lots of great panels out there . Some not so well known . Janszen , King Sound are a couple I would add to your list .
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While I have not owned ML's I have owned Sanders Sound speakers in the past and would think they are similar to the logans. I thought that the electrostats had the most detail of any speakers out there but I felt they also had a metallic sound to them. I currently own 3.7's and I would suggest them as a replacement for you. They have the wall of sound as well while also production a wonderful soundstage.
I never heard Martin Logan speakers but I have Gallo Ref 3.5's. I can give you some idea what they sound like by sharing my most recent experience with them.
I have been searching for reasonably priced solid stands for the Ref 3.5's. Many of these enhanced maple stands cost upwards of $1000.00, for common wood of all things. Searching the internet I discovered a material used in shooting ranges to stop large caliber high velocity bullets. I gave some thought to the high energy absorption required of such a material. I thought the characteristics required for that application could be easily transferrable for use as loudspeaker stands. The website is the following and the product is described in detail:
I ordered two blocks of vulcanized ballistic rubber. They measure ideally for the Ref 3.5 platform: 8" x 8" x 16" and are very heavy and solid at 41 pounds each. They arrived yesterday.
I would never have believed such a dramatic transformation in the sound of these speakers. The overall impact is tremendous. The resultant bass is the equivalent of adding two high quality subwoofers without the expense and complexity. The bass is not only fuller and deeper but has greater layers of detail and tone color. There is more range and nuance. The mid and high frequencies likewise have a three dimensional quality with subtle cues previously masked by the lower profile of the speakers directly on the floor. Horns are not anemic sounding but very full with the appropriately realistic sound pressure levels. You can hear the individual notes on each string of a guitar. What especially amazes me is it seems I have gained more efficiency. The Ref 3.5's play louder at the same volume setting I previously used. The soundstage is much wider and deeper with the instrumentalists moving farther into the room without a loss of depth of field. Also, overall clarity is substantially improved and the experience seems cleaner overall.
These loudspeakers absolutely need to be raised at least 8 inches off the floor. The tweeters are now at my seated ear level, 8 inches higher than stock. I previously had them slightly toed in but this is no longer necessary. I moved them about 6 inches closer to the center line and pointed straight ahead. They are positioned 10 feet apart and i sit about 12 feet away with the woofers facing each other.
There are two minor cautions. These blocks are priced at $41.00 each but the UPS ground shipping is costly due to the total 82 pound weight, or about $1.00 per pound. They are made of vulcanized rubber and have a pronounced oily rubber smell prevailing in the room when you first take them out of the box. I helped to disperse this by leaving the window and door open all day with only the fan on the HVAC operating (my dedicated room has its own HVAC).
This is the best $158.00 I have ever spent. Seriously, this is like getting an entirely new music library and loudspeakers at once without spending exorbitant amounts of money on high end audiophile approved products.
These are now the best speakers that i have ever owned. Better than the ADS 810's, the 1590's, the PMC's or the Avalon Eidolons. Now that I have the room tuned in properly I know I am absolutely correct on the sound of these Ref 3.5's.
I hope this helps some in your decision.
Part of what sounds so nice with a good dipole speaker traces back to its dipole radiation pattern, and what it does right as far as the reverberant field when set up correctly.
Let's start with a quick look at the sound fields in a good recital hall. We have a very clean first-arrival sound, then a few weak reflections off the people in front of us, then after a fairly long time delay, the reflections from the walls start to arrive. Since the walls are diffusive rather than absorptive, this reflected energy is not only powerful but also spectrally correct, and from it we get that rich timbre and sense of envelopment and immersion in the music.
When set up correctly (preferably a good 5 feet out from the wall), dipoles come reasonably close to approximating this situation, within the limitations of our room size. We have a nice clean first arrival sound, then relatively weak early reflections until the spectrally-correct backwave energy arrives after bouncing off the wall behind the speakers. This relatively late-onset, powerful, spectrally-correct reverberant energy significantly enhances the timbre, envelopment, and even clarity of the presentation (I realize that last claim is somewhat counter-intuitive, and can explain it if you'd like).
A wide-pattern monopole speaker usually falls short of a correctly set up dipole in two areas: The spectral correctness of the reverberant energy, and duration of the path-length-induced time delay. Both of these matter to the ear/brain system.
I've done some work with alternative polydirectional configurations that fire their spectrally-correct reverberant energy off in a different direction, for situations where it's not feasible to position the speakers far out into the room.
Nothing against a good monopole - I build those too - but there are things that good dipoles, or other types of polydirectionals, do better than monopoles. And if that's part of what you've fallen in love with about your dipoles, it's hart do go back.
Imo, ime, ymmv, etc.
Very much in agreement with Harri009. I went to a Minneapolis audio dealer that had all the ML models and Magnepan models. One at a time he moved in the next ML model up in the line into the room and the sound was detailed but musical they were not. After the 3rd or 4th ML demo, I told him to bring in the Magnepans .the 3.5. Wow, now you're talking'! We then tried the 20.1 and it was great but not much beyond the 3.5. The Magnepans brought on a "you are there" factor the ML's simply could not.
I lived with the 3.3 and later the 3.5 for many years. But then I had one brief comparison of the Magnepans against the Soundlab U1's. It was not even close. The SL's so severely outperformed my beloved 3.5's. I shortly thereafter went for an older pair of SL A1's and have enjoyed them immensely ever since. The ML stats were not even close to this. Perhaps the later ML models have changed. Only an audition and direct comparison of the each of the speakers in your own system can confirm this.
