TAS did a review on the 'source' speaker. This is the 2k retail; model.---Pretty impressive,they say.--Can't find my copy but I think 'they' were in the latest issue.
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I am interested in the new Logon line also. I own the ReQuests and truly enjoy them despite their limitations. I still look forward to sitting down and listening even with nine years of ownership.
I would love to hear the Summits to compare and contrast, especially the bass and bass integration. They have the Vantage in Alaska and although it wasn't a extended listening opportunity I wasn't that impressed and I think they are asking around five grand for them.
As for tubes, they will help Logans. Isn't the Sonic Frontiers doing it for you? They reduce the leaness and flesh out the sound on my ReQuests. I use CJ premier 12's on mine and love them, but if you are a fan of BAT or Cary, I am fairly certain they will satisfy. A friend has Cary V12 monoblocks and they are beautiful looking and sound splendid.
I haven't heard the Vista, so I cannot comment on them, but, I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Sanders, the head honcho of ML at the time, and he had some very interesting things to say about the size/design of his speakers. At the time, he was demonstrating the Prodigy at a local Washington, D.C. store. I asked him if the smaller size of the stat panel on the speaker provided any sonic advantage over the larger panels employed on the Quest/ReQuest. He frankly answered "no" and that the Prodigy would have been even better with a bigger panel, but for marketing reasons they went with a smaller panel. He said that improvements in panel technology allowed them to go with a smaller panel and still improve the sound, but the smaller size was a marketing compromise.
I also asked Mr. Sanders about why the panel actually extended below the top of the box containing the woofer. He admitted that that could result in undesirable early reflections from the back of the panel and a cavity resonance, but, that said they found the bad effects turned out to be minimal, and that this design also allowed them to reduce the size of the speaker.
Great answers by a manufacturer instead of BS.
Thanks everyone! I figured the size differance was driven more by market than technology. The trend for many OEMs is smaller speakers that integrate better with home decor. This is fine as long as sound or build quality isn't affected.
I think my shock at the smaller size of the Vista speakers derives from my experience as an engineer: There appears to be less for the money. I don't think this is actually the case. Martin Logan has always manufactured excellant, high-quality products.
The generation of ML hybrids starting with Summit/Vantage show significant improvements over their previous efforts IMHO. There is better bass integration, less need for high power amplification due to the built in woofer amps, and in general a more vivid, true to life sound. The bass level controls are a big help too for getting the right balance, especially in smaller rooms. Paired with the right amplification (McIntosh tubes are a terrific match!), they provide a level of musical enjoyment that is not easily beaten in their respective price ranges. While it is true that the current Quad electrostatics are perhaps a bit more pristine, detailed and better integrated in the bass (no cone woofer), these ML hybrids do dynamics and deep bass better, plus have a wider listening window. These are acceptable trade offs for me. Overall, a very fine speaker!
I have auditioned the Summits a couple of times at my dealer.
The Summits panels are alot bigger than the Vantages.
I liked the sound of the Summits driven by Mac 501s.
I did not listen to the Vantages because they where not ideally set up in a different room.
One thing I dislike about the Summits is the image height. It sounds like it is about 18 inch off the floor. This is because the woofer is about 6 inches from the floor and is crossed over at about 250 hz or higher. I brought this up to the salesman and he said the reason is their set up guy is really short. Which is B.S. He also said they just need to be tilted back to bring up the height.
Panel speakers sound best when they are straight up and down. I imagine that you could put them on some platforms to raise their height but these speakers also have downfiring woofers. So the platforms would have to be very solid.
I would assume that the Vantages would have the same problem because they are a very similar design.