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Summit's midrange

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dbakker@wwnet.com

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Having owned MLs for 17 years starting with the Sequel I have spent more time with them than any other brand. I have always owned electrostats and never much cared for cone speakers. Last month I sold my Prodigys and bought the Summit having heard it at the CES in 2004. I liked the size, liked what I heard and thought that the design and finish were finally on par with the never disappointing sound quality. I set them up and hooked them up to a large SS amp (Electrocompaniet 250) and a CD player set on repeat. This played continuously, day and night for two weeks and I left town for the duration. Break in thus lasted well over 300 hours. I have been going through placement routines and listening sessions while keeping notes since I returned.
I have a fairly large room 24 x 24', 16' high and opening up on three sides into other spaces. The room is fairly lively but well damped with books, art and roomtunes and has always been a breeze to set up any speaker in.

Here is what I have heard sofar, the Summit does away with the Prodigies in high end extension and the bass response is much better controlled and more tuneful. (I also use a a Descent in the system but always turn if off before moving the Summits around or working with their 25 and 50 cycle controls). The lower mid at the level of a baritone voice or cello is not nearly as convincing as the Prodigy could produce in my room. It is simly smaller and in my mind not up to the performance of the two ends of the spectrum. I now wish I could have a combination of the two because I find hard to give up on the Summit's undeniable improvements in those regions. I have always treasured a great midrange above all and if further experimentation does not change this balance I may have to do this purchase in reverse again. What a dilemma.
Just wonder if anyone has heard this lack of chest in the Summit?

I listen only to vinyl which I have collected for many years and play it on a Sota Cosmos with ZYX and Koetsu cartridges through an Aesthetix IO
Reference with dual power supplies, ARC Ref2 mark2 and ARC V140's amps.
 
S

Steve Daigneault

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I wonder if maybe you could improve the midrange with a change in your preamp or amps? The summits may be more at home with a lower watt, zero negative feedback amp. My experience with feedback and amps is that it sucks the life out of the midrange. Not even the famed CJ premier 140 with my vantages sounded right in the midrange. Moved over to a Cary 805c, and things have really opened up and the magic is there in spades. Don't give up on the summits yet, I think you can find a way to retain the highs and lows while improving the mids....
 

Munster

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I got the summits due to space limitations. I think they are noticably better than the prodigys in the areas you pointed out but overall not what I would consider a huge upgrade. My prodigies are for sale if you feel the need to reverse :)
 

MiTT

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You know, I haven't listened extensively to the Summits, but I even mentioned in my Members System post that I'm impressed at both of the frequency extreems, but have yet to be bowled over by the midrange of these speakers. Like you I think the soul of the music is found in the middle, so I was somewhat dismayed by this, and yet very happy that my ReQuests still sound so good in this area.

I'm going to continue to listen ever the skeptic (in the truest sense of the word), but I'm not in a hurry to go out and trade in the ReQuests yet...

(Sorta glad to hear it isn't just my impending feebleness interjecting it's own opinion though).
 
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AudioFanKJ

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Interesting. I just posted about a week or so ago about my new pair of Summits and was asking break in questions...

The reason why is exactly what you posted. It is perhaps not fair that I am moving from the Meadowlark Blue Heron 2 (a very fine speaker that was sold due to poor room interaction, long story short, room was repaired/remodeled waiting for Summits to arrive). I state this as the BH2's are a very, very good performer, specifically in the mids.

Thus far I think I have about 200 hours or so on the Summits. I have not messed with the bass controls yet, both are at 0. Positioning hasn't been tweaked yet, as they were placed according the the Cardas positioning with respect to the room dimensions for di-polar speakers.

The bass is really coming along nicely, and the highs seem there. But even when I think back to my SL3's, the mids on the Summits and even the upper bass, such as snare drums and toms don't seem to have the timbral accuracy they did with my SL3's of years past. Nor do the mids seem to have the "organic" naturalness and harmonic accuracy of vocals that make you feel the singer is in your room. OH- I was also told to raise the rear spikes as some have told me they feel the rake on the speaker is pointing the "sweet spot" above the seating position, and I forgot about it, however the other day before I was about to leave town, I was walking around the room and while standing behind the listening chair I recalled thinking the vocals sound much better. I will have to look into this... has anyone else raised the spikes in the rear on the Summits? Does this help the midrange seem less recessed?

Two things come to mind that are obvious...
1) I hope more break in is needed and the mids won't be so "recessed"
2) Perhaps my room is a bit too bright (hasn't been in the past) however, I am considering adding drapes behind each speaker, thus taming the high frequencies a tad, and just maybe the bass needs to be adjusted down a bit, then if all the stars and moons align j-- ust maybe the midrange will sound like it should?

