I’m not sure what else to call a 55-year old speaker design, other than “legendary”, but the presence of a pair of “new” Quad ESL 57 in the RobyAtt room at the New York Audio AV show made it a must-hear stop for every audiophile and audiophile-wannabe.
Robin Wyatt, of Robyatt, told us that he acquired these lovingly restored antiques from Quads Unlimited of Longwood, Florida. Want a good-as-new pair of Quad ESL 57s for your man-cave? Give them a call — ~$5,000 will get that dream off the ground (exact pricing depends on how cheap they can get the panels).
55 years – that’s how long since these Quads fell onto of the high-end market like a collapsing wall. Smooooosh. After 5 minutes in the room, I have to ask if we’ve really, truly, made any serious progress since then. This is hi-fi. Amazing.
This is the room that everyone was talking about at the show. Antique speakers and a thoroughly wonderful sound. Dynamics? PRAT? Tone? Whatever. Details! Who cares? This room was magic.
The turntable was an Anatase from Oswald Miller Audio (sorry for flubbing that one, originally). The preamp carried the label: King/Levinson LNP-2 Commerative Preamplifier. Sorry, I didn’t get the details on these (distracted by the sounds here).
Driving the Quads was a pair of new $10,000 OTL 2010 amplifiers from Miyajima Labs, here run as monoblocks. The amps are wired by hand and are fully point-to-point. They can put out up to 22wpc when run this way, but that drops to 9wpc when run as a stereo. Output depends on speaker impedance and whether or not the fully defeatable negative feedback is enabled. From the website:
The sound quality of this amplifier clear and powerful.
This amplifier does play music obediently.
This amplifier is long life.
And there you have it. More info can be found here.
This is the system that could have gotten my Dad into hifi. It is the system that he and I would have come to blows over when my granddad passed away. It is the system that I could retire with. It’s not perfect, no. But who cares? It’s awesome.