ESL 57 Grills are ... ?
... very thick.
Has anyone replaced the original 57 grill with a more accoustically transparent one. Say one made of speaker grill cloth?
You can build a grill of mesh wire (chicken wire?) and add some regular speaker cloth. Can be made to look OK-ish. Or play them without grills, that's what I have been doing. It does make a small but noticable difference. With grills it's still a great speaker and there is more to gain by getting them off the floor, say about 30 cm, on a heavy stand. "Flying high" as they call it.
About 30 years ago, I built a pair of ESL57s with parts available from QUAD (then The Acoustical Manufacturing Company). Instead of the standard "old radiator" look, I built cabinets for them out of MDF and red oak (maintaining the same spacing for the panels that QUAD used) and covering the fronts and backs with an attractive black grill cloth.
I would have to say that, not only did the grill cloth not interfere with the sound, but I got rid of those nagging rattles I had where the expanded aluminium grills vibrated against the wooden rails at high volume. As my cabinets were a lot more robust than the originals, I think the bass response benefitted a bit as well.
It would probably be more difficult to try to recover an existing set of ESL57s in fabric because of their "eccentric" shape.
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