Is my receiver adequate

MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum

Help Support MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum:


Dec 2, 2022
Reaction score
I intend to but ML tower spkrs, either Electro Motion ESL or Theos.
I own a Pioneer 100 w per channel receiver.
The room is 5 x 7 meter, the spkrs will be placed on the longer wall. The room is well furnished, with curtains and a rug. I prefer listening to classical symphonic music in mid-volume, as if sitting in the 5th row of a concert hall.
Is my receiver adequate or should I get a stronger one.


Well-known member
Oct 20, 2020
Reaction score
Houston, TX

In the case of the ESLs (including Theos and/or other ESL-panel-based speakers), you will need a very solid amp. You can keep your Pioneer receiver, but DO NOT drive the panels with it. You have a decent chance of damaging one-or-the-other, if not both.

Find an amp that has a stated rating for 4 Ohms (and preferably states a rating for 2 Ohms). The ESL panels impedance drops like a rock, and most light-weight amps cannot handle it when they see a fraction of an ohm at some frequencies.

There is a LOT of info on here about amps. Me personally, I would buy a good (but not crazy-esoteric!) used amp. Brands to consider are Anthem, Bryston, etc. Also, get an amp rated higher than the speakers - you don't want to drive a low-power amp into clipping when trying to impress the neighbors!

For a lot of modern - and most older - amps, there is no replacement for "heft". They need beefy power supplies, with heavy transformers, capacitors and heat-sinks. Yes, there are some switch-mode power options out there.. I suppose I'm a traditionalist, and like risking putting my back out when putting amps into my rack!

There is a deciated "Amps" thread somewhere on here. Lots of good info. Don't get sucked into the "paralysis-by-analysis" thing - set yourself a budget (I would say $600 - $1,000 should get you a good used amp), and get going. If you're buying 2nd hand (like the Theos), make sure the panels are in OK condition... if you can get to hear them, see if you can find a test signal that does a frequency sweep... make sure the panles are outputting the higher-level frequencies. Replacement panels are EXPENSIVE (like $2K+ for mid-to-large size ML speakers).

Good luck



Well-known member
MLO Supporter
Aug 10, 2014
Reaction score
Highland Park, IL
That's good advice from Russ. Used is a good way to get great amps at good prices, but one must also be aware of possible repair costs. Bryston has a long warranty, so one brand such as this would be high on my list today.

When I bought my first pair of Martin Logan speakers about ten years ago, the Vista model, I had a Pioneer Elite 7.1 channel receiver with 110 watts per channel. The Pioneer was immediately overwhelmed, couldn't use it except at extremely low volume level, and my Sansui AU-717 was rated at 8Ω so I couldn't even try it. So I bought a used Carver TFM-25, for about $300, which worked ok in an apartment with apartment volume settings.

When I moved into a house with larger rooms, and I could turn up the volume, the Carver was not up to the task and sounded harsh at bigger room volume levels, not loud, just trying to fill the space with sound. So after a lot of reading, looking, and shopping, looking at all sorts of amps "in my budget", I ended up with Krell S-1500 amp - which was way above my budget but I was 100% certain the Krell would have no trouble - that lasted until just a few weeks ago when I replaced it with another much better Krell. So the S-1500 lasts about 9 years and was a great purchase at double my budget at the time even with the steep discount for being a demo model at the dealer.

There are quite a few demo models of amps, with full warranty!, at various dealers out there. Heck, I know of a place that sells all sorts of appliances and electronics for every budget that routinely has demo models and customer returns which are marked down 40% and put on a shelf, and can be sold for even less with a nice conversation with the sales associate.
Last edited:


Forum Administrator
Staff member
Nov 25, 2005
Reaction score
100 watts is plenty for those speakers but I don't know what Pioneer receiver you have and as Russ stated it's stability into lower impedances might be an issue. Remember it's the high freq where there is little content that they dip the lowest.

I would not be adversed to trying it out and see. If it proves inadequate and your dealing with a 2 channel scenario only then look to a amp that possesses the ability to double down and use your receiver as a pre-amp, assuming it has pre-outs.