Nola Contender and Martin Logan Electro-MotionESL

At CES in January, 2011, I read that the Nola Contneder and the Martin Logan Electro-Motion ESL speakers were the new buzz in the under $5000 category.

Has anyone heard either or both?? I think display pairs are in most franchise audio shops. If you have heard one or other, let us know how they sound, and whether they perform beyond their price tag. I do not have access to audition either

There is a lot of competition in that $2000-5000 range. I read that the new Martin Logan speaker might be their best "budget" speaker offering since the Aerius I model
I've heard the new Martin Logan and it's stunning. I need to add that I am biased toward ML having been a dealer and owning over 10 different pairs and currently use a pair of CLSIIA's. Still, these are really, really good for the money.

Never heard the Nola's, so I can't comment on them.
I heard both at the recent Newport show. They are both excellent but I prefer the detail of the logans.
I am getting dwifty in my old age; I initiated the same thread two weeks ago. Nevertheless, thank you for answering the thread.

I think there is a malaise sweepting through this website. I never seen such a lack of enthusiasm within the membership for audio topics; also seems like in certain categories, there is less to buy.

Sorry to get off track; could you inform as to what in particular, you like about the Martin Logan, Electro-Motion ESL speakers. i would have thought the NOLA have the upper hand becasue of their bass, and dynamic range, both of which are generally missing in ML speakers In your opinion, what traditional box "higher end" speaker ( beside the NOLA Contender) might the EM's be able to out perform. I am helping a friend to buy a system and he like the design of ML's Will appreciate any comments you can provide Thank you, Jim
Jim - I agree that this site and the high end hobby is slowing. Home theater is the only thing keeping audio alive now. People dismiss the "2 channel is dead" theory but the numbers don't lie and the demographic is dying out and high end audio is a shrinking niche market.

Regarding speakers, I too am biased towards Martin Logans and electrostats in general but I also realize their weaknesses. After years of headphone listening I started to become disenchanted with a lack of detail in most speakers which led me to the Logans. I use a sub to get around the lack of bass problem but lack of dynamics is something I live with in exchange for the incredible transparency. Cones do have more meat on the bones sound vs electrostats which sound a little less fleshy. Hard to describe really. I am 100% happy with my ML Aeon-i's and ML Dyanamo subs (2). If I were shopping in that price range again I would listen to the Nolas, Martin Logans, Magnepans, smaller Vandersteens, and Gallos.

I would not overlook the ML Source if you can live with it's limitations.
Grege, Thank you for responding that was supposed to be an e-mail direcly to you. Nevertheless, I will be checking out the ML Election Motion ESL's at a Magnolia/BestBuy in Los Angeles when I visited relatives there.

The state of high end audio in Honolulu is lean to use a over generous term. Maybe, its the tropical winds, bluesky and ocean.....and the parade of bikini bottoms that make potential audiophiles into slaphappy Bose Wave audio owners. The few ML dealers here are basically Home Theater specialists and have no showroom, operate out of an office with catalogues.

I am actually pre-shopping for a doctor friend who lives in Virginia, who claims he is too busy to listen to music....and owns The Bose Wave Audio System. He one of those people who think all speakers, amps, CD players, etc "sound the same" He is too far away to slap on the side of his head, and I'm not going to waste round trip airfare to do it.

I have a good/great pair of speakers in my small living room, the Acoustic Zen Adagios, which generally go unnoticed and uncited in the major audio mags. However, I agree with you, a few ML models when set up rigth, etc. can sound totally boxless and three dimensional. If I could get a pair of the ML's Source for cheap, I would buy them just to compare with Adagios, and occasionally change the sound venue....Of course, I would have to endure the wailing protestations of the wife for at least two weeks, before she got used to the log jam, might be an interesting experiment. Thanks again, Jim
I would include Soundlab if you are interested in electrostatic speakers as well;worth listening if you can get a audition;in my opinion a step up from Martin Logan.
Rleff, Sound Lab has been around for years. However, they are too big for my living, and also too expensive. Surely, each model is well-crafted with mil spec quality parts, but SL is cutting themselves out of a wider market in which ML, Quad, and even the non stats like Magneplanar cash in.

I head the Sound Labs once(model) when I lived in Philly. Yes, they can sound extraordinary, but also like other stats,are a pain in the ass to set-up and find the perfect placement. One to 6 inches in any direction, can change the sound from great to good to absolutely awful. I wish some company would provide this speaker technology at down to earth prices. Thanks for responding to the thread. Jim
Hi Jim thanks for the reply;it was the logan cls's that got me into the esl speaker mode;I run soundlab m2's in a 23x18 living room and they perform extremely well and I bought them used;so don't ever give up you never known when a pair might pop up.
Rleff, Thanks for the upheads about buying SL's used; now if I can only find an apt here in Honolulu that has even an 20X15 living room?? Commericial real estate is measured by square millimeters not feet here.....BTW, I also heard the CLS....but in 1977. Not sure of model, or vintage, but they were freakin awesome...the sound was just there. I think they retailed for $10,000 which would be approx $60,000 to $80,000 today. i may be off a few thousand or so!!!! Jim