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Acheiving best musical sound from Summits

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pancho

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Hello,

Nice to learn about this community. I've been a fan of the ML sound for years. I know the Summits are new, and there may not be much of an experience base, but still I though I'd float my question to you all.

Suppose I were to order ML Summits. What amplifer should I buy? I've seen this question posted before, with recommendations for SixPacs, Cary 805s, etc. But today I talked to someone at ML, and was told that while the Summit panel might look smaller, and the woofer is powered, it still needs a powerful amp to achieve the best results; VLT, ARC and CJ were suggested. Reading between the lines, perhaps ML have found a way to way to make the panel smaller but have in doing so have also made it stiffer and therefore it still a challenge to drive properly to acheive a musical midrange sound (with the crossover at 250Hz, the panel is responsible for the midrange).

On the other side, I talked to to some amp vendors and was assured "don't worry, no problem, our amp can drive your speakers"; it didnt' seem to matter what particular amp was being discussed. Typical useless sales patter.

Honestly this leaves me in a tough spot. After listening to Summits, they have an awesome soundstage, but don't seem terribly musical. My guess that this is because the dealer doesn't have a lot choice in amps, they have to sell what they carry, even if they don't match the Summits particularly well.

So, finally, I come to my question: I listen to all kinds of music, sometimes in a chair in the sweet spot with my eyes closed, but other times I just can't sit still and I get "ants in my pants and I need to dance". Can anyone recommend an amp for the Summits that will satisfy both the introspective "head space" material and the dynamic boogie / dance hall material? Or do I need to look beyond Martin Logan speakers if I want to boogie?

Sorry if this question seems to repeat earlier postings; what I'm looking is new "real world" data from actual Summit users.

Thanks in advance for any comments.
 

Audio Pharaoh

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pancho said:
Hello,

Nice to learn about this community. I've been a fan of the ML sound for years. I know the Summits are new, and there may not be much of an experience base, but still I though I'd float my question to you all.

Suppose I were to order ML Summits. What amplifer should I buy? I've seen this question posted before, with recommendations for SixPacs, Cary 805s, etc. But today I talked to someone at ML, and was told that while the Summit panel might look smaller, and the woofer is powered, it still needs a powerful amp to achieve the best results; VLT, ARC and CJ were suggested. Reading between the lines, perhaps ML have found a way to way to make the panel smaller but have in doing so have also made it stiffer and therefore it still a challenge to drive properly to acheive a musical midrange sound (with the crossover at 250Hz, the panel is responsible for the midrange).

On the other side, I talked to to some amp vendors and was assured "don't worry, no problem, our amp can drive your speakers"; it didnt' seem to matter what particular amp was being discussed. Typical useless sales patter.

Honestly this leaves me in a tough spot. After listening to Summits, they have an awesome soundstage, but don't seem terribly musical. My guess that this is because the dealer doesn't have a lot choice in amps, they have to sell what they carry, even if they don't match the Summits particularly well.

So, finally, I come to my question: I listen to all kinds of music, sometimes in a chair in the sweet spot with my eyes closed, but other times I just can't sit still and I get "ants in my pants and I need to dance". Can anyone recommend an amp for the Summits that will satisfy both the introspective "head space" material and the dynamic boogie / dance hall material? Or do I need to look beyond Martin Logan speakers if I want to boogie?

Sorry if this question seems to repeat earlier postings; what I'm looking is new "real world" data from actual Summit users.

Thanks in advance for any comments.
Hello Pancho,

I'm afraid I'm not able to help re tube amp selections and requirements but I can strongly recommend Plinius amps with Martin Logans in general. You will get the musicality, the drive and control as well as the SUPERB sonic synergy between these 2 brands. I'm sure there are other excellent options in the solid state arena but i think that in the end you should also be able to listen for yourself before any commitments.

