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Hi everyone -

I’ve been deeply into music and audio my entire life, either playing in bands or listening to music. I also had a brief stint as an audio engineer after college.

For the past ten years or so, I’ve gotten very into high-end audio. However, my interest was around headphones predominantly. I’ve always loved headphones, and living in a small apartment in NYC - it was the best option.

I’ve owned and listened to many headphones from brand like Stax and Audeze. My current setup includes an Abyss TC, Hifiman Susvara and an Audeze LCD-5, but I owned a Stax 009 system for a number of years. That said, I always wanted to build a 2-Channel system when I had the space.

After I got married and had kids, we moved into a house in the suburbs a year and a half ago. Concurrently, I finally felt I had perfected my headphone setup - as for the first time - I had no desire to upgrade anything. I began looking at speakers.

In the past month, I’ve listened to about 15 speakers - and was quite close to buying the Harbeth shl5+. I have always been a tone guy, and they seemed like the speakers that sounded most like music, until I hear Martin Logan’s.

After demoing a number of speakers in the Masterpiece collection, I just pulled the trigger on the ML Expression 13a and Pass Labs INT 60. I predominantly listen to Jazz, Classical and Vocals, with a little bit of rock mixed in. When I heard the 13a, it reminded me of why I’ve loved Stax headphones - because they were the perfect blend of tone and technicalities, especially for the music I enjoyed. However, I always felt they could be stronger in bass - which is why I moved to my current headphones. The 13a was like having my cake and eating it to - naturalness, tone, extreme detail and transparency with a huge stage - fantastic imaging -but with woofers that gave me just the amount of slam I was missing previously with my Stax headphones. I’m juiced, and will be getting the full setup in a month or so.

Being into headphones has allowed me to amass a very good digital from end: A Lumin U1 streamer into a Chord Dave and Mscaler, which I absolutely love. I can’t wait to get my DAC behind my new system, when it arrives.

Anyhow, this forum helped me make a decision - so thank you all for that. I’ve enjoyed discussing headphones in headphone based forums, and look forward to discussing Martin Logan in this forum.

Cheers,
Andrew
 

Robert D

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I just bought my first quality streamer, the Lumin D2. Sounds great!

You're going to really love your new system. Be aware that it takes quite awhile to break in the panels on the speakers. I can't remember the hours recommended, but my new panels really improved ALOT after breaking in. Its a real thing with electrostats. I own a pair of Prodigies and last year bought new panels for them. ML still makes them. They are 22 years old too. Be patient when breaking them in.

So someday you can replace your's if you want

Did you find that your DAC and Lumin streamer had a break in period too? We were talking about that on here, and I've read about it.

Another question for you. Do you leave your DAC and U1 streamer turned on 24/7? Seems it may take 20 hrs or more to warm up components to get the best sound and a lot of guys just leave it on. I've got my D2 set to not go into standby.The D2 I'm using for the DAC and streaming.
 

Robert D

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Oh, and if you add a sub or two, I really recommended the ML balanced force sub's. I've got a BF 210. They use PBK room correction software and even have custom crossovers based on your 13a speakers that you can set. I can't imagine using my mains without that sub. Prior to that I used the depth i sub, and it was nice too.
 
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I just bought my first quality streamer, the Lumin D2. Sounds great!

You're going to really love your new system. Be aware that it takes quite awhile to break in the panels on the speakers. I can't remember the hours recommended, but my new panels really improved ALOT after breaking in. Its a real thing with electrostats. I own a pair of Prodigies and last year bought new panels for them. ML still makes them. They are 22 years old too. Be patient when breaking them in.

So someday you can replace your's if you want

Did you find that your DAC and Lumin streamer had a break in period too? We were talking about that on here, and I've read about it.

Another question for you. Do you leave your DAC and U1 streamer turned on 24/7? Seems it may take 20 hrs or more to warm up components to get the best sound and a lot of guys just leave it on. I've got my D2 set to not go into standby.The D2 I'm using for the DAC and streaming.

Thanks and congrats on the Lumin D2!

