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Martin Logan Panel Speakers Extraordinare

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Old 04-27-2012, 10:27 AM
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Default SL3's Auditioned - OUCH! What went wrong?

All,

Last week I auditioned a pair of SL3s, and I wasn't prepared for what I heard. In a word - awful! I think there was something wrong with the setup (placement) and/or the driving electronics. I've heard ML's before - "casually" - at a friend's house, just playing, not a dedicated listening. The sound was "just there" - transparent, open.

This time, well, the sound had a lot of glare in the mid-range, the highs were barely there. No bass, which might have contributed to the perception of the mid-range glare. But when I moved around the room - yes, there was bass. The "sweet spot," or at least where I was sitting, was a void for the bass - none. I think the room was a little on the bright side, acoustically, though there was a throw rug on the hardwood floor and 6-7 leather upholstered seats (with some on a riser/platform since it was HT). There were also some sound treatments behind the speakers in the corners. The SL3s were perhaps 3 feet from the wall I was facing, and 2 feet in from the side walls.

Electronics - a Pioneer BRP thru a Sherbourn A/V (wasn't familiar with them, a google search shows they are a more or less dedicated and custom HT company but with some former Mc ties - Ron Fone). Don't know the models, nor where the D to A was taking place. Couldn't try vinyl, the seller's 'table was packed up in the basement (and I don't know if the Sherbourn had phono capability).

The owner told me he had them since 2004 or so, and he purchased them used - so I'm thinking they are close to 12-15 years old. Not sure when the SL3s went out of production?

So then, is this an indication the panels need to be replaced? Or just sub optimum set up and electronics? I need to go listen to some new MLs as well but am curious for your thoughts.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnK View Post
This time, well, the sound had a lot of glare in the mid-range, the highs were barely there...
Electronics - a Pioneer BRP thru a Sherbourn A/V
My armchair guess is that the AV receiver is the villain. Most of them just don't have the current capability to properly drive the reactive load of electrostats.

The impedance drops to about 2 ohms at the top which is a pretty tough environment to drive.
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:07 PM
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John, The age most likely was a factor. Martin Logan's website has them being launched in 1995 and it looks like the Aerius i replaced them in 96? You can find some pretty good deals on the Vantage's & Vista's (NIB) and they carry the XStat technology. Take a peek under their Authorized Online Dealer section on the ML website.

All the best - Mike
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:01 PM
ehoove's Avatar
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I owned a pair 4 years ago, and was convinced the screens needed replacing. I was qouted $650 at the time and sold them and moved on. The new screens are supposed to be a basic drop in installation.
Regards,
Jim
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:49 PM
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John,

Panel / electronics issues aside, the SL3 is probably one of the best bargains in hi end audio.

Had a pair for five years, then went to Summits, and now have MBL 116's.

If you goto the Martin Logan Owners website, go to the tweeks section and see my post (GG) on how to squeeze the last ounce of performance out of these puppies.

Gordon
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:58 PM
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I just got rid of my SL3's after about 12 years of use. Moved into a house with floor to ceiling windows and a large great room. Couldn't get them to sound good any longer.

Great value speaker if you have the right room and amps.
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Old 08-22-2012, 07:46 AM
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The price of panels for older models are so high ($2500 or so) now that many people are moving on to newer models or other manufacturers.
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:13 PM
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I had 15 year old SL3s with original panels doing great and no glare at all so it may have been other factors.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:48 AM
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Hi, I have a pair of oak colored SL3's and till now they still sound very good. Never been repaired and no panel replacement yet.
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:31 PM
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Martin Logan speakers are very demanding on amplifiers, if the match is not right they sound dead with severely rolled of highs and zero dynamics. Dirty panels will sound the same, dull and lifeless. Have owned around 10 different Logan's over the past 22 years, so as they say, been there done that!. Still have spires, Vantages, Z quests and sequel II's in-house (understanding wife) . When all is right, pure magic!!!
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