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Vantage - First Impression

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Craig

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I finally had the opportunity to see and listen to a pair of Vantage speakers. My local ML dealer is Sound Advice in Tampa ( a tweeter owned company). The just came in yesterday.

They look better in life than the photos I've seen. I like that they have a smaller box than the previous generation. Although, I still think they could have refined the edges and corners to be less sharp and pointy. The new panel is gorgeous.

The setup they had for them was poor as is typical for this chain of stores (however, a great place to buy MLs. Outstanding customer service). In a room packed with other gear and speakers and wired with low quality cable that is ran through a switch box that networks about 40 components and speakers. They were single wired with the ML metal jumper plates. One speaker had the wires connected to the high side with the other to the low side. The source was a cd played through a dvd player and powered with a Yamaha RX-Z9 receiver. A very good receiver but these speakers are worthy of a much better setup.

Over a year ago, Tweeter took over this Sound Advice store and cleared out thier high-end listening room to convert it to a dedicated HT room. They did this to sell various HT packages to consumers at the expense of a great 2 channel room. That HT room has a very minimal HT system in it and no one is ever in there. Meanwhile, what high-end gear they stil sell is now crammed into a room with at least 50-60 pieces of audio to include $5,000 MLs. What a waste of space and a big step backwards IMO.

Anyway, with this setup I could only listen for what potential the Vantages might have. But even with this setup I was impressed with how well they sounded. Being a less than a day old they're obviously not broken in yet and had a bright edge to them. However, there is no way to discern if the bright edge was from being new or from a lousy setup. Probably both.

The soundstaging was very big and the sound never seemed to come directly from the speakers. They were very detailed and transparent. I tried different settings on the woofer adjustment knob but any changes were surprisingly very subtle. I expected a broad range of adjustment like you would get from a subwoofer. It was more like the difference from the Flat to -3db switch on the back of an Ascent speaker. However, the woofer may be too new and tight to really open up yet.

My conclusion from what I heard under these conditions is that they do have great potential and I'm anxious to hear them broken-in in a quality system. The real test of course would be to bring a pair home and spend some time listening and comparing to my trusty Ascents.
 

aliveatfive

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Craig -

IMHO - a store would be foolish to try and drive Vantages or Summits with a receiver. These speakers require higher quality electronics - certainly more than a Yamaha. I'm surprised ML would display at a store with such modest ability to demonstrate their product. If you can, try and hear these speakers with higher quality electronics. I think you'll be amazed based upon my experience with Summits.
 

Reverb

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That’s for the review Craig, I will have to check back with my local Tweeter and see if they got a pair of Vantage in yet. I look forward to experiencing a pair.


Thanks again
 

vinodk

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Listened to Vantage's hooked upto T+A CD player & amps(German high end company considered equivalent to Burmester) at my dealer while picking up Aeon i's. Music was effortless with very good bottom end with very smooth analog sound. Once he switched the amps to Anthem P5 they sounded somewhat harsh & digital. Vantage's certainly do need quality electronics.
 

Joey_V

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YES!

Glad to hear your impressions of the Vantage!

I should stop by Tweeter and listen to them, but seeing that I cant afford them at the moment, I shouldnt tempt myself. ;)
 

Reverb

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vinodk said:
Once he switched the amps to Anthem P5 they sounded somewhat harsh & digital. Vantage's certainly do need quality electronics.
Hummmm…

That’s unfortunate to here. That’s one of my big concerns about these monster amplifiers, bigger power a lot of times equals harsh and bright, and there are those rare amps out there that have big power without the harshness. Small powered amps seams to have less kick but big dynamics and a sweeter sound.
 

DTB300

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Like I stated in other thread, I had a chance to listen to the Vantage today. I have heard the Summit a few months ago in the same store, but I could not do a side by side comparison today.

With the Vantage, the equipment hooked up was Wadia 861b CD Player, Krell 300xi Integrated. Cables from CD to Krell were Staightwire Sonta and Speaker cable was Nordost Super Flatline. Also, the store I heard them in was in quite disarray as they were remodeling the store - why during the holiday shopping season....who knows...

The thing that really impressed me about the Summit when I heard it was the ability for the speakers to disappear from the music. Bass was exceptional and again did not sound like it came from the speaker. During Summit auditions, I had the store change amp electronics which greatly improved the sound.

Now we all realize the Vantage is half the price of the Summit. Another thread here listed all the difference between the two, so I will not go into those details...just do a search here.

For my audition, I heard the Vantage in a different room that I heard the Summits in, which was significantly smaller than before. I was doing more near-field listening with the Vantage for the audition. Music I brought along for auditioning was Yellowjackets, Amanda McBroom Live, Handel, and Haydn. All were Hybrid SACD, but the player was only able to play the redbook layers. The store also had the Burmeister 2 Demo CD which had some great songs on it - I am looking for a copy of this CD :) The store salesperson got the Vantage setup for me with the equipment listed above and left the room. After about 20 minutes of playing around with speaker placement and bass control setting, I finally got them setup to where I could do some serious listening. Oh...forgot to say that these speakers are VERY NEW and only have about 10 hours on them.

So how did it sound?

Well, since they have a smaller panel than the Summit I wondered how they would compare....Well - these speakers sound wonderful!!! They had the ability, just like the Summit, to completely disappear within the music. I was concerned about how well a couple of 8" drivers would be able to reproduce bass, but was pleasently surprised at how well it handled the bass. Like the Summit the integration between the bass and panel was very good - as this was something that slightly bothered me with other ML Hybrid's - and is probably why I love my CLSIIz's. Now for those that may find the Vantage to not have enough bass compared to the Summit...keep this in mind. With the $5k you save over the Summit, you can buy a Depth or Descent and use the remaining $3k+ on music, cables, or other components and get all the bass you may need or want. But I would say that I would have been satisfied with the ability of the Vantage to reproduce enough bass for my tastes and listening. Would I buy them if I had the opportunity at a good price, and I did not already own my CLSIIz's? Absolutely!!!

