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  • The Continuing Saga of Electrostatic Speakers

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    Once an electrostatic lover, always an electrostatic lover. Over the many, many years, many have, despite the obvious shortcomings and challenges, struck by this technology, always hoping the next breakthrough was around the corner. Easier to drive, more low end, less "drummy" in the low end, better macrodynamics, better integration of hybrid designs, less beaming, etc. And over the years, some of these issues have been addressed, other factors not so much. I'll never forget the rollout of the Statements many years ago when Krell and Martin-Logan teamed up at the now defunct Summer CES at the Chicago Historical Museum to put together a SOTA demonstration of that massive four speaker model. (according to Dan, it cost them close to 100K to put on that demo). And in some ways it was very impressive! Certainly at that time the scale of the music and the neutrality.

    So it's always news when one of the leading electrostatic designers like Martin-Logan takes aim at this old technology with a new design. Moreso, ML has a proven track record of using technology developed in their SOTA speakers and distilling it down to other speakers in the product line.

    There are several noteworthy changes in the new Neoliths:

    Much larger estat diaghram (even bigger than the old Statements)
    New enclosure material and better bracing
    Improved parts and drivers
    Really a three-way speaker
    Largest and new bass drivers used (12 and 15-inch)
    Claimed can be driven by amps 20-1300 wpc. (there's no mention of included, self-powered bass amplifier like Summit-X)
    Some new room adjustability and floor bounce
    Top end drops to 0.43 ohms so better have a robust amplifier
    185# per side

    Having been a long time Martin-Logan owner, it seems that many issues were addressed in this speaker, in particular the cabinet material and parts quality. I still think that the Summit-Xs are one of the best buys in the market but they are not without their own signature. One issue wasn't as much the blending between drivers (and I still hanker for a full range estat) but the size of instruments like cellos and double basses just wasn't convincing. Also, the top end just wasn't as extended as it should be. Stats are also, like any top speaker, ruthlessly revealing and demand the best in ancillary equipment; too often people attributed faults of the other components to the stats. Then the colorations of the bass just always wandered into the estat territory, adding some colorations and apparent linearity. Speakers like Magico get the mids right because of the lack of speaker cabinet colorations; ML because of the speed of the driver. (the new Magico drivers take a giant step toward that sort of cone driver speed.)

    But what they did well, they did well. Like tubes, stats have a magical quality to them that brings music to life. That magic to resolve the smallest musical nuance and overtones of instruments that gave a life to the music. In contrast, other speakers just sound dead and boring. The magic of hearing the resonances and decay of a guitar. That magic of hearing a singer's breathiness. Those magical dynamic accents that separate the contenders from the pretenders.The airiness of recordings And the newer Martin-Logans have dynamics previously thought unattainable with stats too!

    I've only had a chance to hear the Neoliths at a show, driven by Mac electronics, sitting on a directors chair about five feet above the floor, Yes nose bleed territory. Yes I want to hear the speakers with other electronics. Yes I want to hear the speakers with analog and familiar material. But there was an unmistakable delicacy and lightness to the sound. An absolutely beguiling effortless quality to the sound. That old ML resolution. An unmistakable change in the low end though in that room the bass was too much (it seems that some exhibitors think turning up the bass is going to sound better. ) All that makes me do is want to hear them under better circumstances!

    For me, one question remaining is finding that right amplifier for the Neoliths.

    What are other people's thoughts on the speakers?
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    Anything I can see through like a window shouldn't be an audio speaker. The two times I heard ML speakers I was not impressed. But as always YMMV.
    Marty

    Comment


    • #3
      Like SETs, I love what stats do but can't live with what they can't. Sweet spot perfection alas is not enough. I like moving around a lot mainly because I'm a bit of a claustrophobe and I like entertaining.

      Maybe when I'm older and become an empty nester then move to a smaller place, I just might stat. That's a long way off.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm in the "can't live without them" camp. I have a pair of freshly rebuild Quad ESLs (3rd or fourth pair if you include a long term loaner) that was inroute and supposed to be delivered January 8, its now Feb 14 and you would not believe the grief UPS freight has put put me and Kent through. It makes the Fedex story with the lost TT look like a walk in the park...I'm still waiting for them! This set will be installed with Arcici stands and Townshend super tweeters.

        Anyhow, I still have a set of Acoustat 2+2s sitting in th corner, I recently had two pairs of Martin Logan CLSes, two pairs of quad ESL 63, one was a pro model w/full Crosby mods and stands and Soundlab A3s.

