Looking for an amp to power 2 ML Mosaic's

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captain_tinker

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Hello folks,
This is my very first post here. I am not yet a proud owner of any Martin Logan products, but I have had my eye (and ears) on some of them for a while now. I plan on getting the Dynamo sub sometime after the tax returns come back. :D In any case, I have some other questions that hopefully you may be able to answer for me.

I asked a question over in the Audioholics forum, and they referred me to come here and ask it. I have a Marantz SR5600 receiver currently running two Paradigm Titan's as my fronts. I was hoping to someday move them either to the rear as surrounds and get some larger floor standing speakers, or move them to another room. I have been looking at Paradigm Reference Studio 60's, but when I went to listen to them the other day, I also listened to some larger (and way more expensive) Martin Logan Summit's. I had them put on my Telarc Sacd of the 1812 Overture. Wow! What an experience! I also had them do it in their room with the newer in wall ML speakers... I have to say, I was really impressed. I have since learned that there is another speaker by ML called the Mosaic, and it seems that a few of you here have them and seem to like them. I figured if they sound anything at all like the others I heard, I would like to get them very much. They actually don't cost much more than the Studio 60's I was looking at.

So of course doing my research, I found that they have a different Ohm rating than most regular speakers do. Most are 8 ohms, the mosaics are nominally 5 ohms. So I am thinking, I may not be able to use my Marantz receiver to run them, would I? It's not really rated to run at anything lower than 8 ohms. So I guess I will be needing an amplifier. Problem is, I don't have a whole ton of cash lying around to spend on one. That and the WAF is fairly high in our home. And we have two young children, ages 3 and 1 1/2. So I am also worried about little fingers poking and toys scratching good speakers, and equipment. So far they have been ok by not playing much with the receiver, so maybe there is hope.

Anyway, finally to my question, if I decide to go with the ML Mosaics, and need an amp, what kinds and brands of amps would be recommended? The boutique that sells the ML's also sells Anthem amps, but I don't know much about them. I would probably only need a 2 channel amp, fairly simple, one that can turn on when it detects a signal would be nice, but is not required I guess. I guess I can manually turn on a power button. :) I would like it to be fairly inexpensive, but I understand that may not be an option if I decide to use such a high quality speaker as the ML's. What are your recommendations?

One that was recommended to me was the Behringer A500, though at $180, compared to much more than that for some of the other brands I've looked at, I can't help but think that there may be a catch somewhere. I'm leery of it at that price considering everything else is much more expensive. What do you think?

-capT
 

aliveatfive

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Hi Captain, welcome to this forum. I have Summits in one system and Paradigm Studio 20's in another. Are you aware that both ML and Paradigm are owned by the same holding company? The Summits are unquestionably the far-superior speaker, but (for the price) the Paradigms are very nice also. As far as driving Logans is concerned, you'll get loads of opinions on the subject. For starters, I would expect your amp not to have problems driving a 5 ohm load. Then again, receivers do not tend to do MLs justice. I would recommend looking through the Audiogon website for a reasonably-priced integrated amp of good quality. Some have suggested Musical Fidelity, Deneon, NAD and many others. These are not outrageously priced and perform fairly well. I would not go less than 100 watts per channel. Once you've gotten your ears wet, I'd suggest that you go with separates, possibly tubes. I love the sound of Logans driven with tubes. I'm partial to Audio Research and Balanced Audio Technology, but there are many other brands to try. If you can, listen before you purchase. Good luck on your quest.
 

aliveatfive

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BTW, I just went on the website you mentioned in your post to look at that $300 amp. I would assume that it's based on a musical instrument amp judging by the website. I don't know if I'd trust it to drive really high quality speakers.
 

captain_tinker

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aliveatfive,
You make a good point about that being a musical amp. Maybe that explains why the only dealer near me that carries the amp happens to be a guitar store. I think I'd rather trust something that is meant for running a good speaker.

As for my Marantz being able to run the ML's, let me just paste some specs here, maybe it would help?

According to the spec sheet, it is 30 lbs. The power information is written as follows:

Power Output (8 Ohm) - 90W x 7 (<0.08%, 20Hz -20kHz/THD)

Power Consumption - 450W

Power Requirement - AC 120V/60Hz

What do you think? I guess if it is 90 wpc at 8 ohm, it would be 180 at 4 ohm, is this correct? I'm still trying to get the math on this stuff down. But if the receiver is not really spec'd to run at 4 ohms, couldn't that make it sound awful, and also eventually ruin my receiver?

