solid state; classe ca 200, 201 or larger...
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I push my SL-3's with a Sunfire Cinema Grand, using the 3rd and 4th channels on the amp for the woofers (bi-amping) with great success. The amp is relatively inexpensive, incredibly flexible and power output is phenominal. Using the bi-amp method you put nearly 800 watts to each speaker. I am currently looking for a tube pre to "warm up" the sound. I think most SL-3 owners will agree the speakers sound even better with tubes up front.
I have to think you are on the right track in considering one of the Audio Research VT100 iterations. I am getting by fairly nicely with a McCormack DNA .5 Deluxe, but I have a fairly small room. I am considering moving to a VT100. Keep in mind that room size is a major factor in determining how much power you will need.
I was running my CLS's with a DNA1 Deluxe, it did well up to a point. All big balls tubes amps that I tried were superior to the McCormack and several other, higher powered solid state amps. Give some big ball tube amps a try... Wolcotts, SF Power 3's and the like. They all are a little different but all will really open up your Logans. Don't get me wrong, there are some good solid state amps mentioned here (some mediocre amps, too) and they will sound good, but good high powered tube amps will take you to another place. Compare both types in your system. To answer your question, the ARC VT 100 will drive your speakers with no problem (tried a VT100MkII with my speakers, no problem). This amp was good, although not my choice. Some good deals on Wolcott's, Sonic Frontiers and used VT100 MkII's right now.
Forgot the second part of your question... I have heard (from their owners) that Innersound amps are excellent with esl's. They were specifically designed for Innersound esl speakers. The low down is that these beasts NEVER run out of headroom no matter what load you're driving and are surprisingly musical, too. Your SL3's are not terribly demanding (not like the big mofo SoundLabs, for example) but you may want to check the Innersound out anyway. Supposed to be a very good amp -- never heard anything but good stuff from guys who own these.
I would try Marsh A400S, Bryston 4BST and 7BST, Rowland 10, 110 and 112 (depending on budget), Simaudio Moon W5, skip Plinius (in my humble opinion the 250 is too burdensome and user unfriendly) or in tubes try the ARC VT100 MKII, and the Wolcotts. But I suspect the Marsh will do an unbelievable job and will be all you need.
Many thanks to all who responded. After I posted my request I talked to two different Martin Logan dealers. Both sold Audio Research as well. One said the VT100MKII or III would be fine, the other said not enough power. I have decided to give the innersound amp a try. They have a 30 day money-back program so outside of shipping its risk free. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for all of the advice and best wishes for the holidays.
Shemply613 How do you like the Innersound amp? I almost bought it, but decided to go with the Bel Canto Evo 200.2 digital amp. Have been very pleased so far. I have a pair of ML Requests with a Audible Illusions Mod 1 tube pre-amp. I am in the process of mking a DIY speaker and IC's that will work incredible with ML's. Merry Xmas
Happy Holidays Hiflyer: I have had the Innersound for about a week now, but haven't had time to do any serious listening yet due to Holiday company etc. First impressions: Endless power, never harsh, extended top end, good amount of bass, wide soundstage. Current reservations: Depth seems lacking but this may be placement related (xmas tree in room) and bass tightness-there seems to be enough bass, but I'm not sure of how articulate it is.Bottom line: Still too early to reach any conclusions. BTW, I had the evo 200.2 for about a week and found that it lacked bottom end and general punch and drive. Wonderful soundstage and very airy, but for my money it just seemed underpowered for the SL3 in my room (23x14). I'll let you know how the innersound works out. I'm hopeful it will do the trick-The best anwer may lie in the innersound/sl3 combinaton with a sub-perhaps rel or ACI titan II which is very well regarded by many. Thanks for the post.
Shemply613, Here are two websites on Belden products to use as IC's an speaker cables. These guys have created a great sounding product VERY inexpensive. I have heard the finished product and it is amazing. Will blow away any cable I have heard including Cardas,Transparent,Nordost etc. Go to : http://members.xoom.com/JonRisch/ www.geocities.com/venhaus1/index.html Chris Venhaus and Jon Risch explain in detail why these cables work so well and how to build them. Good Luck!
Conflict alert! I helped provide feedback for design of this amp and am a junior partner in the company (although have not been active for last two years), BUT
For what it's worth, I believe our Clayton amps (S 40 or M100s or M70s) are a perfect match for the SL3s. This is the combo I listen to at home. We voiced the amps with
SL3s and Thiels. Many of our customers have specifically dumped other amps that they were unhappy with in favor of our amps for their Martin Logans.
Oh, and by the way, even our 40 watter will play SL3 to loud levels in small to medium room. Remember you need CURRENT more than pure watts. Some of the amps typcially suggested for SL3 sound less powerful than they spec because of this problem. And then you need to get power without harshness.
John Marks, Arnis Balgalvis, Sam Tellig and others have heard how well our amps do with SL3s.
So take my remarks with a grain of salt, but DO listen to the Clayton amps if you get the chance.
Well Semply. Here's my 2 cents and 2 yrs of auditioning and driving my wife crazy w/amps in and out of the house; for what its worth. I own Aerius i, owned a B&K amp, then bryston 3bst and have now happily settled and extremely pleased w/the BAT VK200. Gives ML great control of base, detail. Mids are there as well as sweet highs. Plenty of power in this underated 100watt amp. Paino sounds unbelieveable, base from ML's that I never new existed are there and musical. In my quest for the perfect amp I auditioned AR, classe, meridan, signature, macintose(okay I didn't get an A in spelling, but I can hear well), audiomat, krell cav setup amp/pre(really sucked), rotel(very good for the price), plinius(not impressed, preferred my bryston). Would have liked to audition the w-5, pass, and vtl. But one more amp auditioned in the house the wife would have sent me back for a refund. But the bat did it for me. Worth an audition, especially at $1800 for a demo. Didn't mean to insult anyone who uses any of the above amps, but this is my opinion. To me the bat separates the instruments very well, their clear. I found the bat to play all music very well rock, jazz, blues, even the wifes rap/dance crap. But its all about what you like. Good luck.