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can any home receiver power martin logan electrostatic speakers like source

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rising1000

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I have a home theatre running 5.2.2 svs system with svs pb 3000 dual.
can any receiver power my next purchase?
pair of martin logan source or other small martin logan electrostatic speakers ( used of course)
can the new 8 k denon , marantz, yamaha, run them? or is it just anthem?????
 

JonFo

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On any ESL, an amp that delivers sufficient voltage to the demanding impedance is necessary, which typically means a robust A/B amp that can double its output for every halving of impedance. Class G or H amps (like Anthem or Sunfire) are good choices.
So if pairing with a receiver, make sure you get one that has pre-amp outs. The Denon X3700 is a good choice, as it has all the latest features, enough power for non-ESL speakers, and pre-amp outs for the L/R amp.
Since amps rarely have issues and last for decades (my oldest is 27 years old) so look to the used market for great value amps.
 

spkrdctr

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Any of the high end receivers or amps will easily power your Martin Logans. All you need is a unit that outputs 75 watts or more at 8 ohms and doubles to 150 watts or more at 4 ohms. Any unit making that level of power will EASILY power any Martin Logans. But to get a unit that does this will be more expensive. Cheap receivers will not meet this requirement.
Another good thing that means you have a good unit is THX certification. Last I read, to get that certification the units have to double the watts from 8 to 4 ohms which automatically makes it pass the what I'm telling you. But most THX certified units will be more expensive. Good Luck!
 

Chops

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I wouldn't trust any receiver with ML's or any electrostat for that matter. Their power supplies are weak compared to any decent stand-alone amplifier, and ESL's need a lot more than just power, they need current and they require an amplifier that can easily cope with demanding impedance swings, something no receiver can do, no matter how expensive or powerful it is.

Best bet would be to do like JonFo said, use the pre-outs of the receiver and use a solid stand-alone amp to power the ML's. Even then, you're still stuck dealing with the inferior preamp/DAC section of the receiver, but at least the ML's will be getting what they need.
 

spkrdctr

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There is no question once you get up to 200 watts per channel, the amplifiers easily pass the receivers in power performance. Of course they are priced accordingly. But, for someone not wanting to spend big money, there are some nice receivers that meet the basic requirements of easily powering ML speakers. Also don't forget, VOLUME and ROOM SIZE are huge factors in this too. If you want to play concert level volumes of rock music you will have to use some power and some hearing protection. You could very easily use 100 watts or more on your peaks. But if you are only having peaks in the mid 90 db range you are not stressing the amplifier at all.
The latest most common stress for amplifiers is surround sound 9 to 11 channels. The power supplies are too weak to power all channels at a very loud level. But most people only use a fraction of that power for normal movie listening. So, I agree with your amplifier vs receiver ideas that ultimately the amplifiers will outperform the receivers if high power is needed. BUT many more expensive amps still do not have enough power to justify their price. They rely heavily on dodgy marketing. But at the same time, some companies deliver on the goods. You just have to do your research. We are talking plower only, features are a different issue.
 

spkrdctr

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Doing my quick research on THX and Receivers, I have to say two things. First the THX certification seems to be dying out. They have dropped the doubling down specs as it is too tough for the newer 7 and 9 channel receivers. So forget anything I said about THX meeting the requirements as they do not meet them anymore. Second as I looked for receivers meeting the requirement, I could not find any in my quick search. Again, everything has gone to 7 channels or more and I can't find any receivers that meet the requirement with the quick search I did. So time has passed me by. In the current market, you will be looking at separates. Even then you must verify from the spec sheet that they double down as mentioned. Sadly the expansion of the number of channels has killed the ability of the receiver manufacturers to want to sell them with enough of a power supply to matter.

There are still plenty of receivers that will power the ML speakers but they will not double down. Also you would be talking about the $2000 to $3000 range of receivers. I'm impressed that the power available has gone backwards in the last 5 or more years. Oh well, live and learn!
 

Chops

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Nuri58

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I have used Arcam receivers for 14y the last 10 class g types without any issues. It is more than enough loud both for films and music in a fairly large room.
 

spkrdctr

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Many amps/receivers will power ML speakers just fine. Most people use at most maybe 40 watts per speaker on peaks. I have made some comments lately that referred to the high end gear. My comments were out of date in reference to current gear. But in talking about this we have talked (Chops, Twitter and myself) about the expensive stuff. For guys that want top tier stuff the spec is to double down at 4 ohms. Those units will power most anything as the manufacturer built them to be able to easily work with 4 ohm equipment. Very robust power supplies. But, that is NOT needed for everyday listening. You can power an ML speaker with a 75 watt at 8 ohm receiver and it will work fine at normal listening levels of say 95db and lower. But, if you want to really get serious and turn it up that 75 watt per channel unit that does not double at 4 ohms will crap out quick. What do I mean by crap out? It will go into clipping. It is best to have around 4 times the RMS power you normally use so that you don't have peaks that clip all the time. For example, if you are using lets say 10 watts per channel for watching a movie, then you want your unit to easily handle 40 watts per channel. This will allow the unit to give you decent peaks as required by the movie. But it is all a sliding scale. More power is never bad. Too low and you can have clipping which is very bad for good sound and if clipped long enough, hard enough will kill a woofer. Remember also that this power requirement is a general guideline, not written in stone. For example, I have what I can afford. If I could afford a killer separates system, I'd get one. So when we discuss this stuff you have to know if we talking high end where very high performance is the goal, or are we talking about general stuff affordable to the masses? It does cost money to get really superb high end gear. Many on this site have high end gear and have amazing systems. In other words as I'm sure many on here agree that some answers to questions are "It depends".
 