As for Paradigm and ML being owned by the same company, that doesn't surprise me. The boutique that I shop mainly carries both of those brands, along with Anthem, which I believe is ALSO under the same umbrella. They also carry Integra though, which I think is part of Onkyo. They also carry some Definitive Technology speakers, and Pioneer and Pioneer Elite components. I bought a Pioneer 588A Universal player, Marantz SR5600 receiver, 2 Paradigm Titan's, and one Paradigm CC-270. So far, I really like it, I just want to upgrade the fronts and maybe move the Titans to the rear for now, until I can afford something else.

-capT
 

Jeff Zaret

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capT,
Welcome
Personally I have always had a soft spot for Marantz equipment especially the older stuff. I would think without really knowing your amp it should do ok. That being said, I would attempt two different scenarios. If you can either bring in your receiver to the "boutique" and I curious which one, or see if you can take the Mosaics home for a weekend for a trial. That would be the best to do an in home trial for a few days.
It also depends on how loud you play your music and movies. As far as doing the math for the power it is close. It really depends on how it was made but as a shot I would say you are close.

As far as Anthem it is a good brand, yes it is. It should work fine for what you are asking it to do with the Mosaics. Are there others brands, yep and anyone here would be more than happy to help you spend you money. :D

I too live in California

Jeff :cool:
 

captain_tinker

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Jeff,
Thanks, I see you live just north of LA. I'm closer to Sacramento. The boutique I was referring to is called Paradyme Sound & Vision. I actually bought all my gear there, including the Marantz receiver. So they should have one there already, or one that is pretty close to it anyway. Maybe what I ought to do is just go in this weekend, and ask them some of these questions too. I am sure that they would be able to tell me. If I could run those Mosaics from my receiver, then I would sure like to do so, at least until I could actually afford a good amp.

I don't typically listen to my music REALLY loud, but sometimes to hear certain details on my Titans, I do have to turn it up a little. I have begun to become very interested in SACD, DVD-A, and DTS music. I have bought several examples of such already. I think I am up to 11 discs now at last count, the latest one arriving yesterday. I probably do about 85% music, 15% movies. I have really become interested in certain peices of classical music, and some other more modern selections. I recently got to know Steely Dan and Donald ***an, buying Gaucho on SACD, Aja on CD, and Morph the Cat on DVD-A/CD. I have a few cd's and SACD's on the Telarc Label, Carmina Burana, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Sound of Glory, and their Christmas SACD, and their version of the Messiah on DTS DVD-A. I also have Mannheim Steamrollers Christmas Extraordinaire on DVD-A/CD, and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. I also got Sting's 10 Summoners Tales on DTS-CD. Of course I do have a ton of older CD's that I have had for many years now. I do like soft rock, and classic rock, and every once in a while it's fun to go back to high school for a while and listen to glam rock, like Def Leppard, Poison, Boston, Journey, Guns N Roses, etc... But not for a very long time. I think my tastes have changed significantly since then.

I hope that sort of gives a bit of an example of how I do my music at least. For movies though, I like adventure, and fantasy, and mystery etc. I enjoy a good Mission Impossible flick, or a Hunt for Red October, but I also do a lot of Disney movies, seeing I have a wife and 2 very young kids who just LOVE Disney. Though, I sure do enjoy some older fare like the Looney Tunes collections. Though I have found it is in Dolby 1.0, so only the center channel plays. I guess I would have expected that since it was probably only recorded in mono to begin with back then. I am not much of an R rated person, the only movie I have ever really enjoyed that was R was the Matrix, and I don't own it or any other R rated films, and have no plans to do so either. So there goes several highly rated films for sound, but I don't care, there are so many others out there. The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc for example, all have excellent sound, as does Shrek even! I realized the other day, it had DTS! Cool!

Anyway, so besides the Mosaics, I am Definitely going to purchase a Dynamo as soon as I can. I had the $ set aside for it a few months ago, but then my wife decided we needed a new bed since the other was over 10 years old and she kept having to go to the Chiropractor. But she promised that once the tax return came back, if there was enough that she would give me that $ again, and I could go get my sub. When I listened to it at Paradyme, it was so clean and clear, not boomy like the other ones I had heard. So I think that it should work just fine for me.

