Unbalanced sound output

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Tmort

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I’ve a pair of EM-ESL’s and one of them has a greater sound output than the other. I’d thought it was just the stereo balance of recordings I was playing but upon swapping the speakers L/R the bias also switched sides. I bought these second hand so warranty isn’t going to give me anything here. the Speakers are practically new so I don’t think we are talking cleanliness of the panels, I have vacuumed them once perhaps a month ago.
appreciate the group’s thoughts on this.
 

codesx100

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I had the same issue with one of my EM-ESLs, what I found out after replacing the panel was that one of the wires soldered to the panel broke off. May have been easier just clean the wire up and re-solder to the panel. I would check the wires on that unit.
 

Tmort

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I had the same issue with one of my EM-ESLs, what I found out after replacing the panel was that one of the wires soldered to the panel broke off. May have been easier just clean the wire up and re-solder to the panel. I would check the wires on that unit.
Had your “affected” speaker stopped working completely or just reduced volume? How does one get to the point of seeing such connections to check that? I’d certainly like to give that a look.
 

Robert D

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Had your “affected” speaker stopped working completely or just reduced volume? How does one get to the point of seeing such connections to check that? I’d certainly like to give that a look.
I know that when I took off my Prodigy panels, the wires and their solder points are clearly visible.
 

Tmort

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So after some discussion with ML I found out something pretty shocking, I’d bought these from a guy who got them from bestbuy wholesale, well as it turns out one speaker has A manufacture date of 2019, the other 2011!
Ive carefully vacuumed the dimmer speaker then did some rudimentary db readings, showing it’s only off by maybe 1.5 db, but the real difference seems to be in the speaker’s performance, it’s a little less bright and clear as the other speaker.
now ML says the difference in performance could be merely age related.
it’s not dramatic but it’s clear if listening intently and well….that’s what we do right!?!
ML suggested swapping the panels to see if that makes a difference, they also sent me the instructions for “washing” the panels, not that they recommend the process.
I highly doubt this likely floor demo speaker saw a ton of use, but who knows it could have been played a lot.

is “washing then panel” in water really a viable way to breathe clarity back into this panel? Given the age delta in these speakers it might be the best way to put them on level footing…. The “ good panel” sounds stunning and the other, if you didn’t have the other to compare to I’m sure most would say it sounds great.
 

Tmort

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That's quite a difference in age, for sure. Might want to discuss with Best Buy, depending on how these speakers were represented to you.
That’s not an option.
 

codesx100

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Had your “affected” speaker stopped working completely or just reduced volume? How does one get to the point of seeing such connections to check that? I’d certainly like to give that a look.
The sound was greatly reduced, i had to take the speaker apart, with the EM-ESL the top part comes off then you can start dismantling it. I would contact Martin Logan and see if they would send you the instructions for it since your doing it yourself.
 

Tmort

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The sound was greatly reduced, i had to take the speaker apart, with the EM-ESL the top part comes off then you can start dismantling it. I would contact Martin Logan and see if they would send you the instructions for it since your doing it yourself.
Yes they’ve sent me the instructions including to wash the panels.
but here’s the deal, my “older panel” is only about 1.5 db less in volume, it’s the upper end clarity that’s missing, it sounds much flatter than the newer speaker / panel. I’m hoping this is not the natural state of things….I mean if an ESL panel degrades in sound quality in time like this is a natural thing I can’t imagine people being so excited by this tech in speakers long term…which is clearly not the case as there’s plenty of folks on this forum with ML’s far older than these that are giddy about them.
so I’m hoping that perhaps a panel cleaning will be all it takes to breathe new life back into the older panel.
 

Tmort

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Th

Len44 was trying to help you: with good advice!
I bought these from a person who’d gotten them from bestbuy wholesale, he claims they came as a “pair” from them but he’d no idea of their relative age. So I’ve no recourse directly with bestbuy, and the eBay seller is claiming ignorance of the discrepancy. So I’m trying my best to put these two panels on equal footing sound wise….
 

codesx100

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Yes they’ve sent me the instructions including to wash the panels.
but here’s the deal, my “older panel” is only about 1.5 db less in volume, it’s the upper end clarity that’s missing, it sounds much flatter than the newer speaker / panel. I’m hoping this is not the natural state of things….I mean if an ESL panel degrades in sound quality in time like this is a natural thing I can’t imagine people being so excited by this tech in speakers long term…which is clearly not the case as there’s plenty of folks on this forum with ML’s far older than these that are giddy about them.
so I’m hoping that perhaps a panel cleaning will be all it takes to breathe new life back into the older panel.

No they don't degrade that fast that's something of concern if the panel was like 10-15-20 years old, unless the panel was exposed to an unusual condition(s) by the prior owner. I know you mentioned swapping the left and right speakers but did your try swapping the left and right stat panels? To see if the sound is following the panel? That way you can determine if its the panel or the electronics. I think ML made me do that first when I was troubleshooting when I had my issue.
 

Tmort

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No they don't degrade that fast that's something of concern if the panel was like 10-15-20 years old, unless the panel was exposed to an unusual condition(s) by the prior owner. I know you mentioned swapping the left and right speakers but did your try swapping the left and right stat panels? To see if the sound is following the panel? That way you can determine if its the panel or the electronics. I think ML made me do that first when I was troubleshooting when I had my issue.
The panel of concern is 11 years old, the other 3. ML did suggest swapping panels between speakers so I will be trying that in a week or so, currently on vacation. So yes if the swap shows it’s the crossover it’s something completely different.
if after the swap it’s still with the older panel I’m going to wash the panel to see if that might bring her back. Of note…on this panel there was some sort of sticky residue on the face near the top of the panel, maybe a couple inches wide, you could feel it with your hand. So it could be something got onto the membrane in that area. It didn’t unfortunately come off with just water, I had to use a light cleaner on a towel. Sooo, if in fact there’s something on there and it’s the culprit it may not come off with just water.
I am considering using some simple green on there in that area. I’ve seen some references in this forum to folks using it as part of their wash routine.
 

