Panel Refurbish- Does it sound the same?

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Pars

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Joined
Apr 3, 2024
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Dear All,

I am willing to but a set of Vantages. I am wandering, if I go with Re-furbished option. does it sound the same as the original? Assuming that a non- refurbished Vantage probably filled it life time since 2007. Or a working original pair would still sound better?

Thanks
 
If I had an aged panel that was still working and played at a reasonable volume, I would probably just leave it alone.

There is a risk of bending a stator when prying them apart (not necessarily the kiss of death but you don't want it to happen).

Assume you would have to replace everything but the stators, and the materials, especially the 3M tape adhesives, are just stupid-expensive. Curved panels use different tape thicknesses on the front & back stators, so you would have to purchase two 36yd rolls ($200+ each). You would use about 1/3 of that tape but it's a min-buy quantity thing. Add the diaphragm film and coating will bring the cost about $500 + shipping.

You would need to build a jig (a sheet of plywood ain't cheap either).

You will need some method of determining the tension on the diaphragm and reproducing that same tension.

As for the sound:
Most panels, no matter their construction, will faithfully produce the input signal and sound about the same, as the tonal quality and response are largely determined by the electronics interface, especially the transformers.

Assuming you use similar to original materials and diaphragm tension, I wouldn't expect the panel to sound appreciably different tonally, just in volume.

If the aged panel was weak, you will hear a big difference after refurb because volume is restored and the woofer is no longer overpowering the panel.

If you substitute thinner 6-micron for the diaphragm, the treble will roll off a bit higher, which is good but you may not hear a difference if the electronics is chopping off the top octave.

If you don't get the new diaphragm at original tension, it's drum head-frequency will not match any compensating filter that ML may have in the passive crossover, in which case, you would might hear an undamped peak at the resonance frequency.

If you have a dead panel, then you have nothing to lose, and I would do a refurb without hesitation.
 
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If I had an aged panel that was still working and played at a reasonable volume, I would probably just leave it alone.

There is a risk of bending a stator when prying them apart (not necessarily the kiss of death but you don't want it to happen).

Assume you would have to replace everything but the stators, and the materials, especially the 3M tape adhesives, are just stupid-expensive. Curved panels use different tape thicknesses on the front & back stators, so you would have to purchase two 36yd rolls ($200+ each). You would use about 1/3 of that tape but it's a min-buy quantity thing. Add the diaphragm film and coating will bring the cost about $500 + shipping.

You would need to build a jig (a sheet of plywood ain't cheap either).

You will need some method of determining the tension on the diaphragm and reproducing that same tension.

As for the sound:
Most panels, no matter their construction, will faithfully produce the input signal and sound about the same, as the tonal quality and response are largely determined by the electronics interface, especially the transformers.

Assuming you use similar to original materials and diaphragm tension, I wouldn't expect the panel to sound appreciably different tonally, just in volume.

If the aged panel was weak, you will hear a big difference after refurb because volume is restored and the woofer is no longer overpowering the panel.

If you substitute thinner 6-micron for the diaphragm, the treble will roll off a bit higher, which is good but you may not hear a difference if the electronics is chopping off the top octave.

If you don't get the new diaphragm at original tension, it's drum head-frequency will not match any compensating filter that ML may have in the passive crossover, in which case, you would might hear an undamped peak at the resonance frequency.

If you have a dead panel, then you have nothing to lose, and I would do a refurb without hesitation.
Thank you very much for your
If I had an aged panel that was still working and played at a reasonable volume, I would probably just leave it alone.

There is a risk of bending a stator when prying them apart (not necessarily the kiss of death but you don't want it to happen).

Assume you would have to replace everything but the stators, and the materials, especially the 3M tape adhesives, are just stupid-expensive. Curved panels use different tape thicknesses on the front & back stators, so you would have to purchase two 36yd rolls ($200+ each). You would use about 1/3 of that tape but it's a min-buy quantity thing. Add the diaphragm film and coating will bring the cost about $500 + shipping.

You would need to build a jig (a sheet of plywood ain't cheap either).

You will need some method of determining the tension on the diaphragm and reproducing that same tension.

As for the sound:
Most panels, no matter their construction, will faithfully produce the input signal and sound about the same, as the tonal quality and response are largely determined by the electronics interface, especially the transformers.

Assuming you use similar to original materials and diaphragm tension, I wouldn't expect the panel to sound appreciably different tonally, just in volume.

