Quad ESL-57 electrostatic loudspeaker. it’s missing its stands, but otherwise intact. One of the all-time greatest loudspeakers ever created; some would say, the greatest.

     

    ESL-57, rear view. From The Audio Classics Collection, photo by Howard Kneller.

     

    The fabled Mark Levinson HQD system. It included a stacked pair of Quad ESL-57 loudspeakers per side, with a Kelly ribbon tweeter in the middle, and two Hartley 24-inch woofers. The system cost $24,000 in the 1980s. (The original source for this image could not be verified as of press time.)

     

    Doesn’t everybody want an audio system with 16th century styling? 1969 Fisher ad for the Metropolitan M-299-IP console.

     

    A spaced-out Lafayette Radio catalog from 1961. Courtesy of Martin Theophilus/the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording.

     

    Howard Kneller’s audio and art photography can be found on Instagram (@howardkneller@howardkneller.photog) and Facebook (@howardkneller).

     

    2 comments on “On Our Radar”

    1. I haven’t seen those big Hartleys since my early days in audiophilia. My brother and I were in Chicago one Saturday afternoon in the late ’70s and we stopped in at Paul Heath Audio, my very first high-end salon experience. They were demonstrating a turntable isolation device by placing it and the ‘table it was supporting on top of one of those 24″ Hartley subs. The rest of the system consisted of Tympanis driven by Audio Research gear. It was an impressive demo.

      The thing I cherish more about that visit, though, was how much it was not in keeping with the fabled snobbery associated with audiophile shops at the time. I thought we were going to get the brunt of that attitude at first – we came in, a gentleman behind the counter asked if he could help us, and when we said we were just looking, he kind of glared at us and said, “so you’re just here to spend an afternoon at our expense, is that it?” We were a little taken aback, and mildly embarrassed, and mumbled something like, “yeah, I guess so,” and we started into the first of the listening rooms in the shop. At that point, he broke into a big smile, came around the counter and said, “don’t bother with the stuff in that room – go on back to the big room. That’s where the really good stuff is.” So we did, and that’s where we heard/saw the demo with the Hartley.

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