EM-ESL upgrade to ESL-Classic 9’s

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Tmort

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Considering upgrading to the ESL-9, I’ve a small room and the ESL’s do a very nice job, but you understand the addiction…
I listened to a pair of ESL-9’s at a Magnolia center and they were pretty impressive.
I’ve an Anthem MCA 225 mk 2 amp so plenty of power to run them.
what are peoples impressions of the classic 9’s especially if they moved up to them from the ESL or older panels?
 

RAH

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Four flaws in STR integrated due to which not recommend this amp. First, remote buttons sometimes function first time other time need to press 2 or 3 times. Second, forced to rely solely on whimsical remote because the enter or select button on unit does not function at all. Third, from day one, 4 rca inputs and one usb input produced subdued sonics. Over much time Improvement took place. However I have used XLR analogue input intermittently for approx. 3 to 4 months and the sonics improved somewhat but still subdued and not close to USB level. Does not seem to me further improvement will take place. If I increase signal strength I loose transparency. Fourth, screws keeping the metal case in place are of very low quality. When opening or closing screws their soft metal grooves get wiped out. STR integrated not recommended by me.

In addition to Anthem integrated I listen to Anthem MCA 225 generation 1. First, This amp sonics are great and very good value for money spent. The sonics are great when I connect mca 225 directly to new hp desktop. Cable i use is inexpensive stereo xlr to single 3.5 mm jack. I use software volume control. Second, i have used for greater than five years and not once require repair. I service mca 225 once a year by removing accumulated dust from inside the amp.

I listen to Audirvana radio. While listening to radio Scalla on two separate occasions I had the Extreme good fortune of listening to full potential of ELS 9. The els panel created delicate, airy, very clear, transparent and 3 dimensional sound. ELS 9 give you a taste of true high end if all the required conditions are met. From the point of view of audio hardware everything was working perfect. And the internet radio signal of a excellent true high end recording was not compromised. Hence I got a taste of sonic heaven. I must mention in slightly over three years I have experienced true high end only on six or seven occasions.

I prefer the sound of only panel ELS. Not hybrid like ELS 9. Prior to purchasing els 9 I strongly recommend listening to Magneplanar 3.7i . Both are similarly priced. If you audition magneplanar 3.7i you may ask the dealer whether Anthem power amp will match with them.

ELS 9 overall presentation, my opinion, gives too much weight to low frequencies. In other words, to compensate for twin woofers, wish the panel surface area larger by multiple of 3.
 

Tmort

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Unfortunately we have cats, they see Maggie’s as giant scratching posts! So not really an option. I did look at them initially but ruled out due to cat damage gear which the salesman agreed was a very real possibility.
my amp is just that, not an integrated amp.
I’ve got XLR balanced connections to NAD C658 preamp.
the ESL 9’s did have very strong bass, but I didn’t feel it overwhelming. The panels sounded very strong in relationship to the bass.
 

Reverb

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Welcome to the forum. I'd love to see your setup. Got some photos?
 

MisterB

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Ah yes, I understand the addiction well… I don’t have experience with the ESL-9, but I did move from the ESL X to the Impression 11A and it was a huge increase in sound quality. All the speakers in the Masterpiece line step up the quality quite a bit over the ElectroMotion line. The only drawback of the 9’s is that they do not have the powered subwoofer module with ARC like the rest of the Masterpiece line. Comparing my old ESL X’s to the 11A’s, that makes a substantial difference in integration of the panel and woofer and overall bass quality, in my opinion. I also have a small room in a not ideal L-shaped layout. 11 1/2 feet wide, 20 feet at its deepest, 14 feet at its shallowest. The 11A’s fit nicely. With my X’s, I needed a subwoofer to really round out the sound. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything with the powered dual 8” woofers on the 11A’s. I know the difference in price between the Classic 9’s and the Impression 11A’s is not trivial, but my advice would be to also give them a listen and evaluate if you can fit them into your space.
 

