Calling on OWNERS of Upgraded Apogees & Sanders 10e Electrostatics

vucubaquix

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This call goes out to what is likely a very small group. What is the likelihood that someone has owned BOTH an upgraded Apogee and a Sanders 10e and can give the rest of us an honest analysis and comparison of both the Apogee's and the Sander's 10e. What differences did you hear in soundstage? Dynamics? Coherence? Imaging? Bass? Bass extension? Size of sweet spot? Did you choose to live with Apogee or Sanders? And why? Yes, I know, that is a lot of questions . And if you have never owned both, but you have given BOTH the Sanders 10e and an upgraded Apogee an honest and thorough audition it would be great to hear from you. And please , no posts based on hearsay, you know, such as "mr. golden ears told me", "I have heard that", "the designer says", "the measurements say" or "did you read the guru's review in ..." . Just real owners relating real experiences. Thanks all for reading this post and stay safe :)
 

daytona600

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Sep 10, 2012
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Had scintillas decades ago & Model 10c a few years ago both excellent speakers but both have plus & minus points
Moved on to Hedd Main Towers soundstage? Dynamics? Coherence? Imaging? Bass? Bass extension? Size of sweet spot?
Yes all of above + Dynamics & Bass extension are almost endless
towermains - Heinz Electrodynamic Designs (hedd.audio)
 

vucubaquix

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LOL, I guess I picked one of the smallest group of listeners in all of audio to ask this question :) Perhaps Apogee and Sanders 10e owners are just so happy with their speakers that they are not on the forums. Stay safe everyone.
 

christoph

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You wanted only users to comment who have both :rolleyes:
 
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vucubaquix

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Or users who have had a chance audition both. Admittedly, not many have likely had the opportunity do do so. You know the old expression though.........if you don't ask........ :)
 
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leyenda

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Once upon a time in my stat/panel days my main speaker was Innersound Eros3.5. I found it to be the best panel (tried all MLs and Maggies back then). Later when Roger started SandersSound I got the Magtech biamped with ESL amp through Behringer with 48db slope cut at I believe 172hz versus something much higher with 24db slope stock crossover amp. This system was basically the 10C/E you mentioned. I have since moved on to pursue other designs. Maybe 5-6 years after I put the stat system in storage I had a chance to listen to an Apogee (forgot the model) driven by big Krell and I liked what I heard. The long narrative is just to ensure two points; 1) I did not compare the two side by side, and 2) the listening was maybe 6 years apart where I moved onto other designs and just quitted stat/panel. Now the takeaway (imho of course and ymmv) - Sanders was more dynamic and had better integration, Apogee was more “seductive” despite not being as dynamic and not as well integrated - sweet highs and seductive midrange. When listening, I usually marvel at what the Sanders was able to do. With Apogee I was moved by the key things they excel.
 

vucubaquix

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Thank you for those observations L. I've never heard the Sanders 10e /Magtech pairing . There is an interesting divergence in sweet spot sound stage observation findings regarding the Sanders. One the one side , the observation is very narrow , "head in a vice" sweet spot, not sweet spot , but "sweet dot", move out of that and high frequencies are gone and the sound is dead. On the other side , the observations are not so severe : yes, when you move out of the approximate 2 foot wide sweet spot, the precise imaging is gone, but you still hear the same range of frequencies and db levels. What was your experience in that regard?
 

leyenda

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I had no problem with sweetspot, just dont toe in the speaker directly at your ears. Extreme toe-in didnt sound good in my experience.
 

thedudeabides

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Please remember that the Sanders, by design, is a one person, head lock in a vice position speaker.
 

vucubaquix

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Please remember that the Sanders, by design, is a one person, head lock in a vice position speaker.
Yes, thank you for the reminder, the one person sweet spot observation has been made by a number of listeners. May I ask, have you spent a significant amount of time listening to the Sanders 10e? I would appreciate it greatly if you could share more detail as to what you hear when stepping out of the sweet spot? Does the perceived midrange and treble db output drop significantly , such that things get significantly quieter? Does the soundstage entirely disappear? Does it seem like the sound is coming from only one speaker depending which direction you step out of the sweet spot? How bad do things get? Cheers.
 

thedudeabides

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Only at shows and the answer to all of your other questions is unfortunatly yes. It's quite apparent with very limited listening time. FWIW, I had the Acoustic 1+1's, four different ML models and the MBL 116's over some 35 years. Given my experience with these other speakers, head in a vice is a reasonable description (+ / - a few inches) and it's pretty bad in my view. If you have not heard them, you really should before you commit to purchasing. Cheers.
 
