Using n ESL57 VERY close, and in mono with a 306

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18-Apr-2017 04:30 AM

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I have a pair of both 57s and 63s, but no room at present to set up either as a pair. Therefore, sadly, they reside in storage. 

My listening area is very small, with a 66 system driving a pair of bookshelf speakers, which are about six feet apart and no more than six feet away from my ears whilst sitting on a couch. Decidedly this isnot ideal, I fully realize, but for the moment, it is what it is.

I was considering placing a single 57 atop the low cabinet that the equipment is on (relocating the gear, of course), which would put the 57 panels slightly above direct ear position while sitting. Tipping the speaker forward slightly would help. Also, the speaker would have to be very close to the wall, by only a matter of inches.

Assuming this is not a ridiculous setup, I would also have to connect this single 57 to my 306 for use in mono, but not quite sure how to do this.

Again, I know it's a stretch (or rather a squeeze), but if it sounds possible to attain a reasonable sound, I'd appreciate any "input."


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18-Apr-2017 10:01 AM

Joost Plugge

Joost Plugge

Posts: 912

Placing a ESL57 close to the wall will influence the sound a great deal, they need room to breathe. You don't have to monoblock the 306 to drive the ESL57, single channel drive is good enough.

Joost Plugge

DaDa Engineering

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20-Apr-2017 07:40 PM

Fabian

Fabian

Posts: 53

First off, I agree with Joost that placing the ESL (any ESL, in fact any dipole speaker) so close to a wall will not be satisfying at all. We all love "the closest approach ...", but this is too close. Dipole speakers in theory put out the same sound front and back (just with inverted polarity) The ESL is particularly good at that, compared to e.g. open baffle speakers using dynamic drivers. This thought should make it very clear that you cannot ignore 50% of the speakers output, hoping for an acceptable result. 25 inches would be about the absolute minimum distance you need.

There is one more potential problem with your mono setup: As far as I can tell from the manual, the 66 pre is lacking a mono button. This is what you need to have both pre outs playing a signal mixed down from both stereo channels. From this point on it wouldn't matter which output you would connect to what channel of your power amp. You would get the full musical information, just no stereo effect.

Since the 66 will not do that for you, you will also need a stereo to mono converter. It's usually not a good idea to just use a Y cable, joining the outputs together. For security as well as sound quality reasons the minimum solution would require a passive resistor network to decouple the outputs and prevent leak currents between the channels when playing material with noticeable left/right difference. This is always a compromise that, depending on the resistor values used, will  influence the level, might introduce hum and change the output resistance.

If you like the sound of the ESL but currently don't have the room to place them, I would look out for a pair of LS3/5a. Either classic once or maybe one of the newer interpretations. These can rarely be had cheap, but they will not loose much of their value while you are using them, especially the original versions.
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21-Apr-2017 05:31 AM

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Thanks for the reply, Joost!

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21-Apr-2017 05:39 AM

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Thanks for the info Fabian. I used to have the 57s set up properly, with lots of space around them. Some of the finest sound I ever heard. Later I used the original 63s in much the same way. Also excellent, but not quite as nice as the 57s in my opinion. Perhaps the 63s could be improved with modifications. 

It was silly to think I could use a single 57 only a foot from the wall. And yes, I had forgotten that the 66 lacks a mono mode. I'll look around for a pair of Quad conventional speakers, perhaps. Thanks!



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