My Impressions of the Martin Logan CLX
Oct 17, 2008 at 4:11 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4

lacrossebowe8

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On Monday I had the opportunity to audition the Martin Logan CLX speakers at my dealer. I thought I would share my impressions as it is a fairly new speaker that few have had the chance to hear.

The system was as follows:
Esoteric DV-60
VTL TL-7.5 Linestage
VTL Siegfried Reference Monoblock Amplifier
Martin Logan CLX
speaker cables were MIT oracle, not sure on other cables.

Music Used
Mark Knopfler- Sailing to Philidelphia
Steely Dan- Gaucho (SACD)
Steely Dan- Two Against Nature
REM- Accelerate
Michael Wolff Trio- 2AM
Budapest Festival Orchestra- Dvorak symphony 9 (SACD)
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers- Moanin'

I started with the Mark Knopfler's "What It Is". I quickly realized the speakers were extraordinarily detailed and threw the best stage I have ever heard. The saying that a good pair of speakers should allow the listener to close their eyes and see the performer finally was true for me. Mark's voice had a palpability that I had not heard on a speaker before. What these speakers lacked was slam, which I expected.

I turned it up a little for Steely Dan's West of Hollywood and heard the sax solo sound raw and real as it should. I then tested the slam of the speaker on "Jack Of Speed" and finally felt the bass impact I thought the speaker had been missing. It is no dynamic in this respect, but I could feel the bass in my chest and the whole presentation seemed effortless. The cymbals floated in space as they would in concert.

I put on REM's "Accelerate" and almost immediately wanted to turn it off. REM seems to mix the bass too low and the mid's too high. Their seemed to be no soundstage to this song. Needless to say, the CLX's are not forgiving of questionable source material.

I then listened to Moanin by Art Blakey and it was pleasant enough, but again, it is not a great recording. It was listenable and the instruments were all "grab-able" but this recording did not show off the speaker.

Michael Wolff's 2AM is one of the best recorded CD's I have ever heard, and it was immediately obvious here. The track U'n'I showed the CLX's could represent a piano well and render the low bass notes accurately. At one point, Wolff plays a series of low to high note transitions on the Piano, and they shift from low on the left to high on the right, as if the piano had a couple mics. I had not heard this before on any other speakers.

Symphony #9 in SACD is a treat to listen to on any decent equipment and I listened to the first movement. I am not as experienced with evaluating systems with classical music, but the CLX's did dynamics well and presented the orchestra realistically.

I am not typically a fan of electrostatics as I like dynamic slam in speakers so i went in expecting to appreciate the ML's but not much more. I came out truly impressed. There were negatives to the speaker, such as less slam than dynamics, slightly laid back sound (the frequency response seemed very flat to me), and probably tricky positioning and amplification. They do seem relatively picky on source material.

I will try to hear more speakers in this price range (and did hear some WattPuppy 8's on the same day) to get a feel for how these stack up. For many, their accuracy and soundstaging will be enough to declare them the "perfect speaker". They are not my perfect speaker, but were a fun audition and I look forward to hearing them again.

If anyone else has heard these I would love to hear your impressions. I would also like general critiques of my writing reviewing style as this is my first, but hopefully not last. I will post my impressions of the WP 8's, but I would like to get some feedback on this so I can improve the Wilson impressions.
 
Oct 17, 2008 at 4:48 AM Post #2 of 4

cAsE sEnSiTiVe

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Nice write-up. I've been a bit antsy to go have a listen to them since they came out.

I owned a pair of CLS II's way back in the day. It certainly had its warts, but it was also a very enjoyable speaker. Despite my best efforts to pair a sub/subs with it, it ulitmately did better for me running solo.

Glad to hear you enjoyed them.
 
Oct 17, 2008 at 7:22 PM Post #3 of 4

lacrossebowe8

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The store was talking about pairing it with one of the Martin Logan subs, but they would have to be very fast for that to work well. I think two REL subs may work ok. I may have another chance to hear them this weekend and I will write some more on them after that.
 
Oct 17, 2008 at 9:45 PM Post #4 of 4

Happy Camper

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lacrossebowe8 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The store was talking about pairing it with one of the Martin Logan subs, but they would have to be very fast for that to work well. I think two REL subs may work ok. I may have another chance to hear them this weekend and I will write some more on them after that.


Stay with the ML sub. ML subs are made for music. Most subs are made for HT. Pushing a 12-15 inch driver moves air. Not too articulate. The ML sub uses multiple smaller drivers. Much better defined low end with impact without being boomy.

As CaSe mentioned, I finally cut the bass off for music listening. I'm too cheap to upgrade to the ML unit as my money is building a hp rig.
 

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