In any case, that's who I am, and what I like to do. So, now you know me a bit better. By the way, this is such a neat little forum, I have really enjoyed reading it over the last few days. What a wealth of information. Thanks!

-capT
 

aliveatfive

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Captain -

I just downloaded your spec sheet from Marantz. I'd ask my dealer if the amp can drive a 5 ohm load. The info provided does not give a clue. Some amps can be unstable into a 4 ohm load so I'd make certain before I'd try it. BTW - before being taken over by a Japanese conglomerate (it was called Superscope,) Marantz was located here in NYC. Saul Marantz was a true audio inovator. His early stuff was rated on a par with McIntosh and that stuff commands very high prices on the used market. Some of their new stuff has been very well-reviewed also.
 

captain_tinker

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aliveatfive,
I also went back and looked at the spec sheet again and noticed something interesting on the picture of the back plane, down under the speaker posts, it says "Minimum 6 ohms". So I am pretty sure that answers the question right there. It sounds like I could probably push the Mosaics on it, but it would not be a very smart thing to do. I am going to go ahead then and look into an amp. I have a friend who just bought an old Hafler dh220 I think it was off of ebay. He said it was broken, and didn't have a top on it, but he was able to repair it by replacing a few transistors. Apparently that thing would be able to go all the way down to 1 ohm if he wanted it to he said. I wonder if maybe I should just look for something like that that is fairly inexpensive for now, or if I should just save my money and not buy anything until I can finally afford to get an amp to run it all? :confused:

-capT
 

aliveatfive

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Captain -

The is a company called Audio by Van Alstine (avahifi.com) that rebuilds old Hafler stuff with new circuits. The only things reused are the power transformer, power supply capacitors and the chassis. These rebuilds can drive very low impedance loads. I think a DH 200 (or 220) rebuild runs about $900. I've used 2 of Van Alstine's preamps in my second system. I'm quite satisfied with the results. It's almost like high end on a budget. I'd investigate - a possible solution without a huge expenditure.
 

captain_tinker

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aliveatfive said:
BTW, I just went on the website you mentioned in your post to look at that $300 amp. I would assume that it's based on a musical instrument amp judging by the website. I don't know if I'd trust it to drive really high quality speakers.

Aliveatfive,
I was looking at a review of the A500 in Audioholics, a couple of the guys there that seem fairly experienced seem to really be touting this amp as a pretty good one. In fact one wrote a fairly technical review of it. Read this over and see what you think:

http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17004

I am just thinking that if it really could perform as good as advertised then that would certainly keep my costs down. I am going out today to listen to the ML Mosaics and I may as well go out and see if I can find this amp today too while I am at it. It doesn't hurt to look and maybe give it a listen. I'll let you know if I am able to find it.

-capT
 

captain_tinker

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Folks,
Just got back from my little trip to the guitar store where the amp was supposedly sold, and the speaker store.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find the amp in the store, but both the person at that store and at the speaker store both knew about it, and said that yes indeed it was an excellent amp, and that it indeed could do what it says it can do. However both of them said that they would probably not use it for home theater audio, especially with ML speakers.

Also the guy at the speaker store said that I could actually just use my Marantz receiver for a while to run them until I could get an amp. He used the analogy of a 4 cylinder engine vs a V6, they can both go the same speed down the road, but one has to work a bit harder to do it. The other is just less effort to do the same thing. So at some point I will want to get an amp if I go with the ML's. In fact that was exactly how he was running them, and they sounded ok.

As for that, I did an A/B with the Paradigm Studio 60's and the Mosaic's and they were pretty closely matched. There were times when I could not tell the difference between the two, and then there were times that I could, it depended on the music that was playing. With the Paradigms, I heard at some points that the upper midrange sounded like it was sort of playing through a thick cardboard tube. The ML's sounded very flat, maybe even a bit bass shy. All in all, I had a really hard time deciding which one I liked better. In the end I am thinking that I would go with the ML's after all.

They also had a pair of Clarity's that sounded really nice, but at $5k a pair, I am not sure my pocketbook can handle that.

-capT
 

aliveatfive

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captain_tinker said:
Folks,
Just got back from my little trip to the guitar store where the amp was supposedly sold, and the speaker store.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find the amp in the store, but both the person at that store and at the speaker store both knew about it, and said that yes indeed it was an excellent amp, and that it indeed could do what it says it can do. However both of them said that they would probably not use it for home theater audio, especially with ML speakers.

