I've heard the MartinLogan CLX.... WOW

WOW. Amazing.. Spectacular. Astonishing.

Can't say enough good things about them... I spent the entire day last Saturday at ML headquarters in Lawrence, KS in their listening room. Me and my CDs with the doors closed for 8 hours!!

I've written a full review on the ML Club website.

martinloganowners dot com
Here's the link to my reivew..

So Tom, exactly what is the U.S. price?
$20,000 - I think.

BTW - Tom - nice choice of music for your review.
$20K for the normal CLX
$25K for the Anniversary edition, which is aluminium frame (black or white) and some other special commerative do-dads.
bass is a bit limited, eh ? if this is the case, the presentation should be highly resolving.

by chance is the spectral balance tipped toward the treble ?
read my review, Mr. Tennis....
The speaker looks like a DIY project. Especially the rear of the base. Should this thing really cost $20k? How awful!

Great write up.

I am a huge fan of huge 'stats, however space limits for me dictate that 'stats are out of the question. Worst is I own great amps for stats - Atma MA1's.

Just a few weeks ago I heard my friends Soundlab U-1 with the latest PX technology panels. I had heard them before the PX upgrade and loved them, but now they are more robust, play louder and are more dynamic.

If you have not heard these, I think you should, since they are similarly Priced (Maybe Soundlab A-1's are the same price), and both represent the latest generation of 'stat technology. I know you are a Logie, but unless you are getting a deal from the factory for being such an evangelist (I think you should actually) you owe it to yourself to investigate all avenues.

I'd like to hear these myself - even if it would be a total tease for me.

On another note - I wonder what the CLX would image like in a more normal sized room than you heard them in? My friends U1's are not in a large room, and they don't as such dissapear - though they do in larger room's I'm told.

Did the CLX give that illusion of dissapearing?

I used to own ESL63's and in a 20x14 room they did image quite well, but of course that was a much smaller speaker that had plenty of room to 'breath.'
hi tom:

i visited the martin logan website. the frequency response of the spealers is indicated as down 3 db at 56 hz.

i would say such a frequency response would be presented as somewhat lean, since the speaker is not flat to 60 hz.

i haven't auditioned the speakers myself, so i can't judge. however, the specs seem to indicate the speaker is bass-challenged. by the way, i did read your review.

the solid state components used to demo the speaker would not be my first chice, and with my experience at ces shows and auditioning speakers at other venues, i would suspect that what you heard could hardly be described as warm sounding or full-bodied. then again, as i said, i haven't heard this speaker, although i have heard many logan models in the past (my friend has the quest z speakers).

i prefer tubes and panels.mrtennis
It is my experience that Martin Logan chooses an amp for it's ability to handle it's wicked impedance curve rather than how it sounds. No offense intended but I never thought Krell was a good match.
I have never heard the combo but they also think Mcintosh is a good match. I would prefer a deuce of moscode 401hr running in mono.
I'll say it one more. The speaker is what it is. Subs have always been in order for the CLS. xover at 360hz means not only is the CLX not a full range design it is probably a three way design.

We all know that Tom is biased. he founded the M/L sight because of his love for the speaker. He is like the guy waiting for the next star wars movie. Further more being invited to the M/L factory for a full day to hear a new speaker had to have effect on him. it's the same if Speilburg invited a trekkie for a private screening.
Nevertheless a true trekkie would call it like he sees it. I believe at least that Tom liked the speaker. Time will tell if the bloom fades off the rose.
That's the beauty of not having much money. By the time I have saved up enough money to buy, others have fully vetted the product.
Valid points Gregadd...it says alot for a product when a fellow is so taken he starts a site to extoll the virtues of something.Going to a dedicated room in Kansas is very similiar to a Star Wars venture,at least the last time I was there.....kind of like yesterday when I saw Peter Cushing in a Laurel and Hardy movie...hard to describe when you've been transported sometimes to others who haven't....cheers,Bob
Gregadd, The amp i listened to all day with the CLXs was a Parasound Halo A21. I'm not a fan of Mac amps with Logans at all, but the A21 was nice. JC1s would've been nicer. :-)

Yeah, I guess I am somewhat biased because I've had Logans forever and like the ML "sound" and to be fair, I haven't heard alot of speakers in this price range, but with that being said, if I didn't like how they performed, I would've said so.

