Just got an opportunity to try “vintage” I guess for the first time with some CLS II speakers fully rebuilt with new panels, crossover components and a few mods from Joe V. at ML. These were owned by a ML employee.
Just wondering if any folks out there are using ML, old or new, thoughts etc.
I don’t have any exposure to that model, but I do know that repaneling my speakers in 2020 made for an amazing improvement. I bought them new in 1993 or 1994.
To be honest, I’m planning to replace them in the next 12-18 months. I’m kinda holding out for a possible development at Magnepan, but barring that I’m considering the 13A and 15A ML models.
Back to my vintage speakers: they remain highly resolving, revealing improvements from every upgrade I’ve performed in the last couple years. They’re only the Aerius, but I have them backed up by a couple Balanced Force 210 subs, so the bottom end isn’t particularly lacking. They also do “front speaker” duty for me for home theater, and they’re fantastic for that. I’ve added the C34 center channel, and my surround and rear speakers are Magnepan. The combination has been simply fantastic. (Yes, I like planars!)
I would inherently trust a set CLS IIs owned by an ML employee. Worst case you’ll eventually need to replace the panels, but that’s probably a good 10+ years out. Just be sure to read about how to vacuum them properly and consider putting them under a cover when they’re not in use. Also, be sure to keep them out of direct sunlight. The coating doesn’t respond well to UV light.
I’ve owned M-L since a corporate move robbed me of the space needed for my Magneplanar IVa’s some time ago.
Since then, I’ve had the reQuests, Odyssey’s, and currently the Summit-X. I’ve found they require meticulous setup or they can sound horrible - and they tend to get a bad rap for that, IMHO. Also, the blend between the piston woofers and stat panels has improved with each generation, but still remains a “thing” with the design. That said, I get respectably flat response down to 25 Hz.
Been meaning to post the system for some time, so this is another nudge.
To msimanyi - I’ve heard both and would go in hock for the ESL 15’s. Not even close.
The hybrid models of that era didn’t sound coherent between bass and panel imo.
The CLS certainly didn’t have that problem and sounded very fast and transparent but also a little anemic due to the missing bass and therefore lower midrange richness. They didn’t well integrate with subs imo.
So if you can live with their tonality and reduced dynamics and if you can place them properly (far from front wall, nothing behind or near them), the most of the rest is on a level hard to reach for other speakers.
I have some ML experience! Set up is key with the panels! The CLS may take some horsepower in the amp department and if they are like my CLX speakers subs are must! Galen (@rower30) is a fellow CLX owner and is also a great source for ML set-up advice! I love my Martin Logans and I don’t know if I could go back to a traditional woofer type speaker again.
I use the CLX and two BF212 subs. I turn OFF the DSP and set it up by ear and it is SO much better that way. The DSP takes the edge right off the bass…I hate that. Manual set-up and all is good.
I love the immediate sound of electrostatic panels and the CLX do better than most for their SIZE which is an electrostatic sore point. To get that DRIVE they get big fast.
You need to spend some serious bucks to eclipe the CLX with speakers of like room eating size. I use the CLX and T+A 1000-40, both. Each is about the same realestate.
The 1000-40 use tall and thin electrostatic panels 2K and up as a line source with eight mid bass coupler line source drivers with four 8" side firing woofers. But at a higher cost.
The CLX do like room behind them. I keep them 5 feet from the rear walls and eight feet apart. I use just ONE-INCH toe-in. This widens the soundstage and center imaging is still solid. They go down to just 60 Hz truthfully and I use the subs at 55 Hz cross-over and set the 25 Hz in my 40 foot room to -2dB as I have a PEAK at about 28 Hz or so. That peak kills the lower mid clarity believe it or not (I didn’t). The bass level is AVERAGED by ear across sources to get an OK bass level. Sources are light or heavy on the bass…all over the place, really. The subs blend great with the CLX but the 1000-40 hate them…too different a “sound” and the 1000-40 are flat to less than 40 Hz in my room. They don’t need subs to be honest.
What’s the biggest difference between the CWT 1000-40 and the CLX? Easy. SOUNDSTAGE SIZE. The CLX get stuff up there in SIZE. The ratio of size across the board with the 1000-40 is proper, but it isn’t as, “CRAP that seem exactly right” as the CLX with simpler music. No, neither can do Super Tramp in my basement to the proper scale. But Peter Paul and Mary? The CLX rule on that with a detailed and quick sound that isn’t too bad in the lower mids (that double folded bass panel).
For propulsion and power, it is hard to beat the eight mid bass couplers. LOTS of power there. The 1000-40 have POWER everywhere as the design runs in that direction. Twice the money, too.
So I keep BOTH sets. Each has different loads to the amp and cables.
I’d really love to hear those new ones and a good sub integration. If I had 3 setups (I only have one), one of them would be planars.
So far my experience with sub integration of panels was, that the bass was too slow in comparison and that there was a hole between the optimal performance area of the sub (up to around 40 Hz) and the real coverage with punch of the panels (maybe 80 Hz).
I run original Summits and enjoy them very much. Setup can be tricky but well worth the effort. They ended up closer together than I initially started with. I also found imaging was dramatically improved at my seated listening position when the panels were tilted forward. The disappearing act kicked in as the panels approached vertical.
If anyone knows of any adjustable feet for the Summits suitable for wood floors please let me know.
Every time I read Galen describe the CLX’s love them even more!
I find it is more the SOUND of the sub, not the speed. Bass that low in frequency is SLOW. The CLX use bass panels that are FASTER than ANY dynamic driver too. So the upper bass is heavy in nice DETAIL like no other.
