Martin Logan Montis vs Magico S1 vs sub with Micro Utopias


Hoping for some suggestions regarding either new speakers or adding a subwoofer to my current system.  Here's my current system:
- Tyler Acoustics D2 speakers
- JM Lab Mircro Utopia speakers (non BE)
- Yamaha AS3000 integrated amplifier
- PS Audio Directstream Jr with Bridge
- Cabling is Acoustic Zen Absolute Copper
- Apple MacMini utilizing iTunes with BitPerfect as well as Tidal and MQA
- Current room is 16' by 14' with relatively hard surfaces and area rugs.  Some absorption.

Musical preferences are all over the place with pop, classical, bluegrass, jazz, electronica, some world music. Again kind of all over the place. I tend to value a spacious kind of sound, detail without fatigue hence what I like about the D2's and the soft dome tweeter. I used to listen at much louder volumes than I do now so ultimate loudness just isn't as important as it used to be.

I have had Tyler Acoustic D2 speakers and have really enjoyed them over the years. I used them in a fairly large space 24' by 28' or so and they worked really well in that basement music/home theatre set up. I have since moved and my new music room (no home theatre) is 16' by 14'. The Tyler's are pretty big physically and they play nice in the smaller space but I felt they were better in the larger room, I guess related to that more spacious sound I prefer.

Recently I purchased JM Lab Micro Utopias with the thought of having a separate tube based system in addition to the Tylers. I used to own Mini Utopias with a tube integrated and loved that combination but as will happen I sold it off for other combinations. I have been switching back and forth between the Tylers and the Mircros and while the bass response is no contest between the two I have really enjoyed the resolution and spaciousness of the Mircros while still have pinpoint imaging, and teamed with the Yamaha it is a really good match. I think what I really like is the coherence of the two drivers in the Micro versus the four drivers of the D2. BUT as you would guess there needs to be more bass response with the Micros even though they are surprisingly good in that department. So some variant of a two way system is what I've been thinking.  

With all of that said what do you think of the three speakers listed originally? Magico S1 versus Martin Logan Montis versus my current JM Lab Mircro Utopias (non BE by the way) with a new subwoofer. I like that spacious, coherent and boxless sound of the ML's, though I have not heard the Montis. I haven't heard the Magicos but boy based on what I've read seem like something up my alley. Or do I stick with the Micro Utopias and hope for good integration with a sub, or is that a futile hope? While I really like the Tylers I'm just ready to try something new in this space while focusing on coherence and resolution.

I appreciate your comments.  Thanks everyone.  Don
arch2
BTW I should also mention that with the exception of a sub in my previous home theatre I don't really have any experience trying to implement a subwoofer into a music only system.  I did have active speakers in the past with limited success.  Thanks again. Don
Hope this helps, we have a customer with the Montis, sold years ago the JM Labs, and have heard the  Magico S1 at numerous shows.

The concept of adding a sub to a mini monitor doesn't work that well in real life, the sub never sounds completely blended, and the monitors will sound bigger, but  will still sound smaller than a true full range speaker.

The Magico S1 are good but do not have the same sense of richness in the midrange as the JM Labs. The S1 tweeter is good but believe it or not the Diamond coating on the Magico actually over damps the Beryilium  tweeter leading to slightly recessed upper treble.

The new A3 may be the  better, it is a true three way and it is half the price of the S1, only time will tell once they are released in February.

If you want a spooky transparent sound, a huge sound stage and a very tight deep bass, look at the new Paradigm Persona 3F or the larger 5F.

The Personas have the speed of the electrostatic speakers with a more holographic sound stage, they are very revealing.

The Personas use the most advanced drivers on the market today with a pure Beryilium  tweeter and midrange, coupled with some magical technology called a phase aligned lens which shapes the waveform to eliminate out of phase info, the result huge focused soundstage.

The Paradigms are a tour de force design from Paradigm.

The Montis are great all around speakers, the biggest issue with them is a slightly recessed upper treble and they are not super dynamic, they are also diapole which means they will bounce equal energy off the back wall, therefore the image will be big but diffuse.

You need to go listen as carefully as you can to all of these speakers, they are all excellent.

