Hanging Quad ESL-57’s from the ceiling

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by John76, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. John76

    John76 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I’m toying with the idea of bringing my old Quads out of storage and the only place I have available would involve hanging them upside down from the joists in my basement. I had seen this done before in a record shop I used to go to so was thinking of doing the same. My thought was eye hooks into the joists, eye hooks with nuts and washers into the Quads and extension springs hooked between the eye hooks to suspend and isolate the speakers from the floor above.

    My concern was whether the wood frame of the Quad could support being suspended in such a manner and making the correct choice of spring for the application. I imagine I would want the resonance frequency of the spring to be below 10 HZ, lower the better. The speakers weigh 40 lbs so I was thinking one of these two springs might work:

    0.812"OD x 0.120"Wire 4"L Loop End #76 Steel Hard Drawn MB Extension Spring | Fastenal

    0.531"OD x 0.091"Wire 3-1/2"L Loop End #80 Steel Hard Drawn MB Extension Spring | Fastenal

    Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  2. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    The challenge of this configuration will be to stop the speakers "rocking" in response to the movement of the bass diaphragms. I think I'd avoid the use of springs and simply use hook-eyes and cable to attach the four corners of the frame to the joists above. Let the suspended weight of the speaker hold it steady. Getting the cables taut will be key. For this reason, I might consider using turnbuckles in the rear cables. In the end, the speaker would be stable under its own weight hanging at an angle that points it down and inward toward the listening area. I wouldn't hang it "upside down" as then you'd risk the internal electronics eventually falling out. Keeping this weight at the bottom will also help stabilize the speaker. There is a lot of acoustic energy coming out the back of these speakers so give them as much room as possible above and behind; if you tuck it into the wall/ceiling corner, I don't think you'll be happy with the sound. This ceiling location will probably make the speakers sound somewhat "lite"; you may need a sub or two to get the sound you want.

    All in all, it's "do-able" but complex and may require some kind of reinforcement (defacement) of the ESL frame. There are photos on Google such as the one below illustrating other ways people have addressed a similar issue. Maybe one of these alternatives would work? Otherwise, I'd leave them in storage until such time as you have the proper space for them to shine. If you need a basement speaker and the ceiling is your only option, consider hanging a traditional box speaker which would be much easier to work with and present fewer issues with back radiation (and you needn't deal with getting power up there).

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    Leaving aside physical integrity of the speaker to support its own weight, and the movement issue raised by @Apesbrain, were you thinking of keeping them "high" and angling them downward, or having them suspended at ear height? If the latter, you are already creating a "footprint" of largely unusable space below them.
    Here's one approach which would give me more comfort, structurally. Note that these are "stacked" but the method could be employed for a single pair (the upper pair is suspended, it looks like the lower pair sits on a riser):
    [​IMG]caa83d4e3017d0627fe159115895e0d3--quad-a-audiophile-speakers by bill hart, on Flickr

    I just had my '57s restored- they are glorious. (Used a Crosby modded '63 for 15 years, but the original loudspeaker is the cat's meow to me). I'll be interested to see what others propose.
    Kent McCollum may have some thoughts. He restored mine.
     
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  4. John76

    John76 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I'm really only interested in hanging them upside-down in the manner described. I'm not concerned about whether they sway or not while playing. The audio transformer is held in place with four bolts with washers on the wood side, it's the only heavy item in the speaker. It seems very unlikely the audio transformer would fall off from being hung upside-down. Like I said, I've seen this done before.

    My only real concern was whether the frame was strong enough and my choice of springs given the 40 lb nature of the speaker.

    My listening position would be at the same height as the speakers as hung as few inches from the ceiling.
     
  5. John76

    John76 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I think I have a better/safer solution hanging them with straps right side up using these bits:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. John76

    John76 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    The minute I picked up the Quads out of storage I realized there was no way I was going to hang them upside down. It took some time at Home Depot figuring out how I was going to go about hanging these guys after finding they had the straps I wanted to use. Things couldn’t have worked out better using the Hangalls which interface nicely with the strap wrapped around the Quads and clip securely to the eye bolts. The 4.5 inch difference in the eyebolt length gives me an appropriate toe in from the wall. They’re about 20 inches from the wall and high enough to not interfere with the adjacent billiard table.

