I went from Quad 63's to Paragon Jubilee/Jems (a three way four piece set up using Dynaudio drivers) to Tyler Signature Systems (One piece). In my room the latter are all that I could ask for - they are as resolved, more dynamic, and you can actually play them loud(!). They are relatively easy to set up but really benefit from using good set up procedures.
The Quads require a far more exacting set up and room treatment to perform as well. The Tylers produce a highly resolved image, including height, but are not bright. They are easy to drive with tubes (I get the best results with 80 wts of PP power, but I have 30wt and 35wt amps that volume wise can drive you out of the room. The Tylers bass goes down into the 20's and I think they benefit from more 'iron' than the little amps have. I recently got the Quads out just for fun - I'd never go back for any reason!
I went to a PBN Montana epx speaker from the ML Prodigy. Much cleaner impact on the low end side. Mids are more realistic, However, you will not find a dynamic speaker with the same upper register holographic magic that the panel speaker gives. It is close but not the same.
Which is more realistic is up for debate and personal preference. I would say system synergy and room dynamics will play a good role in your search. Go listen and determine for yourself. Thats the fun part.
There is a coherencey about a well designed dynamic speaker that you will notice over the ML. Once you get to that level of speaker, each has its trade-offs from perfection but all are so darn close it comes down to personal taste. That said, I do miss the magic that the panel gave.
When I designed and built my subwoofer systems (one 2-driver system for each of three front speakers) I was thinking about LF extension beyond the 40 Hz that my MG1.6 can do. However, as things have evolved, they let me go from cone drivers to panel according to the type of music I am playing, just by varying the X/O frequency. I must note right away that this is only possible because my subwoofer systems, which are flat to 20 Hz with a bit of equalization, can also go up to about 400 Hz without distortion. (This would not be true of most commercially produced subwoofers). Also, you need an electronic crossover where the frequency is easily adjusted with a knob. In practice I use X/O frequencies from 40 Hz to about 300 Hz according to the type of music. When I vary the frequency I am really transitioning from cones to panels. There is no doubt that some music eg: loud organ music, benefits from the power capabilities of six big (12 and 15 inch) cones driven by six 600 watt amps! On the other hand, quiet classical chamber music does fine with just the Maggies. Best of both worlds!
I have been an electrostatic guy since the very early seventies- Quad ESLs (which I still have, along with a matching set of Quad mono tube amps); then Crosby-modified 63's (which I also still have, used with vintage ARC stuff).
I also wanted more impact, bass and dynamics. Went with Avantgarde Duos. The horns can give you what the Quads cannot, but still have an incredible ability to articulate, move 'fast' and sound boxless. Voices will not be as translucent as the Quad 57, but then, no other speaker that I have heard, including the later Quads, do as well either. (The trade-offs though are enormous, in terms of SPLs and bass, or lack thereof- the Quad 57, set up right, in the right room, is simply uncanny, but it is very limited). The horns give me a compromise I can live with.
I went from Innersound Eros to a VMPS, better all around with most of the magic from stats with much better impact.
The Gamut L5 no doubt.This loudspeaker has the impulse response of an electrostatic device,I am not kidding.A French audio magazine measured the speaker and I was shocked seeing the impulse response of the L5,few planars could come close to it.
Oh it sound like a million bucks too.
Went from Maggie 3.5 to Watt Puppy 7.0. Loved the bass, miss how transparent the Maggies were... WAF was not good on the Maggies either. WP's sound good with tubes, ARC voices their stuff with Wilsons I think. I think stats are like that one old special lover, the new one may be better in lots of ways, but there was that special thing...
I went from Quad ESL-63s to Gallo Reference 3s about 2 years ago. I liked the Ref 3s because I thought they offered a very ML-type sound in a more reasonably sized package. I loved the Quads and used them for many years, but they restricted my music choices. The Gallos have an electrostatic type of sound without the same restrictions. I drive them with Cary 805Cs.
Front horn system did it for me
MLs to Proacs. Actually, I've always kept some Proacs around, but ditched my big MLs in favor of a pair of 3.8s a year or so ago and haven't looked back. I've always like the transparency and speed of Proacs, which is probably what led me down the stat path to begin with. But, with my 3.8s, I get slam too.
Jeffreds - I was once seriously considering the Gallo Ref. 3's, but had concerns that the midrange just wouldn't be able to keep up with an electrostat in overall tonal purity.
