ML uses inadequate power cables?

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jimbill

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In the owner's manual for my 13a's, it suggests that I upgrade my power cable. Doesn't that seem wrong?

You just spent $18,000 and they're telling you the included power cable isn't good enough ???
 

amey01

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In the owner's manual for my 13a's, it suggests that I upgrade my power cable. Doesn't that seem wrong?

You just spent $18,000 and they're telling you the included power cable isn't good enough ???
I would say it seems so wrong that it is wrong!

But others will have different opinions.

Anyone who is going to change the power cord should at least pop open the case and have a look at what sort of power cords ML are using inside the speaker (you know, the bit you can't see)! It might surprise you. (Same goes for speaker cables, not that I doubt the benefit of good speaker cable).
 

sleepysurf

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They don't actually say you should upgrade the power cord. They merely address this common question in the FAQ section with an answer that supports their dealers...

Could you suggest a list of suitable electronics, cables, and power cords that would be ideal for MartinLogan speakers?

The area of electronics, cable, and power cord choice is probably the most common type of question that we receive. It is also the most subjective. We have repeatedly found that brands that work well in one setup will drive someone else nuts in another. We use many brands with great success. Again, we have no favorites; we use electronics and cables quite interchangeably. We would suggest listening to a number of brands—and above all else— trust your ears. Dealers are always the best source for information when purchasing additional audio equipment.

In my (limited) experience, upgrading the power cord made no audible difference. I use some older 14g Volex 17604 power cords with my Expressions just because I had them lying around, but noticed no improvement vs. the stock cords.
 

Ronin

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My thoughts (per my experience) on this are simple and directed at use case. I have a pretty nice power cable for my amp and few others for my sources such as DAC etc. While I have in the past paid a pretty penny for power re-generators and Niagara products, they did not seem to really improve anything. So for major amp power I'm right into a 20a circuit. For "other" I'm into a pair of simple AQ conditioners.

The power going to my CLXIIz panels is like what- 5 watts? I really don't get what a pricey power cord is meant to accomplish here. For fun I did try PS Audio cables and could not hear a difference. But then on some forums folks pay 200 bucks for a FUSE and claim nirvana. I think in a high current draw or a noise filtering role some cables and conditioners make sense. Not for my panels though. But if you folks hear a difference, more power to ya (slight pun there).

Cheers...
 

Leporello

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In the owner's manual for my 13a's, it suggests that I upgrade my power cable. Doesn't that seem wrong?

You just spent $18,000 and they're telling you the included power cable isn't good enough ???
If you’re worried about the sound of the cords powering your ESL’s try listening without. Most of them will continue to play for quite a while. If you hear a difference then worry. Personally I have no use for boutique power cords in general and even less when they’re not even delivering power—except for charge leakage to the air and core losses in the transformers. Spend your money on something that matters. There’s a good reason why ML doesn’t include them with there $18,000 speakers.
 

Leporello

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P.s forgot about the active woofer on the 13a. So you probably can’t do the test since the woofer amp would discharge the power supply quickly. But I stand by my recommendation.
 

Robert D

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If you’re worried about the sound of the cords powering your ESL’s try listening without. Most of them will continue to play for quite a while. If you hear a difference then worry. Personally I have no use for boutique power cords in general and even less when they’re not even delivering power—except for charge leakage to the air and core losses in the transformers. Spend your money on something that matters. There’s a good reason why ML doesn’t include them with there $18,000 speakers.
Great point! The static charge is built up and then doesn't even need additional power for awhile. I really don't see how a "better" power cable could make the panel sound better. Like msimanyi said, the cord could possibly affect the class D amp for the woofers, but I don't think there is a way it could possibly affect the panel.
 

Robert D

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P.s forgot about the active woofer on the 13a. So you probably can’t do the test since the woofer amp would discharge the power supply quickly. But I stand by my recommendation.
I've done it with my Prodigy speakers. They sound exactly the same plugged in vs not plugged in once the panel gets charged up.
 

