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-   -   ESL question ( not a troll ) (http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/158441-esl-question-not-troll.html)

Borat 11th January 2010 11:46 PM

ESL question ( not a troll )
 
seriously mods, this is not intended to be a troll. if it does turn into a flame fest feel free to lock, delete whatever.

i want to ask those people who do not own ESL speakers why you do not ?

i am trying to understand why ESL speakers have a relatively limited penetration of the market.

when i was a high school student i thought it was due to cost because back then for me anything more than a few hundred bucks seemed ridiculously expensive. but now i know that many people use dynamic speakers in the same price range as martin logan products for example, so it's probably not the price.

i also thought it had to be the size. but many people use dipoles, horn or TL systems that are heavier and visually more imposing than some martin logans.

then i thought that maybe its because they have no bass ? but hybrid designs like ML do have plenty of bass. every bit as much as any other speaker of comparable cost. so that's not it either.

so what is it ?

i am theoretically considering building ESL speakers commercially, just theoretically. and it would be extremely stupid if i actually built them tried to sell them, they didn't sell and then i asked the question WHY ? i just feel like the question why they don't sell has to be asked FIRST before even considering whether whether i could in fact pull off building them.

i was at a high-end speaker store in Manhattan don't remember the name but it was some kind of exchange. hi-fi exchange or something. they had high-class speaekers like B&W 800 series and Sonus Faber ( both of which i auditioned there ) but they didn't have any ESLs which is what ( at the time ) i really wanted to audition. does this make sense ?

on the other hand later on i did see martin logans in a big-box electronics store which didn't sell any high-end speakers other than that. does THAT make sense ?

do ESLs in fact sell in large volumes but not generate a lot of discussion because they are "old news" ? ? ?

i would like to hear everybody's opinions. if you DO own ESL speakers but sit on this forum rather than exotics and planars - i would like to hear your reasons on that as well.

gedlee 12th January 2010 12:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Borat (Post 2043941)
i want to ask those people who do not own ESL speakers why you do not ?

While I have nothing against the way they sound, the problems are:

1) They are expensive
2) The lack MAX power output
3) They are big
4) They lack bass

other than that they sound great. Oh did I mention they are expensive, and in general not very reliable.

Andrew Eckhardt 12th January 2010 12:52 AM

ESLs don't rock.

DcibeL 12th January 2010 12:58 AM

I haven't experienced ESL speakers, but I can echo what Earl says of their reputation. Big and expensive automatically makes them a small market in the commercial sector. DIY thrives on "bang for the buck" and I think ESL isn't it for a lot of people.

Having not experienced SL speakers, I wonder if "dangerous" should be on the list as well. At least from a DIY perspective, the more people stay away from high voltage the better.

Borat 12th January 2010 01:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gedlee (Post 2044005)
other than that they sound great.

what about the whole lobing and dispersion John was talking about - do you find that a significant issue from standpoint of audibility ?

Quote:

Originally Posted by gedlee (Post 2044005)
The lack MAX power output

from what i understand a large ESL panel driven by a very strong amp and high passed at a high enough frequency can get plenty loud ?

Borat 12th January 2010 01:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Eckhardt (Post 2044015)
ESLs don't rock.

can you elaborate on that ? are you referring to lack of bass or something else ?

i would not want to sell speakers that don't rock. it's probably the only thing i agree with Geddes on - expensive speakers must be loud just like expensive cars must be fast. and that even if you don't fancy going deaf or getting killed.

the relevant loudness however is from 30hz to 60hz ...

dshortt9 12th January 2010 01:14 AM

Why Not ESL's?
 
Just MY Opinion!

I have owned ML Aerius i's, Acoustat 2+2's, and 6 Acoustat panels per side driven by Acoustat X amps that are direct drive tube amps - no step up transformers. I've also had Apogee Duetta II Signatures and Magnepans just FYI and a reference point. I've heard many ML Speakers properly set up and driven in dealer's showrooms. Although the best (more expensive) ML's have incredible sound, the lower priced ones suffer from small but significant flaws. This could be said of any drivers, dynamic, planar magnetic, or ESL's. They all have characteristics of their own. I also think more money has poured in to the R & D of dynamic drivers than other designs.

1. Slight lack of true dynamic rendition of things like rimshots, bass drum hits, and the lowest bass in full range ESL's. Something missing in the gut.

2. Small lack of cohesive crossover between the woofer and panels.

3. A larger than life imaging that makes a sax or trumpet seem like 6 feet by 6 feet. Trying to get ESL's large enough to render good dynamics and bass means they need a larger room, which means one needs larger panels to render good bass and dynamics, which means one needs a larger room... and bigger amps...

4. They are demanding of power amplifiers. Wide variations in impedance that place a big need for beefy CLEAN amps. The Aerius i's have a dip to 1.7 ohms in the high end IIRC. CLS's went to 1 ohm or less. This gets to be even more of a problem if one prefers tube amps.

Again, I have heard some of the most accurate, head turning sound from ESL's but usually from the high priced - mega amped models in large rooms.

Just for reference I have settled on homebrew speakers made from Klipsch RF-7 woofers and Heil AMT tweeters. They beat any of the previously mentioned speakers that I've owned, and 16 watts will break a lease. Dynamic speakers just seem to be a better value than equally priced ESL's. If money were not an object I just might have the best ML's, or the top Maggies.

Andrew Eckhardt 12th January 2010 01:19 AM

They're just hard of producing exciting impact. You also have to sit smack in the middle of the sweet spot to get anything of value out of them at all. If you decide to play a party at your house and all you have is ESLs you may as well have someone bring a boom box.

Borat 12th January 2010 01:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dshortt9 (Post 2044037)
Just for reference I have settled on homebrew speakers made from Klipsch RF-7 woofers and Heil AMT tweeters. They beat any of the previously mentioned speakers that I've owned, and 16 watts will break a lease. Dynamic speakers just seem to be a better value than equally priced ESL's. If money were not an object I just might have the best ML's, or the top Maggies.

so if i understand you correctly you are saying that a speaker like this:

http://www.adam-audio.com/en/home-au...mn/description

will outperform all but the most expensive ESLs ?

Borat 12th January 2010 01:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Eckhardt (Post 2044041)
They're just hard of producing exciting impact. You also have to sit smack in the middle of the sweet spot to get anything of value out of them at all. If you decide to play a party at your house and all you have is ESLs you may as well have someone bring a boom box.

i understand the sweet spot comment. but what do you mean by no impact ? can't they go loud enough with enough power and high enough crossover point to the woofer ?


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