Summit and Naim

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sjust

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Hi,
I have recently changed from dynamic speakers (Sonus Faber Cremona) to electrostatic speakers (Martin Logan Summit).

After 2 weeks, all is well now, they have taken an incredible time to break in (although I have tortured them with radio music for a full week...), and the Summit is amongst the most honest, clear and involving speakers I have heard. Ever.

With one exception:

If you turn the music down to real low volumes (or, which is harder to bear) listen to music with very extreme dynamics, music with highly impulsive contents (like high notes played on a piano) sounds a tad "distorted". Again: (VERY) low volume combined with (e.g.) high piano notes, doesn't come through as clean as normally experienced.

Solutions:
- Turn it louder: Everything's back to normal. Clear as spring water.
- Re-attach dynamic speakers (Stereofone CARA): Even the lowest volumes undistorted.

So, here's the question to all Martin Logan users, if you have made similar experience, and if / what they did to resolve this.

Cables ?
Mods ?
Using non-Naim amps ?
Voodoo dances ?

Cheers
Stefan

PS:
Bass ? Tons of it, and crisp clear !
High volumes ? The sky's the limit...
 

jjqiv

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sjust said:
Hi,
I have recently changed from dynamic speakers (Sonus Faber Cremona) to electrostatic speakers (Martin Logan Summit).

After 2 weeks, all is well now, they have taken an incredible time to break in (although I have tortured them with radio music for a full week...), and the Summit is amongst the most honest, clear and involving speakers I have heard. Ever.

With one exception:

If you turn the music down to real low volumes (or, which is harder to bear) listen to music with very extreme dynamics, music with highly impulsive contents (like high notes played on a piano) sounds a tad "distorted". Again: (VERY) low volume combined with (e.g.) high piano notes, doesn't come through as clean as normally experienced.

Solutions:
- Turn it louder: Everything's back to normal. Clear as spring water.
- Re-attach dynamic speakers (Stereofone CARA): Even the lowest volumes undistorted.

So, here's the question to all Martin Logan users, if you have made similar experience, and if / what they did to resolve this.

Cables ?
Mods ?
Using non-Naim amps ?
Voodoo dances ?

Cheers
Stefan

PS:
Bass ? Tons of it, and crisp clear !
High volumes ? The sky's the limit...
Not a problem for me. Sounds like something is a miss with your set-up. Low level listening is gernerally considerred one of ML's strengths.

Caveot, I run CLS's in an all tube/analog set-up.
 

kach22i

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This is an interesting problem I have not had.

When I purchased by Aerius speakers over ten years ago, I dragged all my equipment to the store and hooked it up to the speakers. I did my low level listening first, as doing it prior to loud level listening would of been plain stupid. Ringing ears prove nothing. Anyway, the salesperson came in wondering what was taking me so long to set up, then he discovered I was low level listening. This came as a shock to him, as most people just crank it up right away or set it at a single moderate level.

I would think pre-amp first, but have nothing to hang my first response to.

I would toss this question to your dealer and then Martin Logan..................and of course wait for our own Roberto to show up and he will answer it right off the bat. :)
 
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sjust

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kach22i said:
This is an interesting problem I have not had.

When I purchased by Aerius speakers over ten years ago, I dragged all my equipment to the store and hooked it up to the speakers. I did my low level listening first, as doing it prior to loud level listening would of been plain stupid. Ringing ears prove nothing. Anyway, the salesperson came in wondering what was taking me so long to set up, then he discovered I was low level listening. This came as a shock to him, as most people just crank it up right away or set it at a single moderate level.

I would think pre-amp first, but have nothing to hang my first response to.

I would toss this question to your dealer and then Martin Logan..................and of course wait for our own Roberto to show up and he will answer it right off the bat. :)
Thanks for that, kach22i, in fact, I did go to the dealer and asked him to set up a system similar to mine (he did set up a somewhat "lesser" system, but everything from Naim, and along the lines of my own system). Although low volume listenign is VERY important to me, I am guilty of taking it at medium and higher volumes, as I was intrigued by the openness and clarity of the Summits.
Now, I wonder if there's something wrong wth either my amp, the cables or :eek: the Summits.

cheers
Stefan
 

Reverb

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My guess would be it’s your amp. Your amp may be distorting at low levels.

Could you list your electronics for us, Please.
 