AP
 

roberto

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pancho said:
Hello,

Nice to learn about this community. I've been a fan of the ML sound for years. I know the Summits are new, and there may not be much of an experience base, but still I though I'd float my question to you all.

Suppose I were to order ML Summits. What amplifer should I buy? I've seen this question posted before, with recommendations for SixPacs, Cary 805s, etc. But today I talked to someone at ML, and was told that while the Summit panel might look smaller, and the woofer is powered, it still needs a powerful amp to achieve the best results; VLT, ARC and CJ were suggested. Reading between the lines, perhaps ML have found a way to way to make the panel smaller but have in doing so have also made it stiffer and therefore it still a challenge to drive properly to acheive a musical midrange sound (with the crossover at 250Hz, the panel is responsible for the midrange).

On the other side, I talked to to some amp vendors and was assured "don't worry, no problem, our amp can drive your speakers"; it didnt' seem to matter what particular amp was being discussed. Typical useless sales patter.

Honestly this leaves me in a tough spot. After listening to Summits, they have an awesome soundstage, but don't seem terribly musical. My guess that this is because the dealer doesn't have a lot choice in amps, they have to sell what they carry, even if they don't match the Summits particularly well.

So, finally, I come to my question: I listen to all kinds of music, sometimes in a chair in the sweet spot with my eyes closed, but other times I just can't sit still and I get "ants in my pants and I need to dance". Can anyone recommend an amp for the Summits that will satisfy both the introspective "head space" material and the dynamic boogie / dance hall material? Or do I need to look beyond Martin Logan speakers if I want to boogie?

Sorry if this question seems to repeat earlier postings; what I'm looking is new "real world" data from actual Summit users.

Thanks in advance for any comments.
Hello...I have a friend that uses with his Summits a 30W/ch amplifier in triode mode. He is using a Margules Audio amp. with a very special 6550s made in Russia. The sound that he gets in his room is one of the best that I have ever heard!!! The dynamics, the resolution, the size of the instruments, the air between them, the stage, the feeling of the musician playing for your there...it is a breath taking sound! With a sensitivity of 92 dBs/W with the new xtat panels are awesome. Being the panels a little bit smaller than the Prodigies panel, they do have more dispersion, have more dynamics and in overall much better speaker. It is good to have ML team doing their homework. I love the Prodigies, but the Summits are far better in many things starting with the bass control. So, if you are not liking the sound of the Summits must be something wrong with the electronics involved at that particular system that your were listening to. With the Summits, the slight change, even a connector in the system chain, is easy to listen. Listen the live recording of Mr. Vladimir Horowitz in Moscow...wow, the sense to be there at that moment is something for the one who likes classical music, specially piano solos...you do get goose-bumps with this recording. Happy listening,
Roberto.
 

Spike

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pancho said:
But today I talked to someone at ML, and was told that while the Summit panel might look smaller, and the woofer is powered, it still needs a powerful amp to achieve the best results; VLT, ARC and CJ were suggested. Reading between the lines, perhaps ML have found a way to way to make the panel smaller but have in doing so have also made it stiffer and therefore it still a challenge to drive properly to acheive a musical midrange sound (with the crossover at 250Hz, the panel is responsible for the midrange).
First, let me clarify that I don't have any experiences with the Summits so I'm not gonna make any comments directed at the Summits per-se. I just want to bring up a few points regarding the ML speakers and the associative electronics.
If you want to focus on the panels, you don't need a powerful amplifier per-se, but you'll need to have an amplifier which is stable enough to handle a wide impedance swing. For example, the CLS panels have impendance swinging from 1 ohm @ 20kHz, peaking at 30 ohms in the midrange region and dropping down to 5 ohms in the lower frequencies. This type of impedance swing wreak havoc on most tube amplifiers, especially lower-powered SET. That is not to say that tube amplifiers in general will have problems with the ML panels. You just have to be patient and look for a well designed one with special attention paid to the power-supply section. The AES SixPacs and the Cary V12R are such examples but they are not the only ones on the market. I currently have the SixPacs monoblocs and am very impressed with them. Just to give you an idea, the SixPacs at 50wpc beat out the Classe' CA300 (300wpc) as well as the ARC VT100 (100wpc) running full-range on my ReQuests. Nowadays, the SixPacs are driving the panels and the Classe' is handling bass duties in my system.

