Best Integrated for Martin Logan ESL 13A


I am looking for some suggestions for an integrated (or possibly) separates to pair with my ML ESL 13A and Lumin S1 streamer/DAC. I'll be taking delivery of the speakers in 2 weeks. The Lumin is my only source (Tidal/Qobuz). I'd prefer an integrated amp, but am open to solid state separates. Budget: around $10k. Listen mainly to acoustic singer/songwriter rock/alt rock. 

I've heard that the ML 13A's can be a little bright when paired with the Lumin S1. Not looking for bright. Interested in Luxman pieces- they seem well-built/well-liked, but the 509X looks like it may contribute to the bright sound of the current components... stability into 2 ohm seems pretty important for these electrostats...
erdoc12356
I was going to suggest a Luxman. They are not bright, at all. Extended at both ends but liquid and sweet.

Honestly, if you DO happen to find the 509 bright, switch down to the 507 (listening to mine as I type). It has higher output impedance, and therefore will have softened high frequencies by comparison, but about equivalent power.

Strongly recommend you listen to both with your speakers, and please tag me and let me know what you find. Also, and I don’t say this for every piece of gear, try the tone controls on the Luxman, they are outstanding. :) I listened to the 509 with Wilsons and had to turn the treble down significantly due to dealer set up. Took a 507 home and can’t be happier. I use the loudness at night, wonderful.

In case this isn't clear, it's the low impedance at the top octaves of an ESL which is driving my recommendations. If you had speakers like I have at home, or "normal" speakers.... the impedance difference wouldn't be helpful and I'd strongly recommend the 509 if you can afford it. :)

My other favorite integrated (that i might someday afford) is Ayre.


Best,

E
I have heard various Martin Logan models driven by various McIntosh amplifiers and integrateds, all solid state, and I thought they sounded very good. In particular, the McIntosh solid state models with the autoformers were a great match. 
I have the 11As and would recommend against McIntosh.  I had them paired with the MC452 and it was just too warm for the speakers.  Some instruments, especially strings and piano, just didn’t sound realistic to me.  I spent a lot of time and money trying to work around the amp with various components and cables but finally gave in, trading the amp for a Luxman 509X.
ML speakers have a slight roll off in the highs so sticking with a Luxman is a good idea.  I now have the 509X paired with the Lumin T2 and it works well, not bright.  Though if you are looking for a lush sound Luxman may not be the best choice.  Luxman tends to be neutral, transparent, and crisp, though very smooth, never fatiguing.

At your budget 509X is a great integrated.  In my opinion to move a step higher you would need to go at least double your budget.  I demoed quite a bit of different integrates and separates in the same budget with the 11As, including the Gryphon Diablo 300 which is significantly more expensive.  For me, Luxman had the best bang for the buck and sound combination.
erdoc12356
Best Integrated for Martin Logan ESL 13A


 Made for each other, Gryphon Diablo 120 or if you can up the $$ the 300
Big, sweet high Class-A bias sound, that can drive down to 1ohm no sweat, and that’s what’s needed with all ML ESL’s
https://gryphon-audio.dk/shop/integrated-amplifiers/diablo-120/

https://gryphon-audio.dk/shop/integrated-amplifiers/gryphon-diablo-300-integrated-amplifier/

Cheers George
I did an extensive A/B listening session with Diablo 300 and Luxman 509X paired with ML 11As (using same source components and cables).  The Gryphon sure has raw power, but found it to bright on some few songs, borderline fatiguing. Some songs sound great, others sound a tad harsh. First impressions of the Diablo 300 compared to the Luxman 509X was that something was off with the Diablo.  The 509X had less bass impact but was smoother across the board.  This of course is my opinion specific with the 11As.  I am sure others may like it.

I had a similar experience the first time I heard the Diablo 300 at another dealer, again paired with the ML 11As, this time with DCS components as source.
The Gryphon sure has raw power, but found it to bright on some few songs, borderline fatiguing.

This is totally the opposite of what the sound is like, not just with the Diablo but the whole Gryphon range, if anything the sound signature of all Gryphon amps is on the darker side of neutral and always has been. And reviews back that up, not that that means anything.

Something was wrong somewhere if that was the case, and you came to that conclusion, of "borderline fatiguing", unless it was just giving what the recording was like, which is a good thing, as it’s not masking then and had better transparency of the two amps.

Cheers George
@georgehifi As I said, it really is a personal preference.  From my experience the overall sound signature is as you describe it but when pushed the treble can get a tad harsh.  This is playing recordings that I know well so that's not this issue.

It is a great integrated though and I can see why other like it.
but when pushed the treble can get a tad harsh
Like I said the Gryphon's sound signature it's had forever of it's treble, has always been on the dark side of neutral, not in your face, "some" say it's a little laid back even in reviews.

Cheers George   
Thanks everyone- just wanted to close the loop on this thread.

I decided to go with an integrated that I found on Audiogon last week- Aavik U300.

Looking forward to setting it up next week.
don’t overlook the Mark Levinson 585 integrated. just read about it and hopefully listen to one. at used prices it’s an outstanding high end value.
Check out Aesthetix Mimas