Capital Audiofest

Robyatt Audio – Quad ESL 75 by Electrostatic Solutions / Butler Monad / Miyajima / VPI

 I was pretty thrilled when I poked my head in around the door at the Robyatt Audio room, there in the flesh…a pair of my old Quad ESL57’s looking pretty much like the day they were born (from a distance).

Robyatt with Quad ESL 57s

The room was pretty empty so I slid in on the back row of chairs initially before moving to front and center. To my surprise the Quad’s were being powered by a pair of Butler Audio Monad tube amps. I’ve never seen these puppies in the wild before. In fact, in all my many years of scouring the audiophile classifieds I’ve only ever seen one used pair for sale. So they’re pretty rare and I’d love to get my hands on a pair.

Butler Audio Monad

Anyway, as far as I could tell, Robyatt Audio is a dealer and distributor of a couple of high-end lines including the TZAR DST Stereo Phono cartridge – which I would never have learned at the show but gleaned from Robyatt’s website just a moment ago.

They also sell other high-end goodies, but no mention anywhere on their website of any affiliation with Butler Audio or Electrostatic Solutions. (that I could find).

Anyway, my confusion is their loss, so to speak. I can’t really say much of anything positive about the sound I was hearing from this setup, either. I noticed at their website just now that they received a ‘Best Sound’ award from AVShowrooms. I can only assume that the sound improved significantly as the show progressed; it was early afternoon on the first day when I listened to a couple of familiar Beetles tracks from a pretty good vantage point in the room.

Quad ESL 57s

I know the Quad sound pretty well, even though it’s been over twenty years since I had the misfortune of having to place my 57’s curb-side for the garbage collector. I would never have described the Quad-sound as veiled, even sitting off-axis, but that’s what I heard. Pleasant enough but lacking in dynamics and soul. Since others have indicated a more pleasurable experience, I’ll give Robyatt the benefit of the doubt and try to catch them at a future show.

Robyatt with Quad ESL 57s