How good are MartinLogans for HOME THEATER?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Arnel Enero, Jun 12, 2002.

  1. Arnel Enero

    Arnel Enero Stunt Coordinator

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    There's no question about their abilities in reproducing music but I haven't heard a complete Martin Logan HT system.

    I have questions about newer designs like the Ascent and Aeon...

    Has MartinLogan solved the problem with rolled-off highs in earlier designs? Does the bass really lack extension for home theater in a small room with no subwoofer? Are they really difficult to position, I mean really towards the middle of the room? Can the dynamic capability meet the demands of home theater?

    Sorry, too many questions. But my main concern here is how these 'stats compare to monitor-quality cone/dome designs from Wilson, B&W and Revel, for example, in context of home theater.

    I don't think I can find a dealer nearby that demos the MLs in home theater setup. So those familiar with these, please post your comments.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Arnel:

     
  3. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    Haha, well I don't exactly think that that's the response he was looking for there Larry.

    Arnel, my suggestion would be to find someone who HAS them setup for a Home Theater and give them a listen. IF you can't do that then if they sound nice to you in the store, possibly try and bring them home for a demo, I'm sure you can do that since you'd be spending a fair chunk of change on speakers.
     
  4. Michael Lomker

    Michael Lomker Stunt Coordinator

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    I heard a home theater setup at the local Audio King store. I was pretty much blown away, but that was with the inclusion of their $3k subwoofer and it was in a largish room.

    I'd be the first to admit that I'm not a critical enough listener to judge "rolled highs" or anything like that. I can tell you that I've never heard better up to this point in this hobby....their center channel is amazing (and gigantic).
     
  5. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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    Martin Logans will do some very impressive things if set up correctly and given enough "clean" power.

    If you do not have the space to set them up away from all room boundaries and at least 300 wpc, then they will not "do the dance".

    There are other speakers that would probably offer you a more gratifying HT experience, but not have the Musical capabilities.

    Only you know how much "dynamic capability" will make you sit up and smile.

    John Casler
     
  6. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Larry's point is well taken. Some don't like Martin Logan. Some love them.

    I fall into the category of love them.
    Strengths - excellent tone, instruments sound as they should. Very airy/deep and yet good imaging. Simply breathtaking when properly placed.

    weaknesses (for me) - power picky, placement picky. They're not a cone/tweeter speaker. requires good power especially in very low impedances, mine dip to 1.2 ohm. Matching a dynamic woofer with the ESL panel can be difficult. Deep mid-bass comes from panel and woofer at the same time. If I try to hear it, the tone and impact is off somehow right around the crossover point, 180 hz on mine. OH, expensive for home theater. 2400 bucks for a center channel...give me a break!

    But for the air and impact they can produce when taken care of and fed proper power they are incredible. As far as a ML home theater setup...for the money involved there are many superb choices and I for one cannot tell you which one you would prefer.

    To answer some of your questions, Logans are VERY dynamic and responsive. For HT, a sub is required. Positioning takes time, but 3-4 feet from the back wall and any side wall will provide very good results.

     
  7. John Mannix

    John Mannix Extra

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    The only Martin-Logan Home Theater system I've ever heard is way out of my price range.

    Prodigy mains - $10,000
    Theater center channel - $2,400
    Script side surrounds - $1,500
    Scenario rear surrounds - $2,000
    Krell 600 watt monoblock amps - $20,000
    Krell Home Theater Standard pre/pro - $7,500
    Krell Home Theater Standard amp - $7,500
    Toshiba DVD player - $1,800

    TOTAL - $52,700

    Plus a bundle more on top of the line Audioquest cables...

    Too rich for my blood... but it did sound incredible.

    Other than the Statement ($70,000) and the Prodigy, I can't get past the transition from dynamic bass driver to electrostatic screen. Just seems to muddy the upper bass / lower midrange. It also seems that the two different technologies are working at vastly different speeds.

    Of course, I have to be honest in that I'm a HUGE Maggie fan. With the Magnepans I get the speed and transparency I'm looking for, without the disparate drivers. But as it has been said above using different words... "to each his own."
     
