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Martin Logans

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16 replies to this topic

#1 of 17 OFFLINE   JorgeG



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Posted July 26 2004 - 01:30 PM

I just wanted to get some opinions out there on Martin Logan speakers. I listened to them at my local Sound Advice here in Tampa, Fl and they sounded beautiful! The sound was crisp and melodious and I quickly realized a seperate sub would be needed for the bass. The Electrostatic technology sounds pretty neat but I wanted to hear from anybody who has had any experience with them and whether they perform as well as the traditional cone/woofer speakers. I was thinking of getting either the Ascents or Aeons for the fronts and the Cinema for the center. Thanks in advance for any opinions.

Jorge G

#2 of 17 OFFLINE   Mike Bassi

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Posted July 26 2004 - 02:19 PM

They do sound great, but only if you're in the sweet spot, and that spot is very small. They don't image well at all, and have a big problem if placement is any kind of an issue. But the sound is beautiful if they are pointed right at you.


#3 of 17 OFFLINE   Robb Roy

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Posted July 27 2004 - 01:30 AM

Another note with Martin Logans is they require a lot of power to really shine, but when they do, yes, they sound fantastic.


#4 of 17 OFFLINE   Jeff Aguilar

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Posted July 27 2004 - 02:26 AM

For my mains, I am running the Aerius i's, it is the generation before the Aeons. I have them powered by a Parasound 855HCA which is only 85 watts a channel for movie playback and for music playback they are powered by a 35 watt tube amp. Truely stunning playback! They do sound incredible. They are challenging to place correctly for stereo playback. Just the smallest things really make a difference, like spikes on the bottom of the speakers. Huge improvement in the bass department. Oh, and your right, that line of speakers really need a good sub to really sound fantastic. I am running two SVS 16/46 pci's in conjuction with my Martin Logans.

I do not think placement is such a big deal when it comes movie presentation, just when you listen to stereo playback.

These speakers made me fall in love with listening to music once again! There is nothing that comes close to the way these present music in my home. I should say, nothing that I have had in my home. They replaced Energy Veritas stuff in my house.

There is a forum that is exclusively for Martin Logan people, it is Martin Logan Owners

Check that site out, there are quite a few really interesting systems there. If you do go with the front three ML, you will be amazed.

Jeff Aguilar

#5 of 17 OFFLINE   DannyL


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Posted July 27 2004 - 05:30 AM

everything said above is true- they are very difficult to place, they require lots of power, and they have a very narrow sweet spot. i own a pair of sl3's and run them in a two channel system. they are very revealing speakers- garbage in equals garbage out. because many movies are mixed on the bright side, i would not recommend martin logans for home theater.

#6 of 17 OFFLINE   Erik Farstad

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Posted July 27 2004 - 10:15 AM

Well as a Martin Logan SL3 owner who also has a Theater Center channel...I will have to disagree that ML's should not be used for HT...sure there are some cone driven speakers that could compete...albeit with a different sonic signature and qualities of it's own...but to say blanket yes/no statements about HT use is just opinion...just like this! ;-)

Before someone bashes ML speakers...I'd point them first to the listening room to look at how the speakers are or are not interacting...the room is key to the sound, as much as the speaker placement, toe in, tilt, etc. is. No bass on a carpet floor? Try heavy duty cones..or move the speakers away or closer to the wall. I have not even mentioned changing the amp, preamp, DAC, etc...as was mentioned before...put in garbage or don't spend the time with placement...you'll get garbage. But take the time and place quality up-line components into the mix...and you'll be transformed into a new realm! Posted Image

#7 of 17 OFFLINE   ross ish

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Posted July 27 2004 - 11:29 AM

Personally, I do not find the SL3 that hard to place, no harder than any other floor standing speaker. Speakers are placed 9 feet apart and I sit about 11 feet away. No problems in getting a rock solid center image. As for sweet spot, I get about a two seat sweet spot. How many people in your household do you need to sit abreast for critical two channel listening anyways?

For home theater, the Logans are pretty hard to beat. The same transparency for music also shows up in movie soundtracks. Naturally you are going to need to feed them a decent diet of quality components.

