Total System Price: $5290 (rounded to the nearest dollar)
MARTIN LOGAN LTD.
What source, pre/pro and amps did you use?
Also what is the next step up in performance/price and power requirement?
Let me tackle your questions in order:
1. Pre Pro: Anthem Statement D2V (used without any ARC room correction applied).
2. Amp: Anthem Statement P5.
3. Source: Oppo BDP-95 with both analog and digital audio connections to the Anthem.
Next Step(s) Up: two possible approaches.
1. Staying in the MartinLogan fold, but stepping up to next level: ESL Theos mains ($4995/pring), ESL Motif ($1895) or Stage ($2995) center channel, ESL EFX surrounds ($3095/pr), and same Dynamo Sub as for the ESL system. This solution gives you hybrid electrostats in all channels, plus an arguably more sophisticated pair of main channel speaker, but at significantly higher cost. Power requirements would be similar to those for the ElectroMotion ESL system, though this higher level system will be very sensitive to amplifier quality and refinement.
2. Alternate Dipoles. Consider a switch to Magnepans: Magnepan 1.7 or 3.7 ($2000/pr or $5500/pr), Magnepan CC5 Center channel ($1095), Magnepan MG12 (~$1200/pr), plus high-quality third-party sub such as JL Audio Fathom f122 ($2800). This approach gives you quasi-full-range planar dipole speakers, so that the only dynamic driver element would be the subwoofer. The potential sonic benefit would be enhance coherency and consistency of voicing from top-to-bottom. This system would need a beefy amplifier such as the Anthem Statement P5 we used with the ElectroMotion ESL's, as Magnepan's are extremely power-hungry.
Best, Chris Martens
Editor, Avguide.com/Playback/The Perfect Vision
Now I'm even more pumped to hear these! I'm gonna be writing about them for The Daily Swarm and now you've got me feelin' like a junky waiting for a fix!! I mean, the company/sound has changed so drastically from when I was a kid and Mr. Sanders was running the show - but you can buy these (and McIntosh tube gear, and Peachtree, and Audioengine, etc.) at our local Best Buy store in the Magnolia Hifi area!!!! BRILLIANT.
NICE one, covering these. Hats off...
The Daily Swarm
Excellent, very comprehensive review - thank you!
I am currently in the market to purchase my next set of speakers in the $2K-$3K range and after much reading and listening have narrowed down my list to GoldenEar Triton Two's, Magnepan MG 1.7 and MartinLogan Electromotions.
While I love the sweet sounding Triton Two's, I like the Maggies and the ESL's better - they sound even more transparent to me! Where I am having trouble now, is deciding between the Maggies and the ESL's, since I haven't been able to hear them back-to-back (our lone Bay Area dealer for both brands is out of his demo ESLs right now). I think both are excellent speakers, and perhaps I would be fine with either one, but I would really like your advise on which one would you prefer and under what circumstances.
To simplify things a bit, I intend to use an Emotiva XPA-2 as the power amp and a Marantz SR7005 as the pre-amp, so a 4 ohm power load in the case of the Maggies wouldn't be an issue.
Hi Andy B,
You've named three of my favorites in that price class. Let me offer some thoughts that may be useful.
GoldenEar Triton Two's: Differential Advantages, Minor Caveats
1. True full-range speaker.
2. Easy to drive well, even with high-quality low-power amps
3. Good measure of transparency
4. Stupendous imaging/soundstaging.
5. Very easy to place for good-to-great results.
6. Absolutely does not need subwoofer support for home theater applications (the subs, plural, are already built in).
7. Not as transparent--in an absolute sense--as the best dipoles in its price class. Some would say, too, that the woofer section is not quite as transparent or "agile-sounding" as the midrange/treble section of the speaker.
Magnepan 1.7s (I'm using these in my home 2-channel system at the moment): Differential Advantages, Minor Caveats
1. Excellent transparency and openness.
2. Phenomenal top-to-bottom coherency.
3. Near full-range presentation
4. Requires considerable time and effort to position properly. Good results are easily achieved, but great results can take a fair amount of trial and error testing. Note, too, that some rooms work better than others in terms of supporting dipole bass. I happen to have a room that's great for dipole bass, but your mileage may vary.
5. Needs very good and very powerful amplifiers to sound its best (I'm using the superb but also quite expensive Rega Osiris integrated amp and getting great results, but you may want to consider that the 1.7 is a $2k speaker that in a sense deserves premium-priced electronics).
6. Needs subwoofer support for home theater applications, but is not particularly easy to integrate with subs. The fact is that the 1.7 tends to make even great subs sound a bit "slow" and "sluggish" by comparison.Thus, the best strategy is to use a very low crossover frequency, if possible, to minimize discontinuities between the sub and the main speakers.
