Mag 3.6R or 20.1 , Sanders & Montana EPS2

After 20 years of void & darkness, I set out this new audio venture thinking Maggie 3.6R is all I ever needed.

But after driving 200 miles to listen a pair of Maggie 3.6R, my soul wasn't satisfied.

So, I went to Las Vegas T.H.E. show.
I wanted to listen to a pair of Maggie that is well matched up by a manufacturer themselves. (which was Bryston 28BSST with new Mag 1.7 & center piece)

Even the manufacturer's demo didn't convinced me...

So I looked around, and found two speakers that standed out.

One was Sanders Electrostatic Model 10 speakers and
the other was PBN Montana ESL 2. (Both are around $10K per pair.)

Sanders speakers were stunningly clear and focused. Imaging was incredible. All I can say is Clean, Pure & deliver excellent sound from high note to low.

The sound was so clear, it almost made me uncomfortable.
Never heard nothing like this before...

The other speaker I really liked was Peter's Montana ESP 2.
Just a wonderful speaker that moved my soul...
The music flowed effortlessly. I don't know how to describe.... just beautiful.

Maggie, Sanders, and Montana... each has a different character and taste. Like wine... Cab, Merlot & Zin all have different charcteristic...

Maggie probably has most warmth and air, like Renoir's painting not sure where the line starts and ends.

On the other hand, the Sanders speaker was probably most accurate and clear but somewhat lacking in warmth and naturalness (for my taste anyway)

Peter's Montana - comes in some where inbetween the two... well balanced, opening up nicely,... just made my heart warm in satisfaction...


Sorry for the long intro...

Anyway, here is my question.

If anyone had these speakers over the long period of time, could you give your likes and dislikes? (especially weakness or problems if any)


I have owned maggies (1.6 and 3.5) and owned several models of Peter's speakers - SP2, SPX, and EPS2.

The Maggies do what they do, and if you like that, nothing else will work for you. I still respect them, if not love them. But I moved on. Montanas are a very natural sounding speaker that don't do anything wrong and sound very good most of the time. However, transparency is not their strong suit. And sometimes there is a slight boxy coloration. This was more prevalent with the larger EPS2. Nothing noticeable until you compare them to something that doesn't have this. Believe it or not, it was a small pair of GMA Callistos that upset the Montana applecart for me. I have since moved on to Piegas, which are another league completely.

With all that having been said, Peter makes some wonderfully musical speakers. I still have fond memories of my SP2s, which I think were the sweet spot of his older models. Not sure if they are even made anymore. If given the choice between a Montana and a Maggie, I think I'd opt for the former. But my suggestion would be to broaden your horizons a little.

I have owned Montanas (EPS-2's) for over a year now and I have to say I disagree with Shakey. I went from B&W N803's to the Montanas and it has made the biggest improvement to my system I have ever noticed. With my set up they are as transaparent as I have ever heard a speaker and offer an very complete sound from top to bottom. If you happened to go to the presentation given by Harry Pearson, trust YOUR ears and musical taste. If the Montanas made you feel the best, go with the Montanas regardless of what we say. Good luck!
Hi Shakey,

Thanks for your input on this - good to hear from someone who had both Maggie and Montana.

Forgive me for my ignorance... but what is "boxy coloration" ?

Since you liked Maggie and Montana, you and I seem to have similar taste in speakers. (which is a good news for me. I can narrow down to few speakers)

I looked up Green Mountain speakers.
Europa, Calisto, Calypso, Continuum 3, and EOS.

How many of these have you tested?
Which did you like the most?
I will definitely test drive them.

Uhm....Broaden my horizon?

But you know what? Everytime I try to broaden my horizon, the budget goes up ! (My wife is going to kill me if she finds out my budget went up by another 50% :O)

Are there any other speakers I must/should test them before making a decision?

(I've already acquired Bryston 14BSST & Cary CAD 500 MB which I was going to match up with Maggie 3.6R. But now I may go for something else... after matching with my new speaker, I will sell one of the lesser performing amp.

Also bought Cary audio SLP 98P. Now, I just need a pair of speakers ! Can't wait any more !!)

Happy listening,

I'm just talking out of my @@s but if you like the sound of big panels and you have the room and power to drive them the 20.1s are a nice robust system. The ESLs are a bit more delicate (mechanically).
All the choices in your subject header are good enough that proper setup would be more important than selection.

Thanx, Russ
I have owned the Isis III electrostats since 04, but find that the treble on Sander's (Innersound) product aggravates the ringing in my ears unlike more conventional speakers. I have to admit that my choice of an Edge G6 amplifier may not be ideal for an electrostat, however.
Hi 605 hifi,

Yes, I trust my judgement. Afterall, I AM the one who will listen and enjoy the music, not the critics.

But I do respect other Audiophiles with great knowledge in audio, especially those who have similar taste bud as mine.



Hmmm, I haven't had a chance to listen to 20.1 yet.
I thought the Magnepan company would bring their top of the line to the show (my mistake...)

What do you mean by "delicate"?

Yes, set up !

I do believe set up is one of the most important part in audio system afte speaker and source.

One of my old friend specialized in concert hall design.
He promised to come to my home and help me set up the listening room in April.