#8 of 17 OFFLINE   Phil Volk

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Posted July 28 2004 - 03:35 AM

Ml's have the lowest measurable distortion of any speaker on the market...the hub-bub about difficulty in placement is way overblown, they can be tossed into a room in the same way as any direct radiating speaker and sound much better...the differance is that while extra can be gained from ANY speaker when properly placed, the Logans have the ability to produce a MAGIC that few other speakers can, and placement can bring this out. While I find that they reveal more about the sound of an amp/receiver than any other speaker, I don't find the newer ML's to be all that power hungry; not like the old maggies, quads, accustats, etc..
Much of this is the old rehashing of "everybody-says-it-so-it-must-be-true" posts....Go back and try the aeons in a bad room with a $1000 receiver against another speaker, I'll wager you'll still prefer the ML's
don't suggest gear unless you fully understand the needs, application and location.....etc

#9 of 17 OFFLINE   George_W_K



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Posted July 28 2004 - 08:17 AM

I own a pair of Aeon i's that I bought about a year ago. I love them for movies and I've been listening to a lot of music now because of them. When I first bought them I was powering them with a Yamaha receiver, but if I turned it up too loud, the receiver would shut off. I upgraded to a B&K 200.2 amplifier and I can turn them up to ridiculous levels without a problem. (I don't normally do this, though.)

As for placement I used a very good tip from the Martin Logan Owner's site. To get the proper toe-in, sitting in your normal spot, you place a flashlight above your head and point the light at your speakers. I used a coal miner's type light that straps to my head. (I use it for work.) You'll see a line of reflected light off of the electrostatic panel. Rotate your speakers until the beam is about 2" off of the inner trim of each speaker. Toeing like this aims the speakers a little to the outside of you. I thought my speakers sounded great before I did this, but they sound a lot better by just getting them aimed correctly.

I haven't heard either ML center speaker in my system yet, but I should have one coming during my next HT meet in two weeks.

A sub is definitely needed, IMO.

#10 of 17 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted July 28 2004 - 08:32 AM

I would LOVE to have a set of MLs. They do need room away from the wall they are in front of though. They breath so well. You know you get those speakers that when you listen to them you are instantly "there". MLs are in the upper class that puts you in that environment. When set up properly they disappear. Add a great sub like an SV and all you are left with is the music hanging out in the ear for your brain to enjoy.

I also agree that they are excellent for HT.

If you have the resources, the space and the patience to tweak them to your room you are going to be in for some serious ear candy.

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#11 of 17 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted July 28 2004 - 01:24 PM

As you might expect, I also strongly disagree that ML can't be ideal in an HT environment.


After several upgrades (through the ML line), I wouldn't change a thing.

My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#12 of 17 OFFLINE   Jeff Aguilar

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Posted July 28 2004 - 03:28 PM

I think Martin Logan's are VERY dangerous! Since investing in a used pair of Aeries i's, my wife and I have fallen in love with music all over again. I just got a tubed cd player! ML's are so revealing that when you change something in your system, it is really apparent. ML makes a person want to upgrade components to improve your playback. In the next couple of weeks we will be getting a tubed pre-amp for 2 channel music. None of this stuff was important to me before discovering Martin Logan. Once you experience what they can do for your system, nothing else will do.

My Martin Logan's

I truely understand the Martin Logan saying that the only upgrade you want to do is to a bigger Martin Logan.

Jeff Aguilar

#13 of 17 OFFLINE   DavidLW


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Posted July 29 2004 - 08:24 AM

Been an owner of a pair of ML CLS 2z's (with Entec subs) for nearly 10 years now. Though I can used them as HT front speakers, I very rarely do so. Most of the time I use my pair of Boston Acoustics for HT front speakers. The ML are so musical that I really can't stand the thought of playing gunshots, car crashes and explosions through them. The other problem is that they make my center channel (standard cone speakers) sound kind of muffled. The voices coming out from the center don't blend in that well with the clear crisp sound of the ML.

I really see no problem with using ML (and subs) as HT speakers but do plan on upgrading to a ML center channel. The biggest plus for having ML for speakers (for both music and HT) is that the sound is so transparent that even at very loud levels, the ML's don't draw attention to themselves. With most box speakers, the louder you play them the more you can tell that the sound is coming out of the speakers. After listening to ML (or other non-boxed speakers) it is very hard to return to conventional box speakers. You practically need to spend twice what the ML cost in order to find box speakers that sounds as good. IMHO, most set up problems relates to music listening. Sound staging for HT is not as critical because you have a visual clue as to where the sound should be coming from. You don't need to be in the sweet spot when it comes to watching movies on HT. If you're planning to mainly use the ML's as HT speakers, don't plan on it for long. As soon as you hear music through these you'll discover why audiophiles considers them High End speakers. And as posted earlier, equipment upgrades will follow.