I am travelling on the road, and hopefully the wife has left the system on, as it should have another 4 days of play time on it when I return home.

How many hours do all of you that have mentioned this have on your Summits at this point. When I mentioned about 200, half of those at moderate to loud volume, half at night at low volume in my case.

I am really hoping this isn't the reason that I have seen numerous pairs of Summits moving through Audiogon... at least 4 or 5 pairs in the past month or so.
 

socialxray

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Well I do not have Summits but I do hate the rake on my SL3s. I have mine proped up as perpendicular as posible to the floor. I think it makes a difference. I think it might help the Summits too.
 

SugarMedia

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socialxray said:
Well I do not have Summits but I do hate the rake on my SL3s. I have mine proped up as perpendicular as posible to the floor. I think it makes a difference. I think it might help the Summits too.
AudioFanKJ-
Don't have Summits either, but I have the back lifted and it definitely helped focus the sound.
 

dbakker@wwnet.com

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Munster said:
I got the summits due to space limitations. I think they are noticably better than the prodigys in the areas you pointed out but overall not what I would consider a huge upgrade. My prodigies are for sale if you feel the need to reverse :)
If you follow the thread you can see that your's and my notion about the somewhat anemic midrange is shared by other listeners. I am beginning to feel that the stat panel is not big enough and that the more open grid and reduced panel size have tilted the overall voice upwards,

I have tried raising the rear spikes and although it changes the "focus" it does not seem to alter the balance other than spiking the highs.

Interesting offer on the Prodigies, what part of the country are you in?
 

Gordon Gray

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Summit midrange issue

I've been listening to ML's for some 17 years now (had Acoustat 1 + 1's prior) and agree that the SL3's, as well as my Aerius and CLS2's, had more midrange warmth. Having said that, the Summit is by far the best ML I've had by a wide margin. I would suggest bumping the 50HZ x-over to add more body to the midrange. Last night, I adjusted this control by 1/8th of a DB and the difference was audible with a requisite increase in the body of voices, etc. Try this as well as adusting the distance from the back wall and the amount of toe in. Good luck.

GG
 

roberto

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dbakker@wwnet.com said:
If you follow the thread you can see that your's and my notion about the somewhat anemic midrange is shared by other listeners. I am beginning to feel that the stat panel is not big enough and that the more open grid and reduced panel size have tilted the overall voice upwards,

I have tried raising the rear spikes and although it changes the "focus" it does not seem to alter the balance other than spiking the highs.

Interesting offer on the Prodigies, what part of the country are you in?
Hola...I think that what you hare listening on the Prodigies and not in the Summits is a resonance at that particular frequency range...lower mids. And the new panel of the Summit is more dynamic and has better extension at highs, and not showing that particular resonance, that seems to produce a better cello in the Prodigy...very difficult to solve this. All I can say is, for the first time, I could listened a complete album of violin and guitar through my digital playback...I think I´m going to be nailed here, without getting any ears fatigue in the Summit, in my CLS, I can´t listen the same music with the same cables with the same system...and I do think it is due to the new design and new panels...on the other hand, the Summits are not perfect, but they do are the most fun speaker of the ML line, I do enjoy them a lot...happy listening,
Pura vida,
Roberto.
 

DTB300

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roberto said:
I think I´m going to be nailed here, without getting any ears fatigue in the Summit, in my CLS, I can´t listen the same music with the same cables with the same system...and I do think it is due to the new design and new panels...on the other hand, the Summits are not perfect, but they do are the most fun speaker of the ML line, I do enjoy them a lot
Since I own CLSIIz's like Roberto, I can confirm what he is saying. While never having the opportunity to compare side by side, in the same room with the same electronics, the Summit Panels are a very nice step upward in performance versus the older panel design one or two iterations ago.

roberto said:
All I can say is, for the first time, I could listened a complete album of violin and guitar through my digital playback
Roberto...I had to grab myself as I almost fell out of my chair...You are moving over to the Dark Side!!! Ha Ha Ha :D

Dan
 

aliveatfive

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dbakker@wwnet.com said:
Having owned MLs for 17 years starting with the Sequel I have spent more time with them than any other brand. I have always owned electrostats and never much cared for cone speakers. Last month I sold my Prodigys and bought the Summit having heard it at the CES in 2004. I liked the size, liked what I heard and thought that the design and finish were finally on par with the never disappointing sound quality. I set them up and hooked them up to a large SS amp (Electrocompaniet 250) and a CD player set on repeat. This played continuously, day and night for two weeks and I left town for the duration. Break in thus lasted well over 300 hours. I have been going through placement routines and listening sessions while keeping notes since I returned.
I have a fairly large room 24 x 24', 16' high and opening up on three sides into other spaces. The room is fairly lively but well damped with books, art and roomtunes and has always been a breeze to set up any speaker in.

