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Quad esl-63 diy repair
Quad esl-63 diy repair
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Old 20th June 2021, 08:50 AM   #1
silvershadelynx is offline silvershadelynx  Netherlands
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Default Quad esl-63 diy repair

Hi, I'm considering to buy a second hand pair of Quad esl-63's. They sell for 350 euro's and their diaphragms need to be replaced.

I built five stats myself (linesources), but was never completely satisfied with the result, even though my latest ones have good sensitivity and operate (very) well, technically.

So I'm curious to do a comparison with my boxed diy speakers (ScanSpeak Event) and diy stats and a pair of Quads. I don't want to spend thousands of euro's on a recent new(er) Quad stat, so I'm considering to buy an old esl-63 and repair it myself. I was wondering if that will be a doable job? I would think it will take some time to learn the construction of the Quad, but I think thats a good thing, to learn new things. So can someone tell me if it will be a easy / moderate / difficult job to repace diaphragms of a Quad esl-63? And how about the electronics, I guess they need service sooner or later too. Is that a complicated job?
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Old 20th June 2021, 09:46 AM   #2
Thmartin is offline Thmartin  France
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Hi,

Done exactly that recently.

It is not a difficult job for a handy diyer, but it takes a very clean workspace, some room where bits can be stored for while and a large piece of glass (see photos), ideally a dining table. Consider it could bother your family life for a few days or weeks.

I can only recommend ER Audio repair kit, which I used, and was impressed with both the contents of the kit and Rob's constant support.

Proper rebuilding implies reglueing all stators - tedious work - and of course repairing damaged diaphragms. I invented a method to repair the loose stators without touching undamaged diaphragms.This can be seen in the photo album. It saves the unnecessary hassle of destroying a good diaphragm, thus a lot of time.

I must say it was a huge satisfaction when I powered on the first speaker after completing it and crystal clear music came out of it : Quad ESL 63 reassembled - YouTube (see neon flashing rate, indicative of a total absence of high voltage leaks). Second ESL63 was completed soon after, to my great enjoyment : Quad ESL 63 - second speaker completed - YouTube

I am extremely happy with the result. My ESL63s sound as good as new, maybe better since I think improved a bit the input network a little.

You shall be aware that when glueing the diaphragms you'll have only one try. Any mistake or error will need redoing everything from start, not funny at all. Restoring ESL63s is not for the faint hearted.

I hope it helps.

Thierry

Last edited by Thmartin; 20th June 2021 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 21st June 2021, 02:57 PM   #3
AVWERK is offline AVWERK  United States
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All 4 panels should be double sided taped together tightly and the alumium bracket
that holds them should either replaced with a much thicker one or the middle section
should be built out to attach to the vertical chassis sides
There is considerable movement in the center area even with not necessarily loud music

As far as trying to repair a loose stator with a good diaphragm which is what everyone wants to do, you would have to glue the entire area rather than just sections that are loose.
Your talking about what, a 35 to 40 year old speaker now and sections that appear tight are just waiting to come loose. Obviously it can be done as shown and looks like heís satisfied
which is what we want for our hard work.

Even if you can repair some exsisting panels, the ones that need new mylar and a different coating , itís possible to have different frequency response swings and impulse response variations amongst the other stock panels .

Your best bet is to completely redue all panels so they source and sink equally and you wonít have to go back in there again for another 25 years.

If you can totally repair one panel you can do the rest also and is your best bet.

Regards
David
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Old 21st June 2021, 03:39 PM   #4
Thmartin is offline Thmartin  France
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Quote:
you would have to glue the entire area rather than just sections that are loose.
Which I obviously did, who would want to redo such a boring job a few months or years later ?

Quote:
it’s possible to have different frequency response swings and impulse response variations amongst the other stock panels.
No, not if the diaphragm tension and the coating have been done properly. Not the tiniest difference was dicernable between panels. If a panel doen't sound exactlty the same as an untouched and working one, then something was done wrong. ER Audio's coating is working perfectly (they supply main ESL service shops with it, like OTA), same for the polyurethane glue, which is a specific OEM formulation for ER Audio. Consistent and correct diaphragm tension are crucial of course.

Last edited by Thmartin; 21st June 2021 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 21st June 2021, 04:11 PM   #5
AVWERK is offline AVWERK  United States
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Glad it worked out !
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Old 25th June 2021, 08:03 PM   #6
405man is offline 405man  Scotland
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[QUOTE=AVWERK;6698034]All 4 panels should be double sided taped together tightly and the alumium bracket
that holds them should either replaced with a much thicker one or the middle section
should be built out to attach to the vertical chassis sides
There is considerable movement in the center area even with not necessarily loud music

is there a reason why Quad decoupled the panels from the side rails, I wondered if it was for production reason as the 4 panels can be assembled and wired as a unit then fitted to the frame or is there an acoustic reason

Stuart
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Old 26th June 2021, 03:52 PM   #7
AVWERK is offline AVWERK  United States
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I can’t see a good reason why they choose a floppy mid section since a simple bracket
coming off the side chassis rails would have been an easy cure to stiffened the whole assembly.

I used wood poplar blocks to bring it out to the bracket and looking back on it should have replaced the panel brackets with thicker aluminum.

I,ll bet a spectral decay plot would show a slight improvement since most of this movement occurs right in the middle of the mid/upper frequency delay ring distribution and looking at various plots over the years, not exactly clean and fast decays


Regards
David
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Old 26th June 2021, 04:55 PM   #8
johnmarkp is offline johnmarkp  United States
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I added much stiffer aluminum bracket when I completely rebuilt my 988's. I was amazed by how much the panel assembly flexed. The extra stiffness really improved the speakers without causing any harness. At least with my ARC tube stuff.

My theory is that the 63's were designed when there were a lot of really bad solid state amps in use. I remember listening to systems and worrying that my ears were going to bleed from the bright sound. Maybe the damping was to take away some of the harsh edges in the music played on these amps.
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Old 27th June 2021, 04:30 PM   #9
stokessd is offline stokessd  United States
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Speaking of that floppy angle bracket, the 989's with their 6 panels on one long bracket are so floppy that the panels will hit the dust cover in shipping and often damage it. I reinforce the midpoint using a 1/2" standoff from the bracket to the outside extrusion and that makes everything MUCH more rigid.

I suspect that in practice it would be difficult to measure an improvement due to the high mass and low driving force of the diaphragm. And as frequencies go up where there is less and less of the panels being driven (and thus the floppiness in the middle would make a bigger difference), the excursion is going down, and the rolloff due to the mass is more and more effective. So this is one of those things that should be better (like the very early 63 side extrusions), but in reality doesn't make an audible or measurable difference. But in the case of the 989, makes a huge difference for reliability because it stops the panels from poking holes in the dust covers.

Sheldon
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Old 30th June 2021, 10:23 AM   #10
silvershadelynx is offline silvershadelynx  Netherlands
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Hi, thanks for your replies and directions and tips!
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