Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Martin Logan Summit reviewed

Source: Stereoplay 07/05 (German)

This actually might be the first official Summit review. Stereoplay tested it with pretty respectable company of three other speakers: Audio Physic Caldera, B&W N 801D, and JBL Project K2S 9800. Both the B&W and JBL have been raved earlier by British and French hifi magazines. The review noted that the new XStat transducer with its smaller holes provides 50% more playable area than ML's Odyssey, and seems to work as promised - Summit sounded extremely dynamic, open, precise and natural. The magazine concluded that the Summit is the best electrostatic loudspeaker reviewed so far. At €12.000, excellent price/performance ratio, 62 points and Stereoplay Highlight award.

The other reviewed speakers all scored high: Caldera 63, 801D 63, and K2S 9800 62 points.

Viewpoint: A month ago I listened to ML Prodigy in a dealer's showroom. The Prodigys were driven by Bow Technology's components. Although that particular show room is acoustically treated, both myself and my HE buddy (owner of Dunlavy IVAs) detected quite aggressive highs (speakers were not fully burned-in), and larger than life soundstaging. Imaging was painted with large brush and generous strokes, if you get the meaning. To some extent a disappointment, especially in the light that I personally got hooked by high-end audio in listening to Prodigys. BTW, the Prodigy got 60 points in Stereoplay's review in year 2000.

Back to the Summit. The measurements illustrated that Summit is not the most neutral speaker in terms of frequency response, nor did they meet manufacturer's specified 92dB sensitivity (more like 88db). But what really got my attention was the plot of impedance magnitude, which drops below 4ohms at 4kHz, and after that continues to decrease in almost linear fashion (2ohm at 10kHz, and approximately 0.5ohm around 17kHz). Although active bass module should in principle make Summit easy to drive, I suspect that any amplifier not capable of providing enough current will make these speakers sound rolled-off in highs. For the comparison, check Stereophiles's measurements of Prodigy. BTW, Martin Logan owners' site has on-going discussion about the Summit.

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