Martin Logan esl 11a parings

MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum

Help Support MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum:

tktiomy56

Banned
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
61
Reaction score
3
Location
Austin
I’ve owned a pair of esl 11as for almost a year now had multiple different amps I’ve gone through and still can’t find a good match for my uses. Atm I have them paired to a anthem str integrated and im curious if im the only one who thinks the sound isn’t very detailed, I’m also running 2 bf 210s.

I will say I haven’t had the time to run arc yet but would that do anything I’m 80% movies games tv casual and 20% music which I utilize a lumin d2 for Apple Music.
Im starting to think a Hegel would’ve been a better match or another McIntosh even tho I did not like my previous ma8900 sound wise.

I guess I’m asking for opinions of what parings owners have enjoyed with the esl masterpiece series etc.
 

msimanyi

Well-known member
MLO Supporter
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
169
Reaction score
102
Location
Santa Ana, California
Budget might help guide the discussion a little better, but you could also check Which Amp to buy? The most frequently asked question on this site. READ THIS!!.

Budget not considerably limited, I'd look at Pass and CODA first, but that's just my off-the-cuff commentary. Budget / value, I'd look at Odyssey.

To drum up a little more broad commentary:

How are your speakers placed in your room?
What are the room dimensions and details?
What speaker wire are you using?

I don't have 11As, but if you think "the sound isn't very detailed", I think something is off besides your amplification. I have a Lumin T2 and haven't personally heard the D2, but based on the reviews I've read on that I strongly doubt it's the culprit.
 

Lightloopy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2010
Messages
301
Reaction score
135
Location
Delaware
I have 11A's over a year now and very happy with them. It took 3 months for them to settle in. They are much less demanding power wise and have detail to spare. I've used an MFA D75, VTL MB 250's and currently Macintosh MC1502.
I have found placement to be a key factor in changing soundstage, imaging etc.
 

ttocs

Well-known member
MLO Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
718
Reaction score
312
Location
Highland Park, IL
Similar to the post above, if detail isn't apparent then look at placement/reflections. If the speakers are not at least 4-5 feet (1.3 - 1.6 meters) from the wall behind them, then a really quick and dirty way to find out if rear wave reflection might be hampering the sound is to toss some pillows or sofa cushions behind the panels on top of the woofer boxes. Even if the cushioning can't quite cover all the way up to the top of the panels, it should be apparent that there is a change - if - reflections from the rear wave is affecting the sound you hear. Don't overlook reflections from your chair/seat/sofa, whatever. Use a pillow behind your head for this.

And your assessment about ARC is partially correct. The woofers are crossed at 300Hz, so there can be "some" amount of help from ARC, but not huge. Really depends on what sound you are saying is not detailed.

Also, I find that if bass from the woofers is a bit too much vs the what is coming from the panel, then this can muddy up the sound overall. A quick test for this would be to turn down the bass controls on the back of each speaker all the way. This will only affect most of the frequencies below 200Hz, but not much between about 200Hz-300Hz.

Just trying to point out some ways of testing things that are well within the scope of everyone with no special tools or knowledge. Use what'cha got available to 'ya.

This does not preclude there being an amp/speaker mismatch, and cost is not always an indicator.
 

Lurch

Active member
Joined
Oct 3, 2021
Messages
34
Reaction score
15
Whilst I don't have 11a, I do have Summits which have a similar sized panel, and would say once you've had a play with positioning/cushions and are still adamant that your amplification is at fault then there's no reason to spend a fortune to sort this.
Have a look at the better iterations of class D amps, I'm currently using a pair of Nord One UP SE NC500M monoblocks with NC500 hypex modules and proprietary input buffers. Each amp gives 400 wpc into 8 Ohm, 700/4 & 550/2, at no point or volume have these amps sounded is if they're struggling. They provide a deep, powerful, punchy bass with detailed Mids and hf. Here in the UK, very very decent Hypex integrateds or stereo power amps start at around £1200. My monos due to case quality and other upgrades are £2.4k new and are more than capable of holding their own against amps <£7k.
I actually took my Nords to a local highend dealer to demo the Summits and he was very impressed with what these diminutive amps were doing. He was also pretty shocked when I told him the rrp of the amps, infact he thought I was pulling his leg on the price because of their level of performance.
 

MisterB

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Messages
70
Reaction score
48
Location
NE Illinois
11a owner here for about 3 months. I just got a McIntosh MA352 integrated to pair with them. Haven't had time to set up yet, but listened to the pairing at my dealer and fell in love with the sound. I've heard a few different McIntosh/ML pairings and the sound always appealed to me.
 

