AVS Forum banner

1581 - 1600 of 2513 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,986 Posts
Agreed. However another reason for getting these over conventional cone drivers is distortion. These electrostats have very low distortion and with the right power can play very load with very low distortion. If you really hate distortion then you will like ML electrostats. If you have to put them very close to the front or side walls then try adding some diffusion or absorption either behind or besides them.

"If you have to put them very close to the front or side walls "

I would go as far as to say that if you have to shove these into the front wall, don't buy these and buy something else. It so diminishes what these will do that there's no point buying them.

One of the best reviews I've ever read regarding setup was hilariously in a home theater magazine.

http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/speaker-subwoofer-reviews/80770-martinlogan-esl-speaker-review.html

"Soundstage Journey

The EM-ESL started out in our larger living room where I thought the best sonic results would be achieved. Existing furniture behind and around the EM-ESL would be randomizing the reflections of the rear waves which seemed like a good idea. In that environment, I listened mostly to music, some with the speakers aimed directly at the LP and some with them aimed with less toe-in to achieve a deeper soundstage.

I am never terribly excited by results of speakers set up in the equilateral triangle facing the listening position. The soundstage in that configuration was fairly wide with solid imaging but no soundstage depth to speak of. There are those who might favor this configuration for its simplicity, and will find little to be disappointed about in using it. I simply find that with a little extra effort the soundstage and imaging can be improved dramatically.

With less toe-in, the soundstage widens and opens, image clarity becomes much more specific and sharp, and the soundstage takes on a nice depth with the beginnings of a sense of depth acuity. Here is where the setup process starts to get more involved. In a room where the rear waves from the electrostatic panels do not travel along symmetrically-times background reflection paths, I found that any sharp reflections - those that would show up as sharp spikes on an impulse response measurement - were best dissipated or redirected to improve the image and soundstage clarity. As an example, at one point the rear reflection from the left speaker bounced directly off a small TV screen and back to the listener position. When I realized this and changed the angle of that TV screen slightly, the imaging and depth acuity improved markedly. Several such small discoveries in that room led to admirable soundstage and imaging quality, but never to the completely natural and totally sharp image clarity and depth acuity I had hoped for.

Upon moving the EM-ESL to my downstairs listening area, the results jumped to a whole new level of interesting.

Happy accidents in the realm of speaker setup are few and far between in my experience. The one that occurred upon setting up the EM-ESL in that room will never cease to amaze me. A bit pressed for time at the moment, they were placed quickly but with the measurements needed to ensure symmetry with the front wall and listening position. The soundstage and imaging that resulted were very wide and deep, with an open, natural air, a very clear sense of depth acuity, and a kind of density I had only witnessed one other time before that, from a pair of speakers costing 20 times the sale price. Upon adding a bit of equalization to tame the bass slightly and lift the high-frequency droop resulting from the off-axis listening angle, the soundstage density and depth acuity became even more impressive. I had to know why.

Most of the details of the investigation that ensued will be written up separately from this review. To summarize here, the diagram below shows the rear reflections from the electrostatic panels as they occurred from that initial setup. A totally blank wall, a pair of tower speakers sitting just outside of each EM-ESL, and a bookshelf were providing just the combination of rear reflections to give that soundstage and imaging result. The timing of the sharp reflections directly off the wall was such that they coincided precisely at the listening position, within a fraction of a millisecond. Had either of the review speakers been angled one degree differently - this was determined through later experimentation - the density and depth acuity would have been only fair-to-good instead of enthralling.


"At this point no doubt, even most avid listeners have declared insanity in the approach, or at least total impracticality. All I can say in my defense is, you gotta hear it to believe it. Admittedly, the quality of soundstage can be a higher priority to one listener than another. A similar quality of soundstage occurred at a Home Theater Shack speaker evaluation event in February. Two of the four listeners were enthralled by it, while the other two barely took notice, or were distracted by other listening qualities of higher priority to them. So I recognize that much of what I am describing will simply not matter to some listeners. My reason for going into this level of detail in this review is to let it be known what the EM-ESL are capable of. And that is a monstrously dense soundstage that almost seems carved in stone. There may be other ways to achieve it in other rooms; I am simply showing how it occurred in mine.

One must also note that similar results might be achievable with other speakers given appropriate attention to detail. The dipole's rear wave is perfect for the approach, though, with the MartinLogan hybrid design seeming the perfect implementation"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,986 Posts
I have a denon 2112ci right now. I'm thinking it might be time to upgrade that soon, it's been about 4 years now since i've had that if it's not good enough. But if it's good enough I'd like to keep it until I really need something better.

