ribbon or electrostatic speakers

Are there any ribbon or electrostatic speakers that you can feel the impact of the bass?
Hey Seadog,

Don't you have Advents, and it was a friend on the West Coast you were getting Scintillas for?
Yup. It's very dependent on your amplifier power though.
Even the Magnepan 1.6 will generate very good bass (above 40hz) when mated to a 300wpc+ solid state or 200+ wpc tube amplifier. The Quad 989 produces superb bass above 30 hz. For the ultimate in bass get the soundlab M-1's. Those go down to 20hz. (disclaimer I sell Quads). The trick is to get a monster amplifier that will cause the panels to generate 'rock solid' bass within their range.

You might want to just consider mating a subwoofer to an ESL. I have had pretty good luck with the Quads/Rel. This also gives you the benefit of sub-20hz bass and a smaller panel in your room.

I have not heard them lately but both the Martin-Logans and the Innersound are hybrid designs with a built in sub.
Check out Piega.
Well, I have Scintillas powered by X600. These will give impact down to 20Hz. The mids are incomparable except for Quads. The highs are perfect beyond hearing. They produce the music as was recorded. When the recording is first rate, the Scintilla sounds seamlessly natural from 20Hz to 20KHz.

Scintillas give full performance even at low volume.

I have never heard another speaker that can do this. The Apogee Diva and Duetta are wonderful too.
I find Sound Labs do quite well with bass impact, and it is rich, taut, and full. The other aspect which is often overlooked is naturalness, in terms of timbre and reproduction of the reverberant field. From the pounding of the largest bass drum or tympani to reproducing the sound of the body of a grand piano to a vibrant electric bass in a club scene, I'm not left with the feeling something is missing. I haven't heard a hybrid electrostat that integrates seamlessly and enables the music and sound to follow you around your home the way Sound Labs do. They reproduce the feeling, the gestalt, of being at the performance venue, by virtue of being full range reproducers and by virtue of their radiation geometries.

Disclaimer: I'm a Sound Lab dealer. Sometimes my enthusiasm and passion get a little carried away.

Brian Walsh
Don't forget about the units from Genesis or the old single sided Beverage or Maggies. I believe stats do deliver bass just not the flap your pants type. When you hear natural bass ie. Trains, planes, automobiles your pants don't flap.

When you hear the bass reproduced bass a bass driver in a cone system it might but then with many of these you have never heard it any other way.

By the way I use a sub to augment my full range stats. Even though i think the stats actual bass is cleaner.

Dipole bass is diffrent from monopole bass. That chest-thump you feel on a kickdrum is from the whole room being pressurized. A box woofer can actually increase or decrease the net air pressure in the room, but a dipole can only create local pressure differentials so it takes an awful lot of air-moving capability to give that kind of bass impact.

A large dipole bass system like the Maggie 20/20.1, full size Sound Labs, and the Audio Artistry Beethoven can move enough air in the bottom end for you to feel it. They can even give you that "room shaking" feeling on organ and synthezised bass. But in my experience they do not give you the chest-whumping impact on drum and bass guitar that a good large box will. On the other hand, a good dipole bass system will usually give you better pitch definition because its figure-8 radiation pattern puts significantly less energy into the room's side-to-side and top-to-bottom bass resonant modes, so the notes decay more quickly and naturally (less overhang). And of course, there are no boxy resonances.

The bottom end impact of a given dipole system can be increased by adding "wings" on either side to increase the path length between the frontwave and the out-of-phase backwave. This may well thicken or otherwise color the tonal balance, unfortunately, and can disturb the cohesiveness of the presentation.

I appreciate Rangers Audio's comments, but the Sound Lab M-1's don't normally go quite down to 20 Hz (disclaimer - I peddle 'em). I say "normally" because two of my customers claim to measure in-room response down south of 25 Hz, but the factory spec of somewhere in the upper 20's is probably more realistic. The big Maggie 20 and 20.1's also go just as low, and are a bit less expensive than the full-sized Sound Labs. The metal-frame Sound Lab Ultimates do indeed have better impact and bottom end extension than their wood-frame counterparts do, but they cost almost a Honda Civic more. For another two and a half Civics' worth, you can add a pair of 40" wide metal-frame Ultimate bass panels, and these are big enough and have enough excursion that they will definitely give you that chest-whump even though they're dipoles.