DanR

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FWIW I’m with Ronin 100% on this one, I have upgraded power cords on my amp, preamp, phono preamp, DAC, and SACD player. And by upgraded I don’t spend big money on those cords.
Amp Krell KSA-100MkII - Pangea Audio AC-9 MkII with Cardas Copper wire $299
All others on the list
Silnote Audio GL Reference power cable $149/ea
On my Odysseys I have numerous Factory cords that came with different pieces of equipment so I use the largest gauge I have on hand.

 

Brandon Hartwick

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Internally Martin Logan just used plain 14 gauge wire on the IEC socket, they actually use the same stuff on almost everything inside the speaker. I'm also very sceptical that putting expensive cables on that little class D chip amp is going to do anything, especially when it only plays like 300hz and below.

I wouldn't overthink it.
PXL_20220629_161416895.jpg
 

Duke

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That looks great! What Martin Logan is that board for?

I agree that speaker wire will often not make a discernable difference until I tweaked the electricity coming to it. I use an oversized isolation transformer in the basement to handle all the small lower power stuff. I noticed a difference once I did that with any changes to wire. I recommend something like a Metcal soldering device. I don't know how to do it myself, but that soldering tool can maintain temps.
 

Brandon Hartwick

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That looks great! What Martin Logan is that board for?

I agree that speaker wire will often not make a discernable difference until I tweaked the electricity coming to it. I use an oversized isolation transformer in the basement to handle all the small lower power stuff. I noticed a difference once I did that with any changes to wire. I recommend something like a Metcal soldering device. I don't know how to do it myself, but that soldering tool can maintain temps.
These are out of an Aerius I, I had upgraded the passive ESL crossover with clarity caps. Eventually I bypassed the crossover network entirely and used an active electronic crossover to do everything. That made a really big difference.
 

ttocs

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The 13A has two 300 watt amps, each one peaks at 600 watts, so that's 1200 peak watts. A 15A cable will work just fine, but I made mine with 20A. At less than $2 a foot for the wire (600V so the dielectric is very thick) and nice 20A plugs, there's no bottleneck from the speaker to the panel via the 20A circuit. It's overkill, doesn't sound better or worse, but it's also not the weak link, and the cable is the length that I want it to be.
 

DaVinci Media

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Well I think we have to remember that Martin Logan is not a cable manufacturer. Plus I don’t believe they’ll recommend certain cable either. I had actually just started another thread discussing this. Cables are so subjective and I think it has a lot to do with the equipment you use. I personally have always found a good match between Nordost cables and Martin Logan speakers. I think it has to do with the speed of the Nordost cable and the fact that the electrostatic panel is also very quick. A lot of times there’s not really any measurement behind cables, and the manufacturers don’t often cite any measurements. Notice however is different. They do talk about the speed of the cable and the impedance. I’ve also heard good things about cardas cables and Martin Logan although I have not done a lot of listening compared to how much I’ve listen to Nordost.
 

Robert D

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I think the big thing to remember here is that the panel sounds the same even if the power cable isn't even plugged in. That's in the older speakers that don't have built in amps for the woofers.

The power to the speaker seems there only to build up a static charge on the panel's membrane. In newer speakers it also powers the woofers. Maybe the bass sounds better with an upgraded power cord?
 

Duke

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These are out of an Aerius I, I had upgraded the passive ESL crossover with clarity caps. Eventually I bypassed the crossover network entirely and used an active electronic crossover to do everything. That made a really big difference.
 

jimbill

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They don't actually say you should upgrade the power cord. They merely address this common question in the FAQ section with an answer that supports their dealers...



In my (limited) experience, upgrading the power cord made no audible difference. I use some older 14g Volex 17604 power cords with my Expressions just because I had them lying around, but noticed no improvement vs. the stock cords.
"Higher quality power cords, available from your audio dealer, are recommended. A variety of power cords are available whose manufacturers claim better performance than standard power cords. The effect of power cords may be masked if your associated equipment is not of the highest quality."

That's from page 1 of my Expression owner's manual.
 
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