In regards to break in and warm up; I’ve generally found them to matter on certain devices more than others. My Lumin U1 definitely had a break in period, but doesn’t need a warm up period from Standby (in other words, it's on all the time - but I let in go into standby). Keep in mind mine is just a streamer, whereas yours is a streamer/DAC, so what works for me may not work for you. My Chord Dave DAC doesn’t really need either - it was great from the first day and didn’t change much - it’s great if I’m turning it on from standby or turning it on from cold within 3 seconds. With headphones, I found the Audeze LCD5, a planar magnetic design, took a significant amount of break in before the stage filled out - whereas with other headphones, they sounded great from the get go.

In my experience the thing that tends to benefit most from break in / warm up is amplifiers. Whether solid state or tubed, I always found they take some time to sound their best from new, and always sound better after at least being on with a signal running through them for an hour.

With DACs I think it tends to depend on the specific device / technology. For instance, I had a Schiit Yggdrasil which was notorious for needing a days long warm up period, after weeks of break in. It’s an R2R DAC which has something to do with it, and it take a while for it’s resistors to operate within spec. While it was a great DAC, this really annoyed me because if I lost power or if it accidentally got shut off - it wouldn’t sound right for days.

Anyhow, I’d read a lot about the break in these panels/woofers need - so I’m ready for it. Interestingly I demoed a 13a, a number of times, with about 300 hours on it. I demoed an 11a with only 20 hours. While I enjoyed both, I found the 11a a bit brighter. I wonder if that is an inherent difference or because the 13a had been run in longer. I guess we’ll see!
 
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Oh - also to more directly answer your question: My DAC and Streamer are always on, but I don't find them going into standby effects the sound. That said, it's device by device. With the Schiit Yggy, you need to leave that on all the time for it to sound right. In terms of headphone amps, I have a Woo Wa33 (push pull 2a3), and an Enleum Amp 23r (headphone amp + 25wpc Integrated, formerly Bakoon) - both of which benefit from being on - not in standby - for at least an hour before playing music. I can't leave the tube amp on all the time for obvious reasons, but don't with the 23r either (it goes into standby). Rather I turn each on, and run signal through them for an hour before I do any critical listening.
 
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Oh, and if you add a sub or two, I really recommended the ML balanced force sub's. I've got a BF 210. They use PBK room correction software and even have custom crossovers based on your 13a speakers that you can set. I can't imagine using my mains without that sub. Prior to that I used the depth i sub, and it was nice too.

I may at some point. I intend to use the 13a predominantly for two channel - but also for the TV that's in my basement. That said, I was extremely satisfied with the bass I got from the cones on the 13a. And, even while the system is in the basement - I want to hear how loud the bass gets in other areas of the house, especially during late night listening.

I do have a Martin Logan 1100x which I have paired with a set of KEF LS50W (this was essentially my speaker system up until now), which I currently use in the spot the ML 13as are going. The ARC on the 1100x was part of what sold me on the 13as. Even while calibrating the sub with a phone microphone, it worked great. I can only imagine it will equal or surpass what I've already experienced when you are utilizing a true microphone.
 

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Welcome! That is going to be a sweet setup. Placement is also critical. There are many guides which are a good starting point but after that just play with the variables and tune to your preference.
 
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Welcome! That is going to be a sweet setup. Placement is also critical. There are many guides which are a good starting point but after that just play with the variables and tune to your preference.

Thank you! Fortunately, I have a really good dealer, who personally owns both Martin Logan’s and Quads and is going to do the initial placement, adjustments, set up and calibration - and help fine tune it with me. I imagine I’ll still need to tweak a bit, but I’m fortunate to have someone experienced get me started. Knowing that made the decision easier, because I have been reading about how important placement is. As I've worked with this dealer in the past, he even came to my house and scoped the room and the furniture to talk me through what placements would work best given my particular room: it's a fairly standard rectangular carpeted basement but with relatively high 10-11 foot ceilings (for a basement), where I can easily get the speakers out 5 feet from the walls, while sitting 7-8 feet away, and still having plenty of room behind me (I like to sit relatively close). Given my relative inexperience with two-channel, let alone ESLs - this was huge for me. That said, I plan on going reading up extensively to have the best understanding of how the placement effects sound, and, if needed, any room treatments I might want to consider. I’m excited!
 
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Len44

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Welcome. Many of us here have found Martin Logan and Pass Labs to be an outstanding pairing.

Quite a knowledgeable and friendly group here, so you can have confidence in their sincere and well-intended suggestions.
 

