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Buying the correct amp for my speakers


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I wana start off by saying that I have no experience in any of this. I just got a pair of Martin Logan Electro Motion ESL-X speakers. They are 6 OHM and power range is 20-400 amps. 

What's a decent Integrated AMP to pair with them. I was hoping to stay around the 1k range. I wont be playing the music too loud as I live in an apartment. I was looking at the Sonos amp (650.00) as it is small and can also connect directly to my tv and has a nice app. What are your suggestions. Thank you!

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44 minutes ago, vdaman18 said:

I wana start off by saying that I have no experience in any of this. I just got a pair of Martin Logan Electro Motion ESL-X speakers. They are 6 OHM and power range is 20-400 amps. 

What's a decent Integrated AMP to pair with them. I was hoping to stay around the 1k range. I wont be playing the music too loud as I live in an apartment. I was looking at the Sonos amp (650.00) as it is small and can also connect directly to my tv and has a nice app. What are your suggestions. Thank you!

Its important that the amp is a good match for your speaker electrical characteristics. Wattage isn't as important as what does it take to drive them well. At the $1K price tag Odyssey Khartago has quite a following but it would be best to have comments from someone who has used it with Martin Logans.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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50 minutes ago, davide256 said:

Its important that the amp is a good match for your speaker electrical characteristics. Wattage isn't as important as what does it take to drive them well. At the $1K price tag Odyssey Khartago has quite a following but it would be best to have comments from someone who has used it with Martin Logans.

For Odyssey go to the Odyssey thread at audiocircle. For sure there you would find ML and Odyssey orders.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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If you bought them new, you might ask the dealer for some starter ideas. I assume you heard them before buying and liked them enough to pull the trigger.  If so, the amp powering them might also help you choose your own.

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Congrats on the Martin Logan’s. Specifically, M-Ls aren’t a difficult load, power wise. The specs say 20 - 400 Watts, but 20 is too low. 60/channel or better should suffice. I’d stay away from tubes with the M-Ls. At very high frequencies, electrostatic speakers, have very low impedances, like less than 1 ohm at 20, KHz. Most importantly is the quality of the amp. ESL speakers like Martin Logan’s are very clean, with extremely low distortion. You might want to pair them with a very clean amp. I have a friend who has a pair of the smaller Martin Logan Electromotion speakers and he gets excellent results with the combination of the Emotiva TA-100 preamp/DAC/FM tuner combo and the BASx A-300. These two units together are just under $800 and the amp is rated at 150 Watts per channel. Order them direct from Emotiva.com.

I was very impressed with the sound (how can they do that for the price???).  Well, part of the answer is that they sell direct. The rest is a mystery, but the equipment is well made, punches well above it’s weight, and looks good. An excellent integrated amp that would work well with M-Ls in this price range would be the Schiit Ragnarok. Rated at 60 Watts/channel, like all Schiit equipment, it is made in USA, and is extremely high quality. The downside is it’s over your budget at $1500 ($1750 with DAC). If $1k is your ceiling go with the Emotiva separates, if you can afford the Schiit unit, you can’t go wrong with that either Hope this helps!

George

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Thanks for the responses. Ill look into those. Do you think the sonos is worth a try though? Its a "Class-D digital amplifier. 125W/Ch at 8 ohms" 

 

Im just starting with all of this so I doubt I would notice much of a difference between amps. At the moment I just want it to work and be noob friendly. I like that I can connect my tv directly to the sonos amp, it has wifi and the app. Ill mostly be using streaming services to play music.

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8 minutes ago, vdaman18 said:

Thanks for the responses. Ill look into those. Do you think the sonos is worth a try though? Its a "Class-D digital amplifier. 125W/Ch at 8 ohms" 

 

Im just starting with all of this so I doubt I would notice much of a difference between amps. At the moment I just want it to work and be noob friendly. I like that I can connect my tv directly to the sonos amp, it has wifi and the app. Ill mostly be using streaming services to play music.

I'm not familiar with that specific amp, but some Class D amps aren't designed to work with impedances of less than 4 ohms. Check the specific amp. In general, with Class D you'd do fine with NCore or Purify amps-they won't be bothered by the low impedances. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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5 hours ago, gmgraves said:

Congrats on the Martin Logan’s. Specifically, M-Ls aren’t a difficult load, power wise. The specs say 20 - 400 Watts, but 20 is too low. 60/channel or better should suffice. I’d stay away from tubes with the M-Ls. At very high frequencies, electrostatic speakers, have very low impedances, like less than 1 ohm at 20, KHz. Most importantly is the quality of the amp. ESL speakers like Martin Logan’s are very clean, with extremely low distortion. You might want to pair them with a very clean amp. I have a friend who has a pair of the smaller Martin Logan Electromotion speakers and he gets excellent results with the combination of the Emotiva TA-100 preamp/DAC/FM tuner combo and the BASx A-300. These two units together are just under $800 and the amp is rated at 150 Watts per channel. Order them direct from Emotiva.com.

I was very impressed with the sound (how can they do that for the price???).  Well, part of the answer is that they sell direct. The rest is a mystery, but the equipment is well made, punches well above it’s weight, and looks good. An excellent integrated amp that would work well with M-Ls in this price range would be the Schiit Ragnarok. Rated at 60 Watts/channel, like all Schiit equipment, it is made in USA, and is extremely high quality. The downside is it’s over your budget at $1500 ($1750 with DAC). If $1k is your ceiling go with the Emotiva separates, if you can afford the Schiit unit, you can’t go wrong with that either Hope this helps!

