11As or 13As?

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Peter Robbins

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Hi All,
I am a long time ML enjoyer. Had a pair of Aerius for 26 years, 2 sets of stators. About 2 months ago had a huge power surge at my house, and came home to one Aerius literally blown over on its side, panel off, frame apart in pieces, neither Aerius could make a sound. Also my 4 TB hard drive was fried, as was the channel I was playing it through on my Denon Home Theater Integrated amp (same vintage as the Aerius).
I took them to a local ML Repair person and the cost to repair is estimated at $2400-$2600. For a pair of 26 year old speakers, I decided it is not worth it to repair. So I now find myself on the hunt for a new system. As I tend to keep things for a long time (cars, speakers, wife) and I am 67 years old, this is likely my rest of my life audio purchase.
Most of my listening is playing music from the hard drive, 70% Jazz, the rest a mix of Funk, R&B, Soul, Rock.
The room the Aerius were played in for all 26 years is about 20 ft by 30 ft. The ceiling vaults from 10 ft at the front of the room to 20 feet at the back. To help the bass I added a JL D110m sub. I was very happy with the sound quality, sound stage, presence and ability to play everything from quiet acoustic jazz trios to the latest Stones album.
So, my dilemma: if I was going to stay in this house for a long time, I would probably get the 13 As. But we will likely be moving soon to a smaller place. I am trying to decide between the 11As and the 13As, and a good preamp/amp to run the system. It is impossible to find any ML dealer who has both the 11 As and 13As inthe same place anywhere in the Mid Atlantic region. I have been told by dealers that I should get the 11As because the 13As are not significantly better (they had 11As in their showroom). I have been told to get the 13As because they are significantly better than the 11As (they had 13As in their showroom).
Is there anyone on the Forum who has had both of them and can comment on the difference between the 2 models? What about moving to a smaller room? Are a pair of 13As overkill?
How important is the power doubling statistic for the amp (8 ohms>4 ohms) in the quality of the power? Sanders ESL Mark II or MagTech come highly touted, but so did the Krell 300 and the Bricasti M25.
As you can see by the questions, I have been out of the hifi world for so long I need guidance like a first time buyer. Any help will be much appreciated.
 
Welcome to the Forum!

Short story, 13A.

Long story.
Exactly 5 years and 1 month ago a friend and I walked into a ML dealer with the intent being that I would order a pair of 11A speakers. The only way I would not order them is if they didn't do what I was expecting. I didn't want to even hear the 13A because I didn't want to pay the difference, end of story on this part, or so I thought at the time.

We went in, listened, loved the sound, picked the color, worked out the payment, signed the order, and began to walk out of the store. The sales person said to us, "don't you even want to hear the 13A?". My buddy said, we're here, your've already ordered the 11A, might as well listen to them. So I said ok.

We sat down, and within 5 seconds I dropped my head in disgust, shaking my head from side to side. My buddy asked what was wrong, and I said I need to cancel the 11A and order the 13A.

The bass and the male vocal were just so much better that it made my decision easy and hard at the same time. I didn't want to pay more, but I didn't want to miss out on what I had just heard either. So five years later I'm happier than I was then, and as happy as I've been since I got the Krell DUO 300 Xd a little over a year ago.
 
Welcome to the Forum!

Short story, 13A.

Long story.
Exactly 5 years and 1 month ago a friend and I walked into a ML dealer with the intent being that I would order a pair of 11A speakers. The only way I would not order them is if they didn't do what I was expecting. I didn't want to even hear the 13A because I didn't want to pay the difference, end of story on this part, or so I thought at the time.

We went in, listened, loved the sound, picked the color, worked out the payment, signed the order, and began to walk out of the store. The sales person said to us, "don't you even want to hear the 13A?". My buddy said, we're here, your've already ordered the 11A, might as well listen to them. So I said ok.

We sat down, and within 5 seconds I dropped my head in disgust, shaking my head from side to side. My buddy asked what was wrong, and I said I need to cancel the 11A and order the 13A.

The bass and the male vocal were just so much better that it made my decision easy and hard at the same time. I didn't want to pay more, but I didn't want to miss out on what I had just heard either. So five years later I'm happier than I was then, and as happy as I've been since I got the Krell DUO 300 Xd a little over a year ago.
What were you powering your setup with before the Krell?
 
Sorry to be "that guy", but I'd say the 11As would probably be your best bet.
The newer panels are far more efficient and apparently have better radiation patterns than the older tech.

Link that with your anticipated move into a smaller environment, and the fact you want to get amp/pre-amp, I'd say go with the 11's and splurge a bit more on the amp!

Considerations for the amp... everyone says Krell, Sanders, etc., but I've been exceedingly happy with 2nd hand (ugh, right?!) Bryston and Anthem power amps. My listening requirements are a bit broader, as I have a 5.1 set up, but neither of those amps (MCA 30 or 325, Bryston 4B-ST or newer) have ever let me down with my Aerius or SL3's.

You could also consider higher-end integrated amps from the "big guns", tho' the Anthem STR has received a lot of favorable reviews here on the forum.

