System #05 (Odyssey, CLS IIa)

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Well-known member
Jan 2, 2005
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Québec, Canada
System #05 (CLS IIa and Depth, Odyssey)

1. Member Name: Guy B.
2. Location: Québec, Canada
3. ML Model(s): CLS IIa, Depth, Odyssey,
4. Year Purchased: CLS IIa in 2004 / Odyssey in 2005 / Depth in 2006
5. Mods/Changes: CLS IIa panels replaced a few years back, ETC spikes. Odyssey stock jumpers replaced by Nordost WyreWizard Dreamcaster solid core wire
6. Associated Electronics and Equipment:

6a. Odyssey system

Amplification :
- Hovland HP-200 Tube Line Stage Amplifier
- Hovland RADIA Solid State Dual-Mono Power Amplifier

Sources :
- Linn Unidisk SC (Universal Player)
- Everything connected to the main headphone system listed below, under "6c. Other equipment"

Cables (speakers):
- Nordost Frey

Cables (interconnects):
- XLO Signature 2, XLO Ultra

Cables (AC power cords):
- Nordost Brahma, YBA Diamond (3), Kimber Kable PK-14

Power (surge protection and distribution): from different dedicated AC circuits
- Nordost Thor Mains Distribution Unit (Hovland pre & amp, Unidisk and CD player)
- ZeroSurge 2R15 Surge Filter (ML Odysseys)

- Lovan Classic II Rack

6b. CLS IIa / Depth system

- YBA 2 Alpha Preamplifier (solid state, line stage version)
- YBA 1 Alpha HC Mono Power Amplifiers (solid state)
- Simaudio Moon LP5.3 Phono Stage + PSX5.3 Power Supply

Sources :
- Clearaudio Champion Limited Ed. Turntable / Rega RB301 / Grado Reference Platinum 1
- Harman/Kardon hk710 Analog FM/AM Tuner
- Audio PC #1 with a RME Digi96/8 PAD Audio Card
- Audio PC #2 with a Echo Audio MiaMIDI Audio Card

Cables (speakers):
- Transparent Audio MusicWave Plus

Cables (interconnects):
- Analog : Transparent, Canare, Tributaries and DIY
- Digital : Transparent, SP Glass, MIT and PS Audio xStream

Cables (AC power cords):
- Transparent Powerlink Plus, Stock cords

Power (line conditioning, on a dedicated AC circuit)
- YBA Line Filter (used for YBA preamp, amps & tuner)

Power (distribution, on a dedicated AC circuit):
- Totem Urth Power Block (TT & phono stage)

Power (surge protection & distribution):
- ZeroSurge 2R15 Surge Filter (ML Depth)
- Monster AV800 (used for powering on and off the CLS IIa)

Secondary headphone system:
- Stax SRM-313 Driver Unit
- Stax SRX Mk III Earspeakers

- Lovan Classic

6c. Other equipment

Main headphone system :
- Ariston Audio RD11 Turntable / Stax UA-7M / Decca London Super Gold / Clearaudio SmartPhono
- Accuphase T-101 FM Tuner
- Nagra PL-L Preamplifier (line stage, tube)
- Stax SR-404 Signature Earspeakers
- Stax SRM-006t Vacuum Tube Output Drive Unit
- XLO Signature 2, Nordost Frey, Nordost Red Dawn, Clearaudio Smart Wire, Linn, Transparent
- Inouye SPLC Power Line Conditioner
- YBA Diamond + Line Filter, MIT Z-Cord II, Ultralink Platinum AC PowerLine® MkII
- Schroers & Schroers Focus 72 & Axiom Racks

A/V system : built around the Linn Unidisk SC (Pre/pro and Universal Player)
- Shanling CD-S 100 Mk II CD Player (used as a transport)
- Benchmark DAC1 DA Converter
- HDTV: Toshiba TheaterWide® HD 44NHM84 (DLP, 44 inches)
- Simaudio Moon W-3 Solid State Stereo Power Amplifier
- Totem Sttaf Speakers
- Transparent Audio Speaker Cable, basic
- DreamVision S/Video cable & RAM Electronics DVI cable
- XLO Reference 2 AC Cable

