Maybe I'm just over box speakers?

I heard a pair of Magnepans MMG about a month ago and recently I heard a pair of Martin Logan speakers and since that day no box speaker sounds good to me.

Has this ever happened to anyone? Until recently I loved a good monitor but lately. I just don't know anymore
Well yes, I switched to Magnepan 3.6, then ML CLS, back to box - De Cappo Is and then I heard horns. I'm quite happy now with AS M60MkIIIs driving AG Duo Omegas. The world never stops turning.
It is easy to fall in love with different, give it time there are great speakers using all sorts of different approaches.
KLH 9 electrostatics did it for me many years ago. Maggies are a more practical alternative with many of the same virtues.
I went from box to electrostats, then later to horns. I have heard many more very fine systems of all flavors since then, but do not currently expect my main system to not have horns while both ears work.

That said, a stereo system really is a system (including room and placement of yourself within that room), not just a collection of parts. And more importantly, it really is what floats YOUR boat which matters.
The "box bass sound", causes me the most problems. I much prefer the bass of my dipole Apogees for music reproduction.

I think, that if you haven't heard the difference between the two on a regular basis, you probably wouldn't care.


I agree with you wholeheartedly. I've manage to own exceptional monitors as well as floorstanders and never paid too much attention to planars and/or flat panel speakers until I found synergy with a pair of Museatex Meliors and a pair of Sunfire Signatures.

Once I heard the difference between box enclosures and panels, my mind established a new reference point for music that wasn't there before.

I have a two channel setup in a different room where I often swap out panels and boxes depending on mood.
If you've fallen in love with electrostatics and can't listen to front-firing driver speakers anymore, then by God Almighty, don't listen to MBL omnidirectional speakers! You'll feel the same way about electrostats as you do now about "box speakers". Just don't do it!
the wisdom of insecurity... the short book by allan watts. desire is the demon in our egoistic thinking 'mind'. everything passes but if u r diggin stats give in and see where it gets u. go to one great live concert in a great space and put it into context. we are talking about ripples amidst a hurricane sea in the end.
i can tell when i am hearing a box--blindfold. a pox on a box. those cabinet colorations are annoying. most panel designs do not exhibit box colorations.

i have yet to hear a speakr system based upon a box enclosure that sounds like a dipole, ins pite of the claims of some manufacturers. i am willing to bet anyone that i can tell the difference between the two designs.
You might miss the boxes once you've left them.
Most all loudspeakers are compromised in design. Glad you found what you like many in this hoby never do or change what they like on a near monthly basis. Keep in mind that absolutes should be always taken with a huge grain of salt. Not all stats etc have good bass not all loudspeakers that use a cabinet suffer from excessive coloration. Heck to me most stats sound colored. I hear the plastic sound of the diaphragms why I prefer ribbons over electrostatic. Most all martin logans use a dynamic woofer in conventional cabinets so the loudspeaker you enjoyed probably sported the design you say you don't like?
You may want to audition some seriously resolving "box speakers".

I have Martin Logan ReQuests that i purchased as a reasonable comprimise to Quads. (i like a little listening volume in my room)..

The wilson audio and Magico lines add some nice "box" elements to the electrostatic/panel sounds..

you may be pleased although pricing is a little painful.
Yes, this happened to me many years ago! I haven't owned a box speaker since!
When my first Maggies died I replaced them with a procession of boxes. I was never satisfied, and went back to Maggies. I think there are some others who have made this journey.
I was over box speakers for awhile too.

Then I bought Krell Lat-1's wow i'm back in the saddle again!!!!!
I have over the years bounced back and forth between planar designs and dynamic speakers. I finally realized that I cannot be truly "happy" unless I own both. That's not perfect contentment, but it's been budgeted so as not to be irresponsible.

There are things which the alternative technology cannot do; time and experience with them allows appreciation for each technology's capabilities to be appreciated.

So, you could very well be "over" box speakers - temporarily. Let's see if that's still the case in five years.

I've tried to learn not to say, "I'm done..." as technology marches on, there is always a new vista, a new angle on speakers to entice me.

I had Maggies in my system for years and loved them. Eventually placement in the room became an issue and I had to move on. Maggies set a benchmark that all speakers I use in my system today had to measure up to.

A pair of diminutive Triangle Titus 202s first made me realize that box designs done well can compete with Maggies on their terms.

Smaller Totems are another I have heard that can.

Dynaudios are just a touch less transparent and less likely to be confused with Maggies.

I owned B&Ws and these were just totally different sounding beasts.

OHM Walsh is another that can but this is an omni box design which is a totally different beast from most dynamic box designs.
I let my quads go about a yr. ago. Still miss them. I had enjoyed them for about 5yrs. and since my living room looked like an audio store I agreed to get rid of some of the speakers that I had. By sellling the large Quads and my Totem Hawks and Tabu's the room looked so much better that I still have a couple of pair of von schweikerts, vr-1, vr-2 vr-4jr ll's as well as revel M-22's. But think I will sell all and go back to a new pair of 2905's with a much simpler system as the Quads can't be bi amped and would save a bundle on cables,innerconnects and amplifiers.
As far as the Martin Logans go I always thought they sounded nasel and congested. I much prefer the Quads with or without my rel subs. Best sound I have ever gotten. One of the things I always liked about the Quads is that they sound the same at very low or full volume. Most speakers don't really 'turn on' until they are at 1/2 volume or more.
As I usually only find time to listen early in the morning or late at night I could appriciate the beauty of the music without waking the neighborhood.
Good luck
FWIW, I like both boxes and panels.
I like boxes and marten Logen, I don't like plastic horns. I heard Klipschhorn and think they are overpriced and oversized.
>>03-22-09: Mrtennis
i am willing to bet anyone that i can tell the difference between the two designs.<<

And I bet anyone I can tell the difference between vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

So there.
Planars and horns really can have a great sound. I have always loved the maggies. But due to room size issues ended up with a pair of Vons. They had the sparkle of the high end and did not want in the low end. The one real test for any speaker type, does it sound like live music. Done right I think the planar type can have and edge. But they are not the only game in town.
Although not panel speakers, owning Vandersteen 1Cs for many years has made my ears especially sensitive to box colorations of traditional cabinet speakers. The Vandys have less of a baffle than other "monkey coffin" speakers, and have a free-air kind of sound. Very easy to get used to, although I have heard traditional cabinet speakers with little or no noticeable cabinet resonance.

I've heard some really good and expensive planar speakers, but they just don't do it for me.
Maybe your moniker suggests it all (that you are restless & like to churn equipment)? Maybe not? Hard to say...
There is no current virtual system for you so one does not know what kind of equipment you have presently & what sort of equipment you have been thru.

Perhaps you have been living amongst a subset of box speakers that just don't render the music well???
OF COURSE there are box speakers that render the music well & even very well. One member already pointed out Vandersteen. I'd like to add a few more:
* Green Mountain Audio
* Selah Audio linear arrays
* Piega
* Merlin
& I'm sure I left out quite a few.

Maybe your question should be: "Are there any box speakers that render the music as well as Martin Logan & Magnepan?"

ESLs & planars do certain things very well but also have short-comings like all other speaker categories. In the end, it all amounts to what you are willing to spend & what sort of compromise(s) you are willing to settle for.
You're preaching to the choir. I was instantly hooked on dipoles when I heard Quad ESLs (57s), Dayton Wright XG8s, and Magneplanar Tympani IIIAs. My first high end speakers were Watson Labs Model 10s, designed by Mike Wright of Dayton Wright fame, which used mostly conventional drivers in a very esoteric configuration. I went through several ESLs, never M-Ls, though, and ultimately purchased Sound Labs and later became a dealer for them.
With all due respect...

(I can say anything I want and get away with it, as long as I say "with all due respect" first, right?)

I'm amused when some audio technology is presented as if only the enlightened appreciate it, and all others are mere audio surfs. Pity them. They know not what they do not know.


It comes down to 3 things:

1) Equipment Synergy
2) Physical Room Limitations and Placement Considerations
3) Listening Habits (genre, volume, etc.) and Acceptable Tradeoffs

At this point in my life, I could not live with a set of Soundlabs, Quads, ML's, Maggies, etc. Why? Because I find the tradeoff's completely unacceptable. I could buy equipment with sufficient (or even ideal) synergy. I could move my system into a room with acceptable physical room considerations and system placement. However, given my listening habits, I find the tradeoffs unacceptable.

If planars or electrostats flip your switch, good for you. If you love the sound of a stickpin taped to a dixie cup and dragged across the grooves of your vinyl, even better. Me? I need some cones with magnets to make me happy.

I would even take Bombaywalla's question one step further:

"Given my equpiment, my room and placement considerations, and the fact that I listen to primarly vocals and strings at mid-volumes, are there any box speakers that render music similar to Martin Logan & Magnepan?"

