AV receiver and ML CLS IIz speakers?

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Well-known member
Jan 4, 2005
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Bayreuth, Germany
Hello everyone...

Due to space considerations and other personal reasons I am considering downsizing my current set-up but I don't want to change my speakers (CLSIIz). I would like to run everything off one quality (but not very expensive) AV receiver. What does everyone recommend (or not recommend)? I know this is not ideal -as a reference right now I am using an Innersound ESL 300MKII, which is FANTASTIC.

Also, I am using a Vandersteen 2wq sub with the fixed 50hz crossovers. Am I correct to assume that because the sub is handling some of the speakers load (they are not running full range), an AV receiver with 100 watts rms will be fine?

I am interested in the Arcam AVR300 becasue I know they make good power amps and this receiver is dual voltage (110v - 220v). Currently, I am living in europe but do plan to move back to Canada in a couple of years so I don't want to buy a paper weight.

I would be very careful about powering a CLS with a receiver. The CLS IIz is an 86dB sensitive speaker, that’s a hell of a load for any receiver to handle. Kevin has posted before saying that “it doesn’t take a lot of power to light up a Martin Logan”, and that’s true in most cases. Most Martin Logan’s have a 90dB sensitivity, so 30 to 50 watts of power is sufficient but 75 to 100watts should give you plenty of headroom so you don’t clip your speakers. My biggest worries with a CLS on a receiver is most receivers are current limited and I am afraid if you turn it up to a comfortable level you wont have enough power left for load passages, like the cannon’s on the 1812 overture, and you could clip the speakers.

I think it would be best to keep your CLS’s on a power amp, but if you must have a receiver your options are very limited. I would look at Sunfire’s ultimate receiver, Lexicons new receiver, Outlaws receiver, Rotel, and Arcam may get the job done.

Hope this helps.
Buy the arcam!

Hi there,

If you want an AV receiver, buy the Arcam. Even if it means using a step-down transformer after you re-locate, you won't regret it.

Arcam gear is hard to beat at the price, dollar-for-dollar (pound for pound, I'm English!), only the likes of Meridian and Naim can beat it - and neither of those makes a receiver, so Arcam is your best option.

In this market segment, NOTHING will beat the arcam!


the cls IIz will show the quality of the amp...

Hola. The truth is: what you need is quality and not quantity...in other words, it is better to have less power and good quality. Your cls will do fine depending of several considerations: 1) the size of your room, 2) the level that you are going to play them 3) kind of program material. I had my cls for over two years long time ago with a CJ MV-50 amp. This tube amp is rated only 50 Watt/channel but I did play the music a very moderated level and it pleased me every hour that I spent listening a lot of kind of music, most jazz and small camera orchestra, vocals or solo instruments. On the market today, it is very difficult to find an AV with the quality amp. that you need and I'm not talking regarding power...You could use the AV as a pre-amp and get a used amp. to drive them...like an Acurus model 250. You can buy this amp. very cheap. It is designed by Dan D'Angostino, who is a Krell designer too. This amp will drive the cls fine and it is a very inexpensive solution...hope this can help!
Regards from Costa Rica,
I would agree with Roberto, it is quality that you need. You will also need some power. I think 50 watts would be the very least you should look for. Also I do agree here that most receivers would have some "issues" driving the CLSiiZ's at any great volume. I have a pair of CLSiiZ's and a pair of Sequel IIs both need quality/power to really produce a substantial volume. If you are like me and listen to mostly jazz and the lighter side of music then you should be ok with less wattage. If you are in to metal rock, pipe organ music at great volumes :rolleyes: , or other types of music that do produce even momentary loud passages I would look for an amp that is at least 100 watts.
I have a Rotel amp and I do think for the price it is hard to beat. IMHO, I think it is money well spent. There are many other amps and receivers out there that will do the job just fine. Maybe look on Audiogon for a used piece that will fit your budget.
What ever you choose I am sure you will enjoy the music and to steal Roberto's line " "trust your ears". ;)

Thanks for your feedback...some clarification...

...the reason I am considering an AV receiver is I need to combine my 2 channel system with the TV. Currently, I am using a passive pre with only one input. Space is a consideration becasue I will be in a small apartment for the next two years. That's why I need to have the TV and DVD hooked up so here are my options:

1. pre/pro + power amps for centre and rears (most expensive solution that takes up the most space)
2. AV receiver to power everything (least expensive solution)
3. AV receiver with pre outs, use my current Innersound ESL 300 MKII for the CLS'es and the receiver to power the centre and rears.
4. Two channel pre and only watch TV and movies in 2-channel

Ultimate sound quality is NOT the major concern right now...my system does not sound as good in my temporary apartment as it did back home in my dedicated listening room. Mostly I will be using my system for TV, movies and background music.

Also, the Arcam AVR300 is dual voltage (110-220v) so I will be able to keep it when I return to Canada.

use the av receiver as a two channel preamp...

Hola Alex. I'm using in my system a Denon AVR-3805 (modified) as a two channel pre-amp also. This unit has preamp outputs so you can use a lot of different configurations. My setting is: from the preamp out front L and R, go to a SCE Harmonic Recovery System, from here to a Margules Digital Filter (analogue) and from here to my Sonic Frontiers Power Two amp. And from the center preamp out go to a Bryston bridge (mono) 2B to drive my center channel Cinema i...and I use the Denon power amps for rear. Right now I have a pair of Prodigies at from and a pair of Sceanrio at back. My room is small (5mX4m) and my sound is just great!!!...very musical and very HT too...trust your ears!, and happy listening,
Regards from Costa Rica,
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