Martin Logan ESL 9

Anyone have experience with the Martin Logan ESL 9s, or perhaps 11As? I’ve been looking for panel speakers that might do better in a modest sized space than Maggies, which need more breathing room than I have. I know the ESLs are hybrid stats, rather than planars. I have past familiarity with Maggies in an environment where I had more space to get placement right. No longer the case. I use a BHK Sig Pre with a Pass X250.5 in the living room of a one bedroom apartment roughly 14’x24’ with my rig set up along the 14’ wall. Hey thanks in advance guys if any of you have had some ear time with these ML stats!

How far are you going to get stat from front wall and side walls. You said you had problems w mags which is why I ask. Which mags did you have…

Have owned Maggie IIa’s, Tympani 1D’s, Tympani 4A’s, as well as M-L ReQuests, Odyssey’s and Summit X.

Martin Logans are still dipole planars, but only down to the point where the panels cross over into the dynamic woofers. So the big difference in placement challenges is that the bottom end will respond to room placement techniques that “work” for dynamic (i.e cone/pistonic) drivers while from 250 Hz and up you need to work with techniques that favor dipole line-source radiators.

To quickly sum up 40 years of hair-pulling and experimentation, what you want to do is to first position the speakers to optimize the bass in the room using something like the “MasterSet” technique. Hopefully, at that point, your panels will be a minimum of 4 ft from the back wall. If not, you’ll have to move the speakers back and forth to find your optimum trade-off, as well as playing with toe-in and rake angles. Distance to side walls matters less because of the dipole radiation pattern. I’ve had good results in rooms as narrow as 11.5 feet, but the farther the better. The newer M-L’s have bass room correction, which helps a lot from the demo’s I’ve heard.

Then, cover the back wall with diffusion panels to the extent your budget and significant other will allow, starting with the wall surfaces directly behind the speakers, and then the wall surface behind and between the speakers.

Finally, you may experience issues with comb filtering depending on the dimensions and configuration of your room. I my case, there are peaks at 2 and 4 kHz that can be pretty annoying unless tamed with spot absorption.

I use Room EQ Wizard to measure room performance before and after placement and acoustic tweaks.

All that said, I’ve use Maggies in a 12 ft x 19 ft room with good results - but it was a dedicated space, so I could add acoustic treatment to my heart’s content.

I had 3.7s. Because of the irregular dimensions of my smaller apt living room, I don’t have much freedom for spacing from the back wall of more than about 2 ft, maybe 2 1/2 ft. My experience with the 3.7s led my to conclude that won’t be enough, I had them about twice that distance from the back wall in my old digs. Side wall spacing isn’t a constraint, though. I have a fair amount of latitude in that dimension. With the MLs my back wall constraint would be no more than about 2 ft between the back of the woofer cabinet and the back wall, so a bit of good news would be the panels would actually be a little further from the back wall taking into account the woofer cabinet depth.

@hthaller response is spot on.

I have ML odyssey’s and mag 20.7s. I would say that the mags are more difficult to place because of the bass rear wave he noted above. Probably the most friggy diggin I have ever had was with the Maggie’s. But my favorite speaker.

I have not heard the 9s. I have heard the 11/13/15a. All share a similar sonic signature. Clear - clean - fast stat. If you can swing the 13 - get a nice deal - that is what I would do… I thought the 13 was better than the 11. Let me know what you think of the 9s if you hear them. And if you get a chance - listen to all of them. I find it gives you a real idea of what one speaker provides vs the other and then it is about value. You don’t have to get the pricier one - but at least you know what the mountain top looks like.

Have you thought about Maggie 1.7i’s? They fit in a smaller room fairly easily and sound wonderful.

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Would reinforce timm’s advice. The wider the panels in the M-L lineup, the more “meat on the bone” there seems to be to the sound in terms of richness, warmth, and fully fleshed-out midbass. A corollary to the general rule of “the bigger the panels, the better.” :grin: