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Amps for esl63

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Posted on March 5, 2017 at 22:45:39
digda_beat
Audiophile

Posts: 1447
Location: Canberra
Joined: July 31, 2003
Hi Folks
I am wondering if any of these amps would work with esl 63's (ie high enough current)
MF A300
Sony TA-1066
Pioneer A 400

 

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RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 6, 2017 at 02:22:42
Roger Gustavsson
Audiophile

Posts: 1177
Location: Huskvarna
Joined: February 12, 2010
You need an amplifier that goes well with a capacitive load. Musical Fidelity A300 is the one that I would try out, not the others. You could also go for one of Quad's own amplifiers. They use to be a good match.

 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 6, 2017 at 05:27:29
louie3
Audiophile

Posts: 536
Location: Signal Mountain, TN
Joined: January 14, 2006
There is no right answer.

I have run and am still running everything from a pair of Dynaco MkIIIs, a pair of Manley Snappers, a pair of Pass Aleph 2s, a pair of restored MacMod Quad 405s (very difficult to find) a pair of Quad QMP monoblocks, a Quad 909, and a pair of Monarchy Audio SE100 Delux MK 2s.

All of them sound "good"...the Snappers and the Alephs sound "really good", the Monarchy's sound "surprisingly good"

Surprisingly I have no experience with any of the amps you mention.

It is shocking, to me anyway, how good the Dynacos sound, and completely different from the Snappers and Alephs, but still good.

ESL 63s love amps.

 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 6, 2017 at 12:45:23
louie3
Audiophile

Posts: 536
Location: Signal Mountain, TN
Joined: January 14, 2006
A further note: I have been listening to the local classical FM station all day via the Dynaco MKIIIs.

The string tone, vibrancy, the sound of massed horns is simply gorgeous.

Roy Mottram sells brand new, kit versions of these amps, or he will build them for you for a nominal fee. Probably not de rigeur for loud metal, but for classical music, they rock.

 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 6, 2017 at 21:13:10
Satie
Audiophile

Posts: 4216
Joined: July 6, 2002
I am always surprised by how good the Dyna III are, considering that they are designed so wrong. With modern parts and KT120s they are just amazing for the cost. Compete comfortably with $5k equivalents. Also the quicksilver amps. But I think the most popular pairings for Quads are EL34 amps from the likes of Audio Innovations and other boutiques, Border Patrol DHT SETs with parallel tubes is another example..In SS your 50 watt high bias class A/AB amps like Sugdens and classic Musical Fidelity come to mind. My own experience is with Mac tube amps.

All the amps you listed are on my "likely to work with Quad ESL" list. I also think the little Monarchy amps are "surprisingly good" and tolerate odd loads well.
"

 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 7, 2017 at 03:35:24
cawson@onetel.com
Audiophile

Posts: 791
Joined: September 27, 2004
I've just bought a pair of Quad 2905 speakers and are amazed a how much power they need to reach robust volume levels. Granted I'm used to horns but I've never before had speakers that are so greedy!

I have these amps:

845 based SET monos - 28 watts
Accuphase A-36 Class A - 30 watt
GamuT D200 mosfet - 200 watt

Only the GamuT is suitable for the Quads and even that needs to operate at its full gain with only about 15dB left on my volume control

In fact to get comparable volume levels from my 2 sets of speakers I use the D200 into the Quads at full gain and the 30 watt Class A (gain set at -12dB) into the horns. How loud the Quad would go with Quad valve amps (apart from their Eightys) I wonder.

 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 7, 2017 at 07:02:34
louie3
Audiophile

Posts: 536
Location: Signal Mountain, TN
Joined: January 14, 2006
All I can do is relate my experience with the ESL 63s, which are the progenitor of your 2905s.

60 watt tube amps are sufficient in my room, but I augment the bottom end with subs with their own amps (Quad QMP monos)

Since the 2905s have more "bass" panels it is logical to assume the need for more power.

I would not have thought any 30-watt amp would be suitable for my 63s, let alone the 2905s.

My room is odd in that while it is 20 feet square, the ceiling is only 7 feet, effectively making it a smaller room.

The 60 watt Dyancos (60 is more hopeful than accurate, I suspect) get loud enough to overload the room if I am not careful.

I will leave it to the more technically minded Quad 0 Philes to explain what is going on with your 200 watt Gamut, cause that certainly should be plenty and then some.

 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 7, 2017 at 10:06:05
Satie
Audiophile

Posts: 4216
Joined: July 6, 2002
The extra panels of the later quads increase power handling and extension. The smaller ESL 57 and ESL 63 simply can't do much with the extra power beyond 50W or so. The later models are more like Acoustats in the number of panels and overall output capacity. They do want a hefty 200 watter to drive them. Different animals.

 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 7, 2017 at 11:42:26
kentaja
Manufacturer

Posts: 4214
Joined: March 26, 2001
"The extra panels of the later quads increase power handling and extension."

Unfortunately this is not the case. The speakers will not play any lower, louder or handle anymore power than the 63.

The extra panels give the speakers more weight and authority in the bottom octaves.

 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 7, 2017 at 15:22:40
cawson@onetel.com
Audiophile

Posts: 791
Joined: September 27, 2004
Not sure you're right in claiming that extra bass panels don't play lower. This from Quad site showing frequency responses of their current models - with 2 and with 4 bass panels:

2812 (2 bass panels) - Frequency Response 37Hz - 21kHz (-6dB)
33Hz - 23kHz (useable)

2912 (4 bass panels) - Frequency Response 32Hz - 21kHz (-6dB)
28Hz - 21kHz (useable)

I have 2905 (predecessor and almost identical to 2912) and I can assure you that it can achieve very respectable levels of bass down to very low frequencies

 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 7, 2017 at 15:28:31
kentaja
Manufacturer

Posts: 4214
Joined: March 26, 2001
"I have 2905 (predecessor and almost identical to 2912) and I can assure you that it can achieve very respectable levels of bass down to very low frequencies"

And so can the ESL-63 just a matter of degree.

The differences Quad notes in frequency extension is irrelevant as a practical matter.


 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 7, 2017 at 15:54:15
Satie
Audiophile

Posts: 4216
Joined: July 6, 2002
It may not be any more sensitive at a given midrange freq, but the 2900 series does produce more SPL power with additional power amp capacity vs. the old 63 that played the same with 50 W models as it did with 200W amps of the same basic architecture. Much more bass and apparently louder, which it wasn't with the 63 with similar amps being swapped (50 watter vs. 200)..

 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 7, 2017 at 18:29:03
kentaja
Manufacturer

Posts: 4214
Joined: March 26, 2001
"Much more bass and apparently louder, which it wasn't with the 63 with similar amps being swapped (50 watter vs. 200).."

Much more bass? No. A little more bass. A slightly bigger sound if you will, because the middle of the speaker is higher off the floor, but no louder. Power amp requirements are no different.

This is a matter of degrees. Compared side-by-side the differences are apparent but nothing earth shattering.

 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 9, 2017 at 08:22:36
fredtr
Audiophile

Posts: 530
Location: Phoenix
Joined: January 4, 2005
I have tried quite a few tube amplifiers with esl63's and a couple SS. I am currently using an updated Citation II, although I swap others in occasionally. Included in what I tried were Dynaco III's both stock and updated (Poseidon driver board etc.) They were pretty good sounding, but a lot of it is personal preference.

 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 9, 2017 at 08:30:49
louie3
Audiophile

Posts: 536
Location: Signal Mountain, TN
Joined: January 14, 2006
"a lot of it is personal preference." I'd say most of it.

I am certainly NOT saying the Mk 3s were "better" than anything, just mighty nice to listen to.

The MK3s are definitely not the most transparent amp I have tried, but still...

 

RE: Amps for esl63, posted on March 9, 2017 at 15:28:46
fredtr
Audiophile

Posts: 530
Location: Phoenix
Joined: January 4, 2005
I think you are right, about both actually. The Dynaco's have a heck of a sound stage. And it was one of the few amps that I went to the trouble of keeping stocks for comparison for the mods.

 

RE: thanks, posted on March 10, 2017 at 02:38:17
digda_beat
Audiophile

Posts: 1447
Location: Canberra
Joined: July 31, 2003
thanks for all the responses.
I have been using a rotel rb 870Bx whichdoes a pretty job, and I was asking on behalf of a guy I know who has those amps.

Having heard that tubes were good with Quads, and knowing someone who loves his OTl with the esl57, I got myself a pair of Transcendent sound "single ended with Slam" OTL amps when my esl's were out of action. some time between buying them and setting them up I recalled that Singles ended amps don't have a good rep with stats. I contacted the manufacturer and sadly he confirmed that " I don't think there would be enough current"

 

RE: thanks, posted on March 10, 2017 at 04:59:32
fredtr
Audiophile

Posts: 530
Location: Phoenix
Joined: January 4, 2005
One of the amps I tried with 63's was an OTL that did have sufficient power and it did sound very good. I used it for about a year before deciding I preferred whatever it is that transformers do for the sound.

 

RE: thanks, posted on March 12, 2017 at 08:20:57
tedtag
Audiophile

Posts: 42
Location: Southeast US
Joined: May 1, 2015
I've tried a few pairs of high powered tube amps with a variety of Quads including ESL63's, 989's, 2905's, and a pair of PK Customs (hand made with 5 ESL63 panels each). The results have been variable. I have a pair of CJ Premier 8's upgraded to KT120's with 300 watts per channel and they did not work very well with Quads. That was surprising to me because they are beasts with tons of power. The speakers would clip repeatedly on dynamic peaks (not crazy loud either....) and the match was basically unlistenable.

I've also got a pair of Carver 300 watt mono blocks with KT120's that worked a whole lot better but not sensational by any means. The Quads didn't clip as much and the sound was really good, but not what I'd call 'magical". Now I'm using CAT JL7 250w mono blocks with KT150's and its a fantastic match with my PK Customs. The CAT's seem to drive them effortlessly with gorgeous sound. Unfortunately the CAT's are relatively expensive, but I'm presenting this only as an example of the wide variability in results of using tube amps with Quads.

I'm no audio engineer and all of my experience is trial and error, but the lesson I've learned here is that more watts is not the answer to good sound from tube amps with Quads. Although CAT does not publish much about the specs of their gear, The JL7's have huge transformers and most likely more current than the other 2 pair of amps. They just seem to have unlimited power and firmly embrace the Quads with a tight grip. I've never had the PK Customs clip with the JL7's even at volume levels of 105 db, which is about as loud as I could stand it.

 

RE: thanks, posted on March 13, 2017 at 22:37:44
BDP24
Audiophile

Posts: 155
Location: Vancouver, Washington
Joined: September 12, 2013
I'll bet the Music Reference RM-200 or RM-200 Mk.2 would work well with the 63. It's very stable into a capacitive load, and unlike all other tube amps (I believe), it's output increases with falling impedance.

 

RE: thanks, posted on March 16, 2017 at 23:10:53
airheadair
Audiophile

Posts: 232
Location: California
Joined: October 18, 2010
which OTL was that?

I love my NYAL OTL's.

 

RE: thanks, posted on March 18, 2017 at 05:33:55
fredtr
Audiophile

Posts: 530
Location: Phoenix
Joined: January 4, 2005
Upgraded Transcendent, and I thought it was great at first, used it for a year, which is a long time for me. Very clean, fast, dynamic. It is probably a personal preference that I went back to amplifiers with transformers.

 

RE: thanks, posted on March 19, 2017 at 18:05:59
airheadair
Audiophile

Posts: 232
Location: California
Joined: October 18, 2010
I"d love to hear more details if you can manage. which transcendent was it?
I am rather interested in those amplifiers, in case my NYAL's ever die.
And which transformer amp did you prefer? From your message, I get the impression
that in fact it may be more a question of many amps rather than one amp.

In my system, which I built in the 80's. the NYAL completely blew away the Audio Research D250.

 

RE: thanks, posted on March 20, 2017 at 06:08:50
fredtr
Audiophile

Posts: 530
Location: Phoenix
Joined: January 4, 2005
I had the predecessor to the current Beast line, I believe the model number was T8,it used EL509's for outputs. The transformer amplifier I am using now is an updated HK Citation II. I did try quite a few transformer amplifiers and still switch others in from time to time, they all have have their own sound signature. I had also read that Atma-Sphere OTL's sound very good with ESL63's. From my experience with the Transcendent OTL, I can understand why someone would prefer OTL's. I think mine was a personal preference and I also noticed that I tended to listen to the OTL at higher volumes than I do with transformer amplifiers.

 

RE: thanks, posted on March 20, 2017 at 10:28:50
fredtr
Audiophile

Posts: 530
Location: Phoenix
Joined: January 4, 2005
Thinking about your situation, my 2 cents is that if you like your NYAL, and you ever have a problem you can always have it repaired. The worst case scenario would be a power transformer failure, and if there isn't a replacement you could have yours rewound. Any other problems, e.g., leaky capacitor, tube socket etc., are pretty trivial repairs.

 

RE: thanks, posted on March 20, 2017 at 23:08:22
BDP24
Audiophile

Posts: 155
Location: Vancouver, Washington
Joined: September 12, 2013
Roger Modjeski of Music Reference was first exposed to the OTL amplifier when a guy brought in a Futterman to the electronic repair shop he was working in at the time (the 60's). He was fascinated, and thus he began his study of the design. He identified the reasons for the instability in the Futterman OTL amp (as well as the amp's other problems), and designed his own OTL in which such problems were nowhere to be seen. He sold the design to Counterpoint who manufactured and marketed it as the SA-4. Anyway, in the AudioCircle Music Reference Forum (now closed, though still viewable) Roger discusses OTL design (and many other topics), which anyone interested in OTL amps should find fascinating and illuminating.

 

RE: thanks, posted on March 22, 2017 at 07:59:59
fredtr
Audiophile

Posts: 530
Location: Phoenix
Joined: January 4, 2005
Thank-you, that was informative and interesting.

 

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