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vucubaquix

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Only at shows and the answer to all of your other questions is unfortunatly yes. It's quite apparent with very limited listening time. FWIW, I had the Acoustic 1+1's, four different ML models and the MBL 116's over some 35 years. Given my experience with these other speakers, head in a vice is a reasonable description (+ / - a few inches) and it's pretty bad in my view. If you have not heard them, you really should before you commit to purchasing. Cheers.
So, it really is that bad. Thank you for your observations. Sanders does offer a 30 day no risk at home trial but I did not want to go through that process if the sweet spot was really that small. In my case, the speakers will also have to function as front left and right in a home theatre so the Sanders 10e would fail miserably in that role. All the best and stay safe !
 

BobM

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I heard the Sanders at 2 locations way back when. I had typical MTM cone speakers back then, not Apogees, so my memory is in comparison to those MTM's. Both Sanders were in NY apartments, one fairly small and somewhat nearfield and the other in a slightly larger room (remember ... NY apartments). The nearfield experience was what many will report - head locked in a vice, good space and transparency. The larger room (Wes Benders) allowed us to play them louder and gave them more room to breathe. The soundstage was still very much a one person thing and the dynamics were better, though not as big as many cone speakers.

Many years later I had the chance to obtain some Apogee Caliper Sig's which were in dire need of repair. I did what I could and upgraded the crossover on my own too. They were a great speaker in my room, but the ribbons had that dreaded buzz so I couldn't crank them.

I sold those to someone and upgraded to Duetta Sig's which I pulled the crossover out of and upgraded into a separate box with potted coils and upgraded caps (danm, there's a lot of caps in there) and wire but kept the aluminum ribbons intact. They are still in great shape. These have the reputation of being a one person speaker as well as the Sanders, and you do get the best sound from that one seat, but even sitting to the side they shine and are more dynamic than the Sanders (from memory). I will never part with these. They are by far the best speaker I've had in my room, driven with a Mccormack DNA500 arc welder of an amp and a tubed front end. I use stereo REL subs and have a crossover cutoff on the bottom end of the Apogees at about 75Hz to help preserve that fragile bass ribbon. You won't have that need if you have fully upgraded Apogees, which are faster still and more dynamic. Yes, I've heard those many times at a friends place.

I will say, you need tubes somewhere in that chain to assist with the bloom, and setup has to be within 1/4" of perfect. Yes, they are finicky but isn't that half the fun ... playing with the setup to perfect it?

If you want more info on Apogee vs Sanders I suggest you contact Wes Bender who was a Sanders rep long ago.
 
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thedudeabides

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So, it really is that bad. Thank you for your observations.
I heard them at three different shows. There were six listening seats shaped in a triangle (one, two, and three seats from front to back) which were all near field. Not trying to badmouth Roger. He makes a great product for a small segment of the hi end who are OK with a very narrow, beaming soundstage. And you are right, they would be a disaster for home theater use with multiple viewers.
 

vucubaquix

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Nov 14, 2020
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I heard the Sanders at 2 locations way back when. I had typical MTM cone speakers back then, not Apogees, so my memory is in comparison to those MTM's. Both Sanders were in NY apartments, one fairly small and somewhat nearfield and the other in a slightly larger room (remember ... NY apartments). The nearfield experience was what many will report - head locked in a vice, good space and transparency. The larger room (Wes Benders) allowed us to play them louder and gave them more room to breathe. The soundstage was still very much a one person thing and the dynamics were better, though not as big as many cone speakers.

Many years later I had the chance to obtain some Apogee Caliper Sig's which were in dire need of repair. I did what I could and upgraded the crossover on my own too. They were a great speaker in my room, but the ribbons had that dreaded buzz so I couldn't crank them.

I sold those to someone and upgraded to Duetta Sig's which I pulled the crossover out of and upgraded into a separate box with potted coils and upgraded caps (danm, there's a lot of caps in there) and wire but kept the aluminum ribbons intact. They are still in great shape. These have the reputation of being a one person speaker as well as the Sanders, and you do get the best sound from that one seat, but even sitting to the side they shine and are more dynamic than the Sanders (from memory). I will never part with these. They are by far the best speaker I've had in my room, driven with a Mccormack DNA500 arc welder of an amp and a tubed front end. I use stereo REL subs and have a crossover cutoff on the bottom end of the Apogees at about 75Hz to help preserve that fragile bass ribbon. You won't have that need if you have fully upgraded Apogees, which are faster still and more dynamic. Yes, I've heard those many times at a friends place.

I will say, you need tubes somewhere in that chain to assist with the bloom, and setup has to be within 1/4" of perfect. Yes, they are finicky but isn't that half the fun ... playing with the setup to perfect it?

