There are four Renaissance systems in the pipeline with somewhat different sizes and powers, and here the ESL 15A was featured. These are part active, with room compensated dual 12 inch bass drivers, one front and one back, with 500W amplification for each, with on- board 24bit DSP processing for the bass, while they are also readied for Anthem room correction software. The first introduced ESL 15A is priced at £25,000 and claims 22Hz to 21kHz +,- 3dB response. It has a high 92dB/W sensitivity and this suggests that these speakers are designed to play loud when needed, even to 110dB. New generation, higher performance electrostatic panels are fitted with improved step-up transformer. They also include:
‘PoweredForce Forward bass technology uses an advanced crossover topology with phase-timed woofers to minimize destructive reflected energy by virtually eliminating front-wall bass reflections’
This is an established and successful ML technology to better match the otherwise omnidirectional radiation from the bass to the inherent dipolar sound radiation from the ‘open’ electrostatic panels. In this series there will also be a ESL 10 at £10k and an ESL 12 at £15k. (Save for the Classic 9 passive). The technology and bass amplifier powers are the same, just the woofers and bass enclosures change size.
Under both difficult and unfamiliar room conditions , the Martin Logan ESL 15A showed prodigious bass for its size, crisp and tuneful with enough dynamic ability to keep up with the low mass and super fast electrostatic mid treble. The sound was a clear step ahead for hybrid electrostatics in this sector while the potential for computer calibrated low frequency management takes care of bass matching to the room.
Martin Logan Neolith
The £75,000 Neolith was first shown at Munich 2014 and then at CES 2015 and 2016 but historic images or comments cannot prepare you for its sheer scale and presence in the solid. While other brands perhaps seemed to be crowding out the high end ML designs Pedro was determined to check out the Neolith at CES 2016 and as a result was strongly minded to recommend that a pair be delivered to the UK for assessment. The evident potential rapidly led to this special presentation at KJ, this demo run with huge Constellation Centaur II double mono amplification partnered by the Virgo 3 preamp. LP was assigned to a Techdas Airforce 3 turntable fitted with a Graham Elite arm, here swinging a Koetsu Azuli cartridge. Digital replay came from a Metronome Calypso player driving the matching Metronome Nausicaa DAC. All cables were Transparent Gen 5, these the next level up, as appropriate for this reference system listed at several hundred thousand pounds.
The structure is made of a beautifully lacquered and shaped high density structural grade of phenolic resin, while the new curvilinear high power electrostatic panel is 0.56 m wide and 1.2 m high. This diaphragm need hardly move at all over its frequency range and will have exceedingly low distortion as a result. There are three settings for bass level to suit location and room characteristics. If you need to know, crated they each measure 1 x 1 x 2 metres and weigh 273 Kg!