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CAS 2014: Soundscape, Martin Logan, and a 300b

DSC_1773 Dyn_CAS-logo-2Marc Silver, the big fella himself, helmed the room presented by Santa Rosa's Soundscape AV. If last year's exhibit was a giant temple to all things Martin Logan, this year's exhibit was a very small temple to some things Martin Logan. In particular, this was the first showing of the new babies in Martin Logan's Motion series. The 60XT floor stander and 35XT standmount ($3200 and $1250) -- in a high gloss cherry veneer, natch -- were the third most interesting things in the room. We only had the chance to listen to the 35XT, which, as I understand the market positioning, gets delivered with its very own bumper sticker of Calvin urinating on a KEF LS50. Marc was playing some normal music when we walked in, but he's an experienced salesman. He quickly saw our press badges, handed us the most detailed equipment list I've ever seen, and offered to have fun at our expense. How could we refuse? Out came the drum track.

The little monkey coffins actually did all right with it! While we only listened at a reasonable volume, the 92db sensitive boxes actually managed to convey a real sense of real drums. There was a midbass authority that I don’t usually expect in this form factor, much less this price range. Bass seemed to extend solidly down into the 70hz range before rolling off, making for an almost visceral experience. The AMT tweeter managed to be more than fairly convincing at transients, and there was a realistic sense of detail that, until this demo, I would never have equated with Martin Logan’s Motion speakers.

Which brings us to the second most interesting part of the room. While the source was a Big Mac MCD500 disc spinner ($7000), the amp here was a single ended 300b integrated kicking out all of about six decent watts.

The Pacific Creek SE300i costs $2800, and it has stomp. The hefty 6L6 driver stage makes sure of that. Pacific Creek is apparently the side project of yet another Pacific Northwest engineer with an audio fixation, and the sound here demonstrated pretty convincingly that this model needs another listen. Or six. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea of enjoying a 300b amp plugged into speakers that say “Martin Logan,” but that’s what happened here. The world’s gone topsy-turvy on me.

The most interesting thing about the room, though, was the kind of thing only a dealer could provide. The analog source was a minty VPI TNT III — the stylistic height of Harry Weisfeld’s late futurism kick — kitted out with a 12″ tonearm and a Dynavector 10×2 cartridge. The sign in front said “$3999 or Best Offer.”

I really hope someone made an offer. That thing was just too pretty to send back to some shelf in Santa Rosa.

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1 Comment on CAS 2014: Soundscape, Martin Logan, and a 300b

  1. Bought my first plasma TV, a Panasonic 42 commercial monitor”, from Marc back in 2002. Since I’m from the Tampa Bay area and a big Bucs fan. I got to watch them destroy the Raiders in the Superbowl that year on my brand spanking new plasma. I still have it to this day and it works just fine. Marc is great guy and a pleasure to work with! Mozel Tov!

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