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It is no secret that I like MartinLogan speakers. To be more specific, I like electrostatic speakers, of which MartinLogan produces some of the finest on the planet. I have published in-depth reviews of several MartinLogan L/R pairs and one Center Channel model. They never disappoint. My main reference speakers are MartinLogan’s Electromotion ESL, their entry-level hybrid electrostatic, recently replaced in the MartinLogan lineup by the newer Electromotion ESL X.

I initially asked MartinLogan to provide a pair of the new ESL X for review, but it was suggested that I move up the line a notch and evaluate the new MartinLogan Classic ESL 9, priced at $6495 per pair. Who was I to argue? Having lived with a pair of the newer Classic ESL 9 speakers for several weeks, I can report that they deliver the same effortless electrostatic sound, or lack of sound, that I have learned to appreciate from electrostatics. It is as though their effortless delivery says, “Relax, we’ll do the rest,” and for me that sound is Home!


 

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Very nice Wayne.

Another ESL + ML Centre + dual ML Subs owner, here.
I have them for nearly three years and found myself in constant need to experiment with them in regards to getting a ever better sound outcome. It never had been a case with previous standard 2 or 3 way towers.
Those are massive speakers for ordinary living or dedicated listening rooms and again i guess you were tempted to run them even louder to see at which point earpearcing effect will kicks in?

Happy listening.
Zoran from Australia
 

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WOW Wayne what an excellent review. You know honestly, the biggest mistake I made in Audio was getting rid of my ESL's in favor of another set of speakers. On many an occasion, I keep myself at night talking to myself about what a dolt I was. I do hope to one day rectify that but I do not see it in the near future without talking to a bank.

Never the less, my best suggestion for you is to pull those speakers out of your room and slide them into mine. Yeah that should do wonders for my lack of sleep, but then I wont care !!:smile:
Want some more nice sounds, if you do not have the Patricia Barber, "Cafe Blue" disc, listen to Ode to Billie Jo, so wonderful and atmospheric filled with a lovely standing bass line that holds the song together beautifully.
 

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Hi Jack

So, what was missing for you without ESL, and what was so tempting about replacement speakers?

Cheers from Australia
Zoran
 

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Very nice Wayne.

Another ESL + ML Centre + dual ML Subs owner, here.
I have them for nearly three years and found myself in constant need to experiment with them in regards to getting a ever better sound outcome. It never had been a case with previous standard 2 or 3 way towers.
True, dipoles seem to benefit more from tweaking. In my opinion this is because there is usually much more possible to be gotten out of them performance-wise.

Those are massive speakers for ordinary living or dedicated listening rooms and again i guess you were tempted to run them even louder to see at which point earpearcing effect will kicks in?

Happy listening.
Zoran from Australia
Yes, to a point. With adequate amplification, so there is never a point where any clipping takes place, and with such smooth freq response, they never reach a piercing point, they just get louder, more dense. It is easy to get carried away and not realize how loud it is. I keep an spl meter close to help keep it safe.
 

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WOW Wayne what an excellent review. You know honestly, the biggest mistake I made in Audio was getting rid of my ESL's in favor of another set of speakers. On many an occasion, I keep myself at night talking to myself about what a dolt I was. I do hope to one day rectify that but I do not see it in the near future without talking to a bank.

Never the less, my best suggestion for you is to pull those speakers out of your room and slide them into mine. Yeah that should do wonders for my lack of sleep, but then I wont care !!:smile:
Want some more nice sounds, if you do not have the Patricia Barber, "Cafe Blue" disc, listen to Ode to Billie Jo, so wonderful and atmospheric filled with a lovely standing bass line that holds the song together beautifully.
Don't know what to tell ya, Jack. As long as you don't cry yourself to sleep, you're probably going to survive, although I certainly would never have made that choice.

I will check out Patricia's work.
 

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Hi Jack

So, what was missing for you without ESL, and what was so tempting about replacement speakers?

Cheers from Australia
Zoran
Large scale dynamics and the bite of real life instruments. This is not to say that the ML's were not great the replacements were just a bit better at convincing me that I was listening to real instruments. This is so hard to explain and it would take its own thread so suffice it to say...Oops.
 

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Don't know what to tell ya, Jack. As long as you don't cry yourself to sleep, you're probably going to survive, although I certainly would never have made that choice.

I will check out Patricia's work.
Yes sir, you are correct, I will survive and I will also, with time correct some of my mistakes.
The choice was made with large scale music and movies in mind. The new speakers, to use an old saying, cut more like a machete while the ML's are certainly more scalpel like in their rendering of music. Not the end of the world, and a lesson was learned to be sure. :coocoo:
 

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Excellent piece of work! Those speakers sound as though they were fun to have around. :T
 

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Excellent review, Wayne. Our pair of almost 2 year old ESL's are still rocking the house. I added a 40 year old Marantz 250M power amplifier to the mix, and it is sheer sonic bliss. The only "down side" is you need to be in the "sweet spot" with Martin Logans. That being said, in the sweet spot, they are close to wearing headphones for clarity, but a lot more comfortable and realistic in presenting soundstage.

Keep in mind the ESL's are about half the price of the ML's you reviewed ... the ESL's, in the sweet spot, challenged the Legacy Signature SE's and Axiom LFR-1100's for making music.

Next winter, it will be time to try out some Magnepans. :)
 

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Our pair of almost 2 year old ELS's are still rocking the house. I added a 40 year old Marantz 250M power amplifier to the mix, and it is sheer sonic bliss.
Nice!

The only "down side" is you need to be in the "sweet spot" with Martin Logans. That being said, in the sweet spot, they are close to wearing headphones for clarity, but a lot more comfortable and realistic in presenting soundstage.

Keep in mind the ESL's are about half the price of the ML's you reviewed ... the ESL's, in the sweet spot, challenged the Legacy Signature SE's and Axiom LFR-1100's for making music
Those ESLs are sweet speakers for sure, and in their sweet spot can challenge a lot of the more expensive models out there. They can handle a medium-to-large room just fine as well. The Classic ESL 9 does so with a bit more refinement and output capability, and better off-axis FR consistency. The little ESL is definitely a mighty contender. I believe the classic ESL 9 hits a pretty good spot in the price lineup, too.
 

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Next winter, it will be time to try out some Magnepans. :)
Hey, Craig! I have to agree, the EM-ESL is a fantastic speaker, having heard Wayne's and Sonnie's. I feel it is the ML sweet spot for performance/value.

Got a chance to hear the review pair of Classic 9, I have to say they are a notch or two up across the board, with the quad 8" woofers bringing a surprising heft to the table.

I, too, want to try some Maggies in the near future. Hope to read your Maggie impressions soon, Craig.



Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 

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Hey, Craig! I have to agree, the EM-ESL is a fantastic speaker, having heard Wayne's and Sonnie's. I feel it is the ML sweet spot for performance/value.

Got a chance to hear the review pair of Classic 9, I have to say they are a notch or two up across the board, with the quad 8" woofers bringing a surprising heft to the table.

I, too, want to try some Maggies in the near future. Hope to read your Maggie impressions soon, Craig.



Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
Dennis ... You AND Jim Wilson are moderators here? That's like Delta House taking over Faber College. :bigsmile:
 

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Six day biz trip ... 1 province, 3 states, 1 auto show, 3 client meetings .... and come home to a FOOD FIGHT !!!

Life just doesn't get better than this
 

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I have been reading up on your Martin Logan reviews with great interest.

I did not find any dimension measurements about speaker placement as you did in the Montis review. And I was wondering after going through so much trouble with reflection slats in the EM-ESL review, why you haven't used this room again for the review of the ESL9?
 
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