    It’s been 8 years since I last heard these and they’re just stunning. Great to have found a spot for these old friends!

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    Clever. And using the straps, rather than just hanging the speakers from their bottoms, allays the concern I had about the hanging weight affecting the integrity of the speaker frame.
    There's an old pic floating around somewhere of Faye Dunaway's stacked Quads mounted mid-way between floor and ceiling- though the pic, if I can find it, is so grainy, it's hard to tell if they were suspended or framed within a sub-wall on each side.
    There is something about this speaker that is really unlike any other, including other stats. Enjoy them. What amp are you using?
     
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  8. John76

    John76 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    The amp is an Exposure 18S power amp. I ran them from 1992 to 2008 with an Exposure 15 integrated amp which is still going strong in my upstairs system. This is the best amp I ever used with them. Looking forward to opening them up once everyone is up.
     
  9. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH Forums.

    This would be that pic of Faye's stacked Quads. The site where I found it has plans for stacking the speakers.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    Nice solution! Enjoy.
     
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  11. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    Thanks. In that image, you can clearly see that they are suspended, albeit in an external frame that holds a double pair. Good catch!
     
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  12. John76

    John76 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I heard back from someone who is regarded as a Quad expert and he said there is no problem hanging the speakers upside down using eye-bolts through the 1 inch bottom of the speakers. I’m happier with the result I ended up with for many of the reasons suggested by those who posted to this thread but I thought I’d just put that out there for anyone thinking of doing the same.
     
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  13. ralf11

    ralf11 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Earth
    use screw type 'biners & check for the rating (should be plenty)

    it's a dipole so I don't think you need to worry about it moving from music being played
     
  14. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    Not to be pedantic, but that it's exactly why you do need to worry. If it were a "bipole" it'd be ok. OP said he's not concerned in any case.
     
  15. ralf11

    ralf11 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Earth
  16. John76

    John76 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    That, and the fact that the diaphragm’s total weight is measured in milligrams.
     
  17. John76

    John76 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Here’s a picture of the pair in place. Thoroughly enjoying these!

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. ralf11

    ralf11 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Earth
    wow - they seem very close to the wall - isn't that a problem?
     
  19. John76

    John76 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    No, they sound great. They’re toed in and 22 inches away on the farthest side.
     
  20. John76

    John76 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Heard back from another Quad expert who also said hanging them upside down wouldn’t be an issue for the frame.

    Found this site which has links to nice clean pdf copies of the owners manual, service manual and loudspeaker booklet which I don’t believe I’ve ever seen before. Enjoy!

    I like page seven of the owners manual where it discusses adjusting the intensity of sound so that it is correctly related to the perspective as recorded or broadcast.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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  21. John76

    John76 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Indeed, listening to a newly acquired stack of current rotation records have me hearing details in the music never heard before. My Tannoy’s where no slouch and were very enjoyable, but like you said these are unlike other loudspeakers. The loudspeaker booklet on page 6 goes into why this might be where it discusses smoothness.
     
  22. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    Thanks for that link- nice clean copies of the manuals.
    With respect to volume level, whether the Quads or other speakers, I've always found that there is a 'natural' level of loudness, given the room, the recording and the system where everything just gels- louder only sounds more reproduced, and softer doesn't create enough energy to give it full life (aside from the Fletcher-Munson curve on the bass).
    The Quads seem to let you hear through the recording at lower levels and get more information. I don't limit myself to chamber music or small jazz combos- I'll play rock, psych, prog, whatever. It's a smaller portrait than a big system, but it is still uncanny. The sweet spot is pretty narrow though-- I had forgotten about that after years of having my original pair in storage. People who never heard them are usually floored by how good they are-- and this, from listeners who are used to very highfalutin' gear. I hadn't listened to my pair since 1990!
     
  23. John76

    John76 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Two feet from the back wall is totally acceptable especially as they are well away from the room corners, 4 and 6.5 feet from the outside edges. Having them a bit over 4 feet above the floor likely helps as well. I sit about 19 feet from them and the lower third of the panel is at ear level, I listen a top a bar stool.
     
  24. John76

    John76 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Looks like a nice home.

    [​IMG]
     
  25. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    Not disputing aesthetics, but don't you think those are too close to the wall behind them to do their thing? I do.
     

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