A Sincere From My Heart Question Regarding the Future of ML ESL

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StimpyWan

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Still not working...!

"Page not found
The requested page could not be found."

Since your link worked for you, can't you repost the content, or recap what the post referenced?
 

Robert D

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Youre going to need to copy and paste what your wrote before to a new thread post. If you can no longer find it then it looks like youll have to type it all over again.
 

christopherf

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Link is not working for me.”page can not be found “
Here goes copied and pasted:

We, my wife and I are still enjoying our Martin Logan ESL 13A Expression speakers. I have noticed a decided absence on behalf of ML regarding advertising their ESL line. Why I am I concerned? There was a manufacturer who shall remain nameless who did not invest or rather stopped investing in advertising in the magazines and then complained see people are not buying my product! As a result he discontinued the piece. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy; a condition he created. I DO see ads for the in wall speakers and their what I call woofers and tweeters speakers but again not the ESL series. Worse, in shows they are simply not showing the speakers! Recently a write for Stereophile observed I came across a presentation by a local dealer who had ML on display and was reminded how wonderful electrostatic panels can be and that was a red flag to me meaning if ML is not showing at shows, out of sight out of mind; if out of mind people will stop buying if they stop buying ML will declare they are moving away from their ESL products. The products that are the reason for their existence. It seems to me they have already made a decision that it is not worth putting money in ads for the ESL because whether due to the economy or space considerations people are not buying but I feel they are most certainly undermining themselves in so doing. Do you have the ear of anyone at ML because intuitively I have a bad feeling about the future of their ESL especially because shows are where dealers & manufacturers reach the most people and whether we are talking about the 15 or 13 or top of the line their electrostatic speakers are NOT on display which to me bodes the beginning of the end. Manufacturers invest advertising dollars based upon where they see the future going so at this juncture sorry to say we are considering woofers and tweeters such as the Magico A5 which German Stereoplay ranks almost at the top surpassing many other brands with products 3x the price. It is something we do not want to do but at the same time I do not want to be the guy with those long ago discontinued speakers; of course I recognize discontinued or not I simply need to enjoy them and not worry about what ML is going to do but if they discontinue the ESL speakers it is because they did it to themselves and I would regard it as a slap in the face to the owners if bottom line consciousness is all they care about; FWIW their Motion speakers are everywhere being advertised. Sorry for the long windedness.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention on this matter.

Sincerely,
Christopher Frank

Addendum:

On 15 January 2020 Diego Estan reviewed the Motion 60XTi for SoundStage!

I asked marketing manager Devin Zell why MartinLogan was introducing conventional cone speakers. “We’d love for everyone to own and experience electrostatic speakers,” he said, “but the reality is that not everyone has space or budget for them. The Motion series captures much of MartinLogan’s legendary sound, quality, and design philosophy at price points and sizes accessible to a much wider audience.”

Not to be cynical but this EXACTLY the reply I was imagining in my mind & there it was in black & white.

I discovered today that Devin Zell, Marketing Manager who always answered email inquiries immediately, is no longer with Martin Logan.

Is Dennis Chern, Director of Sales, East Region still with Martin Logan?

We were so fortunate to have Joel Lopez do the in home installation for us with such care he told us "it's my passion." Shortly after the installation he was no longer with ML either.

While it is laudable that ML praises pictures of our systems on Twitter, it is evident to me they are going after a different larger mass market audience.

Because ultimately we are judged not by what we say but by what we do, clearly ML is moving in a different direction.

"The Motion series captures much of MartinLogan’s legendary sound, quality, & design philosophy at price points & sizes accessible to a much wider audience."

Indeed
 

Robert D

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I think their ESL speakers are selling well because they continue to raise the prices on them year after year, and not just a little bit. If there wasnt a good demand for them then they wouldnt be able to command such a steep price. Ive never seen a single ad for any of their speakers anywhere really, especially their inwalls. In fact, i dont ever see any ads for any of the audiophile quality equipment from any manufacturer.
 

christopherf

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Thank you Robert for your reply; my wife got a good deal on a hard copy subscription to Stereophile and ads for high end gear are everywhere; BAT took out the back of the magazine to say solid state rules for their REX; although what you say about price increases make sense, everything has gone up. Our Pro-ject RPM 10 Carbon TT with Sumiko Blackbird had an MSRP of $3,500; now it is, 4 years later, $6,500! Almost double. I know this because insurance wanted me to determine the value not as used gear but at full replacement value should the need arise. Even online “zines” have ads and there you will find ML ads for their Motion speakers but no pictures of the ESL products; oh well. Thanks again.
 

