulssurround

Space Explorer
Wammer
Oct 11, 2018
3,412
2,970
148
Vancouver
AKA
Paul
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I have heard many brands of electrostatic and planar style speakers and generally really love the music they can produce.

‘Here is a link to an article written about the Quad Electrostatic speakers, describing the original Quad 57’s and the later Quad 63’s

https://www.psaudio.com/copper/article/the-original-quad-esl/

Here is a quote from the article on what makes the Quads so appreciated and loved for the musicality.

“Transparency, speed, detail, openness, freedom from nasties: as the speaker approaches its 60th anniversary, it remains one of the most natural-sounding transducers ever produced. In my humble opinion, the only designs I would place in the same area of the firmament devoted to music reproduction are the the BBC LS3/5A and the Apogee Scintilla. Audio notables including Dave Chesky and Tim de Paravicini swear by them, for good reason, which is as high as praise can be. Heard of their best, they are simply transcendent.”

Here in Vancouver, we have a record shop that sells restored vintage turntables and has a pair of Quad Electrstatics that they love to demo for customers. 

It may be well worth auditioning the Stax electrostatic headphones still made in Japan to get a sense of the electrostatic sound.

I owned 3 separate pairs of Magneplanar speakers that I enjoyed immensely which are not a true electrostatic design but a planar design. They produced a 3 dimensional sound with mids and highs that were stunning, but they were power hungry and took up a lot of real estate in my home. They did not produce deep low frequencies, but the sound of the lower mids to highs made up for that. My friend had the Magneplanar Tympani’s mentioned in the above article, driven by Audio Research tube preamp and amp, that was my reference system for years.

‘This week, I will revisit the best planar style speaker I have ever heard,  from a French company, called Diptique. The distributor has a pair of 107’s which I have heard recently and absolutely gobsmacked by their musicality. They also produce low frequencies well with shockingly good resolution between different musicians on a 3 dimensional sound stage like I have never heard before.  Close your eyes and the jazz band is performing in front of you as if live in the nightclub. The distributor has also ordered a pair of their top of the line 160’s which are supposed to arrive next month. These speakers are nothing short of stunning. I have included a link to their website:

http://diptyqueaudio.com/en/

 

Camverton

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 20, 2009
4,480
1,761
158
Herefordshire
AKA
Malcolm
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
A friend has just picked up a pair of Quad Electrostatic speakers ESL 63's and he is raving about them. I asked him about bass and he said its not bad at all - I had always heard that bass was minimal. I have never heard a pair of electrostatics (and since he lives 300 miles away I won't hear his any time soon) but know they have quite a following. Anyone have any experience that they would like to comment on? If they are that good why don't you (I) hear more of them?
Well, I’ve had a few Quad electrostatics over the years and can say that the bass is decent but not necessarily rib wobbling. The problem is that there is a limit to how far the membranes can move so as the volume goes up the bass level doesn’t go up as much as the mids. So, good bass at reasonable volumes but but not to head banging volumes. One good thing about the bass is that it very well defined. Later models have the option of an extra couple of panels, not so much for deeper bass but louder bass when required. They have a reputation for not mating with subs very well, but I haven’t found this and wonder if people are overthinking the electrostatic being fast and the sub slow sounding. They, as a with most speakers, should be crossed over as low as possible, and then it is possible to get the best of both worlds.

The biggest disadvantage of stats, other than needing occasional maintenance, is that most conventional speakers sound unacceptable afterwards, although for most folk the positioning requirements of stats or any dipole or omni rule them out.

 

WillB

Newbie
Wammer
Feb 5, 2021
18
13
8
SoundLab Electrostatic speakers have everything positive that ELS offer including bass and dynamics...and they are extremely reliable. Did I mention no crossover(s)?

 
  • Like
Reactions: Paulssurround

Coalboy68

Life in the fast Linn
Wammer
Dec 30, 2020
227
197
63
NE England
AKA
Nigel
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I’ve had Quad 63s and then upgraded to the 989s which are taller with an extra bass panel, I loved them but had to move them after each listening session back parallel to the walls.  The sound is sublime, and I didn’t notice a lack of bass, it just sounds different, but in the end I went back to normal speakers that I could leave in place I.e the 350s, the first thing I noticed with the 350s was an opening up of top end which really surprised me, must be the super tweeter. 

