Need practical advice from practical people, My Martin Logan SL3's are "tear your head off bright". I originally had a parasound line preamp, 2 parasound 125 wpc amps in a horizontal biamp configuration. I was told to try wiring the amps either mono or vertical biamp, try different interconnects, try different speaker cables, and try a different preamp. Well, I spent quite a bit of money and sonically, believe me when I say, there was absolutely no differnce at all. I'm certain, no ear could hear even the slightest differences. I'm not getting into the brands of cables I tried, i'm convinced solving real problems with cables is just BS. I went from the parasound pre to an EAD encore. I have been able to fix the problem, and make my system sound absolutely amazing. The problem is my wife cant deal with the blankets draped over the Martin Logans in our living room. Please help and give real advice. I'm considering giving up on ESL's, however there are many sonic advantages, that I really like about them. Please dont even bother with any ideas about positioning them, they have been everywhere except in the basement.

Thanks, Steve
Martin Logan's are finicky. I have owned a pair for years. There are a couple of remedies. One thing to keep in mind is that Parasound are bit on the harsh side and not really very complimentary to the MLs. I take it you don't really want to change amps--so I'll offer some other less expensive advice. The first thing I would do is try to get a rough idea of what the frequency response in your room is like. This is difficult with ML's because of the panel dispersion. You can use a RadioShack SPL meter or some other C weighted (or even better flat response) meter. Keep in mind the Radioshack is not flat, it's response rolls off at the bottom and top octaves. If you need the correction factors I can get those for you (they were originally published here by A-gon member Sean). At any rate the unit is done about 2 dB below 100Hz. Use Stereophile or other test CD and plot the frequency. You will need to take several measurements and I would do one speaker at a time. When you take multiple measurements start from the listening position and then move the meter about 6 to 10 inches about that area and take an average of maybe 6 readings. This is a pain, but it's necessary because of the panel dispersion. Even then, it's accuracy is somewhat questionable, but I don't know a reasonably simple way without complicating things. (Pink noise is better, but difficult to plot accurately and requires a very good microphone). Okay, now you should have a plot--is it flat--close, or are the high frequencies out of whack compared to everything else. My guess is frequencies above about 4k are up several dB. There are a few things you can do. The first is to get rid of the first order reflection point. You need something that absorbs at the first reflection point on the side walls at approximately ear height. Sonex works well sonically, but not well in terms of WAF (neither do your blankets). The second point of attack is somewhat controversal, but it's always worth a try. Use 1/2 round tube traps behind each panel. This is very tricky, because I'm sure you've been told that the panel needs a reflecting surface behind the speakers. This is true to a degree. What will happen if you do this is you will need to work on placement--most likely the speakers will have to come closer together and the soundstage will get smaller--a price to pay to get rid of the brightness. You will need to experiment with the distance between the panels and the tube trap. Further away will give a better soundstage, but won't tame the high's as much. The third modification is to build your own power cord for the MLs with a resistor in series--you will have to experiment with the value. I used a 20K Pot to find the right value--then it can be measured and replaced so their is not a pot in the power cord. What this does is lower the kV on the panel and reduces it's efficiency. This will increase the life of the panel and will take away some of the brightness. I have done this with ML monolith IIs. But according to ML, the kV on the panel originally was excessive, so the mod was warranted. I'm not sure that is the case with the SL-3s (in fact it probably isn't), so that's why I offer this as a last resort. I hope some of these ideas help in the interium, but at some point you would be happier with different amps.
Before you "give up," particularly with the present glut of quality used gear on the market, why not audition a quality stand-in for those Parasound amps? Assuming your front end is something even halfway decent, I trust you may well find your own slice of audio nirvana in those SL3's.
buy a conrad tube amp and tube preamp. my buddy had sl3s with the same problem. he also bought some sound lab dynastats witch are much smoother.
The amps are wrong for that speaker. They would be better for Vandersteen. The class a krell or Kinergectis spelled wrong class a amps. But they would sing with a real good tube amp. I am not a tube fan but ive heard them with a Conrad Johnson and was impressed.
Well, if problem can't be managed acoustically (with room treatments) or by using different cables or associated electronics, then why not try one of the TacT room correction digital preamp/equalizers? I'd bet the RCS 2.0, with the new parametric EQ would tame that forward treble band easily and painlessly. Why give up when such a simple solution exists?
Abstrakt7 is right. MLs need a lot of trials-errors to sound right and in the first impression they do not seem to work with any components/cables. But beyond an acoustic and component settlement problems, the best bet is a good quality tube amp. It'll be much easier to set them up with VTL MB125 "big balls" tube mono amps or you should go for some 250 W/ch SS monster to be able to drive them(seriously the're "too heavy" for SS in general and most successful setups I'vseen with MLs are with tube power-amplifier(s)). In this case tubes will be much cheaper sweeter and reasonable.
Happy Listening!
Another alternative is a BAT, classe or Pass solid state.
one of the best tweaks to tone down the potential brightness was power cords and interconnects. It was amazing the difference made. My Martin-Logan's are almost too warm!! I have them ONLY slightly toed in.I use Meridian components which by nature error to the warm side. My SL3's sound great. They could be alittle brighter though.. Did I say that? Good luck, Steve
Steve you mention changing speaker cables & interconnects but no mention of trying different upgrade AC cords, which is definitely a valid approach to your situation. You need to try some upgrade AC cords & also look into AC line conditioning. I had brightness problems too & it didn't seem to matter what equipment was installed I just couldn't get it to sound smooth until I checked into AC cords & line conditioning. Or you can get some AC cords with filtering built in (talk to David Blair at Custom Power Cord Company, Skokie, IL - refer to the Audiogon manufacturers index). If using filtered cords then additional line conditioning is not recommended from my experience. With most other AC cords you'll need some upline filtering. Also try a installing a dedicated AC line (temporary across the floor at first if you're skeptical) but you'll soon find yourself installing it premanently.
I'd sell the Martin Logans and buy a pair of Apogees. You can get a pair of used Stages from $750-$1200. The Stages don't have that "make your ears bleed" high end, and IMHO, are a far superior speaker. Check out the website below for other comments, particularly the topic titled "Martin Logan Sequel or Sequel IIs?".

