Is there an alternate to Martin Logans?

I love Martin Logan, the way they sound except for two things, my aerius i don't play loud enough and don't go low enough, is there anyway I can get these two things without going to a bigger Martin Logan, do other dynamic speakers exist that have the speed and transparency and pin point imaging of a Martin Logan?
Dude, you've posted this question before and I think you received many good suggestions--including my own personal favorite, the InnerSound Eros--so what's the problem??? If you didn't see all the follow-ups to your thread, they're accessible from "My Page". Rgds, Frank
There is nothing wrong to ask opinion more than one time at a group conference. you have 2 problems: 1. not loud enough and low enough - I cannot comment until I know what kind of gear you are using to drive the ML. 2. no dynamic speakers can give that kind of transparency ML does except those panel speakers like Genesis and Infinity products
So oft these two 'problems' are addressed at the backend when they should be addressed at the frontend. The Logans will go loud enough and low enough with proper source and power. VTL monoblocks or similar quality will drive these with ample amplitude and solid bass(no, not rumbling subwoofer, I have the need for eviction bass, go buy a 24" Hartley). The Logans also fool people because they disperse so well you are unaware of sound pressure levels. They can be real loud, meter them sometime and it will surprise you. Good luck. Satchmo
I own a pair of Martin Logan Quest Z's, and they play plenty loud with excellent bass. I've yet to hear another speaker with the speed and detail of the ML's (I owned a pair of Apogeee Duetta's for several years, very smooth but a power hog and lacked a little on the bottom end). Once you get hooked on the "panel" sound, it's awfully hard to go back to traditional box speakers. My suggestion to you, sell the Aerius' and move up a notch or two in the ML product line. JL
While I agree with most of whats said here so far you have to realize that the 8" driver in your ML's can only go down so far. More power (but clean) from a great amp may bring you down lower than you are now. You do not memtion your amplifier so I cannot comment on whether changing it may make a difference. For the longest time I had a pair of Acoustat Spectra 11 speakers that also had a 8" driver. I found a big difference when I went from my older Bryston 3B (200 w/ch @ 4 ohms) to a Bryston 4B-ST (400 w/ch @ 4 ohms). The bass was even better as well as lower - more control. But I return to the fact that your model's 8" driver is the most limiting factor. IMHO, move up the ML scale or bring in a good quality sub. Tne sub may well be your least expensive option.
right now I have a Conrad Johnson Premier 14 tube preamp and their new MF2500 240 watt solid state amp. It puts around 450 watts into 4 ohms, so I don't think power is an issue, also I foudn that when I had auditioned a pair of Nautilus 803s in my room they were very boomy, the aerius have been the only speaker that sounded tight.
Oh the Aerius "Do I love them, do I not?" I would suspect that you have come to the same conclusion that most have concerning those speakers, dynamics and bass are missing in action. Regardless of how many times you listen the conclusion is the same. Yes there are dynamic systems that do that pinpoint imaging, transparency AND have excellent dynamics and good bass as well. Try listening to Merlins VSM-SE with BAM unit. Used 3K. Read the reviews from owners in AudioReview and from Reviewers on website. You should get a good picture of what they can do. They are extraordinary dynamic loudspeakers for sure. Good luck. Will
Sorry Will, but regardless of how good it sounds, I could never own something called the BAM. Too embarrassing. Moreover, for 3K he can buy used reQuests which would smoke those Merlins.
