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  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
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  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
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  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
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  • SoundStage! InSight -- MartinLogan's Neolith Loudspeaker (February 2015)

To Hans Wetzel,

I’m from Thailand and have read your reviews of speakers on SoundStage! Access. Right now I’m looking to buy [a pair of] speakers and it comes down to Magnepan’s 1.7, or MartinLogan’s ElectroMotion ESL. Which one do you think is a better speaker? Or if it’s not clear cut, at least please help tell me in what area one does better than the other so I can decide which one to get.

Best regards,
Kitipat Kangwannithipong
Thailand

That’s a tough call, Kitipat. I have reviewed the MartinLogans and admired the Maggies at a show a few years back. While I generally liked the ElectroMotion ESL, I do recall that the dynamic bass driver was not as well integrated with the electrostatic panel as I hoped that it would be. Unlike the larger MartinLogan electrostatic designs that make use of built-in bass amplification and digital signal processing, the ElectroMotion ESL’s 8” bass driver is passive, and sounded a little loose and disconnected from the main panel. I only heard Magnepan 1.7s for around ten minutes, but I was very impressed with what I heard. As a matter of fact, I recall being particularly enamored with the bass performance, which is handled by a large ribbon, not a dynamic driver. A ten-minute listen in a crowded hotel room, however, is no substitute for a proper review. Based on what I’ve heard, though, I'd grab a pair of Maggie 1.7s. . . . Hans Wetzel