Options for refreshing/replacing my 28 year old CLS speakers.

MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum

Help Support MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum:

Carlsbad

Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2021
Messages
18
Reaction score
5
gvera,
Good question and this may be a hole in my logic. If the big panel is just needed for bass and I'm planning to put in a 300 Hz crossover anyway, then why do I want to big panel? I think the big panel is key to the huge soundstage that the ML has. I also like the way the ML "fills up the room" at low volume and I attribute that to the large panel....I could be wrong. --Jerry
 

Robert D

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 21, 2020
Messages
942
Reaction score
176
I was reading your speaker panel size table and previous posts stating that larger panels are always best.
In the case of bass reproduction, that's a no brainer.
But, when the panel is crosses at over 300hz, I have some doubts.
Everybody loves the CLZ Art, and if you look at that speaker specs, the mid/high panel is only 490in2
Do you all say that a 13a or 15a should sound better than a CLZ Art at frequencies above 3xxhz due to panel size?
Good point! I didn't realize that. Punches a hole in the theory if that's true about the size being 490 in2
 

Spike

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
779
Reaction score
31
Location
SF Bay Area
>> Punches a hole in the theory if that's true about the size being 490 in2

Well, if only it was that simple! From the CLX Art specs, the panel area for highs is 490 in2, but there's also the panel with 656 in2 for the frequencies lower than 360hz. Just because this panel is labeled "Low Frequency Transducer" does not mean that it's only handling the thumping bass notes. I've posted several times here to bring attention to the fact that the middle-C note on a piano corresponds to 262hz. The description for middle C is "The lowest note of the flute. It is a fairly low note for a child or woman to sing, but a fairly high note for a man to sing". There's also the definition of (male) baritone voice in the range of 100hz-400hz, or tenor with 135hz-500hz range. Clearly, this is describing "mid-range" vocal frequencies to be reproduced by the "Low Frequency Transducer" panel. With that in mind, the effective panel area for mids/highs will be much more than the above mentioned 490 in2.
In my specific case with ReQuest speakers where the crossover frequency is 180hz, I had to pay close attention to the quality of the bass amp driving the woofers. I ended up with a Levinson 331 class-A for "bass-duty" and it opened up the performance of (male) vocals dramatically.
 

Robert D

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 21, 2020
Messages
942
Reaction score
176
>> Punches a hole in the theory if that's true about the size being 490 in2

Well, if only it was that simple! From the CLX Art specs, the panel area for highs is 490 in2, but there's also the panel with 656 in2 for the frequencies lower than 360hz. Just because this panel is labeled "Low Frequency Transducer" does not mean that it's only handling the thumping bass notes. I've posted several times here to bring attention to the fact that the middle-C note on a piano corresponds to 262hz. The description for middle C is "The lowest note of the flute. It is a fairly low note for a child or woman to sing, but a fairly high note for a man to sing". There's also the definition of (male) baritone voice in the range of 100hz-400hz, or tenor with 135hz-500hz range. Clearly, this is describing "mid-range" vocal frequencies to be reproduced by the "Low Frequency Transducer" panel. With that in mind, the effective panel area for mids/highs will be much more than the above mentioned 490 in2.
In my specific case with ReQuest speakers where the crossover frequency is 180hz, I had to pay close attention to the quality of the bass amp driving the woofers. I ended up with a Levinson 331 class-A for "bass-duty" and it opened up the performance of (male) vocals dramatically.
Great point. Just saw that the CLS is listed as going down to 45 hz, and the CLX down to 56 hz. So that one panel is the CLS is having to do it all, whereas in the CLX it has separate panels, and I believe the total area is larger.
 

Carlsbad

Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2021
Messages
18
Reaction score
5
Guys. I have he large CLS in my possession. You're discussion is making me want to go buy the Montis that are available near me to do a head to head comparison, just under 500 in2 vs 1000 in2....I'm not afraid to buy something I will have to resell later so long as I don't lose too much.
 

gvera

Member
MLO Supporter
Joined
Jun 7, 2021
Messages
18
Reaction score
1
>> Punches a hole in the theory if that's true about the size being 490 in2