Oh how right you are Phil. So far as telling anyone you have something called a BAM or if you like bam, as part of an audio system, I see your concern. God forbid that a Flinstone character could be in any way connected to a high end audio system, what would one’s non-audiophile friends think if they knew? So in answer to that, don't tell or better yet don't use the acronym call it what it is, a Bass Augumentation Module. So far as the ML Requests over the Merlins, to each his own. I am not a big ML fan but am quite familiar with their early to their present products. If you really think the Request would smoke the Merlins might I suggest that 1) You have NEVER heard the Merlins period. 2)You have never heard the Merlins properly set-up or 3) You have never done an AB (I haven't either, don't need to). The ML's DO NOT integrate the bass well with the electrostatic panels, that is a real problem for me. I didn't like the Sequels which was their first attempt at integrating the two and I still don't. The Request has the same problem as the others, it doesn't sound right and brings attention to itself every time I listen. The Merlins IMHO have a midrange and highs that are as NATURAL and coherent as I have heard from any dynamic speaker system, no exaggeration or emphasis of any of the frequencies AND they are seamless at ALL frequencies unlike the planer designs that attempt to integrate a dynamic driver. The real problem with the Merlin’s is that they have such amazing resolution that they reveal all the deficiencies of everything upstream. Bass is deep and very well defined, they just can't defy the laws of physics but work quite well in a small to medium size room (especially with that BAM). And last but far from least is the DYNAMIC capability of the Merlin's, it is life like when properly set-up and with the ideal matching components. The ML don’t even come close. I have not heard ANY speaker system which will SMOKE them. Sound more spectacular? maybe on some recordings. Sound more pleasing on certain recordings? surely. Sound more accurate? Not yet. It is once again a matter of “What is your preference Sir”? Maybe your Avante-Garde Duo's are better, I haven't heard them, but certainly have read many mixed comments on them. I suspect their shortcomings are similar, trying to integrate two different technologies in a seamless coherent manner is a very challenging problem that hasn’t been solved.
I spent an afternoon listening to the Merlins with the BAM at a dealer. We tried a number of amps and room positions. I thought they were mediocre (I'm being kind). So did the dealer. Based on that session, I'd say the speaker might have appeal to those who value a mediocre, hi-fi sound over musicality. BTW, if the bass didn't mate well with the electrostatic panel on the Logans you heard, they weren't set up properly. Your complaint is a common one for poorly setup Logans. If set up properly, the bass/panel match shouldn't be distracting. I'm sorry you were hurt by my comments about the BAM. Why not try the Wilson's POW-WOW, BAT's BAT PAK or Krell's CAST system? "There's a sucker born every minute."
Phil I agree that we disagree OK? I have heard ML's 50 times if I've heard them once. You are not being kind you are just being presumptuous. Let the guy listen for himself, I'm just offering an alternative. What in the hell is the dealer doing selling a product he doesn't believe in? I guess it was a trade in, right? Come on Phil "mediocre Hi-Fi over musicality", be specific in your criticisms and get off the high horse, I can take it. When there is a speaker for everyman, we won't need this forum will we? Will
Will, It wasn't a trade-in. The dealer carries the line because it can be driven by tubes and he is a tube only dealer. He is very honest in his opinions (to a fault...he's not a very good businessman). I stand by my comments about the Merlin.
Phil I still find it remarkable that a dealer would carry a product he doesn't believe in. There are certainly other speakers that can be driven by tubes that he likes, right? I can’t believe that he only carries tube electronics. Indeed he is a poor businessman and if he were so honest as you say, he wouldn’t carry a product he doesn’t like, that isn't honest it is stupid. He sounds like the most obsequious dealer I have ever heard of, can’t say no and can’t say yes. Well you still haven't offered me specific criticisms. Your remarks are interesting to me since I have NEVER heard those characterizations of the Merlins. I have heard too accurate, too much detail, ruthlessly revealing, but mediocre and HI-FI? especially for a system that has been so widely regarded by reviewers and won so many Best of Show awards. I can't possibly believe that you heard the same speakers I currently own and am amazed by every time I listen even though I know my system is far from optimum, the speakers reveal that fact. These speakers are the antithesis of Hi-Fi more like music. I just think they get closer to the truth of the recording without adding the artifacts so typical in virtually all speakers I have heard. In any event Tbonephile listen with your own ears, and read the reviews, the Merlins are exceptional speakers to this listener.
***I have heard too accurate, too much detail, ruthlessly revealing...*** That IS the definition of HI-FI, Sherlock.
yust cuz someone has different taste doesn't mean they're a sucker, phill - get your dictionary!!! re: m-l's the *only mn-l's i've hear that i have liked are their cls, which don't go loud enuff for me (even m-l sez 93db is *it* for those speakers), and their top-line speakers, which aren't in my budget. i have never liked *any* of their other products - boomy, non-integrated bass, and a general overall thin-ness to the sound. dunno if i'm a sucker or not, but that's *my* opinion of the m-l's as an alternative, i'm strongly considering a pair of newform research's r645's or nhb45's...