If the aged panel was weak, you will hear a big difference after refurb because volume is restored and the woofer is no longer overpowering the panel.

If you substitute thinner 6-micron for the diaphragm, the treble will roll off a bit higher, which is good but you may not hear a difference if the electronics is chopping off the top octave.

If you don't get the new diaphragm at original tension, it's drum head-frequency will not match any compensating filter that ML may have in the passive crossover, in which case, you would might hear an undamped peak at the resonance frequency.

If you have a dead panel, then you have nothing to lose, and I would do a refurb without hesitation.
Thank you very much for your very detailed response, very clear to me. Honestly I am about to buy second hand Martin Logan Vantage and one of them is refurbished with two years warranty, other one of them claims to be original. So, referring that these speakers are from 2007, the panels have a life time right? Or no? Do they survive forever if they are well taken care of? I thought they will need refurbishment at some point.
 
Thank you very much for your

Thank you very much for your very detailed response, very clear to me. Honestly I am about to buy second hand Martin Logan Vantage and one of them is refurbished with two years warranty, other one of them claims to be original. So, referring that these speakers are from 2007, the panels have a life time right? Or no? Do they survive forever if they are well taken care of? I thought they will need refurbishment at some point.

The ESL's Achilles heel is its diaphragm coating losing conductivity over time.

My personal belief is that the coating is being slowly cooked off the diaphragm anytime the speaker is playing, and if so, a panel that doesn't get played much should last longer than one that gets played more often.

I would also guess that panels that are not vacuumed often get a dust buildup which holds moisture and creates shorting paths that can drain charge off the diaphragm faster than the bias supply can replenish it, or worse; allow arcing to occur which can cause a sudden and catastrophic failure. So it pays to keep the panels clean.

There is only anecdotal reports on life-estimates, which vary greatly. My thinking is that 20 years is all you can expect, no matter how well the speakers were cared for.

I have to make an exception for Acoustats, which use a carbon black coating that never dies and these speakers are about as close as it gets to bullet proof reliable.
 
The ESL's Achilles heel is its diaphragm coating losing conductivity over time.

My personal belief is that the coating is being slowly cooked off the diaphragm anytime the speaker is playing, and if so, a panel that doesn't get played much should last longer than one that gets played more often.

I would also guess that panels that are not vacuumed often get a dust buildup which holds moisture and creates shorting paths that can drain charge off the diaphragm faster than the bias supply can replenish it, or worse; allow arcing to occur which can cause a sudden and catastrophic failure. So it pays to keep the panels clean.

There is only anecdotal reports on life-estimates, which vary greatly. My thinking is that 20 years is all you can expect, no matter how well the speakers were cared for.

I have to make an exception for Acoustats, which use a carbon black coating that never dies and these speakers are about as close as it gets to bullet proof reliable.
Jazzman you could not have made that any clearer or to the point and I as one am in total agreement with you on what you just said here! People need to understand this, as much as we all want there to be some magic wand to wave over aged panels or secret sauce to wash them with there is just no getting around the fact that these panels have a definite life expectancy, and I also agree with you that it is about 20 years. So anyone considering buying second hand, used whatever you want to call it take this into consideration on what the value of said speakers is to you, just count the cost of new panels into the purchase. And don’t take this as a bad thing, these speakers as any are a “mechanical” item they need maintainence, cleaning and care given throughout their lifetime to get the most out of them. My Odysseys are from 2001 I bought them in early 2023 so the panels were 22 years old I knew going in they would need to be replaced. So now I have a very sweet pair of Odysseys with new panels, and I went to active crossover on the bass(woofers), replaced the woofers with drivers of my choice and have about $5700 total into my speakers. And I challenge anybody to find a pair of speakers for $5700 that sound better than my Odysseys if you do I’ll eat my hat😂😂😂 Yes the improvement in sound was that big with the new panels over the 22 year old panels.
 
