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Hoss

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Hi folks-

Hoss in Atlanta here. I’ve owned various ML setups for the past 10-15 yrs. I had (and sold) a number of different configurations given my changing needs over the years, but now have a question for those of you that may have some experience with this:

I’ve just moved, and have a larger den area (~20x22 and ~12 ft ceiling) where I’d like to place my pair of Theos. I have a different setup entirely for home theater, but for my den, I’d like to put the Theos, a sub, and a center for mixed audio use (music, movies, & TV). What I need now is a center that will work well either sitting on a smaller fireplace mantel (~8 inches deep) or that would sound decent mounted on the wall (wood paneling wall over a fireplace). I considered buying a used motif or stage, but just not sure how well that would match both the Theos as well as the need for the size of room. Any suggestions here? Shall I mix & match, and if so, with what?

FYI: I am running a Marantz AV7702 and a Rotel RMB-1555. I am likely planning on bi-amping the Theos with separate channels for the electrostat panels and the woofer seperately (@120w/channel), plus the center. No intention for rears.

Bonus: I have a sub, but can afford to replace it with a new reasonably-priced or used one (~$1k or less). What might be suggested to make up for the passive 8” woofers on the Theos? Also, are there ANY wireless subs out there worth their salt?

Thanks!
 

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Welcome Hoss, I'm not much of an HT / multi channel guy so I'll let the experts chime in !
 

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Hi Hoss, welcome to the club!

That is a nice sized room, but the ratios will present a bit of a challenge on the low-end, so I'd recommend two subs minimum so you can balance out the LF.
I actually deployed four subs into a cube of a small room and have amazingly clean and smooth low-end.

For wireless sub hookup, there are several kits, including one from ML, but I think they all are some variation of commodity parts, and the one from parts-express is probably as good as any other. But I'd encourage you to find a way to run cables to the sub locations, as that's a lower-latency, more stable connection.

As for subs, I DIY mine for incredible value and performance, but there are a ton of good subs, so used is generally a great way to increase the value proposition there.

As for center channels, given the constraints you outline, I'd say the new Focus ESL C18 is the perfect match for you setup, it can even be wall mounted. Not cheap, but the best possible match to the Theos. None of the older centers would be appropriate, as they are dipoles.
A lower cost alternative might be the Electromotion C, as it is a monopole as well. But a much deeper cabinet than the C18.

I have a similar pre-amp, the Marantz AV8802A, and do active crossovers and bi-amp all channels, so your idea of biamping the woofer and panels is a good step in the right direction.
 

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Oh, and if you ever get the upgrade bug (and if you hang out here long enough, you will :devil: ), I'd be interested in purchasing your Theos. I need to build side speakers so I can have a full 7.2.4 rig. You are local, so no shipping hassles either.
 

Hoss

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Thanks for the welcome, Dave!

Jonathan, your input has been incredibly helpful! On your advice, I went to the local Magnolia Design Center to demo the Focus ESL C18. Despite having an impressive array of ML products, they did not have a Focus, nor did anyplace nearby. So after reading and discussing with the staff there, I took the plunge and ordered it without even hearing it! First time I've done so, but I am confident that there is no better ML center that I can mount or place on the mantle (which obviously excludes the Illusion). Got it in the walnut finish. Haven't gotten confirmation on delivery yet, but I am assuming a couple weeks to get it.

I may need to tackle the sub soon - and am thinking of trying two wireless Dynamo 1000's (in the two back corners of the room). I may be able do a wired option to just one side of the room with some floor modification (not on a solid wall), but I would really like to avoid that if possible! Once I get the center and bi-amp the fronts, I will then deal with the sub configuration.

And yes, I spent some time playing with pairs of the CLX art & Expressions the other day (they didn't have the Renaissance) - so I will undoubtedly want to upgrade at some point. If so, I will definitely keep you in mind!

I'll report back on my impressions of the Focus once it arrives. At the same time that I ordered the Focus, I ended up switching out the TV I just bought last month (Samsung 9000 series) for the latest Sony, looking for a better processor. My wife asked me if I was going to spend all that on just the center, that shouldn't I spent at least the same on a better TV? I agreed. Good thing she appreciates quality audio though!
 

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Ha, nice upgrade there on the TV, hopefully the OLED based Sony.

Congrats on the Focus purchase, I look forward to your take on that one.

As for the subs, good choice to go with two, and use the two independent sub outputs of the 7702, as it has support for adjusting gain and delay to each sub independently. It does EQ them together though.

Did the Magnolia have the CLX? If so where in ATL is that? I need to schedule a drop-by and hear those again.
 