The reQuests don't boom unless they're set up improperly.
The early CLS could be described as ruthlessly revealing, etched with no bass. Would you categorize those speakers as HI-FI Watson? Maybe you don’t get the fact that any system with ultra resolution is going to present problems unless all matters regarding matching ancillary components and set-up issues are properly dealt with. It takes time and commitment but you KNOW it is worth it, everything is there, they have it. Does that automatically make it HI-FI? Tonal balance and spectral balance dude, you just did’t get it, that’s all. THAT IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. Real and live, they have it. And "Honest Abe" the audio dealer, I don't know about you Phil, you still haven't offered specific criticisms, I'm still waiting. SHERLOCK
If you knew what you were talking about, you wouldn't waste your time with such toys as the Merlins...and yes,the early CLS was hi-fi. I don't think you know the difference between hi-fi and music.
Ok Phil we're getting some where now. Why don't you tell me the difference between HI-FI and music other than the obvious absolute which is live vs. recorded music. Sherlock
Tubegroover. Please forgive me for asking the obvious, but if the Merlin takes all that time, loving care and special treatment to sound good... why didn't you just buy a speaker that sounded good in the first place? I just bought the Silverline Sonata which I think everyone would agree is far better then the Merlin. Hell you could set it upside down and on fire and it would sound better then the Merlin. Personally I like speakers that don't cut the balls off the music and that's just what that piss poor excuse of a woofer Merlin uses does. If the Merlin makes you happy, more power to you. I just tend to like music instead of hifi but then I'm not you. If I was I'd probably kill myself.
Joe Who says that the Merlins' don't sound good out of the gate? First of all I don't need to go down to 25hz or rock the walls to enjoy music, been there done that, it is hard to get it right in a room my size. I've got no qualms with the Silverline Sonatas, but I don't think they are nearly as coherent as the Merlin's, since they are a 3-way but hey, that isn't to say they aren't great speakers. The Merlins don't have any boom, I like that. They are after all only a 2-way but they do have some hair on their balls, pretty impressive for a 2-way. What da ya expect from a 7" driver in the way of bass? I'm happy for you in that you like music over Hi-Fi, me too. Well Joe you know how it is in Audiophilia, things aren't always as obvious as you simply put it. Maybe I should go listen to more live concerts say 20-30 a year instead of 10 or so. Maybe that would give me a better FEEL for music over Hi-Fi. What da ya think? And on a final note don’t worry about me too much, I’m not about to throw in the towel just yet. Thanks anyway for your concern. Will
Tbonephile, take a look at the Linn AV 5140's.
I'm not a big fan of ML. They make decent product, but the cone bass does not fully mesh with the panels. The Aerius suffers least from this problem. On the other hand, MLs do alot of things very well and I can easily understand why people, including people who know music, like them. My own tastes and biases lean towards cone speakers. Panel speakers seem to get the transients and the decay right, but the sustain, at least to me, doesn't sound right. As everyone knows, the primary problem with cone speakers are the boxes. No matter what you do it's inevitable that speaker cabinets will color the sound. If you really want to get the best of both worlds, try a baffless cone speaker (Audio Artistry and Gradient). I only know the AAs by reputation, but the Gradient Revolution is an extraordinary product. It doesn't sound "hi-fi", particularly through the mid-bass, it sounds real. There are no perfect speakers, every product is a collection of compromises and the designer's mix will appeal more to some than to others. Let's respect each other.
I'm a trombonist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, I would consider myself a very well trained musician. I have probably heard more of what a live instrument sounds like then most. As far as decay goes, Musical decay is dependent on the hall that we play in. We compromise in our playing to adjust to the reverb etc.. in the playing venues. Many of what people think sounds good, is not what music sounds like in life. People should take more opportunity to listen to live music. you'll be surprised at how much better it sounds :o) I'm not saying that I have better ears then other people, just probably better assement of whats tonally correct.