7. Caution: At very high volume levels on action film soundtracks, you can occasionally "bottom out" the 1.7 woofer panel (this doesn't hurt anything, but it sounds, um, pretty 'flatulent' when it happens). The solution is to cross over to the sub at a higher frequency, which unfortunately makes integration (see point 6) harder to pull off.
MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL: Differential Advantages, Minor Caveats
1. Superb transparency and openness (especially from the upper midrange on up).
2. Does a really good job of blending the sound of its piston-type mid/bass driver with its dipolar electrostatic panel.
3. Coherency is very, very good, though perhaps not quite on a par with the 1.7.
4. Goes as low as (or maybe a bit lower than) the 1.7, and with little danger of woofer "bottoming" problems.
5. Also needs careful positioning and setup for best results. Note, though, that if you read and carefully follow the setup guidelines set forth in the excellent MartinLogan manual (one of the best audio manuals ever, IMHO), the process is relatively foolproof, though somewhat time-consuming.
6. The ElectroMotion ESL is very sensitive to amplifier quality (as is the 1.7), but unlike the 1.7 the ESL does not appear to be particularly power hungry.
7. Also needs a subwoofer for home theater applications. Like the 1.7, the ElectroMotion ESL sounds so fast and transparent that it tends to make subs sound slow and lethargic by comparison. As with the 1.7, using a low-ish crossover frequency helps minimize discontinuities between the sub and the main speaker.
8. Note that while the ElectroMotion ESL is not an excessively bright loudspeaker, it is very revealing throughout the treble region. For this reason, it is not a speaker you would want to use if you have bright/edgy-sounding source components.
Which is better: Magnepan 1.7 or MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL? I can't directly answer this question since I haven't heard both speakers in the same room and with the same electronics. Both have a lot of merit, so you'll have to let your ears be your guide.
Many thanks for the detailed response, truly appreciate it!
First of all, I totally agree with your comparative assessment of the 3 speakers. And yes, listening to the GoldenEar's, despite their very nice midrange and treble integration, on some tracks, one can hear the bass to be not quite up-to-par. These are great speakers and would have been the easy choice for me, since I could drive them with the Marantz SR7005 itself, but alas, I've now heard the Maggies and the ESL's :)
I like the ESLs a lot, but did hear a hint of brightness/harshness at the high-end...it wasn't the source here (considered "warm" and sounded so on other comparable speakers), so perhaps these demo ESLs were new and after the break-in period, the ESLs treble warms up a bit? I believe this is true for the Maggies also. Regardless, the ESLs still are excellent speakers.
I love the Maggies, of course, but am worried about their subwoofer integration and placement, which may not be ideal in my room. And of course, as you rightly point out, they will also make me spend money on a high quality and powerful amplifier. I had been debating between the "high quality, but affordable" Emotiva XPA-2 and the Odyssey Khartago power amps, but perhaps, these might not be high enough quality for the Maggies - your thoughts here would be very welcome.
Finally, and importantly, I am most interested in your comment that "some rooms work better in terms of supporting dipole bass."
To clarify, can you pls outline a few key characteristics that would help me identify whether my room would be more or less receptive to dipole bass? The more I think about this, I believe room dynamics and placement could likely be the key decision criteria that helps me choose between the Maggies and the ESLs.
As before, thanks a lot for your help and advice on this front.
P.S. I finally get to demo the MG1.7 vs. the ESL's head-to-head at my Bay Area audio dealer this weekend :)
Rather than try to answer your questions about rooms being receptive to dipole bass on my own, let me suggest that you contact Magnepan directly to seek advice from Wendell Diller (Magnepan's head of marketing) who has extensive experience in this topic area.
Appreciate a recommendation on which in the Martin Logan 7.1 lineup will be a good match to the new McIntosh MC452 450 wpc x 2 and the MC205 200 wpc x 5. I have an 18x20 room and do not mind larger fronts and center. Which match up well with McIntosh? I heard ML at one of their dealers where I compared to other speakers and was impressed. They do not have the Theos yet.
I have heard a number of successful MartinLogan demos that featured McIntosh amplification and a wide variety of MartinLogan models--up to and including the top-of-the-range CLX. So, I suspect the answer will have less to do with determining which MartinLogan models match well with your electronics, but rather will have more to do with deciding just how much you want to invest in a MartinLogan system.
With that said, however, let me suggest that you might find it beneficial to contact MartinLogan and ask to speak to Mr. Devin Zell, who has had extensive experience in demonstrating various ML models and may be able to shed more light on your question.