Are they worth $20K? That's up to you. I could never justify that kind of outlay for a pair of loudspeakers - I'm not into the hobby that deep and if I was, I'd certainly go listen to many other speakers at this price point before dumping 20 grand.

BTW, I could watch any of the Star Wars prequels at George Lucas' personal ranch while he served me popcorn and I'd still tell him they all sucked and that he's a hack! ha!

So take it for what it's worth... hear the CLXs for yourself and make your own conclusions. I'm very anxious to read some more feedback by other people who have heard them.

to the other poster... yes, the CLXs completely disappeared into the room.
Tom, I think we disagree on only one point.

"I'm not into the hobby that deep..." Having your own website dedicated to Martin Logan and having visited the Martin Logan factory at least twice you are in very deep my friend. You're president of the Martin Logan fan club

p.s. I thought it was Speilberg who did the story line and Lucas who handled the technical stuff. "My bad." I'm not a trekie
ROFL!! you're killin' me. :-)

I'm into music first and foremost. and I'm a computer geek.

I was not the originator of the ML club... because I have some computer knowledge, I was always just supposed to be the webmaster and looked at this opportunity to learn some stuff about website design, etc.

The guy who was the president dropped out of things and handed the reins to me. I own the domain and rights to the site and maintain it, but most people, including alot of the guys on the MLC site would scoff at my audio system:

Denon AVR4800 reciever as a preamp.
Pass Labs X250 amp driving ML reQuests (the only real nice equipment I own)
run of the mill Sony CD/DVD/SACD changer

That's about it. Cables and ICs are pretty middle of the road.

so what I meant when I said, "I'm not into the hobby that deep" is that I don't constantly upgrade.. I'm not on that quest for perfect sound and I don't spend shitloads of money on equipment like a lot of guys do...

Anyway... great thread. I'm serious about being anxious to read other reviews of the CLX. Maybe I am just a ML fanboy... I just know what sounds good to me. :-)
Tom I see a CLX in both our futures. 25th anniversary issue with amp and source of our choosing. Invest in alternative energy sources.
Funny, you guys with all this subwoofer stuff, and gize!!!! First off I own and Original pair of the Cls's.......That said, it's been my experience, as well as the noted consensus that careful system matching is in order. Electronics that have good bottom end characterisics, and dynamic capability, are the general order of the day, and matched correctly with the right pre-amp, and associated ancillary euipment can expunge the need of a muddying, slow subwoofer, and maybe a CLX!!! It does not take a CLX to balance you're system! For the geeks, and tweeks that want to carry the hobby to Mt.Olympus and worship their equipment..,constantly debiting their bank accounts,....KUDOS.......A reasonable facsimile of the Musical Event suffices for me, when I can listen at home......Then Live music helps to keep things, ideas, (Ears), etc in balance........And things like that, and things like that!!!! OK, Enjoy the music....J.C.
I have read what many have stated about the CLX, I wander how is it the CLX has a wider sweetspot than your normal Martinlogan? Still can't wait to demo it.

Another review of the CLX

Reportedly the absolute sound review is released.
Just received the February issue of Absolute Sound--it has a review of the CLX.--Mrmitch
Speaking only for myself, I have listened to the CLX's driven by Krell Evo 600 and 900, MBL 9010 and by Boulder 2060. Without question everyone at the audition far and away preferred the Boulder. As Boulder's flagship? 600 watt Class A amp, it provided a purity of tone that drove the speakers exceedingly well. Much better than the Krell which exacerbated (relative to MBL and Boulder) the fact that the speaker provides a wonderfully engaging holographic soundstage (but feels a touch "hollow" through the midband.
Overall, back to the speaker itself, it is a captivating sound without doubt. Midrange magic is alive and well...augemented by its soundstaging. The soundstage, 'breath around voices' is unique and one of the great things many of us love about panels. However, I think this panel will benefit from the Descent sub which is now being shipped with a CLX setting on it.

Compared to SF Strads, original Wilson Grand Slamm (all same price here in UK as CLX) the ML CLX feels hollow in the midband. The bodies sound ethereal, yes, but compared to Strad, do not feel as 'there' in 3D as I thought until compared them. As panels, Apogee Stages and Quad 2905 also had more 'body' to my ear. 2905 def not as refined as the CLX by a fair margin.
In sum, imho, once the Descent is added, the CLX could be an absolutely killer combination of panel magic, dynamics, bass and true body in the music. Without the Descent, I would enjoy but not ultimately choose the ClX for that price. Enjoy!
hi lloyd:

if you were selecting a speaker and had 2 on your list, namely, the clx and the magnepan 20.1, which would you select, and why ?
Hi Mr. Tennis,

I have seen your posts and respect your passion for tubes (MV125 in particular). I owned CJ MV60 for 9 years and still own CJ pre.

