Monoblock amps with ML speakers ? Advantage or not?

MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum

Help Support MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum:

Lurch490

Member
Joined
May 30, 2022
Messages
8
Reaction score
4
Location
Denver, CO
I think RJ is onto some good criteria to help guide you to the amp you'll need. Specifically, how big of an amp you'll need. This, in conjunction with your budget, will drive your pool of alternatives. As you look at those alternatives, think about the following thoughts as you evaluate these options:

I think that most SS amps that Martin Logan owners are going to use would probably qualify as dual mono (or come very close). In other words, they are probably imbued with separate power supplies and transformers in a single chassis. Thus, they are essentially monoblocks within one box as opposed to 2. A separate chassis is merely taking that last step for complete separation of each channel. I think this will result in minimal (if any) audible differences. So, I would try to find the best sound for your dollar as opposed to fixating on monoblocks.

On the other hand, a stereo tube amp is more likely to use a shared power supply and power transformer. The choice of tube monoblocks is more likely to result in actual performance gains. Of course then you have to worry about heat, maintenance, and replacing the suddenly much more expensive power tubes.

Jeff
 

Rich

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Messages
4,183
Reaction score
44
Location
Huntsville, Alabama
I think you will see a bigger difference between choice of amp and preamp than between choice of monoblocs vs. stereo amp. And this is even more true with the newer speakers in which the bass drivers are basically internally biamped. With my Summits, the sound is excellent with my Sanders Sound 800 wpc monoblocs with my ARC preamp, but somewhat clinical. The SS monos control the panels with an iron fist and have a very neutral presentation. But it doesn’t sound anywhere near as sweet as it does with my Conrad Johnson preamp and 160 wpc stereo tube amp. The CJ sound is just on another level. Because of this, the Sanders amps and ARC preamp are currently in storage. My Ascents also sound amazing with my Pass Labs X-350.5 stereo amp. Unfortunately, I’ve never compared them with the Sanders monoblocs. That would be an interesting comparison.
 

Brad225

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2006
Messages
1,874
Reaction score
131
Location
Wesley Chapel, Fl
Jeff, You really to try a couple of different pre and amps to see what sounds good to you. I don't think you can go wrong with
a CJ pairing.
What you are using upstream will have an effect on what you hear.
What speakers are you using?

Welcome to the group.

Rich, have you ever tried the ARC pre with the CJ amps? My guess is the ARC would sound good but the synergy with CJ pre and amps would sound better.
 

Rich

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Messages
4,183
Reaction score
44
Location
Huntsville, Alabama
Rich, have you ever tried the ARC pre with the CJ amps? My guess is the ARC would sound good but the synergy with CJ pre and amps would sound better.
Brad, I have never thought to try that. Sounds almost sacrilegious. I think you are right about the synergy, though. The synergy between the CJ 17LS2 pre with the Premier 160 amps is just incredible. I’m going to use this pair to power my KLH Model Nine’s when I get them back from their refurbishment by David Janssen. Then I’ll probably bring the ARC and Sanders out of storage to power the Summits. Although I’ve never paired the Summits with the Pass Labs, so that’s an option too.
 

Lurch490

Member
Joined
May 30, 2022
Messages
8
Reaction score
4
Location
Denver, CO
Jeff, You really to try a couple of different pre and amps to see what sounds good to you. I don't think you can go wrong with
a CJ pairing.
What you are using upstream will have an effect on what you hear.
What speakers are you using?

Welcome to the group.
Thanks for the welcome!

I've had my share of amps and preamps. I've recently purged a bunch of gear, but then last week I found a pair of CLS-IIZs with Kinergetics SW800s for a good price. So, now I kinda wish I still had some of that gear to try.

I've tried a couple of preamps so far, but those results were nullified yesterday. The SW800 didn't come with the crossover, so I had to press a Hsu Research crossover/amp into service. Initially, I hooked everything up in a traditional manner...ran the preamp to the Hsu amp/crossover and used the crossover to drive the main amp.

I had to pull out my old CJ PV-8 to start enjoying the music again. SS preamps weren't very musical.

Then I tried the CLSs full range without the SW800s and everything sounded better, except the bass of course. So, I added the SW800s back in, but with the Hsu being driven by my amp.

BTW, I'm now using a PS Audio PCA-2 preamp with a Rowland Model 8 amp. I'm sure there will be more changes to the system, but the Model 8 and the CLSs aren't going anywhere.