My room is decent but looking at ScottH3886's setup, that would be a bit weird for me as it would throw things off in my room with the speakers being so far forward from my TV.

Look at the pic of the reviewer's ML Montis. And I thought I was far out into the room. Difference is that I would be using very little toe in .... a couple degrees at the most.

http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=14444
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
Looks like you don't have any room with regards to the side walls, but you do versus the front. Being dipoles, they aren't as affected by sidewalls, but you need four feet or so from the front wall. Can you do that?
Yeah I can do 4 feet from the front wall and you're right there is not much room to move it from the side walls. I can just move couch back about 2 feet as there is still a bit of room to move it back.

Any issues with the my AVR being under power? I believe the Denon 2112ci is 90watts per channel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,986 Posts
Yeah I can do 4 feet from the front wall and you're right there is not much room to move it from the side walls. I can just move couch back about 2 feet as there is still a bit of room to move it back.

Any issues with the my AVR being under power? I believe the Denon 2112ci is 90watts per channel.
You might want to change the perspective a bit by listening near field, which means move the couch forward, not back. Funny, Jim Winey, back in the Magneplanar Tympani, days said 87% of what you're listening to is back wave. I agree so particular attention needs to be paid to the setup of this dipole, the ML EM ESL. Side walls won't cause you nearly as much trouble as that pesky front wall.

"my AVR being under power"

Under current, yes. It will work, but you may at some point strive for something better suited to an ESL. Again, I'd stay away from anything that says 'receiver' on it other than the Mac 6700. And again, the Parasound Halo might be the best low cost solution. As a general rule, if you're talking solid state, you want to see something that doubles in power going 8 ohm to 4 ohm and maybe even again going to 2 ohm. That tells you that you have an adequate power supply to supply the current at low impedance.

All this being said, their are legions of ML ESL owners, many here on AVS, who have never really heard their speakers and are perfectly happy with them. It's one of those 'YMMV or 'whatever floats your boat' moments. Lot of good reasons too such as WAF or kids or?

Funny, we got two more BB Magnolia stores here in the Central Ohio area. I was in the store to get something else and wandered back there to see if they got the new EM ESL- X yet. They hadn't and didn't know what they are.

They powered up the existing EMs that we're talking about and they sounded like crap or like everything else in there. Where they had these positioned there was absolutely no reason to buy these. They did claim that they were 'flat' and I said that doesn't make a lot difference when they don't do anything else right such as focus, imaging, sound staging, clarity, immersion, three dimensionality, etc. The manager asks me where I would position them so we didn't a little rearranging. They didn't have speaker cable long enough to really do what I wanted to do, but we got it about halfway there. Then the chore was to find some real music instead of all this tweet tweet boom boom material that they had. We found something that was OK and then it was like an epiphany to these guys. They had never ever really heard these speakers before. They were getting up and telling their coworker to sit there and listen and swapping back and forth. One guy didn't hear it at all, but funny that the rest did. It's generally about half and half. I think they all do with time. The one who didn't said it was like he had vertigo or something so he was hearing it, but couldn't put all the 'pieces' together yet. My grandson took three times before he had his epiphany. I've taken him recently a few times to hear some live music so that helped.

They can't leave these sticking out there in the room like that for WAF reason, etc., but I told them if they get an aware buyer who asks why ELSs versus everything else, they can show them what these speakers will do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
428 Posts
Is there a Martin Logan ESL thread for newbs? I'm looking at the EM-ESL but wondering what kind of receiver i'd need in order to power them. I'd be using them as a home theater. Right now I'm running Polk Monitors 60s for front, cs1 for center and Monitors 40s as surround with infinity csw-10.

Also where's the best and cheapest place to get them?
Based on your room pictures and posts, I would actually recommend against the EM-ESL and suggest looking at the Motion 40 or 60. You just don't have the space and if you need to spend money on a new receiver, your going to start throwing good money after bad. I'm a EM-ESL owner and after having a full ML Home Theater setup, I now only use them for two channel.

The EM-ESL can be a bit lean sounding with the wrong amplification, the sweet spot is VERY small and they do need room to breath.

Don't get me wrong, I love mine and this is my third pair of ML Electrostatics, I've been through ML dealer training at the factory and have sold the $#@1 out of ML speakers. I won my first pair in a ML Sales contest 20 years ago.