If you want more info on Apogee vs Sanders I suggest you contact Wes Bender who was a Sanders rep long ago.

I heard the Sanders at 2 locations way back when. I had typical MTM cone speakers back then, not Apogees, so my memory is in comparison to those MTM's. Both Sanders were in NY apartments, one fairly small and somewhat nearfield and the other in a slightly larger room (remember ... NY apartments). The nearfield experience was what many will report - head locked in a vice, good space and transparency. The larger room (Wes Benders) allowed us to play them louder and gave them more room to breathe. The soundstage was still very much a one person thing and the dynamics were better, though not as big as many cone speakers.

Many years later I had the chance to obtain some Apogee Caliper Sig's which were in dire need of repair. I did what I could and upgraded the crossover on my own too. They were a great speaker in my room, but the ribbons had that dreaded buzz so I couldn't crank them.

I sold those to someone and upgraded to Duetta Sig's which I pulled the crossover out of and upgraded into a separate box with potted coils and upgraded caps (danm, there's a lot of caps in there) and wire but kept the aluminum ribbons intact. They are still in great shape. These have the reputation of being a one person speaker as well as the Sanders, and you do get the best sound from that one seat, but even sitting to the side they shine and are more dynamic than the Sanders (from memory). I will never part with these. They are by far the best speaker I've had in my room, driven with a Mccormack DNA500 arc welder of an amp and a tubed front end. I use stereo REL subs and have a crossover cutoff on the bottom end of the Apogees at about 75Hz to help preserve that fragile bass ribbon. You won't have that need if you have fully upgraded Apogees, which are faster still and more dynamic. Yes, I've heard those many times at a friends place.

I will say, you need tubes somewhere in that chain to assist with the bloom, and setup has to be within 1/4" of perfect. Yes, they are finicky but isn't that half the fun ... playing with the setup to perfect it?

If you want more info on Apogee vs Sanders I suggest you contact Wes Bender who was a Sanders rep long ago.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I haven't yet heard the Sanders 10e or its predecessors. But , I did have the Apogee Duetta , which I loved and only sold because I moved to Apogee Divas with passive crossovers and then acquired the DAX. I heard Apogee Scintilla's once driven by Ray Lumley Mono Tube Amps. Who would believe that those old tube amps would wipe the floor with the big Krells and Rowlands of the time? You had to be there. One of the best sounding speakers I have ever heard. I was lucky to find 4 matching Ray Lumley Mono 100's and have been happily bi amping my Divas ever since. I've also been lucky with the Apogee ribbons, so far no foam rot, buzzing or sagging. I've considered getting the upgrade done, but the Divas still sound amazing to my ears and so I think I may leave things alone until rot or ribbon failure catches me. I know there have been rave reviews of the upgrades, but I find it hard to imagine an order of magnitude better post upgrade. Perhaps it is so and one day I'd like to hear a pair. My Divas were in mothballs for 10 years or so while my commando kids were growing up. Set them up again two years ago and was happy to hear they survived. Following that I attended a couple of audio shows and was both surprised and happy to hear there was nothing that I would prefer, even close , to the Divas. But , you know the story, always fun to search for something better. Imaging and the soundstage for the Divas is best in the main seat, but, stepping out of that is not the drop off roll off event that one seemingly gets with the Sanders. I was intrigued with REG's old review of the Sanders 10e in the Absolute Sound and that was what prompted my research into Sanders.
 

vucubaquix

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I heard them at three different shows. There were six listening seats shaped in a triangle (one, two, and three seats from front to back) which were all near field. Not trying to badmouth Roger. He makes a great product for a small segment of the hi end who are OK with a very narrow, beaming soundstage. And you are right, they would be a disaster for home theater use with multiple viewers.
Ahh, the triangular seating formation. Great for people who do not all get along and share the same views on audio. If I am on the jury , it is still out on the issue of narrow beaming. Is a narrow beaming design equivalent to being narrow minded, you know the old expression , being so narrow minded that you can look down a straw with both eyes at the same time? Ok, it is lame old joke and not meant as a criticism of any design or anyone's taste in audio. :) At the polar opposite of beaming , I have heard an omni source speaker present the largest detailed holographic soundstage I have ever heard, when playing a recording of a fellow walking around a stage saying 20 feet to the left 20 feet to the right, 10 feet back, 20 feet, 40 feet..you could literally "see" him moving out to those distances . The listening room was only 14 x 15. Amazing. But, a one trick pony speaker, unfortunately , it only worked on a couple recordings and otherwise ho hum dynamics and lack of coherence with the bottom end.
 

tmallin

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I owned the Sanders 10c and used them in a dedicated room for about a year. Amps were Sanders Magtech Monoblocs, the EQ/crossover was done with Behringer DCX2496 (Sanders later changed to the dBx Venue 360 for the 10e). I also had the Sanders Preamp and Sanders cabling. Later I removed the Behringer crossover/EQ and used my Maui Modded TacT RCS 2.2XP to do all EQ and crossover functions.

