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lej1447

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Hi all,

I am a little puzzle. I have auditioned the Summit, Ascent i, and original CLS (w/ Vandersteen sub in this particular case) at different times. Regardless, all have mid ranges that made our jaws floored. When my wife and I auditioned the SL3, that seemed not to be the case. The midrange was not eye popping or jaws dropping. Furthermore, the bass seemed to be really weak if not non-existence, which is unlike the Ascent i. When we listened to the Ascent i, it sounded as if there was a subwoofer hooked up. I won't discuss about the bass from the Summit. Lets say that it was overkilled during the audition. The best was the CLS w/ Vandersteen. However, that did not pass the WAF test.

All MLs that I listened were driven by tube amp and tube pre-amp. However, the SL3 did not give us the same chilling effect as the rest. When I researched online, all reviews for SL3 were raving. Some even raved about the bass from the SL3. The room at the time of the audition was about 13'X13' w/ no wall treatment. The floor was concrete w/ some rugs. The speakers were ~ 3' from back wall & side wall w/ slight toe in. The tube amp during the audition was 80w/ch. I'll be using SS 150w amp for now w/ some midrange speaker cables. I'm afraid to plunge in the cash and found some thing wrong w/ the midrange or become unhappy w/ the SL3 overall if I find nothing wrong with the midrange. Please help. How do I audition the SL3, or how do I determine if there was anything wrong w/ the midrange? I have 2 rooms. The SL3 can reside in the family room (13'X13'X8') as the main speakers for 5.1 HT, or it can reside in the living room (16'w X 20'd X 18' h sloped from 8' hi). Thank you for taking the time to read and give me some valuable advice. :)

In addition, I just checked out Member System section. Surprisingly, I saw many ML stacked against the back wall and next to the TV. How is the sweetspot or sound imaging? That is really interesting.
 
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socialxray

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I have heard that SL3 midrange can be lean. And while the bass is tight and musical, it definitely is not the most visceral loudspeaker I have heard. They do extend pretty low but they are not high impact in any sense of the word.

My current equipment is definitely mid-fi and I am sure this has an effect on the quantity and quality of bass; but, for the most part they are not going to shake anything loose in the house.

I cannot really say what the problem about the midrange is since I have not heard any other MLs. All I can say is that they are leagues better than my previous $300 bookshelf type speakers or any other speaker I have owned or heard. I love the midrange of these speakers and could start sounding like those reviews you where talking about if I allowed myself.

Are they lean or are they neutral? I have not had enough experience with true high end equipment to really decide. But I do love my SL3s.

As they say, time marches on and technology advances. I have no doubt that Ascents/CLS's/Summits have more of everything compared to the SL3s. And the SL3s may be old enough to have been simply worn out or have developed some other type of problem.

Where the red LED lights on while music was playing at the bottom of the speakers? If not maybe they where not plugged in or some other problem prevented them from sounding there best.

Or maybe the other loudspeakers that you auditioned are simply better. From what I have read (I wish I could say "heard") the Ascents, CLS's, and Summits outclass the SL3s in every respect (except the bass when compared to the CLS's, although some may argue this). And that is to be expected since they are either newer technology and/or bigger panels than the SL3s.
 

socialxray

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lej1447 said:
In addition, I just checked out Member System section. Surprisingly, I saw many ML stacked against the back wall and next to the TV. How is the sweetspot or sound imaging? That is really interesting.
I am going to say that pushing loudspeakers closer to the walls is a compromise that many must make. Especially those with families.

True, I have not seen many rooms that have optimal placement for stereo. Add home theater to the mix and there is not much room left to even sit! So compromises must be made.

I have my MLs 3ft. from the back wall and that is really as far as they can go. Fortunately it works out very well but I am sure there are rooms where even 3 ft. cannot be sacrificed and it is a pity since MLs really do need breathing room to sound their best.
 
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lej1447

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Do you use a subwoofer with your SL3? If so, what kind? Is your SL3 primarily for music or HT or a ratio of preference between the two? Thank you for your reply. BTW, the red LED light was on to indicate that there was power.

My current HT system is 5.2, and it is well calibrated. When I listened to the Ascent i at the local dealer, it sounded as if it was a 2.1 system. My wife and I were really impressed. I read many reviews regarding the SL3. I love the Internet b/c these reviews are often from the real consumers, unlike those magazine reviews. However, consumer reviews may tend to have some "halo effect." The Halo effect is that once people plunge frew grands of US dollars for the system, it better sounds good, or it just automatically sounds good by default. It is hard to admit that they just spend too much $ for something that may not sound as good, which can very well be the case due to the lack of synergy in the system, cables, interconnects, power supply, and blah blah blah. Thus, I go to website like this to seek prof. opinions from ML audiophiles. Sorry for the long post b/c I don't want to pay for the SL3 and not like it b/c it took me a long time to win the WAF. In case I do not like the SL3, either I have to trade or sell at a loss to obtain bigger, better, or more expensive ML. You know that my wife would kill me if I did that, or I would kill myself first to avoid her nagging. Either way, I would be dead. :)
 

DTB300

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To preface this, I have not heard the Summit's, but I have heard the Ascents, Odessey, SL3, Aeon's, etc. etc. etc. and I own CLSIIz's and Sequel II's (predesessor to the SL3).

