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Anti-ML bias?

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kirkawall

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Hi,

I bought my first MLs this summer after an extended audition that incuded a wide range of speakers from Reference 3A to Wilson (couldn't afford them but wanted to hear them). I fell in love with the CLS IIz and the Vantages and when it became clear that the CLS IIZs would not work in my space, bought the Vantages and have enjoyed them ever since. I frequent one or two of the audio forums from time to time and am amazed at the negative responses to the ML speakers I read there (not always of course, but often enough). The usual suspects include: too hard to drive, terrible, vise-like imaging, poor dynamics, over-bright, equipment intolerant, poor panel-woofer integration, too much mass-market penetration, and so on. I've found my Vantages to be none of these things, and I don't see how, objectively, they can be considered as such. Since I know little of the ML history I'm wondering if someone here has any ideas on why ML designs take so much heat in Audio Circle, AA etc. I don't get it. I'm not sure I'd want to own a pair of Maggies since their particular balance of strengths and weaknesses doesn't suit me but I admire some of the things they do well and would certainly never write a pair off sound unheard. The same goes for many dynamic designs. Why is there such a strong love/hate feeling about ML?

best,


k
 

Jeff Zaret

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kirkawall,
I think the negative bias comes from the earlier models where they did require some power to drive them to potential. By drive I do mean current and power but it is more current than power which makes thes older models speakers perform.

There is also the issue of low impedance dips which many of the manufactures can not handle. There were few who did but they were expensive and out of reach of the masses in general.

There was also the issue of size and placement. Some of the models were bigger than most rooms could accommodate or tolerate in terms of creating the correct phasing and/or sound desired. Some models, the CLS (all of them) for example, is a tough one to setup correctly as far as placement and focus. Of course when it is setup right there is nothing like it either. :D The other issue which goes along with this is the WAF, Wife Approval Factor.

When any of these attributes are present the sound appears weak, thin, bright or whatever the term of the day is for this description. A lot of the "mass consumer market" buyers do not want to take the extra time to set things up correctly. We, the consumer market, want to plug and go, i.e. the iPod.

So is the bashing of ML unfair yes to a point. They are not for everyone and yes they do take some setting up and breaking in before they really do sound amazing. It does come down to what effort you want to put in to achieve the results you desire.

This is my analogy, my thoughts and others can and will either agree or disagree but in the end this is why cars, homes, consumer products and even people come in different colors, sizes, shapes. It is what makes is unique.


Jeff :cool:
 

roberto

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kirkawall said:
Hi,

I bought my first MLs this summer after an extended audition that incuded a wide range of speakers from Reference 3A to Wilson (couldn't afford them but wanted to hear them). I fell in love with the CLS IIz and the Vantages and when it became clear that the CLS IIZs would not work in my space, bought the Vantages and have enjoyed them ever since. I frequent one or two of the audio forums from time to time and am amazed at the negative responses to the ML speakers I read there (not always of course, but often enough). The usual suspects include: too hard to drive, terrible, vise-like imaging, poor dynamics, over-bright, equipment intolerant, poor panel-woofer integration, too much mass-market penetration, and so on. I've found my Vantages to be none of these things, and I don't see how, objectively, they can be considered as such. Since I know little of the ML history I'm wondering if someone here has any ideas on why ML designs take so much heat in Audio Circle, AA etc. I don't get it. I'm not sure I'd want to own a pair of Maggies since their particular balance of strengths and weaknesses doesn't suit me but I admire some of the things they do well and would certainly never write a pair off sound unheard. The same goes for many dynamic designs. Why is there such a strong love/hate feeling about ML?

