HFA Audio Setup History 19 – Secondary Setup – February 2016 to March 2016
After completing the construction work it was time to reposition the Apogees
The Duettas and associated equipment were moved into position and with anticipation I sat down on the listening sofa, only to be overwhelmed with bassy room modes. Of course I could have known. With the initial sofa placement smack in the middle of the room in the previous setup there was a complete lack of colouration and room boominess which was definitely refreshing but also a little unforgiving and clean at times. But now I had a wall behind the sofa and only 4 meters front to back.
It was possible to tweak out this boom by placing the speaker much more to the front, allowing more space behind them and using bass traps, but this exposed the fragile ribbons to all passers by. After all, the main passway was now in the kitchen on the right hand side and I was sure that sooner or later someone would stumble into the speaker ruining the foil.
This sparked an older idea that was in my head: to get some Martin Logans again!
In order to make most of the room left in the hallway I removed the CD racks and placed them in the secondary setup. As you can see, the Martin Logan Ethos are about the same height as the Apogee Duettas, but considerably airier in appearance.
I kept struggling with the left wall… the CD racks, while adding some visual warmth and helping the sound, I felt the need to further simplify and the Duettas were also starting to bug me. I have them on seemingly eternal loan from my buddy JW and while I have much enjoyed having them be part of my system, it was now time to remove them from sight. And so they were placed in the hallway, along with the CD racks.
I had owned Martin Logan SL3’s before, but they were aging and treble was too much rolled off. These Ethoses do not have that problem. They are the current model and sound as airy as can be. What’s more: they fill the room even more easily than the Duettas and they have better soundstage focus and layering too. Bass-stator integration is very very good and the bass quality itself is also amazing given the small cabinet size. Careful positioning is vital though! Although Logans sound very good even when just positioned so-so, the bass doesn’t integrate well until they are positioned perfectly.
Logans can be beamy and overly revealing but with careful setup and matching with musical equipment, this is a non-issue, as long as you don’t mind not hearing any soundstage depth when sitting off axis. Sure the speakers can be enjoyed with 2 or 3 people, but only the person sitting in the middle will have the amazing focus and soundstage layering that Logans seem so easily capable of. And of course these are no speakers to use when walking around the house because the treble drops off considerably as soon as you stand up.
That said I am still much impressed with the current Martin Logan sound. It’s very different from the Apogee sound: cleaner, more transparent and even less colored, but they can also be a little clean and timbre isn’t as acoustically convincing. Still, both renditions are perfectly valid and intriguing for their own reasons. Ultimately I’d say the Apogees are better at sounding like live music and like to play louder and the Logans are better on an analytical level and they excel at low-level listening while still conveying all the detail and articulation in the recording.