First of all, make sure you've got enough (5+ feet) space behind the speakers, then experiment with toe-in. The curved panel rewards extensive experimentation with positioning. Also, damp your room properly and manage first reflections.
As above, Parasound do not make the best electronics for ML's. I have a pair of Sequel 2's and have done very well with a Sumo Nine +, NEW A20.1's (vertically biamped, but still underpowered for HT, fine for stereo) and now Atma-sphere M60 Mk2's. My Bryston 3B was OK, but probably not optimal. Fortunately, I had a big room at the time.
Changing power cords (or even better, using power conditioning) can also help. Changing preamps may be necessary, too, but try these other things first. Don't give up!
Lots of good advice give so far; one and/or any could shape up your system. If you've really toyed with speaker positioning in your room, I'd be among those to ditch the amp. Tubes do sound nice with ML but might be more than you'd want to spend. For new amps, the McCormack 125 might be a solution. A great sleeper amp is a used Forte 4; can probably be had for <$500 and is still a great amp. While only rated at 50W, it delivers gobs of current and control. Unless your room is cavernous, this might be all the amp you'd ever need.
Forget all that equipment BS. Toe them out. If you get to having them straight ahead and they are still too bright, move your listening position back. Still too bright? Then play with equipment. I have had 2 pairs of MLs and even in a barren room, they were not bright when set up correctly.