Thank you Bigcigarman I concur. To me a speaker is a transducer. It's sole purpose is to accurately reproduce what is on the recording. Being quite familiar with live music as well, as both a participant and a listener it is true. Live music has a quality that I have NEVER heard quite captured by an audio system, close but no cigar. There are too many variables. The recording if well engineered will represent what was captured by the microphones, hopefully it will capture the ambience of the recording venue as one might hear it if there but it will never sound like the live experience. And I, like you wish more people would go to concerts and experience it live and really know that experience. Many do for sure but it is obvious to me that many don’t and it is too bad, they would love it. Listening to live music and listening to recorded are in reality two completely separate experiences and never the twain shall meet. Thanks again for your post, you have put things in well needed perspective. Will
Be careful Bigcigarman. Now that Phill_06896 has defined *HI-FI* for us Audiogon mortals, I understand he's about to define music and dictate the specifics of tonal correctness as well.
"My name is Bigcigarman. I know what musik sounds like because I play a insterment! Sometimes I stick my head in the insterments and have my musik friends blow them so as I know what a orchestra sounds like. That's why I'm a expert!"
Joe, that's not fair. It's clear that you have access to Phill's truths before the rest of us.
I owned the ML ReQuest and had the opportunity to play with their positioning in two separate (one dedicated) rooms for over a year. The ReQuests were a considerable jump up for me and I truly loved the sound, but after hearing a pair of Avalon Eclipse's (advertised on Audiogon and the owner was only 20 miles away) I knew that I had found the speaker for me. It wasn't until I brought home the Avalon's and compared them directly that I could hear the "dis"-integration of panel and woofer. I bought the Avalon's for reason's other than that (ie. rich textures while remaining extremely transparent, holographic imaging and HUGE soundstage), but the top-to-bottom coherence and low frequency transparency have become my main appreciation of these 2 way dynamic speakers. I don't doubt that other dynamic speakers can duplicate or exceed these qualities; however, I have doubts about the ability of a panel and dynamic woofer accomplishing the same. If the day does come that panel and woofer integrate seemlessly AND the midrange textures match or exceed that of my reference (at a fair price), I will be the first on the list of converts. I love the CLS, but it is too limited of a speaker for all music genre and too limited of a sweetspot (Wife likes to listen too on occasion). Next chance I get, I'll check out the Merlins. Live the good life! Jordan
I think the Silverline Sonata is actually a 4-way design? The Sonatina is a 3-way. A friend of mine wants to experiment with SET and is considering the Sonata. Joe, could you describe the best attributes of the sound of the Sonata's? Can you drive them effectively with 10 watts? Jordan
"My name is Joecoherent. I know what musik sounds like because I own the SLIVERline SNOTS. Sometimes I stick my head in the SNOTS and ask my friends to blow us so I know what a 4-way feels like. That's why I'm an expert.
Khrys, that was funny!! Joe, if you keep repeating it over an over (like Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz"), it will become true. "I am coherent. I am coherent. I am coherent..." Have another drink, Joe!
Try the new Quad 989's, you won't be dissapointed.
Does anyone seriously listen to MLs since the Fabio ad? I'm told the reQuests have been reVised reCently to inClude the dynamics of celebrity: accordingly they'll be called the rePulse. Don't you know the seQuel will be called the reTraction? Sure you did. Something about Kansas and the theory of Evolution.
Take a real hard listen to SoundLabs Ultimate 1s or Millenniums, they have great slam and a sound stage to die for.
this whole thing made me laugh aloud
I concure w/Vermonter. Back to the guy who asked the simple question about alternates to ML. I guess its what you like. I like aerius i, w/bat 200, vk3i, and pioneer elite cd player, and a well intergrated sub. Let's be really, w/out it ML are not the most dynamic. But add a great sub and look out. Takes alot of auditioning different equip, ML are picky in all areas. And I'm sure there are better speakers out there than ML, I just haven't found them, they all seem to be better in one area or another, but not all area's. I'll keep my ML's. Good luck Tbone. Try a different amp, it sounds like you haven't found the surenergy for you ML's yet.