I'm also a diehard dipole guy... The first pair I ever heard were Maggie MG 2B's over 30 years ago and instantly became hooked... in fact, I bought the pair from my friend. Won't bore anyone with anymore of my purchases since but they do include a pair of MG3A's (after the 2B's) as well as ML Aerius i's ... briefly dabbled with a few 'traditional' speakers for a little while after that just for something different [including Audio Physic and Silverline] where the low range punch and dynamics were appreciated but my heart never left my love of dipoles.
One day I heard a pair of Apogee Divas and I knew the best of both worlds had finally been found. Subsequently bought a pair of Apogee Mini Grands and had a ball with them, then moved up to Duetta Signatures and finally to the Divas. Many Apogees are still in good shape and those that aren't can be either partially or completely rebuilt (I have the Diva Ultimate rebuilds)and they will compete with or beat the best speakers in the world....you'll get 99% of the dynamic slam and 100% of the 3D airiness and classic dipole sound you've always loved.
Yes, a bit more work and effort on your part but when you're through you'll know your search is over and well worth it. Good luck.
After hearing ML, SL, Janzen, Sanders, and Kingsound at recent shows, I'm leaning toward King IIIs. These have consistently sounded superb-- with embodiment that eludes most of the other ESLs. Sanders often sounds desiccated and paper-thin(maybe artifacts of the digital crossover?) and the hybrid Janzens can sound tubby with uncontrolled LF. At recent shows the CLX's have been hit or miss, but did sound great when paired with Krell.
When I heard the SL last year at the Newport show, even with mediocre electronics, the sound was surprisingly quite good. I would hope that the setup next time (maybe this year) will be done with far higher performance electronics .at least a top-notch preamp.
It would be in SoundLabs' best interest to assure that the demonstrator pair these speakers with appropriate electronics. But then again, so many many many exhibitors of "proud' speakers severely skimp on the electronics and the sound suffers immensely. Such a result for me and a friend meant we pretty much did a quick U-turn upon arrival to those such rooms.
I've had many "wall of sound" speakers, I think. At least I have many big electrostatic and other diaphragm speakers. I must say that I have gotten tired of listening to the recording event through two windows while in the control room. With the Magnepans and Magneplanars, I got tired of vocalists with six foot wide mouths. I've also been through many horn speakers with and without compression drivers. I hate when the instrument changes location with what note is being played. I noticed several years ago that dynamic driver speakers, if they had front and back drivers, were more satisfying. Then I bought the BMC Arcadia speakers and doubt I will ever buy anything else. But I know that speakers in particular show some love one and others hate it.
My "stats rule" remark was made in a post titled "panel sound". Within that realm, and within the flavor of the topic, my comment is actually quite proper, should that be my belief.
Cheroot: I don't believe Shakeydeal's exception was about your love of stats, but your:
the BEST STATS are made by Roger Sanders. Nothing can be better.comment.
I believe that your comment was pointed out, because anyone hanging around this site for more than a few hours or around high end audio equipment in general, should understand that there is no best; especially a design type by of all things, a single designer!
While you may love stats as I do, I also understand that every design/type/style of every piece of equipment that we own and value, has it's strengths & unfortunately weeknesses.
Come on: the BEST is made by _____ and nothing is better --- Really?! Or was this just a tongue-in-cheek statement meant to garner the comment that Shakeydeal made?
It's too bad Audiovox/Klipsch gutted Mirage and eliminated their high end products, because their OMD-28s would probably give the OP exactly what he's looking for, especially for his listening preferences. In fact, even Mirage's mid-'90s bipolar offerings do a great job of large soundstage with reasonable image specificity for anything from solo voice or guitar to hard rock to big band to full-scale orchestra. What particularly makes them shine is their very realistic and natural tonal balance all the way down to bass in the 20s.
Now that I got that off my chest as a longtime Mirage enthusiast, my #1 system is now anchored by a pair of Magneplanar 1.7s, and they amaze me every time I fire them up, regardless of music type. I've been listening to a lot of large orchestral music lately--Elgar Enigma Variations, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade--and these $2K speakers can present, delineate, and yet unify a 90-piece orchestra as you would hear it in a concert. But right now I'm listening to Sinatra backed by the Count Basie orchestra, and the playback is just shockingly good.
It doesn't surprise me that Soundlab U1s would sound better than 3.7 Magnepans--they're 9 times as expensive.
Still, for the price range we're talking about, the Mag 3.7i's should be strong candidates, and if you pair them with a really quick subwoofer or two, it expands their ability to do thumpy loud music. I have a pair of small fast subs with my 1.7s and the combo doesn't lack for any type of music I throw at them.
Also, if you set up Magnepans and you're getting 6' wide solo voices or acoustic instruments, the setup is probably wrong. The Mags are capable of excellent precise imaging, but you have to have them out from the back wall to get it--3-4', and you have to toe them in to directly face the listening position. I use a tape measure to set mine up, based on the successful methodology used by the store where I bought them. Proper placement also improves the bass because it diminishes the influence of the self-canceling backwave.
The new x.7 series of Magneplanars does away with most of the old criticisms. They are easier to drive, they can play louder, bass is better, and coherence--with all panels sharing the same quasi-ribbon technology--is excellent. I have no complaints.