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I'll report back on my impressions of the Focus once it arrives. At the same time that I ordered the Focus, I ended up switching out the TV I just bought last month (Samsung 9000 series) for the latest Sony, looking for a better processor. My wife asked me if I was going to spend all that on just the center, that shouldn't I spent at least the same on a better TV? I agreed. Good thing she appreciates quality audio though!
You are going to love the new Focus center channel! I like you purchased it without hearing it and have absolutely no regrets. Wall mounted it looks much better then having it sit on top of my cabinet like the Stage X did. Mine was in the first batch they made and I had some suggestions on their mounting instructions etc. I see some of them did make the cut to the mounting instructions. I mentioned this before on a past thread but I also replaced the power supply. The Focus and Stage X have the same identical wimpy wall wort so after some research I replaced it with a SBooster power supply. Now with both changes it really is a big step up in my opinion.
 

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Ha, nice upgrade there on the TV, hopefully the OLED based Sony.

Congrats on the Focus purchase, I look forward to your take on that one.

As for the subs, good choice to go with two, and use the two independent sub outputs of the 7702, as it has support for adjusting gain and delay to each sub independently. It does EQ them together though.

Did the Magnolia have the CLX? If so where in ATL is that? I need to schedule a drop-by and hear those again.
I am planning to go with two of the ML Dynamo 1000 subs. Wireless makes it easier in the room, and I have heard them before, so I'm sure it will be worthwhile.

The Magnolia Design Center (not all of them are Design Centers) at Perimeter had the CLX and the Expressions when I was last there - however they said they had some sort of demonstration going on (not for me), and that I happened to come at a good time. They may well still have them there. They did not have the Renaissance, but I think they said something about getting them in there at some point!


You are going to love the new Focus center channel! I like you purchased it without hearing it and have absolutely no regrets. Wall mounted it looks much better then having it sit on top of my cabinet like the Stage X did. Mine was in the first batch they made and I had some suggestions on their mounting instructions etc. I see some of them did make the cut to the mounting instructions. I mentioned this before on a past thread but I also replaced the power supply. The Focus and Stage X have the same identical wimpy wall wort so after some research I replaced it with a SBooster power supply. Now with both changes it really is a big step up in my opinion.
I am looking forward to receiving the Focus! Just got confirmation yesterday that it will arrive in ATL on Jan 29th, so not bad on the turnaround I thought.

On the power supply, were you also able to get a longer one too, or was it only to improve the quality of it? I am not sure, but given how short my Theos power supplies are (although my Source ones back in the day were much longer), I am wondering if I will have to get a new longer one, as I intend to hide the wires behind the wall and have it reach power (plus the speaker cables too) on the far left of the room.
 

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On the power supply, were you also able to get a longer one too, or was it only to improve the quality of it? I am not sure, but given how short my Theos power supplies are (although my Source ones back in the day were much longer), I am wondering if I will have to get a new longer one, as I intend to hide the wires behind the wall and have it reach power (plus the speaker cables too) on the far left of the room.
Not sure what you mean "to get a longer one". Yes the SBooster is to improve the sound quality. Actually you can get one also for each Theos. If it made a difference with the Focus (which it did) it may make an even bigger difference with your Theos. if you want to private message me so we discuss off line that would be fine also.
 

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Not sure what you mean "to get a longer one". Yes the SBooster is to improve the sound quality. Actually you can get one also for each Theos. If it made a difference with the Focus (which it did) it may make an even bigger difference with your Theos. if you want to private message me so we discuss off line that would be fine also.
I was referring to the length of the cabling for the power supply. Currently, the lengths on my Theos is pretty short out of the box (I want to say something like 8 ft from memory). I plan to hide the power supplies and other cabling where I can, and on one side, may need something like 12-15 ft. Wondering if I can kill two birds with one stone here - if there is a marked difference in performance from changing out the power supply AND if I can get a longer one at the same time.
 

Hoss

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How’d it all turn out hoss?
Hey folks - long story short, I got the focus and loved it. Paired very nicely with my Theos along with the subs I added - but for the room I had it in, felt like it only needed one sub. The Focus is so impressive for an on-wall speaker that it made me want to replace my Theos! Here comes the rub (be careful what you wish for): I had MAYBE 25 hrs on the pair of Theos, and the Front Right panel just went out all of a sudden. Left town for a day or so, came back and the one speaker sounded as if it was receiving the signal from a mono source with heavy distortion and almost zero volume (regardless of what I did). Had Magnolia come in for some other items in my house, and while they were there, picked up the Theos to send back to ML for repair. It has been gone for almost 8 weeks (not sure if the delay is on ML or Magnolia), but the verdict is that they are complaining about "that panel isn't made anymore, and it will be difficult and much longer to get it replaced," with no estimate on cost. And as if I wasn't already weary, the Magnolia guy tells me "but the good news is that they are willing to discount a current line pair for you, we have some great Renaissance in store......"

