ESL 9 CLASSIC, SOUND PROBLEM, BREAKING UP, LOW VOLUME

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Thenorwegian77

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Hello, my name is Espen and I`m form Norway, I`m new here. I found this page, searching for answers and I tought maybe, someone knows something?? So I`ll give it a try.

I bought a pair of ESL 9 Classic about 2 years ago, while listening to music one night last week, the sound suddenly started to become unclear in the right speaker

then deteriorated quite badly over the next 30 minutes or so, to the point where it`s so bad, you almost can't hear what song is on. The same thing started happening to the left speaker.

The amp. that I'm using is Classè CA 200 and Classè CP-35 preamp.

I hooked up a different amp. just to check, and the speakers have the same problem.

I also checked the AC adapter, it reads 15,1 V, so that should be correct. and I switched places on the adapters, just to be sure.

I also switched places on the speakers themselves, left speaker on the right and right speaker on the left side of the room.

I put on different sources like CD, internet stream with DAC, Vinyl and it all sounds the same.

The next day, I had to give it one more try, so I hooked the speakers up to a different amp. again, on the left speaker the sound is breaking up, it sounds horrible like the day before, and its volume is very low.

On the right speaker the sound is pretty much the same as the left, only the volume is a lot higher.

I have a pair of Vantage that I now have hooked up, but I`m thinking maybe it could be the amp., that caused the problem? Any ideas?

I don't want to break another set of speakers.

Regarding the ESL 9, I have contacted the dealership in Oslo, they apparently have a lot to do, so I won't be getting this problem sorted out before sometime next year. Around March.

But I am very curious as to what this problem might be?

I would appreciate it, if someone could give me some pointers, ideas, anything!??

Thanks! Espen
 

ttocs

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Test one speaker at a time at low volume.
Check the binding post jumpers for tightness. If tight, then must be something else.
Take off the binding post jumpers.
Connect the amp to the woofer and test. OK?/NOT OK?
Connect the amp to the stat panel. OK?/NOT OK?

Report your findings.
 

Tmort

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I think your suspicion that the amp may have done something to them could be on point. I’d not use that amp on anything you can’t dispose of…perhaps take it in for analysis since your classic 9’s are down for now. Something may have fried in the electronics on the speakers, but definitely see if the issue persists with the woofers as well as the stat panel.
 

DanR

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Couple of questions for you here, you say you have a pair of Vantages hooked up now. Are the Vantages playing fine with the Pass amp and Pre Amp? If they are playing as they should be I’m guessing and know this is just a guess that the problem isn’t with the Pass equipment, Pass makes extremely high quality gear, not to say that it can’t happen but I wouldn’t bet on it. The fact that one speaker went bad and then the other leads me to believe it is a speaker issue not an amp issue. Do you have any other speakers to try with the Pass equipment or know of anyone with say some entry level speakers you could use to check with? Irregardless if the Vantages are playing fine with that amp and preamp I seriously doubt that is the problem. Keep us updated.
 

DanR

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Also search this thread using the search function.
“Brand new Masterpiece ESL 9 level difference in left right channel”
 

DanR

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DanR

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Well I very well may stand corrected here
But after reading that link and the sterophile review and 3 other reviews (audiogon, audio asylum) that amp should have no problem powering the 9A speakers. People are saying it’s not the best Classe amp they've heard but a very worthy amp
 

Robert D

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But after reading that link and the sterophile review and 3 other reviews (audiogon, audio asylum) that amp should have no problem powering the 9A speakers. People are saying it’s not the best Classe amp they've heard but a very worthy amp
The guys says it was a CL2 set of speakers, Im assuming he meant CLS 2. Those are probably more demanding. Thing is, if the user abuses an amp by turning up the volume too high, isnt it possible to destroy a lot of amps? The CLS2 is probably more demanding that the newer ESL 9?
 

DanR

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I suppose that is possible it’s just the one speaker going bad and then after a period of time the other one does too that makes me think it’s a problem with the speakers, or parts within like the thread I was referring to earlier, more than one person had that problem and it was with speakers overseas not sure if that has anything to do with it or it’s just a coincidence l.
 

RAH

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I remember reading on the internet in a article linked to repair of Martin Logan one of the Quest models.

One problem faced by the Quest loudspeakers, a purely passive design like ESL 9, was a too high input to the loudspeaker from the amplifier used to literally melt, or burn or fry part of the circuit inside the loudspeaker.

If you have ruled out all other causes for distortion and what is residual are the loudspeakers. And you may have increased the volume for some period of time, number of times then may be the problem you are facing.
 

Thenorwegian77

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Test one speaker at a time at low volume.
Check the binding post jumpers for tightness. If tight, then must be something else.
Take off the binding post jumpers.
Connect the amp to the woofer and test. OK?/NOT OK?
Connect the amp to the stat panel. OK?/NOT OK?

