An Audio Tale.
So the only time I ever heard Quad ESLs was this:
I was living in the Fens, north of Cambridge, UK for a couple of years in the early 80s, sleeping on a friends sofa, as I recall, and very comfortable it was too.
I was, one evening, visiting a rather nice lady, Rose, who lived in the next village, and we decided to go to the pub in Ely, about 5 miles up the road.
Hitch hiked to Ely, and wandered into the pub there, ordering some or other drink.
A Large Bird wandered in (think “big bird” from sesame street, only not yellow), ordered a pint, pulled a plastic tube from its beak, and proceeded to drink the pint through the tube.
(I should at this stage point out that I was not under the influence of any psychedelic drugs, it’s not that kind of a story!).
So of course we got chatting to the Big Bird (as you do), and the rather deep tenor voice in the end said
“Hang on, I’ll be back in human form in 10 minutes”.
Sure enough, 10 minutes later, a chap came in wearing ecclesiastical garb (think monks) and revealed he was actually the Big Bird. We got chatting again, and the subject quickly turned to music, the Alan Parsons Project’s “Pyramid” album, and at that point he mentioned he had quite a nice HiFi. Not the conversation I expected to have with a monk (or a big bird, come to that), but hey, it was the 80s!
He invited us both back to his place, built in the Cathedral wall itself (again, I should point out this was above board, it’s not one of those stories either), to listen to some music and meet his Quad ESLs.
And gosh they sounded wonderful – big, open, quite loud enough, and in the room (large high ceilings vaulted etc. but heavily damped in his bit with furnishings and wall hangings) they had space to breath and shine, and allowing sufficient distance for a natural bass response (important for those ESLs I’m thinking). The album in question is full of gorgeous production and nice recordings in big 70s studio setting, and really shone. Vinyl (it was the early 80s) through Quad (I think) 405s, definitely a formative experience!
After about an hour, we wandered off to hitch hike home. Never saw him again, 70s session musicians never sounded so good since…
Below, a photo so you know I’m not making this up – this is Rose, and the Ecclesiastical Big Bird