Obviously, if you go with a good hybrid system, you can get chest-whumping bass from the woofer boxes. But I have yet to hear a hybid system that sounds as coherent as a good full-range planar. That's why Quad came out with the 989, so you wouldn't have to add a separate sub with very different radiation characteristics (if you'd like I'll go into detail about why the radiation patterns matter, but I don't want to bore you too much here). Anyway, the best impact I've heard in a hybrid system was a big Wisdom Audio system, but in this case amplifier matching was critical.

Let me pause and mention that with any of the full-range dipole systems we're talking about here, amplifier matching makes a world of difference in whether or not you have good dynamics and impact. A Maggie 3.6 with the right amp will subjectively have more dynamic impact and liveliness than a 20 or 20.1 with the wrong amp.

Now, there is a full-range dipole speaker that will be introduced within the next few months which will have very deep low-frequency extension along with exceptional air-moving capabilty, so it should fill the niche you're asking about. I haven't actually heard the speaker yet, but I'm friends with the designer, Mark Gilmore of newly-formed Gilmore Audio (Mark and his parter, distributor Harry Blazer of Glacier Audio, gave me permission to post this). The Gilmores will be two-way dipoles with an extremely lightweight ribbon operating above 200 Hz or so and an array of flat-panel, ultra long excursion planar hybrid woofer elements operating down to a claimed bottom end of 20 Hz. Mark is pushing the edge of the envelope in several directions at once - his speakers will also be fairly efficient and easy to drive. More specific information will be available in a few weeks. Disclaimer - I will be peddling these.

Best of luck to you, Seadogs!

Also, I think you have to add the VMPS RM40's and such into this fray...

Fast ribbon from 250Hz to 10k and "mega woofers" rated down to something like 32Hz. All the "impact" you'll possibly ever need.
I'm not a dealer, nor have never been, but I don't mind when a dealer waxes eloquently over a product they represent. It was Keith Yates of home theater fame who showed me the way to the Scintilla. I'd hate to think what a large Soundlab will cost plus the amps that are needed to run them. I hear they rival the Scintilla in amp requirements. The Apogee is audio's best cheap treasure.
Although Sound Labs aren't a benign load, they're nowhere near as tough as they used to be, thanks to the backplate update which became available early this year and which reduces the impedance dip in the midrange that some amplifiers have problems with. Great amplifiers for driving them can be found for under $6000. Scintillas, on the other hand, drop to somewhere in the range of 1 ohm and are about as tough a load as any speaker out there. Very few amplifiers can drive them well. They can be a bargain, but it's important to keep in mind the company is long gone and you may find yourself on your own to service them even though parts may be found occasionally.
Muralman1, no I don't have Advents but I do have Avantgarde Duo's and yes I did get a friend Scintillas. I really like the Scintillas but unlike my friend I worry about parts and worry more about who can repair them. Thanks!
Hififarm, does Piega have a website? Thanks!
Audiokinesis, always interested in new speakers. When you have more info ie; website, price, lit., etc. please email me. You stated you will be peddling the Gilmore Audio, are you a dealer? If so, where are you located? Have you heard these new speakers? If so, how do they compare with the Apogee Scintillas or Divas? Thanks!
Hands down the best bass I've heard from a panel speaker was from a pair of Sound Labs, followed closely by a pair of Apogee Divas. Admittedly, there was a + 6-9 DB peak centered around the 40 HZ region of the Soundlabs, but it was tight, tight, and did I say tight, which made the presentation quite visceral without mucking up the mid or upper bass. The Divas had noticably more grunt down under 30 HZ but lacked the sense of bass to midbass slam that the Soundlab's bump brought to the table. This made the Divas more menacing...in a good way though.