Just to throw in an agreement with the last poster: I run
ML Aerius i's matched with an REL sub. Was happy with them
before adding the sub; with the sub in the loop (properly
integrated), they're taken to a new level. And they will play loud. Loud enough for me, anyway.

I'm always a bit surprised at the vitriol that always seems
to enter these discussions, e.g., "that speaker sucks", or
"this is the only way to go" or "my ____________ speakers are the best thing since sliced bread"! I prefer ES technology for the transparency, soundstage,etc. Does that make conventional speakers bad? No, not at all. Have owned some real nice box speakers over the years: Snell, Advent,
Dahlquist (I know, not a true box speaker in the conventional sense, but close enough) and loved them all. But these days am more drawn to ES. Specs aside, folks, it always comes down to your preference. Recently heard some Def Tech speakers I'd seriously consider buying if I didn't already have the MLs.

There are many wonderful speakers available, but they ALL, that is to say ALL, involve compromise. You just picks yer poison and live with the deficiencies. Hope I haven't pissed anybody off.
Soundlabs. Pure and simple
Well said Adamanteus.

Thanks, Pcc. Was afraid I was "shouting into the void". Glad somebody's read the note, FWIW.
I used to own ML Aerius. Sold them because I wasn't really happy with narrow sweet spot and lack of dynamic even with good subs. But never had trouble playing them loud. How loud is loud for your folks? Just curious...
Get the newform research r645's for sale here on a'gon. No, their not my speakers, I just received a pair and their awesome. Check for more reviews.

You need the Sound Lab Pristine 3+'s I have for sale here on
audiogon they sound fantastic!
Tbonephile. The Sound Labs are about the best electrostatic designs I've heard, but I believe that even their entry level models are much more pricy (new) then your ML speakers. I could be wrong though. You've gotton allot of great suggestions here already. IN fact, the ML speakers you already own are great performers too, but they just might not be right for your room. That happens some times; I know it's happend to me MORE than a few times! Personally, I'd also check out Magnepans. Not electrostatic, but exceptional speakers at more than fair prices; and they are "dynamic" in their own way. Maybe not great for the viceral type impact that many people crave in the bass region, but the LF info is there; and the Maggies are fast, detailed, and well integrated. For true dynamic designs, you might also enjoy Alon speakers, especially the Lotus, V, or Circe. Very open and airy (open baffle dipole midrange and trebble) good bass (my V mkIII go to about 25 cycles with good pitch definition and power), and a very realistic presentation of music. Maybe not the last word in "pin point imaging", but they throw a very realistic soundstage, with excellent image size. They are also easy to drive, and not too much of a pain to place properly in a room. The Alon speakers offer a great balance between musicality and hi-fi definition. You can learn more about the Alon speakers at I hope this helps some. Regards, Robert.
For a great price, try Jim Winey's entry level Magnepan's. They sound best hung up in the air or mounted on top of woofers of your choosing. And they are cheap. $300 bucks for the saran-wrap only model (mylar), or $550 for the saran wrap(mylar) with aluminum foil model (MMG). Kitchen speakers. Absolute genius simplicity.
You don't have to spend thousands to have good sound, but the wrinkle in these low end Magnepans is their need for added woofer(s). With those, they are mega-buck killers!
Magnequest, do you realize this thread is more than 4 years old with no one except us responding in the interim? I doubt the original poster really cares at this point. But I do agree the MMGs are nice sounding.

Gee, I was hoping for some good responses here. The guy that sold me MY AeriusI's in Oct 2000 told me they would fill the Orange Bowl with sound and make your chest thump. So I brought out the biggest fruit bowl I have and put it on my head and he was right!!! But the highs were a bit laid back......hehehe.

Geeez. The original poster hasn't been around for 4 years. I'm sure he's been through 3 sets of speakers since then.
And then some...Many audiophiles go through systems like toilet paper. Sorry Willhitx, I think this town has been abandoned long ago. I thought it was amusing that Magnequest actually went back 4 years on this forum to reply on this thread. Magnequest, you've got lot of time on your hands buddy ;)