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Big Dog RJ

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G'day maties, trust you all are enjoying those fine tunes! Apart from tunes, the NRL (Rugby league) qualifying sessions are on, and there are some pretty big hits! Heavy shoulder tackles that you can virtually feel even though watching on TV! My former game but way too old now, lots of aches & pains...

Speaking of big hits; recently I helped a chap to set up his ESL 11A's. A very similar brightness and thinness to the sound was quite apparent. These were not brand new, and have over 1000hrs on them, so that initial break-in period is well completed, which is crucial if the stats are new.

So we checked the room, a few adjustments were made to the rear and far right, such that we moved the 11A's further out towards the listening space and created a slightly larger space behind the panels for them to breathe. The far right of his room has a drop to a lower floor, so the right side wall ends bit short... like a fin. Therefore, I made sure the right ESL at least had some reinforced side wall just before the stairs dropped.

The source was fine, PS Audio DAC plus streamer going into a NAD integrated. Also had a simple TT rig using a Rega Aria-2 phonostage, which was quite good. The Aria was my previous phono-preamp, before I started getting into ARC & CJ phonostages. So no issues there... but that brightness and thinness was quite apparent.

Just for trials, I changed out the NAD, and we placed an old Forte power amp using the NAD as a preamp. Oh! There it is! What a difference that power amp makes.
Basically, narrowing down to the NAD integrated, it just didn't have adequate current to drive the 11A's stats properly. Current alone is also not enough, at the same time the main amplfier must have highly stable voltage in order to grip the stats optimally. That combination of high current and stable voltage is what drives and controls stats properly.

Most integrateds and receivers will not be up to par, regardless of specs, they're just not designed to handle stats, it's a totally different twist compared to conventional speakers. Most integrated amps will have specs rated at either 8 Ohms or 6 Ohms, they can't handle impedence loads below that, and definitely not less than 4 Ohms. Stats are "reactive loads" they change impedence swing according to sound frequency and this can vary anywhere between 22 Ohms to suddenly 0.7 Ohms in a blink of an eye! That drop/ swing is less than 1 Ohm and this maties is what causes many amplfiers to crap themselves. Many people fail to realise this.

Anyway, brightness gone, thinness gone, no harshness or grainy sound... just good clean solid music, with full dynamics and blistering transients, just like how ML ESL's should sound. He ended up getting a Plinius integrated, and boy did that big fella drive it!

The Plinius 9200 integrated, it's not just an ordinary integrated amplifier and it's definitely not a receiver! It's a power house with finesse! I very highly recommend it for anyone considering integrateds with their ML hybrids.

Of course, others like the Pass Labs INT60 or INT120 are available and the ones from Luxman are really capable, and quite a few others that can really handle impedence swings of stats. The Plinius amplfiers are just extraordinary performance and their ability to fully grip stats is something else!

Cheers, RJ
 

Big Dog RJ

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Back in the day, when we took delivery of the mighty Apogee Diva's, the standard in amplification at that time were: Krell, Pass Labs, Classe, Bryston, McIntosh, VTL, ARC and Conrad johnson. Then we tried various other kinds that looked just about passable on specs but fell short driving stats at that time, such as SL3's, Aries, Monolith's, CLS-IIz's and Quads. Certain Mac amps struggled with Maggie's... and nearly all integrateds or receivers just didn't have adequate power supplies, their specs fell short of anything after 8 Ohms, just couldn't handle anything less than 8 Ohms... and a majority of them fused out.

Then one of our dealers brought in these huge monsters, it took three of us to carry each monoblock into the room and set up. Rated at pure Class A upto 800w of raw power into 2 Ohms, I asked the guy what the hell are these...?
Threshold SA/12E monoblocks Stasis- designed by Nelson Pass. Oh wow! A pair of these things could launch the next NASA space mission! After that day, those Threshold amplifiers became the reference standard for driving stats, and most of our Class AB tube amplifiers that had a very high Class A bias, such as Audio Research & Conrad johnson could easily drive stats full range.

We learnt an awful lot after living with those Thresholds for a few years, and it made most amplifiers look like toys even to this day!

So, basically if your main amplifier doesn't have a RMS power rating of anything less than 6 Ohms, it basically means it's not designed to drive stats or reactive loads. If it has a rms power rating that can handle 4 Ohms or less, even better! If not, might as well just stick with conventional speakers and you'll be fine.

