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Do replacement panels age?

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jazzfish

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I was thinking of buying some replacement panels as spares. Then I wondered if they age. Would a 5 year old set of replacement panels have a more limited lifespan once installed than a new pair?
 

Robert D

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I'm going to guess that they might age slightly, but if you stored them in a cool, dry, and dark space probably not much. If you lay them in a room that was humid with bright sunlight then they would probably age a lot.

Why buy early? Are you worried that ML might stop making them or raise the price more?
 

Steevray

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I know this has been covered many times. But who is is that refurbishes panels?
 

Robert D

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I know this has been covered many times. But who is is that refurbishes panels?
Russknotts@ gmail.com


He used to make his own speakers but has retired from that. He still repairs panels, but be aware that the service takes a good length of time to complete. He had a good number of jobs in line before me when I gave him mine.
 

Minorl

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Do panels age? Very good question. I got new ones for my Monolith IIIs back in 2006 along with new power supplies and I'm using a Krell KBX balanced crossover. I had a problem with my system's sound and was 100% certain that it was due to my panels. So, I ordered new ones early this year. It turned out that it wasn't the speakers that was the problem at all. So, I have new panels that I am storing also.

enjoy
 

Robert D

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Do panels age? Very good question. I got new ones for my Monolith IIIs back in 2006 along with new power supplies and I'm using a Krell KBX balanced crossover. I had a problem with my system's sound and was 100% certain that it was due to my panels. So, I ordered new ones early this year. It turned out that it wasn't the speakers that was the problem at all. So, I have new panels that I am storing also.

enjoy
Did your new panels in 2006 change sound, improve after being used for some time? Was there virtually no change after "breaking them in"? Im curious.
 

JonFo

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Did your new panels in 2006 change sound, improve after being used for some time? Was there virtually no change after "breaking them in"? Im curious.
Like Robert, I also changed my Monolith panels in 2006 (see: Monolith refresh - Panels, woofers and rail stain updates )

And after 14+ years, they still sound excellent. But they are in a bat-cave dedicated room and I have OCD around vacuuming and air-quality (Hepa filter runs for a few hours every night in the room), humidity is controlled by HVAC.
Measurements seem to be about the same as year after installation, so they remain consistent.

For me, there was a noticeable "break-in" period of about a month, but happening mostly in the first week. The lower end improved IIRC.
I wound up re-doing the room correction a couple of times in the first six months as I was tweaking the rig a lot around the also new SL3XC center speaker I built.

Since we are on the subject of old vs new panels, my rear Sequel IIb I bought new in 1993, are still on their original panels. Measuring, they sag pretty heavily on the top-end, but it just happens to align with the Audyssey target curve, so all good.
Maybe next year, I'll buy replacements for them. So a 28 year life-span is not bad.
 

Robert D

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Like Robert, I also changed my Monolith panels in 2006 (see: Monolith refresh - Panels, woofers and rail stain updates )

And after 14+ years, they still sound excellent. But they are in a bat-cave dedicated room and I have OCD around vacuuming and air-quality (Hepa filter runs for a few hours every night in the room), humidity is controlled by HVAC.
Measurements seem to be about the same as year after installation, so they remain consistent.

For me, there was a noticeable "break-in" period of about a month, but happening mostly in the first week. The lower end improved IIRC.
I wound up re-doing the room correction a couple of times in the first six months as I was tweaking the rig a lot around the also new SL3XC center speaker I built.

Since we are on the subject of old vs new panels, my rear Sequel IIb I bought new in 1993, are still on their original panels. Measuring, they sag pretty heavily on the top-end, but it just happens to align with the Audyssey target curve, so all good.
Maybe next year, I'll buy replacements for them. So a 28 year life-span is not bad.
Yeah, 28 years is good. I dont know how the previous owner had his Prodigies placed, except that when I picked them up from his house they were in a room with a lot of sunlight. They are 20 years old now and just seemed to have lost volume mostly. Without the Audyssey on the woofers overpowered the panels. Apparently the audyssey must tone down the bass since the panels were down in volume because they sounded balance with it turned on. So mine being 20 years old seems they needed work.

I wonder what hurts them more, sunlight or heat ? We have a room that doesnt get a lot of sunlight now and central air with dehumidifer. I will see how my speakers' sound changes the first month after they come back from refurbishment.
 

18000rpm

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I had Russ rebuild the panels for my Aeon i and Summits.

