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Martin Logan CLX Sig's


Andrew S.
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I went and auditioned a pair of the CLX Sig's with a mate who is thinking about buying a pair. The set up was Pathos Endorphin CDP/ Gryphon Mikardo CDP - ARC LS26/Ref3 - ARC Ref 110 - ML CLX Sig's. Cables? Dunno but bloody expensive.

 

For the record I am electrostatic fan owning modded Quad 57's on custom stands. My friend has two pairs of 57's. He was toying with sub integration but we have both yet to hear a successful integration. So he figured why not just get a full range (more or less) electrostat. Enter the CLX.

 

On first listen I thought it a remarkable bit of kit but not worth US$30k or so. Did all the usual audiophile things. My friend was also abit perplexed - it had sounded better to him the previous time. Hmmm - we swapped out the Endorphin for the Mikardo. The Endorphin is a really really good CDP by the way. The Mikardo was different (much more solid bass and grip) but not better. Hmmm No2 - what about the Pre - we swapped out the Ref3 for the LS26 and whoaaaa.....the things jumped to life.

 

Ok the CLX's are brilliant: I have never heard such presence, weight and depth to a note with absolute perfect timbre and decay. These are, for Classical and Vocal, the best speakers I have heard.

 

Soundstage was huge with the Endorphin and the presentation utterly 3D. You literally were there. The Eroica usually shows up a systems issues. Not problems here: they just didn't care what you threw at them. Volume was not an issue.The dynamics were also, for an electrostat, quite incredible.

 

Summing up - not a lot to not like.

 

Not sure why the Ref 3 sounded ...brittle and dry...I can only assume because it was new out of the box and the LS26, to my certain knowldge, had a few hundred hrs on it.

 

Anyway all good fun and a taste of what the high end is all about.

 

Cheers

A

 

Best Wishes

Andrew

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I'll second the thankyou for sharing the experience that Chris said above. Out of interest, have you ever managed to compare the Martin Logan to the Quad 2905?

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Sorry if this is off topic, but I was actually looking at the Audio Research Reference 3 not long ago. I was only able to hear it in an Audio Research room with AR tube power amps, so was not able to really evaluate it very well. I prefer to pair tube pre-amplification with solid state class A/B or Mosfet amps (Mosfet for larger systems only). Anyhow, a fellow audiophile suggested I have a listen to the Music First MkII preamp. It is supposed to be really incredible. I haven't heard one, but would if anyone has, I'd love to hear the findings.

 

Sanjay Patel | Ciamara Corporation | New York, NY | www.ciamara.com

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My son has owned the standard version and currently runs the silver wired. I've always heard it in front of a pair of Avante Garde Duo's, but driving a number of different amps. My view of it would be that you just never know it's there! Without bursting into adjective overload, I can think of no other way of putting it and no higher praise.

 

Not sure how it would fit in, in front of mosfet amps or active speakers, but I can say for certain that in front of a pair of Alnic A 6000's and the Avante Gardes it was worth every considerable penny!

 

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Thank you for this. I am really intrigued. I like my straight wire setup (i.e. Music server > DAC > Active Crossover > Amplifiers > Loudspeakers). So transparency is certainly not a bad thing. I sometimes like the coloration that tubes can bring, but I really don't like dealing with the maintenance. Plus, our systems produce a lot of sub-bass information, so there is also the effect that has on tube life.

 

Avante Garde's look like a very nice speaker. I'm a big fan of horn-loaded cabinets with ultra high quality drivers. If you haven't already, you should hear an active, horn loaded system sometime. They can be truly mind blowing.

 

P.S. In our experience, we generally we generally like to have Mosfet topologies in the larger amplifiers powering larger (15" or 18") drivers and in 2 and 4Ohm loads ... and only at higher volumes. Amp we really like are class A/B but switch over to Mosfet when driven hard. It's all about headroom!!

 

Sanjay Patel | Ciamara Corporation | New York, NY | www.ciamara.com

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Disclaimer: Apologies for the epistle that follows: it started out as 2 para's and grew :)

 

Eloise

Funnily enough I have not. It has never quite come together for me. My friend has. Twice. Both our natural

preference would be for the 2905's. If for no other reason than the price.

 

I have heard the 989's and of course the 63's. I prefer the 57's esp for my room which does not allow a true dipole (the 57's are not a true dipole). They have a magic in their mids for instruments and voice. Naturally you must never play electronic music through them unless you want to be bitterly disappointed.

 

My friend reported the 2905's went higher and lower then the 57's, shared the same family Quad sound but for the mid's, which were recessed in comparison. He also really disliked the bass which he felt bloated and smudged. I should say however that he did mention that they were almost certainly not optimally set up both from a room acoustics and amplification perspective (he listened to them in an audiophile's home). That is lots of very expensive electronica that sounded poor in combination. And only about 2 ft behind the 2905's for them to breathe.

 

We plan on auditioning the 2905's in his home in due course. That will tell us more.

 

The 2905's over here have also been plagued by warranty claims - which is something of a deterrent.

 

As an aside we have both found the 57's to be very sensitive to source and amplification. Transparent is how I would put them. They seem to like beefy tubes - KT88's/6550's. Tap matching also plays a part: his 57 with his Ref 110's sounded terrible on the 4 and 8 Ohm taps but magical on the 16 Ohm. Go figure. My Cayin sounds better on 8 than 4 Ohms. And of course you can fry them easily if you get a little too excited with the volume. A good reason to find the best 35wpc you can and do NOT go over that.

