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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I made the ?mistake? of auditioning a set of Martin Logan Aeons this weekend. I remember that the Quad ESL-63s were the speakers I lusted after when I first became interested in audio twenty years ago or so. I couldn't afford them then, but I the almost crystaline image really had me. I heard something like that again with the Martin Logans, which are blowing the doors of my otherwise quite good ProAc T2000's. (This shouldn't be a surprise, given the ~3x differential in price plus the radical difference in design.)


So... now I am probably looking for some electrostatics. Other than the new Quad ESL-988, I know about Magnepans and Martin Logans. Are there any others in this category?


The other thing I wonder about is the amplifiers. I'm currently powering the ProAcs with a B&K Ref 6260 (the six-channel, 100Wpc model). Probably not world-class but not bad. Will these handle the Aeons or other odd loads presented by electrostatics? I'd really like to avoid having to replace the amplifier too. (The new projector is going to cost bones too!) What sort of questions should I be asking?
 

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I have 2 pairs of esl-63's, i do not listen to them much anymore, but they are great speakers. They are a 16 ohm load and do not really cause any amplifier problems unless you try and play them too loud. These speakers have triacs across their inputs, and if you play them too loud and they arc, they temporarily short the input. Some amps really do not like this. The newest versions of these speakers also do the same thing.


If you can find them there are used acoustats out there with direct drive tube amps. They play quite loud, don't beam very much and might make good home theater speakers. I'm sorry i got rid of my pair.


Used klh 6's out there too, parts very hard to find.


Martin logans are very nice if you have a large room.
 

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As previously stated, Magnepans are not electrostatics. While they share some sonic characteristics with electrostatics, they are easier to work with as they don't need to be plugged in. I would strongly recommend the Magnepan 1.6's for home theater use, with the caveat being that there are no good center channel speakers that match. I do not use a center with my Magnepan home theater system, but I don't think I'm missing anything as the imaging of these speakers is phenomenal. While the maggies only cost around $1600, you will need a higher powered amplifier to power them. The magnepans are an almost purely resistive load of 4 ohms, which means any good amp will power them. However, to get them to really open up you need a lot of current. I use a Carver A-753x amp which delivers ~400W into 4 ohms, my previous amp was an Acurus A80 which was rated ~125W into 4 ohms and the difference in sound after the upgrade was phenomenal. I watch action movies and have never had a problem with the speakers since the upgrade to the Carver amp (however, all bass is handled by my SVS 16-46 subwoofer), the Acurus did tend to distort with loud transients (explosions and the like) but otherwise performed well. Definitely give the Magnepans a demo before you buy, you won't be sorry.
 

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I would try to dig up an old pair of Acoustat electrostatic speakers. I've had the pleasure of auditioning the majority of the ESL designs out there. I have always found the Acoustats to outperform the vast majority of the others. You can locate several places that rebuild the electronics via the web. I'm really partial to the 2-panel designs such as the 1+1, Spectra 2200 and Spectra 22.


If my room were a little larger I'd use ESL's.
 

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I haven't heard the Quad, but I've heard the MLs and Maggies.


I'll vouch for the maggies because of the following reasons:

1. It's cheaper (those that won lotteries may not apply)

2. The bass merges better with the mids, because it doesn't get separated like MLs (using cone for bass and ESL for mid and highs)

3. Slightly easier to drive vs. MLs.


That said, MLs are no slouch, but my ears prefer the Maggies. Getting an Aragon/Bryston/Rotel class amps (or above) will be needed to fully open up these speakers however.
 

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There are issues with many ESL being unable to play reference levels. This is particularly true of Quad and the smaller Martin Logan designs


I certainly agree with the statements regarding Acoustats having used doubled up 1+1's for many years. But Acoustats are pretty difficult to find, plus service and support are of course nonexistant.


If a person has some DIY talent then the MET-1 electrostatic panels from Kostas Metaxas should be given consideration. They are modular, and the output can be increased by adding additional panels to the basic transformer/power supply.


As far as amps are concerned, ESL's demand amps that are very stable driving quite difficult/complex loads. And my experience is that amps capable of delivering considerable current are an absolute necessity as well.


Having owned both Maggies and ESL's, my personal preference is for the ESL's, with Maggies a close second.


Any large planar, Maggie or ESL dictates their placement in the room. So if you aren't willing to move everything in the room to create optimal placement for the panels don't buy them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I guess I should explain a bit more.


1) I'm mostly interested in that incredibly fast and detailed sound, especially for vocals. I am not actually caring about the technology used to generate them--magic foofoo dust is fine as long as it's priced within reason and the sound is readily reproducible. However, those MartinLogans are radically different from anything else I can remember except the Quads--and that was 20 years ago.


2) I'm not sure about the definition of "big room" but I'm thinking of around 15 x 20 with 9' ceilings in front, 7' in the rear. I suppose I could go as big as maybe 24 x 22 but that will drive up the cost of the rest of the building upstairs.


3) Oh--I have the opportunity to build from scratch, basically a dedicated room.


4) The current usage in descending order of time spent is sports and other TV, music (folk, classical, jazz, a little rock) and then movies. In this respect we're a bit unusual for the HT crowd, from what I can tell.


5) I have absolutely no talent or interest in DIY. Commercial items are good enough. I already have an existence proof of something I like (the MLs) and I have no desire or ability to go the DIY route.
 

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Good question regarding auditioning them. I first heard them at a friends home back in St. Louis, MO. I've been anticipating getting a set for myself ever since. I've talked to Russel on several occasions and he's always been very knowledgeable and helpful. Perhaps if you talked to him he could refer you to someone with a pair that was near your home. I was flabbergasted by them at my friend's place, and like you, I've had a longing for the Martin-Logan's for a long time. For me, after listening to these, my longing wont last much longer.


A little advice - call rather than email, he's told me that it's easier for him to talk on the phone than to respond to email quickly. He will reply to emails, just takes a few days.


-PGPfan
 

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I have seen the Justrealmusic esl's listed on ebay. At one point I was considering replacing all my speakers with Martin Logan, and was checking out the competition. I went to their website. I loved the look of the speakers on justrealmusic.com, and dont doubt that they are great speakers, but read the fine print.....I may be a little off but I think it was 6-8 weeks for delivery. If a company is that back logged why solicit orders on ebay? This just didnt make sense to me.
 
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