Rich

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Not too surprising, I suppose. When a high end independent company gets bought out by a big conglomerate/investment firm, the bottom line becomes the only consideration. First, prices rise well beyond what the product is worth, leveraging the brand name. Then, when sales/profits fall, the brand name is leveraged to sell the low end gear with the high end falling away / becoming an afterthought. This seems to be the trajectory we have witnessed with ML since they got bought out. Wouldn’t surprise me at all at this point if they discontinued the electrostatic lines.

I bought my Summits in 2006. Top of the line. They were $10,000 for the pair retail. Now, the equivalent speaker is the Expression 15A. Which retails for $29,000 a pair! According to the BLS CPI inflation calculator, $10,000 in 2006 dollars should be about $15,000 in today’s dollars. So they’ve literally doubled their price on the top of the line (ignoring Neolith) electrostatic speaker, while adding very little additional performance. Speaking of the Neolith, it started at $89,000 a few years ago, if I remember correctly. It now lists at $120,000! Up by a third.

I honestly think they’ve priced themselves out of the market. ML is no longer high end, in my opinion. They are all about marketing, over-charging, mass production, and leveraging a once-iconic brand name to sell lower quality mass-produced products. Not that they don’t still make some quality electrostatic speakers. But they charge way more than they’re worth and that segment is probably becoming a smaller and smaller portion of their overall sales. It will surely disappear in a few years.
 

christopherf

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Hello Rich,

I used to say to my students my last name is Frank so I must be frank with you and they would say "Oh Mr. Frank that is so corny!" It is true. I am honest and direct but never in a mean way. So I appreciate your candor.

When a high end independent company gets bought out by a big conglomerate/investment firm - I had no idea this happened; when did it happen?

I always joke that my wife's three favorite words are not I love you but you are right. As much as I enjoy receiving confirmation that my intuition is accurate, not so in this instance. - They are all about marketing, over-charging, mass production, and leveraging a once-iconic brand name to sell lower quality mass-produced products...It will surely disappear in a few years.

I sent emails to Allan Tarrant and Andrew Lindsey regarding my concerns, copying what I posted here but added a PS.

PS I anticipate a reply to the effect do not worry we 100% support our ESL line. Nevertheless, as the saying goes, he put his money where his mouth is and as I pointed out the way you show support for your product is the investment of money, for advertising and supporting dealers to show the ESL series at shows (I will not name them here as you are aware of them all). Absent real resources, committing dollars to keep the ESL in front of consumer eyes and ears they might as well not exist. Not too difficult to see that you are already manufacturing consent to get people to believe they need not purchase ESL as your woofers and tweeters offerings are as good; disappointing to say the least.

Here from German Stereoplay Rang und Namen is how the 13A is rated

Dipole & Radialstrahler

Absolute Spitzenklasse
Klang Punkte Paarpreis Heft

Piega Master Line Source 2 67 92 65.000 1/17

Spatial X-1{(Aktivbox ohne Verstärker)} 66 84 18.000 6/17

■ Martin Logan ESL 13A 66 90 19.900 1/17

Piega MLS 3 66 87 32.000 9/19

■ Quad ESL 2912 65 85 12.000 1/19

German Physiks Unicorn DSP 65 86 12.500 1/16

■ German Physiks Borderland Mk V Ultimate 65 85 14.900 1/17

Martin Logan ESL 11A 64 87 14.000 12/18

■ Spatial X5 63 84 9.000 9/19

Here are the ratings for woofer & tweeter loudspeakers; look how many sacred cows it outperforms & look how much more money you need to spend if you want to get beyond the rating of 66 for sound (klang). I have taken the liberty of inserting the 13A into the list

