Best Amp to power Martin Logan LX16s


New member
Username: Tyrannus

Post Number: 1
Registered: Apr-19
I'm looking for the best amp/receiver to power a pair of speakers I received recently (Martin Logan LX16's) Looks like these speakers will support 4Ohm. I'm looking to power a 10" sub, playback will primarily be PC and turntable audio.

I've looked at a bunch of receivers from Marantz to Yamaha...and quite honestly, I'm not 100% I know what to be looking for or what is good. I just know that my recycled Denon AVR-590 is showing its age and isn't pushing these speakers where they have the potential of going...


Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18682
Registered: May-04

A quick check with a search engine says the speakers are rated at 5.6 Ohms nominal impedance and the amplifier outputs 110 watts per channel at 6 Ohms.

We have no idea whether the speaker dips beneath 5.6 Ohms or where in the frequency band it might do so, that information is not provided by ML. Nor do we have any idea how electrical phase angle exists in relation to impedance at any given frequency, also a spec that is not provided by ML. Therefore, we have to take ML's word for the capacity of the speaker to be "compatible" with most amplifiers.

Amplifiers don't tend to "wear out" in the sense they lose wattage or provide lower fidelity unless there is a serious problem within the circuitry. If you were to have the Denon checked for power output, I would expect it is not very far away from its new, out of the box status. Close enough that we could probably find a little bit of difference in measurements to be a function of a lower line Voltage on one day vs another or in variances in the measurement techniques. So we can assume the amplifier is certainly capable of delivering sufficient Voltage to the speaker's load if it functions well at all.

No smoke? No smell of burning electronic devices? No pops and whines? If those sounds, sights and smells are not present, the amp is probably doing what is expected of it.

As "watts" are made from both Voltage and Amperage applied to a load impedance at a specific frequency, there may be some questioning of the ability of the Denon to supply sufficient current to the speaker, but, so far, with the data we do have available there is no reason to think that is the case here.

M/L doesn't supply a detailed impedance vs phase chart and Denon only quotes gross wattage specs rather than showing the effects of a dynamic load on the amplifier's outputs. Without those bits of additional information, the pairing does look to be OK on paper. Better than average actually!

The sensitivity spec for the speaker claims 92dB out for 1 watt in. That spec suggests the ML's will play about 4-5 dB louder with the same wattage input than the average home audio speakers sold today. Since +3dB is the equivalent to doubling the wattage input, +5 dB above average is equivalent to more than doubling - almost quadrupling - the available SPL (sound pressure level) within the room before the amplifier goes into clipping and begins to produce excessive distortion.

Or, to state that in a different way, the amplifier is not being pushed as hard to drive the ML speakers to an adequate SPL than it would be if it were driving most other speakers.

Given the typical power output for "average" listening levels in most domestic rooms stays under 5-10 watts RMS, the amplifier should be simply cruising along with the ML's. All amplifiers have their limits and buying more than 110 watts will be expensive. And, even if you buy 500 watts, the amp still has limits as will the speakers when fed 500 watts.

On paper the Denon/ML pairing should be fine.

So, what's wrong?

How is the Denon "showing its age"?

What do you mean by "pushing" the speakers?

When sound quality does not match technical measurements, we don't initially expect the numbers to be wrong as the particular specs I've quoted don't "age", they are permanent unless something is drastically wrong with the amplifier. So dramatically wrong the system would barely function.

So, what do you want that the system is not providing?

How much are you willing to spend to get those wants and needs?

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