The very top half octave (15-20kHz) is slightly rolled off, particularly when listening per M-L's setup instructions. Most listeners won't correlate the roll-off with the M-L's sounding polite. There are other reasons why some describe M-Ls and other electrostatics as polite sounding, but I've never heard them described as muffled. That said, the ribbbon tweeter used in the Magnepans has far greater extension than anything used by M-L.
Every time I've auditioned Martin Logans, I've gone in and wanted to enjoy them...but I've come out with the impression that they are shrill...not polite at all, rather overbearing. Perhaps it was the setup or the amps (Macintosh solid state stuff, in both cases).
I certainly disagree strongly with Danielk141's assessment. I own ribbon-based speakers and have extensively auditioned electrostats. I have found Quads, Sound Labs and Innersound all to be at least as transparent in the midrange as any ribbon driver, and maybe a bit better with good setup and amplification.
Ribbons are probably the best at this time for treble.
I totally agree with your take on auditioning Martin Logans. If you want to hear them here in Phoenix, you go to Showcase (owned by the Tweeter group). You'll hear them with Krell multichannel & they are bright & forward in this demo. (This is a corporately arranged marriage!)
I've heard MLs sound very good with an Adcom mosfet amp.
I bought an Adcom 5500 a friend traded in on an Aragon 4004MKII. The Aragon has more power, but I like the MOSFET sound better.
I've heard current Quads, Sound Lab(s) & even with the purpose-designed Innersound amp, I like Maggies & Apogees better. This is just my personal preference.. Without that ribbon, something is missing.
Maybe that's why Martin Logan uses a dynamic tweeter in their top center channel?
Hi all ML owners,
I have had been using my Sequel II - Martin Logan’s fantastic ESLs since Aug. 1990 !!!
I had my first issue with one panel only after 3 months of use, (Balance issue)
I noticed that the sound "moved" to the left area of the speaker yet in almost full db., I have contacted ML and got a brand new pair of panels shipped by airplane to Israel free of charge, after installing the new pair the speakers worked 29 years without any degradation signs until recent year after moving to my new home by the sea-shore for 7 year... that the sound got weaker and weaker from the static section yet evenly heard.
Martin Logan's can sound recessed in the upper mids/highs, especially in the highs decay, with tube amps, because ML esl's dive down to .9ohm impedance in that area and tubes don't like those sort of impedance loads.
Roger Mojeski's tube amp could do ok as they have 2ohm speaker taps, but then wattage may be limited to low to normal listening levels, e.g. no parties.
My problem with MLs is not at the top, it is at the bottom. ESL panels get very directional over 10 kHz. Unless you are right in front of them they are going to sound rolled off. They are quite capable of getting over 20 kHz. To fix this problem ML curves its panels and crosses to a sub. The inventor of the curved panel Roger Sanders will explain why this is a bad idea http://sanderssoundsystems.com/ . Acoustat used angled flat panels which in the larger versions like the 3 s and 4 s did a credible job. Soundlabs carries that approach farther by using more angles in more partitions creating a speaker that will cover 45 degrees which is enough. Too much dispersion is just as bad as too little. What ESLs do not do is make the high end obvious. As good as Manepan's tweeter is, and I think it is the best magnetic tweeter available, it stands apart from the rest of the speaker. But you can be anywhere in the room and you will hear it.
I find the speaker sounds its best if the high end is rolled of just a bit. 3 dB down at 20 kHz with an elbow at 3 kHz.
calanctus, Apogee Diva tweeters performed pretty much like Maggie tweeters but were even less durable. You can blow Maggie tweeters but Magnepan has a wonderful tweeter replacement program. If you can use a screw driver you are all set. Replacing the ribbon in the Diva was a royal PIA. Most people had to get the speaker back to Apogee to have it done. I had Divas for the better part of a decade. I know exactly why Apogee went under. One of the happiest days of my life was when I got my 2+2s back.
I've owned a pair of Martin Logan Vistas for about seven years, driving them with Parasound electronics. They are rather aggressive, and bright in the upper midrange, not what I would associate with a polite speaker. When I listen to rock, or full orchestra, I bring out my old Polk Lsi15's. They are just much easier, and more enjoyable, to listen to with some music.