Power conditioning:
- AudioPrism Quiet Line AC noise filters (4)

Extra stuff: presently unused
- Nakamichi 482Z Cassette Deck
- Dayton-Wright SPS Phono Preamplifier
- Audio Design PA100 Solid State Stereo Power Amplifier
- Stax SRD-6 Adaptor
- Magnum ST-2 Antenna
- Magnum FM Power Sleuth
- Monster HTS 1000 MKII
- Audio Alchemy DTI Pro
- TARA Labs Temporal Continuum Speaker Cables
- Sony SCD-XE670 SACD/CD Player

7. Comments about my MartinLogan experience:

I have been interested in Hi-Fi for almost 40 years: I had a Lenco L75 at the beginning of the Seventies! In december 1974, my first real system was based around a Dayton Wright SPS preamplifier (still around), a Thorens TD-160 turntable and Sennheiser HD-424 headphones; after a few months, I added an Epicure Model One power amp and IMF TLS-50 loudspeakers. In the following years I replaced the turntable by an Ariston RD11 with a Stax arm and Denon DL103S MC cartridge; ditto for the headphones, replaced by Stax SRX Mk III earspeakers...

For financial reasons, I had to sell the power amp and speakers. Out went the Epicure and IMF, in came a Luxman tube amp (MQ-3600) and Rogers LS3/5a, later replaced by an Audio Design amp and Polk 10 speakers. I then bought a tuner and 2 cassette decks, one being a Nakamichi 482Z. When the DL103S cartridge needed replacement, I opted for a Decca London Super Gold (VdH tip) and had the turntable modified (Linn Nirvana mod.)...

As an impenitent audiophile, I experimented with tweaks (cables, cones, mats, clamps, equalizer, ...), always on the lookout for something better...

I was hooked that way for 12 years then my interest shifted completely to computers. Instead of listening to my gear and trying to have better sound, I just listened to music without trying to upgrade! That is till that fateful day in November 2003 when I entered one of the Hi-Fi shops I was regularly visiting prior to 1986...

That visit was the result of the acquisition of a good audio card (RME Digi96/8 PAD). I wanted to integrate one of my computers to the audio system and just needed some cable... On that particular day, MartinLogan Odyssey speakers were on display, hooked on YBA Passion equipment, and Ray Montford's "Shed Your Skin" CD was playing... I was hooked back in a flash!

Since, I have acquired a little more than a simple cable : many components, line conditioning equipment, lots of CDs and SACDs, and my pride and joy, MartinLogan loudspeakers. I first bought a used set of CLS IIa in perfect condition, then a demo set of Odyssey and finally a brand new Depth ! :rolleyes:

Now, I have fun again listening to music without thinking of upgrading loudspeakers, sources or amplification ! ;-)

8a. An image of my former main system:

8b. An image of my Odyssey system: with the A/V system behind (the two systems being completely separate)


Listening room:

11'5"W x 20'10"L x 8'H area in an unfinished basement, with a 10' opening (masked by a curtain) on one of the length's sides. Concrete floor and walls, partially covered by carpets and curtains on the front wall. One fake dieffenbachia tree in each corner of the front wall, for diffusion. The side walls are partly covered with shelves (4' high, with a depth of 14 to 16") full of books and records. The back section of the room (behind the listening position) is the electronics' section, with all sorts of hi-fi gear and computers.

Humidity is kept at 40 degrees most of the year, higher (50-60 degrees) during summer time. Temperature varies from 72°F (winter) to 80°F (during some hot summer days). Air filters (HEPA) are used to help control the dust.

On the electrical side, four dedicated and two non-dedicated circuits are used to power up the systems. Digital equipment is seperated from analog.

The Odysseys are 5' from the front wall (11'5"W) and 25" from the side walls, with a very slight toe-in. My main listening position is at about 8' from the speakers.

The CLS IIa are now placed behind my usual sitting position, facing the Odysseys, 7' from the back wall (i.e. "their" front wall). When I am sitting at the computers, the speakers are 3' from me :cool: ! For proper listening, I just move to the audio section of the room, and sit 9' from the speakers.