The only change I am considering doing is going with an active X-Over for my SL3s and amping the woofers with a pro-style Class D amp... which ML has already done in the 11's, 13's and 15's.

No matter which you select, get them set up, break them in, then sit back and ENJOY!!!

All the best
 
Sorry to hear of your electrical disaster.
For me with that size room I would choose the used pair of 15a. If you won't purchase used then 13a.
For amps the MagTech or Bircasti.
If it were me I would be looking for tubes but that is my preference.

Good Luck keep us updated on your direction of purchase.
 
Sorry to hear of your electrical disaster.
For me with that size room I would choose the used pair of 15a. If you won't purchase used then 13a.
For amps the MagTech or Bircasti.
If it were me I would be looking for tubes but that is my preference.

Good Luck keep us updated on your direction of purchase.
Thanks for your reply Brad. I am concerned that 15As might overwhelm a smaller room when we downsize. Thoughts about that?
 
Thanks for your reply Brad. I am concerned that 15As might overwhelm a smaller room when we downsize. Thoughts about that?
It depends “how small” the other room will be, if it’s a spare bedroom (like my room), heck yes 15’d would be overkill, the 12 and 13 are shorter as well as narrower obviously.
My set up if proof however that “big speakers” in a smaller space can work.
I’ve a 10x11 room with classic 9’s (same height as 11 and 13), visually they look awesome but yes draw your attention. I found that with adding acoustics to control reflections behind the speakers and first reflection point on the side walls it sounds just amazing.
Long story short I’d buy the biggest ones you can swing and often lightly used is a great way to go (I did and paid less than half list on 22 month old speakers).
IMG_6413.jpeg
 
13A' are just better, had a chance to compare them to 11A's. Similar experience to @ttocs , I was moving from Summits, which was similar size to 11A, and was convinced that 11A will be enough. Although both will be big step up from your Aerius, mostly in bass department

First - you get almost 20% of radiating area of the panels. This will improve everything - I can attest to it, when I upgraded from 13A to 15A. It will play better quetly and loudly.

I have 30sqm and 15A are at absolute ease, so all good, if you have space to place your speakers properly. Also ARC correction will help tremendously to control bass, if this is what concerns you.

Go for 13A ;-)
 
It depends “how small” the other room will be, if it’s a spare bedroom (like my room), heck yes 15’d would be overkill, the 12 and 13 are shorter as well as narrower obviously.
My set up if proof however that “big speakers” in a smaller space can work.
I’ve a 10x11 room with classic 9’s (same height as 11 and 13), visually they look awesome but yes draw your attention. I found that with adding acoustics to control reflections behind the speakers and first reflection point on the side walls it sounds just amazing.
Long story short I’d buy the biggest ones you can swing and often lightly used is a great way to go (I did and paid less than half list on 22 month old speakers). View attachment 24897
I agree. My choice would be the used 15s. I'm guessing you'd need a beefier amp, but the lower price of the speakers would offset that extra cost, and the end system would be a lot nicer.
Those panels are good up to about 20 years if the environment is right, air conditioning and dust not bad.
 
I still think if the OP is used to Aerius's, 11's will provide a significant upgrade AND allow for more $$$ towards amplification/source components.

I recall reading a post here about someone upgrading from SL3's, and the increased efficiency of the newer panels, along with the built in double 8"/double amped woofers of the 11's made it a no brainer for a previous SL3 owner. Now imagine that for someone comfortable & familiar with Aerius's.

It's ALWAYS easy to spend MORE money... I'd suggest spending the RIGHT money on the RIGHT solution, but that's just me (and my frugal $0.02!)
 
I WANTED THE 13As soooooooo bad but quickly realized it wouldn't be the best choice for "my space". If budget wasn't an issue, you can't go wrong with either choice BUT, your room size is CRITICAL. The 15As or 13As would've been perfect in your current (20'x30') space but if you're certain the new space will be smaller (let's say a tad more than half - 13'x 18'), the 13As would be a tight fit but could work...the 11As would be perfect. I have the 11As...my room is 14'x18'. The speaker cabinet sits 22in from the back wall (that's nearly 5' for the panel), 3' from the side walls and 10' from the MLP. I would love to pull them further into the room but it dramatically affects the sound and they are way too close. They sound phenomenal. This setup would've been difficult with the 13As.
 
I had SL3's for 20 yrs in my 16 x 26 foot room. Got 11's about 3 yrs ago and only because ML was having a 20% off sale - it was hard to justify new 13's ( especially after paying $3000 for the store demo SL3 in 1998). I am very happy with them. I am also in the camp that these need high quality high power to sing. SS vs tubes is per your taste. There are lots of recommendations here but that is your journey. For me , the SL3 and 11 sing with VTL MB 250 and now early series MB 450. Love it!

As ttocs has noted, the 11 took FOREVER to settle in -as in 6-8 mos. Thin, tinny, flat much longer than 90 hrs or whatever the manual said. I was seriously going to get rid of them. But eventually the magic was there and all is good.

I agree with making sure you put adequate resources into the front end since ML's are very capable of revealing those differences -11 or 13's.

Good luck!
 
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