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QUAD ESL-63 (988-2905 etc.) on steroids
QUAD ESL-63 (988-2905 etc.) on steroids
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Old 4th February 2018, 01:40 PM   #1
esl 63 is offline esl 63
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Default QUAD ESL-63 (988-2905 etc.) on steroids

I will cover som facts that you didnīt know about one of the most famous speaker ever.. hopefully someone else will contribute with some hard core information as well? Lets se...
Everyone know that this speaker is VERY different from all other speakers ever made!
There is no other speaker that comes even close in how itīs designed.
I have had those since the beginning of 1990īs and now I have 9 pairs.
I also have different types such as: Beveridge 2SW2, esl 57, DM70, Stax headphones..
Together with MTaudio i have refurbished many speakers and done some experimentation, which gives this thread the name "steroids".
-Is it possible to make this speaker better?
-Is there compromises made from the beginning?
-Is the newer ones (2912) different and better than 63?
-Does 989 and other 6 panel QUADīs have a built in bug?
-Why did it take over 25 years for mr Peter Walker to develop this speaker?

I will cover some facts that you didnīt know.
First a measurement of the square wave response of a sligtly modyfied ESL63
As you can see itīs not perfect.. but in the video I will show you what happends when the microphone is moved around 1" or 2,5 cm...
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Old 4th February 2018, 03:16 PM   #2
esl 63 is offline esl 63
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Instead of video here is some screenshots, unfortunately i donīt have my own unechoic chamber so when the microphone is moved around you will see how much the room actually is contributing. I tried to reduce reflexes from boundry surfaces a little. Behind the speaker there is another room that is well damped, and in the microphone surrounding there is some dacron panels.
So how to proceed to improve or modify this speaker with no unechoic chamer?

As you know this speaker is time coherent and has a fairly straight frequency response quite good polar responce, and ultra low distortion, in fact up to 10 times lower than most dynamic speakers.

If we should try to improve this gem we have to have an idea on what to improve and why and how?
  1. I want to improve the polar responce to get rid of the small sweet spot without destroing the other properties
  1. I want to improve on the frequency response.
  1. I want to extend the dynamics, and play at least 15dB higher
  1. I want to play down to 15Hz -3dB
And yes i have actually already done all this!
And sometimes I ask myself... was it worth 2000 hours of time studying and experimenting, a lot of money and effort and relations...(still is)?
Maybe..? Soundwice yes!
Hopefully you donīt need to put all that time and effort

So first, how to proceed to improve or modify this speaker with no unechoic chamer?
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Old 4th February 2018, 03:27 PM   #3
TNT is offline TNT  Sweden
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Subscribed :-)

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More distortion to the people!
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Old 8th February 2018, 04:20 AM   #4
sumotan is offline sumotan  Indonesia
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Wow this is interesting. I recalled audition the Esl 63 with Gradient subs & yes
what kept us away was realiablity issues as well as limited spl.
Would be interesting to hear & learn from your adventure

Cheers
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Old 8th February 2018, 04:25 PM   #5
WrineX is offline WrineX  Netherlands
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I got still 2 sets of 63 one SN3000 and one 33000 so pretty old and rather new both there panels are screwed.

-Is there compromises made from the beginning?
Yes Glue besides that sometimes the HV breaks but it is not as common as the panels that just fail all over.

-Is the newer ones (2912) different and better than 63?
The might changed isolation and glue and maybe the transformers. but they use the same panels as far as i know. they can all be changed out. they did make the fram more solid. something that is really was needed. i do hope they made the construction simpler as well, since the quad esl63 is a pain in the *** to put together, most retarded mechanical design ive seen so far.

-Does 989 and other 6 panel QUADīs have a built in bug?
Yes.. glue all panels have the same problem and it might be because of the high voltage in general. the panel itself or the coating never fails (never seen) but the glue of the stator fails. then it will come close to the membrane and will burn holes an rattle all over. so it will destroy the panel in the end.

i got a few videos on my channel about the ESL63 if you interested. i did not finish them as of yet still looking for a coating that works like the quad one did. got a batch working like i want but have to scale up and see how it holds on my own set.
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Old 8th February 2018, 04:28 PM   #6
WrineX is offline WrineX  Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sumotan View Post
Wow this is interesting. I recalled audition the Esl 63 with Gradient subs & yes
what kept us away was realiablity issues as well as limited spl.
Would be interesting to hear & learn from your adventure

Cheers
with the use of the gradient sub or any other open baffle sub, you could filter the quad a little earlier, like 75 hz. that would save allot of power going into the quads otherwise. i bet you can crank up some dB's more out of them this way. or filter even a bit higher 100 should be possible to put out at least 6 dB more.
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Old 8th February 2018, 04:32 PM   #7
WrineX is offline WrineX  Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esl 63 View Post
Instead of video here is some screenshots, unfortunately i donīt have my own unechoic chamber so when the microphone is moved around you will see how much the room actually is contributing. I tried to reduce reflexes from boundry surfaces a little. Behind the speaker there is another room that is well damped, and in the microphone surrounding there is some dacron panels.
So how to proceed to improve or modify this speaker with no unechoic chamer?

As you know this speaker is time coherent and has a fairly straight frequency response quite good polar responce, and ultra low distortion, in fact up to 10 times lower than most dynamic speakers.

If we should try to improve this gem we have to have an idea on what to improve and why and how?
  1. I want to improve the polar responce to get rid of the small sweet spot without destroing the other properties
  1. I want to improve on the frequency response.
  1. I want to extend the dynamics, and play at least 15dB higher
  1. I want to play down to 15Hz -3dB
And yes i have actually already done all this!
And sometimes I ask myself... was it worth 2000 hours of time studying and experimenting, a lot of money and effort and relations...(still is)?
Maybe..? Soundwice yes!
Hopefully you donīt need to put all that time and effort

So first, how to proceed to improve or modify this speaker with no unechoic chamer?
btw that square wave being higher in the middle and not drop instantly does it not mean it lost some of its high frequency component ?


btw you wishes are not gone happen 15 db louder and down to 15 hz...

so for the 15 db you already need more then 4 times the surface area, then you want to go instead of 40 Hz 15 hz, that doubles that once more.. well so with at least 8 times the surface area your good to go haha thats one hell of a speaker.


side note: the panels resonance is way above 15 hz as well, so might need to lower that to, and that might result in the membrane sticking to one of the stators

Last edited by WrineX; 8th February 2018 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 8th February 2018, 04:32 PM   #8
sumotan is offline sumotan  Indonesia
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Well that was a really long time ago. It’s reliability issue was too big a concern. For me I went Martin Logan instead
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Old 8th February 2018, 11:24 PM   #9
stokessd is offline stokessd  United States
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Since you are working on that Sisyphean task, you may want to consider some measurement software. It will make your life a whole lot better. You'll want to use a MLS or swept sine quasi-enchoic impulse response to get the room effects out of your measurements. You'll be able to see what you are doing and not constantly being confounded by your room interactions.

Good luck with your endeavors.
Sheldon
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Old 9th February 2018, 12:46 AM   #10
sumotan is offline sumotan  Indonesia
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Off late I’ve been mucking around with hv bias on my Ml speakers & I’ve discovered that in a way they’re like tubes. There’s a sweet spot involved as well. When your in that sweet spot everything just falls into place beautifully. At lower voltage everthing is still there but they’re a little dull. At voltage over the sweet spot everything is bright & clear but in comes some hardness to the sound. I find this fascinating. Not sure if this would apply to the Quads though

Cheers
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