Martin Logan SL3 vs Ascents

Hi there. I recently heard a pair of martin logan ascents in a shop and thought they were great.

However, they seem harder to come by, and more expensive than a pair of SL3`s. How do these newer Martin Logans compare with the older ones?


There was a thread about this at, forum section. Check it out and decide for yourself.
I believe if you are "oldschool" you will claim that the SL3 sounds better. But if you are young like me, then there is no way that the SL3 is better than the Ascents.
It is just basic logic. A company that wants to move forward will not make a model who is inferior (Ascents replaces the SL3)than what it wants to replace.

Anyway, go to the website's archives( and check the discussion out.

hope this helps
Generally the SL3s are better, esp. for the money. Amandarae's premise is flawed. There's numerous examples of companies (including martin logan) where the replacement does not equal the previous generations of gear. Anything recent by marantz, mcintosh qualifies as far as amps, and sony has yet to better the SCD-1.

Sorry Ed, I respectfully disagree! The SL3s are certainly not better in terms of performance - the Ascents better them in just about every way, especially in the low mids and downwards.

I've got nothing against SL3s - you're correct in that they can be had relatively inexpensively and can be a dandy bargain, but head to head the SL3 is no match for the Ascent.
My premise is flawed?

Do me a favor, if you have both of them (SL3's and Ascents)as I have (I got the Ascents, my friend who lives 2 blocks away have the SL3's)access to them compare it with equal electronics and make your decision.

There are lot's of companies whose replacement products does not equal to the previous generation I agree, but I respectfully disagree that Martin Logan is one of them by just a single argument alone. They are still doing great business and introduces new products year by year! Also, the most important thing, people are buying them!

I have nothing about the SL3's at all. I am just stating my opinion of the comparison base on my experience. Please, do not take it too personal. What will your reaction be if I am the one telling you that "your premise is flawed"?

Ahh...conventional ethics and respect to one's opinion....what ever happened to them.......?
While I can not help you decide which is better between the SL3 and the Ascents, I can agree with the premise that a replacement product may not be "better" than the product it replaces.

For example, I used to own the ML Sequel II's and I much prefered them to the SL3 which replaced it. I felt the soundstage was fuller, especially vertically.

I highly recommend you trying to listen to whichever speakers make your shortlist using similar electronics to get what you feel sounds best to YOU.
(Perhaps you can bring along your CD player to both dealers so that at least the front end will be exactly the same).

Good Luck in your search! (Especially since I probably muddied the waters for your decision!)
This is the premise that is flawed: "It is just basic logic. A company that wants to move forward will not make a model who is inferior (Ascents replaces the SL3)than what it wants to replace."

In general, ML has raised prices and not raised quality to match. I agree, the SL2 has a lot over the SL3 - just look at the difference in panel size. Differences vs. SL3 and ascent - I should hope the ascent is better, for the price increase! Still, I'd take the SL3. Better value, as good sound (IMNSHO). The real bargain is the Aerius i. Currently I use CLS (I), which in my opinion and that of many others, is the best of the CLS lineup, which in itself is in many ways the best speaker ML ever made. A shame they discontinued it. Apparently Innersound has a large full-rangish panel speaker coming out soon, but will be pretty high priced (unfortunately) from what I hear. Anyway, digressing a bit here...

Hi Ed,

You have raised some rather valid points regarding why you favor the SL3 over the Ascents. However it is incorrect to state that ML "has raised prices" and assume that they have not "raised quality to match." The prices have to match the costs of producing the products- the Ascents have a totally new driver and parts and the costs reflect the latest technology that ML has incorporated. MLs have never been bargain specials and are firmly entrenched in high-end audio territory. The high-end business is a tough market and ML has never been cheap in their attention to their products. The costs of manufacturing are high even now, and so it makes sense that the speakers will be a little more in pricing. Yet in the high-end speaker market, they are reasonably priced.

If you look at the latest line of ML speakers and products, you can see that the company has made great efforts to increase the quality of their products.

I own a pair of Aerius i's and do find that the older models have a fantastic magical quality in the mid-range but honestly the ESL/woofer integration in the newer models are better and the bass is stronger. There is more character and punch in the new line. Does it mean I am going to give up my Aerius i's? No- I appreciate what my speakers can do but it is also nice to know that ML continues to improve their products which gives me additional reassurance in the name.

