Martin Logans Vs. Vienna Acoustics

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Yogi, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    How do they compare? What are the pros and cons of ESLs compared to direct radiating drivers? How does each affect the imaging and soundstaging.

    Thanks in advance for the expert opinions.
     
  2. Bill Law

    Bill Law Stunt Coordinator

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    The VA's have a much better (larger) soundstage and are warmer.
    The ML's are brighter.
    For extended listening I chose the VA Mahlers over the comparable ML's ($10k/pair range). It wasn't even close.
    I felt the VA's beat them at the lower price ranges also.
    Both are great. The ML's are marketed much more and have a larger following.YMMV
     
  3. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the response Bill. How did the imaging compare on the two? I like rock solid imaging and definetly like warmer sounding speakers.
     
  4. Kevin T

    Kevin T Screenwriter

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    the ml's have decent imaging but it's pinpointed. very narrow and once you're too far off axis, the sound stage tends to collapse. i demoed the aeons and the ascents. both were very good speakers but for the type of music i like (metal / industrial), the ml's just couldn't keep up. they just weren't dynamic enough for me. had i gobs of money to consider their higher up models, i might have been able to overcome the lack of dynamics but still, the narrow sound stage is a deal breaker as i'm not apt to sitting in one central spot.

    kevin t
     
  5. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    I have a pair of the ML request. They're lower line just doesn't have an ESL panel large enough to do them justice, so I'll agree with Kevin's assesment.
    What they do very well is spooky real soundstage and midrange with accurate tone to boot. You can really change the soundstage just with placement and toe-in - they react to the slightest movement.
    Sweet spot is narrow, but they do sound ok off axis as well.
    Now I'll tell you the cons as well - with their accuracy they really will show you the weakness of your source gear, pre and amp. They are also notoriously hard on amplifiers. If you have good source gear and a capable amplifer to handle the 1-2 ohm impedence drops you have what you need to make them sing. If not then they won't.
    I hope I have have provided the pros and cons because they are finicky speakers. But when setup properly the music is "spooky real". [​IMG]
    Believe it or not KMFDM sounds pretty good on mine.
    Sex, drugs, rock and....sex, drugs, rock and....America!
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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  7. Kevin T

    Kevin T Screenwriter

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    john:
    i figured this was the case but i don't really want to invest $6000+ on mains. if i could, i'd be looking for a used pair of thiel cs6's anyways. [​IMG] funny you mentioned kmfdm because that's the first song on my demo disc. megalomanic has some nice distorted bass / mid-bass that really lets me know from the get go how the speakers are gonna perform. the aeons and ascents "handled" it but i didn't feel as though they nailed it. they were stunning on female vocals however. listening to tori amos was amazing but i don't listen to her often enough to justify purchasing the speakers if they can't perform how i'd like them to on the music i listen to primarily.
    kevin t
     
  8. Bill Law

    Bill Law Stunt Coordinator

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    Yogi,
    You DEFINITELY need to go the VA route if imaging is important to you. It almost seems like you can locate each instrument in the room AND have a large soundstage, even when you get up and walk around the room.
    I got started looking for a large soundstage beginning with the Mirage OM5's BUT they had NO imaging.
    I assumed it was a necessary tradeoff......until I heard the VA's.
    Granted I could have bought a lot of mirages for the $ tho.
     
  9. Tim Ranger

    Tim Ranger Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with what some of the others have said. The MLs can sound absolutely phenominal. However, like all planar dipoles, placement and room setup are very critical. And yes, they certainly require the right amplification and source. They are best suited for someone who has the right room, the time, the committment and the funds to really max out their performance.
     
  10. Bill Law

    Bill Law Stunt Coordinator

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    The ML's are great for the one person in the one sweet spot.
    But more importantly the ML highs seemed shrill or too bright. I hear others call this "revealing the weakness of the electronics,etc." but to me it seemed like it was just too much treble & not enough midrange and nearly no bass.
    The VA's were easier to listen to over extended periods.
    PS This is the first post I've seen comparing these 2 which is exactly what I also had narrowed it down to.
    Anyone else?
     
  11. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    I wouldn't say I have to put my head in a vice.
    I've got a whole 1-1.5 feet to move my head around. But if I could find a vice it would be a nice accessory. [​IMG]
    sweetspot is narrow for sure.
     
  12. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    From all your opinions, it seems like MLs aren't for me for the following reasons.

    1) sweet spot is rather small: I rarely get to sit in the sweet spot during movies. Its usually my son or the honey thats in the sweet spot. I am usually to the side, and I dont want the sweet spot to be in the corner of the room either.

    2) I definetly like warmer sound. The Proceed amp that I have for my mains is very transparent and will bring out any brightness in the speakers. And I am fairly loyal to the Proceed sound. Maybe the tube pre that I plan on adding soon will color the sound just right. Will have to see.

    3) I Like precise imaging that doesn't sway with my heads position which goes back to 1.

    4) I like speakers that are fairly insensitive to placement/toe in issues.

    So it looks like I will be looking at VA a little more closer. I already have Haydn's but want to move to some bigger speakers in the near future and I had narrowed it down to VA and ML floorstanders.

    Thank you again guys. I can always count on the good advice I get here.

    Regards.
     
  13. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Yogi,

    Based on your criteria I agree that Martin Logan might not be a good fit.
     
  14. Matt Jesty

    Matt Jesty Second Unit

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    Wow , I agree with all of the above , and am VERY familiar with both lines....I have nothing to add....
     
  15. GaryG

    GaryG Auditioning

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    "4) I like speakers that are fairly insensitive to placement/toe in issues."

    In my experience I'd say that the Viennas are sensitive to small placement changes, but they're not hyper-sensitive like the Martin Logan's.
     

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