ML Ethos Panels

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johnbdurward

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Greetings Gents!
I have 9 year old Ml Ethos, Run by a Macintosh Intergrated with a Melco as a source.. they sound great! BUT, now only the top 1/4 of one of the panels is working. ( powered bass is fine).
Any suggestions? I live in Australia.
Thanks
 

Big Dog RJ

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Greetings from Melbourne!

I owned the Ethos before, ran it with several kinds of amplifiers, from CJ, Mac, VTL and Audio Note Overture. It was superb vfm! Probably ML's best offer in terms of value within this particular range. Of course their new Masterpiece series is superior but so is the price tag!
Anyway, I never had any of these issues with the panels, mine were purchased brand new and obviously sold used only after a year... so not sure why you're panels are playing up. Is it for every type of music ?

Have you tried unplugging the Ethos from the AC mains only, and leaving it off for a few minutes, then power up again.

Also remember important *NOTE*
Always plug in the power cords into the Ethos first and last plug in the power cords into your AC mains, not the other way round! The owner's manual clearly explains this and if you plug in the Ethos end last whiles the AC mains is active...this can cause early panel issues because it prematurely activates the main amplifiers without an audio signal.

It's like plugging in any electrical appliance, so always plug in the unit and last plug in the "pins end" onto your AC mains, either directly to the wall or into a power board. I'm thinking you should already know this...

The Ethos should have a standby light, which is a Red LED, means panel is off and on Standby mode. Then when an audio signal is applied that LED blinks and changes into Blue indicating ready to go... this will happen upon primary turn on or when your Ethos are plugged in for the first time. If this standby - power on & ready Blue LEDs are not working in sequence then you have a problem.

May need to contact Audio Active ( Aus importers for ML) they can offer tech support or contact John Hall, the ESL whisperer... very difficult to get hold of though. I've got his contact number, let me know if you need it.

All the best, RJ
 

Brandon Hartwick

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Did this just start happening all of the sudden or has this been an ongoing issue?

Do both speakers do the exact same thing?

Did both speakers fail at once?

A little more detail might help us sort out your issues. There really isn't much magic in the construction of these panels so there's only so many things it can be.
 

Robert D

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To me, isn't that electrostatic panel either going to make sound or not? Doesn't make sense how only the top portion is working. I think once the electrical current hits the membrane, it should transmit through the entire panel.

Have you emailed ML and asked them?
 

Big Dog RJ

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That's a very good point Rob D! In fact, you're very correct. The stat panels would either work or not, and not just have 1/4 of it working... that sounds like some other issue. I'm thinking along the lines that some sort of electrical loss has happened further down but that doesn't make sense either, since I really couldn't think of what could cause it. I've looked through my notes and even contacted J Hall. He's got a few reasons but needs to closely evaluate to better determine.

Let's see what the OP comes up with. Speaking of the OP, any news mate?

Best, RJ
 

johnbdurward

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Thanks Guys for your wisdom!
The Lady wife noticed that the speakers sound muffled. Evidently she has better heating than me!! I can’t say how long it might have been like this…. Though probably every month or so I listen down the panels and bass speaker 🔈 to make sure everything is working…
The other panel may get a little quieter as you listen down the panel… hard to say.
We have had an unseasonably Wet and humid Summer and it’s still very wet and it’s almost Winter!
( places within a few hours of us are flooding for the 2nd and 3rd time this year!!)
In Japan they don’t sell M L because of the humidity… I’m wondering if this has something to do with the problem?
I have Emailed the Australian ML importer… as recommended I should contact ML in the States.
Thanks for your support!
John D
 

Jazzman53

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My guess is that your panel has a leak path (short) drawing charge off the diaphragm faster than the bias supply can replenish it. The diaphragm coating is by design highly resistive-- that is; conductive enough to allow a charge buildup on the surface, yet resistive enough to prevent the charge from migrating across the surface rapidly. Accordingly; a localized short (from the diaphragm to a stator) may only fully discharge the portion of the diaphragm near the leak path.

The leak path could be dust buildup holding moisture-- along an edge of a spar or side spacer, or at the periphery edge of the panel.

You might try the wash trick and see if that helps. If not; it's a more substantial short.
 

johnbdurward

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Thanks Jazzman.
The local distributor told me that I can have a pair of panels for $4000 AUS. Probably all that I would get for the speaker second hand in good condition. I will try cleaning the panel some more.
thanks John D
 

Big Dog RJ

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$AUD 4grand ! Dam! Things have really gone up... just few years ago when I sold mine, they were around $1500 each.

Just checking, is this 4grand for one panel or two? If it's for both then that's the price. My trusted Spore dealer can offer less but shipping & handling plus duty has to be factored in. AUD 1500 each, 3grand for both was the rate back in Sept 2018. Not surprising if that has gone up by $500 each.

Looking at it from a long term point of view, if you get the new panels installed, the Ethos will last a lifetime. Spending 4grand isn't really going to get you a better speaker. To surpass the performance of the Ethos, you would need to spend at least 10grand minimum. Other hybrids in its Class, which were referred to as the Reserved Line, are the Montis and Summit going upwards... Going further back is the Theos but it doesn't have active bass. Both the Montis & Summit are quite expensive and way over 6grand AUD, even in the used market.

I would look at 4grand as a secure investment if you wanted to keep the Ethos. Even if you want to sell it off, it needs to be fixed...

The Ethos was one of the most enjoyable hybrid stats I ever owned from ML, and their performance is tops! Something worth considering keeping. 🤔
Cheers, and all the best
RJ
 

johnbdurward

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Thanks RJ!
yes $4 for two panels.
I know what you are saying… There is a reason I chose them in the first place after listening to lots of other speakers.
it’s hard to avoid the boxy sound and get decent bass without spending huge sums of money….Anyway… let’s see where the journey goes!
Since buying the Ethos, I’ve slowly slid out of the hifi scene, although I was in Tokyo for the HiFi show once!
Some nice sound there, but I estimated that most Manufacturers rooms had about $100K in them!
 
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