Looking at Theos vs Ethos

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jtucker

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Hi,

I'm new to the forum and looking at my first ML speakers. i am considering the Theos. I have listened to both Theos and Ethos. The Ethos seemed to have plenty of bass extension for my (almost exclusively 2 CH music) application. The Theos seemed a little light in the bass, but I will be bi-amplifying with a Wyred4sound 4 ch 250 w/c into 8 ohm. Also, I will not have the speakers very far out into the room, so I may get a little bass boost from the room placement.The demo at a best buy was just driven from a HT receiver. One of the reasons I am looking at Theos is to take advantage of the bi amp setup I already have (the other of course is to save a little $$). Anybody have any idea how the bi amplified with plenty of power Theos would compare to the Ethos? Is the extra bass extension of the Ethos mostly due to DSP "processing", passive radiator or both? I can probably consider adding a sub down the road, but it may be a while. Any quick advice is greatly appreciated as I will probably need to pull the trigger on this deal by tomorrow (buying second hand a 2 year old pair).

Thanks,

J. Tucker
 

RCHeliGuy

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I just went through this exact same choice.

I decided on the Ethos specifically because I wanted both the extra bass response and simplified amplification on my end. My assumption was that Martin Logan's internal 200W amplified Woofers would sound great without my having to tinker with anything.

The Ethos does carry more bass than the Theos and has the passive downfiring speaker rather than a port. That means it is pushing almost twice as much air in a sealed cabinet giving it the additional bass response. The port in the Theos should help make the front firing woofer more efficient, but even with substantial amplification it won't have the bass response of the Ethos. The sealed cabinet of the Ethos combined with the downfiring woofer should give it a tighter bass response. Offloading the base drivers is most likely what makes the Ethos more efficient.

I guess the question is what will make you happier. Do you want to keep your existing amplifiers on display?

Also are your current amps good at driving low impedance loads?

If you are asking if the Theos is capable of creating the bass of the Ethos the answer is no. Many people put subwoofers with the Theos where the Ethos doesn't need one.
 

Northy

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Welcome to the ML universe Tucker! My Theos are bi-amped - 125W/C. I have to say the bass is very taut and articulate. Your 250W amps may even have a higher damping factor exerting more control over the woofer. If I were you, I'd go with the Theos and down the raod, if need be, purchase a Balanced Force sub. By doing so, you will still use your amps to the fullest and your options will be open to upgrade them in the future.
 
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silver305

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i would get the Theos and get a separate subwoofer if i need more bass such as the jl audio f112. The ethos are a waste of money in my opinion unless you don't have space for a separate subwoofer. i owned the theos and they sounded beautiful to say the least. I never felt them bass shy, but i do understand some of you are all about that bass. After i sold them, i wanted to upgrade to the Ethos, but i decided that if i am going to all out, i might was well the montis and i did.
 

RCHeliGuy

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i would get the Theos and get a separate subwoofer if i need more bass such as the jl audio f112. The ethos are a waste of money in my opinion unless you don't have space for a separate subwoofer. i owned the theos and they sounded beautiful to say the least. I never felt them bass shy, but i do understand some of you are all about that bass. After i sold them, i wanted to upgrade to the Ethos, but i decided that if i am going to all out, i might was well the montis and i did.

Given that the Montis and the Ethos are kissing cousins and a very similar design, I'm surprised to hear you call the Ethos a waste of money. Someone with Summits could just as easily call the Montis a waste of money.

We all have different priorities and thresholds on what we consider an "appropriate" amount to spend on stereo equipment.

If jtucker has the amps and the room for a subwoofer then the Theos may be a great choice for him.

Coming into this starting from scratch I considered the Ethos a value because of their efficiency and reasonable amplification requirements, but those are my priorities. I didn't feel that my room was adequate for a set of Summits, and I really wanted a single two channel amplifier for space reasons. My amplifier is completely hidden behind doors and has 1.5" holes drilled under it for good convection cooling. The only visible components are my OPPO 105D and Ethos speakers. That is obviously a very different set of priorities from someone who has massive amplifiers on display. I wanted great sound with the least amount of visual impact I could get away with.
 

