Electrostatic Speakers

Can anyone tell me the weaknesses of electrostatic speakers? I am currently considering soundlab speakers, but may purchase the Watt Puppy Sevens. I am aware of size and foot print limitations.
Virtually every type of speaker has its own set of problems. With electrostatics, the usual drawbacks can include:
1. a "plastic" coloration to the music (or great clarity, if you prefer electrostatics);
2. often inefficient and more difficult to drive than dynamic/cone speakers;
3. the main panel does not usually do a good job reproducing the deep bass frequencies (it must be very large to move enough air for deep bass), and thus often requires the use of a dynamic woofer/subwoofer, which is often hard to smoothly integrate (because the electrostatic panel is much faster than the dynamic cone of the woofer);
4. potential problems with "floor bounce" of the radiated sound, because the panel extends so close to the floor;
5. problems caused by dipolar radiation (ranges from mild to severe depending on the room and the amount of acoustic room treatment);
6. a tendency for flat panel statics to have moderate to severe "venetian blind" effect (limited vertical dispersion) and a small sweet spot (limited horizontal dispersion) which can range from mild to "head in a vice";
7. sound staging anomalies due to rear wave propagation (in severe cases, this can produce phantom images that appear to come from places well outside the regular sound pattern).

Having now listed the possible downsides of 'statics, I should also add that a good electrostatic can produce absolutely glorious sound. The best electrostatics, however, tend to be large and expensive, and thus may not suitable for many listening rooms (particularly small rooms). However, some of the smaller electrostatics and planars such as the Maggie 1.6R can produce some stunning music for a relatively modest cost. (So you know, I once owned a pair of Acoustat Model 2's which I loved, but I had to accept their limitations, and eventually got tired of them being them essentially being a 1-person speaker.)

Some of the newer generation of electrostatics have effectively addressed many of the more aggravating aspects of design, such as using a curved panel (introduced by Martin-Logan with the "CLS" series about 12 years ago).

More than any other speaker type, you should audition an electrostatic in your home and with your system.
Weaknesses: dipolar dispersion pattern isn't capable of the most accurate imaging/pinpoint. You also have to sit 2.5 to 3 times the panel heigth back (this may or may not be a weakness). Obviously, narrower dispersion as frequency increases: beaming. (can be like a giant pair of headphones in the room) More generally (so not always true): ampl. v. freq. resp. tend to not be very flat even on axis(+/-4db)(off-axis was already accounted for), tend to lack good damping/restoring forces so the waterfalls/cumulative spectral decay's can have alot of overhang. Ideally, more specifically, they wouldn't have the impedence matching transformer so they could be directly driven with an output transformerless tube amp--so most commercial versions are already compromised if your driving off a "regular" amp and its got the impedence matching transformer. And under those conditions they are generally a "tough" load; and as impedence drops the amplifier's distortion goes up (although small). Also, there can be reflections off the panel's edges--depends on how the manufacturer may or may not have tried to deal with that: sometimes a foam strip along edge. Also, I believe general placement is more done by ear, since most of the speaker placement programs and general rules-of-thumb don't work with dipolars. I've also seen units designed to diffuse/diffract the backwave from the esl. I don't know if their benefits justify the price, or improve performance enough to justify them as being: essential components. Lastly, and esl owners would know this, I don't know if some type of power conditioning is truly beneficial at times since the speakers do have to be plugged into polarize the panel: hence a dirty signal may do some damage.
I must say, these are two of the most informative and knowledgeable responses I have ever received from this page. You guys seem to really know what you are talking about. Thanks! Incidently, if I purchased the soundlabs, I would be running them with a 75 Watt OTL. I also listen in a very small room, since paying low rent is the only way I can afford these high priced electronics.
Haydn_josef- I wouldn't even think of trying to power soundlabs with a 75 watt otl, the impedance swings would be VERY unpleasant-which is one of the weaknesses of electrostats. You most likely would get the best results with a speaker that has a nominal impedance of 8 ohms and fairly stable, ie it doesn't have huge swings like electrostats often do. Unfortunatly otl's and electrostats don't mate up well, something along the line of Talon, Piega or Kharma would do much more justice to your amp-although all of the fore mentioned speakers are cone type drivers(and are just a few of my favorites with OTL's-there are many more that I am sure will work good) or big clunky boxes-though I like my big clunky boxes :)
btw great posts so far; Sdcambell and Ezmerelda1
I considered Martin Logans for a long time. The treble was magical but one problem I found with them is they didnt like to go very loud. I was told by the salesman that the reason for this is that the tweeters compress and distort when pushed to hard.

I have always regrtted though that I never owned a pair of electrostatic speakers. Maybe its a good excuse for a second system.