  8. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    Martin Logan has the overbearing bass of the boxy cone woofers, plus there is the disconnected sound due to the panel to boxy woofer transistion.

    Plus the center channel uses whizzer drivers, which makes no sense to me. Might as well go and get a Soundesign speaker for the center channel.
     
  9. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    If you live near a Ultimate Electronics store they carry the new 5.1 Martin Login set up hooked up to a Krell system. When I heard it they sounded good but for home theater I will take my Altec Voice of the Theater speakers over the Martin Login's, LOL.
     
  10. Miles_W

    Miles_W Second Unit

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    Ling,

    you have beaten this horse one to many times...

    here is the explanation for your discontent... please note these are not my words but those of a sound labs dealer in New Orleans...


    quote>>
    As you have observed, there is a wide range of opinions on the Martin-Logans, with some people loving them and some coming down on them pretty hard. This may sound strange, but I don't think the speakers are at fault - and I'd like to offer a possible explanation.

    With the Martin Logan hybrids, you have to get the model that's voiced for your size room because the tonal balance of the speaker is dependent on the room size (and also listening distance). And it's the dealer's job to see to it that the speakers match the customer's room. Let me explain why this is so critical:

    Sound pressure level falls off more rapidly with distance from a point source (the woofer) than from a line source (which the electrostatic panel approximates). Mathematically, sound pressure level falls off with the square of distance from a true point source, and linearly with distance from a true line source. So if we had a hybrid voiced to be flat at 1 meter, back at 10 meters the output from the panel would be 10 dB louder than from the woofer (assuming anechoic conditions and a true line source and point source - if you'd like me to go through this in more detail I will). In the real world the reverberant field fills things in a bit, but I once measured a hybrid electrostat that had the woofer up by 1 dB at 1 meter, then was flat at 3 meters, and then the panel was up by 4 dB back at 8 meters. So you see, listening distance and room size would have a very significant impact on how the system sounded.

    The hybrid systems from InnerSound and Sound Lab have provisions for fine-tuning the relative level of panel and woofer, and so they work well in a wide variety of rooms. With the Martins and their wide selection, the idea is to get the speaker that's voiced for that size room. Note that another line source/point source hybrid that gets strongly opinionated reviews (pro and con) is the Newform R645, which also lacks level adjustments.

    I'd be willing to bet that most of the strongly negative consumer reviews of the Martin hybrids arise from using too small a speaker for the room (resulting in weak bass/bright or thin sound) or too big a speaker for the room (resulting in thickened, sluggish bass and/or dull, lifeless sound). In support of this theory, note that people pretty much agree on what Maggies, or Sound Labs, or Quads, or even Martin CLS's sound like. But people don't generally agree on what the Martin hybrids sound like because their tonal balance is significantly more room-dependent.
     
  11. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    Miles,

    Of course I knew it was due to the dipole/point source nature of the speakers. But most of the ML I hear are the >$6k ones in pretty large room, frequently in dealer's showcase room where all the big guys resides.

    Also, dipole bass loads up the room in a different way then boxy cone woofers. Plus the low surface loudness of giant dipoles sounds much more effortless than those dynamic drivers which always seem to be on the verge of breakup.

    It wouldn't be too bad if the xo freq was set low at a point where the nature of low surface loudness dipole becomes less noticable, but the ML crosses over to those distortion generators at a much too high freq. Same goes to Innersound and Soundlab Dynastats.
     
  12. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Ling,

    And what would be an acceptible crossover?
     
  13. Carl Gaff

    Carl Gaff Second Unit

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    Ling my question is: Who are you trying to impress with your one sided slamming of Martin Logan speakers with $20 words and scientific explanations of "sound pressures" and "boxy woofers cones"? I have a complete Martin Logan speaker setup for my home theater and love it. And remember, this is in my house not in some "dealer showcase room". Martin Logans are not the best base producing speakers in the world, but that's why subwoofers were invented. The clarity they produce in a room, when set they are set up correctly, is witout reproach. I guess my feeling is; if you don't like Martin Logans, you're entitled to post your opinion. BUT, I for one don't care to have folks continue in post after post try to convince us we don't like them either.

