Quantcast

Klipschorn vs Martin Logan Summits

MartinLogan Owners (MLO)

Help Support MartinLogan Owners (MLO):

edwinr

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Messages
946
Reaction score
0
I thought you guys might be interested in reading this post that I wrote for my pals in the Klipsch Forum. You guys should understand when reading this that I don't like offending anybody, so I've written with care... I think you'll understand. Enjoy...

**************************
Well, the big fight. The top two heavy weight contenders from two highly regarded camps.

I've had lots of fun during the last few months auditioning both speakers. Price wise they are both fairly similar. In Australia the Summits are a little more expensive, but there's not much in it if you twist the dealer's arm. Size wise the Klipschorn is heavier and larger, but when you seal them into a corner, they don't intrude into the room that much. The Summit on the other hand is similar in height, weighs less and has a smaller footprint, but requires positioning well out into the room. The Klipschorn definitely wins the WAF here.

Connecting the Klipschorn is a piece of cake. Just hook up some spare twin flex to the speaker and the amplifier, taking care with the polarity, push them into a corner and away you go. The Summit requires much more effort. First you need to make sure you have a available power point close by. Why? Because the Summit features two 200 watt digital amplifiers per speaker, each driving a 10 inch subwoofer. Plus the electrostatic panels need to be powered up to work. Also I've found that the Summits are a bit fussy with the speaker cables. Cheap twin flex doesn't cut it. I don't know why this is the case. The winner here? The Klipschorn of course

Now some have argued that the 103 db sensitive AK4 Klipschorn only needs a few watts to produce music. This may be the case, but in any event, most people would agree that any amplifier of reasonable quality can make the Klipschorn sing. The Summit on the other hand is a different kettle of fish. While the Summit's official electrical sensitivity is quoted around 90-ish db for 1 watt input, the reality is that they are a rather difficult load. The impedance can drop to around 1 ohm at certain frequencies. Many amplifiers don't like that. But both the Klipschorn and the Summit are particular about the source. Careful selection of the source can reap benefits in your listening pleasure. I have to say the Klipschorn wins out here as well.

Now the most important criteria for most of us are not looks, but the sound. Looks do come into it, but we all would prefer to have both. And with the Klipschorn and the Summit you CAN have both. In isolation, each speaker looks sensational in a room. Also, in isolation, each speaker sounds fantastic in a room. Before we choose a winner here. Lets talk about the individual sound qualities.

The Klipschorn was, and still is, a benchmark for absolute sound quality. The tweaks over the years have been thoughtful and well considered by Klipsch engineers. They have preserved one of the world's greatest loudspeaker designs for posterity. There are only a few (very expensive) loudspeakers that can match the Klipschorn for absolute sound quality and even fewer that can beat it. The Klipschorn doesn't really sound like a typical horn speaker. The tonal quality is rich and accessible. I love it.

Most Klipschorn owners will listen briefly to another speaker, shake their head in pity for the other brand's owner, and then walk away in disgust. It's amazing however, how a Klipschorn lover can relate to the sound quality of Martin Logan’s and Maggies. Maybe it's the very open sound quality and room filling sound that attracts. I'm not sure why this is so. All I know is that I find the sound of panel speakers appealing. When I first heard the Summits, I was astounded. Here was a speaker that I could live with. It had all the qualities I liked in a speaker and it was capable of going very loud.

So I decided I needed to directly compare both the Klipschorn and the Summit for sound quality. The speakers were in different rooms of course so I couldn't directly compare them. But I was able to go from room to room and listen at will. Firstly I auditioned the Klipschorn. Using the same disc being Rickie Lee Jone's debut album (not because I really like it, but I am familiar with it and it's a reasonable recording), I thought the Klipschorn offered a HUGE soundstage. The sweet spot was fairly narrow, but the voice was nicely centred. I thought the bass was well extended and very tight. I thought the sound was addictive and punchy, lacking in coloration or any harshness. This is a sound I am very familiar with.

Now the Summit had a vastly different tonality on first listening. It was a shock really. I asked myself "where has the music gone?" Well it was there, but not so 'in your face'. I always thought the Klipschorn were very neutral. But compared to the Martin Logan’s, the Klipschorn IS a little colored. But not excessively so you Klipschorn owners can calm down a little and delay sending me hate email... yet. The Martin Logan's bass isn't as full as the Klipschorn, despite the 400 odd watts of digital amplification with two 10 inch subwoofers for each speaker. But where the Summit has it all over the Klipschorn is the depth and tightness of the bass. In fact the bass is truly outstanding. Moving further up the frequency range, things start to become more competitive. Both speakers are capable of amazing resolution, despite people criticising the Klipschorn in the past for glossing over fine musical detail. Well... take it from me, these 60 year old ladies can hold their own with the Summits - particularly in the all important midrange. The Summits move ahead of the Klipschorn in the reproduction of the upper frequencies. Cymbals on the Summits really 'shimmer', whereas the Klipschorn are more reticent. Also I feel the Klipschorn is a little more inclined to reproduce the 'S's as a "Shhh'. The Martin Logan’s are less inclined to sibilance. The winner here? Well, it was very hard to call. In the sound quality stakes, both speakers were amazing performers. I think maybe the Summits had the edge. But it's very subjective, isn't it? I look for different things than someone else might. Maybe if I used a different recording, I may have formed a different view.