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Welcome Andrew,

I bought Koss Electrostatic headphones in 1973/4 or closely thereabouts. They had the stat magic and that experience combined with listening closely to Acoustat 2+2's (which I could not afford when I heard them) cemented my stat love. Took me a couple of decades but I finally got there.

But this post isn't about me it's about you, so:

Enjoy those new stats
I am sure they will rock you and keep you blissful
WELCOME
 
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Welcome. Many of us here have found Martin Logan and Pass Labs to be an outstanding pairing.

Quite a knowledgeable and friendly group here, so you can have confidence in their sincere and well-intended suggestions.

Thanks Len. Glad I ended up with a well regarded pairing in the Pass. I demoed some McIntosh gear, Mark Levinson gear, a Gryphon Diablo 120 - as well as Pass Separates (the X150.8, and one of the Pass preamps). All sounded good, but I just found the Pass stuff so incredibly musical. As tone has always been my priority, it was an easy decision - harder decision was just which Pass should I get? The Int 60 was slightly warmer and richer than the X150.8 IMO, while the X150.8 was slightly cleaner with more authority and control. But they both shared that magical pass tone. Based on my room, musical tastes, and the levels I listen at I don't need a ton of power - but my dealer was very adamant about amperage, and especially getting an amp that continued to double as the impedance was halved. I like the simplicity of an integrated, especially as I plan to use the system secondarily for TV/Movies. I enjoy tubes, and have a Woo Wa33 for my headphone setup - which is a push-pull 2a3 amp - but based on the usage scenario described, it unfortunately wouldn't be practical. Fortunately, the Pass, in my opinion, has a lot of that tube magic.

The INT 60 may very likely be all I ever need, and my dealer said it was the most popular combo at his store by far - as he sells both Martin Logan and Pass. If I want to move up the Pass ladder, I could see myself eventually jumping to one of the more powerful Pass Class A separates - but who knows; during the hours I spent demoing the Masterpiece series, I never once left Class A. To me, it was really a magical combo. I will check out some threads as I'm interested in what amplifiers others are running, especially in regards to Pass Labs.
 
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Welcome Andrew,

I bought Koss Electrostatic headphones in 1973/4 or closely thereabouts. They had the stat magic and that experience combined with listening closely to Acoustat 2+2's (which I could not afford when I heard them) cemented my stat love. Took me a couple of decades but I finally got there.

But this post isn't about me it's about you, so:

Enjoy those new stats
I am sure they will rock you and keep you blissful
WELCOME

The Koss Electrostatic headphones are a classic! Looking forward to talking about audio with you, and nice to meet you.
 
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Thanks Len. Glad I ended up with a well regarded pairing in the Pass. I demoed some McIntosh gear, Mark Levinson gear, a Gryphon Diablo 120 - as well as Pass Separates (the X150.8, and one of the Pass preamps). All sounded good, but I just found the Pass stuff so incredibly musical. As tone has always been my priority, it was an easy decision - harder decision was just which Pass should I get? The Int 60 was slightly warmer and richer than the X150.8 IMO, while the X150.8 was slightly cleaner with more authority and control. But they both shared that magical pass tone. Based on my room, musical tastes, and the levels I listen at I don't need a ton of power - but my dealer was very adamant about amperage, and especially getting an amp that continued to double as the impedance was halved. I like the simplicity of an integrated, especially as I plan to use the system secondarily for TV/Movies. I enjoy tubes, and have a Woo Wa33 for my headphone setup - which is a push-pull 2a3 amp - but based on the usage scenario described, it unfortunately wouldn't be practical. Fortunately, the Pass, in my opinion, has a lot of that tube magic.

The INT 60 may very likely be all I ever need, and my dealer said it was the most popular combo at his store by far - as he sells both Martin Logan and Pass. If I want to move up the Pass ladder, I could see myself eventually jumping to one of the more powerful Pass Class A separates - but who knows; during the hours I spent demoing the Masterpiece series, I never once left Class A. To me, it was really a magical combo. I will check out some threads as I'm interested in what amplifiers others are running, especially in regards to Pass Labs.
@andrew.hendler
Hi Andrew,
Did you find the mid-range of the Pass Lab INT60 and X150.8 rich or thin?
Were the human voices more forward or recessed?
I have just bought a ESL11A about one month ago and am thinking of getting a Pass Lab INT, X or XA.
Thanks.
 

Reverb

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Did you try sending him PM? The post is a bit older.
 
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