Martin Logan Shower Cleaning PDF

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Robert D

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So, yesterday being Thanksgiving I decided it was the day to finally take a shower with my SL3's. I've had them apart before for panel slippage and the resulting repair of a lead so I have no fear of disassembly. I've not been religious about vacuuming or cleaning them over these +20 years of ownership (they are serial #SELE000 and SELE001 to give you an idea of age) and they've been sounding dull to my ears for quite awhile. (I built some full range speakers recently and was stunned by the high end detail and air that had apparently gradually slipped away from the Martin Logans.)

At any rate, I was more than skeptical that a quick rinse was going to do much beyond getting them wet. I convinced myself that something more aggressive would be needed if cleaning was going to be effective...and of course increased the potential for damage. But everything I had read said that the panels were a lot hardier than given credit for. I figured, what the heck, I'm looking at panel replacement if I mess them up or don't touch them - either way. I had already contacted ML service about replacement panels (12-16wks delivery, yikes!) so I knew what that looked like.

Full-strength Simple Green in a spray bottle. I drenched both sides of the panel. I then took a very soft bristle brush (like a really soft varnish brush; it was actually a kitchen basting brush) and brushed both sides of the panel. This caused them to foam up, lots of wet suds. I didn't want to chance leaving a residue but I let the panel soak like this for perhaps a minute and then rinsed them under the warm shower. Not hot-hot but definitely not lukewarm - about the same temp as you would take a normal shower.

I held the panel up close to the spray, say, 4-6" and rinsed the panel. What ran off was a combination of green (the soap) and black...something. A lot of it. I thought for a fleeting second the paint was washing off - that's how much black was running off. Most of the grime came off the front of the panels, I'm guessing due to polarity.

After rinsing to clear water, I shook the panels a bit and stood them up. I wiped them down with towels, more to get the major droplets than anything, turning them around a few times in the process (water did drain from the corners when turning). I then used my shop vac (it's a commercial grade dust collecting vacuum for woodworking, so rather serious CFM) with a bristle brush and went over the panels thoroughly. After this, I stood them outside to air out. After about an hour I turned them end for end and let them stand another hour or so before assembling them (replacing all the nasty rubber strips that ML used on these with self-adhesive foam strips). I then let them stand overnight.

I'm listening to them now. They sound absolutely amazing - just like they did when I first heard them and had to have them. Your mileage may vary but this worked incredibly well for me. I'm thinking it's going to be a part of annual maintenance.
And you used full strength simple green with no dilution? I'd be worried that would take the coating on the mylar right off. Your experiment proved that wrong !
 

18000rpm

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I'm listening to them now. They sound absolutely amazing - just like they did when I first heard them and had to have them. Your mileage may vary but this worked incredibly well for me. I'm thinking it's going to be a part of annual maintenance.
Glad to hear of your successful outcome. However I'd caution against doing this annually as you are probably removing some amount of the conductive coating each time.
 

kotedo

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I have a pair of CLS-IIz's that are "acting funny". From time to time they sound distorted and lately the left speaker, for a lack of a better word, farts.
It stops for a little bit when I apply gentle pressure on the stator, but returns after a few minutes. It also sounds like that it tries to stick to the spars and then eventually looses grip with a glue-come-undone-sound ... and it's at it again.

Furthermore, it seems that the gaps on the top and the bottom of the stators are uneven. In the center of the curved stator, the distance is at the shortest, but on the sides of the stator, the distance between the stators are quite a bit farther apart.

On top of that, running these causes my amp to gain a lot more heat than I would think it should produce, I think this could be attested to the fact that the stators are in some misalignment and require a nuclear power plant now to operate.

Thoughts? Should I wash and re-coat the mylar?
 

Rectalitch

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Hi guys, new to this site but have enjoyed the insights, anyway I have Sl3s which sounded awful from the time I bought them used about 6 years ago. Dragged them out of the closet, where they've sat for the last 5+ years,about two months ago n they actually sounded better. Read about the shower tip n figured what the hell, well I'm here to tell you WOW. I'm completely blown away by how they sound now. There was so much dirt/smoke etc on them that the runoff water was brown. Just used slightly warm water n blew them dry with a hair dryer on cold air. Best $300 dollars I ever spent on a audio product. Currently running them with a Music Reference 9 Mk 2/ Cary slp-94 etc. Couldn't be happier. I highly recommend taking a shower with your speakers.
 

Trn335

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And you used full strength simple green with no dilution? I'd be worried that would take the coating on the mylar right off. Your experiment proved that wrong !
Yes, I did. My logic: 1) they sound awful any way so what is the real damage? I have to buy new panels? 2) Simple Green isn't solvent-based and, if any coating can be washed off so easily, the choice of materials and/or their application is seriously flawed and so maybe I shouldn't waste my money on new panels. I was much more concerned that Simple Green wouldn't clean them than it would 'clean' them too well.
 

Robert D

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Yes, I did. My logic: 1) they sound awful any way so what is the real damage? I have to buy new panels? 2) Simple Green isn't solvent-based and, if any coating can be washed off so easily, the choice of materials and/or their application is seriously flawed and so maybe I shouldn't waste my money on new panels. I was much more concerned that Simple Green wouldn't clean them than it would 'clean' them too well.
Something all of us might want to consider in the future. Glad your experiment turned out the way it did!

I wonder if panels get that dirty if they are in a room that is well climate controlled all year and that has good air particulate filtration? A dehumidifier in the summer. My new panels should arrive in a couple of months. My house has all of those things. No smoking. I have bad allergies to dust,pollen, and mold so we never really open the windows either. I guess just vacuum them on a schedule would be the best I can do?
 

Nuri58

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Vacuum frequently enough would postpone the need for using as surfboard in the shower:) No doubt that particles such as diesel will require more than vacuuming, but from what you indicate you have a fairly particle free and dry environment so I think you'll be fine for years just vacuuming.
 

Robert D

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Vacuum frequently enough would postpone the need for using as surfboard in the shower:) No doubt that particles such as diesel will require more than vacuuming, but from what you indicate you have a fairly particle free and dry environment so I think you'll be fine for years just vacuuming.
I wonder, how often to vacuum if in a fairly particulate free environment? I know we still have dust though because it gathers on the furniture. Impossible to get rid of it all.
 

Harlequin

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For my part I keep the CLX's covered when not in use, a matter of moments to shift them off and on.
 

Robert D

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For my part I keep the CLX's covered when not in use, a matter of moments to shift them off and on.
That's an idea. Hadn't thought about that. The charge on the panels remains for some time after they are turned off. I wonder how much dust settles on them while they sit there uncharged? Being a mostly vertical surface, it shouldn't be too bad. The charge though is like a magnet. Electrostatic air cleaners work pretty good.

What do you cover them with?
 

Robert D

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CLX's came with cloth covers. I think some other models have them also.
Hopefully my new Prodigy panels will come with some. I think I may just use them, at least overnight. I use my speakers as part of a home theater, so I don't know how much the rest of the family would comply. Overnight will be easy to do since I'm always the last to go to bed.
 
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