Honestly this leaves me in a tough spot. After listening to Summits, they have an awesome soundstage, but don't seem terribly musical. My guess that this is because the dealer doesn't have a lot choice in amps, they have to sell what they carry, even if they don't match the Summits particularly well.
Sounds like the Summits are exposing all the weakness of the associated electronics in the store. Or that the store did not take enough care to set-up the Summits correctly in terms of system synergy and room accoustics.

So, finally, I come to my question: I listen to all kinds of music, sometimes in a chair in the sweet spot with my eyes closed, but other times I just can't sit still and I get "ants in my pants and I need to dance". Can anyone recommend an amp for the Summits that will satisfy both the introspective "head space" material and the dynamic boogie / dance hall material? Or do I need to look beyond Martin Logan speakers if I want to boogie?
For solid-state, Plinius, Pass Labs amplifiers, BAT.
For tubes, Cary V12R (switchable from ultra-linear & triode mode), SixPacs (triode mode only), BAT and the "normal" ones like ARC, CJ, VTL, etc...

Good luck
Spike
 

aliveatfive

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Summits are very revealing and amplifier sensitive. I've always found that all Logans sound better with tubes. Others will disagree. We're all entitled to our own views. I'm driving my Summits with ARC VT 100 III amplification. With this 100 wpc tubed amp, they sound dynamic and musical. I would trust ML's recommendation, but I'm sure there are other amps whcih would satsify. An in-home audition of speakers and electronics is your best bet.
 

jjqiv

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aliveatfive said:
I've always found that all Logans sound better with tubes. Others will disagree. We're all entitled to our own views.
Not just Logans! All these best systems that I have heard are Tube amplified with an analog source. SS and digital just don't get the tone right.
 

Steelhead

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Ahh, thats the rub. Finding out what that synergy combination to make the magic work.

In my case I have ReQuests and not just myself but many who have compared agree that tubes just are a wonderful match with the panels (in my case CJ). I have tried many combos, Solid State, Solid State bi-amps, tube, and now, tubes on the top and solid state on the bottom (Heaven/Hell setup). I have the power for bass and more headroom for the tubes to work the magic on the panels.

I hope to bi-amp fully with tubes in the next few years. Probably CJ premier 12's. But if the summit is powered you should be able to get by with push pull and I know that Rogue and ASL make pretty high powered and fair priced tube amps.

Have Fun!!!
 

Jeff Zaret

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Steelhead,
I have a CJ PRemier 17LS that I use on my CLSiiZ's and I am powering it with a SS amp. The difference is amazing and compared to removing the blanket that was on top of the speakers.
Someday I too would like to get a tube amp but I think I will have to wait for a rich relative to leave me some money. :D

Jeff :cool:
 
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pancho

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Update

Thought I'd share my progress. I've tried Classe, Cary, Arcam SS amps, but so far I prefer the Mcintosh MC2102 tube amps. Very nice delicate and detailed midrange and bass, but I had to use two of them in mono mode to get enough power (I have a big room).

I think tubes are the way to go with these speakers. I would be interested to hear any comments by people with CJ or BAT amps.

Also, I'm finding that LPs are more involving than CDs with the Mcintosh tube amps.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Pancho,

I had a Rotel SS amp that I recently changed to a CJ MF2500A and the difference is amazing. It is like another lifting of a veil over the speakers and the soundstage got wider and deeper.
I swear I heard a few things the other day when I was listening that I never heard before.
For example, I was listening to an older recording of CSN&Y and not olny was there now a very wide soundstage but I could tell you who was singing each part of the harmony. :D

Jeff :cool:
 

Reverb

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pancho said:
Thought I'd share my progress. I've tried Classe, Cary, Arcam SS amps, but so far I prefer the Mcintosh MC2102 tube amps. Very nice delicate and detailed midrange and bass, but I had to use two of them in mono mode to get enough power (I have a big room).

