While I myself have not run the Summits, I am somewhat familiar with the demands of these speakers and also with MLs to a much lesser degree.
First thing is you should check out the ML owners site (just google it and it will show up first) and you will get very good feedback on this.
I think you will likely need something high current and high power with the ability to manage a low ohm load. A Krell would be one example of such an amp. If you are running something in the mid level range of amps (ie. Rotel, Adcom, B&K, etc. . .) the amp is not likely to hold up to the demands and the result is exactly as you describe.
...i have a friend that has 'summits' and ..as ckoffend suggested,.uses krells' to drive his and the match is great...no clipping at any level...hope this helps..
You might want to check out the Innersound amps. They were designed for this exact purpose, and they really are quite good. Their output remains steady all the way down to 1/2 ohm. There are several currently listed at great prices.
I'm running a Pass Labs X250 with a pair of ML reQuests, which are MUCH harder to drive than the Summits and they are a wonderful match.
Also, a couple of guys on the ML Club site are using Plinius with very very good results too...
I've heard the Innersound amps are phenomenal with stats too, but haven't had the pleasure..
Martin Logan uses Mac and Parasound Halo equipment at the Audio shows, so those are two other brands that mate well..
Sunfire gear is also a good match..
Lots of options..
I also am running ML ReQuests. I've used Levinson ML334, Plinius SA102, Plinius SA 250 MK IV, and a BAT VK250 with the bat pak. The speakers didn't really keep up with the rest of the theater until i moved to the big plinius. With that amp i overdrove the room before the speakers or the amp even blinked. I got bored and moved to the BAT. I am having the same experience with it as the plinius, except that the imaging and depth have audibly increased.
I do like to listen loud, and these speakers are very transparent. You will end up driving them very loud before you get the same kind of 'full' feeling you get from traditional drivers.
So...relative to your experiences. The levinson and the smaller plinius would not drive the speakers to a level I was happy with. I was worried that i would cause either speaker damage or hearing damage with the SA250. I think that may have been because the Plinius had just an edge to it that made me feel they were stressing. With the BAT, the system seems effortless, and i drive the system to the level i like to listen without any feeling that they are stressing.
Hope that helps.
I have heard the Summits run with Mac 501s at a dealer with good results. Parasound Halo JC-1s would probably work well also.
I'm running Innersound Kayas with a Parasound Halo A21. This combo will go over 100 dbs with out clipping but I think they would benifit from more power.
I think the Innersounds are about as tough a load as the Summits.
Objective1, you made the following statement (below):
"I do like to listen loud, and these speakers are very transparent. You will end up driving them very loud before you get the same kind of 'full' feeling you get from traditional drivers."
Correct me if I have mis-interpreted your comment. Are you saying that the Martin Logans need to be played fairly loud (in comparison to cone speakers) to get the same full performance? Without playing the MLs loud, do you find that they lack the luster and excitement and sound somewhat dull at the lower volume levels?
Reason for my question is that I recently purchased a pair of ML Quest Zs and find them dull unless I really crank them up louder than I like to listen. I have suspected that they may need new panels as the existing panels are aging and "wearing out" or "tiring".
Thanks if you don't mind elaborating on your statement (I am not challenging you, just seeking your input and clarification).
Well tks guys for your feedback, i have never encountered speakers with low ohm before, so probably i have to try them with a high current amp first before a final judgment is made.
ckoffend i wouldnt say they are dull when played low, but probably its an electrostatic feature, as i have tried beside these pair the quad electrostatic and a couple of other MLs, and i found there performance at higher volume levels is very different from lower levels, that some times it gives me the impression that its a completly different speaker, however their transaprency when played at low level is enjoyable as well except for the bass reproduction which i would say is less exciting IMHO...
FWIW, I put new panels in over the weekend. They have livened up at lower, but not low listening levels. I typically run Wilson W/P and the two speakers are very different in many regards. This fact (with mine) just being one of them. The MLs have a great, large sound stage and other attributes, as well.
Gosh, I run my Summits with a vintage Yamaha MX-2000. Plenty of power and no clipping, ever.
Very satisfying. I understand the Summits are not as difficult to drive as some of their earlier models...
Hey Tdacquisto, what pre-amp are you using with your Pass Labs x250? I have a matching x-1 pre and x250 driving BW N802's, which are power hungry and they do the job. I have been thinking about trying the Pass combo with the ML Summits. I've only heard the Summits driven with a set of Mac tubes and they sounded wonderful, very similar, imho, to the BW 802's but definitely a different "footprint". I wonder how many other ML Summit owners here use SS vs Tubes?
I have the Summits and drive them with the Rogue Audio M-150 monos with Golden Lion KT88 reissue driver tubes. They sound great together. My wife says I listen pretty loud but I have never measured. The amps have never clipped. I agree with earlier posts that summits and maybe all Martin Logan need to be played a little louder than other speakers to expose their full potential, which imho is very good.