I went from Soundlab U-1, powered with Wolcott tubes to Bose 901 lifestyle speakers and never looked back.
54 responses Add your response
Yeah, back in the late 1980's, I migrated from a pair of Acoustat Model 2's to my first pair of Vandersteens -- the Model 2Ci. The switch had some pluses and minuses, but I simply couldn't live with the incredibly small "sweet spot" of the Acoustats, nor their rather limited dynamic range (mostly a matter of being grossly inefficient). From time to time, I listen to a pair of electrostatics at a dealer (such as the M-L Prodigy's) and wish I had room in my home for them, but then I go home and and listen to my Vandersteen 3A Signatures, with a pair of 2Wq subwoofers, and am very pleased with what I have.
I went from ML Quest Z's to Wilson Witts (not a good move) than traded them for Legacy Whispers (great move) - Kept these for years and finally sold them (just because) and bought some Quad 989 (ugly) - wife complained so I traded them for ML Odysseys which I like but I still miss the dynamics and midrange of the Whispers.
I've tended to build my systems based on the speakers.
In the early 80's I used Apogee Duettas...subsequently I had
a pair if Martin Logan CLS II's for about six years. I've
been with WATT/Puppies now for 10 years and am happier with
dynamic speakers because 1) they should provide better imaging and dynamics leading to more longterm satisfaction
rather than the shortterm 'wow' factor that some planars can
provide 2) they are somewhat less electronics sensitive thus
you will have less upgradeitis than you would with a planar
3)in the CLS case, I had added different Entec subs and in
hindsight I think the simpler the setup, the better 4) the
planars will visually dominate your room.
Very unlikely (though I never say never) that I will make the switch back to boxes. I have a pair of Apogee Stages and with the stock crossover, there are as many shortcomings as significant advantages. I gutted the cheap capacitors and decent inductors and replaced with NorthCreek Caps and thier 8gauge coils. The improvements were uncanny in all respects. I have owned Proac 2.5's, B&W805's, Thiel 22's and several others and I have yet to hear anything in a box that will change my opinion. The only limitations are absolute SPL levels (the bass ribbon only has so much excusion capability) and even though the lateral sweet spot is as wide as any, the vertical sweet spot is still fairly narrow but not a big deal. They do need current to provide the dynamics and slam that I require/ The ribbons do need current though to provide lifelike dynamics and slam but my Lev 331 really shines there. And considering there is now a source for replacement ribbons and a great usergroup site for information, I could not be happier owning Apogees for the long haul.
I'm fortunate to have two systems. One with Aerial 10t's and another with Infinity IRS Beta. The system with the (current) Betas has always had planars or 'stats...over the years there's been Logans, Maggies, etc etc.
I enjoy having the delicate planar sound and being able to go to a different room and enjoy the slam of cones. Which is better? Who knows! For me, it's all about the music.
I used Magneplaners and stats for years and loved them. I switched 10 years ago to Vandersteens and am very happy. Planars are wonderful under "ideal" conditions. Alas, many of us don't have ideal conditions, i.e. unlimited funds to make them work to their potential. I have a friend who has big SoundLabs and VTL 450's( i find that there some smaller amps in the 50-100 watt range that have a special magic), and it has some great qualities but his room size and acoustics limit their performance. The point is that dynamic speakers don't need the superhuman effort or Bill Gates cash(or pantyhose and a Glock 9mm, to visit all those 7-11's with)to get very good results. My friend fell in love with the idea of the "stats and tubes". He was one of the unfortunate soles that bought big Melos mono amps. It broke my heart to see the trouble he had. He couldn't run the damn things with anything as low budget as an ARC VT200, these things were addicted to watts and had to have them like a junkie needs his smack! The point is that given all the cash he spent compared to my "beer budget" system of 2Ce's and a Vandy sub driven by an ARC VT60(my room is very good for the Vandy's but not for dipoles)I prefer to listen to mine. By all means if you have the means, get the pannels and the big bottel head space heaters and build yourself a room for 'em cuz when they're right they will put a big grin on your face. But give me Vandy 5's and a much smaller amp and I can buy a small car with the cash left over and still have amazing sound. It's all in the set up!