For both sets of speakers, toe-in and listening positions have been determined following Jim Power's flashlight technique.

In all cases, including the Depth, ETC spikes are used to anchor the speakers to the carpeted concrete.

Since this is a non dedicated room (two thirds of the space used for audio and reading, one third for computer stuff), I can also hear the computers in the background. At least the noise level is low and constant, it pretty much disappears when I listen to either system (I focus on the music and not on the possible distractions). For critical listening, I simply do the obvious and turn all computers off !


Life is good with ML !! :)
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Thanks for your comments, Tom! Much appreciated!

I have been lurking for quite some time and decided to join after seeing the general level of enthousiasm and pride shown by the majority of the ML club members.

Thanks again to you and Jason for the existence of the club!

Best regards,

excellent format for describing your system! i'm going to steal it to do mine! ;)

very very nice set-up you have. Cls's are the ONLY logans i have yet to hear...but i hope to very soon!
Thanks for your kind words, Bonedust! I look forward to read the description of your system. ;)

Best regards,

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I really like the setup of your system it looks very intimate and a joy to sit down and listen to music on?
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Thanks for your kind comments, Statman!

You're right, it is very intimate since it is almost nearfield listening. But the CLS are a joy to listen to at short distance, as witnessed by some club members in their own installation.

Still, I would love to have a better room (just larger, longer and higher !!). ;)

Best regards,


Life is good with ML !! :)
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About a month ago I included this sentence in the presentation of my system :

"Now, I have fun again listening to music without thinking of upgrading my loudspeakers or amplification. ;) "

Well, scratch that silly comment, I bought yesterday a mint set of Odyssey!! They will be delivered tomorrow afternoon... And I can't wait!! :rolleyes:


Life is good with ML !! :rolleyes:
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My set of Odyssey has been delivered and installed, replacing a pair of CLS IIa in my primary system.

It is a store demo, well cared for and in perfect shape! ;)

First impressions are: WOW !! Fantastic !! I like it !! :)

As much as I loved my CLS for their purity and speed, I already appreciate the power handling of the Odyssey, as well as the bass ! Maybe because the speakers have been in use for some time, but integration of the woofers to the panels is pretty good. The CLS were perfect for instrumental, jazz, chamber and vocal music, the Odyssey seem able to play anything thrown at them, and with ease...


Life is good with ML !! :rolleyes:
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You are lucky to have access to all those nice speakers! I have always dreamed of going in the opposite direction (from Ascents to CLS's), but my room is all wrong for them, and my wife only listens to modern rock, so the CLS's would be a very hard sell in my home.

I know this is not the sort of stuff you want to be thinking about right now, but can you tell me what you feel like you are giving up by moving to the hybrid line? Presence, timbre, pace, etc? Do string quartets sound dramatically different on the Odysseys?
Interesting question. :)
I have a pair of Sequel II's, which are older than Ascents, and a pair of CLSiiZ's.

A few things to understand about the CLS's; they need an amp that can produce a fair amount of current. It is not the watts per se also the amp needs to be able to deal with a low dip in impedance. The CLS;s are not as tall as the Ascents but are wider. There is no frequency "hole" and that is being way too judgemental, where the panel stops and the woofer kicks in since it is all panel.

Do they rock? Yes they do! They are a different type of sound and you have to understand that if you are looking for that "thump" the CLS will not do that unless you have a sub.

I think the Ascent is a great speaker so it is nothing to think it is not a good performer. Have you heard the CLS's? Ifyou have then maybe you can convince your wife to change. Understand that the CLS's are older but still are supported by ML so there is no worry. If I was hunting for another pair and I am not ;) I would look for CLS IIa' or CLSiiZ's. I think you may be able to get IIa's upgraded to iiZ's. The difference in all of them is basically the electronics and as they progessed in how much easier it was to drive. The iiZ's being the easiest.

I hope this can help a bit

Hi Sky Saw,

So far, I don't feel like I am giving up anything by going to a hybrid ! But of course, it is normal since I'm playing with a new toy ...

I should have a better opinion in a few days, when I will have lived more with the Odyssey. I need to listen to many more recordings (including string quartets) to be able to make an educated evaluation ! :)


Life is good with ML !! :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
System updated: my computer speakers are CLS IIa !!