Jeff
 

Big Dog RJ

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 3, 2022
Messages
142
Reaction score
82
Location
Melbourne The Best City in the world!
I think RJ is onto some good criteria to help guide you to the amp you'll need. Specifically, how big of an amp you'll need. This, in conjunction with your budget, will drive your pool of alternatives. As you look at those alternatives, think about the following thoughts as you evaluate these options:

I think that most SS amps that Martin Logan owners are going to use would probably qualify as dual mono (or come very close). In other words, they are probably imbued with separate power supplies and transformers in a single chassis. Thus, they are essentially monoblocks within one box as opposed to 2. A separate chassis is merely taking that last step for complete separation of each channel. I think this will result in minimal (if any) audible differences. So, I would try to find the best sound for your dollar as opposed to fixating on monoblocks.

On the other hand, a stereo tube amp is more likely to use a shared power supply and power transformer. The choice of tube monoblocks is more likely to result in actual performance gains. Of course then you have to worry about heat, maintenance, and replacing the suddenly much more expensive power tubes.

Jeff
Cheers Jeff,!
Agree on your points. Referring to tube monoblocks, yes they're extremely effective when driving ML's especially full range stats. As you mentioned, the maintenance costs have gone through the roof! Pricing on tubes is just plain silly. Lucky enough, I just did a full tube replacement on my CJ monoblocks in March, and that figure has now virtually trippled!
I can wait another 5-6 years before the next order but I'm not even sure what the cost would be by then...

Cheers, and enjoy those fine tunes!
RJ
 

Brandon Hartwick

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 17, 2022
Messages
123
Reaction score
63
Going active on the bass section and defeating the passive crossover on the woofer will make a much more noticeable than just changing/upgrading amps.

Going active brings these older models MUCH closer to the newer more expensive offerings. It also frees up your power amps driving only the ESL panel.
 

Brad225

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2006
Messages
1,874
Reaction score
131
Location
Wesley Chapel, Fl
I think you will see a bigger difference between choice of amp and preamp than between choice of monoblocs vs. stereo amp. And this is even more true with the newer speakers in which the bass drivers are basically internally biamped. With my Summits, the sound is excellent with my Sanders Sound 800 wpc monoblocs with my ARC preamp, but somewhat clinical. The SS monos control the panels with an iron fist and have a very neutral presentation. But it doesn’t sound anywhere near as sweet as it does with my Conrad Johnson preamp and 160 wpc stereo tube amp. The CJ sound is just on another level. Because of this, the Sanders amps and ARC preamp are currently in storage. My Ascents also sound amazing with my Pass Labs X-350.5 stereo amp. Unfortunately, I’ve never compared them with the Sanders monoblocs. That would be an interesting comparison.
If you liked the sound of the Pass with the Ascents then the Summits will be that much better. When I heard George's
Pass / Summit combination it was extremely dynamic. For me almost to much of a good thing.
 

Brandon Hartwick

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 17, 2022
Messages
123
Reaction score
63
Another thing to keep in mind is that a pro audio amp with electronic crossovers to drive the bass will run you between $300 and $600.

A pair of Pass Labs amps will probably run you over $10,000 and unless your speakers are underdriven the differences might not be as big as you're expecting. Generally with monoblocks you get a bit better seperation between the speakers as they're not sharing a power supply and other components.

I've used a multitude of different amps on my Aerius I's, including tube monoblocks. Nothing made nearly as much impact as bypassing the woofer crossover and driving it with its own amp and active crossover.
 

roberto

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,376
Reaction score
132
Location
San Jose, Costa Rica
Hola Chicos,

There are so many different approaches trying to have more intensity bass, so my advice is simple: just add a ML subwoofer and leave your Odysseys full range. The new line of subs BF series, you can use them with a special software for cutting the right blended frequency the sub(s) from MARTIN LOGAN and this software will match them perfectly. Using the volume of the sub, you will have the bass deepness and powerful bass sound with a wonderful stage.

This option leaves the possibility to do the searching of your like with the power amp Stereo or Mono-Blocks to drive them. Me as an example, I use my CLXs full range and added one BF-210 to have the deepness frequencies that I was missing on certain musical notes. This special software for my CLXs and all ML speakers is at the ML site for download. Just choose your ML speaker model and download it to a flash drive that comes with the BF-210 or BF-212. Plug this downloaded software to the USB port ay the sub and that's it. Once you have done this, your sub is ready to be used with the right frequency using
this special software to match your Odyssey's.

Definitive I am a tube person. I love the quality sound of the tubes.

Happy listening!
 
Top