Brutal honesty pls

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PatrikLager

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Hi!

Since I always wanted to own a pair of ML and my budget are limited I bought a pair of ML Sequence 2 - fully aware of that they are very old and I didnt have a possibility to listen to them before I bought them.

Of cource when I listen to them, they are not very good. They sound "closed in" and plain boring, not what you would think of a pair of electorstate speakers. My small Dali Helicon 300 runs circles around them when it comes to quality of sound.

Now, my need to brutal honesty - Those of you that has owned generations of ML electrostate speakers(maybe even a pair of Seq2), would you say that Sequence 2 would sound good if they where new today? or has the evolution of speakers left them so far behind that even if I would try to restore them, they would sound pretty lame anyway.

I'm thinking about trying to wash the panels and check for corrosion in the electronics and if that doesnt help (or if the panels break) even buy new panels - but is it worth it or should I just try to sell them?

Im driving them with Krell KAV 3250 so I got power enough I would say.

Best Regards
Patrik
 

Jazzman53

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Hi Patrik,

I'm wondering if the diaphragm coatings might be deteriorated or the bias supply connections at the diaphragm might be corroded-- causing the diaphragms to not fully charge. If so; output and dynamics would suffer and this would be accompanied by a need to increase input power to compensate-- perhaps to the point of pushing the transformers to saturation and distortion. I can't imagine why else your speakers wouldn't sound wonderful. Washing them might help, as dust buildup can drain charge off the diaphragms. You can fix a corroded connection but if the coating is deteriorated, nothing would help short of replacing the diaphragm or panel assembly.

I interpreted your post as implying the the problem affects both speakers so it would not be fruitful to swap the panels to isolate a problem that exists in both speakers. And you can't measure the bias voltage with a DVM without destroying the meter, unless you have a HV probe. However; it's not likely that the bias supplies in both speakers would be faulty, which leads me to believe it's your diaphragm coating or just two very dirty panels draining charge off the diaphragms.

I build ESLs as a hobby but I haven't worked on any Martin Logan's so I don't know if the Sequel 2 panel can be disassembled without damaging the diaphragm. Assuming that it can, it would be easy to check for corrosion where the lead from the bias supply contacts the diaphragm. That connection may be only the stripped wire end held in contact with the diaphragm with tape (poor way to make the connection), or it could be one of the ML models where the bias supply lead is soldered to a strip of copper foil extending up one side of the panel, in contact with the diaphragm (a much better connection).

I would try washing the panel first. If that doesn't fix the problem; remove the front stator from the panel and check the bias supply connection for corrosion. If the connection is good, the problem may be a deteriorated diaphragm coating. There is a way to check this:

Believe it or not; liquid dish detergent (Joy, Dawn, or most any brand containing sodium laurel sulfate) makes an electrically perfect diaphragm coating (resistance-wise), mixed 50% with water and swabbed onto the diaphragm with a cotton ball. However; if you try this you must first mask off the clear plastic horizontal spacers (ML calls them spars) because if any of the dish soap coating gets on them, it would create a conduction path from the diaphragm to the front stator and short out the panel. If the panel then plays normally, the problem was the diaphragm coating.

The dish soap coating is electrically great but practically poor because it attracts dust like a magnet and ML's don't have dust covers-- hence temporary at best.

Your problem may lie with the electronics but I suspect the diaphragm coatings or bias supply connections.

Perhaps some one here can tell us whether the front stator on a Sequel 2 can be removed without damaging the diaphragm.
 
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Robert D

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I wonder how old the panels are on there now. They should have a serial number somewhere on them. On mine it is on the bottom of the panel. My frame has a separate number for it. There is a thread on here that will show you how to decode it.

If those are the original panels then it's obvious that they need to be replaced, but maybe they've already been done.

I'd base my decision on how much I had already spent buying them and how much new panels will cost. You'll need to contact Martin Logan via email for the price on panels for your model. Those may be fairly affordable. I spent about $3000 on my Prodigy panels but they are larger than the Sequels I think.
 

Jazzman53

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Forgot to add; I only suggested the dish soap coating as a temporary means to determine whether the original coating was faulty. If it was; you would not want to use the dish soap coating permanently. Rather; thoroughly wash off the dish soap coating and then spray apply one "just wet" coat of Licron Crystal ESD to cover the driven areas of the diaphragm. It comes in an 8oz aerosol spray can (about $50 with shipping) and it's easy to apply--- but first you must mask off the spars, spar edges, and the periphery edges of the panel to prevent creating conduction paths that could short the panel. The bias supply connection must contact the coating but you don't want any of the Licron Crystal coating where it isn't needed because it's conductive!
 

