Need Help Deciding (ESL9 / 11A / 13A)

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WilliamO

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Hello all.

I was originally set to pick up a pair of Classic ESL9s in Walnut, but believe I may desire more in the bottom end. I was initially going to add powered subs, but have recently considered moving to the 11A or 13A to get more bottom end. My room is approximately 17' x 17' with a 10' ceiling; it is not a perfect square. It is actually slightly larger, but this is relatively close. I want to be able to FEEL the bass if I so desire. There are times I will listen to rap or other music with a fairly heavy bottom end. Most of the listening will probably be jazz, instrumental, voices.

Amplifiers: McIntosh MC275MKVI (mono)
McIntosh MEN220 Room Correction Processor

Concerns:
- Will the ESL9s reproduce the music with sufficient volume and detail when paired with powered subs?
- Will I still need powered subs with the 11A / 13A?
- Will the ESL9 with the MEN220 be sufficient as opposed to the ARC in the 11A / 13A?
- Do I need the 11A / 13A for the increase in volume / detail for the space?

I do not want to overwhelm the room with the size of the 11A / 13A, if the ESL9 will do the job. If all require the powered subs, I am not sure there is a strong enough case for the larger offerings, unless there is truly that much difference in the panel. Additionally, I have read, due to crossover points, the ESL9 is voiced a little different.

Advice / opinions?

THANK YOU!!!
 

GW1800

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Reading between the lines it seems money is not a limitation however quality of sound and particularly bass landing much higher on your list.

I’m in the camp of subs. I have only experienced the 13’s of your choices previously Summit X’s. It’s not to say bass is not good without subs but the bottom octave is just so much better with a sub. I’m pretty sure your other two choices even with a sub will leave you wanting and looking to upgrade. I’m also certain the larger panel of the 13 will add a lot of sonic enjoyment the the lower models will come up short.

Your room is of good size and10’ ceiling just adds to that volume. You need a speaker setup that is up to the challenge!!
 

ttocs

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So many great choices.

Your room is about 3000 cubic feet, mine is well over 5000 cubic feet. I had the Vista which is a 9" panel and a 8" passive woofer with a ported cabinet. They needed subs in such a large room. There was no problem with volume in and of itself, but its smaller panel just can't compete with the 13A that now fills the space with greater authority. And yes, the finer detail comes through more easily with the larger panels.

I really wanted to get the 11A that I had been thinking about for many months, but after hearing the 13A it was an easy decision to go with the larger speaker. No regrets.

I was not as strong a supporter of using subs for such very capable speakers, until I got five subwoofers for my very capable speakers. I had subs that were not up to the task of complimenting the 13A, so they are gone and now I have four ML 1100X and an 800X. Each 13A has a stacked pair of subs wired via Speaker Level connections, and the fifth sub is at the back of the room for smoothing duties.

The subs allow the 13A woofer amps to loaf at the lower frequencies below about 100Hz. The subs added more articulation, effortless lower frequency extension, dynamics are through the roof, and the soundstage is now wider.

Similar to what was said in a famous movie from long ago, I have two words for you: Larger Panel. It's easy to add subs, but you can't stretch the stat panel.
 
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Lightloopy

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You will get more than adequate bass to start with an 11A or 13A (obviously go with the bigger panel if funds allow). Bass adjustment is very flexible and you have ARC. Then you can add subs to your hearts delight like TTOCS, but that requires some technical prowess to be done right- check out the diagram of his setup. Quite impressive!
 

spkrdctr

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To sum up Ttocs, GO BIG OR GO HOME. I agree with him on this recommendation! I'd listen to him.

I'd try a 1600 sub to see what you think. Buy one and if you do not like it you can probably return it. But if you like it you will have one great sub. Then if you buy more, it is up to your tastes. Good Luck!
 

Dan F.

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Being able to put subs in locations other than your panels is one of the main benefits of subs. I’m partial to JL Audio E110 that can be high-passed if desired. And the 10” woofers are fast enough to pair nicely with the panels.
 

jtucker

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While I am currently not using subs, I will comment on panel size. In my previous home, my listening room size was very similar. The difference between the 9" and 11" panels was huge ( in my case Ethos vs Montis). I find the bass more than adequate with the Montis, but I don't listen to any rap or other bass heavy content. Once you get up to the 13s, the speakers are starting to get kind of big, probably too much for your listening room. The 15s are gigantic.

