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Thread: Is the Martin Logan brand declining?

  1. #16
    Forum Administrator twich54's Avatar
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    good points Rich, that's why I think the 13a is the sweet spot for Logan as are my Studio II's the sweet spot for Revel IMO.
     
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  2. #17
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    Well from my perspective. I went and bought the 20.7 when it was time to upgrade. Why? I wanted something different. I feel the new models are kind of like the old ones. I'm not saying they don't sound better. Just for my money I wanted something different. Planar bass and texture were other reasons. Now I haven't heard the 13-15a. Brick and mortars are rare.

    Like you rich - I feel like the new models are 'prodigyish' I have no doubt they are great - but I question whether the Maggie isn't better at a lower price point. I also liked the idea of working with a small company from Minnesota. Ps audio is a great company and the engagement of the owner and absolute love of audio is apparent. It makes me feel good to work with companies like this. In the end - I just wanted something that felt different to me. The new models don't feel too much different than my Odysseys. Although I know they are.

    Just an edit-- I don't feel the need for a sub with the 20.7.
    Last edited by timm; 12-23-2017 at 06:06 PM.

  3. #18
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    Thanks for the input, timm. I figured you would have an interesting perspective, owning both the Odyssey’s and the 20.7’s. I agree with you about the feelings engendered by working with small American companies with passionate ownership. And honestly, you’re correct about the similarities in sound between the generations of Martin Logan’s. I’ve got the Summits in my listening room and my Ascents in my basement gym. I listen to both fairly regularly. Unless you are listening very critically, they just don’t sound that different. “Better integration between the sub and panel” only gets you so far. Ultimately, it’s still a curved electrostatic panel crossed over to a woofer box, which is a very different sound than something like the Maggie or the Soundlab. I can understand your need for something different. And there is little question in my mind that the Maggie’s and Soundlab’s win the value competition (bang for the buck) at current ML price points. Still, I am impressed with the 15a. Just not $25 grand impressed.
    Rich

    This comment is intended solely for educational purposes and should not be construed as conveying any express or implied warranty of fitness for any other purpose. Said comment constitutes merely the humble opinion of its maker and does not reflect the views of the MLOC or of ML, Ltd. YMMV. Trust your own ears.

  4. #19
    Super User Rich's Avatar
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    Dave, I honestly canít believe the 13aís sound that much better than my Summits, but they cost half again as much. The spot just doesnít seem that sweet to me.
    Rich

    This comment is intended solely for educational purposes and should not be construed as conveying any express or implied warranty of fitness for any other purpose. Said comment constitutes merely the humble opinion of its maker and does not reflect the views of the MLOC or of ML, Ltd. YMMV. Trust your own ears.

  5. #20
    Forum Administrator twich54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Dave, I honestly can’t believe the 13a’s sound that much better than my Summits, but they cost half again as much. The spot just doesn’t seem that sweet to me.
    Understood Rich and with that being said I can't believe what it cost to replace my 9 year old pick up truck !
    Dave

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  6. #21
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    My enthusiasm for the brand has not waned. I would purchase the CLX in a heartbeat, but it's a question of economics...I can't afford them!

    I'm still amazed when on other forums I see that so few people seem to own MLs.

  7. #22
    Super User Rich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twich54 View Post
    Understood Rich and with that being said I can't believe what it cost to replace my 9 year old pick up truck !
    Really? Ok, let’s compare. Last year I replaced my 15 year old F250. I paid $40,000 for the most basic version back in 2001. I bought the King Ranch version last year for $60,000. Had I bought the basic Lariat, I would have spent about $6000 less. This rise in price almost perfectly tracks inflation over this time period. If ML’s perfectly tracked inflation, the Prodigy equivalent would cost $15,000 today. Except it costs $25,000 (almost half the cost of that basic Lariat F250!). You see what I’m getting at here? There’s not much doubt ML jacked the prices up way out of proportion to cost of manufacture or inflation, simply to gouge the high end customer in the name of profits. Seriously, did anyone think the Summit X was worth half again as much as the Summit? They are virtually identical speakers!

    I think this price gouging (also in replacement panel costs as mentioned by Gordon) has probably soured a lot of long-time Logan fans on the brand. I know it did me.
    Rich

    This comment is intended solely for educational purposes and should not be construed as conveying any express or implied warranty of fitness for any other purpose. Said comment constitutes merely the humble opinion of its maker and does not reflect the views of the MLOC or of ML, Ltd. YMMV. Trust your own ears.

  8. #23
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    As one of the other old f@rts on this forum, here's my $0.02 worth.