best,


k
Hola Kirkawall. Thinking loud, it is becasue 1) they are not exposed to the real sound of the instruments 2) they also don´t care about the right size of the instruments 3) The holographic image in our brain is different than theirs. 4) They are more used to live amplified music with tons of distortion inherent to the musicians sound system. 5) They don´t know how to set them up...you know that it takes a while to put ML to sing, but when you do it, there is no way that a cone speaker can do so much for the money that you put in. 6) ML shows the quality of your system 7) Most of the guys that shouts bad things against ML are because they can not afford them, and are green of envy of how good ML sounds. Trust your ears, don´t worry about what others are saying, just enjoy the best sound available...we are not wrong with this. I did a research here, and I found out that ML users are the ones that are 1) musicians, any musician is aware of the transparency and size of the instruments that ML gives 2) People that really understand music, to listen music, no to hear music. 3) When you listen through ML, you forget that you are in your living room or dedicated room, and has the "nirvana" to go to the event where the musician (s) where playing, listening their own way to play any kind of instrument, thing very hard to do it with other speakers, because they are 1) oversized 2) is like a cartoon sound 3) ping pong notes 4) lack of feeling 5) not right with the image 6) tons of distortion.
Happy listening,
Roberto.
 
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David Prall

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Jeff,

I'm not sure that your reply could be improved upon. It seemed very complete and covered all the bases. I haven't had my Vantage's very long (couple months), and they are my first ML speaker, so I cannot say much about any earlier models. I do know that I'm very impressed with my current one though. I just love the imaging and detail these spakers provide, but would add that driven with my SS Krell, the sound is decidedly more clean/accurate than warm. Toe-in helped with what some would lable "brightness or edge". One thing for certain is that they definitely are very revealing..... a good recording sounds wonderful..... and a bad recording sounds well....really bad.... or as I said.... is accurately rendered in all its recorded glory. :D I haven't heard the speakers with tube equipment, so I accept at face value that the sound is better/warmer, or at least "preferred" by that listener. ;) I'm guessing that warm AND accurate +live with good staging is the persuit of audio nirvana by definition.... With so many different combinations of components even among those of us who DO appreciate our ML's, I'm guessing that no one has yet found that perfect single component combination that pleases everyones ears and budgets universally. :p The point of all this rambling is to say that if YOU are pleased with the sound you're getting, that's all that's important. Please don't let what you find in other forums decrease the amount of enjoyment you get from your speakers. On the other hand..... let as many of your friends audition you system as you like.... We gratefully accept ML converts! :D
 

Tube60

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It's a complicated issue. But if I could conjecture, the anti-ML people are of course those who had a bad experience with them, no doubt from having equipment shortfalls and not knowing how to place them, or those who automatically reject them because, hey, they can be had at Magnolia HiFi , for crying out loud; how plebian is that? Then they cite the people having the bad experiences. And, like Roberto pointed out, not having much experience with real, live music, and the interplay of those live instruments and voices in a room. Some people out there can't handle the truth. And it's okay to not like MLs I guess. I would say to those who don't like them, go out and find something you do like, and relax!
That's why I've been hooked on MLs for half my life, ever since my good friend bought the Sequels which I now own. I've also got the equipment to drive them well. My restored and mildly hotrodded Citation II amplifier might be rated by the factory at "only" 60 watts per channel, but I've estimated there's roughly 4db of headroom there. I've put a 1khz signal @ 3V on the inputs, and seen 98V A/C at the speaker taps. I think that's a ways more than 60 watts! And it can suffer such abuse all day long. But that's not going to stop me from building a more powerful amp, and hopefully it's capabilities will be just as good. That counts for a preamp as well.
Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now! Hope this helps!
 