 

macfan

LP12 Newbie
Wammer
Feb 7, 2019
315
373
68
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
@entdgc The ESLs I have heard over the years were Martin Logan Sequel III's and Quests. These are from the mid 90's and the low end is sublimated with an enclosed woofer of a given size. The power amp was Mark Levinson. These were both great but at the time I was still in collage and could not afford to purchase them. At some point Martin Logan was sold, and while similar in appearance, they do not have the same sound or vibe as when Gayle Sanders was with the company. Have not had the opportunity to hear Quad's but have always been intrigued by them and would welcome the opportunity.

@Paulssurround I have owned Magnepan speakers as well. I first heard them in a true hi fi store in the late 70s and early 80s when I was just starting to get into the hobby. Loved them. They exhibit wonderful soundstages but have the disadvantages of being potentially physically large and require a fairly high current amp to make them really sing well. The other interesting thing about them is bass extension is proportional to panel size. The bigger the panel the greater the low end extension. 

The 20.1's I am familiar with, which are now 20.7's, were fantastic in all regards. I went to an event and heard the 30.7's (or some variation of) and they have an independent bass panel for further low end extension. Bot physically large I preferred the 20.1's.

While I am sure it is obvious to most, some may not know that ESLs like Martin Logan and Quad's plug into the wall which in turn has a positive voltage applied to the diagram where planner magnetic speakers are simply driven by the power amp. Magnepan also offers a bass panel to supplement low end on other speakers in their range.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Paulssurround

Space Explorer
Wammer
Oct 11, 2018
3,412
2,970
148
Vancouver
AKA
Paul
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
@entdgc The ESLs I have heard over the years were Martin Logan Sequel III's and Quests. These are from the mid 90's and the low end is sublimated with an enclosed woofer of a given size. The power amp was Mark Levinson. These were both great but at the time I was still in collage and could not afford to purchase them. At some point Martin Logan was sold, and while similar in appearance, they do not have the same sound or vibe as when Gayle Sanders was with the company. Have not had the opportunity to hear Quad's but have always been intrigued by them and would welcome the opportunity.

@Paulssurround I have owned Magnepan speakers as well. I first heard them in a true hi fi store in the late 70s and early 80s when I was just starting to get into the hobby. Loved them. They exhibit wonderful soundstages but have the disadvantages of being potentially physically large and require a fairly high current amp to make them really sing well. The other interesting thing about them is bass extension is proportional to panel size. The bigger the panel the greater the low end extension. 

The 20.1's I am familiar with, which are now 20.7's, were fantastic in all regards. I went to an event and heard the 30.7's (or some variation of) and they have an independent bass panel for further low end extension. Bot physically large I preferred the 20.1's.

While I am sure it is obvious to most, some may not know that ESLs like Martin Logan and Quad's plug into the wall which in turn has a positive voltage applied to the diagram where planner magnetic speakers are simply driven by the power amp. Magnepan also offers a bass panel to supplement low end on other speakers in their range.
Thank you Macfan. Yes, that sure sounds like my experience with Magneplanars as well 

‘I agree with you about the Magneplanar 20.7’s being exceptional.

About 8 years ago or so, I went to a Magneplanar 30.7’s demo at my Linn dealer, and the room was equipped with no seats for listening to the audition for the 15-20 participants in the room. We were asked to walk around the room while the music was playing, and find the spot in the room where the speakers sounded.

‘Both the left and the right 30.7 speakers were each about 6 feet wide and around 7 feet high, about 6 feet out from the front wall. I found the sweet spot was in between the front speakers, about 4 feet from the front wall. It was like walking onto the stage with the band, with a 3 dimensional soundstage I had never heard before,  prior to the point.

‘The Diptique speakers from France have taken that experience to another level again, but sitting the usual listening position in front of the speakers. 

 

HIGHWAY61

Wammer
Wammer
Dec 13, 2018
312
240
48
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Generally I think they are thought to be expensive, high maintenance, a problem to live with and position, but if you get it right all is forgiven by the sound. Sounds a bit like a LP12 !

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Dasher

Wammer
Wammer
Jun 7, 2019
839
849
98
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I don't have Quad ESLs but have heard quite few. I just haven't got the room for them. Bass, for me, with 2 channel, would be fine but not for 5.x cinema. I do have some of the Stax ES Headphones that Paul mentions - mine are 507s with the Stax Valve Energiser. I love them - certainly my favourite headphones.

