I thought I would start a new thread for owners of the ML2 Limited speakers to discuss their listening experience with these speakers as opposed to any technical discussion of the design of these speakers which is covered in other threads. In particular, I would like to share how different components affect the sound from these speakers. (Mods feel free to move this thread if you think it doesn’t merit a thread of its own).
By way of background – a few months ago I traveled up to the Gold Coast to audition the ML2 Reference speakers. Mike had them connected to Arion amps and his PDX DAC. I listened for over an hour and was sufficiently impressed to want to place an order. Then, almost as an after-thought I asked Mike if we could listen to the Limiteds. This pair was the first he built (for Assisi). Nothing is too much trouble for Mike. He swapped speakers – a helluva job lifting the Limiteds off the floor considering they weigh about 45 kg.
Well … I was flabbergasted!!! Blown away to borrow a phrase from Bhobba. Even though they had very little playtime these speakers were an order of magnitude better than the ML2 Reference. The detail, resolution, tonal balance and sound stage were all breathtaking. Realism is what comes to mind to describe the sound in a word. Changed my mind immediately on the ML2 Reference. The Limiteds was what I wanted. A replacement of my 17 year old car would have to wait a few more years.
However, I wasn’t sure to what extent the Arions and PDX were contributing. How would these sound with my much more modest Rotel RB-1582 and NAD M51 DAC?
A few weeks later I took up my Rotel. Mike had Bhobba’s NAD. We listened for about an hour with Mac 501s and the PDX then switched to the Rotel and NAD (with an Audiophilleo in the chain). I think we were all pleasantly surprised. The Rotel/NAD combo did not sound bad at all – they did not have the dynamism, slam and punch of the Mac/PDX but on folk and jazz they still sounded pretty damn good. No doubts now – I placed an order.
My speakers are made out of HDF, have 6mm copper plate lining and Dueland cast capacitors. From what I understood these three things account for most of the improvement over the ML2 Reference.
My system comprises: Mac Mini (ML) >Audiophilleo 2 (battery powered) > NAD M51 DAC> Rotel RB 1582 200wpc power amp. Player on mac is Audirvana + (direct & integer mode).
Listening room is 3.5m across and 7m long. Rear and side walls are timber paneled. More than 1m behind speakers. Sliding glass doors in front of speakers but these are about 7m away.
These speakers have now had about 200 hours of playtime. So how do they sound? They have incredible detail and resolution. Mids and highs are pure and sparkle. On good recordings vocals are stunning. You can hear the texture and emotion in the voice. Strings and piano sound sweet. Bass is solid and tight. Stereo imaging is perfect but sound stage is not as expansive as I was expecting, although I understand that this will continue to improve with playtime. This may also be due to speaker placement and room acoustics. One downside to these speakers is that they are very revealing. Good recordings sound great but poor recordings sound terrible in comparison. These speakers sound incredibly good on a wide range of music – jazz, folk, rock, classical.
The Rotel/NAD combo has now become the weak link in the chain. Also, maybe room treatment may further improve things. But for now, I’m extremely pleased. Its good to know that there is more potential to be tapped further along my journey but that’s for another day.
I would like to share my recent experience with Lenehan Audio at the Gold Coast. This was my first experience with Mike Lenehan and I must say that my wife & I were extremely impressed with Mike’s service and professionalism. A very down to earth person, and very dedicated to building excellence into all his products. Always obliging, gives freely of his time, never pushy, no hint of hard sell at all.
He struck me as a guy who would never cut corners, with a passion for quality and a great ear for sound.
All-in-all Mike generated sufficient confidence in me to place an order for his top-of-the line ML2 Limited speakers (I’ll post my experience with these on the ML2 Limited thread shortly).
Three months later we collected these speakers and I’m delighted. My confidence that Mike would deliver a great product was not displaced. I consider myself fortunate to have a world-class designer and builder like Mike literally on my doorstep. People like that deserve all the support we can give them so that they continue to grow and succeed and we continue to have access to their creative talent.
I'm having a problem with spades or banana plug connections on this amp. The music sounds muted, dull and lifeless. When I use a bare wire connection even with a cheap Jayacar cable the sound comes to life. The high notes that were thin now sparkle and the bass is more pronounced and controlled.
Has anyone else experienced this on this or other amp? Any suggestions on what may be the problem?
I'm sure its not the speakers as I tried two different pairs of speakers with the same result.