Jazzman you could not have made that any clearer or to the point and I as one am in total agreement with you on what you just said here! People need to understand this, as much as we all want there to be some magic wand to wave over aged panels or secret sauce to wash them with there is just no getting around the fact that these panels have a definite life expectancy, and I also agree with you that it is about 20 years. So anyone considering buying second hand, used whatever you want to call it take this into consideration on what the value of said speakers is to you, just count the cost of new panels into the purchase. And don’t take this as a bad thing, these speakers as any are a “mechanical” item they need maintainence, cleaning and care given throughout their lifetime to get the most out of them. My Odysseys are from 2001 I bought them in early 2023 so the panels were 22 years old I knew going in they would need to be replaced. So now I have a very sweet pair of Odysseys with new panels, and I went to active crossover on the bass(woofers), replaced the woofers with drivers of my choice and have about $5700 total into my speakers. And I challenge anybody to find a pair of speakers for $5700 that sound better than my Odysseys if you do I’ll eat my hat😂😂😂 Yes the improvement in sound was that big with the new panels over the 22 year old panels.
This why, I consider buying a pair with new panels that even has 2 years warranty. I feel like if I buy a speaker with original panel I will some day need to refurbish or oder new panels...
 
This why, I consider buying a pair with new panels that even has 2 years warranty. I feel like if I buy a speaker with original panel I will some day need to refurbish or oder new panels...
Sounds like you are doing it right Pars👍
 
I had hoped that posting the the Theater panel rebuild procedure would encourage others to refurbish their old panels.

Some probably will, but most aren't handy with tools and wouldn't be equipped to build a jig for tensioning the diaphragm.

In addition, rebuilding a panel isn't cheap.

Judging by the Theater panel I just rebuilt, ML uses three thicknesses of double-sided mounting tape, which I'm sure they buy in large quantities at a much lower price than we could get.

Our price of those 3M tapes is stupid-expensive... $58 for a 15ft roll at McMaster-Carr. A pair of larger panels would need 10 ft of each tape per panel (6 rolls x $58).

It would be cheaper to team up with another owner and buy two 36 yd rolls at $234 each, which would be enough for two sets of speakers.

Assuming you only reuse the stators, the cost for a pair of panels would be $348 for the edge tapes + $20 for the 4mil clear spar tape + $35 for Mylar + $55 for Licron = $458 total.

If you count your labor and compare what ML charges for replacement panels; I'd say new panels are fairly priced.
 
I had hoped that posting the the Theater panel rebuild procedure would encourage others to refurbish their old panels.

Some probably will, but most aren't handy with tools and wouldn't be equipped to build a jig for tensioning the diaphragm.

In addition, rebuilding a panel isn't cheap.

Judging by the Theater panel I just rebuilt, ML uses three thicknesses of double-sided mounting tape, which I'm sure they buy in large quantities at a much lower price than we could get.

Our price of those 3M tapes is stupid-expensive... $58 for a 15ft roll at McMaster-Carr. A pair of larger panels would need 10 ft of each tape per panel (6 rolls x $58).

It would be cheaper to team up with another owner and buy two 36 yd rolls at $234 each, which would be enough for two sets of speakers.

Assuming you only reuse the stators, the cost for a pair of panels would be $348 for the edge tapes + $20 for the 4mil clear spar tape + $35 for Mylar + $55 for Licron = $458 total.

If you count your labor and compare what ML charges for replacement panels; I'd say new panels are fairly priced.
Jazzman your last paragraph there was exactly the conclusion I came to as well. The cost of new panels from ML is very fairly priced.
 
I had hoped that posting the the Theater panel rebuild procedure would encourage others to refurbish their old panels.

Some probably will, but most aren't handy with tools and wouldn't be equipped to build a jig for tensioning the diaphragm.

In addition, rebuilding a panel isn't cheap.

Judging by the Theater panel I just rebuilt, ML uses three thicknesses of double-sided mounting tape, which I'm sure they buy in large quantities at a much lower price than we could get.

Our price of those 3M tapes is stupid-expensive... $58 for a 15ft roll at McMaster-Carr. A pair of larger panels would need 10 ft of each tape per panel (6 rolls x $58).

It would be cheaper to team up with another owner and buy two 36 yd rolls at $234 each, which would be enough for two sets of speakers.

Assuming you only reuse the stators, the cost for a pair of panels would be $348 for the edge tapes + $20 for the 4mil clear spar tape + $35 for Mylar + $55 for Licron = $458 total.

If you count your labor and compare what ML charges for replacement panels; I'd say new panels are fairly priced.
Yeah, I think my Prodigy panels were about $2200, and they are big. Fair enough to me.
 
I almost hate to bring this up because I'm not certain it's do-able in every case, but... here goes:

The periphery spacer tapes are the predominant expense in rebuilding a panel ($348). That is; if you replace them.

On the Theater panel I recently refurbished, I was able to separate the stators without damaging the periphery spacer tapes, and without dis-bonding the spars from the stators.