That being said, I've gotten truly excellent results using sealed subwoofers with system Q's ~.6. Normally, such a low Q would result in a rather lean and dry low end, but I just juice it up a bit (+4-6 DB)in the 20-40 HZ octave and actively cross it over to the bass panels of my Apogees at 70 hz (and yes, I do cut the lower octave out of the Apogee's bass panel). The result is, in a word, thrilling. In two words, "shock & awe".
You may want to check out the Vmps hybrid designs, these have everything your looking for in a ribbon design speaker and can be had from bookshelf to huge design and at many price levels.

Seadog, Except for perhaps the largest Soundlabs, your friend is never going to replace the Scintillas sonically. Well experienced listeners rate my system best ever.

There are two avenues of repair available.

1) All of the factory tools and supplies are in the hands of a fourteen year Apogee veteran. He has successfully refurbished several that I know of.

2) Graz out of Australia makes better than new replacement ribbon kits for all models. The ribbons come with easy to understand instructions. Scores of people have taken this path.

I know from my own experience the Scintilla is tricky to get perfect - but it can do perfect. They need to be moved around into a lot of positions, for and aft, side to side, and toe in. When Scintillas have arrived, your friend will know. The Scintillas will be seamless from very low bass to highs beyond hearing and will sound true to nature throughout the audible range.

I placed mine on masonite so they could be slid easily around, carefully measuring to all walls. I power them with Pass Labs X600 monos. These can be picked up mint off Audiogon for 7K.

I live on the west coast. Maybe I can be of help to your friend. I would be pleased if your friend would contact me privately.
Hello Seadogs,

I'm a dealer for Sound Lab and several other speaker lines, as well as a few lines of electronics that work well with the speakers I sell. I will be a dealer for the Gilmore Audio speakers (assuming they sound really good - I haven't heard them yet). I will of course have much more useful comments to make once I have a pair on hand, but from what I understand in lightness of the ribbon diaphragm, bass excursion capability, and ease of driving, the Gilmores delve into exciting territory for a full-range planar.

I'm located in New Orleans. My living room is my showroom, and my gimmick is offering a free bed & breakfast stay to out-of-town customers, plus airfare reimbursement with purchase. So far over 80% of the people who take me up on my offer and fly here to audition Sound Labs end up buying a pair (this doesn't count people who are in town for some other reason and come by for an audition), and the only sales I have failed to make have been when the customer wanted something with greater dynamic scale. In the past I've lost those sales to big cone-and-dome speakers; with the Gilmores I hope to have a planar that can compete in that arena as well.

I think there will be several Gilmore dealers here and there; you might want to contact the distributor, Harry Blazer of Glacier Audio (www.glacieraudio.com), to see if there will be one close to you.

Best of luck in your quest,

I looked up Gilmore and found nothing. I looked up Glacier and found Apogee not mentioned. That strikes me as funny, because the speaker described sounds suspiciously like an Apogee Duetta.

Glacier's description of the Gilmore leads readers to believe all ribbon and electrostatics are dynamic whimps. I can't speak for the others, but the Apogee Scintilla is rated conservatively at 110 db. I know for a fact it does more. They just didn't have the amps in the mid eighties that could explore the Scintilla's limits. The newer Apogee Diva is rated at 120 db. In other words, bring on Mahler!

It is my sincerest belief the Gilmore will be a very expensive redo of the Apogee, with a bass panel twist. Hopefully it is an improvement. Loving the realness of the music I listen to through my Scintillas, I can't see there is any room for improvement, except efficiency.
Hi Muralman, How do you get in touch with the 14 year Apogee veteran? What's his name and does he have an email address, phone #, or web site? Thanks!
With some hesitation (only because they are all but impossible to find) I recommend the Acoustat Spectra 66 or Spectra 6600's. They probably have the largest surface area of any full-range electrostat ever built (6 panels), but image exceptionally well in a large enough room because they are driven full range only in a very narrow area.

