MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL Hybrid Electrostatic Speaker Review & Comments

acgingersnaps

Active Member
Safe to say, this thread has established a definite similarity between electrostatics and marmite.
 

Nocturnal

Member
Safe to say, this thread has established a definite similarity between electrostatics and marmite.
I'd take a pair but my lounge is simply too small. I think they would look quite nice in a bigger room. I have bookshelf speakers on DIY 1m tall stands made from 110mm soil pipes and plywood and these ML ESL don't look much worse.

I'd imagine they are dust collectors though and hoovering the panels might not be too healthy! 😁

A guy once tried to sell me Apogee ESLs, funny they were stored in a cupboard... Probably due to the wife not wanting them in the lounge. He said they needed serviced and I asked him where the oil sent in. £1000, I didn't buy them.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member

MIKEVO

Well-known Member
I have the Martin Logan SL3's in my stereo room.
Best sounding speakers I have ever owned and I've had plenty. :smashin:
 

RichardG

Active Member
There's something that electrostatics do that regular speakers can't. They project a holographic image that just hangs in the air. It's quite spooky sometimes, but the ones I've heard (MLs and a few pairs of Magnepan - I know these are not strictly electrostats) were effortless. Very impressed.

I like the look too!
 

drillo

Active Member
What a marvellous review - insight, clarity of thought, turn of phrase, - nothing hackneyed here - nice one!
ML at the Bristol show this year were fantastic (don’t recall the model I heard) but remarkably it was the bass that stood out for me - exemplary - go figure.
 

bandyka

Well-known Member
What a marvellous review - insight, clarity of thought, turn of phrase, - nothing hackneyed here - nice one!
ML at the Bristol show this year were fantastic (don’t recall the model I heard) but remarkably it was the bass that stood out for me - exemplary - go figure.
I get comments on the bass of my towers all the time, everyone thinks there are subs playing as well when only in stereo mode.
 

Myronwm

Novice Member
Bigger the better really. I burned out - blew them totally a pair of 145w front amps. Blipping beasts (speakers) will go down to 2 ohms at times and of course the wattage to drive a 2 ohm starts to get high. Currently driving them with pair of bi-amp'd 250 watt circuits and of course more would really be preferable. It needs to be smooth power as well. I had emotiva for a while but while it had plenty of juice, it did translate to smooth output.. Nothing like the lexicon that is driving them now. The difference sound smoothness is dramatic and very noticeable. But the MLs are power hungry and will eat power like no tomorrow (and it needs to be clean power as well.) But when it can get enough power, its amazing what it will do. And the bass coming from the Front Left/Right towers mixes so well it's amazing. Integrates with my SVS subs so smoothly, it's amazing.

I had a few salesmen try to sell me systems like a 50w tube system and a couple of 60w Receivers on 2 channels driven spec'd. When I tried to explain that he was way underpowered and that i"d blown out 2 145 watt front channels on one receiver and another 150 watt set of front drivers so 60 watts wouldn't last long and I'd hate to be in the room when the ML needed power from the 50 watt tubes. I don't know the exact specs for most of the newer towers, but my Odyssey's love power and the more the better. I'd say 400-800 is probably a good range I have two totally dedicated clean power circuits for the MLs (one 20 and one 30amp). and they are totally isolated circuits coming directly independently from the power line coming into the house - Full independent lightning protection as well on the two circuits. Rest of box has another 2 circuits with lightning protection as well. So I have 4 independent circuits driving my gear with full lightning protection as well as other circuit cleaners and lots of lightning protected plug-ins. I'm overprotected I know, but I also know of a couple of people locally that got hit and lost a few thousand worth of gear
 

acgingersnaps

Active Member
Bigger the better really. I burned out - blew them totally a pair of 145w front amps. Blipping beasts (speakers) will go down to 2 ohms at times and of course the wattage to drive a 2 ohm starts to get high. Currently driving them with pair of bi-amp'd 250 watt circuits and of course more would really be preferable. It needs to be smooth power as well. I had emotiva for a while but while it had plenty of juice, it did translate to smooth output.. Nothing like the lexicon that is driving them now. The difference sound smoothness is dramatic and very noticeable. But the MLs are power hungry and will eat power like no tomorrow (and it needs to be clean power as well.) But when it can get enough power, its amazing what it will do. And the bass coming from the Front Left/Right towers mixes so well it's amazing. Integrates with my SVS subs so smoothly, it's amazing.

