Magnepan 1.7i vs. Martin Logan ESL 8

MWalt

Active Member
Still on the hunt for speakers and am now looking at planars and stat hybrids. I have a Schiit Vidar amp and Freya Plus preamp to drive them. Also have a Prima Luna Prologue Classic with KT 120 tubes. Add in a Rythmik F12 and REL T/5i sub to the mix. Room is a 300 square feet rectangle. I have auditioned the Martin Logan's and am auditioning the 1.7i's in Atlanta on Saturday. What are your experiences and or advice on this thought?
 

StevenZ

Pending Gold Star Member
Still on the hunt for speakers and am now looking at planars and stat hybrids. I have a Schiit Vidar amp and Freya Plus preamp to drive them. Also have a Prima Luna Prologue Classic with KT 120 tubes. Add in a Rythmik F12 and REL T/5i sub to the mix. Room is a 300 square feet rectangle. I have auditioned the Martin Logan's and am auditioning the 1.7i's in Atlanta on Saturday. What are your experiences and or advice on this thought?
I’ve heard the 1.7 and thought they were fantastic however speakers like this can be make or break depending on room and treatments. If you’ve got the room and can take the time to dial them in I think the rewards will be worth the work.
 

MWalt

Active Member
The audio dealer thinks the 1.7i's are perfect for the space I have. I already have my Q's pulled 4 feet from the back walls and could do more if needed. The only thing on the back wall is a window with wooden venetian blinds. Should be good for dipoles right?!!
 

StevenZ

Pending Gold Star Member
The audio dealer thinks the 1.7i's are perfect for the space I have. I already have my Q's pulled 4 feet from the back walls and could do more if needed. The only thing on the back wall is a window with wooden venetian blinds. Should be good for dipoles right?!!
The guy I knew who had the 3.6 and 1.7 had artificial ficus trees behind his. Guess this was his form of diffraction. Sounded real nice either way
 
Ive heard the 1.7i and 3.3r. I really liked both and they sounded very, very similar to me except: 1) the 3.3r went ever so slightly lower (which I thought was pretty amazing considering the 1.7i are noticeably smaller than the 3.3r) and 2) the 3.3r had a more "wall of sound sound" which is hardly surprising considering the size difference between the two. Both offer great soundstage, detail, and are very realistic sounding. I love bass and feel both need a sub, but you have a sub so not an problem.
 

MWalt

Active Member
Does anyone have any experience with the Martin Logans? I thought they sounded pretty darn good.
 
I prefer the Maggie’s. ML has a tendency for bass that can’t get off the floor, completely separate from the rest of the music.

I would love to recommend Rosso as they tend to image like panels with real dynamics to them, but you won’t be able to find any at the price of those two speakers. I haven’t heard any other dynamic speakers image like that for less otherwise I’d absolutely have them as part of my lineup.
 

GuyK

Junior Member
I don't have any experience with the ESL 8, but do have a pair of Sequel II's. The Sequels do some things very well, but integrating bass with mids isn't one of them. Perhaps the pair you're considering is a ways up the food chain, and this has been improved.
 

MWalt

Active Member
I don't have any experience with the ESL 8, but do have a pair of Sequel II's. The Sequels do some things very well, but integrating bass with mids isn't one of them. Perhaps the pair you're considering is a ways up the food chain, and this has been improved.
I have read that the new crossover setup on this latest generation does a superb job of integrating the 8" woofers. When I listened to them I specifically listened for that issue. They really sounded good. I won't rule them out just yet. Even with the maggies I still have to integrate a sub(s) with them to get any dynamic bass from them.
 

MWalt

Active Member
I prefer the Maggie’s. ML has a tendency for bass that can’t get off the floor, completely separate from the rest of the music.

I would love to recommend Rosso as they tend to image like panels with real dynamics to them, but you won’t be able to find any at the price of those two speakers. I haven’t heard any other dynamic speakers image like that for less otherwise I’d absolutely have them as part of my lineup.
Even the lowest priced model, the Rosso Fiorentino Elba series 2 would be double the price of the Magnepan 1.7i's. Like most Italian speakers, they are beautiful. The WAF is off the charts and I am sure they sound as good as you say they do. Funny, I will take my family to the beach for a week and blow 5-10k, but I won't spend it on speakers. I suppose I will reserve that purchase as soon as HiFi is my last remaining hobby.

I wonder if it wouldn't be wise to just order the LRS for a quarter of the price of the 1.7i's since I am going to use a pair of subs anyway. Would the difference really be that great?
 