...and, scene.
I'm amused when some audio technology is presented as if only the enlightened appreciate it, and all others are mere audio surfs. Pity them. They know not what they do not know.
Nice put down, "with all due respect."

It comes down to 3 things:

1) Equipment Synergy
Well, yeah. That's true of any system. What's your point?
2) Physical Room Limitations and Placement Considerations
Those are things within your control. If they aren't, then your choices may be limited. Not everyone faces such limitations.

3) Listening Habits (genre, volume, etc.) and Acceptable Tradeoffs
What is "acceptable" to you might not be to the next person, and vice versa. I perceive an implied inflexible definition of what is acceptable to all.


It's nice to have choices.
most all Martin Logans use a woofer or box speaker. So my ? is which model did you enjoy?
A few years ago I heard a pair of Analysis Omegas,at a local dealers,,,,At the time I had listened to some fairly expensive setups,and only been blown away once!That was a demo featuring top of the line Krell LATs and Krell electronics.,,,,Anyway,,this dealer had just setup the Analysis Omegas and put a CD on,,,,I was in another room at the time,and my first thought was"My God he has a live band in there!!"So I hurried into the room ,and could not believe what I was hearing!!One day I hope to have a pair!I am surprised these speakers do not get more attention!Ray
I think it happened to me as I moved from merlin 4b+'s,dunlavy scIII's to soundlab m2's; I don't seem to miss the dynamic speaker design or sound at least right now;however you never know; very happy with the electrostatic phase presently engaged in.
I spent months listening to ESL's and panels. I just do not have the right living space for them and am not willing to re-arrange my life around large panel speakers. (My son jokes about playing 2001 space odessy soundtrack through them!)

I found that a good time/phase coherent design with a speaker cabinet that minimizes reflection and cabinet interaction is the ideal solution.

So I now listen to Green Mountain Speakers and feel they are the best compromise. To my ears, they do not sound like box speakers. There are other designers doing this well also. Might work for you too.
But to get adequate bass with the above mentioned speakers comes with a cost...they do well with vocals, acoustic material,etc...the Maggie 12s are even more refined...but the bass is very small scaled...the 1.6s are much better at this...but they require a bigger room,power,and cost considerably more than the mmgs...have to agree...both mags and MLs do the transparency thing great...just dont put on any reggae!
Yes, I think perhaps a nice compromise between box and panels are dynamic driver config. with a ribbon tweeter.

It's hard to get the integration right as those ribbons can easily be two fast to keep time with, but when you do it can be magic-- you get the sparkling mid range and the airy high-end and the dynamic, solid bass. I think that you may be reacting to the lack of extention on the top that most non-ribbon tweeters just cannot attain. I think that Acoustic Zen perhaps has the right idea. I'd love to hear the Crecendo...i own the Adagio and that is a nice speaker.
I started with Snell E and loved them.Then I heard Magnepans and was hooked. I ended up with Accoustats. For me,planers have such a seductive cohesiveness that boxs can't seem to render.yes they beam,yes they don't have organ 32ft room shaking bass, but what they have is magic.
For me,planers have such a seductive cohesiveness that boxs can't seem to render.
Yes indeed.
yes they beam
Some do, some don't.
yes they don't have organ 32ft room shaking bass
Most don't, some come very close.
I currently have Vandy 1B's and a modded pair of Magnepan SMGa's in my system. I switch out frequently. When I put in the Vandy's I alway's go "AHHHH, that's more like it". I like the Vandies way better.
I wonder if the imaging of my Acoustats in the "sweet spot" aka "beaming" is so good that when you are off axis the experience is a disappointment. Yet the off axis image is still (relative to boxs)very good. anybody?
Yes, this has happened to me a few years ago. Nothing but horns for me. I would not care to give up the dynamics, efficiency, and "live" sound.
the new magnepan satellite/woofer combo will give a lot of cone-design proponents something to think about.

planars rule, dont be a cone...... .
04-20-09: Mrtennis
The new magnepan satellite/woofer combo will give a lot of cone-design proponents something to think about.
If Magnepan ever gets its poop together and starts manufacturing these little beasts in any great quantities, it *could* revolutionize what we listen to at home, how much space the transducers take up, and how readily the wife/gf will accept them. The Maggie sat panel/woofer set is capable of stunning sound.

However, we'll have to watch out for the parlor tricks here: The demo I heard was in a rather small room and they used two pairs of panels and two woofers. Secondly, they only used the Peachtree unit as a DAC/line stage feeding THREE Bryston 200 wpc amps to drive the four panels and two woofers to get those stunning transients and timbres of such verisimilitude.