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sjust

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System description

CD: CDS3/XPS2
PRE: NAC252/SuperCAP
AMP: NAP300/PS300
Stands: Fraim
Speaker Cable: NACA5
Dedicated Fuse in the CU
Dedicated Mains going to the Hifi room
Phonosophie AC outlet
Powwer distribution via "PowerIgel" (sort of hydra)

The theory that it's the amp distorting at low levels is somewhat contradicted by the fact that exchanging with different speakers cures it.

cheers
Stefan
 

TomDac

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Welcome aboard, you lucky bastard! :)



sjust said:
The theory that it's the amp distorting at low levels is somewhat contradicted by the fact that exchanging with different speakers cures it.
Just a thought:

Perhaps a more efficient speaker may not cause your amp to distort at low volume levels.
 
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roberto

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TomDac said:
Welcome aboard, you lucky bastard! :)



Just a thought:

Perhaps a more efficient speaker may not cause your amp to distort at low volume levels.
Hola. I think here the oppossite way, with all respect Tom...the Summits are very high efficient and perhaps he is using a little more power to drive the others, causing not the listen the distortion...there is no possible way that an electrostatic speaker cause distortion at very low level...you hear is what you input...not more, not less...Many good sounding amps, because of their design, at very very low level, they produce distortion. This is a normal spec and does not mean that the amp is bad or not musical. Happy listening,
Roberto.
 

amey01

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Strange, strange problem. May I suggest checking all your connections first - ensuring all are tight and signal cables are not routed near power cables - all the usual stuff.
 

Sky Saw

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Interesting that you should mention this. My first ML's were a pair of Aerius, which I had hooked up to a NAIM amp and preamp (old 140 and 12b). At regular volumes it sounded great, but at very low volumes, and when listening to piano in particular, I noticed a distinct distortion sound from the higher frequency notes.

Based on our similar experience with NAIM and ML, I suspect it's your amp, which is too bad because you have some very nice electronics (including the preamp and power supply!).
 

TomDac

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roberto said:
Hola. I think here the oppossite way, with all respect Tom...the Summits are very high efficient and perhaps he is using a little more power to drive the others, causing not the listen the distortion...there is no possible way that an electrostatic speaker cause distortion at very low level...you hear is what you input...not more, not less...Many good sounding amps, because of their design, at very very low level, they produce distortion. This is a normal spec and does not mean that the amp is bad or not musical. Happy listening,
Roberto.
High effecient compared to his Sonus Fabers??
 

roberto

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TomDac said:
High effecient compared to his Sonus Fabers??
Hola Tom. I think that the Summits :eek: are more efficient than his Sonus Fibers, yes, and because he needs more power to drive them, he can not hear the distorted signal...what other cause could be?. I have a dear friend that owns a pair of Summits, and he is driving the Summits with only 30W/ch and his room is big! Clean, great, tranparent, undistorted super good sound!. See my point? I think that his amp is causing the distortion, almost 80% sure...perhaps I could be wrong too... :cool: just my point of view. Happy listening, and pura vida,
Roberto. :D
 

Craig

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I own a pair of Cremonas and use mainly in my 2 channel system but I do occasionally swap them out for either the Ascents or Aeons. When I do, I find the Cremonas do not perform as well as my MLs at low level. However, the Cremonas really come to life at moderate levels and up. The electronics are all Electrocompaniet with a pair of AW220 mono amps.

Before this 2 channel system, I owned Odysseys powered with a Krell 300iL and Classe CD player. That system was amazing at low levels.

My experiences have been that the MLs were very good at low level music but I'm also convinced that the amps and preamp play a role as well.

By the way I was seriously considering trading in my Cremonas for the Summits but decided I'm not quite ready to do that just yet. Still an option for me though and my local dealer is supposed to getting Summits and Vantage in any day now.

By the way, the Cremonas are rated at 91db sensitivity and do play a little louder at same volume level than my Ascents which are 89db.
 

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sjust

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roberto at al,
It was my guess, too, that the (high) sensitivity of the Summits might cause them to "listen" to an area of the amp other speakers wouldn't tap into. The "test" I do to confirm or contradict is: pull cables from the Summit, without changing anything (especially volume) and re-plug to dynamic speakers with about the same sensitivity. Voila ! No more distortions at about the same hearable sound (volume) level.

I've described (emailed) this to the dealer, yesterday evening, and expect an answer, within days.

