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Well-known member
MLO Supporter
Aug 10, 2014
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Highland Park, IL
I am one of those that didn't realize that I would vaporize unless having posted something when I joined a couple years ago.

Here's a little history of how I got here . . .

A couple of years ago I wanted to begin replacing my 33 year old system;
Sansui AU-717 tuner
Sansui TU-717 integrated amp
JBL L-110 speakers
Denon DCD-1520 cd player
Philips turntable
Harmon Kardon cassette recorder

After looking at many speakers for months - Focal, B&W, Sonus Faber, Amphion, Revel, and some others, I listened to a pair of Martin Logan Vistas at the urging of a salesman who knew the kind of sound I was looking for. I had thought that panels were difficult to power, especially the bass, so I'd never even considered that type of speaker. The amp used for the audition was a small Krell integrated amp. The sound was unbelievable! I couldn't understand how these speakers could sound so good at the price point they were at, I bought them.

The Sansui wasn't rated for less than 8 ohms so I bought a used Carver TFM-25 (a close friend had Carvers so I knew what they were like). Then I bought a Pioneer Elite for preamp to L&R, and center channel duties, and bought a Martin Logan Motif center speaker. Things were good in my carpeted apartment, then I bought a house with larger rooms and hardwood floors.

Being able to turn up the volume a bit more in the larger space allowed discovery of some harshness in the upper ranges. After replacing some of the typically strained internal components known to Carver users things improved, but I then started to notice what I believed to be a lack of treble. I suspected the Carver simply wasn't up to the task any more so in December I bought a barely used display model Krell S1500/5 after having auditioned Bryston, Rotel, and thought a little about - but decided against - getting into a used Sunfire. I like that Krell says "The amplifier is stable at any load impedance". The treble is better but . . .

Now it's time to learn about matching pre-out voltage with the amp's "input sensitivity" spec. I never knew there was such a thing as preamp clipping. Who'd a'thunk? The Elite is a bit weak, Marantz is better but no bi-amp (yes, their info says the preamps will do it - but they DON'T! I called Marantz, they confirmed their mistake in the info sheets). In February I gave Emotiva a try before plunking down $6k or more on something else. I also picked up a OPPO BDP-105 for the same reason (the Denon cd player only puts out 1v whereas the OPPO is more than double that). So now all the voltages are 21st century specs. Using unbalanced cables, things are better than they've ever been, but after a couple months there is still something not quite right.

By April I knew something was amiss. I'd had enough time to listen to lots of familiar music, do some tweaking etc., but it seemed that I was hearing too much bass. I stopped using my sub, which helped. I started messing with speaker cables including borrowing some AudioQuest Rocket88's x4 (even with the "problem" I could tell quite a difference with these cables - me like). Then I figured out what the issue really was - not enough volume from the panel. After a little searching and coming up with "clean the dust off", I realized I hadn't cleaned the panels since moving to the house!!! My house doesn't produce much dust so I got out of the habit of leaving the panels unplugged and vacuuming.

After a 25 minute cleaning I was presented with the most amazing sounding system I've ever owned!!!! Let me repeat that using some different words -

My Martin Logan Vista speakers sound amazing!!!

I've heard other amazing setups, triple the cost of mine, but they sounded no better - just a slightly different personality. If I were starting from scratch I would love to end up with what I have now even though I know a couple things can be improved upon, namely the speaker cables and the preamp.

I'm not good at short stories, so sorry for not being able to make this shorter. Glad to be able to share on this forum amongst other owners of such fine audio products.
Welcome and glad to hear your excitement continues over your updated audio gear !
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