R

Rik_Rankin

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Tube60 said:
It's a complicated issue. But if I could conjecture, the anti-ML people are of course those who had a bad experience with them, no doubt from having equipment shortfalls and not knowing how to place them, or those who automatically reject them because, hey, they can be had at Magnolia HiFi , for crying out loud; how plebian is that? Then they cite the people having the bad experiences. And, like Roberto pointed out, not having much experience with real, live music, and the interplay of those live instruments and voices in a room. Some people out there can't handle the truth. And it's okay to not like MLs I guess. I would say to those who don't like them, go out and find something you do like, and relax!
That's why I've been hooked on MLs for half my life, ever since my good friend bought the Sequels which I now own. I've also got the equipment to drive them well. My restored and mildly hotrodded Citation II amplifier might be rated by the factory at "only" 60 watts per channel, but I've estimated there's roughly 4db of headroom there. I've put a 1khz signal @ 3V on the inputs, and seen 98V A/C at the speaker taps. I think that's a ways more than 60 watts! And it can suffer such abuse all day long. But that's not going to stop me from building a more powerful amp, and hopefully it's capabilities will be just as good. That counts for a preamp as well.
Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now! Hope this helps!
The same people think an IPOD is the ultimate in realistic sound quality and they think McDonalds is fine food!! I owed a pair of Wilson Sophias and I didn't enjoy them even a fraction as much as my SL3s! AND I AM USING THE SAME ELECTRONICS! The Wilsons were bloated in the bass and didn't do vocals or saxes anywhere near as realistically as ML. I sit for hours and listen now. Before, 10 minutes was enough!
 

Beat_Dominator

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Successful companies in Niche markets like HiFi are always hated, look at Monster Cable. In the watch world Patek Phillipe has come under the same pressure as their name becomes more famous.
 

attyonline

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Most of the people who comment on ML have never listened to them. The internet is full of people who mindlessly parrot what they read or heard elsewhere. I constantly respond to the messages claming ML speakers are impossible to drive with a impossibly low impedence. Fact is and has been for years that the low impedence is at 20Khz where virtually no information is available on CD or other media. I have driven the smaller Logans like Aerius or Aeon with $300 receivers with good results cause they are easy to drive. Any receiver at Magnolia will drive the Claritys and even the cheap ones sound worlds better than the other speakers they sell. Of course the Logans sound better with good power and high current and the bigger Logans need more of each, but this old cannard still lives on cause people do not listen themselves but repeat what they are told. :confused:
 

Reverb

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kirkawall said:
Hi,

The usual suspects include: too hard to drive, terrible, vise-like imaging, poor dynamics, over-bright, equipment intolerant, poor panel-woofer integration, too much mass-market penetration, and so on.
That’s what happens when you try to run a pair of Logan’s off a receiver.

9 out of 10 times when people complaint about buying Martin Logan’s and they sound like carp, they either have poor placement, bad acoustics, or are using the BestBuy special to power them. Martin Logan’s only sound as good as the components powering them, and if they sound like crap, either A. they were setup wrong, B. you don’t care for the Martin Logan hybrid sound, or C. you have other issues with your system that need to be addressed.
 
R

Rik_Rankin

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Zip3kx07 said:
That’s what happens when you try to run a pair of Logan’s off a receiver.

9 out of 10 times when people complaint about buying Martin Logan’s and they sound like carp, they either have poor placement, bad acoustics, or are using the BestBuy special to power them. Martin Logan’s only sound as good as the components powering them, and if they sound like crap, either A. they were setup wrong, B. you don’t care for the Martin Logan hybrid sound, or C. you have other issues with your system that need to be addressed.
Of course they are highly revealing of the entire chain. One weak component or cable and the solid, stable, 3 dimentionality is destroyed
 

amey01

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Three words - "Return on Investment". MLs are not a "plug and play" speaker - you don't take them home, whack them on the floor, connect them to a cheap Japanese amplifier and go for it. Of course, this is all most people know, and when they do this they get very poor sound quality out of their MLs to say the least.

MLs require very careful choice of electronics as far down to cables. They also require very good [read: expensive] electronics - they will reveal any problem further up the chain. They require enormous time spent on positioning and they also greatly benefit from room treatments.

So, if people happen to get any one of these things wrong, ie. use poor electronics, use non-synergistic electronics, don't position them correctly, or set them up in a poor room (glass behind the panel can be a huge problem) then they will experience bad sound.

So back to return on investment, if you invest the time and money in setting the speakers up properly, then you will experience sound that is unsurpassed in most areas. Simple as that. If you want an easy speaker, go with a cone speaker - if you want the best, go with ML - but be prepared to put in the hard yards!
 
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kach22i

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Some people like cheap beer.

They make a lot of cheap beer.

They sell a lot of cheap beer.