I had a few salesmen try to sell me systems like a 50w tube system and a couple of 60w Receivers on 2 channels driven spec'd. When I tried to explain that he was way underpowered and that i"d blown out 2 145 watt front channels on one receiver and another 150 watt set of front drivers so 60 watts wouldn't last long and I'd hate to be in the room when the ML needed power from the 50 watt tubes. I don't know the exact specs for most of the newer towers, but my Odyssey's love power and the more the better. I'd say 400-800 is probably a good range I have two totally dedicated clean power circuits for the MLs (one 20 and one 30amp). and they are totally isolated circuits coming directly independently from the power line coming into the house - Full independent lightning protection as well on the two circuits. Rest of box has another 2 circuits with lightning protection as well. So I have 4 independent circuits driving my gear with full lightning protection as well as other circuit cleaners and lots of lightning protected plug-ins. I'm overprotected I know, but I also know of a couple of people locally that got hit and lost a few thousand worth of gear
This post is a further example of the marmite effect. I'm sure some people have/will read and feel enticed. I read it as confirmation of why, even with the right amp/speaker budget, i would never go down this road. What an effort!
 

semitone

Active Member
You’re powering a pair of hifi speakers...shouldn’t need a flipping dedicated elec sub station.... something not right.....
 

Myronwm

Novice Member
YOU"RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!!!!! Probably not but lets consider the quality of HI-FI support locally. There isn't much. Plus when I put in the last isolated circuit, I got rid of a ton of cross-talk and cross-over noise that one or more of the installers left me with. I freely admit I'm a rookie on some of this stuff and what fits well with what. I have a quite a lot of electronics knowledge though its been more than a few years ago when was into it in depth (from Uncle sam support and forced knowledge. So I've been forced to self-educate a lot myself. Like when I told one installer/dealer that I wanted to upgrade to full atmos from my existing 5.2.x to a 5.2.4 so instead of receivor with capablility for 9 ports, he sold me an old no longer being made version with 7 channels. After putting in 4 atmos ceiling speakers, we then tried to hook them up and amazing (not to normal people) no could do, not enough channels. So had to buy new receiver. Tried separates and they didn't talk to each other at all well. And didn't handle some of my existing equipment at all. Sound from some of my CDs couldn't be driven at all.

And so it's gone on and on and on. Behind my equipment box is a cable mess that gets worse everytime I have an installer come in and try to fix what doesn't work with other things and things get more complicated more and more and more. Computers is easy compared to this zoo. And many of the local installers don't even know their own equipment. Cedia certification is worthless and have caused extra electrical circuits for why? I do know that I have extra lightning protection and then some, but we get the most lightning strikes anywhere in the US and have 5-20 people killed per year. But I do know about lightning and power protection. And have seen people locally lose power or roofs or parts of houses due to inadequate lightning protection. Whereas I
in over 20 years, I've had zero issues and not one item lost due to lightning strikes where I've been told of locals down the block that have had tens of thousands of dollars of damages. I may have overkill there but I learned in the military that if a circuit is critical, backups and backups to backups are well worth it.

What I don't know is what I need in the HI-FI equipment to drive the equipment correctly. Other than this Anthem piece of junk that the manufacturer doesn't support correctly, everything works fine and the movies and sound is very good to my old tired ears (when it works correctly). Takes 5 controllers to just start things up but once going sounds great. Definitely will be replacing Anthem but having decided with what. Leaning towards on of the new Denon's. Yamaha doesn't replay the types of music we prefer (old classical and heavy into instrumental, especially organs, etc. And it has to work with the Martin Logans I have grown to love. I've had at least 5 different other speaker combos but not provide the breadth and depth that the MLs provide. Even the ceiling MLs are great. Provide sound that just fits when its called upon to work. Biggest issue now is Pre-processor/processor and what will work with everything else nicely and still handle loads for MLs Have plenty of other processors for other rooms as needed but main system is open. No dealer locally that I trust or have proven that they really know what they are doing. Getting back into Vinyl and that's been major headache to say the least.