Final concerns:

I would have liked to hear the Vantage in a larger room, like I heard the Summits in just to see how well they would do in a larger environment. But one must remember, that if you have a large room, then the Summits would probably be a better choice...but again I am just basing this in conjecture and no facts or listening comparisons.

Also, I would have liked to have heard the Vantage with better electronics than the Krell 300Xi integreated, along with some different cables. Everytime I have heard the Krell amp, it just does not impress me one bit. I would call it thin, cold, analytical, etc. etc. sounding, compared to the good old days of the Krell KSA amps. Don't read here that the 300xi is a slouch, it is just not my kind of amp and sound especially for the "Krell" name.

Since I was not considering purchasing the Vantage, I did not want to make the sales people jump through hoops and change out a bunch of stuff...also considering the disarray the store was in. But considering the electronics and what I heard today, even better equipment would make the Vantage sing even better - but believe me they sounded pretty good today.

I really think that ML has a real winner here with the Vantage. While the Summit was impressive, the $10K price tag would make me think twice about the purchase. But with the Vantage and its $5k price, it really becomes much easier to make the YES choice.

Dan
 
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Robin

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Vantage...

Dan,

What a great review of the new Vantage. I felt like, I was there with you... :D
I am glad ML is, in fact improveing, on their product line. Thank you for your impressions regarding your Summit experiance too. It was just right... :D

Cheers

-Robin
 

congers

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Question for all of those who have heard the Vantage.

I am an owner of a pair of Aeon I's and while I enjoy the speaker greatly, you are really restricted in where you sit in order to maximize sound quality.

Is this an inherent feature of the ML panels, or does another ML speaker (Vantage or any other) that provides a more flexable soundstage.



Thanks

Mike
 

garmtz

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I think the Vantage will have more or less the same 'problem'. Although ML said they have improved dispersion.
 

DTB300

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congers said:
I am an owner of a pair of Aeon I's and while I enjoy the speaker greatly, you are really restricted in where you sit in order to maximize sound quality.
I did move around the room a bit while listening to the Vantage, and it was better than previous models in the horizontal plane. But there still was the optimum seating position as with most planar type speakers. Did this seating position become slightly larger width wise? Slightly....as this is a very subjective opinion on how much more...

Dan
 
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Steve Daigneault

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i'm with dan, from my very limited listening session, i thought the dispersion was better, i felt the sweet spot was wider. and the nonsweet spots didnt' seem quite as bad as my aerius i.
 

ml360

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I seen and heard the Vantages at a tweeter store :eek: the other day.I was not impressed.Maybe cause of the shock factor of me just knowing that you get Logans at these type of stores :( .I thought they'd be bigger then that when seeing the Martin Logan brochure of the speaker.I listened to them with a mediocre pioneer cd player and with a denon receiver and the typical bestbuy/tweeter cable by monster.I just wasn't impressed!.For $5.000 and for stores like tweeter/bestbuy selling them I'd much better have the Aeon or a competitors brand......just my 2 cents......the shock of these stores now selling ml just ruined it for me :mad:
 

SugarMedia

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ml360 said:
I seen and heard the Vantages at a tweeter store :eek: the other day.I was not impressed.Maybe cause of the shock factor of me just knowing that you get Logans at these type of stores :( .I thought they'd be bigger then that when seeing the Martin Logan brochure of the speaker.I listened to them with a mediocre pioneer cd player and with a denon receiver and the typical bestbuy/tweeter cable by monster.I just wasn't impressed!.For $5.000 and for stores like tweeter/bestbuy selling them I'd much better have the Aeon or a competitors brand......just my 2 cents......the shock of these stores now selling ml just ruined it for me :mad:
Very often people blame the speakers for a poor sound when the speaker is only faithfully reproducing the poor signal sent to it. Receivers are also not as smooth, effortless, open and full sounding as separates.

Audition at another place and your position might be changed.
 

Joey_V

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ml360 said:
I seen and heard the Vantages at a tweeter store :eek: the other day.I was not impressed.Maybe cause of the shock factor of me just knowing that you get Logans at these type of stores :( .I thought they'd be bigger then that when seeing the Martin Logan brochure of the speaker.I listened to them with a mediocre pioneer cd player and with a denon receiver and the typical bestbuy/tweeter cable by monster.
The problem lies right there.... cheap mediocre cd player and a mediocre receiver amping the Vantages.

You NEED a SS or a good Tube amp to power these babies.

Not to mention, a good room.
 

Craig

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I seen and heard the Vantages at a tweeter store the other day.I was not impressed.Maybe cause of the shock factor of me just knowing that you get Logans at these type of stores ...For $5.000 and for stores like tweeter/bestbuy selling them I'd much better have the Aeon or a competitors brand......just my 2 cents......the shock of these stores now selling ml just ruined it for me
The Tweeter store (Sound Advice) I shop at also does a lousy job of demonstrating MLs. However, my local Sound Advice is my first choice to buy MLs from. The reason is because of their 60 day no questions asked return policy and warranty service if need but most importantly, they honor a 1 year full credit upgrade policy. So if I buy a pair of Vantage speakers from them today I know I can trade them in and get full credit including tax on a pair of Summits within a year. They only do this on speakers. Other components don't qualify. Sure, they could do a much better job of demo'ing but this type of customer suport outweighs a good demo IMO. The best demo is at my home anyway.
 
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