Cheap beer is easy to drink (not so easy to keep down) if you have never known anything else it's your standard.

Guess cheap beer must be best, it's just so popular. :rolleyes:



You guys all nailed the topic, all I could try to do is add a little humor. :D
 

LaserMark4

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Rik_Rankin said:
Of course they are highly revealing of the entire chain. One weak component or cable and the solid, stable, 3 dimentionality is destroyed
And that goes for the source material itself. I think so much of punk/rap/metal today has a LOT of garbage sandwiched into the mix, which the ML's will definitely reveal....and which the cone speaker will not. Hence "that sounds like crap" on the ML's is cause it really IS crap in its source format-- poor performers and artists trying to hide/override with "digital techno wizardry".

Having played in live orchestras many years, there is nothing like my ML's for clarity in actually playing the sounds of pure, distinct, unadulterated musical instruments! And in whatever format or genre, bring it on.

But GOOD musicians (and music material) continue to be a select and somewhat rare breed. Am I sounding like an old fart from the 60's yet?
 
D

dyazdani

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I notice the same things with respect to the music.

The one that always gets me is the complaint about "woofer to panel integration." I'm not sure how one simply hears the speakers and deduces that is the problem without some objective test. Maybe I'm too simple to figure it out.
 

kirkawall

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dyazdani said:
I notice the same things with respect to the music.

The one that always gets me is the complaint about "woofer to panel integration." I'm not sure how one simply hears the speakers and deduces that is the problem without some objective test. Maybe I'm too simple to figure it out.
Lots of good points here -- thanks all. Re. the "woofer-panel" problem -- don't dynamic speakers suffer from the same danged thing? Wouldn't it then be possible to hear the crossover point in dynamic designs? I agree too that instruments and voices sound very different via MLs (and some other ESLs). Realer, more present, less "hyped."

best,


k
 

amey01

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kirkawall said:
Lots of good points here -- thanks all. Re. the "woofer-panel" problem -- don't dynamic speakers suffer from the same danged thing? Wouldn't it then be possible to hear the crossover point in dynamic designs? I agree too that instruments and voices sound very different via MLs (and some other ESLs). Realer, more present, less "hyped."

best,


k
And less distorted!! Yes, all speakers suffer from the same danged thing......except most speakers have the crossover in a far more critical region than the 200-500Hz range that ML uses!
 

JonFo

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amey01 said:
And less distorted!! Yes, all speakers suffer from the same danged thing......except most speakers have the crossover in a far more critical region than the 200-500Hz range that ML uses!
Amen!

the Dynamic speakers usually have two crossover points, none of which is 'perfect'. that plus the the power compression most dynamic speakers suffer from give them a whole different 'sound'. Which if that's what you used to, becomes your reference for 'good'.

And overly revealing and dynamically extended ESL might not be what floats your boat. However, once you hear one well set up, it's near impossible to not dig the sound.
I've had many and audiophile over that has big-buck dynamic speakers (or big buck actives, like Meridian) and they ALL come away wishing they had the class of sound they hear in my theater.
I've heard many of their systems as well, and while darn nice, they still have power compression, crossover issues, etc.

Now, some older ML designs do have a crossover issue IMHO. Monoliths specifically are unbalanced with the factory passive. So some of the knocks were deserved. However, they are easily solved.
But then, I could say the exact same thing about a ton of other speakers as well, so this is not a rare phenomenon.
 
D

dyazdani

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kirkawall said:
Lots of good points here -- thanks all. Re. the "woofer-panel" problem -- don't dynamic speakers suffer from the same danged thing? Wouldn't it then be possible to hear the crossover point in dynamic designs? I agree too that instruments and voices sound very different via MLs (and some other ESLs). Realer, more present, less "hyped."

best,


k
My point exactly - all drivers, whether ESL or dynamic have properties of frequency response, distortion, non-linearity, dispersion, etc. It is up to the crossover/designer to make them work together. This same process goes on in all speakers.

I'm not sure what tricks they use to control the response of the panel, but it seems to work for me...
 

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