Martin Logan CLS vs Newer Hybrids Like Montis, Summit X, 9A, 11A

I recently acquired a pair of original CLSes and am absolutely smitten. I owned a pair of CLS and CLS IIz many years ago and loved them, but eventually went on to other speakers. I am so captivated that I’m ready to make MLs my new main speaker but the panels on these CLSes are on their way out. They crackle and make noise, particularly at lower volumes and at lower frequencies. 

I inquired with ML and they do still sell replacement panels for around $3,000. So now I’m trying to decide whether it’s worth taking that plunge or just acquiring a newer (used) hybrid model in the $3-6k range.

My room is pretty small at 13x14 but the full range CLSes sound amazing. I have them about 4’ into the room and about 2’ from the side walls. Being a full range panel they are incredibly coherent and there’s plenty of bass for me. But I wonder whether the newer hybrid models would be “better”?  

Anyone with experience with CLS and any of the newer hybrids who can offer their thoughts, I would be most appreciative.  

Amplifier is a conrad-johnson CAV-45 S2 that I adore and which seems to be a heavenly match with the CLS. The originals were pretty tube-friendly and I believe the newer hybrids are equally (perhaps more) suited to tubes. 

Your help is appreciated!


Following this thread.....

I have the ML Montis and I LOVE them.  I mainly listen to female vocals, jazz, and some rock (Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Eagles, others).  I've listened to many other brands of speakers at lots of high-end stores and I just can't find something that I like better.  I have a Technic's SL-1200G TT, and McIntosh C2600 Tube Pre-amp, and a McIntosh MC4500 SS amp for my analog listening and then I use a Sony HAP-Z1ES to store lossless FLAC files for digital source listening.

Thanks for weighing in. I’m curious whether you’ve ever heard the CLS or perhaps any other speakers you’ve owned or considered buying before you settled on the Montis. 

I had CLSs for many years (1989-2017), then upgraded to used CLXs in 2017 and they are better in almost every regard.  I paid $7,500 for my pair (without boxes).  I have since added a single ML BF210, which is wonderful and integrates well using the PBK kit (see some of my other posts).

Have you tried to clean your panels?  See the " Martin Logan Shower Cleaning PDF" thread at the "MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum".