I go through it all the time. The only answer is dual ownership. Don't let anyone tell you its all available in one brand. It isn't.
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Frap, I'm thinking about letting my Atma-Spheres OTL run the top, and then maybe some good cheap solid state amp to run the bottem. By the way my Otl's are the MA150's MK11. Maybe some Martin Login CLZ's w/ a subwoofer or Maybe run a seperate solid state amp ( maybee 200 watts a channel) to the low end of some Martin Logan Prodigy's, I don't know at the time, maybe some experience of others can help.
Blondes or brunettes? There is no right answer. I had Martin Logan CLS II with a sub and when it was time to replace decided to shop the dynamics due to my large room size. I was disappointed with what I heard because all the dynamics sounded like- well speakers.
I bought a pair of Prodigy's and have been very happy because I value realism over other things like bass slam (it has enough for my needs). What I give up in pinpoint imaging doesn't bother me as much as what I get in the open, trasparent sound. I'm not interested in debating or converting anyone because you either like blondes or brunettes and you just have to decide for yourself.
The only way is to have two systems - I have the ML Odysseys
which sound so good biamped with the EAR 534 for tops and the Mcintosh 352 low end. My other system is the Eggleston Andras which can really blow the sound out. If not two than something always seems missing. One alternative to sort of bridge the gap are good ribbon speakers like the VMPS FF1's which a friend has - makes me want three systems. Happy listening!
An electrostatic loudspeaker is more accurate. In fact the Quad 63 is the only speaekr which can pass a swuare wave. I have heard the orchestra members turning the pages in a 3 dimensional space. However if a rcording was made in a studio not in a "real" space and monitord on dynamic drivers with electronic amplification then dynamic driver will be the best tool to repeoduce that kind of music. I blew up my ESL57s while listening( quite drunk) to a Rolling Stones broadcast concert. Wrong tools for the job.
I have a great plan. I purchased a used pair of Quad 63's and added subs ETC ETC. There are probably some equally good options out there but I now own classics and therefore why worry about the newest best. New Quads, so what. I have classics that reviewers still refer and judge by. Sure there are upgrades and different cables and such. But the speakers are classics and with a little work they sound "AS GOOD" as anything new today. Every time I have to putter with my 65 Porsche or a friend tells me about there new Boxster, what the hell, I have a classic. I have been doing this for over 20 years and the newest best is really just different, not neceassarily better. Just a few rationalizations that have worked for me.
Why not get the best of BOTH worlds. I think I may have the answer to your problem. At the last CES show I heard a speaker that sounded as open and transparent as an electrostatic panel, the drive and bass of a great dynamic speaker. I listened to them on two different occasions and both times after listening to good stat panels (Sound Lab New 3 series & Martin Logans). No matter where I sat the sound was as real as anything short of a live performance. The frequency of 25Hz-160Hz was handeled by a pair of VIFA 10" woofers and from 160Hz to 30Khz by a strange looking transducer with a star pattern on it! The speakers were Manger "Zerobox 103/3" made in Germany. I can see why they call it "Zerobox", the music just floats in space with beautiful layering. Anyway to make a long story short, I have ordered a pair this week and when I get them in (3-6 weeks) I'll let you know how they sound in my system. They are rated at 91db @ 4 ohms, so they should be an easy load for my VAC PA100/100.
Philefreak - I'm currently suffering from this dilemma as well. I currently have a pair of Martin Logan reQuests and a pair of Talon Khorus sitting in my listening room (despite the fact that I can't afford to keep both pairs). The reQuests and Khorus are both fast and transparent. However, IMHO I've found the Khorus are smoother and more detailed, generate a wider and deeper soundstage, go lower, play louder, and generally sound more full and natural (i.e., lifelike) than the reQuests. Not surprisingly, the Khorus are the speakers I use almost all the time now. Nevertheless, I occassionally find myself craving the crisp, edgy liveliness and incomparably tall soundstage of the electrostatics, so I still play them once in a while and haven't been able to bring myself to sell them yet. Thus, for the time being, I'll have to agree with some of those above that we can't have it all, even though there are some speakers that may cover most of the bases pretty well. So to finally answer your question, I feel many of us who've lived with both speaker designs can never really be fully content with one or the other. Other than dual ownership -- or constantly trading/selling back and forth between dynamic and ES speakers -- perhaps the most sensible approach is to identify the 3-4 sound qualities that are most important to you, and go with the speaker that does the best at providing those qualities. Then, when you find yourself yearning for some other quality, this will serve as a gentle reminder that there's always more to life and music than what's in front of you (not trying to be preachy or philosophical, just rambling). By the way Philefreak, I thought I read on one of your other posts a while back that you were using Khorus. If this is correct, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how you think they compare to electrostatics.