There certainly has been a lot of good advice. I have heard a lot of ML speakers SL3, Quest, CLS, and tubes do magic with them in the midrange. The bass suffers though. You may want to try the Music Reference RM200. This is designed to drive a low impedance which the SL3 has. Another is the RM9 MK II which has 125wpc. For solid state, the Rowlands, Audio Research D300 (this combination was at an audio show), and Classe 300 or 400. The mellow solid state amps will work wonders. Fine tune with cables later, Cardas or MIT, Monster, are good places to start. Good luck, Jeff
Sell them and buy a pair of real electrostats such as the Soundlabs. I love the transparency of the ML's but have never heard a pair I could live with for more than 10 minutes. Yes i've heard them properly set up or at least what Gayle thought was properly set up.
Hi David a recent Logan Ascent owner. I'm using an Audio REsearch 130-SE with LS-25 preamp and the Cary player/processor. After a lot of cabel experiments i like the afforable Kimber bifocal.I havent yet settled on interconnects but dynamics/bass/and mid weight in my system is getting really good. The high current Audio Research really took the thiness and britness out of the system. Bass had been less than satisfying,now I've got air moving under the coach.
I bought the amp used on audiogon for 3-K and this thing makes my Martin-Logans,if it haden't I was going to move on to other speakers. When you buy Logans you goota buy Jeff Roland or Manley or Audio Research to get these things solid

Earplugs maybe ? If you spent all your money on gear, than maybe Q-Tips will work...just remember not to turn on your side !
I have to go with Ed on this one... Try adjusting the positioning of the Speakers. Although the Amp may not be the best match, the positioning is almost as critical...

Toe in and position from rear wall...

I have owned SL3' since 1996 and first concentrated on making the room acoustics right....solid reflecting wall behind the speakers and a mildly absorbing back wall...with these speakers the amp is everything....I use a BAT VK500 solid state which puts out 475 watts at 4 ohms...the nominal impedance of these speakers....these are true high end speakers and any mediocre source components or amp will be revealed for what they are....I found the speakers set up not that challenging and never experienced the bright sound you described...it's tough to make a diagnosis without seeing the room and hearing your gear....good luck...these speakers are proven winners
Martin Logans sound good with fairly large tube amps. Low impedance at 20 khz requires the amps have some guts. We have never heard them sound right with solid state. Try that
I agree with Larryken. I owned ML Quests for several years and the room acoustics and electronics were critical. I could even tell differences by changing cables. I would recommend a high quality solid state amp like a Pass, BAT, ARC or Plinius. I had matched up the Quests with an ARC 100.2, Plinius SA-100 and a Pass Aleph Os and they all sounded terrific. I have heard ML Quests with a CJ MV-55 and Premier 11a and both of them sounded great also, just not as deep bass as the solid state amps. Be sure your preamp and DAC's are high quality also. A shrill CD Player or DAC will drive you crazy with these speakers also. You can get great sound out of these speakers. Be patient.
Well, when you give up, bye and have a good time.

When not,then you should realize that powering Logans is really difficult and ALWAYS expensive when the sound should have something to do with music.

That Logans are nearly undrivable is no secret. Hybrids. Always timing problems.

The only Logan system I know which really sings, is the one from my best friend.

He uses 2 Model 8 from Jeff Rowland, one amp per speaker.

Good luck
Trust your ears. I understand that a lot of people like MLs, but if they are too bright for you (as they are for me) and you've tried different positioning, cables, amps, etc., I'd move on from the MLs.
I didn't take the time to read the preceding posts (sorry), but do I remember correctly an interview with Gayle some time ago where someone had affixed "wings" to his MLs to
warm them up? Isn't this basically a shift in the 2pi/4pi
transition, thus shifting them to a warmer balance?
Good Luck. Ern
Well, here goes. I trashed both Parasound amps, the parasound pre, and the EAD Encore. Picked up a BAT VK200 SS amp, BAT VK30 tube pre, and a Nordost red dawn balanced interconnect, here on Audiogon.