    I don't think the ML brand is declining, but their changing customer demographics (younger, less affluent, smaller rooms with mixed A/V use, etc.) has forced them to shift their focus. The Electro/Motion series is probably where most of their revenue comes. However, at one of the recent audio shows, the ML Rep said sales have been terrific. The profits from their entry/mid-level line is what allows them to continue development of their Masterpiece "audiophile" grade products, but that's a niche segment.

    I, too, had serious doubts when Shoreview bought ML, but at least they've kept manufacturing of the Masterpiece products in North America, rather than outsourcing everything to Asia, which would have been more profitable. Consolidating ML, Paradigm, and Anthem under one roof has, IMHO, been more of a boon than detriment. PBK/ARC were implemented from Anthem, and yielded a significant improvement in subwoofer performance, and panel/woofer integration in the new Masterpiece series.

    I agree the cost for replacement panels is now almost prohibitive, but you can't blame them for preferring to sell new product vs. continuing to support legacy products on a "near break-even" basis. At least they offer panel replacements for those who want to pay for them.

    Looking ahead, ML faces more competition than ever at all price points. Their biggest competition might actually be Sonos, Google Home, and the forthcoming Apple HomePod. Just today, I came home, and my wife is streaming tunes from the Google Mini in our kitchen, while our Expression 13A's were wincing in the family room!

    Re this forum, most of the "regulars" (including me) are getting older, and priorities change. There are certainly thousands of "new" ML owners, but they hang out on Facebook, Twitter, etc. rather than frequenting online discussion forums. The declining activity here isn't necessarily a bad omen for the future of ML, just a reminder that "times are a changin'."
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  9. #24
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    Alan, thanks for your perspective. You bring up some good points. I’m not in agreement that ML’s customer demographic has changed that much. I think ML itself has changed to take advantage of a wider variety of customer demographics because it is profitable to do so. Let me explain. I don’t think twenty year olds were buying Ascents, Odysseys and Prodigys fifteen years ago. Those customers were mostly in their forties, fifties and older. After Shoreview came along, ML diversified their product line into the lower price points to take advantage of that untapped younger and less-affluent market. And I don’t really have a problem with that, per se.

    But the other thing they did is jack up the prices on the Masterpiece lines quite a bit, in order to extract more profits from those 40 and older customers who want a higher end product and can afford it. I don’t really believe the market in that age group has dwindled that much over the past decade and a half. I do think ML’s market share in that age group has probably shrunk as they have priced themselves out of it in relation to the competition. If it shrinks too much to the extent that it’s profitability declines, I have little doubt they will just cut those lines and leave the high end altogether. Their focus now is on profits, not on creating the best speaker for the money.

    The high end may be a “niche” market, as you say. But I don’t see Magnepan or Soundlab going out of business for catering to that niche (at reasonable price points). So I think the excuse that ML has to subsidize the Masterpiece series by catering to the lower end while substantially raising prices of the higher end just doesn’t hold water. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s been a successful strategy. I’m sure they are making good sales and profits. But I think they are losing the loyalty of their long-term fans in the process. I don’t expect their losing much sleep over that.

    And yes, I do blame them for jacking up prices on replacement panels to try to force new sales. If I pay $15k to $25k for a pair of speakers, I don’t expect to pay half again as much for replacement panels when the originals give out. I mean, come on! I would be surprised if the panel was as much as 20% of the production cost of these speakers. So much more time, effort and money goes into the bass module and electronics. Any company that gave a crap about customer loyalty would charge cost plus a reasonable profit margin for replacement panels. This move alone is enough to turn me away from the brand. And I’m speaking as someone who owns Summits, Ascents, Clarities, fresco i’s, a Stage, and a Descent subwoofer.

    Edit: regarding your comments on the forum, I think what you say is true as to buyers of the lower tier products. But it begs the question whether their market share is dwindling for the higher end products. If I had no prior knowledge of electrostatic speakers and had just purchased a 13a, 15a, or Neolith, I would certainly be seeking out a forum like this to discuss my new purchase and get advice on setup. But we really haven’t had many of those posts. Nor have we had that much discussion of these models by existing members. I just don’t see the enthusiasm that we had for prior updates on this forum.
    Last edited by Rich; 12-24-2017 at 09:16 AM.
    Rich

    This comment is intended solely for educational purposes and should not be construed as conveying any express or implied warranty of fitness for any other purpose. Said comment constitutes merely the humble opinion of its maker and does not reflect the views of the MLOC or of ML, Ltd. YMMV. Trust your own ears.

  10. #25
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    And don't get me wrong. I still like the product. For me - it was just a matter of moving up and wanting something that I thought sounded more than a bump up. For the 14 I spent after tax / w upgraded trim / delivered - well I wasn't looking for a 'best value' - I was looking for what I thought were the best speaker for me which I could somehow justify.

