I am reviewing the Martin Logan Clarity Speaker. I just wanted to let you all know is that this is my 1st try at electrostatic speakers and now i am completly addicted to the sound.I have had almost every brand of speaker ranging from the 1000 to 4000 and had some very good speakers. All i can say is WOW.. I will never go back to conventional speakers again. This speaker will make you listen to all your music all over again.. And Get ready to listen to some pink floyd and hear sounds that you have never heard in your life. I am truly hooked. Soundstage. tonal accuracy. imaging and just beautiful sound it what it is all about. I can go on and on with what i like about this speaker... When it comes to what i dont like.. I hit a wall... You will need some very good power to move them, but these are the type of speaker you want to listen to all day and low volumes and high when dessired. My Girlfriend who has no concept of good sound just looked at me and said.. " THEY ARE SO QUIET" AND boy when there is no musis it is dead silent. I give these 5 stars across the board. If you are looking for a pair of speakers.. YOU MUST GIVE THEM A LISTEN !!!!!!!!!!!!!
I use quality vintage tube amps in 35-55w rms range to drive. Figure multiple of 2,75X for equivelant SS power. That equates to 96.25-151.25 SS. They like high power. Make sure your amp is stable down to 1ohm range. I use single strand 12ga 600v copper wires to speakers. No provision for bi-wire, and many have found bi-wire option on other ML's not an upgrade. Good fit for smaller size room. Good looks. With right equipment very airy, great highs and mid range. Smaller sweet spot than larger panels. Panels are excellent, there is a problem at 450 crossover and below. The bass is muddy and undefined, lacks punch compared to an 8" Klipsch bass driver. The ML driver has a quality cast spyder, with substantial magnet and aluminum cone. Where things lack are cross bracing and sound absorption materials. No sound absorption directly behind driver. Lots of fiberglass stuffed in top and bottom chambers. For now I have removed all matting and installed a 1"dia cross brace that also keeps the port from deflecting. There is an upper bass/lower mid range defused rubberized timbre in this region. The cross brace brings it back in focus and unveils. At this point; lows not as full. Another demon of the design is the damn plastic base ! A huge flaw to overcome to achieve solid bass response. This is a great speaker to involve you with the music, but needs mods in order to integrate a sub properly. The port mouth could be wider for higher volumes, but real nice at low to mid high volume. I will apply asphalt absorbtion in hopes of better upper bass.
The ML Calrity is an amazing speaker. I really think that this speaker offers more than ANY cone speaker under $5000. It may lack some weight in the low end compared with other speakers in the 5000 range but what it can achieve in the midrange and highs is trully beyond sound, it's just plain music: pleasant and soft / powerful and dynamic / tranquil and nostalgic / meditative / jovial / sad , all those in one word: Music. That spiritual experience that takes us to a new level. Duende, the people of Spain call it ... I just simply love it.
Well, the Clarity's have helped me reach that state with ease. Associated equipment includes:
Marantz DV-8300 Cd/DVD/SACD player (placed via Isoclean isolation feet onto granite slab, power fed via Cardas Golden Cross Powercord) ... incredibly low noise floor! Very open and analog sounding. More analog than the Audio Refinement CD player but not as neutral.
Audioquest VDM-5 digital coax cable to pre/pro (100% pure silver, very smooth cable, slightly on the sweet side I think, but possibly just revealing the Marantz signature and the outstanding transport in the DV-8300)
Audio Refinement Pre-2 DSP (5.1 channel pre/pro with pure 2-channel bypass mode, dolby pro-logic II processing, DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 descoding. This is a very simple/purist approach to HT, with a musical signature from YBA) ... also on a granite slab with the upgraded ceramic feet from Audio Refinement, power fed via Audioquest NRG-3 powercord)
Audioquest King Cobra RCA interconnects to amp (PSC+ copper, triple shielded, with PVC and teflon insulation, this cable has excellent resolution and speed) ... but will soon be replaced with Revelation Audio Labs Paradise RCA interconnects
Audio Refinement Multi-2 amp (with upgraded ceraminc feet, placed on granite block, power fed by an Audioqest NRG-5 powercord, best amp in its price class, Period!) More musical than more expensive gear from Bryston/ Anthem/ Rotel/ Arcam/ Creek/ NAD) with tons of detail. Audition this one with ANY good preamp and you'll hear for yourself.
All powerconditioning is provided by a hospital grade powerbar, found in a hospital ... which just simply thrashed a Monster powerconditioner in just about any area possible ... and cost me nothing! pretty good bang for the buck don't you think? :)
anyways, let's get to the Clarity's SOUND:
ELECTROSTATIC sound from the get-go. In a small package! Incomparable to cones of which I also own a pair. If I'd say that I admire and greatly respect cones, then electrostatic speakers are my passion. Nothing that I've heard this side of the real world (pricewise) can compete with electrostatics. Nevermid Acapella and German Physics, they don't sing on earth but only for those rich enough to travel to the moon. The Clarity's are fast, open, airy, capable of holgraphic imaging, you name it ... they do what electrostatics panels can do. Not to the same level as bigger models in the ML line-up, but it's also the smallest stand-alone electrostatic that sounds like an electrostatic.
Listening room is 10 ft by 12 ft, with the Clarity's along the long wall, facing directly across the width of the room. Thus they have lots of space to breathe (to the side walls),which is critical to electrostatic speakers. Orientation is perpendicular from the wall behind them (90 degrees), no tow-in necessary (in fact tow-in reduces the airiness and muddies the focus). Speakers are about 9 feet apart and seating position is about 9 feet to each speaker.
With this setup I can finally sink into the music and just enjoy it. I've heard some of the better speakers from Paradigm/ PMC/ Monitor Audio/ B&W/ Dynaudio/ Wilson/ B&W/ Krell but none in the systems heard drew me into the music like the Clarity's do. They have an uncanny abiliy to involve you into the music if paired up with the right equipment. Too bad their powercords cannot be upgraded ... REASON to upgrade to the Aeon i's (better speaker, if you can find the money buy it by all means, if you like the Clarity you will love the Aeon i, and if you love the Aeon i you will be blown away by the Ascent i, and so on ... is this a hobby or an addiction?
This speaker introduced me to electrostatics. I knew after hearing it for the first time that I would one day have it in my apartment. And when the Aeon i's arrive the Clarity's will become my surrounds together with the ML Logos centre channel. If I could not afford the Aeon i's, I could easily live with these speakers as my fronts. There are no words, just phrases from my spouse's experience:
"Wow", "These speakers just dissapear", "So much air", "For the first time I don't need to close my eyes to imagine the performance ... it's right here in our room".
... nowdays we both share this passion for music. I think anybody would if they heard our modest system, no matter how cynical they may be.
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