There are a number of factors in determining this answer. I use the Ultimate One Soundlab and get at least 100 DB listening levels at 12 feet using a 225 watt tube amp (Wolcotts).
My room is about 19 X 33 feet with a ceiling that vaults to 12 feet. Filling my space may be more difficult than yours. With these facts in mind, my instincts say you will be able to produce what you want with the M1.
You must consider that bass from a Soundlab is not the same as with a cone driver. The Soundlab is much more phase accurate, lower distortion and actually images in the same way the midrange and highs do. This makes for a more realistic and enjoyable presentation. The thing Soundlabs do not do is slam. Slam to me describes the ultra push you get with multiple large dynamic driver systems. The very thing that makes the large speakers fun also reduces their transparency and imaging ability.
The short answer is there is no perfect way to produce sound. Soundlabs will do many things better than you have ever experineced, they do not sound like Dunlavy nor does either of these sound like a big horn system.
I would not object to speaking on the phone with you if I can help.
The Sound Lab M-1 is capable of 105 dB at the listening position, but this is pushing the speakers very hard. And according to a customer of mine, the VTL 450 won't do it. This customer tried the 450's alongside the Wolcotts that Albert Porter is talking about, and said the Wolcotts were a much better match with the Sound Labs, so that's what he bought. Disclaimer - I'm a Wolcott dealer (also a Sound Lab dealer).
The Sound Labs are more a finesse speaker than a high-volume speaker. With the Sound Labs, you can hear more going on at 75 dB than you can at 105 dB on most speakers. I actually enjoy them quite a bit late at night at between 50 and 60 dB.
I can suggest a few amps that can deliver the sound pressure levels you're looking for, if you'd like. Also, I'd be happy to take a shot at any questions you might have.
I do not think you can get anywhere near the sound levels you expect, I just sold my M1s as I got fed up with playing string quartets and could never get any sound level with any good rock or large orchestra.
The volume concept is different with the soundlabs, they sound great but at a compromise. I drove them with the Wolcotts, rgards
Although I have been able to reach 100 dB or so with my Sound Lab U-1s, this is much louder than I normally listen - even some well recorded rock records that almost demand that you turn up the volume can be very satisfying (and subjectively, quite loud) at 90-95 dB. Pink Floyd DSOTM and others such as Steely Dan Aja don't leave much to the imagination - lots of punch and drive. With the right amps, they have plenty of dynamics and all the bass you could want, well defined and accurate in pitch. The bass is of a different quality - not as much in your face as speakers with moving coil drivers, yet they move a lot of air - it kind of envelops you. Never a problem getting good playback levels, in my experience. More importantly, the speakers convey a large amount of musical and subtle information even at low levels.
I had the opportunity to audition a pair of Manley NeoClassic 250's some months ago. They didn't drive the Sound Labs all that well, though (yet in all fairness they are very nice amplifiers, and this was before the speaker backplate update which smooths the impedance curve and makes them a bit easier to drive).
Disclaimer: I'm a Sound Lab dealer (in the Chicago area). Feel free to ask more questions.
Nadimgargour, it is unfortunate that 100 plus DB at 12 feet is inadequate for your needs. My system delivers that consistently with Wolcotts and I have a fairly large space.
The problem with Soundlab is that they seem to produce no volume due to ultra low distortion. I had a listener here a few weeks ago that kept insisting I "turn up the volume." The music he was listening to was a selection on CD that he brought with him, so this material was very familiar to him.
After the third time I raised volume and he ask again, I told him we were listening well over 90 DB and was louder than we would hear this vocalist in a live venue (un- amplified). He insisted that we were NOWHERE near 90 DB. I went for my analog Radio Shack meter and it read just over 102 DB. The measurement was beside his head, nearly 13 feet from my Soundlab U-1.
Low distortion and accurate phase make the sound so effortless that it appears to be low volume. I remember an old audio advertisement from the 1970's, "When they say turn down the volume, they mean turn down the distortion."
It's true in reverse as well.
Although quite late to this thread, I wanted to concur with Albert's above assessment.
Prior to the Soundlab M1's, the higher the SPL, the better, or so I thought. After obtaining the M1's, I too thought volume was low, only my SPL meter told me otherwise.
After owning the M1's for over a year now, I relish being immersed in the sound. It's different listening to undistorted rock -- less in your face -- but everything is still there, and for the better (after retraining myself to recognize and appreciate the sonic results).
The M1's have been a unique and much appreciated experience. I now know what low level detail and dynamics are; specific passages continue to startle me with their impact and resolution one of the best speakers available at any price.
Bless you Mrmb for sharing that. I'm so pleased you're enjoying the Soundlabs !
I'm still amazed by mine, an amazing feat considering I've been listening to them for more than fourteen years.
You are asking two different questions:
1) Will the amp drive the speakers properly. That is the same as asking can the amp drive a load that varies from 3 ohms to 30 ohms properly, because that is what happens with the Soundlabs as they are currently configured -- the 3 ohms is up high and the 30 ohms is down low. That is why transistor amps do such a lousy job with the Soundlabs of reproducing bass properly and why the Atma-Sphere MA2 that delivers constant power at different impedance levels does so well (it also prefers a high impedance load).