We'll ses how much difference that will make to over all sound....



I hear what you mean...
I really liked Sanders speakers, and yet something was bothering me.... (I can't quite pin point what it is... but when I listen to his speaker, I seem to get more tense than relax... his speaker demands undivided full attention from the listener.)

I think I will eventually buy one of Sanders' speaker someday, if I can find a way to soften up the sound a bit.

Mr. Sanders does not belive in tubes but I a feeling that turb preamp might just do the trick... will see.

Thanks for all your inputs !


I owned a pair of Innersound Eros 3's and they were outstanding. Never a problem with the treble. I have not heard the newer Sanders speakers but my bet is that he has improved the sound from his Innersound days.
i think a good alternative to the sanders speakers (i almost bought a pair of his pure electrostatic, not the one exhibited at the show, which is a hybrid), is eithr the apogee duetta signature or the analysis audio epsilon (more money, however). i have heard the montanas and i concur with the observation that they exhibit cabinet colorations), i.e., the enclosure is excited at certain frequencies. thus i don't like "box spekares). the closeset i ever came tobuying one was the vandersteen 2c.

Have you heard Martin Logan Spire or Summit x? If so how do they compare to the Sanders? On paper they look similar. I thought both the Spire and Summit had GREAT detial with some what laid back highs. You might really like them. Used spires go for a out $4500 on here.

But I have never heard the Sanders and thy maybe all around better. For what it is worth I thought the Magnepan 3.6 and 20.1 were a little better than the Martin Logan line. Well maybe just different, not better... The sound stage was larger and the bass was more natural (and intigrated) on the 3.6R than the Spire.

As always your own ear's know best.
Hey Jon,

Glad you got by Roger's room while at T.H.E. Show. (Full Disclosure - I've been a member here for almost 9 years and am now married to Roger 3/3/9 [square root day] ;} ).

Roger has additional options with crossover control these days and when you want to know more, you should just call him. You can have virtually infinite control over how the speakers sound.

Harry Pearson came by on Saturday and wants to review the speakers, so you can look for that sometime this year. We'll be shipping things out in the next week or so to him. Harry has reviewed Roger's earlier products (Innersound Eros in 1998 and ESL amp in 2000); so he is very familiar with what Roger's products can do. We are excited to see what he thinks of all the improvements that have been made over the years.

One last thing of note: There are a lot of Martin Logan owners that now have Roger's ESL amp. We feel that their forum is a proponent of Roger and we have a really good relationship with Tom and the guys over there.



I never heard Innersound, so I can't say the new one is any better... but sure blew my mind away!

Just like Maggie's fan, those who like Roger's speakers swears that his speakers are the best.
And Roger back up his babies with life time gurantee (That's a quite a statement - I just hope Roger will live longer than me :0)


Mr Tennis,

Thanks for explaining Box coloration...
I went to Montana's showroom 3 times, but didn't notice any of those...



No, I never tried Martin Logan but Roger told me they make pretty good lower priced eletrostatic speakers.

But if I ever buy elctrostatic speakers, it will be a Sanders speaker, period.

I spoke with Roger for quite long time at the show.
He is a down to earth, no BS, straight forward guy.



Ahhhhh so..... you are the lucky gal who married Roger, huh? (Or is it the other way around? :0)

I went to Rogers show room every day (twice a day) for 3 straight days to get a FIX of awesome sound of sonic !

As a newbie to audio, I asked Roger many STUPID questions but he patiently explained to me a lot of things from Ohm's law to what is the most important thing in setting up an audio system.

I wish Roger's speaker to be sucessful and grow so that many more audiophiles can enjoy pure sound in the future.

But it seems he doesn't want to expand his business... I know it is none fo my business, but please make sure he trains and groom someone... so that Sanders name and his speakers will continue on...

Nice chatting with you Angela,


Jon, I own Innersound Kayas. If you want to soften up the sound some, I suggest a good tube preamp.

Rogers speakers deserve the best upstream equipment you can afford.

I recently upgraded from an Aesthetix Calypso pre to an Aesthetix Callisto Partial Eclipse pre into a Innersound DPR-500 amp. I could not be happier with this combo.

I would pick the Sanders 10b over ML Summits. I like the Summits but they have a lowish soundstage and are not quite as clear sounding. I have not heard the Summits in my own system so it could have been the electronics.

As far as electrostats being fragile. That is simply not the case with Roger Sanders designs. You can crank these up higher than is good for your hearing (100db+) and they will still play clean.


With the DCX crossover, you can easily adjust the midrange and treble of the 10b to your taste (lots of experimentations required though). It will keep you busy for a long while =)
for the record Roger Sanders Invented the culvlinear panel that Martin Logan uses ,then after further research came to the conclusion that that was wrong for several reasons His website is brilliant and several hours to read all the information available on his site.Roger is considered the
Einstein of Electrostatic loudspeakers.His new line Just received a Golder Ear award from The Absolute Sound magazine , as well as other places .The model 10 now uses a outboard Digital crossover which is far better than the older analog type ,The stat panel runs clean ,and the
seperate Bass ampliifer it comes with for the superb True Transmission line woofer is seamless .This speaker Now is the best under $20k speaker IMO.