Review: Martin Logan CLS IIZ Speaker

Category: Speakers

Cls 2z is one of matin logans better old designs,They have a great midrange but are very weak in the frequincy extremes.The are very picky about amps, cables ,room placement so maybe not a good speaker for a beginer.But when set up right they will give you a great performance.relaxing sound .But not a lot of dynamics good for rock or simple music ,falls apart on classical .Has trouble.With busy music .Over all a good speaker for the cash used .My friend has 2 pair in a home theater set up .If you can deal with the size they work great in that aplication .Nice speaker but the new logans are a bit better .

Associated gear
Krell fbb 200c audio research ,vt100mk3,pass x2,pre.krell pre ,tara cables, ac filters .arragon 8008,more.

Similar products
Martin logan ,ascents ,odessy,prodgy,quest,questz ,magies ,sound labs
With all due respect to the previous reviewer I would like to disagree with him on few issues. First of all ML CLS speaker is excellent for the classical music (I will not go into details why). Lower end is not the deepest – it’s a known fact. Many CLS owners add subwoofers to the speakers. In my opinion Krell amplification is the culprit in his particular set-up. With good tube amplification (I use VAC Renaissance 70/70) ML CLS speaker is one of the best sounding speakers you could find…
I agree with META. Correct amplification is a must with the CLS. Mine are the original CLS. There is plenty of debate waiting for which design is better. There is no debate, however, that the CLS demands an amplifier that is correct in timbre, pace and texture. It has been my experience that Krell is ruled out of the appropriate setting (for use with such a fine speaker as the CLS). I use a Rowland 112. For my tastes and perfered volume setting (within my given listing area), the 150 watts per channel (of the Rowland) is just fine. The CLS lock onto the room like a vice and project the feel, pacing and wieght of the instruments and the purity of voicing. If you wish to rock hard, there are other speakers and amps (ie: the Krell and perhaps Cerwin Vega) for that. This (the CLS) is a "fine wine" taste. It is not for children of the head slamming, Lear Jet "loud" crowd. It (the CLS) is smooth, refined and delicate in it's ability to move you (like the emotional art of music should). Disrespect this speaker and it will disrespect you... and everything else that is not worthy of its reproductive ablilities.
Meta didnt you notice the Audio Research vt100mk3 tube amp .still the cls2z is a nice speaker dont get me wrong and also I am not a head banger .Tried many amp preamp combinations and rooms ,also helped my friend set up his 2 pair, so its not like I have no experance with logans .I have been a owner for 12 years many models .And all logans have the same sound and problems witch you mention about amps very picky and placement.Compared to the sound I have been getting out of my tube s.e.t. amps and horns, makes the logans sound so unmusical though they are still better than most designs at this . I am not alone in this opinion most of my audio buddies are ex logan owners including the owner of the local dealer .I realy did love my cls2zs but after hearing sets and sensitive speakers , I am glad they are gone.,just my opinion .Johnk
I owned the CLS IIZ's for 8 years and found them to be supremely musical on small-scale acoustic jazz. Placement is crucial (at least 4 feet from the back wall) as is amplification (I used ARC Classic 120's). Finally, I got a REL subwoofer which mated very well with the CLS's. After many, many hours tweaking, including the addition of Synergistic Research Master Couplers for the CLS power supply, I found that the sound was really superb. Imaging is state of the art. Two weaknesses eventually led me to sell the CLS's and search for audio nirvana elsewhere. First was the relatively light-weight sound through the midrange. Almost as if the instruments were a bit ghostly. Second, the subwoofer never compensated for the lack of impact in the upper bass. Still, I sometimes regret the decision to sell the CLS's and miss them often. They rank as one of the best speakers I have ever heard.
I've owned the cls for over 4 years and use them in an audio-home theater mix. I tend to agree with johnk when he says they lack the rock dynamism i want when its time to go loud and raucous. However, I feel norfish's sadness when he reflects on them. They have a clarity and detail that few speakers can duplicate and to replace them with anything else will constantly bring reminders of those features. I am curious as to how they sound as pairs in a home theater sound. I have sl3s in the rear and would move them to the sides and purchase antoher pair of cls for the rear channels. so, johnk, how do they perform in multiples?