Redux

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Given that the Montis and the Ethos are kissing cousins and a very similar design, I'm surprised to hear you call the Ethos a waste of money. Someone with Summits could just as easily call the Montis a waste of money.

We all have different priorities and thresholds on what we consider an "appropriate" amount to spend on stereo equipment.

If jtucker has the amps and the room for a subwoofer then the Theos may be a great choice for him.

Coming into this starting from scratch I considered the Ethos a value because of their efficiency and reasonable amplification requirements, but those are my priorities. I didn't feel that my room was adequate for a set of Summits, and I really wanted a single two channel amplifier for space reasons. My amplifier is completely hidden behind doors and has 1.5" holes drilled under it for good convection cooling. The only visible components are my OPPO 105D and Ethos speakers. That is obviously a very different set of priorities from someone who has massive amplifiers on display. I wanted great sound with the least amount of visual impact I could get away with.

I am a bit surprised by some of the comments on a Martin Logan site like this. First of all - the reason to purchase Ethos is the size of the room. If the room is big you ought to get the Ethos. For instance, in a relatively large living room the Ethos is a minimum requirement - unless you really have a big amplifier that can drive the passive bass elements of the Theos. The price for such an amplifier does not justify the speakers in my opinion - so the Ethos is the pick here. The Ethos is indeed a good purchase due to reuse of some of the elements from the Montis - but just as several others here on martinloganowners, I bought the Montis. Life is yoo short to save money on good sound - despite the excellent quality of the Ethos. The Theos need a small room or a powerfull amplifier - and still the bass is not satisfying.

Summit X is an older design, and is not IMHO in competition with the Montis. The bass is sloppy and out of controll compared to Montis. Some people here disagree with this statement - but it is indeed my option.

To add an extra sub is of course an option - but the bass quality is never the same with a sub compared to the digital filter that you find in the Montis for instance.
 

RCHeliGuy

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I used to have a big houseboat and top of the line Ski Nautique to get the family out on the lake together because life is short.
I probably have $30K in RC Heli equipment, another $15K in bicycles because life is short.

Life is Short is definitely the easiest way to justify any purchase even if you go in debt to do it.

I prefer the line, "You can't take it with you". That at least "seems" to justify only spending "it" being what you have. I only spend what what I don't have earmarked for investments and after I became completely debt free decided that it was a priority to stay that way :)

Of course it just dawned on me that you could also interpret that to mean that you can't take debt with you. LOL! Oh well so much for that !

It also dawns on me that my family had a lot of great memories on that houseboat even if I had a second mortgage on my house to get it, so please don't take any of this as a comment on any of the choices anyone makes in life :)
 
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silver305

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Bottom line, the Montis vs th ethos IS NOT as close in sound quality as the theos vs the ethos. WHY? everything on the montis is larger than the ethos. If you were to put the theos vs ethos in the same room, same volume, etc, the difference in sound will be minimal (besides the bass) than if you threw a pair of montis in the same room vs a pair of ethos. The difference in sound will be much more significant.
 

roberto

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Hola. All depends. You have the same quality 24 bit DSP (digital signal processing) and you can adjust the bass quantity in your seating position with the Ethos, if you want to do this with the Theos, then you need another power amp to drive the woofers, and also the amp must has volume control knob for adjusting the bass energy...also you were adjusting the level from the crossover point of the Theos, (425Hz) and you touch the lower mid-range, with the Ethos, it is the same as the Montis, 100Hz tone +-10dB. Also, the bass is more precise than the Theos, due to the passive woofer at the bottom. I have customers who liked better the Ethos than the Montis, because of the price and the quality sound of both. Both are great speakers! On the other hand, the Theos has the same size of the panel, and also its woofer is good, but The Ethos is much better product. Happy listening.
 

jtucker

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Just add some info, my room is 14' x 18' with 10' ceiling, and as I said I already have a high power 4 channel amplifier. Also, projectormovielover left me a PM. I responded but your inbox is full...Yes I am actively looking and intending to buy soon.
 