Woof! RJ
 
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Big Dog RJ

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Yes, the Stasis SA/12E would be up for sale by now... after nearly 30yrs due to the following reasons:
1. They're not that easy to install in average rooms, requires specific AC mains connections.
2. They're not very efficient in terms of electricity usage plus heat, takes a few hours to get going.
3. The person selling most probably has a hernia! Probably two hernias...

After living with these for a few years we learned an awful lot about power amplifier design and real Class A topology. When first connected, it tripped the damn CB's due to a large surge in initial current draw. Once the voltage stabilises then the massive trannies take care of the rest. So we had to wire two separate CB's dedicated on 20A mains just for these monoblocks.

Also their power supplies taught us a lot about power supply design. We got in touch with Nelson P at the time, and he told us all about them... how to differentiate between Class A, Class AB and pure Class A. Also learned about trannies and the differences between large toroids, EI-Core and where each type of tranny is more suited to which type of application. For example, toroids are more suited in SS designs, whereas EI-Core trannies are more suited in Class A tube designs. Nelson sure knew what he was talking about and he was really passionate in all his designs. Nearly 20 years after, I got in touch with him again, and he still talks about them! NP helped me to gain some insight into modding my CJ monoblocks to 60w Class A, which was possible with the KT120 tubes. Of course it was done by a certified tech but took over two years to complete, and the way it grips the CLX's triple stators and reproduces bass is just extraordinary!

We also learned that just by picking up an amplifier, we could tell if it was a well designed power supply or not. Those that have weight and heft are the ones to go for, also the trannies, main storage caps, active output devices, heat-sinks and resistors all make a significant difference in overall power supply design. That's why when such designs are up against reactive loads, such as stats, they have no issues. Another amp that had that sort of real muscle and grip were the pure Class A Krells. One of a kind in design and were highly inefficient but still able to drive any load. NP used to admire them but now with his latest and greatest Pass Labs gear, such as the XA and S series amplifiers, they're in class of their own. They're far superior to these Thresholds.

But, he still talks about the Stasis 12E's! And those things drove our Apogee's and Infinity's so effortlessly, it wasn't even funny. Later on I sold them off to take delivery of CJ's much larger Premier series tube amplifiers, and that's about when I started getting seriously into tubes. They just love to drive stats full range!

Cheers matey, and enjoy those fine tunes!
RJ
 

BigGuy

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Yes, the Stasis SA/12E would be up for sale by now... after nearly 30yrs due to the following reasons:
1. They're not that easy to install in average rooms, requires specific AC mains connections.
2. They're not very efficient in terms of electricity usage plus heat, takes a few hours to get going.
3. The person selling most probably has a hernia! Probably two hernias...

After living with these for a few years we learned an awful lot about power amplifier design and real Class A topology. When first connected, it tripped the damn CB's due to a large surge in initial current draw. Once the voltage stabilises then the massive trannies take care of the rest. So we had to wire two separate CB's dedicated on 20A mains just for these monoblocks.

Also their power supplies taught us a lot about power supply design. We got in touch with Nelson P at the time, and he told us all about them... how to differentiate between Class A, Class AB and pure Class A. Also learned about trannies and the differences between large toroids, EI-Core and where each type of tranny is more suited to which type of application. For example, toroids are more suited in SS designs, whereas EI-Core trannies are more suited in Class A tube designs. Nelson sure knew what he was talking about and he was really passionate in all his designs. Nearly 20 years after, I got in touch with him again, and he still talks about them! NP helped me to gain some insight into modding my CJ monoblocks to 60w Class A, which was possible with the KT120 tubes. Of course it was done by a certified tech but took over two years to complete, and the way it grips the CLX's triple stators and reproduces bass is just extraordinary!

We also learned that just by picking up an amplifier, we could tell if it was a well designed power supply or not. Those that have weight and heft are the ones to go for, also the trannies, main storage caps, active output devices, heat-sinks and resistors all make a significant difference in overall power supply design. That's why when such designs are up against reactive loads, such as stats, they have no issues. Another amp that had that sort of real muscle and grip were the pure Class A Krells. One of a kind in design and were highly inefficient but still able to drive any load. NP used to admire them but now with his latest and greatest Pass Labs gear, such as the XA and S series amplifiers, they're in class of their own. They're far superior to these Thresholds.