I had CLSes of one incarnation or another for 16 years. I bought a pair of model 1s and followed the upgrade path to the IIZs. I loved them all for the breath of life they imparted to the music I loved. This may have something to do with a kind of microdynamic finesse that allowed them to not sound mechanical, and more like real music. They were, however, challenging. Changes in the weather deleteriously affected their sound. Optimal speaker placement and the choice of associated components could be problematic, and required much more care than with other speakers. Dynamic limitations rendered a less than convincing presentation of music that demanded power at the frequency extremes (rock, big band, orchestral, opera). Well matched subwoofers (I liked Kinergetics and Entec) ameliorated some of this, but could not totally banish the CLSes reticence. Despite these flaws, and having moved on to another means of musical communion, I still regard the CLS as one of the finest examples of the art of audio reproduction.
I agree with many of the writers. CLS ranks right up there with Quads in my opinion. Incredible transparency and beautiful to look at also. I found that larger tube amps really fill out the midgrange and just seemed to work the best. I did not like Krell or levinson with them at all. I agree that the Audio Resaerch 120's were a very good match. In fact many of the ARC amps work magic with Martin Logans.
Make sure whatever tube amp you hook up with them can drive low impedance loads though as these dip real low.
By the way I sell none of the above but have had all mentioned in differing combinations.
I owned the CLS IIZ's for 10 years i have 2 pair in a home theater set up he hase very smuth and suit sound with very deep and wide stage as olograf. I got a REL stentor subwoofer how matched very well with the CLS's. After many, many hours of test i bilive the cls play good only with big tube power amp is a very difical load 1,5 ohm in 20khz and need at least 100w of good tube development,my favorite amp is the Esoteric Audio Research 549 250w tim de paravicini. One of the best speakers I have ever heard
"Creation1" underlines the fact that Electrostatic speakers (the Marin Logan CLS's inparticular) "are only what you feed them". I am a believer and follower of pure tube amplification. I am a romantic about it. I have heard only a few SS amps that have exposed the subtle musical emotions (spelled: "magic") that seem to blend so well with tube amps. At the top of the list, was a Rowland 112 (stereo power amp) that I mentioned in a previous post. That amp (for my limited listening area) opened up my CLS's like barn doors (to an open field), letting in the sweet smell of spring and mixing it with music... stunning. It did "not" sound like, nor take the place of a tube amp completely. It had a sound of it's own, that was intoxicating and so pleasureful, that it begged to be matched with the transparent void that only the best transducers could open up in front of you. That was then...wellll, that amp is gone (and missed). This space in time is a date with a new amp (of new design). It has went head-to-head with my SE tube amps (HALO SPM-25) for being musically involving and spatially endowed. Not an easy task for ANY SS amp. The reviews on the Bel Canto EVo amps are many and I agree with all of them (all "rave" reviews). It is, most certainly, one of the best amps that there is,. I have the (somewhat) older version of the Bel Canto EVo Series (the 200.2). The newer one(s) have some upgrades (power supply, faceplate etc). As a "stereo" amp, I would not hesitate to pair it with the Martin Logan CLS. I have to say this with some reservation however. Since it is just "medium" power (120 @ 8ohms) when used in stereo, it will have (obvious) limitations. It can ONLY be expected to perform within it's optimum range. There are those that can live with this, but for more realistic expectations the real beauty of the EV0 is the ability to transform to true "mono" like no other amp. I believe that life for the Martin Logan CLS would change dramatically with these amps used in mono. Have I heard it with the CLS ? No, I haven't. I can only project an educated guess (as to the sound). I have not heard the EVo with 'any' electrostat to date. At this time, all of my speakers are all dynamic (PBN Montana SP's, Spica TC 60's, Acoustc Energy Aegis 2's). Ironicly, I just moved to Lawrence Kansas (home of Martin Logan !) about 5 months ago. I moved here to be closer to my son (a KU grad) and NOT "electrostatics". But since I "am" here, I have been fortunate enough to have had a (guided !) tour of the ML factory. I was very much impressed. They (at ML) are very dedicated people, each contributing their own level of arts and crafts to produce one of the finest expressions of audio reproduction on earth. I would love to go into more detail and folklore but time won't allow (in this year). I would very much like to hear from those that have used (or heard) these amps (EVo's) with Martin Logans.
Yes, they are hard to drive, critical of downstream components and cables. Not much bass. In my humble opinion they should not be driven by Krell or B&K. They do classical and quite well. They don't play above 93db. I ALSO RARELY LISTEN ABOVE 93DB. ( I do own others speakers that play louder) I've tried to replace them on and off for about seven years. I still have them. The speakers that I do consider better are a lot more money. Most of the speakers that I consider their equal in price have significant other negative issues. Only my humble opinion.