Whatever the case is, there are ML speakers to fit many different budgets including the older models. There is nothing wrong if you prefer the SL3s over the Ascents, since that is your preference. Everyone has their own personal tastes. However, Martin Logan can never and I repeat, never be accused of selling out and not raising the quality of their products. This is one company that never rests on their laurels and be content. The proof is in their sales, innovation, quality, and selection. After so many years, the company has never looked healthier and their new line of products including their second generation ESL panels are keeping this company at the forefront of electrostatic/hybrid speaker manufacturers.

I've been away from this forum for a while and dropped in to find this tiff over ML speakers, past and present. Why is it any time someone voices a different opinion from another's the ad hominem attacks follow? Ed makes a valid point about Amandarae's premise - Amandarae then accuses him of breaching conventional ethics and (paraphrasing here) disrespecting her opinion. Whew!

I have a full complement of MLs: Ascents, Aerius i, and Cinema.... love them all. However, I also agree with Ed that the CLS is the best speaker they've ever made.....IF, and that's a big "if", you can accept their limitations on the bottom end; i.e, it is not there. The dynamic range is also nothing to write home about. Nonetheless they are amazing speakers, especially when used for chamber and small ensemble music.

Have been in this crazy hobby a long time and have seen numerous examples where "upgrades" and/or "improvements" were in fact retrograde. (Someone cited McIntosh and Marantz -- you could add Aragon to that list, IMO.)

I'll probably get flamed for this. Fine. Do your worst! But the point is still valid that not every advertised step forward is such, regardless of the intentions of the designer. Does any company do this deliberately? Well, that seems doubtful to me. Would any of these designers admit in the still watches of the night that they wish they hadn't released this or that? Of course! Have any of you ever wished you had or hadn't done something???

I've met Gayle Sanders and can assure you his driving passion is to offer the best technology can bring to bear consistent with the respective price points. You can believe what you like, but his integrity and honesty are refreshing. (In fact, one could take the latest and limited release of the CLS update as a tacit admission that maybe ML should have continued offering them.)

Me? I'm happy to own Logans of any type and plan to stay with them because to my ears they get closer to the musical truth than all but the most hideously expensive box speakers. Unless you're as wealthy as Croesus, you wil always have to compromise in this hobby, as perfection can be approached but not reached.

My kevlar vest and asbestos suit are on. All my comments are meant respectfully to all here and you're perfectly free to disagree. But don't take them personally, as they are not written as such.
Whoooo wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Amandarae: Your opinion is perfectly valid. It may even be correct. The arguments you provide to bolster your stated position, however, ARE flawed. A perfect example is your comment:

"They are still doing great business and introduces new products year by year! Also, the most important thing, people are buying them! "

Ok, so by your stated premise, Britney Spears is a cultural treasure because people buy her records, and the Quarter pounder with cheese is gourmet food. Bose speakers are the best, because people buy the most of them, too. Good sales does not necessarily indicate good product. In addition, M-L retailers don't have a pair of SL-3s set up next to the Ascents, do they? You say you have listened to both with the same system-- tell us how they SOUND. Please.

Does that make sense? I'd like to know why you think the SL-3 inferior to the Ascent, in terms of SOUND QUALITY, not sales performance and M-L marketing strategy.

Personally, I live in ignorance land about most of the new M-L speakers because I'm afraid if I go look at them I'll come home with a pair and my SL-3s are not yet the weak point of my system.

Lastly, to pretty much everyone on Audiogon: It's a tough world. Wear a helmet. It's the internet. It's just audio. Take a deep breath. Realize that sentiments in the written word are not as easy to discern as in face to face conversation. Have a nice day.
Nicely stated Pmkalby. You beat me to it with your analogy re: Bose speakers and Britney Spears.

I don't think that the designer ever has intentions to release an inferior product to its' predecessor. I DO, however, think that they are often pushed to do so by the folks from Sales and Marketing. They need a new product to push. A reason to place another 2 page spread in S'phile et al. Another excuse to submit a hot new product for review by the rags so that can write their "quid" for their "pro quo" (or is it the other way around?). And, finally, they need a reason to justify the new price increase. Don't try to justify the 25% bump by claiming higher parts or build quality. C'mon.

Call my a cynic, but a company the size of ML simply cannot help but to be driven by such motives. They've got bills to pay and stakeholders to satisfy. I don't fault them for it. It's capitalism. But please don't try to argue that all new models are better. (BTW - The original CLS was and is (arguably) the absolute best product that ML ever made - especially considering its' original price point.)

It seems that a lot of you received a supply of Kool-Aid with your purchase. Bottoms up!