Probably should post now but this should give you some idea of why I have a power subsstation and to be honest probably will be adding more power substations to the substations that I currently have (need whole house supply for lost power - in Florida where we get lots of hurricanes which means no power so need alternative source for rest of house (office has 8 hours backup so its adequate, rest of house not so.


Had certified electricians try and tell me that properly installed lightning arrestors cause lightning to strike them and cause more problems than not having anything.
 

bandyka

Well-known Member
I don't have electros I run the normal range of ML gear in the cinema yet I have a fully dedicated power setup for the room. With 10s of thousands worth of gear its worth it, not to mention clean power, its also very important. When you have a Bugatti in the garage I guess extra alarms won't hurt.
In fact after the insurance company inspected the room and saw the price of the equipment they sent me a special lightning protector circuit that I can use to shut down power to the room even remotely. That just shows they wouldn't want to pay either unnecessarily...
Most folks won't understand this I know.
 

bandyka

Well-known Member
YOU"RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!!!!! Probably not but lets consider the quality of HI-FI support locally. There isn't much. Plus when I put in the last isolated circuit, I got rid of a ton of cross-talk and cross-over noise that one or more of the installers left me with. I freely admit I'm a rookie on some of this stuff and what fits well with what. I have a quite a lot of electronics knowledge though its been more than a few years ago when was into it in depth (from Uncle sam support and forced knowledge. So I've been forced to self-educate a lot myself. Like when I told one installer/dealer that I wanted to upgrade to full atmos from my existing 5.2.x to a 5.2.4 so instead of receivor with capablility for 9 ports, he sold me an old no longer being made version with 7 channels. After putting in 4 atmos ceiling speakers, we then tried to hook them up and amazing (not to normal people) no could do, not enough channels. So had to buy new receiver. Tried separates and they didn't talk to each other at all well. And didn't handle some of my existing equipment at all. Sound from some of my CDs couldn't be driven at all.

And so it's gone on and on and on. Behind my equipment box is a cable mess that gets worse everytime I have an installer come in and try to fix what doesn't work with other things and things get more complicated more and more and more. Computers is easy compared to this zoo. And many of the local installers don't even know their own equipment. Cedia certification is worthless and have caused extra electrical circuits for why? I do know that I have extra lightning protection and then some, but we get the most lightning strikes anywhere in the US and have 5-20 people killed per year. But I do know about lightning and power protection. And have seen people locally lose power or roofs or parts of houses due to inadequate lightning protection. Whereas I
in over 20 years, I've had zero issues and not one item lost due to lightning strikes where I've been told of locals down the block that have had tens of thousands of dollars of damages. I may have overkill there but I learned in the military that if a circuit is critical, backups and backups to backups are well worth it.

What I don't know is what I need in the HI-FI equipment to drive the equipment correctly. Other than this Anthem piece of junk that the manufacturer doesn't support correctly, everything works fine and the movies and sound is very good to my old tired ears (when it works correctly). Takes 5 controllers to just start things up but once going sounds great. Definitely will be replacing Anthem but having decided with what. Leaning towards on of the new Denon's. Yamaha doesn't replay the types of music we prefer (old classical and heavy into instrumental, especially organs, etc. And it has to work with the Martin Logans I have grown to love. I've had at least 5 different other speaker combos but not provide the breadth and depth that the MLs provide. Even the ceiling MLs are great. Provide sound that just fits when its called upon to work. Biggest issue now is Pre-processor/processor and what will work with everything else nicely and still handle loads for MLs Have plenty of other processors for other rooms as needed but main system is open. No dealer locally that I trust or have proven that they really know what they are doing. Getting back into Vinyl and that's been major headache to say the least.

