Review: Martin Logan Odyssey Speaker

Category: Speakers

The speakers I were supplied with came from my local ML dealer and had already been broken in by the store manager in his reference room.
My listening selection was varied to say the least, so I will list my selection:
Ry Cooder - A Meeting by the River
Loreena McKennitt - The Mask and the Mirror
Enigma - MCMXC a.D. (limited edition version)
Depeche Mode - World In My Eyes/Happiest Girl/Sea of Sin (CD single)
Prokofiev - Romeo and Juliet
All the above were CD pressings, I tried a number of virgin vinyl audiophile records, but was not impressed at all. More of that later!
My room size was 22 foot wide by 35 foot long, this is my sole listening room and I was able to place the Odyssey's in a number of different positions ranging from experimenting with distance from corners and walls, to various toe-in settings.
Personally, I found these one of the most coloured speakers I have ever listened to. To describe their performance and sound could be likened to listening to the mid and treble frequencies through a metal tube, and the bass (which is user adjustable), ranges from flat and uninvolving to booming 'in-car' type response.
The Depeche Mode CD is a high quality USA pressing only available in the UK on import, the production on this is excellent and I use it regularly to test a systems ability to drop in the low frequencies, plus their speed.
It was an extremely painful listen on the Odyssey's with this CD, the material sounded weak, flat, and mid's were over emphasized.
I did not feel with any of the material that the Odyssey's provided any great detail or soundstage as they seem to be designed to provide their own type of sound.
If fact, when I returned them to the store manager and provided my feedback, he said this was a common response with ML speakers and althouygh he has them set up at home and loves them, he seems to one of few people who enjoy their sound.
It's really difficult for me to say what type of music or system these speakers would be suited in, they seem far too coloured to allow source components or pre-recorded material to shine.
As for my vinyl replay system, once again, just as with the CD material, the sound was metalic and mid's were over emphasized so that the sound at best appears to be firing at you down a long metal tube.
My recommendation is to set them up like I did in your own surroundings with your equipment and music and try them for yourself. At $6500, there are far more involving and less coloured speakers out there, and at a fraction of the cost. Personally, it's going to take an army of ML staff to audition one of their speakers again!

Associated gear
Michell Gyrodec with QC power supply
Rega RB250 - Originlive total modification
Audio Technica OC9 cartridge
Meridian 206b CD player (used as transport only)
Meridian 263 Alpha Sigma DAC
Krell KSP-7B pre-amp
Krell KSA-100 II power amp
Chang Lightspeed ISO9600 power conditioner
Transparent Audio power cables
Cable Talk Boradcast 2 interconnects
Straightwire Flex-4 speaker cable