Brazillnut

Active member
Joined
Aug 29, 2021
Messages
27
Reaction score
11
I've had the ESL 11As now for a couple months. Pairing them with the Cambridge Audio Edge A integrated amp. I feel this is a very nice combo. The Edge is a warmer Class XD amp with heavy bias in Class A so you get a sweet, engaging sound. Not a hint of glare or brightness in the upper midrange. The Edge doubles from 100 to 200wpc into four ohms and is 2 ohm stable. I've cranked the system and have not run into any sense of strain in the sound in my listening room. Eventually I may bump up to a Pass Labs power amp when the bug bites me again, but for now I'm very happy.
 

Gvener

New member
Joined
Apr 9, 2021
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
I currently have a pair of 11a's. I stumble on buying it from a local dealer who had a customer returned it due to a marital issues. lucky me... hehe.. I bought it with Naim supernait 3 and Naim ND5sx as a package. Had the naim for a couple of months and I auditioned a Mcintosh MA8900 which was significant improvement from the Naim. Then he had me audition a Mark Levinson No 585. and I kept it till now. I used the ARC settings and it made a significant improvement due to my room dimensions. I've been very happy with the match. I had replaced the Naim ND5 sx 2 with a Lumin T2.
65315588420__CB848EEC-0E0F-43E5-B4D3-397DB789F122.jpeg
 

BigGuy

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 21, 2011
Messages
212
Reaction score
76
Location
Connecticut
I’ve owned a pair of esl 11as for almost a year now had multiple different amps I’ve gone through and still can’t find a good match for my uses. Atm I have them paired to a anthem str integrated and im curious if im the only one who thinks the sound isn’t very detailed, I’m also running 2 bf 210s.

I will say I haven’t had the time to run arc yet but would that do anything I’m 80% movies games tv casual and 20% music which I utilize a lumin d2 for Apple Music.
Im starting to think a Hegel would’ve been a better match or another McIntosh even tho I did not like my previous ma8900 sound wise.

I guess I’m asking for opinions of what parings owners have enjoyed with the esl masterpiece series etc.

I have never owned the Masterpiece series. I am probably repeating myself but IMHO Pass amps have a wonderful synergy with Martin Logans e:stats. I have owned Monolith I's, Monolith III's and now CLX Art and they have been driven with a whole litany of Pass amps including Threshold SA3, Threshold SA1.2, Aleph O, Aleph 1.2, Pass XA150 and now Pass XA60.8. I guess you could say I am a "poster child" for the two brands. Each iteration has only built on the wonderful sound of its predecessor.

I have a close friend who has a very similar system to mine with the exception that he has 13A's rather than my CLX. He is running XA60.8's which he loves but I will say he was very happy with his previous XA60.5's.

Neither of us has been unhappy with the "nominal" 60wpc of the 60 series amps which punch well above their weight class,.

I would highly recommend talking to ([email protected]) to get his thoughts on potential more affordable Pass amp options for use the M-L's. Tell him Frank in CT sent you.
 

Stereonerd

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
70
Reaction score
9
Location
6 Bayly St, Baylys Beach, 0377, New Zealand
I may have misunderstood but you're exclusively listening to music via the Apple Music stream? Back when you posted this Apple Music was a lossy stream so that could easily explain the lack of detail you experienced. A few months ago Apple Music went at least partially hi-res (CD quality and up) so, with the right DAC/streamer, it should sound much better.
 

msimanyi

Well-known member
MLO Supporter
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
169
Reaction score
102
Location
Santa Ana, California
Very good point - I suggest the OP try either Tidal or Qobuz and see if their opinion is still that there isn't enough detail.

Both of those should allow a trial period, after giving them your payment info, so you can try the full-fledged service. I prefer Qobuz myself, but that's a "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" kind of process.

Both services work great with Lumin's control app for my T2.
 

Brazillnut

Active member
Joined
Aug 29, 2021
Messages
27
Reaction score
11
I second Qobuz. To me it is the better sounding service and you don't need to get mixed up in all that MQA nonsense.
 

tktiomy56

Banned
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
61
Reaction score
3
Location
Austin
sorry busy week, I’ll post some pics of the room and placement later this evening. As for the streamer I’m utilizing a lumin d2 with the anthem str integrated. I absolutely love the d2 and the app it’s beautifully done, but I think maybe the anthem is just a bit bright for my taste or possibly I may need to move the towers out a little more and possibly calibrate the panels again....I got my dual 210s exactly where I want them position and sound wise.
 

tktiomy56

Banned
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
61
Reaction score
3
Location
Austin
I do realize Apple music isn’t as great as other services, but I’m all in on the Apple lifestyle( programmer for them)music is only a small portion of my use on the system. I’m also debating if I am improperly wanting he system to sound good for movies tv and games as well when the pieces are primarily for 2 channel music. I’m also contemplating on picking up a pre pro and a center speaker for when I’m not listening to music but just wanted to first figure out if at all possible the anthem is turning me away sound wise before I go the add more speaker hone theater route
 

msimanyi

Well-known member
MLO Supporter
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
169
Reaction score
102
Location
Santa Ana, California
I fully respect your position on the Apple system. I'm simply encouraging you to *try* one of the known high-res streamers so you can evaluate whether the amp is the source of your criticism or if it's something else. Sign up, test it, cancel. It'll take a few minutes, but it's free.