If you really have your heart set on them, the Verizon Rewards program has them at a pretty good discount if you are a member or know someone who is. You can also check with AVS, they sell them and I know Shawn at DaVinci Media has some end of month specials on ML speakers. (I almost bought a pair of Ethos from them but a new driveway wiped out that fund).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Can anyone with experience with either/both speakers let me know if XL16s are worth the upgrade over motion 4s for surrounds in a 5.1 for only movies? I have sufficient bass through subs, and they will be paired to 40/30s up front. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,986 Posts
Based on your room pictures and posts, I would actually recommend against the EM-ESL and suggest looking at the Motion 40 or 60. You just don't have the space and if you need to spend money on a new receiver, your going to start throwing good money after bad. I'm a EM-ESL owner and after having a full ML Home Theater setup, I now only use them for two channel.

The EM-ESL can be a bit lean sounding with the wrong amplification, the sweet spot is VERY small and they do need room to breath.

Don't get me wrong, I love mine and this is my third pair of ML Electrostatics, I've been through ML dealer training at the factory and have sold the $#@1 out of ML speakers. I won my first pair in a ML Sales contest 20 years ago.

If you really have your heart set on them, the Verizon Rewards program has them at a pretty good discount if you are a member or know someone who is. You can also check with AVS, they sell them and I know Shawn at DaVinci Media has some end of month specials on ML speakers. (I almost bought a pair of Ethos from them but a new driveway wiped out that fund).

"the sweet spot is VERY small "

Actually, this is not quite true if setup properly. I will say that this is the first time I've been able to mostly get rid of it. I can now at least lean as far as I can from side to side and I'm still in it. There are, however, still a few places in the room will it still will collapse to one of the speakers, but that's pretty much right in front of one of the speakers. I can get way off to the side back further in the room and still have my sound stage.

"The EM-ESL can be a bit lean sounding with the wrong amplification"

If you want to dispel that conventional 'wisdom' that everything sounds the same when it comes to cables or amplification, here's your speaker. You'll hear everything, good, really great and bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
379 Posts
If the majority of listening is home theater, I would suggest Motions. I have ML Source because I got a great deal, but Motion would make more sense in my HT. Still, I can't imagine anything outperforming them as they are excellent speakers. I've powered them with a Denon 4311 and now Anthem MRX-1120. The Anthem gets more out of the Sources than the Denon ever did.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
Based on your room pictures and posts, I would actually recommend against the EM-ESL and suggest looking at the Motion 40 or 60. You just don't have the space and if you need to spend money on a new receiver, your going to start throwing good money after bad. I'm a EM-ESL owner and after having a full ML Home Theater setup, I now only use them for two channel.

The EM-ESL can be a bit lean sounding with the wrong amplification, the sweet spot is VERY small and they do need room to breath.

Don't get me wrong, I love mine and this is my third pair of ML Electrostatics, I've been through ML dealer training at the factory and have sold the $#@1 out of ML speakers. I won my first pair in a ML Sales contest 20 years ago.

If you really have your heart set on them, the Verizon Rewards program has them at a pretty good discount if you are a member or know someone who is. You can also check with AVS, they sell them and I know Shawn at DaVinci Media has some end of month specials on ML speakers. (I almost bought a pair of Ethos from them but a new driveway wiped out that fund).
The room is about 12 feet wide and 14 feet long. Granted towards the TV area I need about 3 feet of room because there's a hallway over there to account for. I'll have to check the sources you stated for pricing. I have verizon but not nearly enough pts needed in order to buy them. I need about 10k more points before I can buy 1 side.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
If the majority of listening is home theater, I would suggest Motions. I have ML Source because I got a great deal, but Motion would make more sense in my HT. Still, I can't imagine anything outperforming them as they are excellent speakers. I've powered them with a Denon 4311 and now Anthem MRX-1120. The Anthem gets more out of the Sources than the Denon ever did.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Were you answering my question?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
379 Posts
Were you answering my question?

No, I was not simply because I have not heard the LX-16. I have M4s for surround and heights. They are directional so you need a good bracket for aiming. One of Craig's posts says which he bracket he uses. I imagine the LX dispersion pattern would be similar to M4.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,986 Posts
The room is about 12 feet wide and 14 feet long. Granted towards the TV area I need about 3 feet of room because there's a hallway over there to account for. I'll have to check the sources you stated for pricing. I have verizon but not nearly enough pts needed in order to buy them. I need about 10k more points before I can buy 1 side.

If I'm not mistaken, the points only buy you a discount. Is that correct? I've got 276,000 points and would like to use them someday.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
428 Posts
If I'm not mistaken, the points only buy you a discount. Is that correct? I've got 276,000 points and would like to use them someday.
I'm in the same boat, I hope they add some additional electronics, otherwise that might get you a $10 gift card to some crappy store.
 
1581 - 1600 of 2513 Posts
Top