The difference is amazing. My Martin logan SL3's are not the same speakers. The brightness and harshness is completely gone! All of my music is now warm and clean sounding with excellent separation. Further, and some, I'm sure wont believe it, but true, is my SL3's are no longer position sensitive at all! you can be anywhere at the front, side, or away from them, at any elevation, including toeing them to a point, and there is no change at all in the sound. Before, if you knealed on the floor or stood up, the difference was incredible. This no longer exists!! Second, If you stood with your back to them, and closed your eyes, you could swear you had rear channels as well. This was annoying, because the timing of it, was off. Now, that has almost completely disappeared, and you have to really listen to find it. Third, If your listening posistion was in front of one speaker, you could not hear the other speaker unless, the speaker farthest away had some predominant detail on that channel. Now, its unbelievable, you can sit right in front of one speaker and hear practically all of the detail form the other speaker. Dont figure!!

I know with everything, comes compromise, but I could use a little insight on how to possibly improve the little things that I like, and lost. The lower frequency midrange sounds diminished or pushed back a little too much, if you can understand what I mean. Its sort of smaller and sounds farther away and less direct from the rest of the frequencies. The BAT tube pre came with tubes that were furnished by Upscale, and are not the original factory tubes (empty tube boxes say 6922-Russian Mil Grey Plate). What do you think about installing back factory tubes (Sovtec 6922)? I am new to tubes so don't know much about them, and if certain tubes do one thing better than another.

I would appreciate any help....Steve
Steve, the tube journey can be a fun one as well, if you are patient and into noodling.
I would strongly recomend purchasing a tube tester to validate your purchases BEFORE installing - this may help keep part of your sanity. Finding reputable sellers is another ENTIRE thread. Be careful, there's a lot of junk out there.

http://www.tubeman.com is a good place to start.

Also, contacting Balanced Audio would be another good to start. Here is the URL http://www.balanced.com/

Tube testers, http://www2.gdi.net/~padgett/hickok.htm has some good information that may also prove useful.

Good luck to you. From the sound of this post, I am sure that you have tried a bunch of new stuff already and this may be old news to you, but hey....
Good luck and enjoy!

Sovteks get upgraded for a reason. And just cuz the tubes were furnished by Upscale doesn't mean they are necessarily Kevin's choice for that amp. Touch base with him and ask what he'd recommend. The man doesn't have the reputation he has for goofing up on stuff like this. Not that I have anything against any other vendor(s), in fact, I say ask 'em all for their recommendations, but for a one stop, quick and reliable answer, Mr Deal would be my call.

Steve: I would say it is in your equipement. I've tried all kinds of amps with my martins. The best success was with the bat vk200 amp, the sound is awesome. I've owned the bryston 3bst and that was also good. But the bat is a perfect match. Preamp is the bat 3i. Prefect combo. As far as ht, I use the lexicon dc-1. Cables are the bottom line of transparent biwire. If you want more power the bat vk500 will do the job. But I've never tried the 500. I own the 200 and would not trade it for the world. as far as cd/dvd I use the pioneer elite dv 07(i think thats the model and it works perfect). I know u don't want to hear change cables, but the only ones I've had success with are the transparent. I tried nordost and they sound way to harst, or should i say ear piercing noise. This whole thing took me 2 years to get correct and I love it now. it drove the wife nuts, with all the amps, pre's, and cables in and out of the house, but now she love's the martin sound. Martins show the true identity of what their feed. But theys seem to love bat. I've tried the high end bat pre vk50, but did not have much success. So my recommendation is vk200, vk3i, if you do ht(lexicon dc1 and the pioneer elite dv f07) and for cables(sorry I know you don't want to hear this) transparent bottom line biwire and innterconnects. you won't be disappointed. good luck pete
if you have any questions, send me an email
Your electronics and your speakers are all very bright components. I hate to say this but the reason you wanted to give up is that there is really no way to solve your problem with the components you have. You're going to have to start over.
Go to a competent dealer and have him put together a system of well matched components within your budget. SORRY