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CnoEvil's picture
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Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.
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A remark on another thread got me thinking, as it was suggested that Electrostatics, either hybrid or pure, would "wipe the floor" with conventional "box" speakers.

I'm interested in getting opinions from those who have either heard or owned/own them, as I've never had the pleasure. This is purely academic as nobody stocks them where I live.

When I think of Electrostatics, I think of 2 x 6' trellis (up which you could grow a Clematis) in your living room.

They have to be at least 6' away from the wall behind them (as sound not confined), and are very picky about the way they are set up. They need lots of power from from well partnered, expensive ancillaries. Also, due to the beamed nature of the sound, have a very small sweetspot, which can sometimes be no further back, than the speakers are appart.

To get decent bass they have to be very tall, or amalgamated with a sub (which can give intergration problems), and I have no idea how they would work with AV.

By their nature they are often expensive (though Maggies appear to give good value), and may be much better with certain types of music than with others.

Is this a speaker that only works for classical music loving rich bachelors, who live in converted warehouses, and are not interested in AV?......or are we all missing out?

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.

I think you'd better look at this website, and then rethink your topic:  http://magnepan.com/. You've got an awful lot wrong.

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RE: Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.

Just a few points:

 

Maggies are not electrostats. though they are similar in appearance and generally appeal to the same crowd.

 

Like with most things in audio, you really need to hear planar speakers for yourself to determine if the sound is for you... I really liked the sound of Final Sound full range (and I use the term 'full range' very loosely) Electrostats, wasn't very impressed with Martin Logan hybrid electrostats and flat out detested the sound of Magnepan MG12 planars... So to each his own...

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RE: Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.

Since I'm only going on what I've read in reviews, and that includes everything written in my thread, I was looking for personal experiences rather than more reading.

This is not meant as an attack on this type of speaker, but rather a chance for reasoned debate, as I'm genuinely interested in getting peoples' views.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.

I have a friend who absolutely swears by a pair of MMGs driven by Quad 44/405 amplification.  He says they are the most realistic sounding speakers he has ever heard.  Sadly I've not heard them because he has them in storage back home in New Zealand while he is over here in the UK.

Rega RP3/Elys 2 - Graham Slee Gram Amp 1 - Rega Apollo R - Exposure 1010 amp - Dynaudio DM2/6 - Chord Co. Chameleon VEE3/Rumour 2 - Musical Fidelity V90-HPA - Sennheiser HD595

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RE: Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.

matthewpiano wrote:

I have a friend who absolutely swears by a pair of MMGs driven by Quad 44/405 amplification.  He says they are the most realistic sounding speakers he has ever heard.  Sadly I've not heard them because he has them in storage back home in New Zealand while he is over here in the UK.

MP, thanks for the feedback.

It's looking like they are far more common in Australia and NZ. They are certainly not a common recommendation on this forum.....maybe they sould be.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.

Ajani wrote:

Just a few points:

 

Maggies are not electrostats. though they are similar in appearance and generally appeal to the same crowd.

 

Like with most things in audio, you really need to hear planar speakers for yourself to determine if the sound is for you... I really liked the sound of Final Sound full range (and I use the term 'full range' very loosely) Electrostats, wasn't very impressed with Martin Logan hybrid electrostats and flat out detested the sound of Magnepan MG12 planars... So to each his own...

Ajani, it's good to hear from someone who has heard this technology. I also see that these speakers can sound very different to each other and that it's as subjective as everything else in this hobby.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.

There aren't really many UK stockists of this type of loudspeaker as UK rooms tend to be much smaller than the US for example, and this type of speaker needs room to breathe. Whatever Magnaplanar state in their FAQs, they do need space. They cleverly word this to say that they need no more space than a conventional box loudspeaker needs to perform correctly - most box loudspeakers will sound their best when they have a good few feet behind them - so they're not lying, but they're not being very specific either.
As far as amplification is concerned, they do require good amplification. An amplifier that is handy with 4ohm loads is a minimum requirement, but some panel speakers can dip as low as 1ohm (I believe the Maggies usually dip to 2ohms). My old SMGb's could be driven by an 8000A, but performed way better with an 8000P/C combination.
Whether they 'wipe the floor' with conventional speakers really depends on what sort of sound you're looking for. If you're into the likes of Massive Attack, they're going to disappoint due to their limited bass, which can sometimes sound quite weedy. The flipside is that very few speakers can rival their transparency and overall naturalness, and especially their lack of boxiness that usually plagues cheaper speakers. More modern speaker designs are far closer to the sound of panel speakers nowadays thanks to oddly shaped cabinets, and especially to sheer build quality.
As an ex-Maggies owner, could I go back to using a pair in a main hi-fi system? Not without a subwoofer, but then that brings it's own issues. My next hi-fi loudspeaker will act very much like a panel speaker, so I'll not need to move over to a panel.
Could I move over to them in an AV system for movies? Definitely not.

