Cognoscenti…

They arrived around 2 P.M. last Wednesday, 7th.Feb.2018,  and I’ve spent much of the intervening time listening to them!   I first set ears on one of Peter Walker’s Wonders some 58 years ago, in 1960, when I was 24 years old.  It was purely mono in those days of course, and I wasn’t all that impressed at the time.  Sure, it looked really different and sounded good in the room in which it was playing.  But at £52,10 Shillings (that’s US$ 1,605.22 to-day) it was a bit out of my league – when I was earning the princely sum of about £7 (112.37 US$) a week!
Now at 82, and somewhat wiser (?),  I have finally got a pair of QUAD ESLs of my very own!    I don’t remember the sound being nearly as good as these back in 1960; even one of them!   I’m sure they didn’t sound quite as good as these, otherwise I would have got into “Hi-Fi” a hell of a lot sooner!
If the “HI-FI” community of the time deemed that the QUAD ESLs were that remarkable,  what would they think about these 2018 REBUILT QUAD ESLs. These use completely rebuilt panels, to-days technologically better materials and the attention to detail of a single dedicated, passionate mind – Wayne’s.
There were Lowther’s, Tannoy’s, Wharfedale’s, Goodman’s, and GEC Metal Cone Speakers to name but a few of the best speakers on the British  market of my youth.  In England, back then, ten “valve” Watts was the norm.  Only in America was 20 to 40 Watts a Hi-Fi necessity.  (More is not necessarily better – except when we get into multi size drivers and thirsty cross-over networks, of course).  
 
So the iconic 12-Watt QUAD II Amplifier, also designed by Peter Walker some years before, was used in the development of his now equally iconic Electrostatic Loud Speaker, first introduced into the English marketplace in1957.  Thus the Quad ESL was designed for the amplifiers of the day in England, such as the 10-Watt Williamson,  the Radford STA15 15-Watt ,  the 10-Watt Mullard 5-10,  and sundry other high quality amplifiers. Valves of course, were the order of the day.  
If one used a 25-Watt  valve amplifier (and there were some in England then) on a QUAD ESL – one did so at one’s peril !   The original QUAD ESL Handbook stresses that the peak-to-peak voltages should not exceed 33 Volts across the original ESL speakers. Generally speaking, any clean 10 to 15 Watt valve amplifier would be a good match to QUAD’s original ESL design.    
Wayne’s Walker’s Wonders will comfortably take 40 “Valve” Watts in their stride.  Also, the bass and treble extremes are somewhat extended; overall response being closer to +/- 3 db from 30 to 20 kHz.  with a +/- 3db match between different loudspeakers.  Furthermore, with currently manufactured materials and attention to detail, the power handling capability is increased to a figure that I have not dared to ascertain, but I have made quite a bit of noise in my listening space using my EAR 834 50-Watt Valve amplifier, much to the distain of my wife! 
 (I have no intention to use a transistor power amplifier further than a QUAD 33 
(transistor 50-Watts X2),  or push my luck any further – unless someone is willing to cover the complete cost of a replacement pair of ESLs to my doorstep – in writing!)
These ” New Wonder ESLs” are reported to be able to handle more than the prescribed 33 Volts p-p.  Personally, I would be somewhat cautious if using a CLEAN 100 Watt solid state amplifier on these “New” ESLs – 60-Watts would be about my solid-state limit.   I am using an EAR 834 Amplifier (50-Watts RMS per channel into 8Ω).  I’d be careful if using the EAR 890 (at 2X 70-W). and would set the the latter’s gain controls on the back panel at half way, in a small to average living room space.  Both of these amplifiers are all-valve marvels designed by Tim de Paravicini. 
                   A pair of Wayne Picquet’s Rebuilt original Walker’s Wonder QUAD ESL Loudspeakers and Tim de Paravicini’s EAR 834 or EAR 890 Amplifier, fed from the EAR 834P Phono pre-amplifier, some favourite Vinyl records on my Braun PS 500 record player (which I have restored), or the new Canadian www.purefidelity.ca 
record player, a softly lit room, my wife at my side, and comfortable slippers on my feet – perhaps a pleasant glass of wine in hand:  this old man’s idea of Heaven on Earth! 
Thank you Wayne,  very much!
Barry                       (    12th February 2018 )

 

 

Wayne is our Quad ESL-57 swordsmith, a man who has spent more than 25 years honing his craft: the creation of a speaker that bests the original in every respect, and arguably is the finest loudspeaker of its kind in the world. Like any great craftsman, Wayne does things that most customers will probably never see and never appreciate. I recently replaced my aging bass and tweeter panels with Wayne’s and compared them with the vaunted originals. It wasn’t even close. Not only was Wayne’s build quality vastly superior, their performance was unparalleled. I tested all panels with an SPL meter in tightly controlled conditions and found that the tweeter panels were within 1 dB of each other and the bass panels 2 dB at all tested frequencies. This can only be achieved with fanatical attention to detail. And the sound?… Simply wonderful! Anyone who hasn’t heard one of Wayne’s rebuilds hasn’t really heard what this speaker is capable of. But most importantly, Wayne’s meticulous nature is matched by his character. He stands 100 percent behind what he does and if there is any problem he takes care of it and then some. He is a great person to deal with and a credit to himself and his customers. The Quad ESL-57 community is very lucky that he is in business. If this were Japan, we would call him “sensei!”
William Steele (October 2015)


Wayne, I thought I’d heard Quads ESL 57s before – having owned maybe a dozen pairs over the years, starting in high school. But previous pairs didn’t prepare me for what I heard when I firedup my long-anticipated Wayne Picquet set the first time. They sound like ESL 57s, yes – not gussied up in any artificial way – and the voice remains true and unmistakably “Quad.” But it’s far more emphatic, engaging, dynamic and extended on both ends of the spectrum than anything I’ve ever heard from ESLs. In particular, I’m genuinely amazed at the bass: a deep, controlled, forceful, musical foundation. Then there’s the gorgeous cosmetic work – and a sense of confidence these units are going to work, and work right, every time.