Here is what I have heard sofar, the Summit does away with the Prodigies in high end extension and the bass response is much better controlled and more tuneful. (I also use a a Descent in the system but always turn if off before moving the Summits around or working with their 25 and 50 cycle controls). The lower mid at the level of a baritone voice or cello is not nearly as convincing as the Prodigy could produce in my room. It is simly smaller and in my mind not up to the performance of the two ends of the spectrum. I now wish I could have a combination of the two because I find hard to give up on the Summit's undeniable improvements in those regions. I have always treasured a great midrange above all and if further experimentation does not change this balance I may have to do this purchase in reverse again. What a dilemma.
Just wonder if anyone has heard this lack of chest in the Summit?

I listen only to vinyl which I have collected for many years and play it on a Sota Cosmos with ZYX and Koetsu cartridges through an Aesthetix IO
Reference with dual power supplies, ARC Ref2 mark2 and ARC V140's amps.
First of all, my setup is similar to yours: ARC VT 100 III, BAT VK 51 SE pre. I also listen mostly to vinyl. I have an SME 10 tt, Graham 2.2 tonearm, Shelter 90x cartridge and brand new ARC PH 7 phono pre. My Summits took at least one month of daily listening before I felt they had settled in. They did not respond to placement the identical way that my Ascent is did. If anything, I felt that the Summits window on the midrange was somewhat clearer than that of the Ascents. BTW, I've been told that the 4 foot panel in the Ascent is quite similar to the panel in the Prodigy.

Try slightly different placement options with your Summits. Try a bit more break-in time. I do not think your equipment is an issue since your components are highly regarded by the audio press as far as midrange issues are concerned. In a word - experiment - a bit and I think you'll find the answer to your compaint.
 

Spike

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Recessed or anemic mids with Summits?

Could it be that the design of the Summit its dedicated bass amplifier(s) provide a much more transparent view of the upstream electronics? In this regards, I think the Summit ruthlessly demands high-quality (tube) amplification to flush out the true midrange performance that it was designed for. Even then, as another member (Steve D.) found out, the design and execution of the tube amplifier makes a huge difference in this all-important midrange region.

Just my 2 cents on this subject...
Spike
 

DTB300

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Spike said:
In this regards, I think the Summit ruthlessly demands high-quality (tube) amplification to flush out the true midrange performance that it was designed for.
I have heard great setups with Tube and Solid State Amplification. Tubes are not always the final answer as it depends on what type of sound you are looking for. Each person should audition both Quality Tube and Solid State Amplifiers and find the sound for their system/room synergy.

Dan
 

roberto

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DTB300 said:
Since I own CLSIIz's like Roberto, I can confirm what he is saying. While never having the opportunity to compare side by side, in the same room with the same electronics, the Summit Panels are a very nice step upward in performance versus the older panel design one or two iterations ago.


Roberto...I had to grab myself as I almost fell out of my chair...You are moving over to the Dark Side!!! Ha Ha Ha :D

Dan
Hola Dan...yes I know...hahahahaha, you are right...dark side!!! but, you know that I have a customer who had before a Request, and now he has Summits, and the same thing happned to him also...extrange, very extrange...right?...
There is another thing that I like better in the Summits, you can play them very soft, and you will have hours of listening pleasure, that with some others, you get a little tired. The micro-dynamics are so good and the size of the instruments, with much air between them...and there are no strident sound at all. The strings are silky and super well defined and this is with my digital play back (proceed transport and processor) gear, which it is not the best available on these days...(this is what I have), before I could not do this...now I do, very pleasant sound...
happy listening,
Pura vida,
Roberto.
 

dbakker@wwnet.com

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roberto said:
Hola...I think that what you hare listening on the Prodigies and not in the Summits is a resonance at that particular frequency range...lower mids. And the new panel of the Summit is more dynamic and has better extension at highs, and not showing that particular resonance, that seems to produce a better cello in the Prodigy...very difficult to solve this. All I can say is, for the first time, I could listened a complete album of violin and guitar through my digital playback...I think I´m going to be nailed here, without getting any ears fatigue in the Summit, in my CLS, I can´t listen the same music with the same cables with the same system...and I do think it is due to the new design and new panels...on the other hand, the Summits are not perfect, but they do are the most fun speaker of the ML line, I do enjoy them a lot...happy listening,
Pura vida,
Roberto.
Hola Roberto,
I have never been able to sit through extended listening sessions of digits but the CLS would only exacerbate hard string sound lacking the body of the instrument below 80 Hz. It could well be that the Prodigy suffers from a particular resonance that makes for great cello sound. The lower fourth of the screen is positioned in front of the woofer cabinet and the backwave bounces around in there. You can clearly hear that cavity when you put your ear near it. In the end none of that matters though as long as it sounds good and it gets the music across, maybe it IS that cavity that makes for the wonderful midrange response. I do agree that the Summit's panel is more dynamic and more grain free but that is not quite what I am getting at. It is that physical thrill that you can experience close up from a great singer (sans amplification) at full bore.
 

jfm

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For the TAS review, the ML setup people moved the Summits to within 6 feet of each other, with no toe-in. The reviewer suggested experimenting with toe-out as well. Perhaps the Summits like being closer to each other?

