Awsmone0, I strongly suggest you read this white paper from Roger Sanders, of ESL design fame, before you make any decisions.
As some amps will turn into a virtual fixed tone control and not stay flat in frequency response from 20hz -20khz with the impedance loads that ESL's can give that can go from 60ohms down to 1ohm.
I also suggest your read here, the Martin Logan owners forum, as most recommend the Magtech or similar solid state amps for the CLX's.
Here is a thread that compares many amps on the CLX's the tube ones loose out with restricted dynamics (Prima Luna) and rolled off highs (ARC VT100 and MacIntosh 275) because of the 1ohm load the CLX's represent. The Pass Labs were liked as were the ModWright and MBL SS amps.
For your type of music and room size you may want to consider using subs. Most of the people I know with CLS's use them.
"I have tried most SS but not being really satisfied"
That could mean many different things. What is it that you are missing?
Agree that to optimize full range ESL best is still to use high power tube amps..
Back in '80s, was pretty pleased driving my CLSsI & II with VTL300+Ultimate and/or
ARC Classic150+SP11. A buddy now has CLX augmented by a pair of Descent subs,
similarly, he too could not be fully satisfied by just about any SS amps he tried them
with--always finding the resultant a tad lean-ish--perhaps an inherent character of
Soulution700 is one SS which will control panels of your CLXs with an iron grip,
energizing to make them fuller sounding no doubt. But IMO, the Accuphase A200 is
timbre-ly more refined, pure and natural--not quite as obviously powerful in the bass,
but more articulate and goes just as deep, or almost compared to 700, but is deeper
than that of the stereo 710.
Since you currently already own an almost full Accuphase system, why not top it off
with A200 which will probably make best synergy? If thinking tube route, I'd look into
something like the Jadis which is largely known for its brute power, finesse whilst
being fuller sounding than most. Perhaps big VTL Siegfred or ARC Ref750 could make
good candidates as well, but too much heat and tubes, IMO.. ;)
Also for your room size, you probably do need a pair of Descent subs to aid pressurize room and give proper foundations to most music. This will also help in making the sound fuller, as well denser.
Yum these will drive the 1ohm loads of the CLX's nicely, just looked at these doubling wattage for each halving of impedance even down to 2ohm, means good current drive.
At idle consumes 200w each, means a good amount of Class A bias.
96kg each, has the power supply to back up the current it gives.
The only thing I don't like is the 3.7kohm input impedance, means it should be used with ss pre's only that have at a guess no more than 50ohm output impedance, eg: Krells or probably their own.
Or better still driven direct by a CDP or DAC with <50ohms output impedance that has volume controlability and forget about the preamps, as it is just 1.5v sensitivity for full output, and all CDP/DAC are over 2v these days.
I should have mentioned I have the descent sub
My issue with solid state has been they seem go give the music
Especially strings and piano a "glare"
Also they are flat in sound state in comparison with bloom and micro I get
Even with cheap valve amps
Valves give more real sound stage also
I briefly had VAC amps and they were amazing
And yes your right about the roll off with valves
However it seems to me the issue is in the mid bass with SS
With the accuphase I can measure freq response
All SS have big hole between 100 to 200 hd
Thus string and voice lack natural warmth chest and wood
This seems to be issue
Awsmone0, I also own a pair of ML Monoliths that have the latest vapour deposited aluminium coatings as your CLX's have.
If you have a good front end cdp go direct if you have volume on the cdp or dac, it maybe your pre that's causing the glare.
As I use big SS amps that have masses of current and my highs and mid are very detailed dynamic transparent and sweet. Your glare as you say you have is elsewhere in the system if you have good SS amps.
Similar to my findings of old CLS as well as friend's CLX, although providing utmost transparency, they could sound a tad lean-ish from lower midrange on down. Hence my recommendations above are for amps be it SS or tube which give that extra weight /fullness in that region in an effort to make them sounding more fulsome and linearly balanced.
I found for SS, Soulution 710/700 to be particularly strong in that region--full lower mid, strong driving mid bass, powerful controlled lows (slight boost there, whereas Accuphase are more linear in that area), However, important to use right cabling, otherwise could be as often commonly perceived - being a tad dry/cool/soul-less etc. I found KS Elation quite a good match, but Siltech brought out the best--infusing some organic quality into them.
