MartinLogan Masterpiece Renaissance ESL 15A loudspeaker Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Digital Sources: Apple MacBook Pro computer (2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD) running OS 10.11.5, Roon v.1.2 Build 142, JRiver Media Center 19, iTunes 12, Amarra Computer Music Player, VLC, Reaper 5.20.100, XLD; Western Digital 2TB NAS Device; Oppo BDP-103 universal BD player; Meridian Sooloos Digital Media System (Control 15, QNAP TS-669, Pro NAS); Apple iPad Air 2 & iPhone 6. Digital Processors: Ayre Acoustics Codex, Benchmark DAC1 USB & DAC2 HGC, Luxman DA-250, T+A Elektroakustik DAC 8 DSD.
Preamplifier: Marantz AV7005 in Pure Direct Mode.
Power Amplifiers: Classé CAM 350 monoblocks (2).
Loudspeakers: MartinLogan Prodigy & BalancedForce 212 subwoofers (2). Desktop & recording monitoring system: Emotiva Airmotiv 5s, Velodyne Servo-F subwoofer.
Headphones: AKG K 240, Audeze LCD-X, AudioQuest NightHawk, Grado HP1, MrSpeakers Ether, NAD Viso HP50, Sennheiser Amperior.
Cables: USB: AudioQuest Diamond, Cardas Clear. S/PDIF: AudioQuest HD6 Carbon (studio to main listening room), Cardas Neutral Reference. Line level: Kimber Kable (various), XLO HT Pro. Speaker: Kimber Kable BiFocal XL. Headphone: Cardas Clear Balanced.
Accessories: Dedicated 40A line (amplifiers & speakers) & 15A lines (digital & analog components).—Jon Iverson

2101 Delaware Street
Lawrence, KS 66046
(785) 749-0133

emcdade's picture

Absolutely gorgeous. I love that they sloped the woofer cabinet to the back, it reminds me of a Range Rover roof-line. It really is a nice touch to get away from a boxy look that dual opposed woofers demand.

I'm a bit jealous but thankful this line has arrived, as with current models on closeout I snatched up a pair of Montis at a very steep discount!

After seeing that in room frequency response I'm going to be very tempted put some EQ in my chain, and it looks like Dirac will have to be my weapon of choice since it can EQ from say 200hz on down and leave the mids and highs alone.

Are you keeping them John? After seeing that FR plot I don't think you're going to do better if you want ruler flat!!!

Jon Iverson's picture
Don't have the money for them at the moment. But if I did, yes I would buy the Renaissance and replace the Prodigy. And keep the extra subs just for fun.
brenro's picture

I've been dying to see a review of these speakers and this is a very good one. They acquitted themselves well but I'm having a hard time seeing twenty five thousand reasons to part with my Prodigies.

ctsooner's picture

JA interesting measurements on this beautiful speaker. Over the years of reading your measurements, I have noticed when the speaker under test was a panel type (Martin Logan, Magnipan , MBL) or horn loaded, the waterfall plot has a lot of hash in the foreground. I've always wondered if this sounds anything like singing in the shower or using the echo effect on a Karaoke box being a lot of delayed energy, quite even in frequency for quite some time. Thanks for putting in the effort to measure speakers because it is quite rare today and I enjoy seeing how they correlate to their sound.

ottablue's picture

Very nice review!!! Have a question on BASS. The Renaissance speaker has Frequency Response 22–21,000 Hz ±3dB with double 12" woofers and older model Summit X has Frequency Response 24–23,000 Hz ±3dB with double 10" that is only 2 HZ difference!!! So would I expect very similar bass? Will I still need subwoofers with Renaissance speakers since with Summit X I don't FEEL (lack of tactile presence) much bass thus using 2 subs!! Thank you.

tejastiger61's picture

Jon .. A million thanks for your effort.. and review. My only wish is that you had documented your effort with a I-phone(or device of your choice)and let the general public.. see with a video (what a few snapshots that will barely show) the muscle and doe ray me, required to enjoy these fine ELS15A's.
I am begging you to document the re-boxing of these whoppers. And the effort required just to send them back. It is after all is said and done "only fair" to would be purchasers to see what they are getting into coming and geauxing It will prove my theory that yawls job is not all ooh's and ahhhh's .. it is hard work at some point.. or the other.

Oh yea how much is the shipping cost..?

BruceW's picture


I think you got that part wrong. During the "Prodigy era" I believe several models had signal sensing to power off the bias on the panels.

"Prodigy manual
page 22 FAQ
Will my electric bill go ‘sky high’ by leaving my speakers plugged in all the time?

No. A pair of MartinLogans will draw about 5 watts maximum.
There is some circuitry to turn off the static charge when not in use; however, the actual consumption will remain close to the same.

The primary purpose of the sensing circuitry is to prevent dust collection on the electrostatic element."

Speaking of transparency, I found when I by passed the woofer crossovers and used a much steeper (24 db/octave) slope to get the woofers out of the way, transparency up leveled dramatically.

By passing all the passive components to the stats made a further dramatic improvement.

Bruce's picture

I have (had for years) a surround 5.1-setup consisting of Martin Logan (ML) Ascent front, ML Stage center, ML Abyss sub and ML EM-FX2 in the back. Now I an thinking of upgrading my (old) Ascents to either ML ESL 13A or ESL 15A (very interesting reading this review!). I am also thinking of using a stereo solid state amplifier from McIntosh together with ML, but my Hi-FI shop says this is not a good combination. Do anyone have a comment on this?