Lautsprecher

Standlautsprecher

Absolute Spitzenklasse
Klang Punkte Paarpreis Heft

■ Gauder Akustik Berlina RC 11 70 92 160.000 1/12

■ Magico A5 69 92 32.500 6/21

■ Focal Meastro Utopia Evo 69 94 56.000 9/17

Wilson Audio Alexia 69 92 59.800 6/14

Magico Q3 69 92 59.900 9/13

■ Gauder Akustik DARC 200 69 90 64.800 3/19

KEF Muon Mk2 69 89 160.000 5/18

■ T+A Solitaire S 430 68 93 24.000 3/23

■ B&W 800 D3 68 91 30.000 11/16

■ Focal Scala Utopia Evo 68 92 32.000 8/18

Elac Concentro M 68 90 32.000 6/18

Vivid Giya G 2 68 91 38.000 5/12

Magico S5 68 91 39.900 1/13

ATC EI 150 P 68 91 43.000 8/13

■ Avantgarde Acoustic UNO XD 67 89 21.900 5/16

■ B&W 802 D3 67 90 22.000 9/18

■ Peak Consult Sonora 67 91 25.000 11/22

TAD-E1TX 67 89 25.000 6/20

Graham Votu Orange 67 86 25.000 9/18

■ Sonus Faber Amati Tradition 67 93 27.000 5/17

KEF Blade 67 90 28.000 1/12

■ Audiodata Art One 67 91 30.000 2/18

T+A Solitaire CWT 1000-8 SE 67 91 33.000 11/15

Raidho D-2.1 67 87 35.000 6/16

Focal Maestro Utopia BE 67 90 36.000 10/12

Naim Ovator S 800 67 89 45.000 4/14

■ Martin Logan ESL 13A 66 90 19.900 1/17______________________________________________