So when I get back in town, I plan to visit the store and attempt to sort this out. Anyone have any idea how long this "should" take to repair a legacy panel??? I've heard stories of folks getting their Monoliths serviced - and I can't seem to get a Theos repaired? Something just doesn't feel right (and not to mention, I am a bit disappointed with the fact that this happened with very little usage).
 

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... Anyone have any idea how long this "should" take to repair a legacy panel??? I've heard stories of folks getting their Monoliths serviced - and I can't seem to get a Theos repaired? Something just doesn't feel right (and not to mention, I am a bit disappointed with the fact that this happened with very little usage).
A Theos is hardly 'legacy', so I fully expect the factory to have spares of that panel, it's the same panel used on the Summit IIRC. They can still build panels for units as old as the the early '90's Sequel.
My guess is the panel is fine, and the issue is most likely diaphragm energizer or crossover-related. The Theos is an all-passive unit, so not much to go wrong.

I hope you get a quick resolution.
 

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... Paired very nicely with my Theos along with the subs I added - but for the room I had it in, felt like it only needed one sub. ...
That speaks more to a setup problem, quantity of subs should increase quality of sound, not quantity. If quantity of bass is too much, they are turned up too high, locations are sub-optimal, or the calibration not correctly done.

This from the guy with four subs in his HT (oh yes, and the media room as well) ;)
 

tsmooth

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The focus in an excellent speaker, I instantly noticed the difference. That sound quality and piano black finish is making want to upgrade my vistas to a matching 11 or 13a too...
 

Hoss

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UPDATE: Decided to call ML directly, and spoke with a gentleman in the service department named Ron. Wonderfully helpful and patient, Ron said he would get to the bottom of the issue and let me know (but to give him a few days to sort it out with the Magnolia store). A week later, Ron called me back and let me know that there was some kind of mix-up between the Magnolia store and ML, and that he didn't know why they said what they did or what happened during the diagnosis, but he got it sorted out with them and is sending a new panel to the store. So the Theos will be fixed with a new panel, not really sure what went wrong with a panel that had only about 25-30 hrs on it - but will be back to perfection soon.

In the meantime, I ALSO bought a pair of Ethos from Magnolia, as I just couldn't help myself. I ALMOST bought a pair of CLX Arts - but my wife actually had a bigger problem with their size than the price! They had the Ethos brand new in the box and sold to me for the last price they were sold at, so I was happy enough just to have a working pair in my den. Great music and audio for me is a kind of therapy, so waiting so long for repair just wasn't working for me! I left with a new pair and happy, but I am still thinking about those CLX Arts.....

Anyway, I now have THREE pairs of ML speakers, the newest being the Theos and Ethos. Not really sure what to do with them yet - but I feel like it is a good problem to have!



That speaks more to a setup problem, quantity of subs should increase quality of sound, not quantity. If quantity of bass is too much, they are turned up too high, locations are sub-optimal, or the calibration not correctly done.

This from the guy with four subs in his HT (oh yes, and the media room as well) ;)
Good info here! It was actually the location of the second sub that I decided we didn't need it, as my wife tends to sit where the other unit would have been, and frankly, doesn't share my enthusiasm on the low end of the spectrum. In the larger room we have, while the quality was indeed improved, the proximity of her seating to the second unit (I couldn't place it anywhere else) led me to just scrap it and have them take it back. Plus, with the bi-amped config with even my Theos and the single sub, I am happy with it as-is. That being said, I know you were looking for a local pair - I may be willing to part with one of new the pairs depending on what I decide to keep.

I cannot bi-amp the Ethos (and not sure that it would be needed, given that it is an active pair) - but the downside here is that I already had the wires installed into the crafted wood wall, in addition to the power cords. The Ethos only uses a 3-prong standard computer cord for power, whereas the Theos used the adaptor. So, I now have the power cord for the Ethos just sitting out exposed, along with a pair of extra wires that don't go into the Ethos. So I think I may switch back to the Theos when they are ready, and decide whether or not I move the Ethos to another room, or sell one off the pairs and convince myself that I need the CLX Art in the other room.....
 
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Hoss

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The focus in an excellent speaker, I instantly noticed the difference. That sound quality and piano black finish is making want to upgrade my vistas to a matching 11 or 13a too...

It is indeed. I just absolutely love it, and the walnut finish works so well with the wall we have it on. I will say that getting the right angle took some time, but was well worth it to get it right, as mine is mounted rather high above the TV. Highly recommend the Focus though.
 
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