I enjoyed a pair of Acoustat Monitor 3's for 20 years, which also had very good bass. They also had outstanding imaging (better than 2+2's), which I suspect is because their panels were angled (as in the Acoustat X) meaning the high frequencies and midrange hit you directly from only one set of panels. When the Monitor 3's broke last year, I didn't kow where to get them fixed at the time (Roy Esposito at "Sounds Like New" is the Acoustat guru), so I gave them to my housekeeper's kid and bought a Medallion pair of 2+2's.

I was not quite completely satisfied with the 2+2's because the bass wasn't low enough, so I jumped at the chance to acquired a pair of Spectra 66's earlier this year. The guy I bought them from was driving them with a Classe Omicron in a large room, and the bass was stunning. I took them home to a smaller room with a pair of ARC VTM200's, and the bass was actually overwhelming. Lacking the funds to buy a new house, I sold the VTM200's, and I'm presently driving them with the power amp section from a large Luxman receiver driven by an ARC Ref 2 Mk II (no, I'm not crazy, it sounds better than the VTM200's!), as I try to decide what "proper" power amp would be best.

Anyway, sorry for the digression - point is, I've lived with different electrostats for decades, and if you get a chance to hear a pair of the 6 panel Acoustat Spectra's, I think you'll find the bass you're looking for.
Duke summed up the issue of 'feeling the impact' with ribbon / electrostats and explained their limitations very well. However, that kind of room shaking bass that some box speakers and subwoofers can create may detract or at least distract from the overall experience of hearing a good audio system. It is very much at home in a HT application but I wouldn't trade quality bass (fast, deep, tight, pitch accurate) for bass that is more about quantity than quality.
I'm using Maggie 3.6's and I'm still very much in the experimentation stage, but I'm hearing some excellent bass from these speakers. Matching the right amp has been difficult, but I'm getting a flavor of their true bass potential using a Perreaux 2150. I'm measuring good output at 25hz, and it's clean bass without sending boom and vibration around the room, so it doesn't detract from the mid range, where the real quality of any planer/electrostat lies.
In a slightly smaller room, (my room is quite large), I think a 3.6 with a good amp could provide all of the bass quantity and quality that one could need and without having the integration nightmares of trying to add a sub.
The Gilmore Audio audio speakers are reminiscent of the Carver Amazing Loudspeakers, 60" of ribbon partnered with 4 subs in an open baffle design. I still have a pair sitting in a spare bedroom, thought I haven't listened to them in years. Those Carvers took monster amps to make them sing.
VMPS speakers will do what you want with ease. They're hybrids but the ribbons handle 166hz to 10khz. All the slam you could want.
I have heard the Gilmore model 2 and model 3 speakers.

All I can say is that (on axis) they are one of the most AMAZING speakers I have yet heard... PERIOD.

Their bass (even the model 3's) is simply stunning. It is the closest bass I have heard to live bass coming from a speaker. The model 3 is rated at -3db @ 22hz, and I absolutely believe it.

The Gilmore speakers are also easy to drive. I heard them driven by 60wpc OTL tubes. No need for monster amps with this speaker.

Frankly, I have not been this excited over a speaker in a long time.

Email me if you have any questions.

That is great news! How much are they? I have heard complaints about their looks. Of course, that is a personal bias. I bet they are very costly. This is why I treasure the Scintilla. It's cheap. It is a son of a gun to power, but that isn't the problem it was before, now with the advent of capable class D amps. I have one eAR2 doing magic on my Scinnys. By the way, the Scintilla does 20Hz at even db. It's bass planar panel is as fast as the ribbons. FYI there is a ribbon producer Down Under, Graz, who is building his first cost is no object full range ribbon speakers using rare earth magnets. His hybrid, the Perigee, has been well received.
Tok20000, are you also a dealer for these speakers?
No. I am not a dealer for Gilmore.

I am just someone who head the Gilmore speakers over a 7 hour listening session. And I was AMAZED by them.