But, he still talks about the Stasis 12E's! And those things drove our Apogee's and Infinity's so effortlessly, it wasn't even funny. Later on I sold them off to take delivery of CJ's much larger Premier series tube amplifiers, and that's about when I started getting seriously into tubes. They just love to drive stats full range!

Cheers matey, and enjoy those fine tunes!
RJ
One of the most amazing demonstrations was at a New York Audio show many years ago.
Speakers were the Martin Logan Statements but not sure which iteration.
System was powered by two stacks of SA12E amps...IIRC 8 or 10 total.
Demo track was a Nagra digital tape recording of a thunderstorm which had a thunderclap which literally shook the room if not the building itself!
Incredible power...not only of Mother Nature but also the M-L/Pass combination!
 
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Big Dog RJ

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Yes! That would be just about right! If that was after the year 2004/05 then these would have been the Statements Evo-II's. Supreme reference indeed! A very good mate of mine has these in Spore, driven by a full array of Dan D's Relentless monoblocks, another level of performance thunder!

If I had the opportunity to hold onto the SA/12E monoblocks I certainly would have. Apart from that sheer brute force and full grip on any speakers, it didn't quite have the harmonic texture of tubes, and that's when I ordered in CJ's and VTL top of line monoblocks. Very capable of driving Apogee's full range and beautiful musicality.

Fast forward nearly 3 decades, and now Pass Labs has the XA series, which are truly awesome, plus power with finesse. Nelson P has come a long way since those Stasis monsters but if you ever get a chance to speak with him, he'll always talk about them. The Stasis amplifiers set the reference standard in Class A design, and it was a radical design.

I highly recommend anyone with amplifiers that can be modded to a higher Class A bias to do so. The performance in Class A is just extraordinary, and this is the kind of topology that works extremely well with ML stats.
Integrateds and Receivers are not up to par... hence the brightness and thinness in sound. It will play tunes but they just can't drive stats effectively. OTOH There are certain integrateds that can, and if you take a closer look at their power supplies, you'll be able to determine that straight away. They will also have power rating specs from 8 Ohms to 4 Ohms, and this merely means they're pretty good! Anything rated down to 2 Ohms is even better, and this is where the real current and high voltage drive kicks in.

Modding that voltage and current sections in the power supply to a higher Class A bias operation is the key. And thanks to Nelson P, my CJ's are driving the CLX's effortlessly! Couldn't be any happier.

Cheers, maties and enjoy those fine tunes!
Woof! RJ
 
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G'day maties, trust you all are enjoying those fine tunes! Apart from tunes, the NRL (Rugby league) qualifying sessions are on, and there are some pretty big hits! Heavy shoulder tackles that you can virtually feel even though watching on TV! My former game but way too old now, lots of aches & pains...

Speaking of big hits; recently I helped a chap to set up his ESL 11A's. A very similar brightness and thinness to the sound was quite apparent. These were not brand new, and have over 1000hrs on them, so that initial break-in period is well completed, which is crucial if the stats are new.

So we checked the room, a few adjustments were made to the rear and far right, such that we moved the 11A's further out towards the listening space and created a slightly larger space behind the panels for them to breathe. The far right of his room has a drop to a lower floor, so the right side wall ends bit short... like a fin. Therefore, I made sure the right ESL at least had some reinforced side wall just before the stairs dropped.

The source was fine, PS Audio DAC plus streamer going into a NAD integrated. Also had a simple TT rig using a Rega Aria-2 phonostage, which was quite good. The Aria was my previous phono-preamp, before I started getting into ARC & CJ phonostages. So no issues there... but that brightness and thinness was quite apparent.

Just for trials, I changed out the NAD, and we placed an old Forte power amp using the NAD as a preamp. Oh! There it is! What a difference that power amp makes.
Basically, narrowing down to the NAD integrated, it just didn't have adequate current to drive the 11A's stats properly. Current alone is also not enough, at the same time the main amplfier must have highly stable voltage in order to grip the stats optimally. That combination of high current and stable voltage is what drives and controls stats properly.

Most integrateds and receivers will not be up to par, regardless of specs, they're just not designed to handle stats, it's a totally different twist compared to conventional speakers. Most integrated amps will have specs rated at either 8 Ohms or 6 Ohms, they can't handle impedence loads below that, and definitely not less than 4 Ohms. Stats are "reactive loads" they change impedence swing according to sound frequency and this can vary anywhere between 22 Ohms to suddenly 0.7 Ohms in a blink of an eye! That drop/ swing is less than 1 Ohm and this maties is what causes many amplfiers to crap themselves. Many people fail to realise this.