Brandon Hartwick

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Before you do anything to drastic I'd take a close look at the panels and see how much junk is built up on them.

The panels on my Aerius I's were filthy and actually started fuzzing and popping. I gave them a good wash in the shower and now they're good as new.
 

RAH

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I have been listening to Classic 9 during past three years. Classic 9 have the potential or are built to deliver outstanding Sonics. A taste of true high end. If your system delivers true high end signal then true high end is what speakers will deliver.

Not listened to Electromotion X. Nearly the same physical size as Classic 9. May have similar sonics and are comparatively definitely budget friendly. Have comparatively better impedance at high frequency. Perhaps high frequency instruments comparatively greater volume.

Just my opinion no point buying inexpensive first generation ML if they need repair. With repair are close to price of ESL X. I think highly of and prefer CLS first because of their performance and second I have sentimental value for them.
 

Tosh

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Foam. Alright, it's the best space age foam from 3M, but it's still foam. Foam with a light glue holding together a structural sandwich that's now a quarter century old?

Foam. Those Gen1 panels with the foam spars are just doomed in the long run by that porous foam that eventually builds up so much conductive crud that the panel can't charge. It can be a long slow fade away...
 

repman

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Just a FYI I replaced some Sequel II panels recently and they were 1450.00 plus shipping they are now clear spar panels sound like new
 

Robert D

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Just a FYI I replaced some Sequel II panels recently and they were 1450.00 plus shipping they are now clear spar panels sound like new
Are the remainder of your speakers original? My Prodigy speakers are and still sound great to me 22 years after they were made.

I don't really know how an owner knows when capacitors need to be replaced.
 

repman

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Are the remainder of your speakers original? My Prodigy speakers are and still sound great to me 22 years after they were made.

I don't really know how an owner knows when capacitors need to be replaced.
I'm guessing that having the crossovers rebuilt as they are original would improve them even more. ML does not have new crossovers but still make power supplies for them. I got a lead from a member here on where I can possibly get the crossovers rebuilt so I may do that down the road
 

Robert D

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Just a FYI I replaced some Sequel II panels recently and they were 1450.00 plus shipping they are now clear spar panels sound like new
A pair of their new ESL 's are priced at $2500 now and I'm going to guess that the size of those panels are nowhere near that of the Sequel II.

Replacing them makes sense as long as the rest of the speakers don't need a lot of work.
 

RAH

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Just a FYI I replaced some Sequel II panels recently and they were 1450.00 plus shipping they are now clear spar panels sound like new
Are you accurate when you say sequel2 panel pair is 1450.

I would guess perhaps near 2.5k.

Along with both woofer replacement and labor Total would be near 3.5k.

Not much distance left to reach ESL X sale price.

However I do not know repair and replacement prices accurately.
 

Robert D

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Are you accurate when you say sequel2 panel pair is 1450.

I would guess perhaps near 2.5k.

Along with both woofer replacement and labor Total would be near 3.5k.

Not much distance left to reach ESL X sale price.

However I do not know repair and replacement prices accurately.
The Sequel II panels are 8 inches taller and I'd assume wider as well. So there's that to consider.
 

RAH

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If money is a issue. Then repair or replace.

if money is not an issue. Buy ESL X or ESL 9.
 

repman

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Are you accurate when you say sequel2 panel pair is 1450.

I would guess perhaps near 2.5k.

Along with both woofer replacement and labor Total would be near 3.5k.

Not much distance left to reach ESL X sale price.

However I do not know repair and replacement prices accurately.
Hello Larry,

We don't have crossovers but we still stock the power supplies.

We custom build these panels to order here.

They have a lead time of around 20 weeks.

We don’t require any money down, just a go ahead from you to put you on the schedule.

They cost $1,425.00 for the plus around $50 pair shipping and handling.

If you'd like to order them, simply give me your shipping address and a good number to reach you.

I'm attaching instructions on how to replace them.

Once the panels are built, I will contact you for payment.

Thanks,
Ron

Ron
Service Technician
MartinLogan LTD
[email protected]
TEL(Main): (785) 749-0133
Press “2” for Parts and Service
 

Robert D

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Hello Larry,

We don't have crossovers but we still stock the power supplies.

We custom build these panels to order here.

They have a lead time of around 20 weeks.

We don’t require any money down, just a go ahead from you to put you on the schedule.

They cost $1,425.00 for the plus around $50 pair shipping and handling.

If you'd like to order them, simply give me your shipping address and a good number to reach you.

