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So... are MartinLogans considered good speakers, or not??? (1 Viewer)

Javier_Huerta

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Mar 9, 2002
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I was having a heated argument with somebody on-line about speakers. He claimed that all MartinLogan models (except the Prodigy) were crap, and that they couldn't be driven by an Adcom amp correctly.

That left me thinking. The only speakers I've ever auditioned on the price bracked of the ML's (I own the smallest stereo model - Studios?) are the Energy XL series and the B&W Nautilus. The MLs seemed to be the clearest, most open speakers, while the other ones were a lot more dynamic.

Is this guy right? Are ML's really all reputation and no sound quality?
 

PaulHeroy

Stunt Coordinator
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Nov 24, 2001
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186
My guess is that your friend either has a competing interest of some kind, or has a very strong opinion about some specific parameter in which the ML's offended him.

Or else he's just clueless, cuz while ML may not be the ultimate speaker for everyone they are darn fine speakers. Personally I have a slight preference for Magnepans when it comes to planar type speakers (note that ML & Maggies are completely different planar technologies), but most of the MLs do just fine in their price range. There were a couple of the early models with dynamic woofers which didn't integrate quite so well, but that's the only widely held criticism I can recall.
 

LanceJ

Senior HTF Member
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Oct 26, 2002
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I've only heard MLs in a store environment, but other than having a soft high end (to me) they sound great.

But they didn't do very well with the music I listen to. On a Thievery Corporation, 311 and Rush CD they just didn't "kick" enough--the music just laid there. Especially the high frequencies. But on a Windham Hill acoustic CD they sounded very good.

And due to their electrostatic design, they do need a good amp to operate them correctly--a $300 receiver won't cut it.

LJ
 

Kevin_R_H

Stunt Coordinator
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Jan 3, 2002
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124
Javier,

I think your friend may be confusing Martin-Logan with Bang & Olufsen.

Back in 1989, my three finalists for stereo speakers were Martin-Logan (the coolest), Magnepan (the smoothest), and Thiel. I was lucky to get in-home set-up and auditions with all three. Note I ended up buying the Thiels.

Two years ago, I was able to get another in-home setup and audition with the new Prodigy. On four other occasions, I have had extended in-store auditions.

While this certainly doesn't qualify me as an expert, I will give my summary of their products (based upon CLS II, Sequel II, and Prodigy).

1) I believe no speaker I have ever heard give a more immediate "WOW" experience. To carry this one step forward, I believe Martin-Logan gives the best 20 minute audition of any speaker I've spent any time with.
2) They are amazing to look at (for those that care about these things). If you own any of their speakers, 90% of your visitors will be compelled to ask you about your system.
3) When you combine these first two opinions, it means that I feel no speaker I've heard is more capable of impressing your neighbors (friends, family, etc).
4) However, I've never bought them, and I'm certain I never would. The reason is my lowered opinion of them with "extended listening". Even when being pushed with EXTREMELY nice elctronics/sources, and being professionally set up, I always have a hard time listening to them for more than 30 - 45 minutes at medium to high volume.

I used to say that Martin-Logans are the absolute definition of "listener fatigue". I admit, this is an exaggeration, and way too harsh. I also admit I've never spent time with them being driven by tubes, which may "soften them up some". But the longer I listen, the less I like.

My second quibble has to do with their bass response (or lack thereof). Martin-Logan's attempts at hybrids have produced their worst speakers (in my opinion). Their full-range electrostatics are much better. However, if you feel these are lacking in the bass (as I do with the CLS II), what can you do? Trying to mate them with an external dynamic subwoofer is futile - it can't mate well with the electrostatic panel (even Martin-Logan finds this marriage difficult to achieve).

Despite these two gripes, I can cetainly understand people buying them. Visually and sonically, they are about as impressive as you can get. It's just that, personally, I find myself listening to the speaker - not the music.

Kevin
 

Nick V

Second Unit
Joined
May 7, 2002
Messages
421
The father of one of my friends in high school, had what I thought were the most futuristic "coolest" speakers I had ever seen at the time. I wasn't really into audio at that point, so I had no idea about ML's. All I knew is that he was always pissed off, because he kept on melting receivers in his setup, and they were the best sounding speakers I had ever heard.

Well, now that I think back it's hilarious to me that he would shell out the money for the speakers, but he wouldn't fork out the money to be a decent separate amp to drive them (they weren't cheap either, they were about 6' tall, and I assume in the multiple thousands $$).

Now that I've been in the hobby fow awhile at least (2 1/2 years, I'm only 20) I still think that ML's are among the best speakers that I've heard, and I've heard some fabulous speakers!!
 

Arup

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Messages
103
ML has typical electrostatic sound with little more low end extension due to their hybrid design. It all depends on your taste. They have clear good mid-range but other than that there are speakers out there in the market at half the cost which can give the ML a run for their money. The Magnepans are one which come to my mind. Electrostatic speakers suffer from focus problems so proper positioning and acoustic set up is a must. If you are willing to go the non electrostatic way then there are speakers on the market which can give the ML a good competition, providing you with better highs and lows and good mid range performance too.

I used to have a Krell KSA-150 with ML Quest. The Krell as well as the Yamaha MX-1000U amps were one of the few class A amps which could run the 1.5 ohm load factor of the ML. For me, after the initial expectations I could never get to like them in the long run. I eventualy replaced them with B&W 801. The Adcoms might run into problems driving the ML but there is a optional fan kit from Adcom which prevents the amp from over heating and might enable them to run the MLs.
 

Javier_Huerta

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 9, 2002
Messages
619
Thanks all for your opinons!

I guess this means that my next separate amp *must* be able to handle 1.5 ohms. I guess the only one I can think about is an Aragon amp I've seen around here, because the only other brands on sale here are Adcom, Marantz, Yamaha (but not the specific model mentioned), Denon, and the like.

Thanks for your help and thoughts! Still, you all left me thinking I should have bought a pair of Energy xLs instead :D
 

John Royster

Screenwriter
Joined
Oct 14, 2001
Messages
1,088
Javier,

I switched from an adcom 555 to a aragon 8008bb. Works great.

If you're lucky you can find the old 8008bb for around $1000. Its a dual mono design and handles the 1 ohm loads of my speakers well.

If I remember an old post of yours you were complaining of a harsh/brittle sound. That's your amp.

-edit- don't forget about www.martinloganowners.com. Small gathering of us over there specific to logans.
 

Javier_Huerta

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 9, 2002
Messages
619
If I remember an old post of yours you were complaining of a harsh/brittle sound. That's your amp.
:b You are right, John! I switched from an H/K amp to the Adcom. The harsh highs were mostly eliminated, but are still there to some extent.

I'm looking at the Yamaha MX-1 right now. I *can't* believe the specs. 280W RMS into 8 ohms, 630W RMS into 2 ohms, $500 USD. I think I'll begin looking for one. :)
 

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