I used to listen to a pair of Carver Amazing Loudspeakers, I still own them. Anyway the speakers sound beautiful but they are so laidback to the point of being flat out lazy. It takes an enormous amount of power to wake them up and even then they are still laidback. Listening to them was a frustration for me.
My current speakers are Thiel CS2.3.
I had Quad 64 years ago with EAR 519 monos. I spent a lot of time servicing them and never got to pair them with a good sub and a good "super tweeter" (difficult in those times). Did get some arcici stands though. Changed to Apogee for some time, then to active Audoexklusiv (a german offering w/ 175 W OTL per side). With the latter, extension was good, both highs and lows -- but spls were still lacking esp. in the bass. I was planning on getting a second pair for the mid-bass with their own el. c/over -- but had to sell everything, due to dire financial straits.
So, for 4 yrs now I'm with dynamic -- after +10 yrs with stators etc.
I still miss the speed, mid-range purity (strings and vocals!), though.
Sold my 2+2's after about 15 years of use and got a used pair of Snell Model B's. I loved my panels, but they just got to taking up too much room, especially with the VMPS subs that I used with them. I really think the sound with the subs was great, but the setup got so complex and large that it was just a hassle. Besides, the Snells are every bit as good in the mids, image better, have a much wider listening position and have incredible low and mid bass. They make brass instruments sound real, which was something I thought the Acoustats did real well. Anyway, I have not regretted the change, but you do need to get a speaker that does the mids right or you won't be happy.
I owned Quad 57's for many years before moving to dynamic speakers, of which I have had a succession: Avalon Eclipse, Spendor 1/2, and now ProAc 2.5. Despite upgrading all other parts of my system, I find that I just don't get off on the music as much as I used to with the Quads. Could be age, could be the speakers. The Quads are in the garage, but I'm kinda afraid to set them up again, if you know what I mean.
Yes Clueless on both counts. I have spent $thousands$ trying to "upgrade" components and cables but I have to say the few hundred $$ I spent upgrading the crossover knocked me out. WAY more than a tweak! George was a great help to me. Being a novice, I liked the information he provides in his website www.northcreekmusic.com especially the info on cascade bypassing capacitors. He helped me piece together the parts list and answered questions along the way. The results were stellar. I've been sharing results with other Apogee owners and I now understand George has packaged a kit to upgrade Apogees.
Years back Stereophile and other reviewers talked enthusistically about the virtues of the Apogee sound but with those kmart crossovers removed and replaced with premium parts I can only imagine what they would have written about them.
i have never owned a pair of stats. i have however listened to them extensively through an audio club and dealer. (maggies old and new (i like the old 3 pannel ones the best); big sound labs and old quads). the seamless sound is so alluring. they do lack punch though....not bass per say; punch maybe it is the air moving from the woofer.? i think you can get the seamless sound and punch from some good dynamic speakers. i currnetly have the merlin vsm-ms. i am happy with them but they are a 2 driver system that blends well. to me i can hear the cross overs in a lot of speakers....that distracts me. always fwiw.
Well, the only speakers which have tempted me so far, were the A-Capella horns, discussed elsewhere here on this site.
Daveyf, you are ( almost ) right, with the planars and stats being limited in dynamics. To overcome this, you need either the big Sound Labs or use more than just one speaker per side, which poses other problems, which can however be solved by careful placement.
I used to own a pair of Magnepan MGIIIa's for many years, spent an enormous amount of energy tweaking them, and constantly traded up to more powerful amplifiers trying to make them really sing.
When I sold my Maggies I moved on to Avalons, which I kept for all of six months (way overrated for the price). Then I bought Proacs, which rocked but were missing something...then I purchased Legacy Whispers, which were really close to the Magnepans midrange with much better dynamics, but now I am listening exclusively to a pair of AV Reality One monitors.