    Carl
     
  14. Miles_W

    Miles_W Second Unit

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    Ling,

    I think that you and I have agreed to disagree on this one... personally I am happy with the sound produced in my system. I also do not have the problems you describe. I cannot argue with what you have heard, I tend to believe you have a better understanding of how these things "work" Suffice to say I will "pop" up to offer a differing point of view from yours on the occasion I see "bashing" occuring. Are there better choices of speaker, Yes. Are Martin Logans good for some, Yes. Let people make there choices after auditioning, after all it is their system, not yours or mine...

    Miles
     
  15. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    I only went into the thread because it was a bash ML thread. I heard ML not just in dealers showrooms, but in certain situations where people had them. I mention hearing them in dealers because it has been in a wide variety of dealers in the NYC area with many very particulate about sound quality. Plus the relationship I have with some dealers pretty much allows me to have the room all to myself for as long as I want (too bad they don't sell many brands I want, or else I would patronize them much more.)


    John,

    John an acceptable crossover should be 60hz or below. They should at least do that on some of their flagship/reference line.

    Carl,

    I never said ML were good at producing bass. Heck, they probably compromised too much just to produce an acceptable bass already. You want kick-ass bass, listen to the Innersound, although you will have no friends with those since they are made to be listened to by one and only one person.


    ML's curved diaphram is also a disadvantage, given that it actually lose tension during the rearward motion of the membrane, producing non-linearities. Along with a non-linear, converging ES field producing more non-linearities. Other ESL mfg like SoundLab and InnerSound went with other methods for this purpose.
     
  16. Arnel Enero

    Arnel Enero Stunt Coordinator

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  17. Mark Leitch

    Mark Leitch Stunt Coordinator

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    Ling... is your statement the radius of the diaphragm is significant enough to effect overall tensioning over the membrane relative to motion in a measurable/audible way? I find this interesting and would like to know how you came to this conclusion. It is also not clear to me how this works with the sectioning of the panel.

    My take on MLs is... I prefer the CLS over all I have heard. I also think the CLS with a suitable sub is an excellent combination.

    As for home theater... I think it is largely personal taste and what you watch. I ended up moving away from planars to dynamic speakers for my home theater... and I am generally happier with the results (largely because it let me improve my two channel setup significantly).

    M.
     
  18. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    Arnel,

     
  19. Earl_C

    Earl_C Agent

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    Martin Logan's aren't my cup of tea also. I first heard them at the He Show in NY last year for the first time and I couldn't believe the hoopla surrounding these speakers. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the set-up wasn't the best, although the associated equipment certainly was pretty good(Classe' and McIntosh). So I took a trip down to Delaware to Overture Audio when I was auditioning processors and I had to stop the demo and make the salesperson move the pre-pro(Tag) to another room with an Aerial LR-5,CC-5,LR-3,SR-3 combo and it pooped all over the Logans. Overture is a first class dealership but I still get the feeling though that I haven't heard Logans at their best so many people swear by them. I don't think I'll ever own a set but it'd be nice to hear them at their best.
     
  20. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    I think we're boiling down to personal preference here. I've been into audio for quite some time and have auditioned tons of speakers. Upon my recent purchase of martin lognans I very carefully listened to B&W CDM9NT and nautilus series, polk LSi, Thiel, and Martin Logan.
    To ME, nothing could come close to the logans in their speed and tone, simply beautiful music no heard with the others. I was fully expecting to buy the B&W 800 series but did myself the favor of spending about 45 minutes with each brand/model with my favorite source music. Mind you we are talking about some pretty hefty price tags here (save for the polk) so spending quality time with each did me some good. All sounded very good with minimal complaints of each.
    With some substantial negative reactions I wanted to throw out an overwhelmingly positive one. I guess I got lucky with a pretty low crossover and large panel, 180 Hz.
    Strange to hear Larry's distaste for them, he and I generally agree on so much.
    cya
     

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