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Which is better: Purity or Theo

MartinLogan Owners (MLO)

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jtucker

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I suppose I will chime in here. I have had extensive listening with that particular range of ML speakers as they were current when I was shopping. My opinion is that for best bass/panel integration, you need to consider one of the models with DSP. To me that is the secret sauce. The difference between Theos and Ethos was very obvious. And with the Theos, I think you would definitely want a sub. With Ethos it is not mandatory, but I think I would have added a sub if I had kept the Ethos longer. I moved up to the Montis though, and am getting plenty of bass for my listening needs, even in my very large listening room. I would rank the Montis slightly ahead of the Summit X as the Summit X does not use DSP. I have not heard the newer models extensively, but I feel the 13" and 15" panels are probably anothr noticble step up from the 11" panels in the Summit and Montis.

As far as tubes are concerned, I generally think they are a bad idea with electrostatics as the tube amplifier output impedance is pretty high compared to the HF impedance of the panel. I am sure you can drive them safely with tubes, but the HF will be rolled off. I have only heard ML with tubes at the local Magnolia. The almost always pair ML with McIntosh, but what can you really tell in that environment? I sold my tube gear before I bought my Ethos, so I do not have a direct long term comparison. I do enjoy the tube sound (all my guitar gear is tubed), but if I wanted some tube sound with ML I would go with a tube preamp (I can't as I am currently running an integrated). Just my $0.02.
 

Stereonerd

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I never heard the Theos. But if you would get the PrimaLuna (integrated or power amp), I bet you won't be disappointed. And as soon as you feel comfortable, start tube rolling. As always, if you can audition any gear at home, do so.
I owned a PrimaLuna integrated for about a year and loved it, but used it during a brief dalliance with Golden Ear speakers rather than MLs. I've been auditioning a PrimaLuna Evo 400 preamp with my ML Purity's over the past few weeks though, and find that (compared to my Rotel preamp) that the bass is gluggy and not as effortlessly deep, the top end lacks zing, and it just lacks the "wow" factor. It does compensate with that valve "ambience" and extra texture, but... I guess I like it clean and clear, which is why I always had my PrimaLuna integrated on the "Ultra-Linear" setting. Really, I'd prefer NOT to have a valve amp at this point just because of the inconvenience - I listen to music at intervals during the day and the evening and I don't like those valves burning away all the time. At the same time, it's even worse to be switching it off and on all the time (I checked with PrimaLuna and they said "keep it on don't wear it out".
 

Stereonerd

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I suppose I will chime in here. I have had extensive listening with that particular range of ML speakers as they were current when I was shopping. My opinion is that for best bass/panel integration, you need to consider one of the models with DSP. To me that is the secret sauce. The difference between Theos and Ethos was very obvious. And with the Theos, I think you would definitely want a sub. With Ethos it is not mandatory, but I think I would have added a sub if I had kept the Ethos longer. I moved up to the Montis though, and am getting plenty of bass for my listening needs, even in my very large listening room. I would rank the Montis slightly ahead of the Summit X as the Summit X does not use DSP. I have not heard the newer models extensively, but I feel the 13" and 15" panels are probably anothr noticble step up from the 11" panels in the Summit and Montis.

As far as tubes are concerned, I generally think they are a bad idea with electrostatics as the tube amplifier output impedance is pretty high compared to the HF impedance of the panel. I am sure you can drive them safely with tubes, but the HF will be rolled off. I have only heard ML with tubes at the local Magnolia. The almost always pair ML with McIntosh, but what can you really tell in that environment? I sold my tube gear before I bought my Ethos, so I do not have a direct long term comparison. I do enjoy the tube sound (all my guitar gear is tubed), but if I wanted some tube sound with ML I would go with a tube preamp (I can't as I am currently running an integrated). Just my $0.02.
Thanks for that. It would be interesting to know which amps Martin Logan use on their own speakers! And whether their preference is for solid state or valve. I tend to agree with you. Although I'm not technically minded I noticed with both the PrimaLuna preamp and integrated I used to own that the bass rolls off at a certain point, and there tends to be a "bloom" of big bass rather than a clean, tight bass. Ditto the top end. I like it clean and clear, although I would prefer the extra texture and ambience that comes with a valve amp as well. You can't have everything, I guess.
I take your points about the ML models and I'm envious of your Montis, but sadly, I'm on a tight budget (hence my buying of the Theos for NZ$3K, about $2K US) and MLs don't exactly grow on trees in a small market like New Zealand.
 

Russr

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Not sure about availability of them next-door-to-down-under, but maybe look into Bryston amps. Great Canadian company - solid products and service - at least in North America.

Even second hand they are pretty much bullet proof. The Bryston-badged units come with 20 year warranty (!).
Stereo Models to consider:
Bryston 4B-SST (250W into 8 ohms)
Bryston 4B-ST (250W into 8ohms)
Bryston 3B-ST (125W into 8 ohms)
Lexicon 225NT (same as 4B-ST above)
Lexicon 215 NT (same as 3B-ST above)

Multi-channel amps:
Bryston 9B (5 X 125W into 8 ohms)
Bryston 8B (4 X 125W into 8 ohms)
Bryston 5B (3 X 125W into 8 ohms) ?? not sure if I got this one down right ??

Lexicon 512 NT(same as Bryston 9B above)
Lexicon 412 NT (same as Bryston 8B above)

Good luck

Russ
 

BDH55

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Thanks for that. It would be interesting to know which amps Martin Logan use on their own speakers! And whether their preference is for solid state or valve.
FWIW, the following is from an email sent to me by Richard Schram of Parasound....

'I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a bit about our history with ML. It goes back many years, with my purchase of a pair of Quests with special order rosewood rails in the early '80s. They purchased four JC 1s when they released their Monolith in 2003. When their engineer Joe Vojtko developed the Neolith he specified an A 21. He found the A 21 perfect for the job, despite its modest price.'

Keep in mind that this is from an amplifier manufacturer talking about their relationship with MartinLogan, as opposed to ML making comments about their preferred amplifiers. Also, this was part of a dialog regarding whether I replace my current JC 1's with a pair of the upgraded JC 1+...
 
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