Owning Magnepans taught me allot regarding great midrange and it's seductiveness from a planer speaker. Although the Magnepans always lacked sheer dynamics, and gut wrenching bass, I sure did miss them until I discovered the AV Reality monitors.
I owned Acoustats and then went thru the Martin Logan line and ended with the Audiostatic four panel ES-600 system. After a 15 year relationship with electrostats filled with enjoyment (and some frustration), I came across a dynamic speaker that converted me. The Venture speaker is simply amazing. They are the first dynamic speaker I've heard with the top-end air and speed of an electrostat, but with better dynamics. The only thing they give up is the height of the soundstage that electrostats produce. Other than that, I've got nothing but praise for the Ventures. Just one man's journey, or should I say ad-Venture.
Hello, how nice, long time no hear Shubertmaniac, no, I went a far more crazy way, just to avoid, what you have mentioned. I have a master preamp, by which I drive several others, each linked through individual amplification to a wall of stacked stators (six per side ) (Quads, Sound Lab, Stax et al) and a couple thrown in at the side for ambiance.
Doesn't sound too bad in actual fact, but please don't ask hoch much my eletricity bill is. Cheers, Detlof
The MMG's were excellent speakers but I listen to alot of hip-hop and techno and was finding the lucid and delicate upper bass lacked the punch and slam of a good woofer. Its funny that their seemingly best quality was my biggest point of contention. Now I have a pair of Apogee Centaurus's, 26" ribbon w/ 8" Vifa Woofer, I'm happier with the ways these sound, plus the true ribbon is certainly superior to the quassi ribbon.
I want to change back after today! Give me Maggies! I tried to get a simple question answered by calling the Vandersteen factory. Don't try this at home. Man what an unpleasant experience that was! Buy form people who will treat you with respect. The folks at Magnepan were always helpful and polite, more than I can say for "Dick"!
For 11 years I used Acoustat Spectra 33 electrostatic speakers with a Kinergetics BSC SW200 Subwoofer system. The main reason I changed to BOX speakers was and continues to be Dynamics! The subs covered the bottom end fine but there was just something missing in the middle. Also, the restrictive sweet spot started to leave a dent in the couch. I now have Thiel 6s, which do not have the pinpoint soundstage the 33's but in all other areas they surpass the them. I still have the stats and use them when I miss The Wall of Sound but within a week or so I am drawn back to the Thiels.
Shubertmaniac, very simply by twiddling the various volume controls on the different preamps. Serves also very nicely to tune your system according to the software which you are playing. Sort of like a parametric equaliser, but without its drawbacks. It only takes a second or two to dial in a record. Every pair of stators has its own amplification chain. Regards,
Vegasears, thought I was the only one. Some think I'm nuts to be discontent, the midrange in the maggies isin some ways to-die-for but at the same time there is some sort of positive punchy prescence thats missing. As one reviewer wrote baout the FR Apogees (which I think is fairly aplicable to maggies and acoustat) the bass is almost incidental.
I went from Maggies to Logan and went back to traditional speakers. The primary reason was the room was to small for the speakers and it was a pain in the a** setting them up every time. Way to finicking for my liking. I hated pulling the power chords around every time I moved the speakers. A good sized room is a must, although you can get away with a pair of Logan Aerius because of it's small foot print. I have a pair of KEF speakers that sound just as good as the Logans, but again, it was the room size and the placement that reduced the capabilities of these great electrostats. The Maggies sounded horrible no matter where I tried to put them. So if you have the room, electrostatics produce a great soundstage with lots of detail,especially the Logans. I have found that most of them lack in bass, so a good sub would be an advisable investment. Subs are great no matter what speakers you have!
Yep, I used electrostats for many years. First pair was Acoustat IIIs, Then, Acoustat IVs, then Martin Logan Aries i's. Now ... I have a pair of Legacy Signiture III's that I just LOVE. They blow away every stat I have owned by far. You have to drive the Sigs with tubes for the best results though. The good news is that the Sigs are very efficient, so low powered tube amps work great.
