Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
Excellent speakers - takes a while to break in
on August 24, 2016
These are amazing speakers. For me, the gold standard of how the stereo listening experience should be is as follows -
1) immersive -- where you are in the sound stage and the stage moves all around you
2) you are able to spatially locate the instruments in the music
3) you don't get listening fatigue after somewhat longish sessions (I listen to prog rock and jazz fusion, both of which lend to deep immersive listening experiences)
My buddy's rig is by far the best I've heard. He makes his own amps and DACs and uses a pair of Magnepans with separate sub-woofers and give's us the experience.
Without using a custom amp or DAC, using an old Yamaha receiver and play standard CDs on a 90$ sony blu-ray player, my rig sounds pretty good already. It's not all the way there yet, but I think the remainder of the work needs to be picked up by a good amp and DAC.
My experiences with the speakers -
1) Fresh out of the box, I ran them with an unbroken (new) Onkyo receiver and was disappointed with the sound. It was harsh and while there was still the clarity, the sound stage was not there at all. I borrowed my buddy's old Yamaha receiver and immediately the effect was excellent.
2) after playing with the distance from the back wall and the toeing in of the speakers, I finally was able to get a clear center-image and the soundstage started to form.
3) After burning the speakers in over 100 hours, the sound improved. I had been using a MartinLogan 500W sub-woofer which I decided to disconnect. The woofers in the ESLs themselves are more than adequate for the type of music I listen to (prog rock, Jazz, Jazz-fusion etc).
It took at least 5 days of tinkering and fine tuning the speaker placements for optimal (according to me) soundstage and clarity. If you aren't getting the best sound in the world from these speakers, make sure your Amp is of good quality and/or broken in. Also, do play with the placement of the speakers, the degree of toe-in needed for your room.
One thing I found very interesting is that the sweet spot is slightly spread and not pin-pointed as some reviewers have mentioned. That implies that more people will get an excellent experience imho.