 

4 hours ago, vdaman18 said:

Thanks for the responses. Ill look into those. Do you think the sonos is worth a try though? Its a "Class-D digital amplifier. 125W/Ch at 8 ohms" 

 

Im just starting with all of this so I doubt I would notice much of a difference between amps. At the moment I just want it to work and be noob friendly. I like that I can connect my tv directly to the sonos amp, it has wifi and the app. Ill mostly be using streaming services to play music.

Not a great idea. Class D amps will see the low (less than 1 Ohm at 20 KHz) impedance of the Martin Logans as a short circuit. It won’t hurt the speakers, but the amp might suffer. My advice is to stick with linear amps for the time being. Someday..., who knows.

George

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33 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

 

Not a great idea. Class D amps will see the low (less than 1 Ohm at 20 KHz) impedance of the Martin Logans as a short circuit. It won’t hurt the speakers, but the amp might suffer. My advice is to stick with linear amps for the time being. Someday..., who knows.

 

Depends on which Class D unit you're talking about. As mentioned above, the Purifi amp modules are excellent in this area - from the spec sheet: 20-20kHz, Iout=1A - Output Impedance <0.65 mΩ ... a 1 ohm speaker impedance will be fine for the amp to handle.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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1 hour ago, fas42 said:

 

Depends on which Class D unit you're talking about. As mentioned above, the Purifi amp modules are excellent in this area - from the spec sheet: 20-20kHz, Iout=1A - Output Impedance <0.65 mΩ ... a 1 ohm speaker impedance will be fine for the amp to handle.

Of course, but the OP’s amp budget is ~$1K US.

George

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6 hours ago, gmgraves said:

Of course, but the OP’s amp budget is ~$1K US.

 

8 hours ago, gmgraves said:

 

Not a great idea. Class D amps will see the low (less than 1 Ohm at 20 KHz) impedance of the Martin Logans as a short circuit. It won’t hurt the speakers, but the amp might suffer. My advice is to stick with linear amps for the time being. Someday..., who knows.

 

NCore amps will drive 2 ohm loads, despite what George claims.

Certainly you can get such an amp new  for less than $1K; and especially since used ones are on the market due to newer boards such as Purify and the NC1200 that some NCore users are upgrading to. If you are interested, I suggest you check out of any ML owners use them and what their experience is.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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10 hours ago, firedog said:

 

 

NCore amps will drive 2 ohm loads, despite what George claims.

Certainly you can get such an amp new  for less than $1K; and especially since used ones are on the market due to newer boards such as Purify and the NC1200 that some NCore users are upgrading to. If you are interested, I suggest you check out of any ML owners use them and what their experience is.

Firedog, my friend, I’ve claimed nothing. How could I, I’ve no experience with NCore amps. I merely warned the Newbie OP to play it safe. And aren’t most NCore amps power amps? OP needs both power amp and preamp.

 

George

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Agree with @gmgraves the Schiit Ragnarok is a good choice I have 'just the amp' so have 3 RCA inputs(one for the DAC) and is not much over your budget. Can use both speakers and headphones at same time(it is one schiitfull of headphone amp) and has 3 separate 'gain' choices to keep fullness at low volume for your apartment listening-good luck

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I would stay away from Sonos--more of a mass market than an audiophile solution.  Just to be clear--by audiophile I mean a company that focuses solely or at least primarily on sound quality, leaving off bells and whistles.  These bells and whistles mean that for any given price point, less value goes into the components that impact sound quality.

 

I will add a vote for Schiit, and also one for NAD--two companies that produce excellent amps for less than $1,000.

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OK, I'll be an odd ball. I would recommend against any of the NCore based Class D amps for these speakers.  I've owned the Hypex NC-400, NC-1200, Merrill Audio Veritas Mono's and Mola Mola Kaluga Mono's over the past several years.

 

All those amps worked perfectly on B&W 803d2's which are known to be a bit "pigish" but that all changed once I got my Magico's. Not a single one of them could cope with the Load the Magico's presented to them. They all puked RF or similar sounding noise out of the speakers, even before any music would be playing.

 

Now if this happened with only one of them I would call it a fluke but on all them, that's a genuine problem with their ability to handle low impedance loads.

 

The Magico's are labeled as 4ohm speakers but testing has shown them to dip into single digit or less loads at high freqs, much like the ML's mentioned previously.

 

Just my experience and two cents of course

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25 minutes ago, cjf said:

OK, I'll be an odd ball. I would recommend against any of the NCore based Class D amps for these speakers.  I've owned the Hypex NC-400, NC-1200, Merrill Audio Veritas Mono's and Mola Mola Kaluga Mono's over the past several years.

 

All those amps worked perfectly on B&W 803d2's which are known to be a bit "pigish" but that all changed once I got my Magico's. Not a single one of them could cope with the Load the Magico's presented to them. They all puked RF or similar sounding noise out of the speakers, even before any music would be playing.

 

Now if this happened with only one of them I would call it a fluke but on all them, that's a genuine problem with their ability to handle low impedance loads.

 

The Magico's are labeled as 4ohm speakers but testing has shown them to dip into single digit or less loads at high freqs, much like the ML's mentioned previously.

 

Just my experience and two cents of course

 

Okay, that's good info. All the more reason for someone who wants ML speakers to find an owner who's tried them with any amp being considered. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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