Well, if only it was that simple! From the CLX Art specs, the panel area for highs is 490 in2, but there's also the panel with 656 in2 for the frequencies lower than 360hz. Just because this panel is labeled "Low Frequency Transducer" does not mean that it's only handling the thumping bass notes. I've posted several times here to bring attention to the fact that the middle-C note on a piano corresponds to 262hz. The description for middle C is "The lowest note of the flute. It is a fairly low note for a child or woman to sing, but a fairly high note for a man to sing". There's also the definition of (male) baritone voice in the range of 100hz-400hz, or tenor with 135hz-500hz range. Clearly, this is describing "mid-range" vocal frequencies to be reproduced by the "Low Frequency Transducer" panel. With that in mind, the effective panel area for mids/highs will be much more than the above mentioned 490 in2.
In my specific case with ReQuest speakers where the crossover frequency is 180hz, I had to pay close attention to the quality of the bass amp driving the woofers. I ended up with a Levinson 331 class-A for "bass-duty" and it opened up the performance of (male) vocals dramatically.
Hi Spike,
If you consider frequencies below the crossover point, that's a different issue.
You have extra panel surface for those frequencies in the CLX, but you don't need it in the other models as those frequencies are handled by the dynamic driver.
The 'work' the high frequencies panel has to do is almost the same in the CLX (360hz crossover) vs the Montis (340hz).
How the different kind of bass driver impacts the sound is another matter of discussion (full ELS vs Hybrid).

I did some research and ML have been changing the crossover point over the years, some examples:
ReQuest 180hz
Prodigy 250hz
Odyssey 250hz
Summit (old and X) 270hz
Montis 340hz
All current Masterpiece 300hz.

That might be interacting with panel size, in the current M. line smaller panels will have to work harder to reach those 300hz, the same happened in the Odyssey/Prodigy, but the Montis and Summit had the same radiating area, so the Summit the panels will have to work harder to go lower.

Hope you understand my thinking, I'm from Uruguay, English's not my first language
 

Spike

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
779
Reaction score
31
Location
SF Bay Area
Hi Gvera,
I am not disputing the comparison between the high/mid panels. Since the original statements has to do with panel sizes, I am pointing out the the CLX has additional panels to handle the frequencies between 100hz - 360hz and this additional area need to be taken into consideration also. And that leads into your statement "How the different kind of bass driver impacts the sound is another matter of discussion". That is a separate topic by itself for another day.

Spike
 

john65b

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Messages
89
Reaction score
1
Location
Chicago
If you look at the CLS, the larger "sections" on the two sides of the panel output more low frequency the inner smaller "sections" that output higher frequency sound. Also, all sections on later panels were all randomly sized for a reason....

Overall area matters, and just sending over 100hz to the speakers (or whatever frequency you choose for Hi Pass), will have all "sectioned" area emit sound.

In general, releasing the CLS speakers from low level frequency duty (if you have the subwoofer that you are happy with) will be less strain on your amp, the CLS interface, and will increase SPL levels.
 

DaVinci Media

Senior Member
MLO Vendor
Joined
Mar 20, 2008
Messages
183
Reaction score
34
Location
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I was reading your speaker panel size table and previous posts stating that larger panels are always best.
In the case of bass reproduction, that's a no brainer.
But, when the panel is crosses at over 300hz, I have some doubts.
Everybody loves the CLZ Art, and if you look at that speaker specs, the mid/high panel is only 490in2
Do you all say that a 13a or 15a should sound better than a CLZ Art at frequencies above 3xxhz due to panel size?
I made it post earlier discussing how bigger is better and I basically said that what I found when things get bigger the amount of information that can be reproduced increases with the size. The more complex the music the better it can be reproduced by a bigger panel.

So in addition I am a massive fan of the CLX. I Understand where you're coming from discussing the mid and upper panel of the integrated woofer speakers with the mid upper panel of the CLX. And I know what you're saying because I thought that it was probably the same. How can this much smaller CLX mid high panel keep up with the massive mid high panel in say the 15. The CLX mid high panels not that big. But what I found is I don't think you can look at the CLX as just the mid high panel. You have to put both those panel sizes together if you're going to take a measurement for the CLX and make a comparison. The way the base panel in the CLX reproduces music is why those speakers are so great. I have set up and sold a few dozen CLXs over the years starting with an event that we sponsored when they came out at the 25th anniversary. And what all of those have taught me, and I know a lot of people will agree. Using an electrostatic panel to reproduce the bass is magic. Unfortunately I do not have as much experience with the CLS. I do feel that that large bass panel in the CLS Hass to contribute a lot of magic as well. What one wildcard is the other additional technologies that the CLX had over the CLS. The magical vote Vojtko crossover I know is one of them. But the other thing people don't realize the newer panels actually get more sound output than the older panels. The holes are smaller in the newer panels which allows for more transducer surface area. So when you're making these comparisons you cannot just compare the dimensions you need to know which panel iteration it is and the transducer surface area of that panel. Sorry I can't throw on this post together in a hurry because I need to earth help mom out today. But I will definitely come back and revisit it in the next day or two. I'm sure people might have some questions.
 

