Martin Logan Prodigy A speaker for goosebumps
Martin Logan Prodigy – One of the most amazing speakers in the world.....when set up right. And this is the problem, to do it right. That is the reason, why most people do not like electrostats, or at least not the Martin Logan. These are not ready to go speakers, set them down and forget about it? No way! First comes the sweat, and then huge rewards.
I have just returned from a visit to Germany, where I still have a pair of older Martin Logan SL3 speakers, with some really nice German made Mosfet monoblocks and a McIntosh CDP. Not a bad system. One day I was bored and I decided I would try to tweak this system for my father, as best as I could. But to make a long story short: After my experience tweaking these speakers, I understand now exactly, why many audiophiles claim that they have never heard a really good sounding ML speaker.
I was also able to tell at all times that the SL3 was a hybrid speaker in reality. I knew always were the woofer was, the crossover was really audible. I had the impression of two speakers per channel, instead of one. I guess this must be the situation when people claim they have auditioned a Martin Logan speakers and hate the sound. First of all, not very many people will have auditioned a Prodigy though and the chances are that if they did, the speakers were not set up right, or not the right electronics were used to drive these speakers. The Prodigy are one of the most challenging speakers in the world.
Well, after almost 6 month, I can finally tell you a different story and I honestly believe that the Prodigy are some of the finest speakers you can own on the planet. But it was hard work and I had to spend a few bucks to get there.
Allow me first to give you an overview of my current system and tweaks:
AudioMeca Mephisto 24/192 CDP
Wytech Opal pre-amp
2 Wolcott tube monoblocks for the panels
2 German made WBE Mosfet amps for the woofers
All HMS Grand Finale interconnects, speaker cables and power cords
Room tunes and so called Sallies (absorb the back wave, made b Soundlab for their electrostats, but work fine on ML also)
One set of three and one set of 4 Room Lenses and Rollerballs under the CDP, under all amps and the pre and in addition a Mapleshade woodblock under the CDP
I also have the Audiodesk CD lathe, which I use to cut an angle into the cd (I saw this again at the high-end show in Germany and I tell you, it really works) and finally I use Auric cd treatment.
The Wolcott replaced the Bel Canto bridged amps and I finally understood why a few people were praising the ML Prodigy and so many were not. Without the right gear, do not even try to use this speaker, but if you are willing to invest time and some money (but don’t we all do this) these speaker will extremely reward you. But time to set this speakers up is almost as important as the right gear. Toe the speakers in an inch too far and you mess up the bass, put them to closse or too far apart and the soundstage suffers. But if done right: Here comes the WOW factor!
The Wolcott have breathed a new soul into these speakers. Actually the speakers have disappeared when I listen to music. The have the biggest and most refined soundstage I have heard in a long time. I do not hear any crossover between panels and woofers. I have auditioned the Avalon Eidolons with extremely expensive Edge amps, I have auditioned the new Lumenwhite with the new super Vaic SETs. Both of them wonderful speakers, but they were lacking the, what I call, the authority of the Prodigy. When the music sets in with the Prodigy, you know this is not a game anymore. This is serious stuff. The music thunders throughout the room, but never overwhelming, never in your face, never harsh. It is an incredibly refined presentation, which allows you to hear hidden details and you are always aware that here is more in the room than just the music. The music has really come to live with weight, authority and a presence with an almost multi dimensional layer, which I never heard with another speaker before. I have felt completely bathed in music. The music hovers like a shining cloud through the room, the notes have turned into shimmering gold. I have not heard the Soundlab U1 yet, but a gut feeling tells me that this speaker might be in the same league.
After I was able to compare two differnt Martin Logan speakers and being aware how much energy it took to set the Prodigy up right, I really believe that most people did not have the chance to audition a ML Prodigy done right. Nor will they have a chance in the future. You will need a good room, a good setup, so even the numbers of dealers will be rather limited, who can provide everything needed to get these speakers to life and I had almost missed it myself. Had I not bought the Wolcott amps through a lucky coincidence, I would possibly have sold my speakers eventually and blamed the ML speakers for not peforming right.
Now I cannot see another speaker replacing these in a very long time and the electrostatic fever will probably never leave me again.