Tmort

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Ah yes, I understand the addiction well… I don’t have experience with the ESL-9, but I did move from the ESL X to the Impression 11A and it was a huge increase in sound quality. All the speakers in the Masterpiece line step up the quality quite a bit over the ElectroMotion line. The only drawback of the 9’s is that they do not have the powered subwoofer module with ARC like the rest of the Masterpiece line. Comparing my old ESL X’s to the 11A’s, that makes a substantial difference in integration of the panel and woofer and overall bass quality, in my opinion. I also have a small room in a not ideal L-shaped layout. 11 1/2 feet wide, 20 feet at its deepest, 14 feet at its shallowest. The 11A’s fit nicely. With my X’s, I needed a subwoofer to really round out the sound. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything with the powered dual 8” woofers on the 11A’s. I know the difference in price between the Classic 9’s and the Impression 11A’s is not trivial, but my advice would be to also give them a listen and evaluate if you can fit them into your space.
Yeah I’m dealing with a standard size bedroom as my music space and it’s diminished in footprint by a Murphy bed that extends almost two feet into the room, so really the classic 9’s are pushing it space wise. Also from a price point, I can find a used set of 9’s for a digestible price, the 11A’s while awesome are pretty much double that….maybe down the road but likely only if “the music space” grew in dimensions.
 

barjohn

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I made that transition and the ESL 9s are a big step up from the Ems. The center imaging is so good I often thought my center channel speaker was on when my source was 2 channel and I would have to walk up and put my ear to it to realize it was only the two ESL 9s playing. I only sold mine because my wife did not like their size and space requirements.
 

Ishaansuri

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Considering upgrading to the ESL-9, I’ve a small room and the ESL’s do a very nice job, but you understand the addiction…
I listened to a pair of ESL-9’s at a Magnolia center and they were pretty impressive.
I’ve an Anthem MCA 225 mk 2 amp so plenty of power to run them.
what are peoples impressions of the classic 9’s especially if they moved up to them from the ESL or older panels?
Hey they are fantastic. I have a pair since the last year. Over the esl series the masterpiece just take it to the next level in terms of true hifi. They are delicate and precise. Their center imaging and sound stage is phenomenal. No complaints but would need at least 1 sub in the room just setup right on the XO and levels to just about gently invisibly fill in some of the very low frequencies. I have powered the esl9s with a pair of mcintosh mc301 monoblocks and I have a intimate listening setup in a room where the listening position is a nice almost equilateral triangle at around 3.2meters. They freak me out with the center imaging and I have pulled them as forward as I can possibly from the back wall in this room and the vocals and center image is now behind the speakers in the center. The speakers seem to be doing nothing and seem invisble when I'm sitting at the ILP. All the sound and its weight is in the center. But they are just way more delicate and refined than the regular esl esl x series. These are true ML esl panels and the right spot for seriously critical esl listeners. The larger 11 and 13 or above are relative to these in performance if you have a larger room and need more punch but in a normal everyday lounge and den with a home theater and family space these are brilliant and behave similar to the bigger brothers. It all depends on the size of room you have. 9's are perfect for most moderate sized spaces.

Attached pictures of the setup while my kids were watching sound of music on the bluray and going nuts with the realism and transparency.
 

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RAH

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Annual subscription for Audirvana software is highly recommended.

Through ELS 9 and MCA 225 the internet radio station

1.FM- Otto’s Opera House Music sounds superb.
 

Reverb

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Yeah I’m dealing with a standard size bedroom as my music space and it’s diminished in footprint by a Murphy bed that extends almost two feet into the room, so really the classic 9’s are pushing it space wise. Also from a price point, I can find a used set of 9’s for a digestible price, the 11A’s while awesome are pretty much double that….maybe down the road but likely only if “the music space” grew in dimensions.
Hello, how's the music space?
 

Tmort

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Hello, how's the music space?
Well the “space” is unchanged in size but vastly improved with the ESL-9’s that’s for certain! They fill the space with sound, the low and mid-range are so much stronger and if you want it loud, it can comply without a doubt. Clearly the 9’s could do very well in a substantially larger room, I just don’t have that option.
 

Reverb

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Awesome, I can feel you don't need a larger space.:) Is it about acoustics?
 

Tmort

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I don’t have any immediate need to tweak acoustics but am going to look into some sound panels for the rear wall.
 

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If you are sitting about 4 feet or closer to the rear wall. I recommend using some 2" thick absorbing panels. If you sit over 4ft from the wall behind you, then you can get away with diffusion instead.
 

Reverb

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If you are sitting about 4 feet or closer to the rear wall. I recommend using some 2" thick absorbing panels. If you sit over 4ft from the wall behind you, then you can get away with diffusion instead.
How is the size of each panel determined?
 

Tmort

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I’m looking into some 2” panels already so thanks for that recommendation.
 

Tmort

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I’ve been looking at a site called gikacoustics.com that has some attractive options. I’ve seen others with photo images on the fabric that look decent too.
 
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