MikeT.

Senior Member
I have tried to love Maggies of all sorts but just cannot for some reason. I had an extended audition of the 1.7 in a very nicely set up dealer sound room. There’s something, to my ear anyway, that seems compressed about every Maggie I’ve ever heard. OTOH, I’ve gone out of my way to listen to Martin Logan Sequels many many times. At the time, I didn’t have the room or the money for the Sequels, as I was spending those dollars for family vacations (nice ones too) @MWalt
 
Even the lowest priced model, the Rosso Fiorentino Elba series 2 would be double the price of the Magnepan 1.7i's. Like most Italian speakers, they are beautiful. The WAF is off the charts and I am sure they sound as good as you say they do. Funny, I will take my family to the beach for a week and blow 5-10k, but I won't spend it on speakers. I suppose I will reserve that purchase as soon as HiFi is my last remaining hobby.

I wonder if it wouldn't be wise to just order the LRS for a quarter of the price of the 1.7i's since I am going to use a pair of subs anyway. Would the difference really be that great?

I had the Theos here and thought they were nice. Loved the imaging, but the bass was completely separate from the rest of the soundstage to an appalling degree. It was so much it negated anything nice the panels were capable of. There are many design issues that create the separation and I don’t see a conclusive way to get around it without shelling out much more dough.

Another option if you can find them is Evolution Acoustics MmmicroOne. Second hand they can be had for under two grand now which is a steal for the sound they deliver. They may not deliver the panel sound fully, but the ribbon tweeter is all about air and it actually blends properly to the midwoofers. That blend is where 99% of ribbon tweetered boxes fall apart.
 

Richard Austen

Junior Member
Bring music you love and play at the levels you would play it at. I remember being at an audio show and Magnepan would not let anyone play their own music nor would they play it at any decent medium-high volume level. My dealer in Canada sold and still sells Magnepan and he noted that with Magnepan they tend to want to control what is played and at what volume. When they let me be alone with the system I played what I liked and was not too impressed. Martin Logan I always remember as the speaker that got me interested in high-end audio - the mid-band spooky real open quality was startling - until I put on rock and pop where the things fell apart. Back then the models I auditioned were the Aerius i and Odyssey (which was at or near their top model). Bass integration wasn't very good so it sounded like two separate speakers - on short auditions and with their violin harp music it sounded really nice but again with bigger music and percussion, it was disjointed (this has been a common complaint of ML for decades).

That said it really doesn't matter what "individuals" think of a speaker - I am a Canadian who buys into the American notion of the market stance on gear. Magnepan and ML have been around for 3+ decades with plenty of wildly happy customers. The ear focuses on certain things - so one person will focus on that open quality I mentioned with ML and their ear-brain interface may notice the same issue with the bass/panel mismatch - but where it bugs me it may not bug you. You may have the ability to smooth over the gap. My speakers have a resonance that my ear/brain smooths over as having more full tonality but may be overblown to you. And of course, the equipment has an influence as does the music we listen to.

The market, not individual opinion, decides what is worthy and there are a LOT of worthy brands out there - so choose the one you like yourself with no influence from others - just DO make sure you play your music at volumes you will likely play to see who it works. The Rogers LS3/5a is one of if not the most popular speaker in the world but it can't play all kinds of music and it can't play very loud. So as good as they are for other people and as popular as they are, they're not for me. Ditto the Quad 57.
 

MWalt

Active Member
Great input here. I will be leaving in 45 minutes to audition the Magnepan 1.7i and I am taking Richard Austin's suggestion and bringing my own music, which will be quite an eclectic selection. I am not dead set on stats or planars either. I like speakers with weight and great imaging; pinpoint, deep and wide. Focal, Revel, and Goldenear towers were suggested to me in my price range and I want to hear them. My budget remains 2-3k,

@AudioThesis-Are you referring to these? Preowned Evolution Acoustics MicroOne Loudspeakers With Stands | Chambers Audio
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I set out to buy Magnapans based on reading about them but I couldn’t get them to sound good on enough genres of music. The 1.7s led to auditioning 3.6s at the time, and I liked those a lot better but the next week I heard Quad 63s and those did the trick - but- my Harbeths beat those.

if you want weight I’m not sure either of these is the trick?
 

MrEd

Senior Nobody
I lived with a pair of ML Arius ii for about 10 years.
There was some magic there in the mids but I doubt today I could go back after living with my Altec habit .
 
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