Martin Logans all the way.
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The Martin Logans are very good. I set up set of the ML Quest Z for a client and they sounded great. However I have owned several sets of Infinity speakers. I would agree that the ML Quest Z sound better than the 9 Kappa, however the 8 Kappa is the sleeper that nobody talks about. In the late 80s when I worked in an audio video store while I was in high school. I bougt a pair of 9 Kappas through dealer accommodation. It was October 1989 at the time and the 9 Kappas were selling like hotcakes. My boss asked me if he could sell my 9ks to a very good customer so he could have set for Christmas and replace my set of 9ks at a later time. So I would not do without speakers the store lent me new pair of 8kappas. To my surprise the 8kappa sounded better than the 9kappa. My dad loved the fact that I brought goodies like this home. He provided the music room & the front end and I bought the speakers & monoblocks Forte amps. When I mentioned to my boss that the 8ks sounded better. In disbelief and several months later when the store had 9ks in stock we did shoot out between the 9k & the 8k and it was unanimous among the store staff we just never mentioned it to the customer we would let the customers form their own opinion. When the store had both models in stock we would know which customers had good ears by which of the two they would pick. It was funny there were some customers that when listening to the 8k thought they were listening to 9k. We would always display them next to each other probably not the best listening environment. In my opinion if buy a set of 8k or the ML make sure you have real amp or both. One of best friends owns my 8k with a set of Threshold SA1A monoblocks . He has refoamed the woofers, redone the crossovers & re-wired the 8ks to this day are damn good. Used in good condition are a steal.
The difference between the two would probably be best know to Bill LeGall of Miller Sound. He is truly a specialist in Infinity speakers and has worked on and improved numerous Kappa 9s. He is Wlegall on Agon just read his feedback. You may be able to send him an email for some really knowledgeable advice.
Since he is not currently selling anything here to my knowledge, there is no financial conflict of interest to disclose
In defense of my statement about Bill, he has worked on probably every major speaker marketed in this country his knowledge is comprehensive. He has been doing speaker repair and light modification with a perfectionist skill for listening as well as hand labor that few will ever match. He has been immersed in it as his only profession for in excess of 50 years. He is a personal friend who has recommended to me that given my tastes at the time to try Dunlavy and also Mourdant Short. I know he personally uses vintage Patricians and Acoustats in addition to one of the few unmolested sets of IRS V's. He once owned Arnie Nudells show off pair but sold them. I heard them and was floored.
Thx for all the advice, I read it all and will read more too when/if any more appear here...
So (Thesoundhouse) what about a K8 and Quest Z matchup ?
I'm tending to go outside the box this time, but we'll see. I've had Magnepan MGI (they had a 'nasal' sound in a narrow band of the voice freq range, a little similar to the L100's I have/had) MGIIa, and have some SMGa's too. Many other box speakers too...ready to try the Quest z's I think...
If you like MLs, try a vintage Infinity with EMIM midranges upgraded to the brilliant new Apogee Acoustics EMIM diaphragms. Electrostatic clarity with way more dynamic range. Here's a snapshot of my RSIIb's:
My point is that he has an exceptional ear for sound and has heard most speakers including I expect ML. Thus he would be a good source for any analysis and a good advisor for helping to choose the "right" speaker for Mickey44. Not that anyone other than the person listening can ever know what they really will ultimately enjoy most. A seasoned ear however I think can at least provide guidance. That was my point.
All this may be meaningless as I am uncertain if he would even want to share his thoughts on the matter.
Have you heard either K9's or K8's or the ML's? There's no comparison. Completely different. Almost opposites. Different amp demands. The K9's are very demanding but so are the ML's, in different ways. Different placement/ listening position. Anybody that owns either and heard the other would, at best, say a polite, "That's nice".
The question only makes me wonder if you have any idea of your own requirements. Not trying to be rude but you seem to without a plan.
I cannot say which I like better the ML or the Kappa 8. I Like the Kappa 8 over the ML Zquest and the Kappa 9s. The ML is bright and hashy and the Kappa 9 has too much going on in one cabinet. The dual woofers in the kappa 9 fight with each other. The Kappa 8 is also a difficult speaker to drive but it is kinder to amplifiers but not but not by much from the other two speakers discussed in this thread. If you want a bargain buy the Kappa 8 it blows the doors over the other two. I do not think you can go wrong with the Kappa 8. They disappear and have a great tonal balance. The friend that has my old set has changed everything in his system accept the Kappa 8 and the Threshold SA 1A monoblocks. He has tried other speakers but keeps comming back to his original choice. ML are bright as niles on chalkboard. The Kappa 9 the bass is muddy and fat confused and incoherrent.
I think I've ruled the K9s out, if at least only because I have other 'worthy' box speakers like Infinity Crescendo 3009's, Vandersteens, RTA15TL;s, NS-500M's, AR9s, 240Ti's, L100's (4 sale here) etc etc...and I also have SMGa's and MGIIa's...I'm just experimenting, looking for a better sound than last week...I have way too many speakers here, but I'm having fun experimenting with them all...
Today's addition to the short-list of what I'll buy next are: Thiel CS3.5's.
In terms of bargains the Kappa 8 is one of the best out there, if you can find one with good drivers near you. An Adcom GFA-555 will power them quite adequately, so you don't have to spend a ton of money to power them either.
If you want to drive to Mid-Michigan to hear a pair I'd be happy to oblige, while I'm home late December-early January.
Kappa 9s are, IMO, the worst of the Kappa bunch, and yes I am familiar with them. I've had a lot of Infinity speakers, and I would take RS 2.5s or 4.5s, or a lot of the RS models, before I would take the Kappa 9s. The enclosure is not big enough for those 2 big woofers, and the bass is muddy. The Martin Logans are a better speaker, but if you decide on the Kappas, make sure the dome mid is still translucent and soft. If it is turning yellow and opaque DO NOT buy them. That means the dome mid is on the way out, and they are virtually irreplaceable. Believe me, Ive tried.
You might consider listening to some Vandersteens. They are a wonderful speaker, the best in their price range.
Good Luck, Martin.
Sorry, I didn't read all your responces, so didn't know that you had Vandersteen 2Ces already. The 2Ce Signature is a marked improvement over the 2Ce. Better imaging and seperation, richer mids, faster bass, and they are a remarkably open speaker. I don't think you can classify Vandersteen as a box speaker though. As for the Kappa 9s, they will be superior to those Circuit City Infinity Crescendos. Infinity really took a nose dive after Harmon Kardon bought them. Sad.
Old and true is fun, and I'd like to have 1964 GTO, but it wouldn't be my everyday ride. The same goes for the MGIIAs. A great speaker in it's day but they're 30 years old. And the Kappas are 1987. I think technology has made a superior speaker possible. Of course if you're just buying to have fun that can be a treat also.
Watch out for those Thiels. I've always thougt they were a litle brittle and they can be hard to drive.
Well, I have to admit, I have Vandy 2C's and 3's, no 2Ce's though they are available locally. I'm going to hear the ML's today...I wonder if the muddy-bass issue will show up for me...I'm not real big on a lot of bass, but I think I know muddy when I hear it. I've had some McIntosh XR1051's, and I thought they were very good, non-fatiguing, but muddy bass.
The CS3.5'sa re a drive away so I won't hear them for a few weeks at best. I'll report on what I hear today...