I'm attaching instructions on how to replace them.

Once the panels are built, I will contact you for payment.

Thanks,
Ron

Ron
Service Technician
MartinLogan LTD
[email protected]
TEL(Main): (785) 749-0133
Press “2” for Parts and Service
Thats how Ron got me my new Prodigy panels. Im very happy with my decision to get them and the shipping was done great. They came boxed just like any of their speakers would.
 

RAH

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Larry you were and are accurate.

I admit I was ignorant about sequel2 panel price and therefore my statement was incorrect.

Thanks for clarification.
 

Leporello

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Hi!

Since I always wanted to own a pair of ML and my budget are limited I bought a pair of ML Sequence 2 - fully aware of that they are very old and I didnt have a possibility to listen to them before I bought them.

Of cource when I listen to them, they are not very good. They sound "closed in" and plain boring, not what you would think of a pair of electorstate speakers. My small Dali Helicon 300 runs circles around them when it comes to quality of sound.

Now, my need to brutal honesty - Those of you that has owned generations of ML electrostate speakers(maybe even a pair of Seq2), would you say that Sequence 2 would sound good if they where new today? or has the evolution of speakers left them so far behind that even if I would try to restore them, they would sound pretty lame anyway.

I'm thinking about trying to wash the panels and check for corrosion in the electronics and if that doesnt help (or if the panels break) even buy new panels - but is it worth it or should I just try to sell them?

Im driving them with Krell KAV 3250 so I got power enough I would say.

Best Regards
Patrik
"Closed in" and "Boring" isn't much to go on. The price for a pair of new panels seems reasonable. I spent more than that for a single CLS II panel, which I stupidly damaged by means I won't get into here. But I love the CLS II, better than almost any other speaker, know what they're capable of and the panel was definitely bad--almost as bent out of shape as I was and arced when attempting to bias. Same drill, they told me no need to pony up until it was ready to ship, which seemed generous. You apparently are unfamiliar with, and have never heard, the Sequence 2. Re-paneling is a huge gamble. Maybe you subjectively just don't care for them. Maybe the crossover is too high to create that electrostatic magic for you. But it's hard to see how anyone else's opinion can correlate on a forum.

By all means try low cost or no cost solutions like showering or replacing crossover components. To my mind a panel either works or doesn't. If aging has reduced the conductive coating there should be some *objective* change, like reduced [email protected] meter, capacitance--particularly stator to diaphragm--measurable with capacitance meter and verifiable with ML, etc. Similarly, if a bipolar electrolytic in the crossover is dried out it should be verifiable with an ESR meter.

I'm of the subjectivist opinion that the human ear is a sensitive instrument, easily detecting subtle changes that make formerly magnificent sound into "closed in and boring". But of the objectivist opinion that such changes are ultimately attributable to physical differences, whether or not they are easily measured. Verify before ordering panels. If that's brutally honest, so be it.
Hi!

Since I always wanted to own a pair of ML and my budget are limited I bought a pair of ML Sequence 2 - fully aware of that they are very old and I didnt have a possibility to listen to them before I bought them.

Of cource when I listen to them, they are not very good. They sound "closed in" and plain boring, not what you would think of a pair of electorstate speakers. My small Dali Helicon 300 runs circles around them when it comes to quality of sound.

Now, my need to brutal honesty - Those of you that has owned generations of ML electrostate speakers(maybe even a pair of Seq2), would you say that Sequence 2 would sound good if they where new today? or has the evolution of speakers left them so far behind that even if I would try to restore them, they would sound pretty lame anyway.

I'm thinking about trying to wash the panels and check for corrosion in the electronics and if that doesnt help (or if the panels break) even buy new panels - but is it worth it or should I just try to sell them?

Im driving them with Krell KAV 3250 so I got power enough I would say.

Best Regards
Patrik
If you're unfamiliar with the model, repaneling based on "closed in and boring" is a huge gamble. You may just subjectively not like them. There should be some verifiable objective criterion, like capacitance measurable with a capacitance meter, or SPL at 1 meter measured with a calibration microphone and REW at a given input power, for the people at ML to help you determine if panel aging is an issue. You could measure bias voltage with a high voltage probe (which are plentiful and reasonably priced now that few people are repairing CRT TV's and monitors). If a bipolar electrolytic in the crossover is dried up it can be determined with an ESR meter.

I believe subjective differences are ultimately attributable to physical characteristics, not fairy dust. If you order new panels without determining there is actually something wrong with the old ones you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. If that's brutally honest, so be it.
 
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