martin logan vs magnepan sound

I believe these are both electrostatics. Do they have very different "house" sounds?
The former is an electrostat, the latter planar magnetic. Apples and oranges. The former is like Jezebel, very beautiful on top and mid, bottom end is a different story. Magnepan is a good speaker, cheap but the time and money spent on tweaks to get its fullest will cost you. There is no such thing as overpowered magnepans! Both requres a decent amp.

Me, I will take the maggies if push comes to shove.

Disclaimer: I owned ML Aerius, Aeon, and Ascents. Magnepan 1.6 (two pairs), one stock one modified. I now have a different speakers.


The only ML that was ever fully integrated from top to bottom was the pure electrostatic CLS model (without a cone subwoofer). Otherwise with the exception of the SL3 (to my ears) none of the larger ML offerings had good integration of the electrostatic panel and subwoofer. They aren't bad but I think the Innersound Eros was far superior. The maggies sound more seemless but need lots of current. Properly set up and run the 1.6 maggies are a better buy. ML should consider re-issuing the CLS series.
i have owned magnepans. i currently have 1.6s. i have heard martin logans extensively. my friend has a pair of requests. while the speakers sound different, there are differences between current martin logans and older martin logans. there is a difference between hybrid elctrostatic and full range electrostatic.

personally, i prefer the treble of the martin logans--a bit purer with less timbral errors. i don't like the bass of the hybrids, nor do i like the integration of panels with bass. i am waiting for the new clx, a full range electrostatic
Very different sounds, Logans are not only Electrostat but use a dynamic woofer so bass will be better out of the box but you can add a sub to Maggie and end up with virtually same result. The Logan is not for everyone nor is the Magnepan but I would say more will like the Magnepan long term over the thrilling Logan which may not be exactly the kind of speaker you have forever, dont get me wrong both are great speaker makers but not everyone has the same taste.
I have owned both Planar and Electrostat's......long term investment would be Magnepan for me but they need lots of good clean power and and both need a good sized room to breath and get the best out of them (they cant be close to the wall behind them) Cheers
These are the only two speakers I have been able to live with. I refer to them as Betty and Veronica. If you are familiiar witht the Archie Comics. Betty is the maggie. Veronica is martin logan. I would not say they have house sound. It's more like they both have limitations.Both remain excellent bargains.

Maggies need to be played loud. They are the perfect amplifier load. Room placement is important. Excellent bass coherence. Like Betty the maggies will be happy with dinner and a movie. She also cleans up well and can handle formal affairs just fine. Don't believe maggies don't have bass.
Martin logans are a lot more finnicky. Can sound horrible with wrong equipment or improper room placement. Dinner and a movie just will not get it for them. They prefer formal affairs. Excellent coherence and low level resolution. Small sweet spot. Poor vertical dispersion.
Which is better? I used to say Martin logan. With the ribbon tweeter, I say it's a toss up.
go listen to some Final Sounds. I have the 1000i and they are amazing.
both are still at the top of theie game, but maggies seem to get that loyalty that only a handful of companies get in this fickled hobby. even the inexpensive mmg plays with the kind of realism that collectible/expensive quads are famous for.
I owned the smaller M-L Aerius i's a few years back, and heard some of the larger models at the dealer's. Got to hear a Audio Research VT100 hooked up to both a pair of M-L Requests AND a larger pair of Maggies (forget the model number - 1.3 maybe?) for comparison. Both sounded reeeeal nice. My overall impression of the M-L's (at the dealer's and at home) was that their perspective to me sounds like you are listening to a good band that is in the next room through an open doorway, while the Maggies have more of the in-the-room perspective you'd expect from a dynamic speaker, but "disappear" surprisingly well for such imposing, 6 foot tall speakers. They were also placed WELL into the room (~ 4 ft.) to sound their best, which might not be practical in many home situations.
Could have lived with either, but not in my room sticking 4 feet into the room. Tried out many different speakers before settling on Wilson-Benesch Arc stand-mounted monitors.
When I had to make that choice, I took the Maggies. As many other pointed out, they require a beefy amplifier. I was running them with a Sim Audio W5 and it was a very good match. Today, I would add on my ESL (or quasi ESL for the Maggies...)selection the new series of QUAD 2805 and 2905. These are really superior to the Maggies and ML in every sense. They are the best speakers you could get in the mid frequencies and very easy to drive.

I'm driving a pair of Magnepan MG12QR's with a 35 watt tube amp (Tom Tutay modified/Sound Valves input tweaked by Tom) and a VanAlstine Super PAS3si (VanAlstine Design not Dyna)along with an Oppo 980 and Scott Nixon Tube DAC. It is amazing. I have owned many speakers systems the past 2 years from $500 to $5000 and this is the best sound I have had in a very long time. My room is 14' x13' and I have a 14'ceiling.

In the right room Maggies can give you a presentation that will be very good and maybe not world class but it will leave you feeling great about your purchase. I have heard the Absolute Sound had a review ont he MG12's in the December issue. Check it out. And no, I didn't think the
ST 70 would drive them initially.

