Question Should I buy used Martin Logan Aerius Electrostatic Speakers

Tal00

Novice Member
Hello,
I'm hoping to get some advice. I found a pair of used Martin Logan Aerius speakers in perfect condition. The seller is getting rid of them because he moved to a smaller place. He wants $1200 Canadian for them. That is $900 US.
They might be 20 years old!
1) will my Rega Brio-R (50W at 8 ohms and 73Watts RMS both channels driven into the rated load of 4F) be able to drive them properly.
2) Is it risky? in as far as that something might break on them requiring expensive repairs.
3) Is it a great deal? Will I regret it later if I don't buy them?
4) What is an affordable used hybrid tube amp that can drive them?

Thanks for your help :)

Tal
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Whether they are worth what is being charged depends on the condition of the speaker, and specifically the condition of the ESL panels, which have a life expectancy of 12-15 years. At 20 years therefore, you may well be facing needing to get the speakers serviced.

You write that the speakers are in "perfect condition", which would imply that they have recently been refurbished, but at the same time you ask about the risk.

To your questions:
1) Yes, the Rega will be fine. Note that the Aerius have a minimal impedance of 1.7 Ohms.
2) See intro.
3) Yes, if the speakers are in the "perfect condition" you state. If they have not been serviced in the last 20 years I would recommend investigating the cost of a full refurbishment - where you live. I would estimate a cost of around $2K, but I live in CH. Why not contact Martin Logan (MartinLogan | Contact Information)?
4) Assuming CAD 1200 is your definition of "affordable", I know of no valve amp capable of driving ML ESL's properly that could be considered affordable.
 

Tal00

Novice Member
Thanks for your response Mark.
Regarding #4 are there any tube/valve amplifiers on the market under $5000 USD which can drive my Warfdale Jade 5 speakers (they are rated 50-200W at 6ohms) or the Aerius?
Thanks again and cheers from Canada.
Tal
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Here are some things to consider. Electrostatic speakers typically radiate sound from the Front AND BACK. That means they are more touchy about placement. To sound the best, they need to be a certain distance FORWARD of the wall behind to prevent timing error between the Front and Rear radiated sound. That further means you can NOT push these speakers in the corner or back against the wall. They need Space around them.

So, can you place these speakers so they have room to function properly in your listening space?

As mentioned, the Electrostatic Membrane does not last forever. While time or age is a factor, I suspect Hours Played is a greater factor. Though it is conceivable that never getting played for 20 years can also be a problem ... potentially...not with certainty.

Because the Electrostatic aspect tends to have high capacitance, not all amps can handle that. Some amps are more sensitive to capacitance than others. Though you should have no problem finding people using workable amps with Electrostatic speakers.

Whether your Rega Brio-R can get the job done is debatable. You would have to check on forums and see if anyone is using the Brio-R with ELS speakers. That is about the only sure way to know.

You are not buying just another speaker, you are buying a unique speaker with unique demands, you have to make sure your space and your equipment are up to those demands.

Electrostatic can sound amazingly good when used right and used with the right equipment, but is that something you are willing to take on?

As to durability and repairs, again, these are not common drivers that can be easily replaced. These would take a specialist and perhaps a trip back to the factory for repairs. Again, whether necessary or not, is that a potential that you are willing to take on?

So, the underlying question is not - are they good speakers - they probably are. The real question is, are you in a circumstance and with equipment that would allow you to utilizes these speakers? Admittedly that is a very difficult question to answer, but it is the question that must be answered.

In... my.... opinion.

Steve/bluewzard
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Just so we are all on the same page with regard to the speakers, a Google-Image search turned up this -

Martin Logan Aerius Electrostatic Speakers - Google Search

Martin Logan Aerius - Manual - Hybrid Electrostatic Loudspeaker System - HiFi Engine

They look like pretty straight forward Martin Logan ELS speakers.

Going by a relatively straight forward Martin Logan Electro Motions ELS - US$2500/pr. The owners' manual suggest that the speakers be 24" forward of the wall behind, and 24" (min) away from the Side walls.

THE WALL BEHIND THE SPEAKERS
The front surface, the wall behind the speakers,
should not be extremely hard or soft. A pane
of glass will cause reflections, brightness and
confused imaging. Curtains, drapery and objects
such as bookshelves can be placed along the
wall to diffuse an overly reflective surface. A
standard sheet rock or textured wall is generally
an adequate surface if the rest of the room is not
too bright and hard. Walls can also be too soft.
9
If the entire front wall consists of heavy drapery,
your system can sound dull. You may hear muted
music with little ambience. Harder surfaces will
actually help in this case. The front surface ideally
should be one long wall without any doors or
openings. If you have openings, the reflection
and bass characteristics from each channel can
be different.

That is somewhat true of all speakers, but Martin Logan is the only one that has to spell it out for owners. So, the point is, they are more picky about placement than normal speakers.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Thanks for your response Mark.
Regarding #4 are there any tube/valve amplifiers on the market under $5000 USD which can drive my Warfdale Jade 5 speakers (they are rated 50-200W at 6ohms) or the Aerius?
Thanks again and cheers from Canada.
Tal
I am not resident in the US (or Canada) and am therefore not aware of the price of valve amplifiers on that market. I would however assume that the McIntosh MC275 is over your price and suspect that a pair of Quad II Eighty's + QC Twenty Four also comes in somewhat above your $5K. I also fear that the same might apply to using II Forty's instead, but they'd be a bit closer over here. I suggest your asking locally (this is a UK hosted forum and it's mostly visited by Europeans).

That said, Wharfdale speakers are a totally different type of speaker from electrostatics, and place significantly lower demands on amplification - they are way easier to drive. Essentially any decent valve amplifier in your price range that is capable of driving a dynamic speaker and has sufficient power reserves should have no difficulties driving the Jade 5's. The key to purchasing is of course auditioning.
 

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