oh ya! I know the feeling y'all. I switch back and forth between Electrostatic and Dynamic speakers and tube and solid-state amps every month or so. I can’t seem to make up my ears. The SS and Dynamic speakers spend the most time in front of me but switching is nice for a change. Such is life in front of the speakers.
I must be the only dissenting vote here. I have owned or lived with speakers of all types. These include, but not limited to, Vandersteen, B&W, JBL, Essence, Snell, Crown, ESS, X static, Lynn, Harbeth, Celestion, Duntec, and Fosgate. I currently own Soundlab electrostatics, and have not been tempted in more than eleven years to go back to any other design. They represent the only time in my more than 30 year audio hobby, that I have been satisfied. My posting is not meant to be a challenge, I have followed this post for several days without comment, just wanted to point out that there are those of us that have been on both sides and found complete satisfaction.
"Complete satisfaction"? Admit it Albert - even you occassionally crave a little of that very deep and oh so satisfying wall-shaking, dish rattling bass that your magnificent cryo-treated, hot-wired Soundlabs just can't quite seem to pump out. Maybe you don't miss it all the time, but you gotta want it once in a while. Give it up. Let go of your denial. Repent or we'll come to your house, put you on the rack, and play really loud, boomy rap music until you confess.
I don't know Djjd, Albert finally got my interest peaked on the Soundlab stuff ( I am using ML ) so I whent to their site. At 210 lbs a piece and looking at the size of those things he shouldn't be missing enough to really care about. Too bad there aren't any dealers in my area I would like to hear them, well actually one of the more affordable models. But I could at least look at the big daddy...!
Any of you Audiogon guys that are coming through the Dallas/ Ft. Worth Airport, that can work your schedule to have an extra evening, I would be willing to come pick you up to listen here. If you want to meet the entire group, Tuesday evening is the magic day. As far as bass, the sound of the big Soundlab is certainly not the same kind of bass as a piston woofer. However, there are times, like the cut, "Oh Yeah" from the rock group Yello, where I would swear I have at least two 15" woofers per side. Other albums, like "Some Like it Hot" where Barney Kessell is accompanied by a big acoustic stand up bass, your brain tells you that it can only be the real instrument. The only thing that is really hard to adapt to, coming from dynamic drivers, is getting accustomed to the absence of woofer lag. This is the sound of the excursion of the bass driver not returning to neutral position instantly. Of course, the weight and diameter of the driver plays as great a role in this as the magnet size, back wave pressure in the box and the damping factor of the amplifier. Considering the Soundlab only has to move a few thousands of an inch, and can speed along at the same intensity as 1.5 MM of compressed air, the speed, coherency and phase accuracy is undeniably only Soundlab. The total area of the face of the U-1 is over 15 square feet. I don't know how many 15" woofers that would equal, but it certainly would be more than four. The total excursion of this huge area is very low compared to modern woofers, but what it lacks in excursion, it makes up for in size. No doubt the sound is different, but once you get the associated equipment right for this speaker, the thought of returning to another design does not cross your mind.
Given the correct electronics and room setup, I think ESL's produce a more satisfying presentation of the music than a box loaded with dynamic drivers. The box induced coloration's, particularly in the midrange, bug the hell out of me. Every now and then I'll hear a box speaker that sounds pretty good. I suppose I'm fortunate as I have absolutely no desire to go back to building them or owning them in my main two channel system. The bass of an ESL, like the sound lab, takes a while to get use to. To my ears it does a far better job of reproducing orchestra and acoustic bass fundamentals than rock music. Rock music bass is usually produced with dynamic drivers so I think these drivers also tend to reproduce it better. One of the big problems of a box loaded woofer is dealing with box coloration and intermodulation distortion created by the back wave of the dynamic driver. I believe that a dynamic bass driver properly loaded in a transmission line enclosure best handles this phenomena. But an ESL doesn't have any of this to get in the way of the music and to my ears renders a harmonic truth that is simply alive! Regards; -Jerie
You are right about coloration. ESL sound is lifeless, and doesn't do live music a justice. Live music is highly involving and sometimes even "harsh". And i am NOT talking about Rock concerts and amplified music. If you like it that is OK, but taste does represent ones state of mind. In this case is dullness!
Interesting how different people experience the same things so differently. The thing I've really liked about the electrostatics I've owned (in addition to their midrange clarity and lifelike soundstage) is their vivid "liveliness," yet Lindeman5 finds ESL speakers to be lifeless. Likewise, the main the thing I never quite liked about the electrostatics I've owned or auditioned was their bass performance, particularly at the very bottom, yet Shubertmaniac doesn't experience ELS to have any bass performance shortcomings. (Jerie's and Albert's comments seem accurate to me.) Different ways to invoke for different folks, I suppose. In any case, this thread seems to be getting a little off track -- I don't think the point of Philefreak's question was to ask people to defend one design or the other, but to find out if there were other people out there who also vascilate between ESL and dynamic designs and, if so, what they do about it. Sounds like a lucky few have found their holy grail, while some of us are still exploring the possibilities.
I have mixed both electrostatic, planar and dynamic design.
I have magnepans .05/mglrs-1, OHM'S walsh 2 and 2x0, acoustat spectra 33, eminent technology lft-8a with the push pull, klipsch ss-3 surrounds, dcm 1515 subs,RCA and OPTIMUS lx-5,77 linaeum tweeters for rear/center, even an srs labs klayman signature flat panel. also Wharfedales, yamaha,klipsch and RCA linaeum for center and surrounds. All of these speakers with dakiom stabilizers and BBE sonic maximizers, carver holography, acoustic research spatial enhancer, srslabs enhancer, dbx range controller, peavey kosmos for subs. I DON'T LEAVE ANYTHING TO CHANCE. a COMBINATION OF PLANAR,ELECTROSTAT AND DYNAMICS is always the best method.
i have HORNS even from my klipsch and yamaha. YOu talk about overkill? carver amps/preamps and even compressors and equalizers. MIXING designs and utilizing all at the same time is always the best approach, costly but not really since some of you will spend $20k to $225k for an electrostat or dynamic...
I discovered a really good "compromise" in Legacy Whisper speakers. Extremely open-sounding due to open-air design, yet plenty of dynamics, especially with voices and horns (4 mid-range drivers). 4 woofers do a good job with bass to about 22 hz. If I crave more "slam" I've also got a pair of Legacy Focus 20/20s, but I find myself listening to the Whispers 99% of the time.
I concur that once one has owned a pair of planars, it is not easy to get it out of their system (pardon pun).
I had E.T. LFT-8A's and thoroughly enjoyed them; however, now I'm enjoying the (imho) better imaging afforded by my Chapman Audio T-7's. Eventually, I will be moving up to the more formidable T-77.
I did own also maggie 1.6's, and it was great fun to swap out the planars and box speakers at will. It's just a different experience listening to each of these technologies. However, I never thought I would entirely lose my planars and use only a conventional speaker! Yet, that is preceisely what has happened since I found the Chapmans.
The day may come when I snag another pair of E.T.'s, (by the way, anyone who has found a superior planar to the ET's at the similar price point - I'd love to hear your thoughts!) but for the moment, I'm quite content to test the limits of my system and have not regretted losing the planars.
Had stacked Quad 57's, wanted a change, popped in Meadowlark Heron i,nice sound, set up stacked Quads for a potential buyer.
I liked the sound of stats again,but they were now sold, the buyer liked them too. Took one pair of Martin Logan CLS11z from my double cls home theatre system and it's Depth sub and haven't wanted to go back to cones since. The Meadowlarks are now my home theatre rear channel speakers.I have also gone back and forth but stats always seem to stay longer. used to own, Acoustat 3 medallian, Quad 63, Martin Logan sl3, stacked Quad 57, Martin Logan CLS11z.