Martin-Logan as alternative to Magnepan 1.6's

I was in a dealer's showroom today and explained to him what I was trying to do: build a new system that is 90% as good as it gets for placement in a little bit of an ackward room. I had pretty much settled on the Magneplanar 1.6's with an amp "with enough power to run an arc welder". My dealer suggested I consider the Martin-Logan Mosaic or Clarity speakers. Used, I would even consider the Aeon's.

The advantages of the Martin-Logans are a) easier to set up, b) they could be adequately powered by a good hybrid integrated amp ($1500 to $2000 range), and c) their good sound could be appreciated at low volumes better, i.e. if one was hosting a dinner party.

The Martin-Logan Clarity's are about $2600 vs $1750 for the Maggies (plus Mye stands, etc.). How much different are these two speakers? If one of my goals is to produce the feeling of a large open space in which an orchestra or jazz quartet is playing, (with excellent tube electronics and adequate interconnects/speaker cables) will I be able to accomplish this with the M-L Clarity's? Will I be at least 90% there, as compared to what I could do with box speakers (Theil 2.6's would come to mind)?

I expect there are committed fans of each speaker
Which speaker is beside the point. If you've done your homework right in the beginning, I don't believe you're going to get that much better sound from M-Ls without spending a lot more.

Of course, upgrading can be fun.
I too am in the same boat as you.

I am trying to afford some Martin Logans and I have been doing a lot of reading. You could try posting your question at as well, they are really helpful.

My affordable dream speaker is (if I save for a really REALLY long time) an Aeon (i). From what I have read it is really were the ML starts coming together.

From what I have read the Mosaic is more dynamic than the Clarity while the Clarity has a bigger soundstage and a more intamate feel. But it is not until the Aeon that you get more dynamics as well as all the virtues of the ESL.

The Aeon is the also is the cheapest speaker in the ML line that supports an upgradedable power cord and bi-wiring. That says something to me - I would not want to go an lower down the line than the Aeon. Even though it is out of my price range for now.

You could also look on the used market. I constantly have an eye on it and if you are in the right location or are willing to ship it gives you some more options.

I was saying, as I clicked the wrong button, I expect there are committed fans of each speaker manufacturer, and I know I love the magneplaner sound with tube electronics - it's just that I don't think I'll ever get the Maggies set up to sound their best in my living room (not small, but not symmetrical).

Thanks for the advice on; I'll post the same question there.
"The Aeon is the also is the cheapest speaker in the ML line that supports an upgradedable power cord and bi-wiring."
Looks like the Aeon's (used!) could do what I'm asking then. Could one say they might be better than the 1.6's - and not as good (or a matter of opinion) than the 3.6's?

Seems like the M-L Aeon's (for more money than the Magneplanar 1.6's) are quite good - and would surpass the sound (that I like, anyway) of any box speaker.

I'll be glad to hear some more of your comments.
I've owned and enjoyed Maggie's for 20 years (1.6's, 1.5's and smga's)but I'm also a fan of M-L (at friends). I've found the room to make more of a difference than you'd expect and have found cathedral and/or high ceilings to allow Maggies to open up (it might be the larger volume of the room equates to a little higher level). You should listen to both but if your room is not large I would expect the M-L's to be better in a more intimate setting.
Delsfan, having heard Aeon's, SL3's, Prodigy's, and the Aerius, I would suggest sticking with the Magnepans. I've never heard an ML where the woofer integrates seamlessly with the electrostatic panels. I've only ever heard them in a dealer environment, with less than perfect setup, and I know from what other people say that they can sound really good, but I just don't think you'll have the same issues with the 1.6. What is the problem with your room?....remember that planers radiate in a figure 8 pattern so sidewall influences are less than with a typical box speaker. The only real issue I would see is if the wall behind the speaker is uneven, or opens into another room or whatever. You need that wall to be even and parallel with the speaker to reflect evenly back into the room. If you sit fairly 'nearfield' you can eliminate many room influences, with the exception of the wall behind the speaker.
I'd stick with the 1.6 over ML's.
I completely agree with Rooze. With ML integration of woofers is problematic and their sound (at lower frequencies where woofer kicks-in) is room dependent. Few years ago I helped a friend of mine with purchase and a set-up of Magnepans 1.6 and their sound was incredible (If you go with Magnepans, please consider good quality sub-woofer).
I am personally a proud owner of Martin Logan CLS and use 2 separate sub-woofers to avoid problems with integration.
I had once faced the same choices that you are, I went with the Maggies because, to my ears, the ML are colored, at certain notes, I could hear the tzzz of the mylar. For me to pick speakers, I shouldn't be able to identify, if blind folded, the line of speakers playing, with the ML's, I could. Also agree with those that mentioned the cone and 'stat integration. Use music that go to the extreme scales to see how well they integrate.
I had Sequel II´s, SL-3´s and reQuests before I decided to switch to the Maggie 3.6´s. I´ve never regretted the decision.
"The only real issue I would see is if the wall behind the speaker is uneven, or opens into another room..."