I did use a sub when I had Magnepans to excellent result.
 

rluciano

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Being able to put subs in locations other than your panels is one of the main benefits of subs. I’m partial to JL Audio E110 that can be high-passed if desired. And the 10” woofers are fast enough to pair nicely with the panels.
Absolutely true. You have to place your main speakers for imaging and clarity, but that my not be optimal for bass.
Sub placement is what creates great bass and 4 small well placed subs will blow away one Balanced Force 212 in most rooms.
See: http://www.audiokinesis.com/the-swarm-subwoofer-system-1.html Great bass with any speaker, if you take the time to place the subs like the manufacturer recommends.
 

ttocs

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In my case, I'm running subs with each Front speaker which are directly next to each speaker and get really good results. But, when both speakers are playing summed mono bass there's a big dip, so I am in process of integrating the sub in the rear of the room to smooth out that dip. On the first tweak session the initial results were good for when "each" speaker is playing, and also good for when "both" speakers (L+R) are playing the same mono signal, but that didn't hold true for when Dirac got involved. The Dirac filter messed up the L+R bass below 45Hz and it just rolls off the cliff, but each speaker on its own is even better than before using the rear sub.

The ultimate for me is to achieve good results with and without Dirac. And frankly, I really did not expect everything to go any better than it has on the first try. So during the week and definitely by the weekend I will be running more tweaks. I'm pretty sure that Dirac is not happy with the PEQ I setup in the miniDSP for one of the channels, but I thought I'd try it anyway and got caught flying too close to the sun.

My point here is to agree with the statements about putting subs where they work best. But, (As Pee Wee Herman famously said: "Everybody's got a big but") when one wants to augment bass for particular speakers with subs, those subs really need to be where those speakers are, and that might mean that another sub will need to be brought into the equation to help out when issues arise. That satellite sub will probably not need to do very much, as in my case, to help a great deal.

I'll post some before/after plots soon.
 

spkrdctr

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Ttocs, the level of sophistication and equipment in your system is what someone gets when NASA, CERN and SpaceX engineers approve of your system. It's like this "How can it get any better"? Your system schematic is enough to surprise most people. Oh, and yes I AM jealous!!!! :)
 

twich54

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pretty much in agreement with all here. if it were me I'd go with either the 11 or the 13 and after install re=asses your bass requirements. the
 

tktiomy56

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I’m running 11s with dual 210s McIntosh c47 with mc312....simply amazing
 

greg2putt

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I agree with comments about bigger is always better... especially with Stat panel on 13s which I enjoy. I happen to have a Descent i sub which doesn't get too involved as 13s can go quite low. I was a previous Summit owner and the 13s are way better in bottom end! I'd say that movies are one of the most common places where the Sub joins in unless the volume is turned up.
I also agree that room size is critical and 13s will be 'big' in your room so if you're in the next 5-10 years going to be moving then you're 'future proofed' in that 13s can energize a room probably twice the CF of your current room. I 'custom' built my home with the 'ideal' great room dimensions for sound reproduction.... 24x20x14. Unfortunately, there's glass on one side but no complaints with the 'room'
 

ttocs

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Ttocs, the level of sophistication and equipment in your system is what someone gets when NASA, CERN and SpaceX engineers approve of your system. It's like this "How can it get any better"? Your system schematic is enough to surprise most people. Oh, and yes I AM jealous!!!! :)
Thanks! You may be assigning more to my system than it can live up to however, but I appreciate the sentiment!!

There's someone I've communicated with in Europe who uses 18 Magnepan speakers - 3 different models, 13 subwoofers, and 4 Helix Ultra DSP. He splits the bass into <50Hz, 50-180Hz, then the Maggies are 180Hz and up. His system is ComPliCatEd!
 

Paul172

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If you are looking for a deal on 11a’s

Good price from the Music Room.
 

Northy

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Currently running Theos backed up by Pass Labs amp/preamp with one Balanced Force 210. I am happy as a clam! If I wanted to upgrade, I would most likely go with the ESL 9 and add another 210. Each sub weighs roughly 100 lbs. and has two 10 inch woofers powered by a 1,700 watt ICE amp. I doubt you will ever get that kind of lightning-fast bass from ESL 11/13 or dare I say 15.
 
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zigman

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Bigger is always better if you can sit far enough to get the full benefit of the bigger panel. In order to get the full range, you need to be sitting at a decent distance to hear the top as well as bottom portion of the panel. Otherwise you may be missing some of the highs from your seating position. It may still sound great to you though.

As many have mentioned, placement is insanely important.
 

Ton459

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Agree - go as big as you can afford. Personally, I would eliminate all electronic circuitry between power amp and speakers (i.e. no conditioning no matter what brand or standard). Instead, invest in conditioning your room and placement of the speakers. My 2 cents.
 
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