If I do come across a Moscode amp or VA hybrid or Counterpoint I may sit the Dynaco aside. But for right now the only benefit I could get is playing it louder and maybe a little tighter bass. The midrange and top end are
as a quad 63 owner and magnepan 1.6 owner, i find the magnepans somewhat peaky in the upper mids/lower treble. while they are highly resolving, they are more inaccurate than the martin logans in the same frequency region. the quad esl is closer to timbral correctness than the newer quads. there has been a degredation in sound in the quads, starting with the 63s, 988/989 and 2805/2905, in comparison to the original quad.

the older martin logans--the cls 2 z, the sequel, the sequel 2, the quest and request, are less flawed in the middle of the midrange on up than the quads and magnepans. the problem with the hybrids is integration.

the apogee duetta signatures should also be considered in this discussion even though not technically a subject of this thread. it is possible that the hew clx will be superior to the quads and magnepans.
I heard a pair of Martin Logans at a show once. I forget which model but they were driven by YBA amps. I was quite impressed. After a bit, I felt a little bit uncomfortable about the integration between the panel and the bass driver however. Whenever I hear electrostatics, I marvel at the quickness and timbral accuracy,...the lack of a boxiness to the sound. Unfortunately, I need a bit of bass. The Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin of my youth won't go away. If someone can invent a truly seamless panel/bass combo, and one which doesn't have to be placed too far out from the wall, there will be many happy audiophiles. I've only ever hear Maggies casually in the background at some stores. I've never paid too much attention to them because I get the impression from others that they need too much space for me to accommodate. They do have quite an enthusiastic cult following though, don't they.
The new Martin Logans sound superb, top to bottom. Integration on these is not a problem, as it was on previous models to some extent. The sound is pure, dynamic, extended and the imaging is spot on. They paint a very clear and pristine picture of the soundscape.

The Maggies, though maybe not as pristine or perfect sounding as the new Logans, exhibit a more realistic and electrifying experience imho. The stage is large, dynamic (they need their power of course) and bloomy. One really gets the "you are there" feeling. The pattern and reflections from their dipole design probably help in this respect. There is an excitement about listening to them that is addictive and, often missing in box speakers - regardless of cost.

Different yes, but I can't imagine not being happy with either assuming you have the room to set these up properly. They need their space to work their best. I would choose either over just about any speaker out there. If you have a limited budget the Maggie is probably your only choice. And, its a darn good one.
hi nealhood:

which martin logans are you referring to ?

the current production hybrids do a terrible job of blending cone with panel, especially since the woofer is crossed over above 200 hz in some models.

the clx is the new full range speaker. hopefully, it will be out soon.
I feel that the current Summit do a very good job of integrating the bass with the panel. I have heard the Maggie 3.6 along with everything (but Alexandria) from Wilson, Vivid, BW, Linn, Sonus Faber (except Elipsa/Strads), Quad 2805 and I feel they run up there with the best of them. Of course, some speakers do some things better, but overall, I feel the current ML Summit offers quite a lot for the money. I, for one, was not impressed by the Quad 2805 in the setup I heard with Naim gear.

The bass just needs to be well calibrated for the room, the 25 and 50hz eq has to be optimized for each setting.

As for the Maggie, they are very good speakers, but I feel like there's a definite discontinuity between with the ribbon tweeter involved.
I like the Maggies. I chose 20.1s as my new speaker replacing ML Aeon i s. I listened to the Summits. They certainly have more bass, but I would not say better. I had to turn down both the 25 and 50 hz bass level settings. The Maggies had a larger vertical sweet spot for me. The Maggies image better. Had airier mids and highs. Just my opinion, both are excellent speakers you may just fall for one and not the other...
I owned Martin Logan Aries for years.
However, I currently use Bohlender Graebener radia planar ribbon 220i center and 420i mains/surrounds.
ML is well known and produce a good sound.
BG is what a speaker should be - sweet accurate musicality/movie soundtracks through the entire freq spectrum. I will never own anything else unless BG goes out of business.
As a bonus BGs are not as particular about placement.
As far as Maggies, I see them as having a sound closer to BGs than ML.
BG Radia speakers cost far less than the others if you call around.
beware of hybrid speakers. i have heard bg speakers. they sound like two different speakers. there is a loss of continuity because of the difference between cone and panel.

i have observed this phenomenon with martin logans, vmps, innersound, soundlab and other hybrid speakers.

there is no free lunch. if you have dissimilar drivers, they sound like dissimilar drivers.

i forget to mention the smaller stand mounted speakers which have ribbon tweeters.

perhaps the best integration i have experienced is one of the floor standing piega speakers. i don't recall the model number.

i advise anyone considering a hybrid to listen carefully.
do not buy such a speaker without auditioning a pair prior to purchase. make sure your listening room has a level floor.
I had both ML CLS IIz and now the 3.6 Maggies. I would always go for the Maggies for sheer power and substance, the CLS couldn't handle big scale music. The ML hubrids are not good but I heard the new line is exceptional.

