The Quad ESL 57 electrostatic loudspeakers have been around for decades and throughout the years have won many awards. Even to this day, Quad ESL 57 is still quite sought after and praised by audiophiles all around the world. It certainly belongs to the hall of fame and fortunately doesn’t cost much to get our hands on these award-winning classics nowadays. These electrostatic loudspeakers do have a limitation that we need to address though.
It is simply lacking bass performance especially when it comes to subsonic bass reproduction. The frequency response of the Quad ESL 57 is only 50Hz-10kHz and you can see even the higher registers are rather limited as well. Surprisingly, the Quad ESL 57 loudspeakers are still able to produce realistic sounding vocals and musical instruments. Furthermore, they don’t sound highlighted or over-emphasized, the music presentations simply sounded natural. The music transients are fast as well, and the ESL 57 have impeccable music timing. Its stereo imaging is equally remarkable but the sweet spot is pretty narrow.
The bass performance of the Quad ESL 57 can easily be resolved by adding an active subwoofer. You will need to ensure your amplifiers have the output to connect to a powered sub. There are so many subwoofers currently on the market and their performance is getting better each year, not to mention, some of the solid performers are friendly to our wallets which is cool. Since the Quad ESL 57 are agile and fast, it is best to match an active subwoofer that is capable of keeping up with these electrostatic speakers and extending their bass extension smoothly with ample authority.
Finding a subwoofer to match sonically with the Quad ESL 57 speakers is important but your own requirements will be equally crucial as well. It would be wise to work on your subwoofer requirements as they will also influence your choice heavily. We will be sharing with you a list of the usual requirements which you might want to consider and once you are done with the checklist, you can start looking at the best subwoofers to match with the Quad ESL 57 electrostatic loudspeakers.
Your Subwoofer Requirements
As mentioned earlier, it will be ideal to match with the speed and pacing of the Quad ESL 57 speakers as this will allow for more seamless integration. We will suggest going with sealed cabinet subwoofers as they are more capable of producing subsonic bass frequencies accurately and agile enough to keep up with the ESL 57 electrostatic speakers. Unless you prefer more bass output then a high-quality ported subwoofer will suffice. Ported subwoofers are more efficient when it comes to producing low frequencies and can reach deeper into the bass extension when compared to a sealed sub of a similar price range.
The agility and articulation of the subwoofer are important but how deep it could reach down to the bass extension can be a requirement. For instance, you may require a powered subwoofer that could reach down to 20Hz or even more due to the type of music you are listening to. The size of the bass driver can be a requirement as well and it will depend on the size of your room. The bigger the room, the larger and more powerful the sub will need to be which also translates to a higher price point. This is where your budget comes into play and this will help filter out subwoofers that are priced above the amount you are willing to invest in.
Subwoofers are bulky in size and you will need to make sure you have enough space for them. You should also seek your spouse’s approval since the subwoofer will take up a permanent spot in your home. There are compact and stylish-looking subwoofers out there. There are also MBM subwoofers which will help to provide a punchier and more impactful midbass response. These are just some of the typical requirements for you to consider and we suggest adding more of your own. When you have looked through all possible subwoofer requirements and are firm with what you want then please take a look at the list of the best matching subwoofers to pair with your Quad ESL 57 electrostatic speakers.
Best Subwoofers to pair with Quad ESL 57
The SVS SB-1000 Pro is one of the best entry-level sealed subwoofers to go for and pair it with your Quad ESL 57 loudspeakers. It is modestly priced and has a high-powered amplifier, driving up to 820+ Watts of peak power (325 Watts RMS power). SVS SB-1000 Pro has a frequency response of 20Hz-270Hz (+/-3dB) which is really impressive for a sealed subwoofer at this price point. The bass driver size of the SB-1000 Pro is 12″ and it will be ideal for small to medium-sized rooms. The overall bass performance is tight and articulate with ample weight and low-end impact.
If you are unsure to go for either a sealed subwoofer or a midbass module, you might probably want to check out the HSU Research ULS-15 MK2. This is a very powerful sealed subwoofer with a 15″ woofer being driven with up to 2000 Watts of peak power (600 Watts continuous). It has an articulate and prominent bass performance throughout its frequency response of 20Hz-200Hz (+/-1dB) which will match well with the Quad ESL 57 speakers. You can use the HSU Research ULS-15 MK2 second operating mode and turn it into a midbass module. This feature will provide flexibility for its owners.
If you are facing space constraints but do not want to compromise the bass quality, the Genelec 7050C will be an exemplary choice for you. This is a very compact studio subwoofer and you can easily fit the 7050C into tight spaces. It is designed for professionals and provides very accurate bass performances which would suit the Quad ESL 57 speakers. The bass driver size is 8″ and is driven with 130 watts of power (Class D). Genelec 7050C has a frequency response of 24Hz-85Hz (-6dB) and it would be just nice for the Quad ESL 57. The overall bass performance of the Genelec 7050C studio sub is tight, clean, and precise.
SVS PB-1000 Pro is an excellent choice for listeners who are unsure whether to go for a sealed or ported subwoofer to match with their Quad ESL 57. It comes with variable port tuning modes where you can easily switch the PB-1000 Pro to either standard or sealed mode. This is a 12″ ported subwoofer (standard mode) with an incredible frequency response of 17Hz-260Hz (+/-3dB) for an entry-level powered sub. The SVS PB-1000 Pro has the amplifier power to boot as well where it enables the ported sub to handle most bass demands. It is suited for small listening rooms.
The Rythmik Audio L12 is another one of the finest entry-level sealed subwoofers to pair with the Quad ESL 57 electrostatic speakers. The L12 sealed subwoofer uses the company’s patented Direct Servo technology to provide its users with an accurate and fast bass performance which enables the sub to keep pace with the ESL 57 speakers. Rythmik Audio L12’s overall bass performance is articulate and has ample weight, providing us with a typical frequency response of 18Hz-100Hz (-3dB). Its amplifier power is 300 Watts RMS provided by the Class D (dual Hypex Ucd modules).
For listeners who require a bigger subwoofer to fill a medium-sized room effortlessly without compromising the music pacing, you might want to take a look at the SVS SB-2000 Pro. This is a powerful 12″ sealed subwoofer designed and made by the reputable SVS Sound. It has the agile bass performance to match well with your Quad ESL 57 and could deliver subterranean low-ends of down to 19Hz (+/-3dB). Using the Sledge STA-550D amplifier to power the SB-2000 Pro driver with up to 1500+ Watts (Peak), enabling the sealed subwoofer to fill the room with taut subsonic bass performance and energy.
To Sum It Up
These are high-performance subwoofers with a modest price tag that makes them worth every penny invested in them. It will be worth your while to audition these listed subwoofers together with your Quad ESL 57 electrostatic speakers. During the auditioning, it will enable you to tell which subwoofer is a better match with your ESL 57s and you can use this experience as a reference when looking for other active subs.