I had Maggies for 12yrs. and most of that time they were spent in a closet because I moved into a smaller house,but I liked them over the PSB's I used.
I had auditioned Acoustats & Martin Logan's also,but the Maggies I liked more.I went and heard NEAR M50's in the early 90's and got hooked on them.I will be getting a heavily modified set soon.I have a set of Modified M15's that blew my Maggies away,No Contest!
I once could have bought Acoustat 2+2's for $200,but had nowhere to put em'.Could have bought and sold them for a good profit.
Good points...as everyone has touched upon...all designs have drawbacks...but I do feel the limitations of stats/planars(ie. bass/dynamics) over the years has greatly improved(example: Maggie 1.6)...as well as the transparency and speed of hi-end dynamic "box" speakers...that being said...I still find the midrange of most stats/planars to be on the thin side...to be fair...this is also very room dependent...I finally have the room for full-range Mags and still am undecided...Vandersteen has always intrigued me as well...for the time being I am content with my large dynamic standmounts...
I had Magies for over 20 years, 2A's, 2B's, 3's and Tympani IVa's. Had the Tympani's for 13 years. Thought they were great. I moved into a new house, and the wife didn't want them in the family room anymore. I was relagate to the bonus room, but it was a dedicated audio room. They didn't fit in the room. In order to sound close to right, one of the panels had to be in the doorway, partially outside the room! I decided I was tired of having to crank up Maggies so loud for them to come alive, was concerned about damaging my hearing. I switched to SET's and high sensitivity speakers, Coincident Super Eclipses, and am very happy to be able to listen at more moderate volume. They sound very good, only miss the Maggies a little.
I'll wade in with a counter view, if it's OK with you.
When you have the required room, what is there to miss with a panel? I have heard many speaker systems, and the most fulfilling have always been panels.
I have been amazed at the improvement of coil speakers in transparency. Panels just give food for imagination better, IMO.
I vividly remember listening to a train of the highest quality coil speakers pair by pair, in a really great room. They all sounded like they were family to my Boston Acoustic towers of the time. Don't get me wrong, the refinement and flatter frequency surely was admirable. They just didn't surprise me. Then I heard my first panel speaker, the Apogee Scintilla.
Yes, with the right room, front end, and big amps, the great dipoles will kick ass at all frequencies in my experience, plus they stand in a class by themselves through suspending the stage effortlessly in space.
Nope, I can't think of a single reason to switch.
I recently picked up a pair of Thiel 3.6s and they're GREAT! I still have my Maggies(2.7QR) and ML Aerius and i wont give any of them up. They're like my children, they each have their own characteristics but the bottom line is I love them all. The panels for their speed and WIDE soundstage and air and the Thiel for it's deep taut bass.
The problem now is i've got 3 first string QBs and i dont know who to play. It's like having Joe Montana, Dan Marino and Bret Favre at the same time.
FWIW I went from Theil CS3's (85) to Accustats 22's (89) to Quad 63's (91) to Paragon Jubilee/Gems (96). The latter are (in my room) nearly as transparent, much more dynamic, and create a much larger sound stage w/o the hypercritical placement and room related issues of the Quads. But i haven't sold the Quads (just in case)!
I never thought, after years of Maggies (1.2s, 1.5s), that I would go back to cones and domes...but I did, although they're not conventional boxes.
My current Alon Vs have the transparency, coherence and airiness I loved about my Maggies, are nearly as fast, but have deeper bass, greater dynamics and a much (MUCH) wider sweetspot. Get 'em away from walls, point 'em straight ahead and they're happy. Huge soundstage. They disappear. And they don't have to be cranked up to sound good.
I still like planars and stats, but I feel like I can have most of my cake and eat it too with the Alons. They're wonderful speakers for music lovers who like the transparent, unboxy sound of planars/stats but want more bass and dynamics.
Heavy buggers, though.
Switched from Magneplanar Tympanni I to Ohm Walsh 4. Had the Tympanni for 10 years, then CD players came out and you could drive the base without the tubes arcing and the needle jumping.