#14 of 17 OFFLINE   Rory Buszka

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Posted July 30 2004 - 02:48 PM

The current line of VMPS Ribbon Monitor speakers are frequently preferred over many others, including Martin Logans, for a lot less $. The cosmetics are a little less polished but the price is a lot less and the sound is reportedly better in imaging and clarity. VMPS has always had some of the most naturally-reproduced bass avaliable as a result of the remarkable Slot-Loaded Passive Radiator. Try the RM2 or RM30.

http://www.vmpseurope.com (better site, an improved US site is on the way)
http://www.audiocircle.com (check out the VMPS forum here for current pricing on the RM30, then contact a dealer.)

The only thing I should warn you about with VMPS is that they are not for everyone. They are supremely tweakable speakers. Some people are not comfortable with this, even though VMPS provides guidance on how to set up your speakers properly. Proper setup is essential to good performance with any speaker, and more so with the VMPS. Their floorstanders (all of the Ribbon Monitors) have a proprietary tuneable passive radiator to compensate for room acoustics. If the room tends to boost bass, a heavier PR (tuned higher) will provide a drier bass sound. A lighter PR will be tuned higher and provide a more lush bass sound if your room has problems with sucking out the bass. The midrange and treble planar/ribbon drivers have L-Pads to also provide equalization specific to your room. The best way to set those is to use an SPL meter. L-Pad adjustments are accurate to within a twentieth of a decibel. Also, if you get the RM30, get the RM30-M with the 6.5" Megawoofers, which one reviewer called "The best bass I've heard in reproduced sound" (writing for Hifitimes.com, as I recall).

If you are considering the Martin Logans, and your primary concern is sound quality and not name recognition or aesthetics, at least take a look at the VMPS RM-30. The RM-30 doesn't look bad, but it has a somewhat traditional box shape. It is a departure from previous VMPS designs in that it has a narrower frontal profile more closely resembling home theater tower speakers. Newer production runs of enclosures are very high in quality.

Addendum: RM-30M MSRP is $3,499 ($3500). Also, a VMPS Megawoofer features a woven carbon fiber cone (fantastically rigid, very good cone material, superior to kevlar and aluminum), a natural rubber surround, and a powerful motor structure with a very large magnet. It's kind of like if the technology that's applied nowadays to high-performance subwoofer drivers were applied to making regular woofers.
"It sounds like it's barfing out the bass." - Zach

#15 of 17 OFFLINE   JorgeG



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Posted August 04 2004 - 01:29 PM

I certainly appreciate all of the above feedback. It's great to hear so many different opinions regarding a topic! I'm going to buy the Ascents for my 2 fronts and the Cinema for my center this weekend. I'm very excited to start listening to these pieces of art in the comfort of my own home. I'm thinking of buying the Yamaha 2400 (120Wx7@8ohms) or the Yamaha 1400 (110Wx7@8ohms) for my receiver. From reading all of the threads on this forum, I have pretty much gathered that I will probably need a 3 channel amp or 3 seperate amps to drive the Logans. Any recommendations on name brands? Price range appx $1000. Also, if someone could recommend a complimentary sub primarily for HT to complete this setup for around $500-600. Thanks again for all the great insight.


#16 of 17 OFFLINE   BryanZ



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Posted August 05 2004 - 08:15 AM


If I may, you will be spending thousands on speakers yet less than $1,700 on an amp and a sub? You may wish to rethink it.

In addition, will this be primarily for HT or for music? If it will be for HT, you are more than welcome to come over to my place to audition the Rocket HT Package #4 (RS550s are on risers) with a SVS 20-39CSi powered by a Samson S700 amp. My receiver is a Yamaha RX-V650. Let me know. Should be able to arrange an audition for you late Saturday morning if you would like. The offer is out there and yours to do with what you will.

#17 of 17 OFFLINE   JorgeG



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Posted August 05 2004 - 01:56 PM


I am primarily using the system for HT. I live in Florida so I don't know how feasible it would be to listen to your setup. What type of receiver/amp would you recommend for this setup?