■ Manger Audio P2 66 86 14.200 10/22

■ Canton Reference 2K 66 88 14.400 9/18

■ Piega Coax 611 66 91 14.900 12/22

■ Magico A3 66 88 16.000 6/20

■ B&W 803 D3 66 90 17.000 11/15

Focal Sopra No. 3 66 88 18.000 2/17

Dynaudio Confidence 30 66 89 19.000 9/19

■ Gauder Akustik Cassiano Mk II D 66 88 19.200 4/16

Wilson Audio Sabrina 66 89 20.000 11/15

■ Vivid Giya G4 66 87 22.000 9/14

Audiograde Ardora 66 92 27.000 7/13

■ Focal Viva Utopia 66 89 18.000 9/13

Gauder Akustik Berlina RC 7 66 88 26.500 12/10

Franco Serblin Ktema 66 91 27.500 11/12

T+A Solitaire CWT 1000 66 86 24.000 7/12

Triangle Magellan Concerto 2 66 87 27.000 7/12

Wilson Audio Sophia 3 66 88 25.900 5/12

■ Nubert nuPyramide 717 65 89 11.200 5/18

■ Sonus faber Olympica nova III 65 91 12.000 1/21

■ Paradigm Persona 3F 65 88 12.000 11/19

■ PMC twenty5 26i 65 86 12.000 12/22

■ Gauder Akustik Arcona 200 65 87 13.400 4/17

■ Franco Serblin Accordo Essence 65 87 13.500 6/20

■ ME Geithain ME 180 65 88 14.000 10/15

■ Dali Epicon 8 65 86 14.000 3/13

■ Quadral Aurum Titan 9 65 88 15.000 8/16

■ Burmester BA 31 65 88 17.800 6/15

Lansche Audio No 3.1 65 85 18.500 1/14

Horns Universum 3 65 87 26.600 4/13

Sonus Faber Elipsa Stradivari 65 88 20.000 9/10

■ Nubert nuVero 170 Exclusiv 64 89 9.000 6/17

■ Phonar Veritas P10.2 next SE 64 86 9.600 11/22

■ Süßkind Audio Beo Carbon 64 89 9.800 5/22

■ Canton Reference 3K 64 87 10.400 9/15

■ Elac Concentro S 507 64 82 11.000 7/20

■ Marten Miles 5 64 84 11.900 7/14

■ Focal Sopra Nr. 2 64 89 12.000 11/15

PMC Fact8 Signature 64 88 12.000 5/22

Ayon Black Arrow 64 86 13.000 8/14

Cabasse Grand Baltic 4{mit Subwoofer Santorin 30-500} 64 86 14.200 7/18

■ T+A Talis S 300 63 86 9.000 5/19

■ B&W 804 D3 63 86 9.000 4/16

Audio Physic Midex 63 85 9.000 12/18

Piega C60.2 63 84 9.800 1/15

■ KEF Reference 3 63 85 10.000 11/14

Piega Coax 511 63 85 11.000 2/17

Triangle Magellan Quatuour 63 79 16.000 5/14

Focal Kanta No. 3 63 82 10.000 3/19

Monitor Audio PL300 II 63 84 11.000 5/17

■ ProAc Response D20R 62 82 5.500 3/23

■ Gauder Akustik Arcona 80 Mk 2 62 83 6.000 10/21

■ Klipsch Forte IV Heritage 62 82 6.400 7/22

People are telling me oh things are not like they used to be; drivers are better; crossovers are better etc.

FWIW for me there is no crossover like no crossover. With woofers and tweeters you are always challenged with making the music arrive to your ears at the same time; making sure the drivers are all in phase. Our speakers now show an MSRP of Expression ESL 13A $17,999.98 pair They were 15K four years ago & we paid 12K. What could I possibly buy now for 12K that would equal them? In the US the Magico A5 retail for $24,800 and are outperforming speakers that retail for almost 3X their price quite an achievement; nevertheless we simply cannot entertain them however much they are a "bargain" by today's speaker prices.

Looks like I AM going to be that guy with the discontinued speakers!

We have a saying in our family and it is if we like something it is sure to be discontinued

Thank you again for sharing your overview.

I hate to admit it but there is little out there that I believe would give me as much joy.

We auditioned top of the line Paradigm Persona 7F and Triangle and B & W backed up by heavy duty amplification and they did not move us even though we could recognize all the music those speakers were throwing at us.

Everything old is new again. I saw there is a new company that has released a modern version of Apogee speakers but those never did it for me (I am aging myself); a new company doing refined Magnepan but maggies NEVER won my heart.

I also am afraid of one owner companies like Soundlab and Sanders Sound Systems for when the owner passes everything disappears; look what happened when Jim Thiel passed. James Bongiorno who released the well reviewed SST amps and then passed had assured others his brother would take over; never happened. It is for that reason too I am reluctant to purchase Pass Labs. It is not my intention to be or sound in any way morbid, I simply have witnessed too many mom and pop audio companies disappear after the creator passes away.

Any ideas for alternative speakers? Quads will not deliver what the ML's do I auditioned those too.

Sincerely,
Christopher Frank
 

Fidji99

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I bought my Summits in 2006. Top of the line. They were $10,000 for the pair retail. Now, the equivalent speaker is the Expression 15A. Which retails for $29,000 a pair! According to the BLS CPI inflation calculator, $10,000 in 2006 dollars should be about $15,000 in today’s dollars. So they’ve literally doubled their price on the top of the line (ignoring Neolith) electrostatic speaker, while adding very little additional performance. Speaking of the Neolith, it started at $89,000 a few years ago, if I remember correctly. It now lists at $120,000! Up by a third.
Just a technical remark - 15A vs Summit is not apples to apples in terms of performance. More like 13A would be correct comparison.

do not disagree with the rest though. Whole hifi industry has gone nuts.
 

StimpyWan

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I've seen flash-in-the-pan speaker companies, receive rave reviews in the press, only to implode due to lack of production capabilities, and not keeping up with demand. Martin Logan ESL's are more or less hand built. Not a speedy process. As such, I don't think Martin Logan wants or needs too many unit sales. Word of mouth sales is probably sufficient for them.
 
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Robert D

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I've seen flash-in-the-pan speaker companies, receive rave reviews in the press, then implode due to lack of production capabilities, and not keeping up with demand. Martin Logan ESL's are more or less hand built. Not a speedy process. As such, I don't think Martin Logan wants or needs too many unit sales. Word of mouth sales is probably sufficient for them.
Exactly. It's like comparing Volkswagen to Porsche. You'll see plenty of advertisements for Volkswagen models on tv, but when was the last time you saw an ad for a Porsche 911 gt3? The Volkswagen group owns Porsche.
 

Brandon Hartwick

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Martin Logan probably sells the motion series 10:1 compared to anything from the ESL line. Big electrostatic speakers are pretty much a pure luxury item these days when modern soundbars will do 99% of what most average people need.
 