Anyway, brightness gone, thinness gone, no harshness or grainy sound... just good clean solid music, with full dynamics and blistering transients, just like how ML ESL's should sound. He ended up getting a Plinius integrated, and boy did that big fella drive it!

The Plinius 9200 integrated, it's not just an ordinary integrated amplifier and it's definitely not a receiver! It's a power house with finesse! I very highly recommend it for anyone considering integrateds with their ML hybrids.

Of course, others like the Pass Labs INT60 or INT120 are available and the ones from Luxman are really capable, and quite a few others that can really handle impedence swings of stats. The Plinius amplfiers are just extraordinary performance and their ability to fully grip stats is something else!

Cheers, RJ
Thanks Big Dog.
I have applied some room treatment, made some speaker placement changes and applied some base volume adjustments at the back of the ESL11A. None of that made much difference. I have ordered the ML ARC kit and will try it out when it arrives.
After burning in the ESL11A for about 100 hours, the high frequency brightness have subdue slightly but the thinness of the mid-range is still very pronounced compared with my Focal Aria 936 speakers which are less than 1/3 the price at US$6,000.
I am currently driving the ESL11A with a NuPrimce ST-10 Class D power amplifier rated at 150W x 2 at 8 Ohms and 150W x 2 @ 4 Ohms and. My suspicion is that this particular Class D amp is not a very good match with the ELS11A.
Given the ELS11A has a retail price of US$12,000 a pair, what price range would you target with respect to the choice of a class A or class A/B power amplifier?
I am not experienced in high end audio. The most expensive amplification equipment I have bought so far is a US$3,000 Denon AV Receiver and the US$1,700 NuPrime ST-10 power amplifier mentioned above.
My concern is that the more Hi-Fi I go, the more money I will spend on equipment that are difficult to match and sound good together. Matching has not been an issue in Mid-Fi.
Thanks.
 
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Tmort

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It’s telling that your amp has the same rating at 4 ohms, as 8. A good amp would be roughly double its 8 ohm rating at 4 ohms. My Anthem amp for instance is 225w at 8 ohms, but 400 at 4 ohms and 600 at 2 ohms. That amp is $2,300, and does a great job with my classic 9’s.
Don’t get too hung up on how much you spend, although obviously a speaker the price of the 11A is deserving of a great amp, but get the right gear, don’t get hung up on spending $X on the gear….that said, it shouldn’t be bargain gear for certain.
 

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@Mystic Dragon As mentioned previously, you don't have to get "the ultimate amp". Just a good, solid one. You can spend $1,500 (US that is) on a 2nd hand Bryston, Anthem, Krell, or you could spend 10's of $1000's... and the funny thing is, you might prefer the sound of a 20-year old beat-up Bryston/Anthem to something really esoteric (tho' your wallet WILL tell you that the $15,000 amp sounds WAY better!). If your system is causing you physical pain, I would suggest the following: Find any local Hi-Fi dealers (or repair shops, if they still exist) that have a good reputation. Not for being expensive, but for being good! Ask them if (a) they have any solid older amps that can handle pushing minimum 300W into 2 Ohm loads. (b) if not, ask them if they service equipment like that, and if so, which brands. Then try find something they can check out for you & service.
You will plug the line level outputs of your mail speaker outs from the Denon into the input for the power amp. Listen to it for a while.
If it sounds as good as "it should" (very subjective)...
...discover nuances in music you thought you knew, open a nice bottle of wine, sit back & enjoy!
 

Big Dog RJ

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Yes, the Anthem is another one that will drive ESL's quite well. Their power supplies are up to par and can handle reactive loads, which is typical of stats. BTW Anthem is the parent company of ML made in Canada, so they won't disappoint!

Attn. Mystic Dragon
When it comes to Class D, it gets a bit tricky. On every ML ESL hybrid, they have Class D amplifiers built-in to drive the woofers. Since they're powered bass drivers, all they require is stable speed to match the speed of the stats panel, which is extremely difficult to obtain. The speed of the stats operate at such high levels, there's no powered bass drivers that can keep up, not even subs.