The Maggies need some mods to get their full potential, it's sad how they leave the factory.
I'd buy a pair of small maggies on audiogon they sell here for about 4-5 hundred give or take 50 bucks live with them for a year or so then if you like them you can sell them for pretty much what you paid for them, then buy the 1.6 or 3.6 or jsut keep the small maggies they are great,if you don't care for them again you can sell them very easily,hopefully you have a sub because you will need it if you like deep base.Martin logan's well I had a pair for 14 years and just sold them,great speaker,too reveling your source better be really very very good same for your amp and wires,or it will sound harsh,and they can be difficult to sell used.All in all both are great speakers only the maggies are easyer to buy and sell,plus diafram repacement is very expensive on the Logans,cost me $700 for my old Aerius to be rebuilt! Just another thing to look out for if buying a used Logan.You should be able to drive the small pans with a low powered tube amp like the 35 watt Primaluna and also the samller logans. But the bigger speakers need more power like 80 or 100 tube watts,good luck,Nick
What about ML WITH Magnepan? This is the experiment I try for the moment.
I have a pair of ML Ascent i since 3 years and two pairs of MG MC1 i was using for my defunct surround system. I fixed one MG one each side of each ML, hooked speaker cables direct on the ML. That makes two small Maggies for one ML, like 2 ears. Looks nice in fact.
The whole thing is driven with one Mc 275 tube amp.
I was really surprised with the result. In fact we have the advantages of both planar and electrostatic and together they are synergistic. Huge soundstage, and the gap between cones and panels of ML is filled with the MG. Sound is sweet, thight, focus, reminds me of Magico speakers.Trebble are much less rolled off. Very coherent. I have now to replace the MG capacitors and wires. I use a sub.
They definitely sound different.

I tend to like Maggies better. I'm not a big fan of the ML hybrid design. The overall presentation just never sounds quite right or convincing to me, but that may just be my taste.

I had Maggie mg1.3c's for 20 years.

Maggies, like most good speakers, are easy on the ear. They sound better and better over time during extended listening sessions.

With the dynamic bass drivers, the MLs move more air resulting in more impact and dynamics with the bass than comparable maggies, perhaps.
How about a Martin Logan CLX v Magnepan MG-20 shootout?
I have heard ML speakers over time, but I must say that I prefer Maggies for the sound stage. The ability to listen to the Maggies for long periods of time without fatigue won me over compared to the ML's also.
As for the date of writing (April 2013), I think the situation re ML hybrids is considerably improved at this point in time since the last comments here. The recent vintages of ML hybrids (Vantage, Spire, Summit, etc.) use a powered subwoofer which decreases the need of tremendously high powered amplification. Also, the sub is adjustable in level which makes these speakers more adaptable to a wider variety of rooms. Plus, the integration between the woofer and the electrostatic panel is much improved over the earlier versions. Both Magnepans and ML's can sound wonderful in the right system, but I prefer these modern ML's because of their greater low level resolution, more natural mids and highs, greater efficiency and deeper bass. Nothing is perfect of course, but the tradeoffs in the MLs seem to my ears to be good ones and the problems relatively minimal.
If I had the right room for them, I would really like to give newer MLs a test run. One of the things I like most about audio is trying out products that demonstrate a unique design approach. MLs fall into that category.
As a Magnepan owner I understand anything I say will sound biased BUT at one time I was considering both. To me, the difference was between a great "in theory" design compared to a "less perfect" theory but better execution situation.

A planar speaker fused to a very dynamic woofer seemed like a great idea. It should provide the lower octave that the planars, including the Maggies, were missing. However the Martin Logans, while sounding very clean and open upon initial listening, started to bother me after 15 minutes or so. There was a noticeable difference between the speed of the electrostatic driver and the much-too-slow woofer.

It just didn't work for me... and I went in WANTING it to. (I loved the look of he M-L's and thought the closer to "full-range" speaker would be perfect.)

The Magnepan 3.7, to me, had a much more coherent sound, a very nice three-dimensionality and better ability to locate instruments in space. They also just sounded more like real music, especially on vocals and acoustic music.

Just one man's opinion.
I have owned both the MG 3.6 and currently the ML Montis, with Audio Physic Avanti III in between. The Midrange of the maggies was incredible, however even with great wattage from Bryston amps, you can't get Bass from them and in the 90's, no subwoofer could integrate with them. I have heard a demo system with two subs and sounding great, but adding 6k is a stretch. Also with the wide panels, they require a large space to get that disappearing effect. For 9k, my Montis speakers disappear, can go down to 29 hertz. Perhaps using a pure tone at the 340 hz crossover, there will be some incoherence between the panel and cone, but I challenge anyone listening blindly to a musical passage to identify it. If 44 thousand dollars falls into my lap, I'm off to by the Vanderseen 7's. Until then, I'm loving my music.