I have 3 pairs of MLs: Prodigies, Aeon i and Summits. Had all for close to 10 years. The Prodigies were bought used from the local dealer with new panels, the other two were bought new. I live in Singapore (tropics, high humidity) so after 6-8 years all the panels were unlistenable.

I replaced the Prodigy panels with brand new ones from ML and they sound perfect as expected. These are my main speakers.

ML is charging too much for panel replacements so I didn't replace the Aeon i and Summits.

Then I found Russ who rebuilds them for a very reasonable price so I gave that a shot.

Here's a quick review:

The rebuild took about a month longer than expected which is not a big deal.

The rebuilt panels are okay but not perfect. They have lost a few db which isn't a big deal on its own, but the big problem is they no longer blend perfectly with the woofers. If you have an equalizer that can help somewhat.

Also Russ had a lot of problem with the Summit panels due to a different and much thinner adhesive ML uses for the newer speakers. My replacement Summit panel no longer fits inside the grooves on the top and bottom that it's meant to slot into. I managed to have the speaker reassembled without the panels being in the groove but it's a bit of a hack. Since it's for my secondary system I'm ok with that for now.

For older ML models I think it's worth doing this, but not for the Summit-and-newer models where the panel needs to slot into aluminum frames on all 4 sides.

Overall I'd say the panels are maybe 70-80% of new panels, for about 15% of the cost. Since I can't justify spending $5K for brand new panels for my surround speakers and my secondary system, I'm happy with the outcome. At least they are all useable now. I use REW and EqualizerAPO which allows me to tune the audio level exactly which also helps.
 

Robert D

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Robert, please let us know when you get the panels back how they sound!
Well, Russ was ready to begin work on them but gave me a call yesterday. Apparently on some Prodigy panels ML used double sided tape going horizontally across the mylar, all through the entire panel. The older MLs didnt have the adhesive all the way across. He said that it would be extremely difficult to separate the stator panels because of this and he couldnt guarantee that the mylar would not rip. He can repair the rip but it wouldnt be like new.

He tested my panels and they are down 6 to 8 db on one panel and the other is worse with another 3 to 4 db more. So they are worn out. 20 years old. No wonder my Aragon amp was having to work so hard to drive them. I hope that I did not prematurely age it by doing that for a few years. It never had problems. I have added a picture of the readout he got from my panels.
ML Prodigy Rob drop off Screen Shot[771].png


So since it was going to be such a mess getting the panels apart we elected to not do it. So Russ is mailing them back to me and I ordered new panels from ML. Ron is there now and handling everything. He is the only person in parts and service now. He has been extremely fast and responsive through email, and so I am very happy with that! It is going to probably be at least another 14 weeks until I get my new panels and hopefully i dont have any issues getting them to fit nicely.

I will have been without my Martin Logans for 6 months then, half a year. I am "Jonesing already". My 25 year old Definitive DR7s will have to do.
 

Mirolab

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Thank you!..... I've been waiting to hear an honest assessment of Russ's panels. No slight to Russ, but I somewhat suspected that his special re-coating is not only darker (in color) than M-L's, but it's thicker maybe, and therefore sounds different than the original diaphragm? I've been wanting to rebuild my SL3's. Washing the panels helped a lot.... They are listenable now, but I'm looking for true restoration, so I think i'll pull the trigger on new panels from M-L.
 

Robert D

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Thank you!..... I've been waiting to hear an honest assessment of Russ's panels. No slight to Russ, but I somewhat suspected that his special re-coating is not only darker (in color) than M-L's, but it's thicker maybe, and therefore sounds different than the original diaphragm? I've been wanting to rebuild my SL3's. Washing the panels helped a lot.... They are listenable now, but I'm looking for true restoration, so I think i'll pull the trigger on new panels from M-L.
He told me that he can usually get them to about 90 to 95% the same db level. Overall sound is going to be subjective. He did tell me that they sound a little less analytical and warmer. He compared them to sounding similar to Quads.
 

Lightloopy

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Looks like they will be busy over at ML -I have a pair of CLS panels on order too.

ML withdrawal - it's like that car "...there is no substitute"
 

Robert D

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Looks like they will be busy over at ML -I have a pair of CLS panels on order too.

ML withdrawal - it's like that car "...there is no substitute"
LOL! Ive got a Porsche 911 turbo that is just sitting in the garage, i dont even drive it now since the covid hit. I miss my Martin Logans!!!
 
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