As I’ve mentioned before, the speakers in my Hi-Fi system are a pair of QUAD electrostatic loudspeakers – the ESL 57 model to be precise – and this year, they will be forty years old. They still sound pretty good, but, like me, they are getting on in years. In order to celebrate their fortieth birthday, I thought that I should get them checked for a possible refurbishment.
A search on the internet turned up QUAD Musikwiedergabe in Germany. When QUAD stopped production of the ESL 57 model in 1996, QUAD Musikwiedergabe took over the necessary jigs and tools to Germany. Initially this was to manufacture spare parts for the ESL 57, but eventually they started building completely new ESL 57 speakers, such was the continuing demand.
I contacted them, and a few weeks later, the speakers were collected by Manfred Stein, the owner of QUAD Musikwiedergabe. His team checked them out, and he reported back that, considering their age, both speakers were not bad. However, he recommended replacements of the treble panels and the EHT units which deliver the high voltage. The treble panels had been overloaded (probably by me playing music far too loudly!) and the EHT’s were no longer delivering the right voltage. The bass panels were OK, but were now sounding “boomy”because of their age. I decided to go for a complete transplant of the internals, and the externals were smartened up with a fresh coat of paint.
Manfred returned the ESL 57s this morning, and I’ve been listening to Handel operas for most of the day.