Amp/ preamp for electostatics and why

I would like to get some ideas on what amp and preamp sound best with electrostatic speakers and does the brand of the speaker make a difference? Do they like high current or high voltage better? I am running a pair of Martin Logan SL3's with a pair of PSE Studio V monoblock's and a BAT VK-30 pre right now but would like to play with the sound. also wondering about changing tubes in the pre.
You may want to look at forum which is a wealth of imformation.I run Simaudio equipment with ML's, specifically Odyssey's. Simaudio amd ML's are a great match. My amp is a W-5 which is now discontined and can be bought at reasonable prices off agon. The rest of my system is the Simaudio Evolution equipment.

Myself, after using the Simaudio Evolution P-7 pre have no thoughts what so ever of trying a tube pre.As for an amp, it should be able to run at low impedance.

A lot of members of the ML forum prefer a tubed pre. Also a lot of members use Pass Labs amps.
The Threshold T series amp and pre amp work great for my ML's
I have Innersound Stats and amps. Roger Sanders designed the amps specifically for stats. Absolute glorious sound, They should be on your short list. Stats are a unique load for an amp.
I have the new Sanders ESL amp with my Martin Logan CLSIIA. I've tried many amps and kept this one.

Tube preamp wise, I've had excellent luck with Audio Research, Modwright, Cary.
As soon as I log off here I'll check out the martin logan forums. What I was mostly concerned with is the amplification as the PSE's seem underpowered for the SL3's. Also, they are not made anymore and would be difficult to have repaired. That being said the system sounds wonderful, I just have to have the volume cranked to 3/4 to get decent room level sound.
I believe that tubes add warmth and life to the rather lean character of logans.

The difference was rather pronounced when I went from solid state to tubes on my ReQuests. A buddy borrowed my tube amp to try on his Maggie 3.5's and sold his solid state amps and bought Cary V12 monoblocks.

I understand your concern for power as I had to go from a cj 11a to 12's to get dynamics and control. I have no relation to the seller of the set of 12's on sale here now and do not know your budget but they are fantastic reliable amps and have grunt and soul.

I moved up to Summit's as I really like rock music and the powered woofers let the 12's loaf but tubes and stats (to me) go together.

Have Fun!
Solid state amplifiers always sounded lean on my Martin Logan CLS, but any tube amplifier sounded great. After trying numerous solid state amplifiers I decided the problem was the speaker's wicked impedance curve.
The CLS has very low impedance in the upper fequencies and when solid state amplifiers see a low impedance, what do they do? They produce more power. Also, the CLS has very high impedance in the low frequencies where the solid state amplifiers would produce less power.
More power to high frequencies and less power to low frequencies made for a very lean sound.
Tube amplifiers didn't seem to care providing the wattage was high enough.
I own Innersound stats powered by a ss/tube hybrid used in combination with an Audio Horizons tube pre amp.I've lived with multiple ss amps and have not been able to capture the magic of my current set up.There's just a natural synergy with appropriate tube amplification and Electrostats.
I would love to have a tube amp but there are two problems.One, I don't know how to bias a tube amp and;Two, I prefer monoblocks and good high powerered tube monoblocks are expensive.
A good used pair of 100 watt tube monos to drive your SL3s will cost you $800-$1200. For that price you can buy VTL Compact 100s or Quicksilver Silver 90s. I have used both with Electrostic speakers with good results.

100 watt tube monos are very powerful and you can easily learn how to bias them.
I have one other thing I would need and that is balanced connections. Anybody know of a 80+ watt tube monoblock with balanced connections?
A set of our M-60s, using a set of ZEROs to drive the MLs will make 80 Watts at full power, are monoblocks and are fully balanced.

There's a used set in the classifieds right now.
Look into Sanders Sound Systems. They specialize in Electrostatic systems. This company used to be called Innersound. They have a nice preamp/amp combo you may want to check out.
Audio Research made a V-140. It was basically Classic 120 monos balanced. And if you use Audio Research you don't need the Zeros. There is always a trade off with that type of product.

Ralph, I'm surprised you are pushing your products here.
The Manley Snapper monoblocks have balanced inputs, sound wonderful, and match great with the BAT preamps. I use the VK-42se with mine and have a friend that uses the VK-51se with his. They are easy to bias, takes all of about 5 minutes.
Rrog, do you mean you are surprised that I recommended one of our used amps rather than a new one? Its true that I avoid direct recommendation of our products, even when I think the recommendation is warranted. However ESLs together with OTLs have a history that goes back to the very first ESLs. In this case the desire was for a monoblock balanced tube amplifier to work on an ESL...

BTW a good number of older/smaller ARC amps benefit from the use of ZEROs as well. I've seen that with ARC and ESLs a number of times.

