I had a chance to listen to the ML Vantage loudspeaker yesterday evening. I was at a local Tweeter discussing audio/video upgrades and my advisor said "hey listen to these".
Actually we started with Focal Profile 918s. The room was (20 x 30 x 9), 10 foot seating distance (long wall) with a 8 foot spread, speakers 2.5 feet off the front wall, Krell KAV400xi integrated amp , Audioquest interconnects speaker wires, Sony CD player ES Digital Recorder RCD-W2000ES/B. Music was Donald Fagen's Morph the Cat CD.
The Focals sounded very nice, great sound stage, extended highs and great midrange, but lacked "bass" (Fagen's albums are famous for electric bass).
After a while I said said how about the ML Vantages since they're near the price of the Focals (never heard either of these speakers before). These were placed about 10 feet apart with the same sitting distance. It was immediately apparent when he switched to the ML Vantage that these were superior and something special.
I was first knocked out by the bass (bass contour set to "0"). I have transmission line speakers (IMF Professional Monitors) which are flat to 19 Hz and the Vantages sounded beautiful, well extended. The Vantages were well defined, had great tone, not tubby, clear pitch of the bass guiar was evident.
Sound staging was next, which was excellent. A casual stroll around the room shown that the sound stage extended 3-5 seats to the left and right of our seating position. Other locations revealed the front and back panel effect of the panel transducer (interesting!). This effect in some locations of the room was errie. There was a reduction in high frequency output if standing at the listening position, not offensive.
Timbral accuracy, tone, dynamics, and other properties I hold dear to sound repoduction were "right on".
At this point I can't say there were any negatives. I will have to go back and listen more with different music.
I have been auditioning loudspeakers ever since I got the IMFs but have not found one to replace it affordably. Some were excellent but expensive (i.e Avalon Acoustics Opus, Infinity Prelude).
I am concerned with front wall placement as I have a projector and an 8 foot screen on the front wall. Speaker spread and visual blockage of the screen from the seating position concerns me. distance into the room affecting the speaker to seating position is also a concern. Replacement of my other surround speakers (dynamic cones) with planar drivers is also a concern. Dual (duel,
he he) subwoofers would be great for the home theater portion of my system.