    Trying not to gush too much - they are simply tremendous. The room with these essentially becomes your speaker cabinet as you have this huge rear wave for all frequencies. Room placement is more finicky than a logan since the ML doesn't push as large of a rear wave with low frequency included.

  11. #26
    Super User JonFo's Avatar
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    As a Brand, I think ML is doing fine. They are leveraging their 'high-end' history as a halo over the mid-line products, and are still keeping up by releasing ever-improving high-end pieces. So from a general market presence standpoint, they are holding their own and likely growing quite nicely (in terms of unit sales and profits).

    I do agree with Rich's perspective on the pricing and value proposition of the new Masterpiece line. I'd never pay $25K for the 15, I might part with $10K, but not more. Now, they can get away with it because there is a new breed of buyer that is not necessarily an audiophile, but more of a buyer at a price-point and 'looks' that show off their wealth and 'taste'. Much in the same vein people buy Ferraris and Lambos, when an Acura NSX sports hybrid is an all-around better car.

    I think the drop off in traffic here has more to do with other forums (WBF/AVSforum) choices, and social media than with anything else. I usually will link back to here when commenting on those other venues just so people are aware of the great resources here. The lack of ML staff participation is also a reason why its not as sticky as it could be.
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  12. #27
    Super User Rich's Avatar
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    Jon, great post. I can’t disagree with anything you said. Interesting perspective on the forum traffic. Maybe it is that people tend towards some of the larger, more generalized Audio forums. And the old timers here just don’t have as much to discuss that hasn’t already been talked to death.

    Timm, I’m curious what size room you have the Maggie’s in. They seem like a pretty big speaker. You may benefit from something like my setup. I have RealTraps diffusers in the corners, with bass traps behind them. That sounds like it would work perfect to tame the rear wave of the Maggie’s.
    Rich

    This comment is intended solely for educational purposes and should not be construed as conveying any express or implied warranty of fitness for any other purpose. Said comment constitutes merely the humble opinion of its maker and does not reflect the views of the MLOC or of ML, Ltd. YMMV. Trust your own ears.

  13. #28
    Super User amey01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonFo View Post
    As a Brand, I think ML is doing fine. They are leveraging their 'high-end' history as a halo over the mid-line products, and are still keeping up by releasing ever-improving high-end pieces. So from a general market presence standpoint, they are holding their own and likely growing quite nicely (in terms of unit sales and profits).

    I do agree with Rich's perspective on the pricing and value proposition of the new Masterpiece line. I'd never pay $25K for the 15, I might part with $10K, but not more. Now, they can get away with it because there is a new breed of buyer that is not necessarily an audiophile, but more of a buyer at a price-point and 'looks' that show off their wealth and 'taste'. Much in the same vein people buy Ferraris and Lambos, when an Acura NSX sports hybrid is an all-around better car.

    I think the drop off in traffic here has more to do with other forums (WBF/AVSforum) choices, and social media than with anything else. I usually will link back to here when commenting on those other venues just so people are aware of the great resources here. The lack of ML staff participation is also a reason why its not as sticky as it could be.
    I agree with Jon's post 100%.

    This forum doesn't have the same activity because old member posts die down, and new members are on Facebook and the like. It's where all communication happens these days and I wouldn't be surprised if it also sees more high-end audio sales than Audiogon.

    As for the current line, it is better than ever. The Neolith and renaissance line are top end speakers - but to me, the value proposition just isn't there any more. Pricing really has got out of hand - for both speakers as well as parts. For that reason, my current pair of MLs will likely be my last - I just couldn't justify spending any amount really on a pair of speakers that could become unlistenable at any point without notice - and being up for $thousands of repairs for what is a known consumable part (the panel).
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  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Jon, great post. I canít disagree with anything you said. Interesting perspective on the forum traffic. Maybe it is that people tend towards some of the larger, more generalized Audio forums. And the old timers here just donít have as much to discuss that hasnít already been talked to death.

    Timm, Iím curious what size room you have the Maggieís in. They seem like a pretty big speaker. You may benefit from something like my setup. I have RealTraps diffusers in the corners, with bass traps behind them. That sounds like it would work perfect to tame the rear wave of the Maggieís.
    My room is 17x30. Diffusion is definitely something I need to look at.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    ... And the old timers here just don’t have as much to discuss that hasn’t already been talked to death. ..
    True, that's a big part of it. Maybe us old-timers need to collect and curate many of the threads and provide a useful index and some summary Wiki-style pages. I keep wanting to do that for the Acoustics topic, as it is critical to maximizing the results of the awesome electrostats (or any speaker).

    Although I will be adding a new thread in the next few days on a topic that has not been hashed to death here, should be interesting. It involves improving mid-bass output with 'stats.
    Jonathan

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