ESL Review by Daniel, Perth, Western Australia

The ESLs are the front speakers of my home theater (which is still under construction). Because the ESLs are so good at reproducing speech and vocals, I plan to build an ESL centre speaker when time/budget allow.
I can't say enough good things about these speakers; the stereo imaging is precise, the mids are sweet and the highs are smooth. I am driving them with a NAD C320BEE, which handles the load effortlessly and produces a very musical sound - perhaps a little "dry", but easy on the ears all the same. I listen to a wide variety of music, ranging from folk to hard rock. Nothing sounds bad on these speakers, so long as the material has been well recorded that is. They are absolutely amazing for movies and general TV viewing.
These speakers have bass response that many dynamic drivers would be proud of once you get them into the right position in the room; very tight and fast. However, they won't product the SPL that I need for a home theater set up. I am using separate dynamic bass drivers to handle everything below 150Hz. This set up works very well and I can get quite high SPL - more than enough for my needs.
I find these speakers to be very revealing. I'm hearing things in Pink Floyd and other recordings which have been masked in the past. The detail you can hear in the sound is quite amazing.
The panels are only 30mm thick. This allows some pretty sexy enclosures to be constructed. My enclosures are 70mm thick - though I feel that they could have been thinner and still been structurally sound. I went for a thicker (and heavier) enclosure when I discovered that the panels double as sails when a breeze blows though the house! I had one speaker catch the wind and topple during testing before proper enclosures were built - no damage done; a testament to the robustness of the panels ;)
Overall, it is my opinion that the ESL-III represents one of the best bang-to-buck ratios for high end audio.


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