After ripping off the diaphragm, I was amazed that the underlying 20 year old spacer tape was pristine-tacky.

In fact, I didn't replace the 0.045 tape on the rear stator, or the 0.025 tape on the front stator.

The tape on the front stator got pretty grungy from the string saw because it wasn't protected by the diaphragm, and there was residue from the charge ring that had to be scraped off, leaving it much less tacky.

I used blue painters tape to pick up most of the residue off of the original stator tape, and then re-used it.

Before bonding the panel back together, I added one layer of 4-mil double-sided tape over the front stator tape, to ensure the panel would re-bond.

The only tape I had to replace was the 4-mil transparent tape over the spars, which was $20 on Ebay.

I believe this might be possible on any ML panel. If you had a dead panel, no harm in taking it apart to find out.

If the spacer tapes can be saved / re-used, the remaining materials for rebuild could be under $150.

Not saying anyone should do that in lieu of buying new panels, but it's an option.
 
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New panels are not option for me because the speakers are from 2007 and I live in Germany. The chances are that there are many companies which offer refurbishment services even with warranty. Hoping that they use the right materials but there is no option for me.
 
I almost hate to bring this up because I'm not certain it's do-able in every case, but... here goes:

The periphery spacer tapes are the predominant expense in rebuilding a panel ($348). That is; if you replace them.

On the Theater panel I recently refurbished, I was able to separate the stators without damaging the periphery spacer tapes, and without dis-bonding the spars from the stators.

After ripping off the diaphragm, I was amazed that the underlying 20 year old spacer tape was pristine-tacky.

In fact, I didn't replace the 0.045 tape on the rear stator, or the 0.025 tape on the front stator.

The tape on the front stator got pretty grungy from the string saw because it wasn't protected by the diaphragm, and there was residue from the charge ring that had to be scraped off, leaving it much less tacky.

I used blue painters tape to pick up most of the residue off of the original stator tape, and then re-used it.

Before bonding the panel back together, I added one layer of 4-mil double-sided tape over the front stator tape, to ensure the panel would re-bond.

The only tape I had to replace was the 4-mil transparent tape over the spars, which was $20 on Ebay.

I believe this might be possible on any ML panel. If you had a dead panel, no harm in taking it apart to find out.

If the spacer tapes can be saved / re-used, the remaining materials for rebuild could be under $150.

Not saying anyone should do that in lieu of buying new panels, but it's an option.
This is good info to have, as I still have the 22 year old original panels that came off of my Odysseys. So this is something I may possibly be able to try in the future, when I have time and am looking for another project to get into😂
 
New panels are not option for me because the speakers are from 2007 and I live in Germany. The chances are that there are many companies which offer refurbishment services even with warranty. Hoping that they use the right materials but there is no option for me.
You could look into Martin Logan shipping you a new pair of panels, but im not sure if they ship those international and what the cost would be. Its worth emailing them about though. I got new panels for me Prodigy speakers, and they are from 2000. I live in the US though. Shipping was really nice and fast here.
 
You could look into Martin Logan shipping you a new pair of panels, but im not sure if they ship those international and what the cost would be. Its worth emailing them about though. I got new panels for me Prodigy speakers, and they are from 2000. I live in the US though. Shipping was really nice and fast here.
Thats certainly the case here in the UK. Martin Logan insisted I purchase from the UK distributer (at the time Absolute Sounds, now PMC).
 
I also think that just buying new panels from ML is the way to go, I bought some for my reQuest speakers for 2100.00 USD sure beats trying to rebuild them myself, but maybe if you have time and tools it would be ok but I wouldn't have the knowhow to do it anyway so new panels were the way to go and am happy with the results, took half an hour or so to change them out. Speakers sound amazing now very happy. Also the cost is very reasonable, I have about $5700 into these speakers now and they would be very hard to replace at that price.

Dave
 
I also think that just buying new panels from ML is the way to go, I bought some for my reQuest speakers for 2100.00 USD sure beats trying to rebuild them myself, but maybe if you have time and tools it would be ok but I wouldn't have the knowhow to do it anyway so new panels were the way to go and am happy with the results, took half an hour or so to change them out. Speakers sound amazing now very happy. Also the cost is very reasonable, I have about $5700 into these speakers now and they would be very hard to replace at that price.

Dave
This is right on the money👍 Well said Dave
 
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