Still, that they were able to get that sound at all and may offer it at an affordable price is very encouraging.

When Gallo Acoustics first started up, they went after the high end. Then they showed off their little one-driver Nucleus and they had to shut down production of their Reference line for a year or two to deal with the high demands of their little "lifestyle" speakers.

If Magnepan is really serious about these satellite mini-panels, they should gear up to do what Gallo had to do--temporarily reinvent themselves to meet the inevitable demand.

Obviously I differ with Mr. Tennis on the inherent superiority of panels, but as I said, these Maggies *could* revolutionize how we listen to music at home.
Not surprised that you're over box speakers. The openness and transparency of panels is what makes them so beautiful to the ears. That clean sound is rarely heard with box speakers for a number of reasons. In addition to box resonances, there are other issues, such as, off-axis response, dispersion pattern deviations, port resonances, and passive crossovers. With a laundry list of problems like that, it's no wonder box speakers can't compare. Yet, these are all surmountable issues.

A few other posts hinted at some of the solutions, omnidirectional or dipole dispersion, active x/o and amplification, sealed acoustic suspension, low Qs.
I have been playing with the position of my Acoustat 2s. btw this is something that is a constant experiment.

I moved them out into the room about 3 ft. from the wall and leaned some cushions from some Danish chairs against the walls directly behind the speakers. I have owned these speakers since 1980 and have never heard them like this.
Incredible bass extension and definition.
Listening to Return to Forever; Stanley Clark's bass made sounds I have never heard. incredible.
Listening to E.Power Biggs; blackhole decay at the end of organ phrases. Deep,extended pedal without coloration.
Listening to Kings College Cambridge Choir;
Perfect balance of voices and organ.I have been listening to these LPs for over 30 years and I am hearing things that I have never heard. Such fun.

I tried the same discs without the chair cushions and the effect was diminished.Not as cohesive and extended.

Obviously I need to invest in room treatment,using real acoustic material. All I need to do is talk the significant other into it.(could be trouble)
Once you hear a box less sound speaker I agree you're hooked
My Ridge Street Sason's are not boxless but their cabinet is made of Granite and they have a "boxless sound" maintaining all the other positives a good stand mount has to offer
"Once you hear a box less sound speaker I agree you're hooked "

They're not "boxless", but I would say many who hear good omnis become hooked also and can no longer look back to more directional designs.

I guess my main point being that radically different designs tend to deliver more radically different sound and those who take to any particular radically different design that really works may never look back.
Like everything it is subjective and I find I need both, depending on the type of music I am listening to. I love my Maggie 1.6's for acoustical and jazz - the soundstage and imaging is great, and the music doesn't require alot of dynamics. If I am listening to blues or classic rock, however, I miss the dynamics and the speakers are just not engaging or musically satisfying, so I go back to connecting the "box" speakers. I'm sure with the right $$$ you could have one speaker with all the desired characteristics, but I am not in that boat, and within my affordability range I can't have it all. So I keep both planar and cone-type speakers around.
J_stereo said:

"I'm sure with the right $$$ you could have one speaker with all the desired characteristics, but I am not in that boat, and within my affordability range I can't have it all. So I keep both planar and cone-type speakers around."

FWIW, I was in the same boat regarding pereference for planars versus box designs for different genres. The cost effective solution for me turned out to be the OHMs. Cost ranges from $1000 to $5000 depending mostly on room size.
maybe the thread should read "maybe i'm just over acoustic suspension speakers", or "maybe i'm just over cone speakers".

in spite of what has already been said, cones and ribbons, or electrostatic "drivers" do not sound the same.don't be fooled, there is a difference in the "sound" of the basic two designs.
I think perhaps you are over traditional boxes, not box speakers per se.

My current speakers are made from ceramic cabinets. I used to own Crosby'd Quad 63's, and love planar's as well. I too hear box problems in some other speakers that are traditional MDF, but not in these.
Just for fun, I pulled the old Snell Es out of the closet and spent a week listening. Wow, I forgot how good these beauties are. In fact I now want to have a second system using a all tube and analog front end set up.Fantastically smooth and even frequencies. Bass response from 32ft. organ that reached waaaaaaayy down. Cool.
that said, I hooked up the Acoustats and fell in love all over again. They are so open and transparent,seductive is the best word I can use for it. another word that comes to mind is spoiled, since I have both boxes and Stats to play with.aint life great!