Peter Walker would want a pair. He’d say, “Right there’s what I’m talking about.” It’s the Master’s Voice.

Thanks for perfecting and realizing his vision.
Ken Askew (June 2012)


I haven’t had in this society many better standards of excellence than Mr. Wayne Picquet. Without being too obsequious may I say, any better. I am used to being screwed around, but the results of Mr. Picquet’s repairs of my ESL’s has been exemplary. They look beautiful and sound magnificent.
John Penrod (January 2012)


I had a set of ESL63’s bought in 1982 when I was in England which I was unable to listen to for more than two decades as it had developed a problem
while I was in India and there was no way of getting it fixed there. When I came to the US, the ESL 63’s followed several years. Fortunately, I was directed to contact Wayne Picquet through Affordable Audio in Venice, California. Off the units went and when they got back…what could I say except thank you Wayne for bringing back music into my life after decades of vexation. You ARE the best !!
Nandan Bhatt (February 2011)


I am listening to the speakers as I type this. The looks are stunning. ~ actually beyond stunning. They look like artwork. You are a miracle worker.
The sound is ultra-excellent and keeps improving. I had forgotten just how “right” these speakers are. Clearly the finest sound my listening room has ever experienced. I am just gobsmacked by them. I’ll report back soon, but right now, I am beyond happy. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Mark MacWilliams (December 2009)


I’ve owned my Quad 57’s for 22 years and just had them rebuilt by Wayne. Wow! That’s just about all I can say. There is depth and detail to the bass I never knew Quads were capable of, and remarkable clarity and texture bottom to top. Look great too!
Larry Fisher (October 2008)


I’ve now been using a full set of Wayne’s ESL57 panels (and power supplies) for over 18 months. They were superb when installed and now sound even better. What a great resource for Quad owners!
Alan Rose (July 2008)


I have owned Quads since 1975, and Wayne’s new Custom 5 panel 63’s with mahogany frames are astounding. PK is in a class by himself. Thanks for a great job. My only regret is not getting them sooner.
Barry Taymen (May 2008)


Six months after installing a set of Wayne’s Quad ESL57 panels and power supplies, the Quads sound even better, and without question better than when I purchased them new in 1972! A terrific product and a great guy to work with.
Alan Rose (September 2007)


I’ve just installed a complete set of Wayne Picquet’s Quad ESL57 panels and HV power blocks. The transparency of sound, the accuracy and the frequency range they produce are superb. Wayne was very helpful.
Alan Rose (April 2007)


Bought a pair of fully restored PK special quad 57s from Wayne. Masterful job, great guy to deal with and by the way, you guys who have not heard these have no idea what you’re missing. Seriously. 50 years later… Amazing!
  Suresh Maximun (July 2007)


I recently had Wayne do a stacked pair for me. I was not prepared for what I received back in terms of the worksmanship and sonics. When I alternate with my $40,000 Stradivari, the PK stack easily holds its own and betters it in certain areas.
Tim Stella (March 2007)


Excellent job of repairing two panels on my Quad 63’s. Quick turnaround and timely status communication. Very, very good attention to detail and craftsman-like work. Highly recommended.
 Jay Willis (March 2007)


Long live Peter Walker’s little wonder, the Quad 57. And thanks to Wayne Picquet, the ‘Peter Walker of Quad restorations,’ it still has a lot of life left in it. Wayne restores the original sound , beautiful beyond description…and actually improves upon it.
Paul Seydor (December 2006)


Purchased replacement bass panels for Quad 57, very impressed with performance, quality and service. The panels are quiet, nice looking, and easy to install with the solder posts he uses.
William Steele (June 2006)


Wayne did an amazing job on the restoration of my Quad ESL’s. The attention to detail was superb. He has thought of so many things that go into a great looking and sounding vintage speaker. He kept in touch as well, which helped with my angst.
   Paul Wyman (September, 2005)


PK is the Quad God! Everything exceeded my already high expectations.
 David Lucky (March 2004)


I was so pleased with my first Quads 57 that I had PK build me Stacked Quads.
Jonathan Blake Tavelstead (July 2003)


I pity the Quad ESL lover who doesn’t have this done.
So good I got a second pair, stacked them and sold my Avantgarde Duos.
  James Walker (January & March 2003)


Awesome! The best service by a guy who knows his stuff!
Jonathan Halpern (August 2002)


Excellent service and product. Brilliant recreation of Quad 57.
Mike Cassidy (July 2002)


Fantastic craftsmanship and attention to detail at very reasonable prices.
Frank Goldfarb (March 2002)


PK’s workmanship and attention to detail is amazing. Highly recommended!
Hector Acevedo (March 2002)