Tuesday 7 January 2020, 7.30pm
“I have always been fascinated by quality sound, sound equipment and recordings.
This will be the first audiophile listening event using part of my private collection (probably one of the largest collections in the world) of the legendary QUAD ELECTROSTATIC Speaker.
A classic 1957 British design, the ESL-57, as it later came to be known, has a cult following and iconic status. Even nowadays, 40 years after production has ceased, it still tops virtually every list of the best, the greatest, the most significant audio products ever made!
The design was revolutionary. Using moving elements some two hundred times lighter than the diaphragms of moving coil loudspeakers, it is entirely free of cabinet resonance and colouration. It demonstrated what was possible in most of the essential areas of speaker performance so validly that from a certain point of view the subsequent history of speaker design can only be described as “catch-up”.
"Listening to the original today merely confirms what many suspected: despite its limitations, the Quad ESL delivers some of the most natural, open-sounding mid-band (especially vocals) you’re ever likely to hear. It is a speaker which addresses certain needs, appealing to those who want their ears caressed, not battered. The speaker disappears into the room leaving you with nothing but… music […] It is stubbornly superior to modern designs in aesthetic, cultural and intellectual terms..."
The speakers will be powered by 8 classic QUAD II (1953) mono-blocks valve amplifiers, with the original GEC / MARCONI KT66.
As this event will be the first ever Quadraphonic listening event dedicated to Sun Ra's Arkestra Quadraphonic LP recordings from the 70's, in Cafe OTO I'll be using 4 stacks – 16 speakers in total!
I'll also be using the best and extremely rare analogue quadraphonic decoders of the era-
Sansui QSD 1 for QS decoding
Fosgate Tate II for SQ decoding
Decca Super Gold,
Decca ffss C4E
Join us in this unique audiophile listening experience to explore some of Sun Ra's rarely heard recordings (in that specific quadraphonic manner) with a band that are very closely associated with OTO.”
– Elan Carebell