Fidji99

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'Porsche's chairman, Wolfgang Porsche, was ultimately thwarted by his older cousin, Ferdinand Piech, VW's chair."

Let's not make it Porsche VW discussion 🚙 - Piechs qre members of Porsche Family [his mother was born as Porsche] and it was Games of Thrones type of family feud. 53% of voting rights are held by Porsche Family Fund [you would call Charity in US],. One of the more bizarre things - there is very strong representation of Trade Unions/Worls Council in the Board of Directors.

1684780182133.png
 

Robert D

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Let's not make it Porsche VW discussion 🚙 - Piechs qre members of Porsche Family [his mother was born as Porsche] and it was Games of Thrones type of family feud. 53% of voting rights are held by Porsche Family Fund [you would call Charity in US],. One of the more bizarre things - there is very strong representation of Trade Unions/Worls Council in the Board of Directors.

View attachment 24216
I didnt go down that road, you did.
 

christopherf

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And despite being a boutique brand Porsche does commit money to advertising; “Porsche has always been known for creative advertising and pointed slogans and there are lots of pithy one-liners and hilarious sayings.”

As I expected I received a gaslighting reply from ML

Hello Mr. Frank,

Thank you for sharing your enjoyment of the 13A's as well as your passionate opinion regarding the future of MartinLogan's ESL speakers.

ESL technology is near and dear to our hearts and an important part of our brand identity. However, the addition of subwoofers, traditional (non-ESL) speakers, and Custom Installation speakers to our lineup is nothing new. We started adding these technologies to our offerings over 20 years ago, and despite this, we have expanded our ESL offerings over this same time period. There are certain applications and price points where ESL technology does not make sense (outdoor, subwoofers, in-ceiling, in-wall, bookshelf speakers, compact speakers, etc.), and for us to completely ignore that and offer no solution for these applications would be foolish on our part.

We currently have the largest product lineup in our 40 year history, including the most ESL models that we have ever had. We will absolutely continue to design and build Electrostatic speakers as they offer such a unique and incredible listening experience with a look unlike anything else. At the same time, we will also continue to design and build speakers with other technologies when the application calls for something that ESL cannot offer. These other technologies do not replace ESL, they expand the solutions we can offer.

We certainly appreciate your feedback here, but rest assured ESL is not going away. Our small team will continue to innovate, and ESL is definitely a part of the plan.

With Kind Regards,
Andrew Lindsey

Here is my reply to him:

Hello Mr. Lindsey,

Thank you for your immediate reply.

With all due respect you did not answer my question regarding why am I no longer seeing advertisements for the ESL series?

As the product manager & trainer you are most certainly aware of the need to keep a product in front of the eyes & ears of customers if you are to sustain that product including advertising and exhibiting at shows. It is marketing 101.

The fact remains, despite your words, those two all important commitments are no longer happening. The allocation of funds to do that are clearly not there.

To me those actions or rather inactions speak volumes.

As I wrote: I anticipate a reply to the effect do not worry we 100% support our ESL line. Nevertheless, as the saying goes, he put his money where his mouth is and as I pointed out the way you show support for your product is the investment of money, for advertising and supporting dealers to show the ESL series at shows (I will not name them here as you are aware of them all). Absent real resources committing dollars to keep the ESL in front of consumer eyes and ears they might as well not exist.

I don’t know how else to say it other than the way you show support of a product in the market place is with money.

Everything else is gaslighting & the saying talk is cheap is true.

There was so much hoopla when Scott & John Bagby purchased ML; better quality control; everything under one roof etc.

You simply needed to point out to me, respectfully Mr. Frank you are mistaken. Presently we are showing at this and this show and have advertisements here here and here.

But because that is not happening you cannot do so.

Am I wrong?

I used to tell my students my last name is Frank so I must be frank with you and they would say “Oh Mr. Frank that is so corny!” It’s true. I am honest and direct but never in a mean way.

Nevertheless I am open to your pointing out to me how the ESL series has a presence in print and online magazines & shows.

From my point of view they have totally disappeared.

They certainly are not in Stereophile or The Absolute Sound or on SoundStage! But wait for it, there is an ad for ML, Motion, yet again.

Do you not see actions speak louder than words?

If you do not advertise the ESL series people will not be aware, sales will fall, they will disappear; a self-created consequence.

Sincerely,
Christopher Frank
 
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