DavidF @FrankHarveyHiFi, Coventry.

"Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light"

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RE: Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.

FrankHarveyHiFi wrote:
My next hi-fi loudspeaker will act very much like a panel speaker, so I'll not need to move over to a panel.

 

Care to share what those will be? It looks like a WB Vector description, but is that indeed the case?

Cheers,
Bernard

 

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RE: Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.

FrankHarveyHiFi wrote:
My next hi-fi loudspeaker will act very much like a panel speaker, so I'll not need to move over to a panel.

Focal Ovators?

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RE: Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.

Wow, two interested! That's two more than I expected! I might keep this going for a little longer... :grin:

DavidF @FrankHarveyHiFi, Coventry.

"Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light"

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RE: Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.

CnoEvil wrote:

Since I'm only going on what I've read in reviews, and that includes everything written in my thread, I was looking for personal experiences rather than more reading. This is not meant as an attack on this type of speaker, but rather a chance for reasoned debate, as I'm genuinely interested in getting peoples' views.

Look at the Maggie website, mate, I was trying to spare some blushes. Magnepan make AV speakers you can hang on the all, and are not electrostatic. There's also woofers to handle the bass.

Don't trust reviews, they're not a good source. And why don't you go and listen. Let the speakers do the talking, not the web. Never heard of maggies myself before the other week.

Martin Logan are hybrids, electrostatics with a conventional speaker to handle the bass.

I'd change the thread title, too, since it looks like you're only talking about Maggies and not electrostatics.

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RE: Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.

altruistic.lemon wrote:

Don't trust reviews, they're not a good source. And why don't you go and listen. Let the speakers do the talking, not the web. 

CnoEvil wrote:

I'm interested in getting opinions from those who have either heard or owned/own them, as I've never had the pleasure. This is purely academic as nobody stocks them where I live.

Stuff.

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Magnepan loudspeakers

ID. wrote:

altruistic.lemon wrote:

Don't trust reviews, they're not a good source. And why don't you go and listen. Let the speakers do the talking, not the web. 

CnoEvil wrote:
I'm interested in getting opinions from those who have either heard or owned/own them, as I've never had the pleasure. This is purely academic as nobody stocks them where I live.

CnoEvil wrote:
Since I'm only going on what I've read in reviews, and that includes everything written in my thread, I was looking for personal experiences rather than more reading.

 

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RE: Electrostatics: brilliant answer or impractical solution.

Quad's long running ESL range (think the 2905 is the current model) is probably best known, but there's others out there - Soundlab or Janszen to name but two.  Not cheap and you need a bit of space as David mentions.  

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Listening and Comparing Dynamics with Electrostats

My A/B comparisons between Martin Logan Sources vs Wharfedale 10.1 ( each using 2 x 15" sealed subs ) goes like this:

Both speakers in large room, 5+ feet from back wall and 4 feet from sidewalls.

PROs :

- the electrostats are FAST, you really sense precussion instruments "slapping" the air , transient response is amazing.

- no "boxy" sound ...the sense of detail and transparency is even better than 10.1's ( which are very good IMO ) 

- the stereo imaging is amazing ..the word holographic has been thrown around and I agree ...

 

CONs : besides cost , amplification needs and room space ....

- the Martin Logans have a SMALL sweet spot ...move too far from the vertical ..and treble diminishes quickly ...

- I have heard larger Electrostats can do better at this ...the Martin Logans are at least not door size, so there is a trade off with my particular model

 

OVERALL ...I like my Wharfdales alot , but I was able to get the Martin Logans for a crazy price , so I could not help myself ...

 

The Panels were WORTH it ...takes hifi to another level for me , no regrets, but they are NOT for every room or person at all.

 

CHEERS from the US ...

 

dave - PC - FLAC files > Hiface USB-SPDIF > Emotiva XDA-1 DAC ( AD1955 ) > 2 x Emotiva UPA-1 ( 350W 4ohms ) > Martin Logan Sources + 2 x 15" Sealed Subs = HAPPY CAMPER

 

other speakers - KEF IQ30, Wharfdale 10.1 

 

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