Martin Logan vs. Everything

I have a pair of Martin Logan 13a. to me they sound incredible. The thing is I also like to spend time at hi-fi shops , whether they be brick and mortar or or online and it seems like those dealers think the Martin Logan are the weak Link in my system…


I’ve listened to Speakers twice and even three times the price and they don’t sound any better to me but I do have my room treated and everything is tuned just in my liking. my personal opinion is that Martin Logan has spent years perfecting what they do with the electrostatic speaker, and that it’s just not financially feasible for some of these smaller companies to try and do the same so they have traditional box speakers, which are great, but to me not as great as the Martin Logan .


so how wrong am I ? Fight me. 



ML speakers are great, but they can’t do what dynamic drivers can do.  I’ll take dipolar dynamic speakers from the likes of Nola, Spatial, etc. over ML any day because you get a lotta what electrostats offer along with the dynamics of traditional cone drivers that flat panels just can’t do.  And there’s the bass mismatch issue that’s always there with ML.  Pick your poison and just be happy.


Martin Logan Expression ESL 13A Electrostatic Speakers
Pass Labs 260.8 Mono Amplifiers
PS Audio BHK Preamplifier
Denefrips Terminator Dac

I occasionally go to audio shows with a thumb drive of 10 critical listening songs that I know well.

When it is allowed, I will listen to 1 or 2 songs chosen to hear the noticed superior assets of the auditioned speakers.  I will go home and compare my remembered results to my above system.  I have found expensive systems that give me a better "feel" of the music, but I have not found one that gives me a better "sound" of the music. 

I have had a love of the electrostatic sound for many decades.

I entered a high-end music store in the early 1980s in Oklahoma City, just to compare what they had to my great Altec Lansing Flamenco 848a horn and large woofer speakers.  These rocked and shook my walls with their 15" woofer.  I was in my early 30s with a limited budget.  I saw a pair of tall skinny screens in a frame with a large tubed amplifier attached.  I asked what they were and was told that they were electrostatic speakers.  I think they were Acoustat or Martin Logan, I do not remember which.  He turned them on and I was blown away.  I had never heard any speakers that were so realistic in the midrange and treble.  The instruments and vocals were so real I knew I had to get them.  I asked the price and was told I would have to get the amplifier and the speakers and the combination would cost somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000.  I was extremely disappointed because I knew I would never be able to afford them.  I left the store and dreamt about those speakers for years.  I eventually forgot about them.
In early 2017 I was in Best Buy with my wife and saw a section of the store that was labeled Magnolia.  It was a Hi-Fi and TV store.  We were thinking about getting a new TV so we went in.  After a while, I entered a separate room that had several speakers with McIntosh and other amplifiers.  They also had a pair of tall skinny screens in a frame.  I know that my heartbeat got faster, my face flushed, and I froze and stared at my fantasy speakers.  All the memories came back and I just stood and enjoyed the Deja Vu.  I asked the attendant to hook them up and they sounded as good as I remembered and/or fantasized about. The sharpness, clarity, musicality, and solid bass were marvelous.  I compared them to the Bowens Wilkins 800 D2 and other high-end speakers that were also in the listening rooms and there was no comparison.  The electrostatics were so much better in every category that was important to me. Even my wife, who wears hearing aids, also noticed the difference.  Her hearing has gotten progressively worse in the last 20 years.  She has been unable to enjoy most music in the last 10 years because the speakers she has listened to were not clear enough. These electrostats changed this.  We now listen to concerts and musical shows and she enjoys what she is hearing as well as I do. 

The above history lesson was posted in 2019 but I thought it was pertinent here. 

My advice is to look as much as you want.  Change the electronics but keep the speakers.







@firstonetallguy  that’s a great story. I heard them when I was 16, and always wanted them. I was also in magnolia with my wife 25 years later in front of the dream speakers. My wife loved the sound and the look. We took them home and my system evolved around them.i moved my b&w’s to the garage system I originally powered them with a McIntosh integrated that was perfectly suited for the b&w’s… i wasn’t long until I knew i needed to ditch the mac and get a proper amp for the Logan’s.. i’m sure that a bigger Mac could’ve done the job, but a big Mac was not in My budget and I landed on the Sanders magtech… I’m glad I did!!! 

We should specify that the Martin Logan’s are only good if they are planar speakers.  I bought the 60XL’s before I knew what I was doing, and no one seems to think much of them.