Thoughts on the new Martin Logan Summit Speakers

Over the weekend I was able to listen to the new ML Summit speakers which are priced at about $10k in the system of a fellow audiophile that I visit on an irregular basis. Previously he had used a pair of the ML Monoliths. Other components include a Levinson transport, MR-78 tuner, a Tact pre-amp (latest), Parasound JC-1's and ML Descent subs in a reasonably large room. I have heard the Monoliths in this system on a number of ocassions and they have never really excited me. Both the Monoliths and the Summits were equalized in the digital domain to remove room artefacts.

Martin Logan includes the Summits in their "Reference" speakers along with the Statements. They are reminiscent of the Prodigies with an electrostatic panel crossed over to a 10" powered/EQ'd woofer. The panel are apparently cryogenically treated and include ML's latest technology.

Although the listening session was only an hour, several things were clear. This is an exceptional speaker with an exceptional level of transparency. It absolutely destroys the Monoliths sonically in evry parameter, except the ability to move large amounts of air at very low frequencies. Although ML claims that it goes down to 25 hz, it clearly benefitted from the Descent subs crossed in at 55 hz. We mainly listened to baroque music and chamber works. The string tone was excellent. Voices were also very nice. I would strongly recommend these speakers to anyone looking for a speaker at this price point. They have the added benefit of being a manageable size and the clear panels help make them less obtrusive visually in the room.
I agree that it is a very good speaker. With proper room placement I think that you will find that they are very dynamic in the bass. The 25 and 50 Hz controls will allow compensation for some common room modes. These are most useful for situations in which perfect placement for the midrange does not coincide with perfect placement for bass. As this is more often the case than not with electrostats I think that this was a wise move on the part of ML. The smaller size (than the Prodigy) will make them more sellable (WAF) as well.

Ask your buddy if he has played with the rear spike positions. If you bring the rear spikes out further than the front it will tilt the panel down. This can help with imaging if you have to place tham closer to the wall for bass reinforcement. So far I have found them to be fairly flexable speakers that sound darn good.
If your room is 25 by 40 but you listen near field, say 10 feet from the speakers, would they sound good? What size rooms are you listening to these speakers?
With electrostats you don't want to sit right on top of them. It will confuse the soundstage and give an artificial and inaccurate expanse to the music. However, in a room that large you can place them properly and be ten feet away and get great sound. I think that they were designed to go into a larger room. They sound good when you get them about 4 feet off of back and side walls in my room (which puts them in the way too much to live around). ML has a formula that works fairly well in the manual. It is not perfect and can't account for room anomolies like half walls, partitions, and uneven ceilings as in my room. If you are thinking of getting a pair ask your dealer to let you demo them at home. If he won't... find another dealer.

Good luck!