If you are in our neck of the woods you should give the Personas a listen they are pretty fantastic.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

Thanks audiotroy. Actually I have a local dealer who sells the Paradigm Personas and had the opportunity to listen to them locally and at Axpona last year. In fact that was the very first room I went to in Chicago. Not sure why, but I wanted to love them but ultimately didn't. I don't remember which floor stander I listened to and which electronics they were mated with but they seemed to lack body in my evaluation. Precision instruments that just didn't engage me. I think they are phenomenally good and do as you say but just didn't ring my bell. At the same dealer I listened to the Paradigms next to the B&W 803 d3. Those are the first B&W's I've ever fallen in love with. Loved them, but just can't swing that kind of price.

Maybe I should go back to my original idea and use a full bodied tube amp or integrated with the micro utopias and just forgo the deeper bass. But I really love my Yamaha. First world problems.
I don’t have the experience of Dave and Troy, I just want to comment on the Montis. I have heard others also say that they do not have great dynamics, but unless dynamics are really important to you, they will probably be good enough. They will not flap your pants legs when there’s a big bam in the music.

If you have to place them really close to the front wall the dipole pattern would probably be a problem but if you can get the panels out about 3 feet you should be OK. You can also experiment with diffusion panels behind them. I tried absorption and it deadened the sound. Box speakers radiate sound 360 degrees around themselves so you will also have to deal with room interactions with boxes.

The Montis is a very transparent and resolving speaker. It will let you know how good or bad your electronics and recordings are. It throws a big soundstage completely free of the speakers themselves. I don’t know how they compare with the Paradigms in that respect, but they do that better than most box speakers.  Maybe Dave or Troy can tell you how they compare to box speakers in that area.

The Montis is very coherent. I have listened to cellos and clarinets go back and forth over the crossover point (it’s about in the middle of their ranges) and could not hear any change in the sound. I’m sure somebody can though.

That’s my experience. I think the Montis is a really good speaker but I can’t say how it compares with the many other good speakers out there.
The Montis is an excellent choice for what the OP is looking for. Now that they are discontinued you can find them for a great price. 
Tomcy6 would you describe the Montis as full bodied or more neutral? I don't think I'm as concerned with deep bass as long as the sound isn't thin. As you allude to the dynamics of the Montis may in fact be good enough based on my listening preferences but I don't want precision at the expense of body and weight, again at moderate volumes. BTW I could place the speakers as much as 42" from the front wall without too much problem. Thanks.
I don't know if this will help but ... the Montis is neutral but not lean sounding.  In the past I had always bought speakers that were a little on the warm side because I dislike lean, thin or cool sound. 

My speakers before the MLs were Dali Helikon 400s and they were a little warm. Nice speakers but I wanted better.  I got the MLs and they didn't have that warm sound but aren't lean or cool either.  Clean, clear and open is how I'd describe them.  Your electronics will determine where they fall on the lean to rich spectrum.
That does help. Thanks for your comments. Don
One more thing, MLs are a tough speaker to drive.  You need a stout amp.  If its solid state it should double down from 8 to 4 ohms and even better double again to 2 ohms. 

If you haven't read the thread, "My Long List of Amplifiers and My Personal Review of Each!" he starts out with Montis speakers and gives his impressions of various amps he has tried with them.  On about page 4 he lists his recommended amps for MLs:

With all that said, I have my top 4 for electrostatics:
1. Mc2301s (#1 by a huge margin)
2. Mc275s
3 pass Labs 250.8
4. Pass Labs 350.5

He uses the Mc275s in mono mode so you'd need 2 of them.  There is something about tube amps being voltage sources which makes them more suitable for electrostatics.  Solid State amps are current sources making ESLs  harder for them to drive.  I don't understand how this works.  It's got something to do with how the amp sees the speaker.  

There is also a review of the Montis on the Stereophile website that might be helpful.
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Mcintosh does seem to be be a popular pairing with ML but I plan on sticking with my Yamaha AS3000 integrated if I were to go with the Montis. I have really enjoyed the 3000 over the past couple of years with its slightly warm, spacious, and detailed sound. If I were to switch back to tubes I have been eyeballing an Audio Research REF75 and go the separates rout again, but I wouldn't be able to do a speaker and amp upgrade at the same time.
For what it is worth I have the Montis powered by Pass INT-150.  Works well for me.