However, ML has managed to incorporate some unique Class D amplification that enables high speed switching, and this is what contributes to a more seamless bass to stat panel integration. Back in the day this integration was not that great, and you could tell there were gaps in frequency response when transitioning from bass to stat panels. However, now ML has pretty much near-perfected this integration quite well, and the partnership between bass drivers and stat panels is on a different level.

So, having Class D amps in that section is fine but driving the stat panels with Class D is not as easy. There are only a handful of Class D amps that I've tried that can drive stats quite well, Divialet amps and Jeff Rowland. The Divialet sound is decent but many don't like it. It's a bit artificial but that can be cured by carefully choosing the right source gear to match. Whereas the Jeff Rowland gear is great! Any of their latest amplifiers will drive ML hybrids really well, and it was smooth, effortless and musical at the same time, really good. The new Jeff Rowland gear is quite pricey but well worth the investment if you are keen on Class D.

Cheers, RJ
 

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Some nice reading:

Here's a link to an Anthem reseller/distributor in Oz. As mentioned above, the parent company (Paradigm) of Anthem bought ML almost 2 decades ago. It will work, be musical, and probably cost #2,500 - AU$3,000. Anthem MCA225 Gen 2 2-Channel 225W Power Amplifier

Best of luck

Russ
 

msimanyi

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I am currently driving the ELS11A with a NuPrimce ST-10 Class D power amplifier rated at 150W x 2 at 8 Ohms and 150W x 2 @ 4 Ohms and. My suspicion is that this particular Class D amp is not a very good match with the ELS11A.
I think you're likely correct, and I think the other advice to you on amps is solid.

I will add that the 11A drops to .6 ohms at 20 kHz, so you really do want an amp that's stable into 2 ohm and ideally doubles power from 8 ohms down to 4 ohms.
 

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Just my 2 cents...
A number of articles I have read suggest that ESLs perform better with amps that can supply current well rather than just watts. I firmly believe that this is why even the lower powered Pass amps, e.g., 60 watt, do so well with Martin Logans.
 

msimanyi

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Just my 2 cents...
A number of articles I have read suggest that ESLs perform better with amps that can supply current well rather than just watts. I firmly believe that this is why even the lower powered Pass amps, e.g., 60 watt, do so well with Martin Logans.
I've even read that quality 30 watt amps are fine with the powered MLs. My initial plan a couple years ago was to eventually upgrade to 11As or 13As, and get a CODA or Pass Labs amp good for 30 or 60 watts.

My plans changed, but an amp capable of the current doesn't need huge watt ratings to deliver great sound on these.

Edited to add: the changed plans expanded my home theater use, so I have a mix of amps from Odyssey Audio (Kismet monoblocks, upgraded, but using the basic case), PS Audio M1200s, and Schitt Vidar for surround and rear duty. And I added streaming, so a Grimm MU1 as well as a Wyred4Sound 10th anniversary DAC are also in my home system now.

I also have some 15As being delivered on the 12th…
 
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Big Dog RJ

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That's correct 110% ! Watts / power means nothing. I've tried so many different amplifiers that were rated at 100s of watts, some in the range of 300w/ch in excess... but when it came to driving Maggie's and Quads at the time, none of them were successful. Only a handful were able to handle the impedence swing and a further few were able to hold real high current along with stable voltage. This is what drives stats efficiently and power is only secondary. And to mention Apogee's, only a very few could really handle these well. Most of the others just shut down...

Speaking of which, last Wednesday I was at my ML dealers place demoing the new Masterpiece line on some new gear he's brought in. This time round, we demoed the ESL 11A's with a top tier Vitus Class A amplifier, Oh my! What a superb performance! It was outstanding! Then the 13A's and they were more transparent thanks to a larger stat panel and larger bass drivers.

However, what we realised is that this new Masterpiece series is unlike any thing we've both experienced with the previous Reserve line, such that in the Reserve line, nearly every model was quite different. As you went up the chain from the Theos to the Summit-X, there were significant differences.

With the Masterpiece series, every powered model (11A, 13A & 15A) has that classic Masterpiece signature sound. It's at the highest level of Fidelity & transparency and each model seems to suit a particular room size. So, if you have average to large rooms, the 11A is more than adequate. If you have larger rooms, the 13A's would suit better and for very large rooms, either the 15A's or Neolith's would suit best. The Classic 9 is quite special though, it seems to have all the virtues of the other ESL's plus a choice for the owner to use their own amplifiers to power LF. Of course the classic 9 is meant for small to average sized rooms.