Just throwing in some more possibilities.
 
S

Steve Daigneault

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Spike said:
Could it be that the design of the Summit its dedicated bass amplifier(s) provide a much more transparent view of the upstream electronics? In this regards, I think the Summit ruthlessly demands high-quality (tube) amplification to flush out the true midrange performance that it was designed for. Even then, as another member (Steve D.) found out, the design and execution of the tube amplifier makes a huge difference in this all-important midrange region.

Just my 2 cents on this subject...
Spike
I think my previous Aerius i's midrange was more forward than the Vantage, and easily had body, even with amps like a lowly VTL IT 85. But the bottom was not integrated nearly as well as the Vantage, not even close, and that's saying something, I think the Aerius was one of the better integrated speakers ML produced. The Vantage did not sound "right" with a CJ Premier 140, and I was surprised. The main problem was a recessed and anemic mid section. I felt the body and soul just wasn't there, but overall, the sound was balanced and the highs and lows were far better than the Aerius. I just missed that midrange magic. So, I went for a pair of Cary 805c, and even before tube swapping, I immediately knew they were right. It was a huge relief. I thought I had gone backwards, or, maybe not backward, but sideways, trading some magic in for a better balanced and integrated speaker. With the Cary, I had it all. Tube swapping only confirmed this pairing as perfect for me. Now I need some treatments to clean up some of the bass in my room, and I think I'll be a content audiophile, two words that usually dont' go together.

Anyway, I gotta say, I think tube amps w/ feedback and too many gain stages aren't going to work. For me, for that special midrange magic I must have, it took an amp without any feedback, with octal and triode tubes. I think push pull would have worked (like a VAC 70/70), the single ended Cary though sounds really special with the Vantage.
 
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AudioFanKJ

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With all due respect Steve, a speaker should be created to work well with any quality amp. One should not have to go to SET amps to get the midrange to perform as it has in the past. Whether there is better top end extension, bottom end integration and such is all just "swell"... however, all of it is realisticly useless without a believable midrange. That is where the magic must be.

I am hoping this is still part of the break in anomaly... however I don't think any great speaker, Martin Logan or otherwise, should have to rely on a certain type of amp. That is just poor design if that were the case.

Please don't get me wrong, I am well aware there is often times a great "synergy" amongst certain components, specifically amp/speaker combo... however the said speaker should also perform extremely well with extremely good gear. It should excel beyond that with that certain "synergy"... but at least should sound great with good gear, and not require a certain sonic signature SET amp to sound as it should...

*my two cents*
 
S

Steve Daigneault

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AudioFanKJ said:
With all due respect Steve, a speaker should be created to work well with any quality amp. One should not have to go to SET amps to get the midrange to perform as it has in the past. Whether there is better top end extension, bottom end integration and such is all just "swell"... however, all of it is realisticly useless without a believable midrange. That is where the magic must be.

I am hoping this is still part of the break in anomaly... however I don't think any great speaker, Martin Logan or otherwise, should have to rely on a certain type of amp. That is just poor design if that were the case.

Please don't get me wrong, I am well aware there is often times a great "synergy" amongst certain components, specifically amp/speaker combo... however the said speaker should also perform extremely well with extremely good gear. It should excel beyond that with that certain "synergy"... but at least should sound great with good gear, and not require a certain sonic signature SET amp to sound as it should...

*my two cents*
i can understand where you're coming from. my experience with the vantages haven't lead me to conclude they are a "poor design", but for me, it took a change in amps in order to achieve what i was looking for. call it synergy if you want, but the vantages, specifically in the midrange, sounded significantly better with a lower watt, 0 feedback design. that's just my experience, and it's all i can share. i thought it might be useful. we all make our own choices. if trying a different amp doesn't seem reasonable to you, and selling the summits and trading them in for some meadowlarks or something else makes sense, then go for it. these are personal choices, we all have our own priorities, and we all hear something different, so what's right for me is most likely not right for you. again, i felt like i had a similar experience in hearing an anemic midrange, and i was able to resolve it with my vantages, i figured you might be interested in what i had to say. good luck and let us know what you end up doing.
 
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