Now that I have a pair of Odyssey as my main speakers, I have relocated the CLS IIa in the computers' section of the listening room.

They are now driven by a YBA Intégré DT, itself connected to an audio PC. Being in a somehow cramped space, I listen to them nearfield (5 feet away). Wow, I have never listened to computer speakers that good ! ;)

Here are a few pictures of this secondary system (sorry, they are not good because I'm a lousy photographer) :





The description of the system at the beginning of this thread has been updated.
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Secondary system (CLS IIa) updated !

Right after getting my set of Odysseys in February, I relocated the CLS IIa in the computer section of the listening room, hooked up to a YBA Intégré DT.

The results were very nice, as long as I kept listening at a low or medium volume, which is quite normal since the YBA can deliver 90 Watts at 4 Ohms: 90 glorious Watts but still only 90 of them... Not much for hungry CLS IIa panels. :( After some time I also noticed a slight channel imbalance between the speakers, probably caused by the different surroundings for both panels. Unfortunately, being of a minimalist design, the Intégré does not offer a balance knob. So, after a month and a half of living with the YBA, I tried something different.

I put back into service two old components that have served me well over the years: a PS Audio IV Preamplifier (with balance control) and a Audio Design PA100 Power Amp (2 x 100 Watts @ 8 Ohms / 2 x 200 Watts @ 4 Ohms). Instant gratification: the sound might be less refined than with the YBA, but the balance is perfect and I can now crank up the volume when I wish. So far, the PA100 seems able to cope with the difficult load presented by the ML. I keep my fingers crossed ! :rolleyes:

The secondary system now looks like this:

- Loudspeakers: MartinLogan CLS IIa
- Loudspeaker cables: YBA Diamond
- Preamplifier: PS Audio IV (mostly used in passive mode)
- Power amplifier: Audio Design PA100
- CD player: Shanling CD-S 100MKII
- Analog FM tuner: Accuphase T101
- Cassette deck: Nakamichi 482Z
- Interconnects: DIY with Linn plugs


Technically, the CLS IIa are no more computer speakers, even if they are still located behind my monitor (I am lucky to have 4.92 meters long speaker cables!). For computer duties, I now have "Earspeakers", using the Intégré with an old set (1977) of Stax SRX Mk III (I am an electrostatics' nut !!). Guess what, the Odysseys are now the official computer speakers !! :D

Isn't life fun ?
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Secondary system (CLS IIa) updated !

I just made a change in my secondary system, by replacing the PS Audio IV preamplifier.

I'm now using the second pre-out of the Audio Research LS1 hybrid that is already hooked to the main system.

Main reason for the change is that I wanted to benefit from the Benchmark DAC1 already connected to the LS1. Also important was the apport of a tube in the CLS IIa system ! :cool:

Best thing is that I did not have to move anything, the AR LS1 is physically less than a meter away from the power amp in the second system. :)

The secondary system now looks like this:

- Loudspeakers: MartinLogan CLS IIa
- Loudspeaker cables: YBA Diamond
- Preamplifier: Audio Research LS1
- Power amplifier: Audio Design PA100
- DAC: Benchmark DAC1
- CD player: Shanling CD-S 100MKII
- Analog FM tuner: Accuphase T101
- Cassette deck: Nakamichi 482Z
- Interconnects: Transparent & DIY with Linn plugs

So far, so good ! The combination of the hybrid line stage and the solid state power amp is sweet to my ears ! :D

Life is fun with ML !!
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Primary system (Odyssey) updated !

All summer long I endured the heat generated by my Classé Audio Twenty-five amplifier. Ten days ago, I decided I had enough and began researching for a suitable and "cool" replacement.

I was about to settle for a very nice YBA Intégré Passion (which I was able to try at home for a full week) when came the possibility of a super deal. The hi-fi shop where I buy most of my equipment was selling some very interesting store demos.