I remember comparing them side by side. The Typanni played solo voice and solo instruments better and were more sensitive. The Ohms were better all around sound, good symphonic and rock. The Ohms had a better dispersion and were easier to place in the room, and fuller lower end. Now the Ohms are 18 years old but still perform well. I plan to update the Ohms with their 200 MK II conversion kit. I am not turned on by the conventional box speaker ($3000-12,000) I hear in the audio stores. However, I suspect that not much sounds good in audio stores and a home trial is best (if you don't need a folk lift.)
Well guys ... I'm lovin' my Legacy's more by the day. I'm constantly amazed by the overall quality of sound for the buck. Besides owning the MLs that I sold in order to get into the Legacys, I have also owned Acustat III's and modified IV's. All I can say is, I'm never going back. I am impressed with the new Maggies though. BUT ... why go there when you need at least 200 expensive watts to drive them properly? The last time I heard the Maggie 3.6's was at the CES in Jim Winey's room. They sounded really great, but he was driving them bi-amped with (I think) over 600 watt per side. Man, you would have to spend at least twice what you pay for the speakers to do that. Not me ... I'll take my little ARC Classic 60 and just let it coast driving my Legacys.
I started with the Carver ALIII plus. Had them for 5 years, moved to ML SL'3 for 3. I then went to Dunlavy
SCIV-A. I was very impressed with the SL'3's--clarity, fairly good soundstage and wife-friendly(Looks). The dunlavy's are, IMHO, at par with the Prodigy's in bass and clarity. I listen to different music and occasionally HT. I am very happy with the switch.
I had CLSes and subs of various types for 16 years, during which I felt little compulsion to change. I was in love with the "breath of life" thing that CLSes do so well (i.e. voices and instruments that occupy the midrange have a kind of dynamic litheness that I had not heard elsewhere). However, these speakers were manifestly unable to handle orchestral crescendi, opera, rock or jazz at full tilt, regardless of amplification. Regardless of this deficiency, I did not replace them because I didn't want to do without what they did do, and couldn't find anything that could do it to my level of satisfaction. Then I encountered the Wilson Watt/Puppy 7s and all of that changed. Here was a speaker that was every bit as capable of achieving what the CLSes + woofers did for voices and midrange instruments, but they could do it for all instruments at any conceivable volume level. Obvously, there is more to this story but that is it in a nutshell.
What I observed is that people making comparisons are basing it on PREFERENCIAL TASTES from what their own ears hear! Like anything else, it's the LISTENER not necessarily the type of drivers cone, planar, electrostats, cylindrical or any other strange unconventional designs. It is obvious that each designs have their strengths and weaknesses.
For those who claim that one type of system is better than the other, THAT'S THEIR OPINION, THAT'S ALL! What they like in a cone, the planar may not. It is simple BIAS for those making reviews stating that so and so CONE speakers are better than PLANARS and ELECTROSTATS and vice versa. If any have researched the more credible sound engineers and designer's RESEARCH, neither CONE or PLANAR/ELECTROSTATS are superior to the other, THEY ALL HAVE THEIR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES. If the CONE only GROUP who seem to downplay the planars and it works both WAYS, stop being BIAS, then the designing and EVOLVING of loudspeakers WILL COME TO A HALT. So in response to all the MR KNOW IT ALL REVIEWERS,
THE TRUTH IS "NO" conventional/unconventional driver, cone, planar/electrostats is SUPERIOR to the other. IT'S IN THE DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY INVOLVED by creative and hardworking test/design engineers and inventors. You will always have PROS AND CONS. BEING EXPENSIVE doesn't justify PERFORMANCE EITHER. Sound processors or tweaking ALTER the imaging and enhances them too irregardless of speaker design or adding subwoofers and combining both planar and cone designs which some manufacturers and do it yourself owners do!
From a former test technician, high end installer and plenty of electronics background, experience in both cone and planar/electrostats of over 25 yrs. CASE IS CLOSED,
TRUTH= LISTENER not YOURS!!!