 

Nestor Turton

Nestor Turton
Wammer
Jan 30, 2019
905
1,170
113
UK
AKA
Nestor
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
OK so lots of positive noises. So why, apart from potential positioning problems, don't more people use them?
I have a pair of Magnepan, not electrostatic, but similar positioning problems to ESL63s. Superb speakers in both cases, but I can’t find a suitable location in my cottage. They are now in a cupboard and I use more conventional (Spendor) speakers instead, if you can accommodate panels then go for it, ESL57, ESL63, Martin Logan and Maggies are all wonderful if you have a big listening room.

If I lived in Canada then I’d try some JensZen electrostatic speakers  https://janszenaudio.com/collections/all - however the price I was quoted for UK imports was ridiculous - double the $ price and change to £.  These speakers seemed to have all the advantages of panels and yet worked uo against the wall in a small room. 

 
Last edited by a moderator:

BarneysDad2

Wammer Plus
Wammer Plus
Sep 9, 2021
174
385
98
Melton Mowbray
AKA
Steve
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
One way or another I've heard the ESL range.

My better half came with me to audition some 989s. At my request the owner loaded Floyd's High Hopes as the 1st track.

Elaine  "theres a bee in the room!"  "no there isnt",   "yes there is let it out!" "Dont worry it'll be gone in a second & then some church bells will ring" Sure enough the bee stopped & the church bells rang. Then Elaine called me a rude name.

989s are pretty good on bass, but if you want more serious bass you need a decent sub. Would recommend a Velodine DD (Digital Drive). The software will tune it to your room but you can alter everything manually. They're 5 grand new. 2nd hand, about a grand when you can find one. Worth every cent. Did show them at Scalford in the Private Dining Room several years ago.

2014 Emporium had a pair of 2905s for sale & made a PX offer on the 989s I couldnt refuse. Now these really do do bass. But again if you want them to deliver Chemical Brothers levels of bass, like most every other speaker, you need a decent sub. As a bonus they're aesthetically a better design.

Their inventor was Peter Walker of Quad. Not just a clever engineer, but just as importantly he was a musician. And that why ESLs dont sound like speakers.

They sound exactly like music.

2905 ver 2.jpg

 

Paulssurround

Space Explorer
Wammer
Oct 11, 2018
3,412
2,970
148
Vancouver
AKA
Paul
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
One way or another I've heard the ESL range.

My better half came with me to audition some 989s. At my request the owner loaded Floyd's High Hopes as the 1st track.

Elaine  "theres a bee in the room!"  "no there isnt",   "yes there is let it out!" "Dont worry it'll be gone in a second & then some church bells will ring" Sure enough the bee stopped & the church bells rang. Then Elaine called me a rude name.

989s are pretty good on bass, but if you want more serious bass you need a decent sub. Would recommend a Velodine DD (Digital Drive). The software will tune it to your room but you can alter everything manually. They're 5 grand new. 2nd hand, about a grand when you can find one. Worth every cent. Did show them at Scalford in the Private Dining Room several years ago.

2014 Emporium had a pair of 2905s for sale & made a PX offer on the 989s I couldnt refuse. Now these really do do bass. But again if you want them to deliver Chemical Brothers levels of bass, like most every other speaker, you need a decent sub. As a bonus they're aesthetically a better design.

Their inventor was Peter Walker of Quad. Not just a clever engineer, but just as importantly he was a musician. And that why ESLs dont sound like speakers.

They sound exactly like music.

View attachment 107054
Brilliant!!!

Looks like you have a Townshend super-tweeter on top of your speakers?

 

BarneysDad2

Wammer Plus
Wammer Plus
Sep 9, 2021
174
385
98
Melton Mowbray
AKA
Steve
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Brilliant!!!

Looks like you have a Townshend super-tweeter on top of your speakers?
Bought the Townsends years ago with a Wam bulk buy when I had the 989s. So with them & the Velodyne sub they reinforced the top & bottom ends. The 2905s dont really need them so they've been relegated to the Quad 22L speakers for AV duties. 

ESLs arent specially efficient but they get loud enough from the Art Audio push pull Concerto valve amp running KT88s, bunging out around 25w. Single ended amps may struggle.

So whats the moral of the ESL story?

1. They are large so you've got to get that past SWMBO. And they need 3ft behind them, but you can site them against a side wall.

2. Old ones maybe cheap, but they are going to go bang anytime soon & thats a grand + to put right (but then they will be better than new)

3. Early models are bass light, but add a GOOD sub & that sorts that out very nicely.

4. As you get newer in the range, bass issues get less & less. 2905s dont need a sub at all. But I play bass guitar so bass has to be felt as much as heard.