Probably should post now but this should give you some idea of why I have a power subsstation and to be honest probably will be adding more power substations to the substations that I currently have (need whole house supply for lost power - in Florida where we get lots of hurricanes which means no power so need alternative source for rest of house (office has 8 hours backup so its adequate, rest of house not so.


Had certified electricians try and tell me that properly installed lightning arrestors cause lightning to strike them and cause more problems than not having anything.
I settled on Anthem, I love the sheer sound quality and as a processor its a great match for my ML setup. I am using separate Anthem power amps for the different channels. Tried Other Japanese brands but nah. You'll be disappointed with Denon I can almost guarantee if you plan to dive electrostatics. Trinnov would be the next step up for me.
 

Nuri58

Active Member
Ac
These are really interesting (Nice review), but my lord they're ugly. I could never get these past my significant other. She's very tolerant of my expensive hobby, but not a chance in hell!
Actually you might get surprised. We have ML ELS for our 5.1.2 setup, i.e the 5 part of it and my wife will not allow anything else unless hidden away. And with a light source behind they doubles as a lamp so they do not look too big but rather a small sculpture. Ours are those from Friends shown in one of the first posts, and the wood along the side makes the a little nicer. Ok you need sufficient space not to appear cramped and an amplifier which can drive them as the drop to 0.5 ohms.
 

acgingersnaps

Active Member
Ac

Actually you might get surprised. We have ML ELS for our 5.1.2 setup, i.e the 5 part of it and my wife will not allow anything else unless hidden away. And with a light source behind they doubles as a lamp so they do not look too big but rather a small sculpture. Ours are those from Friends shown in one of the first posts, and the wood along the side makes the a little nicer. Ok you need sufficient space not to appear cramped and an amplifier which can drive them as the drop to 0.5 ohms.
Sure. I imagine that you can be creative around them, but i'm struggling to think of many living spaces, that i've been in, where they wouldn't look really out of place. Dedicated music/cinema rooms aside, of course.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
A question for owners, what size amp is recommended for these speakers
The manufacturer recommends 20W - 300W. I'm driving my Spires with a 7 channel amplifier specified at 135W / channel into 8 Ohms, all channels driven.

Far more important than absolute power is stability into difficult loads. The EM ESL drop to 1.6 Ohms minimum, although this is a lot easier than the 0.7 Ohms of my Spires.

A pair of bi-amped 250W amplifiers is nice, but not not neccessary. If you want to power your ESLs with 400W-800W monoblocs, there is nothing to stop you - the question is that of what's needed, not what is wanted.

Why Myrownwn blew his amplification is another question, but since he didn't indicate if his nearly 20 year old panels had been checked (they may have arced, they are definitely of that age), I would suggest that his experience be treated as anecdotal rather than a specification of necessity.
 

fyonn

Active Member
@Ed Selley
@Ed Selley said:
"The MartinLogan is a big speaker but because two thirds of it is opaque"
I suspect you mean that two thirds of this speaker is transparent...?
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
@Ed Selley


I suspect you mean that two thirds of this speaker is transparent...?
No; The panels have a mesh in them which means they can be seen through but things behind them aren't clearly visible, hence the use of the word opaque.
 

fyonn

Active Member
No; The panels have a mesh in them which means they can be seen through but things behind them aren't clearly visible, hence the use of the word opaque.
but opaque means you can’t see through it at all when the ESL panels are probably best described as semi transparent.
I was more thinking that if the speakers were fully opaque then they would dominate the room but because 2/3 or them are kinda see-through then it’s not so bad? In context your use of the word opaque doesn’t quite sound right to me.
Of course we’re debating vocab here so I’m not going to lose too much sleep if you choose to ignore me. :)
In terms of the speakers themselves, I have always wanted to try listening to a pair...
 

The_Wierd

Well-known Member
No; The panels have a mesh in them which means they can be seen through but things behind them aren't clearly visible, hence the use of the word opaque.
Translucent, then.
 

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