For tube amps, my recommendation ~ Jadis JA200, ARC REF250, VAC S450, VTL MB450 III being the minimum to handle CLXs properly and do them justice. Goodluck.
I don't think his C3800 would have caused any glare.. It is a top-notch pre.
On the contrary, it should provide some of the nice needed 'cushioning' as opposed to
CDP/DAC going direct. I'd check into AC quality and cabling perhaps--powercords into
those MLs make big difference too.
I presumed, you are using an Accuphase DG to measure? Can't it being a room correcting
device compensate that suck-out/hollowness you are experiencing? What source and
amp are you currently using?
I have a number
Blue circle BC 208 reference mono
Bakoon 100 watts
Bel canto ref mono 2
Audio space model 9
The bel canto pretty good
Audio space and Audiovalve better
So have you heard accuphase or Soulution with CLX ?
"What amp are you currently using--Andrew?"
Andrew, I use ME amplification, an Australian brand big on current and it's delivery, and highly biased into class A. They're used with my own Lightspeed Attenuator a passive preamp and a highly modded PCM1704K based CD player.
Here is a link, but you have to type it into the address bar for some reason, not copy and paste?
"So have you heard accuphase or Soulution with CLX ?"
Yes, my Soulution710, AccuphaseA200 and FMA 611 were lugged to friend's place to do testings with his CLXs. He personally own FMA 115, and have tested Soulution700 and Technical Brain amongst others at his place too.
C3800 Marantz Pre??
If you mean this, it may have been ok in it's day but to partner it with the stuff we are talking about here and these CLX speakers, it's way out of it's league.
The poor little signal from the source that he has would have to go through a gazillion dirty old contacts switches and sliders, no wonder he may have glare in the upper frequencies, not to mention old caps and out of spec components that would be in this old thing.
If you can read circuit diagrams (linked) just have a look at the crap the cdp signal has to go through before it gets to the output, not on with this hiend gear we are talking about.
This may well be the glare source that the OP is talking about.
To download the file, please go half way down the page.
Pictures of them here, copy and paste to your address bar
No. Accuphase 3800 it is there reference pre :)
So what did you think of these three amps of urs on friends CLX
I would still back going direct into the amps over the Accuphase pre, so long as the cdp/dac has digital domain volume and it's being use in the top 30% of it's range so as not to do any "Bit Striping"
I like the fact that you trust your ears and accept the reality of what you hear, denial can be crippling. You've tried many highly regarded SS amplifiers and yet they aren't satisfying you ultimately. You've listened to tube amplifiers and you seem to prefer them overall, although you note some shortcomings with them( nothing is perfect). It appears that long term with all things considered a quality tube amplifier will make you happier and more involved with your music ( increased naturalness and emotional realism).SS amps will win the specification/ measurement battle yet often tubes win the ears with sound quality and more musical enjoyment. .
I believe that Bvdiman is offering you very wise and experienced advice, he obviously knows your speaker quite well. I don't believe the issue is your preamp either. Continue to rely on your ears and spontaneous reactions to what you hear.
Best of Luck,
Thank you for your kind advise
I see you like DHT SET
I love their sound
Few unfortunately will drive the CLX
I see you like coincident speakers
These have accuton drivers which I have
A lot of experience with
Similar issues to CLX as very low distortion
And electrostatic speed but hard to find electronic to flesh out
I agree the advice is exactly what I am after
I have a tube amp for sale that was designed by Innersound to run electrostatic panels, which it is superb at doing. If you are interested, please pm me, and I can tell you more.
I have an older Coincident model that uses Scanspeak drivers rather than
the Accuton of their Pure Reference model. Nonetheless I love the sound
they provide. With your background as a musician you apparently
appreciate the fuller body and natural tone/harmonics that tube amplifiers
preserve (generally speaking). I understand how the leaner presentation of
some SS amplifiers may sound artificial and less natural in comparison(
some would argue this is more accurate, not to me). You have well
developed musician ears and I believe you'll find the sound that's
satisfactory to you, tube or transistor.