Anyway, one thing we both learned from that demo and I've been emphasising this over & over again, drive this new Masterpiece line with top tier gear, and you will be supremely rewarded! Drive them with mediocre gear and that's exactly what you're going to get!

Cheers, RJ
 
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Some nice reading:

Here's a link to an Anthem reseller/distributor in Oz. As mentioned above, the parent company (Paradigm) of Anthem bought ML almost 2 decades ago. It will work, be musical, and probably cost #2,500 - AU$3,000. Anthem MCA225 Gen 2 2-Channel 225W Power Amplifier

Best of luck

Russ
Thanks Russ
 
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That's correct 110% ! Watts / power means nothing. I've tried so many different amplifiers that were rated at 100s of watts, some in the range of 300w/ch in excess... but when it came to driving Maggie's and Quads at the time, none of them were successful. Only a handful were able to handle the impedence swing and a further few were able to hold real high current along with stable voltage. This is what drives stats efficiently and power is only secondary. And to mention Apogee's, only a very few could really handle these well. Most of the others just shut down...

Speaking of which, last Wednesday I was at my ML dealers place demoing the new Masterpiece line on some new gear he's brought in. This time round, we demoed the ESL 11A's with a top tier Vitus Class A amplifier, Oh my! What a superb performance! It was outstanding! Then the 13A's and they were more transparent thanks to a larger stat panel and larger bass drivers.

However, what we realised is that this new Masterpiece series is unlike any thing we've both experienced with the previous Reserve line, such that in the Reserve line, nearly every model was quite different. As you went up the chain from the Theos to the Summit-X, there were significant differences.

With the Masterpiece series, every powered model (11A, 13A & 15A) has that classic Masterpiece signature sound. It's at the highest level of Fidelity & transparency and each model seems to suit a particular room size. So, if you have average to large rooms, the 11A is more than adequate. If you have larger rooms, the 13A's would suit better and for very large rooms, either the 15A's or Neolith's would suit best. The Classic 9 is quite special though, it seems to have all the virtues of the other ESL's plus a choice for the owner to use their own amplifiers to power LF. Of course the classic 9 is meant for small to average sized rooms.

Anyway, one thing we both learned from that demo and I've been emphasising this over & over again, drive this new Masterpiece line with top tier gear, and you will be supremely rewarded! Drive them with mediocre gear and that's exactly what you're going to get!

Cheers, RJ
I have also listened to Vitus amp paring with ESL13A and ESL11A (at Class A Audio in Melbourne). The Vitus amp really demonstrated the great potential that the ESL speakers actually have. I heard significant step improvements in sound as the quality of the amplifiers were uplifted from Anthem STR, Accuphase E280, Audia Flight FLS10 to the big Vitus. Setting up the ELS optimally to realize its full potential is a bit of a journey.
I have started to play music using a CD player rather than a streamer. The ESL sounded much smoother and richer with CDs. I think the ESL is so revealing that any material change in the upstream audio chain will result in a very notable difference in sound.
 

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Lots of talk about amps, so I figured it would be helpful if more folks would read this very enlightening paper on Amps for use with ESLs written by an ESL designer: Sanders Sound Systems - ESL Amp White Paper

I can attest to the fact his amps work, as I punish my Sanders ESL amp with a direct connection (no passive XO) to MartinLogans largest ESL panel, and it drives it beautifully at any level.
 

msimanyi

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Lots of talk about amps, so I figured it would be helpful if more folks would read this very enlightening paper on Amps for use with ESLs written by an ESL designer: Sanders Sound Systems - ESL Amp White Paper

I can attest to the fact his amps work, as I punish my Sanders ESL amp with a direct connection (no passive XO) to MartinLogans largest ESL panel, and it drives it beautifully at any level.
Thanks for linking that. It’s a good read.

Does anyone understand how Sanders’ amps avoid the inefficiency of what I’ll call “waste heat”?
 

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Does anyone understand how Sanders’ amps avoid the inefficiency of what I’ll call “waste heat”?
Like any class A/B amp, it does have some waste heat, but very little of it. The doc is not kidding when it states it runs cool to the touch (when idling). Even after a few hours of heavy use (action movie), it is barely warm.

I believe they run with a high class-A bias, so the first watt or two is sourced in class-A mode. But they maintain efficiency (and stability) by using ThermalTrack transistors, so they are always in their ideal operating temp.
 
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