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Not in person. I would think that the dispersion of MLs would help with my funky room, and it is a pretty dead space (carpet, bookshelves etc).
I like detail, but not really brassy sounding.
What about Aegirs as opposed to Vidars ? They are supposed to be more musical but I did not know if 80w @ 8ohm would be enough to drive the ELSs.
While I’ve been in this hobby for 40 plus years, I’m am by no means at the expert level as a lot of the people that post here on Audiogon are. I can’t afford the equipment that some have either. (Only can dream…) I also know what it is like to be working in a $5000 to 6000 budget. I've had that same that same WHOA, WHAT IS THIS feeling as well, the first time I heard a planar speaker, a set of Magnapans, back in the 1980’s and then again the first time I heard a set of Quad electrostatics. They say once you go planar, you never go back. So, I thought I would throw some of my experiences and 2 cents in and I hope it helps.
I've run multiple ML electrostatic models (Scenarios,
Source, Vistas) as well as different amps and preamps over the years, some I
owned and some borrowed, and few generalities I have learned. To start, electrostatics
have a wide impedance range, and can drop to less than 1 ohm in the 20kHz and
higher range. Thus, they can be on the difficult side to drive
properly. They want power, and not just watts, but current. They
can also be very unforgiving of the electronics if not well matched.
Class A or AB amps that can double down watts from 8 ohm (say 200W) to 4 ohm (400W) and are stable into the 2 ohm range are usually a solid choice. Some I’ve tried are Classe CA-200 and CAV-75, McCormack DNA 500, Mark Levinson ML-9, Krell KSA200, Parasound A-23 and A-21 (currently in use), and a pair of Classe CAM-200 monoblocks. The best were the Parasound A-21 or Krell KSA200. The weakest of the bunch was the Classe CAV-75, while was still good, it just didn’t have the grunt needed.
Class D amps can struggle with the low impedance. I tried a nice Bel Canto S500 and the upper frequencies sounded sharp and grainy. A PS Audio Stellar S300 was better, but I could still hear it struggling. It could be that they just don’t have the current reserves needed.
Tubes. Ah tubes… and I like tubes (and I will probably get blasted on this one…) I’ve found that tubes, while will drive the speakers, just aren’t up to it unless you spend a lot of $$. They typically just don’t have the current at the low impedance levels. While the smoothness of tubes was, and is, nice, the upper frequencies were just somewhat veiled and felt slow. Electrostatics respond so quickly the transients, that the limited tube amps I’ve used just seemed to not keep up and the signature sound of electrostatics wasn’t there. I own a PrimaLuna Prologue Integrated for a secondary system, and tried several borrowed ARC tube amps and a McIntosh 275 amp from a good friend. All have been put in that system, but didn’t last long before I went back to solid state.
Something else to consider, be careful of using a bridged solid state amp. You mentioned the Schiit Vidar. You might want to call Schiit about Vidars, especially if you are thinking about bridging them into monoblocks. I blew up one Classe amp that I bridged to raise the wattage. From what I understand about how bridging works, bridged amps don’t always like the lower impedance loads, especially at high volumes. (The Classe got so hot that it discolored the paint on the top cover before it blew all the fuses, and a couple of caps, a resistor or two...)
I hope this helps…
Current setup in the main system: Parasound JC-2 preamp, Parasound A-21 amp, Sony XA9000es CD/SACD player, Schiit Yggdrasil DAC, VPI Scoutmaster turntable with Goldring Erotica cartridge, ML Vista speakers, ML Decent sub. Cabling is mainly Audioquest with Analysis Plus Big Silver Oval speaker cables.
And enjoy the hobby but don’t forget about the music.
I just bought a pair of Martin Logan EM-ESL's. They definitely throw a nice soundstage and image. Not bright to me, as I don't like a rolled-off sounding speaker. Deeper bass than I expected, but a little midbass shy. Not bad though; just not hyped up, to better blend with the panel.
So far, I'm using the ESL's with a modded (capacitors) Schiit Saga V1 preamp, into a Adcom GFA-5400. A Sony UBP-X1100ES into a Schiit Bifrost MB is my primary source. But, my TV sound is patched in too. Oh, I just received an Aragon 2004 MK ii amp. That gets hooked up this weekend.
As to Martin Logan and Schiit, everything plays nice together. Relaxed and musical. But, I'm not sure "Aegirs" would pair well. Bridged mono Aegir amps don't like low impedances. The amps will shut down, if driven too loud. Schiit recommends Vidar's in those instances. A ML owner, on the Martin Logan Owners Forum, has a full surround system, using 7 Vidar's for his various Martin Logan's. Must be OK.