5. They play any genre of music really well. Electronica no problem as the panels are so fast. Classical & singer songwriter is just sublime.

IMHO have heard only a few box speakers that are as musical as ESLs. Its the way the sound is produced by the panels, like ripples in a pond when youve thrown a stone in the water.

Once you've owned a pair THAT IS IT. Nothing else (that I've heard so far) has that ESL magic.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Camverton

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 20, 2009
4,480
1,761
158
Herefordshire
AKA
Malcolm
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Bought the Townsends years ago with a Wam bulk buy when I had the 989s. So with them & the Velodyne sub they reinforced the top & bottom ends. The 2905s dont really need them so they've been relegated to the Quad 22L speakers for AV duties. 

ESLs arent specially efficient but they get loud enough from the Art Audio push pull Concerto valve amp running KT88s, bunging out around 25w. Single ended amps may struggle.

So whats the moral of the ESL story?

1. They are large so you've got to get that past SWMBO. And they need 3ft behind them, but you can site them against a side wall.

2. Old ones maybe cheap, but they are going to go bang anytime soon & thats a grand + to put right (but then they will be better than new)

3. Early models are bass light, but add a GOOD sub & that sorts that out very nicely.

4. As you get newer in the range, bass issues get less & less. 2905s dont need a sub at all. But I play bass guitar so bass has to be felt as much as heard.

5. They play any genre of music really well. Electronica no problem as the panels are so fast. Classical & singer songwriter is just sublime.

IMHO have heard only a few box speakers that are as musical as ESLs. Its the way the sound is produced by the panels, like ripples in a pond when youve thrown a stone in the water.

Once you've owned a pair THAT IS IT. Nothing else (that I've heard so far) has that ESL magic.
Very good summary, and the last line conveys a warning in that they are best not sampled unless you can own them. The only speakers that I have found bettering them are German Physiks or MBL omnis. They fill the room in a similar way but create a more three dimensional and realistic  image of a performer. Not much in it and may be as much down to the room and sensitivity of the listener, but as I discovered to my cost, there was no going back to stats after I noticed it, at least for concentrated listening. The snag is that they need even more space around them and the price makes a new pair of Quads sound a veritable bargain, they also (apart from cheaper MBLs) have the “speed” of a stat.

 
  • Like
Reactions: Paulssurround

BarneysDad2

Wammer Plus
Wammer Plus
Sep 9, 2021
174
385
98
Melton Mowbray
AKA
Steve
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
If size is a problem 2805s are smaller & £1200 which looks cheap to me and sound nearly as good as 2905s.

Quad ESL 2805s | eBay

Mark at Missing Link had a pair for years & they drove his large listening room nicely

Dimensions: 1040mm x 695mm x 385mm.

s-l1600.jpg


 
Last edited by a moderator:

Paulssurround

Space Explorer
Wammer
Oct 11, 2018
3,412
2,970
148
Vancouver
AKA
Paul
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Bought the Townsends years ago with a Wam bulk buy when I had the 989s. So with them & the Velodyne sub they reinforced the top & bottom ends. The 2905s dont really need them so they've been relegated to the Quad 22L speakers for AV duties. 

ESLs arent specially efficient but they get loud enough from the Art Audio push pull Concerto valve amp running KT88s, bunging out around 25w. Single ended amps may struggle.

So whats the moral of the ESL story?

1. They are large so you've got to get that past SWMBO. And they need 3ft behind them, but you can site them against a side wall.

2. Old ones maybe cheap, but they are going to go bang anytime soon & thats a grand + to put right (but then they will be better than new)

3. Early models are bass light, but add a GOOD sub & that sorts that out very nicely.

4. As you get newer in the range, bass issues get less & less. 2905s dont need a sub at all. But I play bass guitar so bass has to be felt as much as heard.

5. They play any genre of music really well. Electronica no problem as the panels are so fast. Classical & singer songwriter is just sublime.

IMHO have heard only a few box speakers that are as musical as ESLs. Its the way the sound is produced by the panels, like ripples in a pond when youve thrown a stone in the water.

Once you've owned a pair THAT IS IT. Nothing else (that I've heard so far) has that ESL magic.
Excellent post.

Thank you, that was an informative review

Happy listening!!!

 
  • Like
Reactions: BarneysDad2