I had seen and heard two of those items just the week before, driving beautifully a pair of Summits: a Hovland HP-200 tube preamplifier and a Hovland RADIA solid state amplifier ! What I had heard then had convinced me of the synergy between MartinLogan and Hovland gear. Alas, the price of new Hovland equipment was way out of my reach ! :eek:

Seeing them in the demo rack, I asked for the sale price and the possibility for the store to credit some of my actual equipment. Being a repeat customer, I was able to work out a deal with the salesman and went back home yesterday with the two Hovland beauties. Result: I'm delighted but now broke and out of the market for some time ! :rolleyes:

It did not take me long to set up my new toys and begin enjoying the music ! :)

To help the amplifier break-in and save the tubes in the HP-200, I have the RADIA hooked to the Moon P-5 preamp and fed continuous music from my PC "jukebox". I feel I have struck a fantastic deal because the RADIA amplifier is almost new (not broken-in yet, it is actually a replacement for the amplifier in the original demo set). The HP-200 preamplifier is in perfect condition, having only seen a few months of light use.

The HP-200 is connected to the Moon P-5's "pass-through" input as well as to my old Audio Design SS amplifier, driving the CLS IIa set. This way, I can use the tube preamp in the two ML systems !

Isn't life fun, albeit costly, with ML !! ;)
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Pictures added !

Here are a few pictures of the Hovland gear in my system. Because of my "inadequacies" as a photograper (I'm a lousy one !! :( ), I have left at "off" the internal lighting of the units. Matter of fact, I prefer it with the lighting off :




Even if the HP-200 has a nice remote control, I have placed the preamplifier next to my sitting position because most of my sources are right there. At the same time, it allows me to also use it on the secondary system (CLS IIa) !

I'm having fun !
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Awesome new gear!!! I bet it sounds reeeeeal good with the Logans! So these run a bit cooler than the Classe amps?

How could you like the HP200 and the Radian with the lights off? Those things are a beauty to look at with all that light blue glow.... and those knobs on the HP200 are a real marvel. Changing from cd to tuner is a treat in itself! Heheheh.. :D

Also, that chair looks eerily familiar... is that an Ikea chair? ;)
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Hi Joey V,

Yep, the Hovland gear is awesome ! Fantastic build quality and gorgeous looks to match. The optional internal lighting is of course quite nice but... ;)

More important to me, the RADIA amplifier is not only cool looking, it stays cool under the Odysseys' load. Up till now, after two full days of use, the case is not even warm to the touch. :D What a difference with the Classé amp, where I felt I had to use a fan !! :eek:

I was a little nervous at first because the manual says "Loudspeakers with impedance curves that dip below 3 ohms are generally not recommended for use with the RADIA." That's why I will not even try to drive the CLS IIa...

So far, so good, the Odysseys seem a good match with the Hovland gear ! The amp has proven to be totally quiet in operation: no noise, no hum, nothing ! The RADIA is very quick, appears to be totally transparent and seems to offer the best qualities of solid state and tube amplification. It is not at all harsh sounding when pushed, so I have felt no listening fatigue despite the many hours spent up till now. I'm very pleased with that amplifier !

You're right about the chair: I bought two Ikea Poems many years ago and both are in my listening room. One is used for music and reading, the other one is for TV and DVD watching (not used much recently :D).

Take care,
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Lots of changes in the last week !

To make place for the Hovland gear (and to be able to afford it :eek: ), I had to let go some fine equipment. Out are the following :

- Classé Audio Twenty-five power amplifier
- Audio Research LS1 hybrid line stage amplifier
- YBA Intégré DT integrated amplifier
- YBA Diamond speaker cables

As an end result, the main system is pretty much done !! And it should remain like that for quite some time ! :rolleyes:

No matter what, it was worth it because the sound is fabulous ! The Hovland gear controls the Odysseys like it's nothing. The RADIA has not clipped once in seven days and all the time remained as cool as it looks ! :) Everything is effortless !

I have now logged many hours with the preamp and can vouch for its musicality; I have no idea if it is as good or better than the other top line stages, and I don't care. All is know is that I am totally satisfied with the HP-200. It is completely devoid of self-noise, it is quick, transparent and refined. Like the RADIA, the HP-200 stays cool and lets the music flow. My quest for a better amplification is over and I love that feeling !

Cheers ! :)
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