        Re the Neoliths, find a pr of mid-90s Krell reference amps and you're done. I heard the ML Statement Mk1s with these amps and it is ingrained in my psyche like the first time i ever heard a real high-end system.
        Last edited by Rob; 02-14-2016, 12:18 PM.
        Simon Yorke S10 | My Sonic Lab Eminent GL | AcousticPlan PhonoMaster | Wadia X32 | Innuous ZEN Mini Mk II | Valvet Soulshine2 | Linear Tube Audio ZOTL10 MkII | Avantgarde Uno Fino XD

        "One of the great challenges of this world: Knowing enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough about the subject to know you're wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

        Comment


        • #5
          Stars weather headphones or speakers are just hyper detailed and gives speed like no other can. As we adjust to that speed all else seems oddly heavy. But once we adjust to say at non the added weight seems right and bass is more of a seamless transition. Comes just do not seem to be able to match the speed that's needed. For me ribbons are perfect.
          analog stuff.
          otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
          otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
          sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
          new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
          thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
          thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
          kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
          phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
          speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
          mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
          digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
          Dacs lampi various

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Alrainbow View Post
            Stars weather headphones or speakers are just hyper detailed and gives speed like no other can. As we adjust to that speed all else seems oddly heavy. But once we adjust to say at non the added weight seems right and bass is more of a seamless transition. Comes just do not seem to be able to match the speed that's needed. For me ribbons are perfect.

            Totally forgot about electrostatic headphones. Thanks for reminding me Al!
            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
            -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Rob View Post
              I'm in the "can't live without them" camp. I have a pair of freshly rebuild Quad ESLs (3rd or fourth pair if you include a long term loaner) that was inroute and supposed to be delivered January 8, its now Feb 14 and you would not believe the grief UPS freight has put put me and Kent through. It makes the Fedex story with the lost TT look like a walk in the park...I'm still waiting for them! This set will be installed with Arcici stands and Townshend super tweeters.

              Anyhow, I still have a set of Acoustat 2+2s sitting in th corner, I recently had two pairs of Martin Logan CLSes, two pairs of quad ESL 63, one was a pro model w/full Crosby mods and stands and Soundlab A3s.

              Re the Neoliths, find a pr of mid-90s Krell reference amps and you're done. I heard the ML Statement Mk1s with these amps and it is ingrained in my psyche like the first time i ever heard a real high-end system.

              Were those the 750 lb. Krell amplifiers?
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
              -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

              Comment


              • #8
                I am very confident that big VTLs would be wonderful on the Neoliths. A friend of mine who drives his Neoliths with VTL Siegfrieds is ecstatic with the combination.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RonR View Post
                  I am very confident that big VTLs would be wonderful on the Neoliths. A friend of mine who drives his Neoliths with VTL Siegfrieds is ecstatic with the combination.

                  Am I right that you have to drive them full range with one amplifier?
                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                  -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                  -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                  -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                  -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                  -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                  -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                  -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                  -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                  -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post


                    Am I right that you have to drive them full range with one amplifier?
                    Yes. They can also be passively bi-amped.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RonR View Post

                      Yes. They can also be passively bi-amped.

                      Thanks for the info. You sound like you were very impressed by what you heard with the VTLs driving the Neoliths.
                      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                      ________________________________________

                      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I hope to listen to the Neoliths next weekend. I had some preliminary reports of people who listened to them at our distributor large room and they were really impressed. Even long time members of the very top box speaker camp were disturbed by the experience of the Neoliths driven by Dartzeel NHB 458 monoblocks, although the speakers were just being placed in the room without position optimization. The seamless integration of the bass power and control with the large panel, extending the well known being there and freedom from artifacts of the electrostatic to the extreme bass zone seems a very strong point. Surely I will take my usual references recordings!
                        My opinions rely on listening mainly to acoustical, non amplified music. I do not care about electronic music or listening to rock at stadium levels, but I enjoy Mahler and Shostakovitch.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          And please give us a rundown with some pics. The Darts and Neoliths oughta be a wonderful combo! And analog of course.
                          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                          ________________________________________

                          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                          -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                          -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                          -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                            And please give us a rundown with some pics. The Darts and Neoliths oughta be a wonderful combo! And analog of course.
                            Sorry Miles, I will take my CDs ... I do not risk my reference LPs in unknown hands and stylus!
                            My opinions rely on listening mainly to acoustical, non amplified music. I do not care about electronic music or listening to rock at stadium levels, but I enjoy Mahler and Shostakovitch.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by microstrip View Post

                              Sorry Miles, I will take my CDs ... I do not risk my reference LPs in unknown hands and stylus!

                              Yes I've often thought about that.
                              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                              ________________________________________

                              -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                              -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                              -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                              Comment

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