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Question Monitor Audio Gold 100 or Martin Logan 35XTi - 36 sqm room.

Arsenio Erico

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2020
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Hi! I'd like to upgrade my speakers sometime soon.
My current setup now is>
Cambridge Audio CXA61 (60W at 8ohms, 90W at 4ohms).
CA Alva Solo MM Phono Stage
Pioneer PLX1000 with Ortofon 2M Bronze Cartridge
Q Acoustics 3020i speakers
KRK Studio Subwoofer 10" (active)

_______________
The room where they're at is not treated. It's a 36square meters living room with some furniture all around, it's large-ish and the ceiling is somehow a challenge to treat because the lowest part is at 3m high and it's tilted 45 degrees, reaching 6m at the highest part. I'm trying some absorbing panels with a little improvement. I still get some echo because of the height of the ceiling.

I'm pretty satisfied with the sound I get form my listening position, though. However, I still want to upgrade my QA3020is because at a little above 10 o'clock they start to sound confused when I play certain LPs with too much going on (Kamasi Washington, LCD Soundsystem, Deftones, Soundgarden, Nirvana). At lower volumes they sound very good. Not that they sound bad at higher volumes, but I feel like I can get a better sound than these smaller QAs.

My first option is the Monitor Audio Gold 100 5G (1300US$). They are a bit bigger than my QAs but I expect them to deliver a much better sound quality in terms of clarity, dynamics, depth, and not get very saturated (confused comes to mind) at say 85-90db from 3meters away. I know they are still small for my living room with its 6'5" bass driver but paired with the subwoofer, it might be compensated. The MA Gold 100 specs (60-120w, 4ohms, 86db).

Another option are the Monitor Audio Silver 200 (floorstand) (960US$). Which is the Series below the Gold (Specs: 60-150w, 8ohms, 89db, each tower has a 5 1/4 driver for mids and bass and another 5 1/4 for bass only). I've been reading reviews and it seems to me they are aimed more at home theater setup and not exclusively for stereo music playback. They are also smaller floorstanders but I wonder if they could sound better than the Gold 100s at normal volume (85-90db), I hardly ever play loud.

For near field listening at normal volume or a tad higher, would the golds deliver better sound or would the silvers be better due to their bigger cabinet?

Other options are the Martin Logan 35XTi (1600US$) which are said to be great speakers for the CXA61 in the review made by The Master Switch. Specs> 20-150w, 4ohms, 92db, 6,5" bass driver. I can't really find any other reviews pairing them with the CXA61 but the one I mentioned praises the combination.

KEF LS50 Meta (1700US$). I got confused by some reviews saying they need very good amplification to be driven ( I really don't know if my CXA61 could do it) Specs>40-100w, 85db, 8ohms, 5.25" bass driver.

Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 (floorstand)) (1600US$). They cost around 800US$ in some countries, but where I live they are crazy expensive.

Any sort of feedback will be much appreciated!
Thank you!!!
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
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Tricky one.

Can you not home demo any of the aforementioned speakers? It'll be a huge bonus if you can.

My gut feeling is the Cambridge, rated at 60 watts, could struggle with 4 ohm speakers. It effects how the amp performs at high and idling volume levels.

Oddly I'm going to demo some MA Gold 100s with my 80 watt amp by the end of May, but I suppose you want to get it done and dusted by then.

I don't know what other brands are available locally to you, but a better quality QA would give you a uplift. If not then the MA Silvers could be the answer as they are easier to drive than the Golds and Metas and MLs
 
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abacus

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Sep 24, 2008
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I’m afraid the only way to know which will suit you is to try them out as everybody’s perception of sound is different, If you can’t get to a dealer then look at reviews to get an idea of each speakers characteristics sound and the type of amplification they recommend, then try and get them on a buy and return basis.

Looking at the amp specs you have given it seems the power increase into 4ohms is only 50% which is not great (In a perfect world a doubling of power is the ideal) and really a 75% increase should be a bare minimum, so as mentioned above it may struggle with 4ohm speakers.

Try before you buy is the only way.

Bill
 

Arsenio Erico

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2020
72
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Thank you very much for your replies!
Unfortunately it is not possible to audition speakers where I live. There is only one store that sells hifi gear and they won't let customers audition none of their products. I have bought everything I have blindfolded! Luckily I'm quite happy with what I got but I have no idea what other amps sound like (Hegel, Marantz, Denon, NAD, etc) or speakers.
I'm leaning towards the ML 35XTi because the CXA61 review on The Master Switch found them great together and that is the only reference I can get so far (Our favorite combo was the CXA61 with the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi. These $1,400 speakers really brought out the best in the amp, and vice versa*). I couldn't really find any other review or posts in forums with speakers suggestions for the cxa61. :confused:
 

Arsenio Erico

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2020
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I just found a pair of KEF R3 for 1700US$. Specs are: 8ohms, 15-180w, sensitivity 87db.
I think the CXA61 can drive it just fine at moderate volume, since it operates at 8ohms (or 4ohms). I read in a few couple of forums that ideal watts would be 1.25 times the minimum required for the speakers, so I guess 60w would be just fine under that rule. 1.25 times would be 45w I think, that's why I think 60W would be ok. I know more would be even better but I won't be changing my amp soon.
What do you think?
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
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I just found a pair of KEF R3 for 1700US$.
You’ve probably seen that the R3 were highly praised here on WHF, though the newer LS50 is rated slightly better in a purist sense. But for a bigger room like yours the R3 will have a fuller sound, and are probably a better match with your amplifier. They’re not as sensitive as the 3020i however, so you are limiting to volume a bit. The price isn’t too far removed from the UK price, unlike the Wharfedales.
Taking a step back, however, I do wonder if you’re directing yourself to the correct component, as you blame the QA speakers for getting confused on complex LPs. Are you sure it’s not a cartridge setup issue, or the stylus is overdue a thorough clean? Can you locate the turntable on a better surface, or further from the speakers? The Bronze is a good tracker, but it would be instructive if you can try another source - do you have a CD player?
 