RCHeliGuy

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Just add some info, my room is 14' x 18' with 10' ceiling, and as I said I already have a high power 4 channel amplifier. Also, projectormovielover left me a PM. I responded but your inbox is full...Yes I am actively looking and intending to buy soon.

FWIW mine is 15.5' x 24' with 10' ceiling. My speakers are about 6' apart on the 15.5' wall and I'm sitting about 8.5' feet back from them. The Ethos easily fill that space with authority with a 500W / channel into 4 ohm amplifier as loud as I can stand it without any harshness of clipping "that I can notice". I'm sure clipping is going on, but luckily I can't hear it.

The Theos are 2db less efficient at 1W than the Ethos, but I'm quite sure they could fill my space too since it doesn't appear my amp is breaking a sweat.

The question that was posed to you was whether your preamp allowed you to adjust the offset between the panels and woofer when you are driving these speakers with your 4 channel amp.
 

jtucker

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I can't make any adjustment via the pre or amp. I am currently using an external crossover with the other two channels to drive a second voice coil on the woofers of my current speakers, but I don't think that would be compatible with Ethos.
 

RCHeliGuy

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I can't make any adjustment via the pre or amp. I am currently using an external crossover with the other two channels to drive a second voice coil on the woofers of my current speakers, but I don't think that would be compatible with Ethos.

You are correct, the Ethos have a single pair of speaker cable posts, and the crossover is handled internally with a class D amplifier powering the woofer, so there is no room for an additional amplifier to help out.
 

Bevensee

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Unless I remember wrong, the woofer in the Ethos is better than in the Theos. Alu cone in Ethos vs plastic cone in Theos. But as with all things audio: trust your ears.
 

roberto

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You are correct, the Ethos have a single pair of speaker cable posts, and the crossover is handled internally with a class D amplifier powering the woofer, so there is no room for an additional amplifier to help out.

Hola, you do not need another amp, you have 200W on each Ethos for bass. The good thing, is that the amplifier that its driving the panels, does not reads the woofer at all...the load for your amp, will be just the stat panels, but you are sending the low frequency info through it. The load impedance for the bass is around 3000 ohms! so the amp feels it like an open circuit...good advice Beversee: trust your ears! Happy listening.
 

RCHeliGuy

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Thanks for the correction, Roberto. Do you know if the woofers are the same?

The key difference besides the amplification is that the Ethos has a down firing passive woofer and the Theos has a port there instead. So the Ethos has two moving cones and the Theos has one. The port will make the single woofer on the Theos more efficient because there is less back pressure, but the Ethos has two cones moving in a sealed box so it is moving more air.

What makes the Martin Logan's special is the electrostatic part of the speaker. That gives you the detail and accuracy and that part responds extremely fast to transient inputs and generates a beautiful sound stage.

How you get the bass to match that is tricky. Lower frequencies are omni directional. The human hear can not discern spacial imaging in the lower octives, so fortunately we don't worry about the bass ruining the sound stage. The real issue is whether the bass driver has the right crossover and whether it can react quickly enough to nearly match the speed of the electrostatic part of the speaker.

In the case of the Ethos we are letting Martin Logan handle getting that right. With the Theos getting that right it up to the owner if they are bi-amping the speaker.
 
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roberto

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Hola. Yes, but when you bi-amp the Theos, you are touching the lower mid range, due to the crossover point at 425Hz. If you want more bass, then you will increase the mid range too. On the Ethos, the working woofer point is at 100Hz. You are not touching the mid range, and you can adjust the bass volume level precisely and only the bass energy quantity of your desire at your golden seating position. The price for another quality power amp, and good cables, will be more expensive at the Theos than the Ethos. And the Ethos is better in this respect having the dedicated 24 bit DSP engine for the bass. I think both active aluminum woofer are the same on both speakers, but the Ethos with the passive radiator is more precise at the lower bass response. Happy listening!
 
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