 

I should say my friend is amongst other things a former professional classical violinist so knows how instruments sound. I Just tag along and give my uneducated 2 cents.

 

Sanjay

Re Music First - yes I have heard a Music First Passive Pre - not sure which one: I think a Signature something. It does exactly what it is meant too - get out of the way. It is transparent neither adding or subtracting. FWIW I have long since decided that you cannot really judge any component unless and until you have it playing in your system.

 

re Avantgard's - I have not heard the Trios but have heard the Duo's.

Another of my audiophile mates has heard the Trio's with an all Kondo system. He states with certainty they were the best sound he has heard. The Kondo in his opinion didn't hurt either. He too is a professionally trained musician so knows his tone. I doubt I would share his opinion given I am not as enamored with his set up as he is: ie we look for different things. But really I cannot comment.

 

I have heard the Duo's. The Horns were very good. I disliked the box sub integration. Really you have 2 different speaker systems with ...excuse me...bugger all integration. Of course a smallish room did not help. The same comment watered down applies to the Ambience Reference Ribbon speakers which again marry an exceptional Ribbon to a rather disappointing rear ported sub box: it sort of gets away with it but they have such a different sonic character I doubt you could ever marry them that successfully in the mids. Remarkable speakers nonetheless and, at least over here, a real hi fi bargain second hand. A friend who acquired a pair really got a stunning speaker for not much coin.

 

IMHO of course. Others will think Avanatgarde's are the best thing since sliced bread. And that is as it should be

 

The Lenehan ML1's: http://www.lenehanaudio.com.au/models.php are also a good speaker.

 

The Lenehan's are getting terrific reviews from ears (and systems) I know and trust. They are fast getting a reputation over here as the stand mount to beat and at US$2500 something of a bargain. There bass is apparently exceptionally clean, their sound stage huge for a small bookshelf - "think ProAc Response 1's (the original good ones) on steriods" was how it was described to me.. I was invited to listen to a pair this weekend but declined: time is short for listening to gear and barely adequate for music. My friend who liked the Trio's is going and will report back. He has very good stand mounts so is in a better position to comment than I.

 

Which brings me onto - we all have different tastes and preferences. And that is great. I do not think it is wise ever to state "this is the only way to do...X". In my experience any speaker design competently executed will sound very good. Active or passive, tubes or no tubes, digital or vinyl - it all comes preference, synergy and budget.

 

Getting back to the CLX the one thing I failed to mention adequately was the quality of their bass. ML state they are good only too 55Hz or so. Not sure about this. They sounded lower to my ears. Organ notes had no problem playing. What astounded both my friend and I was the articulation - you could easily hear the Double Bass (a pig of an instrument to play I am told) reinforcing the Cello in the Elgar Cello suites, the hands on the fret moving. Remarkable to get that delineation between low Cello and entry Double Bass. Closest I have heard to a live performance. We also heard a piccolo line that neither of us had noticed before (and I'm not especially sure is even on the usual score). Interesting experience.

 

I can state if I had the money not only for the speaker but also for the necessary quality source/amplification to match them I would buy a pair tomorrow. And that is not something I generally would say after one listen. In high end audio they are a benign choice that would reward handsomely.

 

Cheers

A

 

 

Best Wishes

Andrew

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hello,

 

>>>>>>>My friend reported the 2905's went higher and lower then the 57's, shared the same family Quad sound but for the mid's, which were recessed in comparison. He also really disliked the bass which he felt bloated and smudged. I should say however that he did mention that they were almost certainly not optimally set up both from a room acoustics and amplification perspective (he listened to them in an audiophile's home). That is lots of very expensive electronica that sounded poor in combination. And only about 2 ft behind the 2905's for them to breathe>>>>>

 

With the 2x05 you get more bass and highs but the mids remaining in his level, the sound is very equilibrated (Not a midcentric sound). Is simply, when you get more top and lows, the mid will looks recessed (But isn' true), this speaker have one of the greatest low mids of the market.

 

The bass is great, fast, deep (39Hz in my room) and with very low coloration, have a very good bass for a planar speaker (I had before Apogee planars).

 

The sound of the 2x05 in very similar to the 98x and 63 but with better bass.

 

 

>>>>The 2905's over here have also been plagued by warranty claims - which is something of a deterrent.>>>>

 

 

This is true, my first pair broke in a week (One drops the level 5dB and the other had noise), the importer sent me another pair, and one had a fail (A bad resistance value in the filter). I replaced the resistor and the speakers are working the last two years.

 

IMHO no comparision with the ML CLX (A very close friend have a pair of CLX), the Quads have better sound and more deep and precise stereo image (Due his one point source radiation). But the CLX are a bit more dynamic than the Quads.

 

I'm using my Quads with a small tube amp, the Ars-Sonum Filarmonia http://www.ars-sonum.com , 30W per channel, and i have great results, good for all music stiles (Jazz, rock, electronic......), but I need a bit more power for symphonic music (I'll wait for a 60W Ars-Sonum).

 

I added a frequency graph of the ESL 2805 in my listening position (The 65Hz bump are a mode of my room, but now is resolved by a resonator)

 

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Mini >Amarra Mini>Apogee MiniDAC>Ars Sonum Filarmonia SXE>Quad ESL 2805[br]www.susoramallo.com[br]

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