Are the Gallo's as good as the ESL-63's in the all-important midrange?
I went from Maggie 1.6's to Energy Veritas 2.3i and don't regret it for a minute. The Energy's are better in just about every way. The only speakers line I've heard recently that I like better is the Ushers.
To all the Maggie posters, those are not Electrostats, now ofcourse you know that but maybe you didnt read his question closely :)
>but had concerns that the midrange just wouldn't be able to keep up with an electrostat in overall tonal purity.<
Electrostats might have "tonal purity", but the midrange is thin and threadbare. I love their see through transparency, but I couldn't live with the lack of image density and fullness as compared to conventional speakers.
Went from Acoustat 3's to Hales System 2 Signatures to Sonus Faber Guarneri Hommage's. Never looked back, the 'stat's' needed a large room and were completely lacking in dynamics compared to the others.
Nothing I've ever heard matches ESL-63s in the midrange. Every speaker has tradeoffs, and I thought that what I gained by going with the Gallos (bass, volume, and dynamics) made up for the slight loss of midrange magic. If you audition the Gallos make sure that you try them with warmish sounding components. I've never regretted the change, and the Gallos have opened a whole new world of music that just didn't work with the Quads.
Went from Magnepan IIIa's to NHT 3.3 (missed the top end sweatness, but got addicted to tight solid bass) to Wilson Watt Puppy 7's. If you like the quickness and air but want the mid and low bass to be as fast and as controlled then Go listen to some Wilson Sophia's. Warning Wilsons require exacting positioning which will be done by your dealer! (another bonus) Another fast speaker would be Merlin's, but they have a different flavor.
Martin Logan Odyssey replaced with Wilson Watt Puppy 7. Love the dynamics and speed I have now. Never thought a cone speaker could be so fast and open. No regrets at all.
No comments here on SoundLab stats so I will chime in. As stated many times on A'gon before, I was a huge Maggie fan (3.3 and 3.5) for many years until I heard the SoundLabs pretty much destroy them in every way: dynamics, low-end extension, fullness in the mids, tonal coherency, low-level resolution, image placement, the list goes on. The Maggie 20 series was not that much ahead of the 3 series.
The Maggies can be a most enjoyable speaker even with their limiting dynamics, but a transparent speaker they are not. And I ran them with ARC VT130, CL150s, Counterpoint NPS400, Wolcotts 220 and CAT JL-3 amps. Compared to ML stats, which I found way too analytical and lacking portrayal of space, the choice to go with the Maggies was an easy one.
I would agree that in the case of ML's, the midrange is thin but this is not at all the case with the SoundLab M1, A1, U1. Anybody who claims this has either not heard the SoundLab or heard them in an inappropriate system.
Denf, rather than be too quick to put stats out to pasture, I would suggest an audition of the SoundLabs. And if you want to run with tube amps, the CAT and the Atmasphere amps are outstanding performers. I run with the JL-3s and these along with the Aesthetix Io/Callisto front end results in midrange magic, decays and 3-dimensionality and dynamic contrasts like nothing I have yet heard.
Chadnliz: in response to your Maggies are not electrostats.. Duhhh... but the speed and air that the true ribbon provides is very similar and both are mid bass shy and can't attack loudly.. I'll add I owned ML Sequel's .. ok are you happy?
JaFox: I have hear good things about the soundlabs as long as you have the room, the typical planar quandry?
Maggies sound flat compared to ML and InnerSounds,also Magnepans compared Martin Logans dont have a Cone woofer so I dont think it was a big deal to point out that he was looking for answers in regards to Electrostats, and yes I am happy now.... smartass comments like yours always make my day.
Martin Logans sound threadbare and thin compared to maggies. So what's your point? The only things MLs have going for them is their transparency and speed. If you want a real presentation of music, you have to look elsewhere.
Chadnliz...My posting, referencing Maggies, was really about how you can transition between a planar and a cone speaker, according to suitability to the music, and would apply to electrostatics as well as Maggies.
Cytocycle - I don't think there is a "typical planar quandry". But then again, SoundLabs are not your typical planar speaker.
There is much discussion about room size and compatibility with certain speakers, low-end coverage, etc. This was a concern for me with my 13x18x7.5 basement room but it worked mighty fine with the Magnepans. However nearfield listening did not work well at all with the Maggies. I think a speaker needs to be able to perform well at medium volume levels for the nearfield position to work. And there seems to be a consensus that Maggies work "best" if placed along the short wall with the listener 8-10 feet back. My room configuration does not allow me to place the speakers on either of the two long walls.