2) Can the Soundlabs play dynamically? The Soundlabs do many things well -- as well or better than anything out there. Handling very dynamic music and reproducing concert level bass are certainly not two of those. 105 dB is the the theoretical compression point of Soundlabs. I have never been able to achieve that level of sound pressure even with 440 watts of Atma-sphere power. But for Pink Floyd to be listened to properly, you need a system that can reproduce transients way above that level. Furthermore, the Soundlabs cannot handle bass reproduction even near that level without setting the membrane a flapping.
I agree with Albert, although I have "only" Acoustat 2+2s. You think to yourself "it is not loud at all", then you try to say something to someone, and ohmygod you need a megaphone to say anything that is audible. Electrostats are low noise tranducers that betray and belie their
loudness. Although, I have used the 2+2s as HT speakers, most listeners are absolutely flabbergasted by the bass "tunefulness" and output during say something like Jurassiac Park. It is not just some rumbling one note noise.
Sellerwithintegrity? The name doesn't fit. Don't hurt yourself patting yourself on the back.
Seems pretty sneaky the way you slam the competition without saying that you sell and distribute products such as Atmasphere, that you shamelessly promote in your post.
What gives you the right? Did anyone ask about amplifiers? No! Did anyone ask about impedances? No! Is it true that tube amps, especially AS OTL's, are the only amps that can drive difficult loads well? No! Lots of ways to get down the road in style. MA-2's are but one. If somebody isn't asking, stop changing the topic for your own sake, this board isn't here for dealers to self promote.
Also kind of funny the way you're slamming Sound Lab, even though you sell them (how seriously?). Hidden agenda? Word is you own 50 percent of Gilmore Audio. Gotta wonder.
How much more of your 20 million are you gonna blow on the porn star ads? Does anybody care?
Gotta agree w/ Planar here! There are 2 dealers before you who answered the thread & have written a disclaimer saying clearly that they deal w/ certain products. YOU DID NOT DO THAT!
We all know that you own & run Gilmore Audio, which sells Atma-sphere, Gilmore speakers & a few other brands. We rely on the INTEGRITY of the dealers to confess that they are dealers & to state which products they deal in (not the whole list but only those pertinent to the thread in which they are posting their answer). YOU DID NOT DO THAT! This is very sneaky of you & it does not give us, the user base, an idea that your views could be prejudiced.
I/We strongly urge you to go thru just a bit of xtra effort & type a disclaimer with your replies. Your knowledge is welcome by all of us under those conditions. If you cannot comply, leave!
BTW, I can also attest to Albert's example of "perceived" vs "real" SPL levels. I have lived with stats for a long time, and am used to this phenomenon.
OTOH, the fact that one can happily raise the volume and a Soundlab doesn't shout, does NOT mean that our ears are not being bombarded by harmfull spl levels... AND cranking up the volume high may rob the amp of its dynamic headroom & send it clipping (which doesn't sound good, not even on Soundlabs).
I mean, if you are at 100dba on an average passage, sitting 12ft away from the speakers, you need an extra 100x power just to get +20db of dynamic range... that's a lot of power!
On the amp subject: contrary to selleretc's contention, I have enjoyed A1's happily driven by an ss amp, too.
most people i know (inc myself) use SLs w/ SS amps.
sellerwithintegrity: you've pulled this nonsense before w/ the gilmore speaker intro thread here, and you're doing it again. my guess is with a reputation like you're gaining, you'll (justly) need to find another line of work.
As bad as I want electrostatics to rock I think the best advice given so far is from Nadimgargour. He listens to the same type music and used the right amps. I love the feel and sound but the slam is never going to be there. For moderate levels and jazz for me es are a dream, but I like to rock out some times and dont want to spend all that money and be dissapointed.
What I suggest is looking for some used avantgarde trios. With a large room they should be close to the electrostatic feel with alot of slam.
When I finally get time I think I will sell all my toys and get a pair. Then what will I do?
Mr. Bombaywalla, Mr. Planar, Rhyno,
From my perspective, you guys are the ones who are out of line. You use this forum all the time -- and thus are knowledgeable and sophisticated users. You certainly represent yourself as such. All you need to do is click on the "answers" button at the bottom of my response and you can see the entire history of my responses. The very first one clearly describes who I am. "Hi, I run Glacier Audio". So from my perspecitve this has been delcared right off the bat. Obviously you guys knew who I was -- especially MR. Planar who I believe has been less than forthcoming in terms of who he is and his real agenda. My affiliations have been explicit from the start and thus my preferences. SO if you think that there is some hidden agenda evidenced by the fact that i am not declaring this each and every time I make a post, then I disagree. But I am happy to declare who I am each time, if people feel that is what is preferred. I suggest that each of you do the same. I also suggest that you deal with the issues raised rather than invective.
Everything I said is totally accurate in my opinion, can be proven empirically and comes from extensive experience with all the products I discussed. I think that it also goes to the heart of Mr. Mejames' concerns. I think that Mr. Planar's rebuttal which questions my right to address the issue a I see fit and also denegrates the significance of impedance and amplification and the inherent limitations of electrostats is bizarre. Rather than being "nonesense" it goes to the core of the issue, whether you gentlemen understand that or not. Mr. Mejames, please feel free to call me at our toll free number if you would like to discuss your concerns in more detail: 888-291-8501 and ask for me -- Harry Blazer. You can also get additional info at our webstie: www.glacieraudio.com. Or you are welcome to come to Montana where you can see all the lines we represent in action: Soundlab, Gilmore Audio, Atma-Sphere, Triplanar, SOTA, Silver Audio, Bright Star, Sound Anchor, van den Hul, MSB Technology -- all of our "Best of Class" products.