So I walked away from this amazing chance to compare both top flight loudspeakers in awe at what the Klipschorn can still achieve. The latest revision of the Klipschorn should be even better with the introduction of better wall sealing and maybe a fully closed back for next year.

Yeah, I know. You guys are probably wondering where this story is going. Did I buy the Klipschorns? Or... did I buy the Summits?

What do you guys reckon?

*************************

P.S. Most of you guys know I bought the Summits. ;)
 

DrJRapp

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2006
Messages
831
Reaction score
0
Location
Stuart West, Florida
Good choice!
I think you made a very wise choice. The venerable Khorn is a world class speaker, but by comparison to the technology in the Summit, it's a bit retro.

I'm a Klipsch> ML convert here, while it's been years since I parted with my Khorns (they were far too restrictive by needing to be in the corners and my wife hated that look). I was using Klipsch Reference 7 series that I had highly moded to get the HF horn to smooth out. By the way I still use my Klipsch surrounds and center back speakers ...they mate very successfully with the Summits and Theater i.
 
Last edited:

edwinr

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Messages
946
Reaction score
0
It's interesting you've kept your other Klipsch speakers. So have I. My Heresy II's now perform rear channel duties for home theatre. I can't believe how well they mate with the ML's.
 

DrJRapp

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2006
Messages
831
Reaction score
0
Location
Stuart West, Florida
I find it very interesting how two wildly different speaker technologies sound so similar.

I originally switched to the Klipsch speaker line in the late eighties when my aging Infinity Q3s (with quasi-esl mids and tweets) were getting threadbare and I was seeking similar sound. This past year and a half I auditioned nearly everything on the market trying to find something I preferred to my RF 7s (with DeanG's x overs) and everything left me cold untill I heard the Vanatages...which lead me to search out a pair of Summits to hear...which I bought on the spot.

I don't know what you are using for source equipment, but I have found myself on a quest for purity since purchasing the Summits. It's not that the low end of the Summit is inferior to the Khorn in any way, but it is far more revealing of the dificiencies of connected source equipment. I've found most DVD players and even a lot of expensive CD only players to be too loose (boomy). After extensive searching I've landed on an older Theat Data Basic transport with a Benchmark DAC1. This combination allows me to hear subtlties such as the internal resonances of the body of a double bass! Other players reveal the bass but not the inner detail.
 

edwinr

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Messages
946
Reaction score
0
My Summits have forced me to upgrade my entire system. I now own a CEC belt drive CD player, an Audio Research LS 25 Mk II preamp, and a Classe Model Twenty Five s/s power amp. Everything is run in balanced mode from the CD player to the power amp.

The RF7's with DeanG's x-overs would be a very nice speaker. At one stage I was considering Mark Deneen's Juicy Music Peach tube preamp and a pair of Craig Ostby's (NOSValve) VRD monobloc tube amplifiers. But organising shipping to Australia was offputting. My current setup is pretty good and drives the Summits very well.
 

DrJRapp

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2006
Messages
831
Reaction score
0
Location
Stuart West, Florida
Nice setup.

I was using a Shanling CDT 100 with the Klipsch but I found it's tube output to be just a bit too warm and forward for the Summits. I've found that my Aragon 3005 was just the right amp for the Summit, it's not forward at all, very very neutral. I had to upgrade my pre-pro also, the Rotel RSP 1098 just lacked real clean top end. So far i've found that since I am running a combination music/ht setup that the Anthem Statement D2 does the trick for sonic quality. And cables, I could go on all day about my cable explorations. I've found the Nordost Red Dawn XLR ICs and IXOS multi-strand gamma geometry speaker wire to give me the best balance.
 
Last edited:

theWB

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
1,233
Reaction score
0
Location
Chicago Illinois
DrJRapp said:
Good choice!


I'm a Klipsch> ML convert here, while it's been years since I parted with my Khorns i.
I too am a Klipsch to ML convert.Only I have the Forte's which I kept and put in the basement,I drive them with an old Adcom GFA 555.I love my ML's,But when you want to listen to good old fashioned ROCK-N-ROLL at extremely loud levels the Klipsch's are it. Sound quality ain't everything all the time,Sometimes you want to just ROCK THE HOUSE. :D The neighbors love me!! :rolleyes:
 

edwinr

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Messages
946
Reaction score
0
Until the Summits came along, I wouldn't say ML offered a viable option for me when I felt like 'rocking out'. But with the Summits I now have the best of both worlds.
 

Crawdaddy

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 11, 2005
Messages
77
Reaction score
0
Location
Cincinnati, OH
Interesting. I too am a Klipsch convert....seems like we have a trend here.

I went from Klipsh KG5.2's to Ascent i's. The 5.2's were great "college" speakers. But as I grow a little older my musical tastes grow too....less rock / metal and more jazz / blues...enter the Logans and I couldn't be happier.

Not saying that the Logans don't do rock, rather that they do other types of music better than the 5.2's.

Last, I too saved my 5.2's thinking I may be able to use them in a rec room in the future.

Cheers!
 

DrJRapp

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2006
Messages
831
Reaction score
0
Location
Stuart West, Florida
Crawdaddy said:
I went from Klipsh KG5.2's to Ascent i's. The 5.2's were great "college" speakers.
My first Klipsch were KG5.2s and they were not only great "college" speakers but a great speaker for a combination of HT and Music. I often regret having sold off my 5.2s.
 

Latest posts

Top