ESLs for the most part are driven better by tubes if their impedance is manageable for the tube amp. Its seems to me that a number of ESL manufacturers are trying to increase their market share by reducing the impedance of their speakers, to make them work better with transistors. The problem here is that transistors will sound bright on ESLs, due to the difference in impedance from the highs to the lows, which can result in as much as a 5x or 6x difference in power! So IMO ESL manufacturers that take this tack are shooting themselves in the foot by cutting off the technology (tubes) that works best with their speakers.

for more information see
With my SL3s I'm running a Melos MA-333 Reference preamp along with Muse Model 300 monoblocks and enjoying it. I guess the Melos is a type of hybrid using four 6922 tubes. Works for me.
I tried to look for the M-60's but they do not come up when I type in Atamsphere. Also , when I look at most of these suggestions the prices would be way out of my range. If I could sell my amps for $800-900 I could maybe come up with another $1000 so price would have to be $2000 or under. I looked at the Quicksilver's and VTL's and the price is right but they don't have balanced connections. I know I once saw a pair of Sonic Frontiers tube mono's that ran over 100 watts and had balanced connections that ran $2500 but I haven't seen anything like that lately. I also don't want to use autoformer's, I am more of a proponent of the less in the signal path the better.
Ikonetic, I just search on 'atma', that's the easiest. FWIW the autoformers will have less in your path than a conventional output transformer-coupled amp will and there is a version that essentially replaces your speaker cables.

Welcome to the facanating world of Electrostatics!

I've had a pair of Accustat Spectra 22's for over 15 years now. Speakers with boxes, no boxes, baffles and horns all have come and and gone, a few stayed but the Accustats are still in my main system. Clearly I thoroughly enjoy them...but they are quite difficult to drive.

Amps that I have tried in the past included, Hafler DH200, Forte 3 used as monos. Was also romanced by a smattering of tube amps. Tried my Cary SL80 not enough juice I know! Had a pair of Quad II's, then Audio Research vt100 2's both seemed to work reasonably well but then there was the heat issue. I even once tried my little DEcware se for grins...

That being said even having the stats actively xovered at 80hz they still, if driven hard enough could pop the B+/- rail fuses on any of the amps mentioned. In some cases it was worse, that's how I ended up w/ the mono Forte configuration.... killed a pair of output devices on each side of the amp's!

About 2 years ago I ended up making major changes to the front end in support of adding vinyl as an additional source.

Out went the DIY DACT and Purist Audio passive pre's and in came a Modwright 36.5 along w Dan's SWP 9.0se phono pre. Still using the Forte units, the system really began to open up and sounded excellent. One problem that remained was when driven hard the amp/s would still blow a rail fuse and the fun was over...

My advice would be to listen to what many folks here have already said and find a really good Class D amp to follow a tube front end. This in my opinion is the ticket to audio nirvana.

I've first hand knowledge since adding a pair of Nuforce 9 SEv2's. They completely blew away my Forte amps! More detail, micro-detail, air and most importantly getting the sound stage / imaging correct. Given that most of the stats I've heard have a rather narrow sweet spot, you will be in for a real treat when you get things dialed in.

This combination of tubes and class D far exceeded anything I've experienced before. They drove the stats without a problem. Ok, every once and a while I'd overload one and it would go into protect mode, no fuses so just a reset of the circuit breaker and we're back to enjoying the music.

BTW, I've sent the Nuforce se2's to be upgraded to the se3's. Should have them back next week!!!

Your listing experience may vary so by all means try to audition as many amps as possible. Your local dealers and many internet direct vendors often times have great loaner programs.

Hope this helps,
Ralph, It is a fact that electrostatic speakers and OTL amplifiers work well together.

The big Beveridge 2SW and 2SW2 used OTL amps and the Acoustat X had direct drive OTL amplifiers also.

I have always been curious about who designed the Beveridge amps. I thought it was Modjeski, but he said he didn't. Do you know who it was?
I have always been curious about who designed the Beveridge amps. I thought it was Modjeski, but he said he didn't. Do you know who it was?
Rrog -- This article, written by Harold Beveridge's son, doesn't answer the question, but you might find it of interest:

The History of the Development of Beveridge Speakers

-- Al
Thank you, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the develpment of Beveridge speakers.

I have a full-range Acoustat system, and I have both the VK-30 and VK-42se preamps from BAT. I can't comment much on amps because I use Acoustat direct drive amps. I will say that when I drove my Acoustats through interfaces and a conventional amplifier, it seemed like the damping factor played a role. One of the best I heard was a Crown Macro Reference on a pair of model II speakers. It was very extended and controlled in the lowest octaves.

Back to the preamps, I think the BATs are excellent. You may want to try some good NOS tubes in your VK-30. I tried both the Telefunkens and the Siemens disc-getter 6922s in mine. To my ear and in my system, I thought the Siemens were great. Very linnear top to bottom and a somewhat lean, fast, extended bass. The Tele's were a little laid back for my tastes.

Ultimately I like BAT's own VK-42se better - it is more detailed and more accurate, and it has world-class bass reproduction, at least in my system.

Hope this helps - happy listening!