DaVinci Media

Senior Member
MLO Vendor
Joined
Mar 20, 2008
Messages
183
Reaction score
34
Location
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Hi Spike,
If you consider frequencies below the crossover point, that's a different issue.
You have extra panel surface for those frequencies in the CLX, but you don't need it in the other models as those frequencies are handled by the dynamic driver.
The 'work' the high frequencies panel has to do is almost the same in the CLX (360hz crossover) vs the Montis (340hz).
How the different kind of bass driver impacts the sound is another matter of discussion (full ELS vs Hybrid).

I did some research and ML have been changing the crossover point over the years, some examples:
ReQuest 180hz
Prodigy 250hz
Odyssey 250hz
Summit (old and X) 270hz
Montis 340hz
All current Masterpiece 300hz.

That might be interacting with panel size, in the current M. line smaller panels will have to work harder to reach those 300hz, the same happened in the Odyssey/Prodigy, but the Montis and Summit had the same radiating area, so the Summit the panels will have to work harder to go lower.

Hope you understand my thinking, I'm from Uruguay, English's not my first language
So as I mentioned earlier this is not an apple to apple comparison of panel size. After the Prodigy/Odyssey/Arius the panels there were big upgrades to panel as well as internals including crossover. After this point the panels have a significant increase in output for a number of reasons. My collogue and longtime Martin Logan employee (I am pretty sure he has more years working for the company than anyone else, period) and all around great guy Dennis Chern explained these differences as he remembers them:

"First, output improvement based on panel change came from increasing usable panel surface by the change in gripper designing of the new strut structure. It allowed the panel to need less wasted solid metal on its perimeter
The change in smaller hole pattern netted better “open to closed” ratio - Taft was big
There were other small aspects improvements to in crease efficiency rating at endpoint measuring
Actual manufacturing techniques evolved to result in more stable and long lived better functioning panel.
X over improvements , woofer driver improvements etc"

So its very hard to compare the CLS or any of its variants to later speakers based on panel size.
 

Robert D

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 21, 2020
Messages
942
Reaction score
176
When I ordered my Prodigy replacement panels they sent me literature explaining how the diaphragm they used in my panels now is an improvement over the old. Something about it is better. So there's that too. I'm not sure how significant the improvement is, but I'll take it!
 

Carlsbad

Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2021
Messages
18
Reaction score
5
I'll keep this thread updated on how I proceed. I am currently waiting for a high voltage probe to check the health of my panels before and after I shower them. --Jerry
 

Jeff Zaret

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
1,221
Reaction score
3
Location
Lancaster,Ca
Jerry are you in So Cal? If so so I am and if you want to venture up my way to hear the CLSiiZ's let me know. Jeff
 

Carlsbad

Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2021
Messages
18
Reaction score
5
Jerry are you in So Cal? If so so I am and if you want to venture up my way to hear the CLSiiZ's let me know. Jeff
Jeff, I'd love to take you up on that. I'm in Carlsbad. I'm driving to Mt Whitney this Thursday. Would you be available for a while to demo them in the afternoon? Thanks, Jerry
 

docknow

New member
Joined
Oct 19, 2021
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
6. I'm willing to listen to other ideas.

Sell the CLSs and buy a pair of CLXs. There is a pair for $8,000. Used martin clx for Sale | HifiShark.com

This will be a move to state-of-the-art

I was a long term CLS owner. Bought them as I's in 1988 and upgraded them to II's, IIa's and IIz's and took the HF switch out of the circuit and had ML install Cardas binding posts when the the transformer boxes went back for one of the upgrades. Ran them full range, then added a pair of Kinergetics SW-100 with amp and crossover (which were stolen), and then pair of Entec L-2F20's. I found the sound with the Entec's to be best using a custom Bob Crump high-pass filter on the ARC D115mkII or REF110 amp I was using to drive the CLSs with, not the Entec crossover.

In 2017 I was lucky and bought a pair of CLX arts for $7,500. They are a much more resolving speaker than the CLSs, although this is probably partly due to the upgrade in electronics I did at the same time (LS17SE+REF110>LS-28+REF150SE compliments of the great ARC trade-in program that year). Later that year I bought a used BF210 sub. I run the CLXs full range, as my experience with the Entec crossover or Crump filters makes me wary of any extra devices in the signal path of my panels. I want the cleanest, simplest signal path, to get the transparency that is possible with the CLXs. This is easy with the BF subs, as i could download the proper crossover for the BF to match full-range CLXs from the ML website and upload into the BF sub. Then use the PBK kit and software to customize the frequency output to my room. This last step is crucial. The difference between pre- and post-PBK might be the most impactful change I have ever make to any system in my life. No more variation in loudness of bass notes as a run goes up and down the scale. It is incredible.

Enjoy,

-docknow
 

Latest posts

Top