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rabski

One Thing Audio ESL57 mods.

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I've lived with my ESL57s for a while now, and have come to love their strengths and come to terms with their weaknesses. They were serviced by One Thing Audio a few years ago, and later had replacement treble panels. Having heard Stuart's ones, with the One Thing OTEC treble panels, I thought it was about time to give the old girls a bit of a lift, so duly booked in and off nice and early yesterday.

I had originally intended to have the treble panels replaced by the OTEC ones, new EHT boards and new wiring looms. As soon as they were on the bench, the first discovery was that as well as a full service, the wiring and EHT boards had been replaced a few years ago with the highest spec available. A quick measure up though, and it was apparent that one of the mains transformers was not feeling that well. Fortunately, a replacement was on hand and Ron and Steve managed to salvage the original panel lamp and fit it without any problems.

Was wonderful to watch people at work who really know what they're doing and the place is an absolute Aladdin's cave. Every conceivable bit of space is piled high with bits of ESLs in various stages of repair and there are enough assorted pieces of electronics to keep anyone happy for a lifetime - not to mention a massive collection of CDs and DVDs. Anyway, a fair bit of work later and I was cramming the ugly old beasts back into the car. What I now have are the very latest OTEC treble panels, original (though probably rebuilt at some time) bass panels and spot-on electrics. Ron reckons the bass panels are in perfect order and display no leakage.

Back home and time for some serious listening. One Thing's comment is that the OTECs will sound a little harsh for the first 50-100 hours, but soon settle down. However, initial impressions are more than just a bit favourable. What is immediately apparent is the extended top end. Not necessarily more prominent, just extended. Highs go higher. The end result is a feeling of infinitely more space around the image. There is now a feeling of real height, width and depth. Possibly it's because they have a good clean around and then hot-air blow the dust covers to tighten them, but the bass also seems improved.

They now have all the things that ESL57s are famous for, but a far more realistic and life-like presentation. They probably don't sound like original 57s, but to my taste they are substantially better. The treble simply doesn't seem to roll off at all and with the AP Luna sub dialled in about right, neither does the bass. The sweet spot also seems a little wider than before, though in true 57 fashion, it's still pretty small.

The finalpart worth mentioningis that as well as being real enthusiasts (and genuinely nice people)One Thing's prices seem ridiculously low for the amount of work involved. A pair of the OTEC panels cost £300 and are manufactured on-site, by hand to very tight tolerances.

The days the 57s arrived at Rab Towers, I knew that they would be here for the long term. Now, that looks as though it will be even longer.

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Good stuff Rich - anymore tweaks to go on?? Widgets and maybe some new legs for the ladies??...what really makes me laugh is people's concept of vintage gear...the 57's included...its a genuis idea bang upto date and probably sounding better than the originals ever did...OTA 57's would be a money well spent at £5-10k imho

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If as Opusover21 suggests you are considering some new legs for the Quads. Russ Collinson he of the multi layered plinth fame is making me some for mine.

They are unashamedly based on Stuarts's ones from Germany, and mucho thanks to him for the inspiration.

Will post some pics once done

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opusover21 wrote:

Good stuff Rich - anymore tweaks to go on?? Widgets and maybe some new legs for the ladies??...what really makes me laugh is people's concept of vintage gear...the 57's included...its a genuis idea bang upto date and probably sounding better than the originals ever did...OTA 57's would be a money well spent at £5-10k imho

Widgets are on the way. I might look at alternative supports for the old girls, but to be honest, the whole thing is sounding so damned good that I'm now a bit wary of touching anything at all.

Vintage? Pipe and slippers? In your fekkin dreams. These (like yours) are tight, fast, and bang up to date. I've heard some superb cone speakers, and a few I could live with, but I've yet to hear one that's as 'fast' as these old lumps.

Just listened to Love Rain on Me and Daltry has never sounded so up close and personal.

If it wasn't for the odd 6kv, I might sleep with them.

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omegatt wrote:

If as Opusover21 suggests you are considering some new legs for the Quads. Russ Collinson he of the multi layered plinth fame is making me some for mine.

They are unashamedly based on Stuarts's ones from Germany, and mucho thanks to him for the inspiration.

Will post some pics once done

Look forward to seeing them. I have some ideas along similar lines...........

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opusover21 wrote:

Any pics Rich??

Nothing to see I'm afraid. Externally, until I look at re-finishing the fugly old maids, everything different is thoroughly internal!

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AmDismal wrote:

Hmpf, they never mentioned same day service to me - they've had mine for over a week!

Very much depends on what needs doing Adam. I had to wait a couple of weeks before the panels were ready and if they have to do bass panels or standard treble ones, they have to rebuild the originals. There's a lot of waiting for things to dry etc!

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I think I should be getting mine back on the Saturday morning, having had a standard service. They will be in the car for Scalford, all being well - if anyone wants a listen, I'd be most happy to fetch them out :)

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It breaks my heart that I don't have room for a pair of these. The last time I heard a pair I bought part of the system ;-)

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omegatt wrote:

If as Opusover21 suggests you are considering some new legs for the Quads. Russ Collinson he of the multi layered plinth fame is making me some for mine.

They are unashamedly based on Stuarts's ones from Germany, and mucho thanks to him for the inspiration.

Will post some pics once done

like these?

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