Not happy,
Stefan

PS: Dealer has called me, this morning to tell me that this is 100 percent according to his own experience with - tadaa - the original Naim cables (NACA5). He proposed to come along and try different speaker cables. What's the perceived wisdom, here, which cables harmonize best with ML ?
 
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sjust

Guest
I've had Audioquest Mont Blanc, and sold it (musical glow was beter with NACA5, then)
I've listened to Blue Heaven, and ditched it (too bright trebles, overall "glassy" performance)

Maybe have to re-evaluate...

Dealer proposed Fadel, Supra and Transparent. No experience, yet.

cheers
Stefan
 

kach22i

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sjust said:
I've had Audioquest Mont Blanc, and sold it (musical glow was beter with NACA5, then)
I've listened to Blue Heaven, and ditched it (too bright trebles, overall "glassy" performance)
On the original Aerius, the Blue Heavens match nicely because they need just a little top end trebble extention. If you go higher up in the Nordost line you may find they become more balanced and fuller sounding. Most dealers carry demo cables that are broken in already - as important with Nordost as any other cable maker.
 

Peter Hogan

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Hi,
My guess would also be the power amp. Most solid state amps are class AB, and have a pair of output transistors that are biased slightly 'on'. If the transistors are not biased correctly, then you'll get crossover distortion, where the transistor that handles the positive portion of the waveform crosses over to the transistor that handles the negative portion. When biased properly, this portion of the waveform remains linear and low distortion, however if biased too low, it can become non-linear, and develop distortion.

Listening at low volume means that the audio signal spends nearly all it's time in this crossover region, rarely going to higher volumes where the crossover region is just a small percentage of the total signal. Any distortion in the crossover region will be most noticeable at low volumes.

My guess is that your amplifier is biased on the light side, and although it handles regular cone type speakers acceptably, it doesn't properly drive the more difficult to drive electrostatic panels, resulting in audible distortion. Many tube type amplifiers have adjustable bias, allowing you to overcome this, but most solid state amps have a fixed bias setting (and if biased properly, no adjustment should ever be needed with solid state...tubes age with use, and occasionally need the bias setting adjusted).

Class A amplifiers get around this by using a single output device, but it is biased at half throttle, so to speak, and you turn it further on or off to get an output signal. Doing it this way eliminates any crossover distortion, but having the amp run at an average of half power all the time dissipates a LOT of power. This is the reason class A amps run so hot.

HTH,
Peter
 

roberto

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Peter Hogan said:
Hi,
My guess would also be the power amp. Most solid state amps are class AB, and have a pair of output transistors that are biased slightly 'on'. If the transistors are not biased correctly, then you'll get crossover distortion, where the transistor that handles the positive portion of the waveform crosses over to the transistor that handles the negative portion. When biased properly, this portion of the waveform remains linear and low distortion, however if biased too low, it can become non-linear, and develop distortion.

Listening at low volume means that the audio signal spends nearly all it's time in this crossover region, rarely going to higher volumes where the crossover region is just a small percentage of the total signal. Any distortion in the crossover region will be most noticeable at low volumes.

My guess is that your amplifier is biased on the light side, and although it handles regular cone type speakers acceptably, it doesn't properly drive the more difficult to drive electrostatic panels, resulting in audible distortion. Many tube type amplifiers have adjustable bias, allowing you to overcome this, but most solid state amps have a fixed bias setting (and if biased properly, no adjustment should ever be needed with solid state...tubes age with use, and occasionally need the bias setting adjusted).

Class A amplifiers get around this by using a single output device, but it is biased at half throttle, so to speak, and you turn it further on or off to get an output signal. Doing it this way eliminates any crossover distortion, but having the amp run at an average of half power all the time dissipates a LOT of power. This is the reason class A amps run so hot.

HTH,
Peter
Hola Peter...yes, I think that you nail the problem. :cool: It is impossible to an electrostatic speaker to cause distortion. They will show exactly the signal that it is applied. Agreed 100%. Thank you for the explination. Very well understood. Happy listening,
Pura vida,
Roberto. :D
 

magoo

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A game of 2 halves.....

Well I was about to suggest you asked on the Naim forums also, but I see you already did.... :)

What seems to emerge quite clearly is that over here, noone will blame their beloved ML's & over there, nobody seems to think the amp could be the problem :)

Hope you get it all resolved m8

Regards
magoo :cool:
 
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