Chops

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I don't know how many times I have to say this, but it is NOT only about how much power and amplifier can provide. You have to look at the amount of CURRENT the amplifier can provide. I don't care if an amp puts out 1000 watts. If it doesn't have the current to deal with the massive impedance swings, then you might as well be powering those ESL's with a boombox.

If anything, email Nelson Pass or Paul McGowan. They'll happily explain it to you.
 

ttocs

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When I bought my first pair of ML speakers, I already had a Carver amp connected to a Pioneer Elite using pre-outs. For kicks I hooked up the speakers to the Pioneer directly, which had 110 very weak watts per channel (no guts, not enough current). It sounded horrible.

Within a year I replaced the Carver amp (only good enough for apartment volume) with a Krell, then replaced the Pioneer receiver with a Marantz pre-pro - for a few days (even more of a mis-match than the Pioneer) - then finally got a pre-pro that the Krell loved. The point? The Pioneer was weak in amplifier output as well as preamp output, from a volts/amps point of view.
 

roberto

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Hola Chicos,

The behaviour of an electrostatic speaker is a capacitive load. Very good at the bass frequencies, but as soon as the frequency goes up, the impedance comes down like a falling brick. Typically, the impedance at 20 KHz is less than 1 ohm! This represents almost a short circuit for the amp, so in other words, the stat panels are not easy to drive. The amplifier design must tolerate this very difficult to drive frequencies. The good thing is that there are amplifiers well designed that tolerate this very low impedance. Also 20 KHz is almost absent in the recordings. This is the reason why most HT receivers are not too good to drive this capacitive loads.

On the other hand, we have a big speaker with a heart where when it moves, weights less than the air that it moves. Been so light, makes to be so transparent and also lacks of distortion. The sound is astonishing clean. Also the panel is di-polar.

There are good amps out there capable to drive all ML speakers. Just have a listen and choose the ones that your ears like and can afford. There are all prices range with great results. Your dealer can help you with this.

Happy listening!
 

spkrdctr

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Chops, do you have any online info from any of these guys on what their beliefs are on current? I'd like to do some reading and see where they are coming from. Thanks for any help.
 

spkrdctr

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Chops, I checked out PS Audio as I have listened to Paul for quite awhile. His amps are much cheaper and still put out big power. He verified that RMS power ratings are the same across the board. Watts are watts and will deliver the current required to meet the RMS rating. It is Ohms law. Surround receivers are rated at usually 2 channels driven. This might give a cheap unit a 100 watt per channel rating. But when you bring in the other channels for a 5.1 or more system, the 100 watt rating is meaningless and drops down to 75 at best. Probably 50 on the surrounds. This does give them weaker sound when using them for movies. Audioholics tests some and they have found one or two that still pack the power but it is getting VERY rare in a surround receiver.
 
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Nuri58

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Mind you the current fo 20khz is also low. That's why this is not usually a big issue. I had a maranz avr I used when my Arcam 300 was in the shop. This had the issues with loud music/films.

I still think many AVR s are OK for esl. I'll agree to that many 9 to 13 Ch AVRs may fail, but the better 7ch seem to work. I had an audience with Harman which did a poorly as my marantz. But I tried some Denon, NAD and Pioneer all capable but not up to the Arcam sound.
 

BigGuy

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FWIW, I have owned ML e-stats for over 30 years. I and others have found that the Nelson Pass designs are extremely synergistic with the panel speakers. I have owned Threshold SA3 stereo, SA2 monos, SA1.2 monos, Aleph 2 monos, Aleph 1.2 mono, XA150 monos, and currently am using XA60.8 monos. I have tried other amps but IMHO nothing brings out the essence of the electrostatics like the Pass designs. These designs are not inexpensive but deals on used pieces can be had.
My friend Mikey tried it...and liked it (too). (y)
 

Mirolab

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Watts are Watts? Who said that? Maybe they are, but not all watts are created equal. Let's use a car engine analogy (which may be useless to those who don't know anything about engines..... sorry). Take for example, 2 engines.... a 4 cylinder turbo, and a V8. Both are rated 200 horsepower. That's like your 200 watts. It's a power rating. BUT.... the V8 will have much more Torque at low RPMs. In a race, the V8 will get up and go very quickly, but the 4-cylinder will need time to rev up to create that power. When I connect my SL3's to anything less than a "beefy" amp, they sound lifeless, with poor dynamics. I'm am not talking about loud.... but at normal levels, nowhere near clipping. They need an amp with high damping factor AND a high current power supply. Most receivers and integrateds simply don't have that. I've got Brystons (old and new), but a used Parasound A21 would be great bang for the buck.
 

roberto

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Hola Chicos,
I have another analogy for watts. How many ponies are needed to pull what this percheron horse can? Both are horses, right?

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