I think tubes are the way to go with these speakers. I would be interested to hear any comments by people with CJ or BAT amps.

Also, I'm finding that LPs are more involving than CDs with the Mcintosh tube amps.
Butler audio may be another option for you. they are solid-state amps with tubes in the output stages, so you get that solid-state power with the tube sound. Check them out at www.butleraudio.com
 

twich54

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Musical Summitt's

I was fortunate in that my Dealer (Overture, Wilmington,De) is one of the better and bigger dealers around so I was able to audition a fairly wide range of associated amps / pre-amps before making my choice. I listened to the big ARC monoblocks, man what sound !!! But hell for almost $40,000, gulp !!!! My choices as I stated in the previous Harmon Kardon Thread where tied to budgetary constraints. But if you have the $$$$ the Classe' stuff sounded very nice, I was auditioning Summitts and Vantage both of which were fully broken in. I think a good marrige of tube pre-amp with SS amp does a vey good job.
 

aliveatfive

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Pancho -

Regarding your last post, I'm using a BAT VK51SE pre with my Summits. It is, by far, the best preamp I've ever heard driving my Logans. (Sequels, then Ascents, then Summits.) This preamp is extremely neutral and dynamic in my opinion. Verdict: expensive, but worth it.
 
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PatsFanInMD

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Classe amp worked for me. .

Hi,

Two things. First, I use a Classe CA-301 (300 watts/channel) and it drives my MLs (formerly Ascents, now Vantages) as nicely as any of the ultra high end amps I've heard in the store. That model is discontinued, but Classe has something out there that's comprarable I'm sure. Classe (solid) or BAT (solid or tube) are generally a good bet w/MLs. Remember, use plenty of watts to drive those panels.

Second, I loved the Summits but I bought the Vantages instead. They have 94% of the sound for half the price. Unless you're flush w/cash and have a really really huge room, I think the Vantages will work just as well for a lot less. Even the guys at the audio store I bought them from said that. Same advanced panels, same amplified woofer, same basic sound, etc. Give them a listen. .

Best,

JW
 

DTB300

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PatsFanInMD said:
Second, I loved the Summits but I bought the Vantages instead. They have 94% of the sound for half the price. Unless you're flush w/cash and have a really really huge room, I think the Vantages will work just as well for a lot less. Even the guys at the audio store I bought them from said that. Same advanced panels, same amplified woofer, same basic sound, etc. Give them a listen.
I agree completely with your statement. Panel sound wise they are very similar...bass has to go to the Summit, but again with the $$$$ saved, you could add a sub and still have plenty of extra cash left over.

Dan
 

kal_s

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Further info. on Conrad Johnson MF2500A...

Jeff Zaret said:
....I recently changed to a CJ MF2500A and the difference is amazing. It is like another lifting of a veil over the speakers and the soundstage got wider and deeper.
I swear I heard a few things the other day when I was listening that I never heard before.
For example, I was listening to an older recording of CSN&Y and not olny was there now a very wide soundstage but I could tell you who was singing each part of the harmony. :D

Jeff :cool:
Hi Jeff
I am sorry to jump in late on this but I was searching for someone that I could ask for an opinion on this very same amp. I have the opportunity to buy a used MF2500A, which I plan to use to drive my ML Aerius; the owner says it is great except for an "audible hum" due to some mechanical vibration of the chassis that he "damps out" by placing a heavy stone slab on top of the amp! He swears that this is a standard issue with this amp and it is not a defect of any sort!
Would you concur with this statement? I think it is highly unlikely that a high-end manufacturer like CJ would let such an obvious defect go by uncorrected...
Any of the experts on this forum care to weigh in?