Yes, these speakers beam highs--meaning at least the top two octaves--more like a laser beam than a flashlight. Move your head more than a couple of inches left or right and the highs coming directly from the speaker disappear and the sound is what I call "muffled." I think the reason some people comment on this and others don't is that some people don't care or mind what their speakers sound like from outside the sweetspot, much less outside the listening room. Other folks find this muffled sound outside the sweetspot to be annoying and thus complain about beaming, even while acknowledging (as I do) that this high-frequency beaming is exactly why the Sanders have such truly exceptional stereo imaging and staging. That beaming reduces the degree to which the speakers reflect sound off your listening room surfaces, or at least it CAN do so.

Now, this "muffling" outside the sweetspot can be substantially reduced by reducing or eliminating absorptive wall treatment. But then the strong suit of the speakers, their incredible imaging/staging in the sweetspot is significantly compromised from the ping-pong bouncing of highs all around your room surfaces. I've never liked the sound of an undamped room with any speakers, but the Sanders made the lack of damping even more obnoxious. The highs don't "light up" the room with ambience from their reflections as most other speakers do. The reflections are still audibly discrete reflections--ping-pong-like, as I said. Thus, I damped the room with lots of Sonex and lived with muffled sound outside the sweet spot.

Now, let me say right away that perhaps I just never got the hang of how to properly treat the room for the Sanders. At AXPONA demos of the Sanders speakers over the years, I've never heard either extremely muffled sound outside the sweetspot or ping-pong bouncing of reflections off the walls. Sanders demos at AXPONA have always had absolutely top-tier sound quality, as good as any other room at the show. Sanders sometimes set up the speakers on a room diagonal, but not always. He often used heavy drapes behind the speakers and some sort of curtain or screening between the speakers.

Two other issues I had: first, the bass was not strong enough to balance with the panel at the factory-recommended setting of the equalizer/crossover. When I goosed it via the equalizer to measurably match the panel level down to 20 Hz, the woofer box/driver made buzzing/rattling noises in protest at levels above moderate with material with heavy bass. Maybe I shouldn't have spiked the speakers to the concrete floor beneath the carpet, or maybe I was just expecting too much bass extension. But I was used to speakers that could go flat to 20 Hz in this room and the 10c's could not manage that at any level above quite moderate. In fairness, I have heard Sanders speakers at AXPONA several times over the years and the demos there were always top shelf with absolutely no bass problems even at quite high levels. And I know Sanders has made improvements to the woofer in the 10e.

Second, the level of quiescent hiss (hiss from the speaker panels with no music playing) was quite high, clearly audible even outside the listening room. This was entirely eliminated when I swapped out the Behringer crossover/EQ box for the TacT, so somehow the Behringer unit was the cause of that problem. I consulted with Sanders about this problem and he was very cooperative but unable to hear any such problem in his installation. As I said, the 10e now uses a dBx crossover/EQ box and I've never heard any such hiss from Sanders AXPONA demos.

Even with the TacT, I eventually got tired of the lack of usable bass extension and the muffled quality of the sound outside the sweetspot.
 

vucubaquix

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Thanks so much for your meticulous and precisely descriptive reply. I had thought this thread was dead and was pleasantly surprised to read your observations . I was wondering about the ability of the cone woofer to keep up with and match the ES panel , so thanks for mentioning that . Every speaker is a compromise , but I as well could not live with the muffling . For now I suppose I’ll stick with my Apogee Divas . What came next for you after the Sanders ?
 

tmallin

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After the Sanders, I moved to the Gradient Revolution Active, with added Gradient SW-T subwoofer towers. That was the last speaker I used in the audio room at my old house, ending in late 2014.

Much of my audio history is found in this thread: https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/audio-equipment-i-have-owned.23614/ My description of the Gradient Revolution starts at Post #7 of that thread.

I change speakers every year or two it seems. Most of the speakers I've used since the Gradient Revolution Actives in my current home's stereo room are subjects of separate threads in Tom's Corner of WBF. In chronological order:

Stirling Broadcast LS3/6 plus AudioKinesis Swarm
Janszen Valentina Active
Harbeth Monitor 40.2
Gradient 1.4
Dutch & Dutch 8c
 

christoph

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