Report your findings.
Hi
First of all, I want to thank you, for your time and for sharing your insight.

I have checked the binding jumpers and they were tightend correctly, so loose jumpers are not causing any problems.

I removed the binding jumpers and conected the amp. to "only the woofer".
The left and the right woofer deliver the same, both volume and sound quality.

I then conceted the amp. to "only the ESL panel".
The left panel is for the most part close to normal(I think), I can hear some distortion, the higher tones are breaking up, just a little, even when the volume is low.

The right panel on very low and low volume dont`t get the ESL panel responding, I have to apply quite a bit, to get the right speaker to react. But then, the sound comes in very poor quality, it sounds nothing like it used to. and way worse than the left panel.

If you want me to try something else here, I will be happy to do it.

Espen
 

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ttocs

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Next, try swapping the ac/dc power converters and again only test the stat panels. See if the poor sound quality follows the power converter, and, also check to see if the Left speaker is now more difficult to get started, like what happened with the Right speaker after it was sleeping.
 

JonFo

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The right panel on very low and low volume dont`t get the ESL panel responding, I have to apply quite a bit, to get the right speaker to react. But then, the sound comes in very poor quality, it sounds nothing like it used to. and way worse than the left panel.
It definitely sounds like the ESL high-pass crossover is fried on that speaker. The ESL energizer board may or may not be ok, but I'd first take that speaker in for service.

If you are lucky, some simple passive components can be replaced in-country by a service tech.
 

DanR

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It definitely sounds like the ESL high-pass crossover is fried on that speaker. The ESL energizer board may or may not be ok, but I'd first take that speaker in for service.

If you are lucky, some simple passive components can be replaced in-country by a service tech.

I totally agree with JonFo here, the problem is with the speaker(s) NOT the amp.

(Brand new Masterpiece ESL 9 level difference in left right channel) Please search this post by using the search feature, (I can’t figure out how to attach the link to that post here, if someone else can please feel free to do so) the problem this member had sounds very, very similar to the problem you are having. I really hope I’m wrong about this too, please keep us updated as to what Martin Logan has to say about this because that is who you are going to have to deal with and they generally have some of the best customer service I’ve personally ever dealt with. Also if you could post the serial numbers from both speakers I for one would be interested to see when these speakers were manufactured.
 

Thenorwegian77

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Couple of questions for you here, you say you have a pair of Vantages hooked up now. Are the Vantages playing fine with the Pass amp and Pre Amp? If they are playing as they should be I’m guessing and know this is just a guess that the problem isn’t with the Pass equipment, Pass makes extremely high quality gear, not to say that it can’t happen but I wouldn’t bet on it. The fact that one speaker went bad and then the other leads me to believe it is a speaker issue not an amp issue. Do you have any other speakers to try with the Pass equipment or know of anyone with say some entry level speakers you could use to check with? Irregardless if the Vantages are playing fine with that amp and preamp I seriously doubt that is the problem. Keep us updated.
Hi
I have tried Vantage for couple of hours now, and they seem to do just fine. I know very little about what type of problems that possibly can occur in a system like this, with all the electronics, circuits, internal wiring, different power supplies AC (240V) and DC (15.1V), would it be possible that, some type of fault within the amp. could send unhealthy comm. to the speakers. And over time, could it cause symtoms like the ones in the right speaker. Would the ESL 9 have a reaction like this, if exposed to this type of problem. And of course all of this, is under the assuption that the fault is possible to create.
I don`t know that either.

But I think you are right, as long as the sound is healthy og and it feels great, there should be nothing to worry about, regarding the amp.

Nevertheless, I can`t think of any reason for this problem to turn up, out of the blue. I bought the ESL 9 about 2 years ago, and because I spend almost 6 months every year, at different work locations. The speakers have not been used, that much, and I`m very careful when I do use them.

Espen
 

Thenorwegian77

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It definitely sounds like the ESL high-pass crossover is fried on that speaker. The ESL energizer board may or may not be ok, but I'd first take that speaker in for service.

If you are lucky, some simple passive components can be replaced in-country by a service tech.
Hi
Thank you for your answer.
Can I ask, what causes the high-pass crossover to fry, and how often would you say this problem occurs in the overall picture ?

Espen
 

JonFo

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JonFo

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Can I ask, what causes the high-pass crossover to fry, and how often would you say this problem occurs in the overall picture ?

Since the crossover is all passive components, the most likely are capacitors that blow when overdriven (or they were defective / sub-par units).

The other element in an ESL that can get cooked by amp-related issues is the ESL step-up transformer. Excessive high-frequency transients will burn up the transformer windings.
An amp that is distorting will generate those HF transients and cause the failure of the transformer.

Both of the above are easy for a tech to diagnose and repair.
 

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