I will say that the midrange on the SL3 and Sequel II's is not on the same level as the other ML models you mention, with the CLS being my favorite of all of them - You should really do what you can to convince the wife to purchase the CLS :) Out of the models other than the CLS in the ML lineup, I like the Odessey the best. While I loved my Sequel II's, I am estatic about my CLSIIz's and their sound - Jeff Z here also switched from Sequel II's to CLSIIz's, and while I am sure he will post his opinions, he too is very happy with his CLS over the Sequels.

Don't get me wrong, the SL3's and Sequels are great speakers, but the Ascent's, CLS and Summits are just better - and they cost significantly more.

Addition...Someone mentioned that the panels on the SL3's might be old or unplugged. If they are old, they will lose their abilities.

IMHO, the SL3 & Sequel II's both benefit greatly from a sub running with them. For the Ascent and Odessey, I could live with just those speakers without a sub. Those speakers would also allow me to biamp them to run whatever electronics I wanted on the panels and the woofers - a real benefit IMHO.

Listening to speakers, no matter what model, at a store, as compared to home, is usually quite different. If you are really serious about purchasing the SL3's, plop down the credit card with the store, and take them home for a day or two and listen for yourself. If you do not like them, take them back and get a credit applied to your card (most dealers work like this, but some will just hold the credit card transaction until you bring the speakers back - or process it if you don't :D ) But if this is a good dealer/store, they will do whatever to help you make a smart decision and a sale for them.

Electronics for the speakers also make a difference. As you see a bunch of people here use Tube Power Amps, some use Solid State with Tube Pre Amp, some use Solid State all around, some use Tube all around. It is a personal preference to what sound you like and are trying to achieve. Is one better than the other - that is entirely up to you. It is your system, your home, your ears. As Roberto states...."Trust your ears".

Good luck on the auditions and purchase....

Dan
 
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Jeff Zaret

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I guess I have to reply since Dan thinks so. LOL

I believe what has been presented here is sound advice but understand it is just that, advice. If you really like the SL3's, I would do what Dan suggested and see if the dealer will let you take them home for the weekend or at least a few days. I would do some research and some real observation about the SL3's. I would get the serial numbers from the electronics on the back and also the serial numbers on the panels which are also on the back. We have a document somewhere here, I have a copy here at home, that will date the SL3's. Doing this will give you an idea of the exact age and from there you can determine some options.

I would also look at the panels in good light and see if they are dirty. To see this look at the panel closely. In the "holes" of the stators you will see the panel upclose and if you see dots, like the size of a pencil dot, they are dirty. This is not a problem and can be fixed by usually vacuuming them. They can also be washed but we can talk about that later. Both of these situations cause the panel to be a bit dull. The other option is also to buy new panels but I have a feeling you will on the couch for a long time if that happens. As a guess I would imagine the panels to be about $500 USD.

Also, in good light, look at the woofer and it's surround. This is the outer edge of the speaker which is usually something like a "rubber" type material. Look for obvious defects.

If this at a dealer, be a pain in the ass and ask a ton of questions such as does he know how old it is which if he answers and you already know the truth is another clue. Ask if they knew the previous owner and what type of music they listened too and what equipment was used. Did the previous owner have kids, pets, smoke? This will give you an insight to the speakers and how well they were treated.

Understand that everything has a trade off. Most of us are not fortunate to have large or totally deicated rooms of perfect design for our equipment so compromises will be made. These can be closer to the back or side wall, drapes, carpet, no carpet, maybe a large window and I think what a lot of us have is little money to spend all at once.

All of your electronics and interconnects will also play a factor in the sound and that can be changed or "altered" as time and money are available, if you want to or feel the need to.

No having said all of this, I or anyone else here, only wants the best for you and would love to see you get the SL3's. Be analytical and try to subdue your emotions a bit because, we and you already know, you really like the speakers. Ultimately, you have to make that decision and also ensure you wife does not send you permantly to the "dog house".

I hope this long winded reply helps a bit. Don't stop asking us questions either cause our advice is free.