I have never heard the Maggie 20.1s but have read it is a great speaker. The many Maggies I have heard have generally felt 'fuller' to my ear than the corresponding MLs. In the way an EL34 tube can feel fuller in that rich, lifelike way. I would bet the CLX could get there with some work (Descent sub), but standalone, I would suspect that the Maggie 20.1s are the fuller loudspeaker. Personally, I would be very happy with clx plus descent I bet longterm. standalone, not for me. I would def want to hear the 20.1s. Again note the caveat I have heard many maggie's, just not the 20.1. Good luck!
Does anyone else find the CLX ugly?

Has anyone here auditioned the Maggie 20.1 and bought the CLX instead? The price is similar but the looks and specifications are worlds apart. Its the sound that counts though hence the question.
if you would consider a speaker the size of the 20.1, also consider the apogee duetta signature.
I concur that the Apogees are something else. Stages, Grands and Duettas...all incredible in a way that few other speakers before (or since) can match. My question (i honestly dont know the answer) is on repairs and longevity going forward for these products.
I think Apogee my be trying to pull a Phoenix. I think they lost a patent infringement suit to Magnepan.
At least they were a fun company. The Scintilla has kind of a cult following.
I lived 4 years happy with ML ascent i until I tryed a pair of 50 years old Quad ESL 57 and the Logans are looking at them jealous... in the attik. I bought the 57's for 400$ and sold the Logan's for 3000$. I have better sound and 2600$
to buy records and a second pair of Quads to stacke them and give the CLX a serious run for the money ! Painted Black satin they also look gorgeous !
A serious relief for my wife !
04-21-09: Gregadd
I think Apogee my be trying to pull a Phoenix. I think they lost a patent infringement suit to Magnepan.
At least they were a fun company. The Scintilla has kind of a cult following.
you are correct! Apogee Acoustics did lose a patent infringement battle to Magnepan & that mostly drained the company. The passing away of both owners did not help & the company went under some 10+ yrs ago. The name & rights have been bought by an Australian person who now makes brand new CNC replacement ribbons for most of the models + he also makes his own ribbon speakers modelled after the Duetta model. This person is also into the restoration of original Apogees & there are a bunch of other restorers in North America & Europe supposedly trained by this Aussie person to peform restorations for owners in those continents.
There seems to be a lot of misinformation on the CLX. I own a set of CLX, AND a set of DynAudio C4's, so don't for a second think that I am unaware of high-end dynamic driver products.

- The CLX impedance does indeed drop to the input impedance of the audio transformer at 20 KHz, but the ENERGY delivered much above 500 Hz in audio rapidly tapers to near nothing. The CURRENT that is drawn at those frequencies is very low. Most half decent amps will drive a pair of CLX just fine. I use a MOON W-8 with no problems at all.
- The sweet spot isn't hard to define set-up wise. I'm not in agreement with the every milli-meter counts crowd on CLX placement. I had no more issues with the CLX than my C4's. Both had a SINGLE spot that they liked, and sounded best.
- All speaker systems have advantages, and to me the CLX has the LEAST serious disadvantages. Yes, a dynamic driver speaker will have more SPL headroom in the midbass for that POP that is fun (think C4's!!). But still, you can argue a HORN loaded speaker eclipses even a dynamic driver speaker. Is the mid bass POP your thing? It's but a small part of music. Important to an extent, but not all there is.
-The CLX is simply in a class by itself where the panels dynamic range meet or exceed the need (I can play 90 dB average all day on them). I have never heard a speaker so completely void of odd colorations,and leaves the macro / micro dynamics of music so pure to the source. So nope, if you like that heavy chesty distortion dynamic drivers all have on vocals, you won't like the well damped and open sound of the CLX. We get used to distortion and start to accept it as "real". Well, it's not. Those dynamic drivers are full of distortion and the inability to start, and stop, as needed. A 0.5-mil PET film is superbly damped by the air pressure on each side of the film. Yes, it does resonate some, but vanishingly little compared to dynamic drivers.