Thanks in advance,
---Kal
 

roberto

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kal_s said:
Hi Jeff
I am sorry to jump in late on this but I was searching for someone that I could ask for an opinion on this very same amp. I have the opportunity to buy a used MF2500A, which I plan to use to drive my ML Aerius; the owner says it is great except for an "audible hum" due to some mechanical vibration of the chassis that he "damps out" by placing a heavy stone slab on top of the amp! He swears that this is a standard issue with this amp and it is not a defect of any sort!
Would you concur with this statement? I think it is highly unlikely that a high-end manufacturer like CJ would let such an obvious defect go by uncorrected...
Any of the experts on this forum care to weigh in?

Thanks in advance,
---Kal
Hola Kal...I think that the mechanical noise from inside of the amplifier could be the power transformer (95% sure)...there are four screws with nuts that are securing the whole body of it...for your description of the problem, I think that they are loose...just tight them as much as you can...and the problem is solved. Of course you could do it better with "sellack" and you have to take the transformer apart or take it to a service qualified tech...but I think that with a good strong tight of the four screws will do the job. It is a wonderful sounding amp...happy listening,
Pura vida,
Roberto.
 

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The Summits and possibly the Vantages are changing the rules on what amps work well with ML Stats. The specs say the power recommendations is in the range of 100-300 watts. However, the sensitivity rating is 92db. I'm finding these speakers sound great on relatively low powered SET amps of at least 15w-16w of quality power and current. Attached are a couple of pictures of an Art Audio Carissa 845 tube based 16w amp with the optional volume control. Unfortunately, I can't post the actual sound. I liked it enough to want to change over to a similiar amp. If you have Summits, you'll just have find one to try for yourself.

I also tried a brand new Cary A-306 600w digital amp on the Summits and it did not work. I don't why but the amp would barely produce sound to the speaker and did not light the ML light on the left speaker indicating it was on even though the sound was coming from the panel. Its not like it didn't have enough power. Digital amp thats incompatible with internally amped electrostats maybe? I have no idea what was going on. The amp worked fine on other speakers including Ascents (very smooth by the way). The Summits worked fine with my other amps. The opposite of symetry (what is that word?)perhaps? I don't know, I should have called Cary or ML on that one.
 

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Jeff Zaret

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Kal_S,
I do not hear any hum at all from the CJ. It is very quiet and I leave it on all the time. I found that it took about a month of playing for it to open up and it is truly amazing. It does have a warm sound in comparison to other SS amps. It is warmer and smoother across the frequency range compared to the Rotel 1090 I had. I know others will recommend many things but I really do like the sound of CJ products. The only downside if ther is one is they are a bit pricey but then again they last a long time.

I am power CLSiiZ's without any problem and they really have made a difference. When I buy a camera or if I can steal my daughter's camera I will post a picture.

Jeff :cool:
 

kal_s

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Re. Conrad Johnson MF2500A...

Hi Roberto, Jeff
Thanks for your inputs! Much as I suspected, the hum is something that is an abnormality and most likely a transformer that is loose at the morrings as Roberto points out. Roberto, I am still evaluating if I should go ahead and buy the MF2500A. I have been looking at serveral sellers offerings, the local one was the obvious choice, but that's the one with the humming problem :(
The seller from out of state will ship for a fee but I am scared it would not travel too well... but after hearing your enthusiastic recommendation, I feel I might take the plunge after all!
If I could ask yet another question of you gentlemen, what sort of pre-amp and interconnects do you use? I have no clue what would match the CJ MF2500A and ML Aerius combo ... any pointers woudl be appreciated. I am not much of a tube guy, don't care about vinyl (all sources are pure digital: redbook CD or SACD). Also, I have ambitions of evolving to a HT system: so should I look at pre-processor type devices?

Thanks much,
---Kal
 
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