Thinking of a Schiit Freya + and Vidars, to Power Martin Logan ESLs

I am trying to get closer to a rig I heard in 1987 at the Groove Audio Video in Houston. Carver Amazing Loudspeakers, Silver 7s, Digital Time Lens, Yamaha Natural sound Preamp, and Sony's top of the line CD player (777 maybe?)
It was truly a magical experience I knew instantly why people would spent big cash on audio. at the time I was a broke dick looking for a car head unit that had grown so disgusted at a salesman I was leaving, when another salesman took me back to the money room.
When he fired up Shout from Tears for fears, and later Listen, I was inside the music, breathing it, still cannot really properly describe it, But I know Tubes and Electro stats will get me part way there.
I am ok with $5500-6500 but the room is oddly shaped 12' x17'  but with a large desk on the listening end wall, and one of the long walls opens into an entry hall for 9'. so a true balanced soundstage will not be possible. but I do want to get closer to that sound
I have a pair and they are pretty good but they are tipped up on the brighter side and still need a subwoofer. Fairly easy to drive with tubes or solid state. Have your heard them? 
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.
You’ll have no trouble with speaker placement, just follow the manual instructions. They are not brassy or metallic but they are crisp. I had no trouble driving mine with a 25 watt tube amps 80 watts is plenty.

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.

On amps,

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’ve found that tubes, while will drive the speakers, just aren’t up to it unless you spend a lot of $$..."

The little Electromotion ESLs are a little easier to drive than the larger models. Worse case is 1.6 ohms at 20KHz. You want a solid amp but it doesn't need to be a block buster. 
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.

Good luck.