Similar products
B&W 801 Nautilus
Von Schweikert VR4.5 (Silver edition)
Craigland, it's funny that you mentioned that they sounded colored? The newer speakers are less colored than the older! Is this the first time you listened to electrostats? Is your room treated with any types of materials? What were the dimensions you had the speakers placed at? Where they away from the walls? Was the rear wall treated to cancel out the rear wave? I know I'm throwing a lot of questions at you but having owned more than one pair of Martin Logans they do require days to set up right, and will reveal tons of detail, I am curious what speakers are you using in your system now? You are partial to box systems right? Thanks for the review, I disagree, but that's what this site is all about.
Greetings Statman,
Thanks for your follow-up, please allow me to answer your questions.
I have listened to several other electrostats previously, and being from England originally, most of these being Quad's.
My room is not treated to any kind of materials for accoustic purposes. But the demonstration room at the dealer is set up with various accoustic panels to bring the best out of the ML's. I noticed no difference in improvement from the demo room to my home.
Not sure what you mean by, 'What were the dimensions you had the speakers placed at'?, but like I siad in my initial review, having a good size listening room allowed me to place these in a number of positions, namely, in corners, away form corners, close to side walls or rear walls and vice versa. I also tried a number of different distances between each speaker placement.
I am glad that you like the ML's, as it seems a lot of thought has gone into these, and they do look great, only for me, they do not please audibly.
After I auditioned these I purchased a pair of Von Schweikert VR4.5 Silver edition speakers. These are now sold and I have a pair of their new VR 5 HSE speakers.
Funnily enough, I have been so impressed with the Von Schweikerts performance that I am soon to relocate back to the UK and open the first UK dealership for their line.
Check out their web site for full product line info.:
I also seriously recommend trying to get a listen of their new DB100's, a true 100dB speaker which sounds stunning with valve (Oops sorry,...American translation = Toobs!), amplification. Watch out for the great reviews coming out in the press on these too.
I've owned Odysseys for about 13 mos. The room is approx. 17 x 35 and is a loft the left side of which is open. The front wall is entirely damped with blinds and drapes. There are ASC super trap in the right corner and Sound Planks along the point of first reflection. Each speaker is flanked by two ASC Studio Traps. The amplification is a Mark Levinson 335 and the front end is a Mark Levinson 380S preamp and 390S CD player. The front end is powered by a PS Audio P300 using Lab II cords. The amp uses a Top Gun HCFI cord and everything is plugged into PS Audio Power Ports. The front end is on a dedicated 20 A circuit. My initial experience with these was similar Craigland's (before the acoustic and power treatments). They're unbelievably sensitive to toe in. However, once dialed in and with the room taken care of they throw a hugh, detailed soundstage in which the instruments are very stably and specifically placed. The stage appears to extend in depth beyond the wall. All this with good recordings; Clapton's Unplugged, Rippington's (any).
I have heard generically similar results (over-coloration, poorly integrated bass) from dipolar electrostat hybrids (M-L's and SoundLabs) in the homes of audiophiles, as well as wanna-be audiophiles who seemingly just got taken with the looks. I have not blamed the speakers (or partnering gear) outright for this - rather, I suspect it just shows exactly how difficult it can be to correctly set up this type of speaker in the real world. What troubles me in your case is that you got the M-L's from a dealer, but apparently were unassisted in setting them up. An experienced dealer or company rep should have made sure these were performing optimally in your room for your audition.
With all due respect to all of you,I would like to share
my 12 years experience with my ML quest,to get the most
of ML you have to work hard on them with the right gear,
cables,and placement,i saw that straigthwire was the sp cable,very bright cable cant use it with the logan,especially with Krells,transparent cables are not
matching with the logans either,plus even if you have the
right cabling, the sp placement is one of the most critical
with these type of speakers,I agree maybe this odyssey
are too much for a beginner or even to those who are not
willing to change cables, or gear.LASTLY IF YOU READ

Here are thoughts on the Odyssey from 20 other people:

Not sure why this was revived after 10 years... But at any rate, the stock Odysseys are very colored in the entire bass section, and by a very wide margin by today's standards, while also possessing panel colorations due to audible support pillar vibrations. All these issues are also apparent with the Prodigy as well.

Thankfully, all of them can be fixed by modifying the crossover and strengthening the support structures. The results are truly spectacular and worthy of using the best electronics with them.

Here are the relevant mods/threads I authored:

1) Crossover

2) Structural

3) Woofer attenuation

Others have taken the crossover mods to yet higher levels, like Ps68's Spires, with their own structural mods; see

With these modifications plus a sub, all these speakers approach the Magico Q3 in performance, and clearly outperform the Summit X and CLX (the latter would also benefit from similar mods).

From a tonal balance perspective, see the graph at

The bottom line is that these are highly tweakable speakers with spectacular results.
Addendum: you may notice that the crossover redo is based on the same Mundorf CFC coil inductors, Supreme capacitors and M-Resist Supreme resistors as the Q7 - long before the Q7 even existed. I went further and replaced the binding posts as well with all-copper Mundorf M6 (a perfect shoo-in). I would recommend these products for just about any speaker. The total cost of all mods, and considering how complex the O's crossover is, is well below $10K in parts, current prices.