Most set the sub too low in frequency as we hate to admit panels don’t go deep. Try 50 Hz or so and adjust the level. Kick off the DSP. It just adds a SLUDGE to the sound. Don’t take my word for it…I used DSP for a YEAR thinking it was better than I was until I decided why not do it by ear and VIOLA, we are rocking now. The bass has SMACK even playing Nickelback, All the Right Reasons. Ya, I try crazy stuff now and again at 64. Hey, I survived Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill. I listen to it in the car so no one knows! Opps, now you know. But yes, the CLX can ROCK.
Great info everyone, thank you. I’ll try and answer some of the points above in a short narrative:
msimani- did not know about vacuuming thank you. These panels were just replaced and a ML rep told me they could go 15+ years. So I’m good there. Also good point ref. UV as there are windows on that wall. Not sure if the sun makes that sharp and angle though. Guess it depends where I end up seating them.
hthaller- The reason I got these (or a main reason) is I had Requests back in the day and loved them!. Understood ref. setup/positioning.
rower30- Will try this first and start from there. Thank you. I keep them 5 feet from the rear walls and eight feet apart. I use just ONE-INCH toe-in. This widens the soundstage and center imaging is still solid. They go down to just 60 Hz truthfully and I use the subs at 55 Hz
jazznut- I’m going to try and integrate them with two T9X subs at high level connection. Also these speakers are capable of Bi-Wiring (or bi-amp I guess as they have a set of terminals for HF and LF) and my amp has 4 terminals per side so I may experiment with options there. Jumpers first (Beldon silver) then maybe bi-wire.
Paul172- Understand set up is key. My amp is 600 wpc into 4 ohms with plenty of current so I’m hoping horsepower is not an issue.
Thanks All !
The JL Audio subs are fast. Fast enough to keep pace with the CLX speakers and the CR1 crossover is a must IMO. It keeps the super low frequencies out of the CLX’s and keep them doing what they do best creating a giant super realistic soundstage like you are there! I’ve heard better speakers but they are all well over $70k in price most over $100k!
Just read a post and apparently Paul does not like planers much or at least low end “dynamics”. I guess I’ll have to hear for myself and-
- See how they integrate with REL subs
- See if I spot any area needing improvement
- My guess is I have one of the few of this type of speaker with HF/LF terminals. Maybe this is why?
- Bi wire may be of benefit and easy enough to do
- Bi amp would certainly make a difference (I would think) but not that easy.
We will see. There is no perfect component. They will be here tomorrow. I’m excited and nervous. I have had Dyn, Wilson, Focal etc. My Requests were a long time ago but I loved them. I’ll give myself all weekend for basic set up.
If you’re going down the ‘stat rabbit hole you owe it to yourself to check out Sanders Sound Systems hybrid speaker system. This is end game for me and I’ve owned Acoustat ‘stats previously. Their customer support is also second to none.
Full range ‘stats have issues best explained by Roger Sanders white papers at the link below. Also curved panels have limitations as well.
They are an hour away from me… Looks like good stuff… Never knew they existed.
They are especially fine with the Sanders ESL and a bit better with the Magtech amps, from what I recall.
Since ML doesn’t make the CLX anymore I’d go to Sanders. I’m not a big fan of Martin Logan’s current offerings. I’ve heard the Neolith in the store which isn’t a fair assessment but the size, weight, and price don’t fit my environment or budget.
I believe everything about your setup, as only you heard it and my experience is with different panels and subs.
It’s just that I generally noticed, for my demand, a seamless sub integration just works when the main speakers go well down below 40-50 Hz themselves, everything else, even if it integrated quite well, lacked punch inbetween the two.
I think it is not for nothing that a few manufacturers build several smaller dynamic midbass chassis into hybrid designs where they try to compensate this punch gap between panel and large deep bass chassis in a speedy enough way.
ML states response at 33 to 20. We will see how that integrates with a REL that states 27.
I’m all in as they will be here today. I’ll set crossover at 55, volume low at9 o clock and see what blends.
The CLX integrate to the two subs really well. The 1000-40 DO NOT like the subs and go well below 40 Hz, opposite your experiences. Why? The tonality of the subs isn’t as seamless down low with the 1000-40 as it is with the CLX that take on the character of the subs across a far wider frequency range since the panels really go to 60 Hz at best. They play several octaves with the CLX so the subs have a far wider zone of driver consistency.
By the time I adjust the subs to stay away from the lower midrange on the CWT 1000-40 they end up all but off, every time. The mid range is a trade-off between the sub and the mains. The sub is better than the panel on the CLX, but it is not as good as the mid bass couplers on the CWT 1000-40. The sub isn’t really a sub on the CLX, they play well higher and ADD tonality where it is lacking. They are subs with the 1000-40 but detract tonality in that application.
This is why the CLX, although they have a good frequency RANGE with subs, are not as DYNAMIC as the CWT 1000-40 in the mid bass region with eight small and light dynamic drivers that move way more air. Dynamic purity is way harder to do than simple swept frequency range. We listen to DYNAMICS with music, not steady state test tones.
Panel speakers are dynamic over a tighter frequency range than dynamic drivers. Get too far from where they are good and they get BIG or lack impact or both if done wrong. Truly good speakers with accurate dynamic response will sound better than “flat” speakers. The drivers need to MOVE dynamically with the music, seldom are they sitting at a fixed amplitude resonances. I’ll take 100% accurate impulse response and trade off a little “flatness” for that.
Look at it this way. Two speakers can look near IDENTICAL in a Stereophile test sweep. They don’t sound the same at all because the dynamic responses are different (impedance at frequency and driver mass). That means the amplitude of all the harmonics change and thus the sound.
You have to just try stuff and see what’s the advantage in each set-up. I can’t say there are too many this equals that with stereo. Some yes, but still challenge if it is happening in your set-up.