are ESL's, planars etc for me? - diyAudio
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Old 30th April 2010, 02:21 AM   #1
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Default are ESL's, planars etc for me?

Hi all,

My free time and brain cells being limited, I'm wondering if ESL's, planars etc might be a good match for me. I don't really want to head down what looks like a long path if it doesn't lead to where I might want to go!

I like the sound of open baffles. Something nice about that big full sound. I do like bass, esp. when it comes from big drivers that don't move alot. Big speakers seem to find acceptance in my living room (lucky me!). I like experimenting with new things.

Based on that, does it seem like any particular 'alternative technology' might be a good match? ESL's? Planars? Something else?
Is my love of bass a deal breaker here?

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Old 30th April 2010, 03:33 AM   #2
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That all depends on the type of music you listen to.
If you just just want that big bad hip hop type bass then these aren't what your looking for, although they will work.
But if you want clean, colorless ,loud and a very precise ,acute and open sound stage with no undesireable distortions to be heard (except in the listening material) then these are the speakers for you.
If you have already heard a demo of some martinlogan (esl) or magenplanar (maggie's) then you probaly already have been bitten by the bug.
Then yes these are the type of speakers for you.
They can be DIYed on a simple budget and when it is all said and done you WILL NOT BE DISATISIFIED!
Trust me there are many here among us besides myself who can be a witness to this.
If you do choose to atempt such a seemingly fateful feat (which it isn't) we will all try to help you out the best we can.
Mavric is the latest to acomplish this task.
I have witnessed the sound of his panels (even if it was over the phone) and they were incredible, clean sounding and might I add very very loud.
If by any chance you do need more bass you can always add more sub's inorder to keep up with the mids and treble these things can produce.
Also if you like alot of deep clean bass a large dipole sub can also be done to match up to a esl or planar of your choice.
Most have used a transmission line type with great results .
I am personaly going for a dipole setup as I like my music loud and very clean reguardless of the type of material.
So the answer to your question"Is my love of bass a deal breaker here?" is, No.
It just all depends on what you want and prefer. jer
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Old 30th April 2010, 07:07 AM   #3
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Sounds like what you would need is a hybrid ESL. This means you have a tall, narrow ESL element for all but the lowest (<300Hz) frequencies. The lowest frequencies could very well be supplied by one or two large (12") open baffle or H-baffle woofers, placed below the ESL element.

A good ESL would look big in the living room but it's only 1 or 2 inches thick. They need to be placed a little bit away from back wall.

A tall ESL has a very "big" sound, but the rumours about the "sweet spot" are very true. If you're not sitting in the right spot, treble rolls off very quickly. Depending on your perception, this is an advantage or a drawback. Personally, I think it's an advantage because the imaging is superior to normal speakers and anyway I don't walk around the room when listening.

Finally you need a capable amp to drive ESLs. Not so much lots-a-watts, but it needs to be reliable and work stable in difficult loads.

HTH, Kenneth
Never send a human to do a machine's job. --Agent Smith
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Old 30th April 2010, 10:29 AM   #4
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Once you've heard ESL's, everything else is two Dixie cups and a string

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Old 30th April 2010, 03:22 PM   #5
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I agree with previous comments. See my signature below too.

This may not sound like current direction here, but something like the old Janzen concept would impress you greatly and help you overlook all limitations of ESLs.

His systems were two-way with a break around 1000 Hz, if I recall. Move the break a bit lower, and be able to blast good power into and out of the ESL panels (multiples are usually needed for dispersion) and you will be real happy.

Simplicity itself to make a small-box moving coil speaker handle 120-800 Hz with quality and add a mixed bass subwoofer.
HiFi aspirations since 1957. Currently working on motional feedback again... the final frontier in audio
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Old 30th April 2010, 05:59 PM   #6
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Thanks for the thoughtful replies.
I guess I'll start looking into these things after all.

It seems more focus is on ESL's than magnetic panels. Is there a reason for that?

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Old 30th April 2010, 09:33 PM   #7
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Yes, anything heavier than Saran Wrap is only half-good. And if somebody makes stuff lighter than Saran Wrap, so much the better.

Real ESL die-hards don't consider magnetic or ribbon systems in the same level for the reason above. Also, not nearly the same challenging issues of tech wizardry and audio magic needed. And no high voltages and other arcana.
HiFi aspirations since 1957. Currently working on motional feedback again... the final frontier in audio
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Old 1st May 2010, 09:31 PM   #8
mavric is offline mavric  United States
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I love mine! with out a doubt. My journey took so long as i work six days a week and can only work on a Sunday. It is worth the effort, how can you know if you dont try? As far as bass, I have a powered sub that i use if it is a movie, music or what have you. Now, the mids and highs off a hybrid are "addicting", i have played litterly every cd i could find on mine to compare the audio quality to a traditional speaker, there is no words that can describe how accurate these are. And you, can have the satisfaction that "yes, i made that" instead of buying crap off crutchfield, like Charlie said, "you will be better off with two dixie cups and a string" nothing in my lifetime has sounded like this. I posted a start to finish if it helps.
I can never post my thoughts well, just me.
If you are in, we can provide the parts list and material from maufactures, i am sure everyone here has their favorite, but we all work together to achieve our goals.
If you get a chance, read my post. not much clutter and alot of pics.
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
A wise man does not need advice and a fool won't take it.
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Old 4th May 2010, 07:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by CharlieM View Post
Once you've heard ESL's, everything else is two Dixie cups and a string

MrKramer: If you've never heard ESLs and there are no dealers nearby, ask here on diyaudio for a local audition. I'm sure one of us members would have you over for a listen.
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Old 5th May 2010, 01:14 AM   #10
kuroguy is offline kuroguy  Germany
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Glad to hear the opinions given in this thread. I've recently purchased a set of Martin Logan Aeon speakers and won't be able to set them up for another 5-6 weeks (had them for about a month now). I got to listen to them for about an hour in less than ideal conditions and they sounded great. Anybody know how to make time pass faster?
"The magnet wire used to come from Radio Shack. In keeping with their policy of figuring out what the best products are and discontinuing them they no longer have it." - Max Robinson
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