Also the guy at the speaker store said that I could actually just use my Marantz receiver for a while to run them until I could get an amp. He used the analogy of a 4 cylinder engine vs a V6, they can both go the same speed down the road, but one has to work a bit harder to do it. The other is just less effort to do the same thing. So at some point I will want to get an amp if I go with the ML's. In fact that was exactly how he was running them, and they sounded ok.

As for that, I did an A/B with the Paradigm Studio 60's and the Mosaic's and they were pretty closely matched. There were times when I could not tell the difference between the two, and then there were times that I could, it depended on the music that was playing. With the Paradigms, I heard at some points that the upper midrange sounded like it was sort of playing through a thick cardboard tube. The ML's sounded very flat, maybe even a bit bass shy. All in all, I had a really hard time deciding which one I liked better. In the end I am thinking that I would go with the ML's after all.

They also had a pair of Clarity's that sounded really nice, but at $5k a pair, I am not sure my pocketbook can handle that.

-capT
My dealer charges about $2800 for a pair of Claritys. If your dealer is charging double for a pair, it might be time for a new dealer. As a matter of fact, the dealer to which I refer never discounts ML stuff. The new Vantage speaker has a list price of $5000/pair, and you can do better than that with prudent shopping.
 

captain_tinker

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You may be right, he just mentioned the price in passing without checking, and I didn't notice if there was a price tag on it or not, so he could have been wrong. We were actually talking about amps at the time we passed by the clarity's and I asked if that is what they were, and he said yeah, I think 5 grand a pair. So I said ok, and we kept talking about amps. I have to admit, I think I like the way they looked, very nice looking.

-capT
 

holmancv

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Those wonderful-underrated Mosiacs

Here's what I did to power my Mosaics and the Vignette I use as a center speaker. I went to the Outlaws and purchased three of their 200w monoblock amps, the 2200s. ($325.00 and 200watts) I have a Denon receiver and I just (I'm about to publish just how ignorant I am in the field of home theatre) plugged them into the amp/out connectors on the back. Since the ML's are four ohm the Denon could - help me out here Gonk - have had problems at the higher power levels but the Outlaws are perfectly happy with the four ohm loads. This way I can just keep adding monoblocks until I have all channels covered, purchase a new pre-processor (Probably the Outlaw) and viola, instant upgrade! Hope this helped and I hope I didn't make any mistakes!
 

Rich

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I am using the Outlaw 2200 200 watt monoblocks to bi-amp my Ascents. I have the outlaws powering the woofers and a tube amp powering the panels. I have been very happy with them. I have never used them to power the whole speaker, so I can't give any recommendations as far as that goes, but they have been great for powering my woofers. Clean, tight, fast bass.
 

holmancv

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Outlaw

Yes, I think so, you can always just type Outlaw into your search, but I'm sure you know that. These products are not cheap junk, not by any stretch. They sell only over the Internet but you can return anything and they have great specials. Read some reviews. I am very happy with my monoblocks.
 
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Charliemike

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Rich said:
I am using the Outlaw 2200 200 watt monoblocks to bi-amp my Ascents. I have the outlaws powering the woofers and a tube amp powering the panels. I have been very happy with them. I have never used them to power the whole speaker, so I can't give any recommendations as far as that goes, but they have been great for powering my woofers. Clean, tight, fast bass.
Very good point and one that I'm stuck upon.

I have SL3s and I'm still looking for a center. The Outlaw 7075 is a 7x115w at 4 ohms. I'm not sure at all that this amp can drive the whole SL3, a Fresco center and *maybe* some Script i speakers (if I'm lucky).

Based upon your experience, what do you think?
 

Rich

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charliemike said:
Very good point and one that I'm stuck upon.

I have SL3s and I'm still looking for a center. The Outlaw 7075 is a 7x115w at 4 ohms. I'm not sure at all that this amp can drive the whole SL3, a Fresco center and *maybe* some Script i speakers (if I'm lucky).

Based upon your experience, what do you think?
I think that I would be concerned that this amp would not have enough juice to do justice to these speakers. I think I would be much more comfortable with the Model 7200 or 7700 (both 200 watts/channel into 8 ohms and 300 into 4) to drive this setup. If you underpower your SL3's and center channel, I think you will end up being dissatisfied with the result.
 
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