Jeff


:cool:
 
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lej1447

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Thanks all for the advice. The panels look clean. I have the SN but have not contacted the ML for the age or date of manufacturing. This is a private party, thus, brining it home to audition before buying is not an option. Regarding the subwoofer, it looks as how it is supposed to look -- dark & big w/ red LED. :)
Can't tell about the sound as the SL3 appears to lack the bass. I am taking Dan advice right now. I'm trying to push for the CLS by passing the WAF successfully. As I am replying this post, I am doing her laundry right now. :D
The second choice would be the Prodigy, Odyssey, or Ascent i. Having 2nd thought about the Request. Honestly, I feel shameful for asking too many questions about ML, and I have not owned any ML. I feel as if I have asked so many questions that some members may question when I am going to buy some ML. If I purchase the CLS, I have to purchase the Vandersteen that was used during the demo. Such Vandersteen subwoofer has 3 10" drivers to move air quickly for fast response w/o sounding too much BOOM BOOM. The Vandersteen sounds so soft and subtle, the existence of the bass is recognized and acknowledge. Now you know why it's tought to obtain the WAF for the CLS and the Vandersteen.

Prodigy, Odyssey, and Acent i would be much more WAF friendly due to the square footage occupying. However, any of those 3 appears to cost more than the CLS w/ the Vandersteen. I'm excited about the ML b/c I'm moving to a bigger place. However... What to do? What to do when the budget is so tight and the minds keep on wandering? Many times, I feel that I can fulfill my physical hunger just by listening to a good pair of ML in a dark room. Ah! So satisfying and so fulfilling. The hunger just disappeared while the growling tummy just went a way as my ears were filled w/ sweet nectar of euphoria. :p
 

roberto

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i think that you have bad panels...

lej1447 said:
Thanks all for the advice. The panels look clean. I have the SN but have not contacted the ML for the age or date of manufacturing. This is a private party, thus, brining it home to audition before buying is not an option. Regarding the subwoofer, it looks as how it is supposed to look -- dark & big w/ red LED. :)
Can't tell about the sound as the SL3 appears to lack the bass. I am taking Dan advice right now. I'm trying to push for the CLS by passing the WAF successfully. As I am replying this post, I am doing her laundry right now. :D
The second choice would be the Prodigy, Odyssey, or Ascent i. Having 2nd thought about the Request. Honestly, I feel shameful for asking too many questions about ML, and I have not owned any ML. I feel as if I have asked so many questions that some members may question when I am going to buy some ML. If I purchase the CLS, I have to purchase the Vandersteen that was used during the demo. Such Vandersteen subwoofer has 3 10" drivers to move air quickly for fast response w/o sounding too much BOOM BOOM. The Vandersteen sounds so soft and subtle, the existence of the bass is recognized and acknowledge. Now you know why it's tought to obtain the WAF for the CLS and the Vandersteen.

Prodigy, Odyssey, and Acent i would be much more WAF friendly due to the square footage occupying. However, any of those 3 appears to cost more than the CLS w/ the Vandersteen. I'm excited about the ML b/c I'm moving to a bigger place. However... What to do? What to do when the budget is so tight and the minds keep on wandering? Many times, I feel that I can fulfill my physical hunger just by listening to a good pair of ML in a dark room. Ah! So satisfying and so fulfilling. The hunger just disappeared while the growling tummy just went a way as my ears were filled w/ sweet nectar of euphoria. :p
Hola chicos: IMHO I think that if you don´t feel and listen all the benefits of the ML SL-3 mid-range is due to bad panels. The difference between Sequels and the SL-3 is mostly the cabinet size. The panel remains the same...also when you order replacement panels, they at the carton box, says that they do replece Sequel, SL-3 and Ascent. They use the exact same panel...the SL-3 are a very good sounding speakers and one of the most selling product of ML. What I will do first, is to check the whole panel, from top to bottom and from left to right...all the panel must produce sound...not only some portions of it. If there is a little portion of the panel that it is not working, the shower is a must too. Follow all Dan´s directions for the procedure of showering the panel (tweak section of the forum). Then audition again them, both and if you still have bad sections, you have to replace them...yes, I know, I hate that too!!!...always trust your ears! Hope this can help, and I wish you a very happy listening,
Roberto.
 

DTB300

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lej1447 said:
I am taking Dan advice right now. I'm trying to push for the CLS by passing the WAF successfully. As I am replying this post, I am doing her laundry right now. :D
:D Ha Ha...Just the Laundry??? Man, you are getting off easy....

Please do not tell your wife where I live, OK? :eek:

BTW, my wife did not like the size of the CLS compared to my Sequel's either. But I used the old - "Honey, it is a deal of a lifetime that I can not pass up"

Hope this helps...now time to get back to doing the laundry, dishes, sweeping, dusting, washing the car, daily massage, at my house... :p Well worth owning the CLS...

Dan
 

jjqiv

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The SL3's are really good speakers. Of course they are not in league of the CLS's. Not many speakers are. However, they are very close to the Ascent's. Like all ML models, they are very sensitive to the room, placement, all upstream components and source media. It is also possible that the panels have seen better days. Then again, you could be just getting a very revealing picture of some inferior electronics.

Auditioning audio equipment is a difficult task because of the many variables. For instance, based on my recent demo of the Summits, you could easily make the statement that it is inferior to either my SL3's or my CLS's. However, if I brought them home, I am sure the Summits would easily outshine the SL3's. I would be very interested in the comparison with the CLS's.
 
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