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Advice - Martin Logans ? (1 Viewer)

Nov 5, 2003

I dont know a lot about speakers. So far I have auditioned bookshelfs in Energy, Klipsch, Paradigm and Monitor Audio. I feel its necessary for me to go with mountable speakers because of lack of floor space. However, at times when I audition speakers in audio stores, I find the floors have a fuller sound and I like the sound better. For now I would like to just start with two fronts. But it kills me that I may not be able to go with floors.

I own a Paradigm subwoofer and I just bought a Denon 2808. But I have yet to purchase some speakers. There are a pair of MLs for sale at $700. (MartinLogan | Mosaic Specifications) The vendor says that they have 3 dent marks on them otherwise in good shape.

Questions :
1) Most people say you should stick with one brand when building your HT, does that mean I should stick with Paradigm because of the sub ?
2) Do I really need a centre at this stage ?
3) I realize that speaker choice is based on personal preference, but thinking about quality, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the best, where do Martin Logan, Klipsch, JBL, Paradigm and Klipsch sit ?
4) Alternatively, based on back for buck how do you rate those same speakers ?
5) Are the MLsreasonably priced ? Would you go for those over any of the others mentioned ?
6) If I go for the MLs, how hard will it be for me to match them with rears and a center later ?


Bob McElfresh

Senior HTF Member
May 22, 1999
Hi Rich.

1) No you do not need to buy the same Mfg subwoofer as the others. These do not need to tone match.

2) Dont buy nice left/right speakers unless you plan on buying 3 more. It's rather more important IMHO that the 5 speakers match rather than using a mix of high-end speakers. When in doubt - go cheep but identical.

3) You are heading into the audiophile quality with some of those brands. While this is good, you dont need music-quality speakers for home theater. (It's nice to have, but not necessary).

Here is the issue I see you struggling with: Music or Movies?

If you really like music and plan to use your system for music a lot - go with the Martin Logans because they are outstanding music speakers. Plan on shopping for 5 lower-priced speakers for home theater. (Craigslist is a great place).

Or get a 5 speaker set from Energy, Defintitive, Monitor, Paradigm, etc if your use is mainly for movies.

I would rate the brands you asked like this (but like ice-cream, everyone else will have a different order):

1 - Martin Logan (panels have great detail)
2 - Paradigm
3 - Energy, Monitor Audio
4 - Klipsch, JBL

Note that the order is rough and does not apply to all makes.
Nov 5, 2003
Hi Bob,

Thanks for the detailed response. I would say my usage is 60/40 Music/movies. I am looking for a balance between cost and some decent quality. I definetely do not want to spend more than say $1000 on two fronts. Making purchases over the next 6 to 8 months, if I can manage a decent set of 5 speakers for around $1600 to 1800, I'd be happy. Keep in mind that I already have a Paradigm sub. Although I do want that HT effect in movies, I also love my music. I listen to a wide range (African, mid-eastern, Latin, Jazz, classical, rock). I mainly listen to Latin and Jazz, so I definetely want to hear from crisp vocals, piano, percussion and horn instruments.

Thing is I play most of my music (mp3s) from my pc. I rarely used CDs. After I purchase my front, the next thing I wish to incorporate is some form of wireless solution to stream my music from my pc to the Denon.

I knew that the Martins would come out on top. My problem is that I live in Atlantic Canada. These MartinLogan | Mosaic Specifications are currently being sold as a used pair. My worry is that if I manage to get them for a good price, what happens when I need rears and a center ? There is no ML retailer in this part of the country.

Do you think the Martins are worth $700 for the pair ?
How old are these speakers ? Are they worth buying or is this particular model several version behind the current ones offered by the manufacturer ?



Supporting Actor
Jan 29, 2002
These are an old speaker (Maybe 3 years) and no longer in production by Martin Logan. The Preface is the closest thing to these speakers in the current lineup. The Fresco or the Vignette are good LCR's for surrounds or Center Channel. Note that these ML's don't use the typical Electrostatic Panel technology, it's using what's called a Magnetic Thin Film driver. Personally, I really like the MTF drivers, and think these are a good speaker. As far as getting additional stuff, Speaking as a Martin Logan dealer, most ML Dealers will be able to ship into a location where there is no dealer, as there is no territory. This would have to be cleared with Martin Logan Directly, but it's usually not a problem.


Apr 9, 2000
Portland, OR
Real Name
IMO your best bang/buck is going to be a set of quality monitor sized speakers (not floor standers) + the subwoofer. You need to audition the smaller speakers with a comparable sub (to your Paradigm). Go listen to a set of monitors + sub in your price range vs a floorstander + sub in your price range and decide for yourself.

As to the age of your ML selection, speakers last a very long time and there have not been many quantum leaps in their design over the years. Speaker manufacturers will update the driver materials and tweak the cabinets to encourage upgrades. Used speakers can be had for a significant discount.

As for the ML speakers, I am not a fan of their smaller designs (like the one you list). They tend to be very directional + they need to be pulled far off the front wall for optimal sound quality due to their dipole nature (6 feet or so). They also tend to lack the clarity that the larger electrostatic panels provide. Having said that, let your ears be the judge. All the brands you list are capable of great sound given the proper conditions. Try to do an apples to apples comparison. Ideally you would listen to each on your Denon receiver + using the Paradigm sub.

If possible, add PSB to your list. They are another great speaker brand from Canada. Good luck!

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