Sounds like a problem with panels. They are really not that hard to drive. I drive them off 25wpc 47Lab Gaincard, 20wpc 845-based monoblocks, etc...
Yes, I think the panels are perhaps your problem. I use a CJ premier 11a to drive ReQuests and have no problems and I think that tubes add a more realistic quality to Martin Logan to my ears. I have two Hafler 500's so power is not a problem but I much prefer the tubes to solid state and my impressions have been confirmed numerous times by friends and acquaintances.
Hope you get it sorted out.
Panels on mine (they were series 1) went bad twice. They refuse to admit that they deteriorate. They do...and will become evident by being harder and harder to get loud. Then will start to snap and buzz when pushed.
What works for cheap? Aragon used, or Muse 150 monoblocs...
You need true extension on top. Electrostats are NOT bright. I don't know where that rumor comes from. What they DO suffer from is lack of true extension on top. So you need an amp that is not soft or dark.
Yes - that's exactly the response I'm getting with these.
Thanks, everyone, for the comments - based on the discussion in the topic "Martin Logan CLS panel distortion" I had thought my amps were too low powered, but it sounds like the real issue is the age of the panels.
By the way, I bought these on Audiogon, and they were advertised as new panels, it was only after I call ML with the serial numebrs that I discovered they were built in 1989. So, my advice is always get the serial number before you buy! Looks like I'll have to invest in the new set of panels.
Send the interface boxes back to ML if teh serial #'s indicate that they do not have the "shut down" feature. Jim Powers or Dave Pehnrod at ML can advise you whether this is necessary. Early CLSII's are the only ones that do not "power down" after 20 minutes without a signal. Your investment in new panels will be worthwhile. Few speakers can match the CLS in terms of transparency. Best of luck.