I agree that the CLX are best enjoyed with stereo subs. Some will be fine without them and I suppose that's a peronal thing but I enjoy the foundation of music to go DEEP. My C4's don't even sound good to me without subs! And no, subs do not "cloud" the transparency of the CLX. Remember, the rise time of the bass is well slower than the higher frequencies the panels have to drive. Most modern DSP subs will do very well with the CLX. Why people feel bass somehow has a fast rise time is beyond me. A cheaper bass DRIVER may resonate, but it isn't the fault of the music.

To, my ear, the CLX lack just the bit of mid bass POP that is indeed a dynamic driver advantage (about the only one I've found). Remember, that that requirement isn't always "there" in most music so it's dynamic headroom isn't missed all that often. Same said, it is a fully logical argument to understand that the CLX mid bass panel can't produce the SPL headroom of a dynamic driver. What it does do, convey the musical nuances of tone and timber more than makes up for it's shortcoming as those qualities are most evident in ALL music.

What I do miss when I don't listen to the CLX, and always, is the awesome purity of timber, tone, micro / macro dynamics and image placement of every note the CLX plays that is within it's dynamic headroom abilities (more than 98% of what I play is just fine, and yes, I play Nickel Back and Supertramp them!)

This speaker won't be acceptable to those who feel "high-end" is an SPL contest and bass slam. My C4's do pretty good at that...but, if you want music to sound "right" the CLX excels like no other. For those who disbelieve in the CLX, listen to FOUR SEASONS and tell me the stunning coherent sound isn't simply amazing. Violins that sound like complete instruments! Imaging is exceptionally spatially correct as well. The concept that an electrostatic speaker is tizzy and euphoric is flat wrong on the CLX.

I have speakers that are the polar opposites of the CLX, the Dynaudio C4's. Neither product will really bother the others strengths. To my ear, the CLX plays music at a MUCH higher level of overall refinement than any dynamic driver product I've used (there are many speakers prior to the C4's). Yes, the C4's are a hell of a lot of fun, but they aren't musically as accurate.

You don't need fussy tubes with the CLX, I use a MOON W-8 with a PASS LABS XP-10 preamplifier and it sounds sublime.

You will hear each cut on a disc and each disc have a musical mind of it's own on the CLX, however. The CLX DO NOT add a house sound to music. This can confuse many that have never heard the pristine nature of a more true transducer. The CLX aren't "warm" or "full"? Those are traits of driver and box distortion. We get used to that sound and have a hard time moving away from it.

Even the better dynamic driver speakers fall victim to this, like a MAGICO Q7, Q5,and Q1 series. Remove all that distortion and all of a sudden music changes, ALL music...and for the better.

The CLX is a stunning achievement in the electrostatic art. No, it isn't dynamically perfect everywhere (no speaker is). But is is most perfect over the widest response range of any speaker I've listened to and at anywhere close to an affordable price. A stereo set of subs places the CLX in very rare company.
If you like the CLX and are considering a purchase, you owe it to yourself to audition SoundLab M-1PX speakers, particularly with the latest Consummate back plates. Nothing else compares.
You do know this thread is 6 years old?
But the CLX is still current and still one of the best transducers I have had the pleasure of listening to music through.

Rower30, you wrote a great appraisal and I agree with it wholeheartedly.

The CLX is a very unique product, and one that captures music oh so well. The music should add the "color" and "warmth" to the sound, not the hardware. When we really get the chance to change the hardware for something that is a BIG step in the right direction, we tend to get cold feet.

"Most stuff is dynamic drivers, so this amazing sound must be wrong." - No it isn't. We simply are so used to so much coloration we accept it as a standard. It is indeed a standard, but not an accurate one.

Want rich full sound? Throw on Allen Taylor - Colour to the moon. Want a thin harder ambient sound? Throw on Adelle 19. The range is all there in the CLX, and the lack of color allows the full range of source material to come through to a much wider degree than anything I've used before.

I'm a victim of this myself. This isn't the only speaker system I've owned, but it is the only speaker I've owned that's been so "correct" to the point of embarrassment from my previous standard(s)...B&W 801's, Vandersteen Quatro, C4's and the CLX.

And yes, I know this thread is older...a shame to that the nature of the CLX isn't discussed more often. It is a truly accurate and affordable hi-end transducer.