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plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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You’ve probably seen that the R3 were highly praised here on WHF, though the newer LS50 is rated slightly better in a purist sense. But for a bigger room like yours the R3 will have a fuller sound, and are probably a better match with your amplifier. They’re not as sensitive as the 3020i however, so you are limiting to volume a bit. The price isn’t too far removed from the UK price, unlike the Wharfedales.
Taking a step back, however, I do wonder if you’re directing yourself to the correct component, as you blame the QA speakers for getting confused on complex LPs. Are you sure it’s not a cartridge setup issue, or the stylus is overdue a thorough clean? Can you locate the turntable on a better surface, or further from the speakers? The Bronze is a good tracker, but it would be instructive if you can try another source - do you have a CD player?
The R3s should be a better match than the MA Golds or the Metas, in terms of a easier load and tonally.
 
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Arsenio Erico

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2020
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You’ve probably seen that the R3 were highly praised here on WHF, though the newer LS50 is rated slightly better in a purist sense. But for a bigger room like yours the R3 will have a fuller sound, and are probably a better match with your amplifier. They’re not as sensitive as the 3020i however, so you are limiting to volume a bit. The price isn’t too far removed from the UK price, unlike the Wharfedales.
Taking a step back, however, I do wonder if you’re directing yourself to the correct component, as you blame the QA speakers for getting confused on complex LPs. Are you sure it’s not a cartridge setup issue, or the stylus is overdue a thorough clean? Can you locate the turntable on a better surface, or further from the speakers? The Bronze is a good tracker, but it would be instructive if you can try another source - do you have a CD player?
I'm no expert with TTs but I did the setup process several times following instructions from videos and different forums. I got myself a couple of proper tools (gauge, protractors, azimuth, etc.) and for what I can see, cartridge seems to be correctly setup. I THINK! :ROFLMAO:
The sound I'm getting is pretty good, actually! My cartridge is new, I don't think it has 15 hours in it yet, plenty of run-in still needed.
When I play CDs or Streaming 320Kbps I still find the sound losing composure and confused at times. When I listen to tracks with fewer instruments the sound is really good, I love it. That makes me guess the cartridge is fine.
Just to be clearer, I do enjoy my QAs! I don't even want to sell them, I just want to upgrade them and get something that really makes a difference in quality.
I will go for the R3s. It ticks most boxes for my room and seems like it can sound ok with my amp. The Metas are 600$ cheaper but I'm sticking to what plastic penguin said (they might be a better match) and they might be small-ish for a room this size.
 

nopiano

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Feb 15, 2009
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The Metas are 600$ cheaper
Above you showed them also at $1700. For $600 less I’d get the Metas!
Here, where KEF is based, the Meta are £1000 and the R3 £1300, or 30% more. If you can get Metas for $1100 a pair that’s a great buy, though they’re more technical looking and therefore perhaps less domestically acceptable to some.
 
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nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
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I'm no expert with TTs but I did the setup process several times following instructions from videos and different forums. I got myself a couple of proper tools (gauge, protractors, azimuth, etc.) and for what I can see, cartridge seems to be correctly setup. I THINK! :ROFLMAO:
The sound I'm getting is pretty good, actually! My cartridge is new, I don't think it has 15 hours in it yet, plenty of run-in still needed.
When I play CDs or Streaming 320Kbps I still find the sound losing composure and confused at times. When I listen to tracks with fewer instruments the sound is really good, I love it. That makes me guess the cartridge is fine.
Just to be clearer, I do enjoy my QAs! I don't even want to sell them, I just want to upgrade them and get something that really makes a difference in quality.
I will go for the R3s. It ticks most boxes for my room and seems like it can sound ok with my amp. The Metas are 600$ cheaper but I'm sticking to what plastic penguin said (they might be a better match) and they might be small-ish for a room this size.
Ok, you seem to have set it up ok. But give it a few more hours. And are you at the maximum stylus pressure, or near?
Some recordings just aren’t all that great, sadly. Can you name a couple of examples I can check out on Qobuz, perhaps?
 
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Arsenio Erico

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2020
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Ok, you seem to have set it up ok. But give it a few more hours. And are you at the maximum stylus pressure, or near?
Some recordings just aren’t all that great, sadly. Can you name a couple of examples I can check out on Qobuz, perhaps?
The stylus pressure is exactly as advised by Ortofon (1.5). I set it at 1.8 first to help bass during running in process but ended up setting it to 1.5 again.

I found another store in my country that sells KEF at much better prices, that's why the price difference between the first prices I mentioned and the last ones.
I ended up getting the R3s mostly because of the room size, I got them for 1700USS. I almost got the Metas but then I thought about their smaller drivers and the room where they will and thought maybe the R3 would be a tad better.
Now Im letting them break in trying to reach 60 hours before I sit to listen carefully to them. So far there is more detail being played than my 3020is, bass is way more present but treble is way rolled off compared to the QAs
Will post back later when it gets more time playing.
Cheers!
 
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