From Jonathan Valin of The Absolute Sound:Also on 12, MartinLogan was showing its $25k Renaissance ESL 15A hybrid stat (curvilinear ESL panel mated to two, powered, forward-firing 12″ woofers in a separate sealed enclosure) driven by Constellation Audio Revelation Series electronics (Taurus Stereo power amp, Pictor preamp, Andromeda phonostage) and sourced by Continuum Audio Labs’ Obsidian turntable and Viper tonearm (reviewed in this issue) with Ortofon A95 cartridge (expertly set up by Michael Trei). All wiring was from MIT. In the past I’ve had serious reservations about many of ML’s hybrids, which haven’t sounded all that coherent to me (see the Neolith below for an example). Not here, folks. The ESL 15A was downright terrific-far and away the best sound I’d heard at AXPONA up to that point. Extremely natural on Taj Mahal’s vocals, not too thick in the power range (like the Liliums), not overly sibilant on the Pointer Sisters backup vocals, with well-defined, boomless, albeit somewhat limited-in-extension bass. I heard the same presentation on my Fine Young Cannibals LP-superb from bottom to top. The MLs might have been just a little less rich on Hammond organ than the Magicos S5s in the Synergistic room, but they had wonderful clarity and better than fair realism everywhere else.
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