Also, if the D2 supports upsampling, you may want to enable that and test it with your Apple music source.
 

Brazillnut

Active member
Joined
Aug 29, 2021
Messages
27
Reaction score
11
I’ve owned a pair of esl 11as for almost a year now had multiple different amps I’ve gone through and still can’t find a good match for my uses. Atm I have them paired to a anthem str integrated and im curious if im the only one who thinks the sound isn’t very detailed, I’m also running 2 bf 210s.

I will say I haven’t had the time to run arc yet but would that do anything I’m 80% movies games tv casual and 20% music which I utilize a lumin d2 for Apple Music.
Im starting to think a Hegel would’ve been a better match or another McIntosh even tho I did not like my previous ma8900 sound wise.

I guess I’m asking for opinions of what parings owners have enjoyed with the esl masterpiece series etc.
I found the Anthem STR to sound a bit bright and harsh myself. that is why I opted for the Edge A integrated. IMO, Cambridge Edge is a very good match with ML Electrostats. I know Cambridge Audio isn't considered a go to "high end" brand, but they really did a great job on their flagship amps. I'd bet that Hagel and Pass would also be great partners. Michi from Rotel also comes to mind.
 

rpokuls

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
94
Reaction score
21
Location
Syracuse, NY
I've owned ML Ethos, Montis and now Expressions. I've used Hegel with all of them: H80, H160 and H360. I've been very pleased with them.

I was worried that solid state amps might sound too bright with stats but that is not the case at all. Mid-range, i.e. piano, strings are excellent.

The only downside was that the H80 used with Ethos got a bit warmer than I would have liked but the H360 remains very cool.
 

Technomad

Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2021
Messages
23
Reaction score
7
I do realize Apple music isn’t as great as other services, but I’m all in on the Apple lifestyle( programmer for them)music is only a small portion of my use on the system. I’m also debating if I am improperly wanting he system to sound good for movies tv and games as well when the pieces are primarily for 2 channel music. I’m also contemplating on picking up a pre pro and a center speaker for when I’m not listening to music but just wanted to first figure out if at all possible the anthem is turning me away sound wise before I go the add more speaker hone theater route
I’m a forty year Apple user, and was attached to the Advanced Technology Group at Cupertino, so my credentials are pretty good there. But Apple Music? Shocking interface, continuous up-sell, quality issues only just being addressed now and poor integration beyond its own ecosystem. I went through the extraction process a few years ago, and I’m v happy I did - now using Roon/Tidal hosted on Mac Mini+RAID and playing out to a bunch of streamers around the house. Main system is Arcam AVR20 pre/pro/amp feeding Spires, Dynamo & Fresco
Is and I’m very very pleased with it for both stereo music listening and HT. I am however about to drop a Mark Levinson amp in to drive the Spires, just to see how much difference that makes. BTW the Cambridge Audio Edge range is awesome, and will go toe to toe on sound and build quality with any of the major ‘exotic’ players.
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
5
Location
Australia
I’ve owned a pair of esl 11as for almost a year now had multiple different amps I’ve gone through and still can’t find a good match for my uses. Atm I have them paired to a anthem str integrated and im curious if im the only one who thinks the sound isn’t very detailed, I’m also running 2 bf 210s.

I will say I haven’t had the time to run arc yet but would that do anything I’m 80% movies games tv casual and 20% music which I utilize a lumin d2 for Apple Music.
Im starting to think a Hegel would’ve been a better match or another McIntosh even tho I did not like my previous ma8900 sound wise.

I guess I’m asking for opinions of what parings owners have enjoyed with the esl masterpiece series etc

When I bought my ELS11A less than 1 month ago, I audition it with 3 integrated amplifies: (1) Anthem STR; (2) Accuphase E280 and; (3) Audiaflight FLS10.
The Anthem STR pairing presented the least amount of detail amongst those three setups. I found the ESL11A can deliver a lot with the right electronics. The price of the Audiaflight FLS10 is about twice that of the Anthem STR and made the system sounded substantially more refined in terms of resolution, sound staging and dynamics.

The FLS10 and E280 sounded more "higher-end" while the STR sounded more "mid-level".
 
Last edited:

codesx100

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
50
Reaction score
12
Location
NJ
Anything Simaudio. I only have a 330a tied to a Montis which similar to the 11a The 330a is their entry level stereo amp and after months of owning it everything I throw at it sounds amazing I can only imagine it gets better from there. It is a bit pricy but I think the only things I would go to is another Simaudio amp or a Sanders amp.
 
Top