Ishaansuri

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I’ve a pair of EM-ESL’s and one of them has a greater sound output than the other. I’d thought it was just the stereo balance of recordings I was playing but upon swapping the speakers L/R the bias also switched sides. I bought these second hand so warranty isn’t going to give me anything here. the Speakers are practically new so I don’t think we are talking cleanliness of the panels, I have vacuumed them once perhaps a month ago.
appreciate the group’s thoughts on this.
Hey! Just saw this.

So I had this problem on a pair of brand new pair of ML ESL 9 Classic Masterpiece which I bought post covid lockdowns here in India. They were basically in storage in a coastal city for like 10 months maybe more. Unused.

After 3 months of use they developed the same 1.5db shift on one. Long story short

The problem can be

1. Bias boards
2. Panels.

First we did the same thing. Swapped amps preamp, physically swapping speakers to LR channels and sources, cables etc to disqualify all external factors.

Then they swapped bias boards amongst the speakers and to qualify if the problem follows the boards. However it didn't. The boards however on opening the speakers revealed a weird residue coming out of the transiators that had hardened. Either way the boards weren't the problem. The panels were. Humidity or storage under these conditions created dust or some damage to the panel causing the panels to overload and effect the bias boards causing them to possibly leak as well.

ML replaced both my bias board and panels as these were new speakers, had a huge tussle with them on email to give me new speakers. I would suggest you use the balance on your preamp and just temper them to match as anything else will and may create longevity issues on the set. Looked after well they will last for decades.

If you want to keep them find a service center or help to consider isolating the problem to either the boards or panels and eventually get replacements. Boards are not too expensive. Panels can be.

I eventually changed my amps to mcintosh mono blocks with auto formers after they sent me new replacement panels and boards came in, basically making the speakers good as new.

I was previously running emotiva amps which cannot handle the 2ohm swings these panels exhibit at the HF band.

Hope this gives you some kind of reference point to technically approach the problem.


Here is my original thread below

 
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Tmort

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Hey! Just saw this.

So I had this problem on a pair of brand new pair of ML ESL 9 Classic Masterpiece which I bought post covid lockdowns here in India. They were basically in storage in a coastal city for like 10 months maybe more. Unused.

After 3 months of use they developed the same 1.5db shift on one. Long story short

The problem can be

1. Bias boards
2. Panels.

First we did the same thing. Swapped amps preamp, physically swapping speakers to LR channels and sources, cables etc to disqualify all external factors.

Then they swapped bias boards amongst the speakers and to qualify if the problem follows the boards. However it didn't. The boards however on opening the speakers revealed a weird residue coming out of the transiators that had hardened. Either way the boards weren't the problem. The panels were. Humidity or storage under these conditions created dust or some damage to the panel causing the panels to overload and effect the bias boards causing them to possibly leak as well.

ML replaced both my bias board and panels as these were new speakers, had a huge tussle with them on email to give me new speakers. I would suggest you use the balance on your preamp and just temper them to match as anything else will and may create longevity issues on the set. Looked after well they will last for decades.

If you want to keep them find a service center or help to consider isolating the problem to either the boards or panels and eventually get replacements. Boards are not too expensive. Panels can be.

I eventually changed my amps to mcintosh mono blocks with auto formers after they sent me new replacement panels and boards came in, basically making the speakers good as new.

I was previously running emotiva amps which cannot handle the 2ohm swings these panels exhibit at the HF band.

Hope this gives you some kind of reference point to technically approach the problem.


Here is my original thread below

I’ve read thru your thread, the audible impacts you were experiencing sound like what I’m getting. I certainly hope I don’t have both failing electronics and panel on my speaker as I’m on my own, no warranty and I’d be basically buying a new speaker. I will see next week what happens when I swap the panel but sounds like I ought to get eyes on the electronics as well regardless.
 

Tmort

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Update, swapped the panels and the affected panel moved as expected to the other enclosure. A visual of the electronics proved uneventful as all looks fine so I’m suspecting the issue is the panel. So tomorrow she’s getting a shower and then in a couple days time I’m going to cross my fingers!
 

Ishaansuri

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Update, swapped the panels and the affected panel moved as expected to the other enclosure. A visual of the electronics proved uneventful as all looks fine so I’m suspecting the issue is the panel. So tomorrow she’s getting a shower and then in a couple days time I’m going to cross my fingers!
That washing bit scares me 😅 all the best. Keep us posted.
 

drkumarmp

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That washing bit scares me 😅 all the best. Keep us posted.
Read somewhere that the edges start to separate after the wash, so i have clamped the edges with large paper clips and given the shower, waiting to dry, will update on any result.
 

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Tmort

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So washed my panel and reinstalled it, no noticeable difference in sound….very disappointing that this could be merely an age related issue with the panel. It seems crazy to me that the panels would degrade in sound quality that much with only 8 years of use difference…(11 years versus 3 year old panels). ML suggest the price for a replacement panel would be $700, which seems crazy high for one ESL (not even an ESL-X), panel. I mean an entire speaker retails for $1,250.
 
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