That's my problem, there is a cased opening behind where I sit. It is about 6' wide, starts about 2' on my right (and behind me) and extends to the left. My speakers will be about 2-1/2' to 3' out from the front wall. There will be about 7' - 8' from the speakers to where I sit, then another 6' or so from me to the back wall (and opening).

From the left speaker to the side wall is about 8'; from the right speaker to the side wall is about 20'.

Does the opening behind my seating area (just the one chair for serious listening) eliminate Maggies?

Will M-L's be any better in this situation?

I'll be listening to jazz and vocals a lot, the occasional pop tune, usually at not too high of a volume, much of the time while working around the house. However, if I'm going to spend $6K minimum (and that's if I buy some used equipment) and go to the effort of maintaining tube electronics, just to play CD's, I want the system to be between really good and astounding when I sit to listen seriously.

Thanks again for your comments.
Greetings, I'm enjoying reading the threads here on ML vs. Maggie. I went through the same questions; which speaker is going to be a better match for my room, system, etc. about two years ago.
I was blessed to be able to travel to Audio Consultants in Libertyville, Illinois, where they sold both Maggie and ML speakers. This was the ideal. My wife and I (four ears of analysis better than two) auditioned both speakers extensively. We both preferred the openness, clarity and tightness of the Maggie 1.6. Besides, it was cheaper! (I have to admit, that may have been an influence as well.)

I was not impressed w. the ML bass cone/esl interface. It seemed contrived. Two technologies not meant to be joined in my mind. It may work much better in their upper line, but at the $2,600 level it wasn't happening well.

Proper subwoofer integration with the 1.6 is critical. There are only a handful of subs which can blend seamlessly with them. One is the Vandersteen 2w sub, which I own a pair of. They are a terrific value in subs. Extremely musical; wonderful for two channel listening with the Maggies. It's a match made in Heaven acoustically speaking. I would strongly suggest a pair, if you can afford it, since you do get a fair amount of info coming through L/R channels even at low frequencies. You dont' realize how much until you set up two subs.

I believe REL subs also use line level inputs, similar to Vandersteen subs. But REL's are much more expensive. If you can find a used Vandersteen sub for about $600 grab it! You won't be disappointed.

You will need to do some room tuning to get the best from the Maggie, especially since it disperses in the "figure 8" pattern, front and back. I put four acoustic pannels behind the Maggies on the wall, in at right angles. I do NOT have my 1.6's facing straight out, parallel to the walls behind them. I find that there is much better sound toeing them in, similar to box speakers. Others may contend with me on that point... But, especially with the proper room tuning, toeing them in is wonderful.

One last thought; power and lots of it. I was originally driving 1.6's with a Threshold T-50 (50w class A). I thought I had good sound. But, recently boosted power multiples with an Oulaw 755. Now, I have two channels of 200wpc into EACH Maggie. I'm bi-amping and bi-wiring each speaker. WHOA! Supreme upgrade, serious improvement in clarity, sense of spaciousness,etc. I can only imagine what would be the sound with an upscale multichannel amp!

If you would like to see it, I have recently posted my Home Theater/Listening room here on Audiogon. It's in the virutal systems, Home Theater area. It's entitled The "Bottom Feeder's" HT, and I have pics.

Blessings, and enjoy the delemma. Audio problems are the best kind to have!

Delsfan, there are a couple of subtle but important points to clear up here. First, you referred to my comment about having a solid and parallel wall behind the speaker, and then commented on the wall behind your listening seat as being open into another room. We are talking about two different walls here. It is less of an issue that the wall behind your chair is uneven, or opens into another room, in fact that might prove a positive benefit. I was referring to the wall behind the speaker, usually referred to as the 'front wall'. Since Maggie's shoot as much sound out to the rear as the front, it helps to have that wall behind the speaker flat. I also mentioned that it should be parallel and Doug picked up on this saying that he prefers some toe-in. Well the wall being parallel does NOT mean that you should not use toe-in. It means that if you measure from the outside edge of the left speaker to the wall behind the speaker, that same distance should be applied to the right the wall is parallel with the plane of the speaker and not running at a tangent to the plane of the speaker. Then, you can adjust the toe-in angle to suit your preference. Adjusting toe-in with Maggie's tends to change the tonal balance and helps compensate for bright/dark sounding equipment. Setting them up without toe-in tends to pull the sound a little towards the leaner side, and adding toe-in makes them a little warmer and more full you can mess around with that as you need to.

If that doesn't make sense, email me privately with your phone number and I'll explain better what I mean over the phone.