Before I heard the SoundLab, I had read many posts on A'gon, AudioAsylum and the SoundLab users group that these worked mighty fine in rooms in the 200 sq ft or so. And when I heard them in a room a couple feet longer than mine, they sounded so good I knew the room size would not be an issue.
It took me very little time to realize why these big speakers could work well in a smaller room. Unlike with the Maggies, you can shift your lateral seating position and still have an incredible "view" onto the stage. With the Maggies, that field width was quite narrow. I discovered this by accident just from walking around and noticing how coherent the soundfield was no matter what angle I stood from the speakers.
I like to sit 8-10 feet back from the speakers but a local audiophile buddy is a nearfield listener. And so I listen up close(4 feet or so) from time to time and it is really impressive .. a different perspective, and possible because of the phenomenol resolving power here.
My friend and I shuffled the A1s around using the Cardas positions relative to room size, but these are tweaked for planar speakers. I found that the distance from the back wall to be spot on (about 5 feet) but I did not find it necessary to bring the speakers so far away (2 feet) from the side walls. I ultimately put them back to about 9" from the side walls and toed them into the room about 30 degrees. This gives a much bigger spread with greater delineation of the musicians.
The only downside of the smaller room with the SoundLab is that they have low-end coverage that very few cone speakers can claim to have. And in my room, this creates severe bass peaks. All the shuffling of the speakers could only reduce the peaks a little but not enough to bring on tonal coherency. A front wall of ASC traps and the back wall treated as well brought on significant "cleanup" of the mids and lower trebles but not these bass peaks.
I ultimately corrected these bass peaks with a Rives PARC with excellent results. But with the PARC in the system, the dynamic contrasts were slightly diminished with the cables I was using at the time. Had it not been for the CAT amps, I might not have noticed this issue at all. Just goes to show nothing is free but the pros of the PARC easily outweighed the cons. I have since discovered new power cables that resolve this issue with the PARC. It's just unfortunate that I have to spend so much in cabling here but the PARC now is definitely a keeper until I can get into a bigger room some day.
As for the bass with the A1s, I'd put these (with the CAT JL-3 amps) up against any cone or horn speaker in the $20-30k price range.
I used to own the ML Summits, but replaced them with ATC Anniversary 50's. They do 95% of the midrage of the Summits, but add palpability to the image. ATC's have very good impact and the drivers blend seamlessly.
Being the ATCs are active they don't meet your tube needs.
I LOVE tubes as well and own a VAC PHI 300 which I used on the Summits. But that being said the ATC with their solild state amps were closer to the music, then the Summits with the PHI.
However, after a spree of auditioning some of the top speakers. (A complete list is on my system page.) I dream of owing the MBL 101e's or the 111e's.
I have had and demeod maggies and to me they sound like an Electrostat with a sheet over it, my pint about the maggies was simply it has planar bass and cone bass is a diffrent animal,,,,man you guys get pissy hahaha
Chadnliz...Planar bass (at least with Maggies)is smoother than any box speaker, and sounds as if it goes lower than it really does. Really good. It just doesn't go that low (MG1.6 roll off at 40 Hz) and SPL at low frequency is limited. Planars that don't need SW help are huge.
I went from Martin Logan Requests to Avantgarde Duo Omegas.
The Duo Omegas, with proper room placement are better on all fronts.
The most LIVE, natural sounding speakers I have come across short of spending tens of thousands of dollars more. And being super efficient they can be driven by low-power tube amps.
i find it hard to listen to cone speakers, because they have a driver and cabinet coloration, which in most cases is evident after about 1 to 2 hours of listening.
i think di polar radiating loudspeakers, not hybrids, are characterized by less inaccurate timbre than that of cone designs.
I will say it once more, GamuT Audio L5.
I once thought the same way Mrtennis. I was stuck on the maggie and ribbon sound though not perfect..no speaker is..very enjoyable.
It wasn't until I got into single drivers did I realize a cone can be just as fast or faster than the maggies in revealing nuances and inner detail. The cones I use now make maggies sound a little lethargic in the midrange and portray more weight. I place their sound some where between a maggie and martin logan without the MLs detached bass.