Which Martin Logans did you listen to & what were your feelings on them?
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I forget which Martin Logan speakers I demoed. It was an electrostatic pair with a powered bass driver. They sounded great. Really nice soundstage and airy feel to Mudd and highs. I definitely liked them. No boxiness to the sound.
The Magnolia staff were ok. They were young (under 30) and didn't know a thing about my components--they hadn't heard of the make.
The staff slso pushed their own demo music. They were friendly. I was surprised, but not put off, by them asking me what I do for a living.
One of of the guys knew the product lines well. The other guy did not.
I got the sense that they were just showing off their stuff and not too concerned about my actual objectives. They assumed that both speakers would be a viable upgrade for me based on price alone---that was a bit silly. I think the Sonus Faber may have had a bit more finesse than my PSBs, but this didn't feel like I was in a different league.
Big props to my Creek integrated. It really sounds nice even even I'm comparing it to a dedicated amp with gobs more power.
I agree. I'm not so seasoned at this hobby because--for many years--I didn't have funds to really do much. I bought a pair of Monitor Audio bookshelf monitors in 1997 (I was 24). I ran them through a Denon receiver as a preamp and a Carver power amp, with a Rega P2 turntable and modest cartridge. There was no much I could do in terms of upgrading.
After grad school, I had more money. I bought a pair of Totem Arros and couldn't believe the value for the money. Next I bought a Creek 5350 integrated and dumped the Carver--even though it allegedly had something like 3x the power and more current. Now, I'm back at it and love what I'm hearing.
I think you're right on the homogenous group of loudspeakers in that price range. It seems if you are spending $300-$1000, stuff is easier to weed through. Things get closer together in terms of sonics when I moved north of $2k.
I haven't heard the PSB Imagine T3, but I'd bet it sublime--especially for the money. The T2 is really something.
I broke down and went to Magnolia couple weeks ago to take a look. The high end gear and speakers demo room was what was expected, good stuff. The Staff were children who didn't have a clue about anything, even the gear they sold. Sad and unfortunate.
I guess the Internet has essentially killed the "local audio shop" to a large degree. I live in Atlanta and it's dismal. I've tried hard to "buy local" but unless you're willing to pay full retail with no service of any kind then forget it...
Magnolia was a local, small chain here in the Seattle area until they were bought our by Best Buy a few years ago. Did you go to a Magnolia Design Center? There are a few in the Best Buy stores in the Seattle area, and they're set up more like a small high end store within a store, and have mostly staff from the independent Magnolia stores before they were shuttered a couple years ago. In general they're quite knowledgeable about the products.
I've never gone into a Magnolia/Best Buy anywhere else so I can't speak to them.
Wow... your Magnolia experience mirrors mine of about 2 years ago..... I still listen to 25yr old B&W matrix 801-S2's.... and I've tried several times to replace them.... to no success yet.... The Magnolia sales rep was great to me though... I brought my own stack of CDs at 2pm on a weekday when they were least busy... and he happily let me listen to my tracks through the B&W 802D's, Martin Logan SummitX, and the Sonus Faber Olympica's.... all 3 pairs are in the $12-15k range...... My least favorite of the three..... the 802D's...... I want to love them so much.... and just don't. I've heard them at 3 different audio dealers now, and never like them. The biggest surprise were the Olympica's.... but simply not enough low end for me at the $13k price. The Summit's were simply gorgeous and transparent sounding, but more reserved dynamically.... all these driven by big MAC amps through miles of speaker cable in a terribly boomy room. I'm experienced enough to be able to tune some of the room out... and it was still a good demo experience.
I am a magnolia customer. Bought a pair of 802d3 and have a pair of Sonus faber Olympica 3. The staff are very nice to me and very accommodating. I have borrowed from them some audioquest cables for the past 2 months... They let me walk out the store with approximately $5,000 worth of audio cables without batting an eye.
the room is good, take the demo with a grain of salt, tough to get completely right with multiple set ups in 1 room.
Interesting conversation. A few month ago I was actively looking for monitors to replace a set of GMA Europas and snell type d floorstanders. First off yes I do have sellers regret with the Snells. But anyway, living in northern Virginia I had traveled to several audio shops to test drive speakers of which Magnolia was one. It was the design shop in Fairfax. Long story short I ended up purchasing a set do sonus faber chimeleons. Returned them and purchased a set of ML motion 35 st monitors. Like them a lot, the folded tweet is easy on sensitive ears. But to the point both of the reps I dealt with where very knowledgeable and felt comfortable working with them. Both had very respectable set ups at there homes. And was able, if I wanted to take the ML motion 15xts home to demo. They recognized the limitations of their listening rooms and tried to shift things around to improve the environment. In all a very good experience with knowledgeable folks, low pressure, and willing to understand my needs as the buyer. One of the guys had a set of SF Cremona and was working to move to the Auditors and was waiting to go for training at sumiko school so that helped demonstrate to me that there was a professional and enthusiastic interest beyond just a job. No connection with Magnolia, just had good experiences with them. Take care, Dave
We recently purchased several major kitchen appliances at a local Best Buy. Not that it was planned, but I wandered over to the Magnolia section which in fact was a Design Center store. They had 4-5 listening rooms and my staff person was "somewhat" knowledgeable about audio, but was unfamiliar with my Kharma Midi Grands and Krell FPB 450 mcx monoblocks. He didn’t ask me what I did for a living. I auditioned the Sonus Faber Olympus III’s and then the B&W 803 D3’s with Mac gear.... unfortunately without my own listening material. I was genuinely impressed with the B&W’s. Last time I auditioned B&W were the Nautilus series 802’s 12+ years ago... they’ve come a long way since then. Anyway, long story short, I walked away ordering a REL S/2 sub at 1/2 price for a secondary system. FWIW.
Chlv0ter and jafant, you are mostly correct about the Atlanta hifi market. There are some options you may not know about. I own and operate Wolfsong Audio in Dawsonville. We show a full line of Bryston, Rogue Audio, Ryan Speakers, Kii Audio, Thoerns, Nerve Audio cables, Soundsmith phono carts. And Target A udio stands. Look up Wolfsong Audio and give us a call
I would strongly suggest you look into Devore Fidelity and or Vandersteen speakers then consider any change in amplification requirements.
Your current speakers are very good performers for their price point which means spending considerably more for an improvement that will be satisfyingly worthwhile.
Devore designs open the door to the possibilities of low wattage amplification. Vandersteen offers what becomes the distinctive presentation of correct time and phase. After living with them you'll begin to notice just how wrong many other dynamic speaker designs are.
If Best Buy's Martin Logan's become your siren call I'd recommend a must listen to Sanders Sound Systems the entire system.
And please, get Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" and dance with your child to an uncorrected musical production.
The best way to audition components is to recreate your listening room (and your home audio rig) at the retail location. This involves driving around with a moving van filled with exact replicas of your furnishings and gear, and must include heavy portable walls to replicate the ambient tone of your home vibration storage characteristics. You will need to hire a good theatrical set designer and a crew to help schlep the stuff, but it is utterly worth the trouble if buying any component over $300. Remember to spend at least a week at the retail location to insure that any new components really fit with your lifestyle.
A film studio effects crew can replicate weather conditions with artificial rain and wind machines, although "artificial" rain and wind are actually real albeit "controllable" things. Tent dwellers can set up in the Magnolia parking lot and get their audio gear auditions going, as well as shopping for cameras and washing machines.