Last week I took a trip to the outskirts of Atlanta Georgia where I got to hear the newly updated MartinLogan Motion series speakers in an especially nice retail environment: Georgia Home Theater. It’s a family run establishment located in a spacious building that is filled with excellent gear including plenty of MartinLogan and Paradigm product. For this event, MartinLogan even brought its flagship Neolith speakers, making it my fourth encounter with those marvelous monsters.
The event kicked off with some concert-level demos of the Neoliths, which were driven by a pair of Mark Levinson monoblocks that output 800 watts (each) relative to the Neolith’s 4-ohm (nominal) impedance. Plenty of juice to move those giant electrostatic panels, the result was a rousing rendition of Superfly by Curtis Mayfield that sounded “live” especially in that spacious room. But… we were not gathered there for the Neoliths so the focus quickly switched to the main event, the unveiling of the revamped Motion series speakers that combine dynamic drivers and “Folded Motion” (i.e. AMT) tweeters in an attractive enclosure.
The Neoliths dominate. But they are not the main attraction at this event… the new Motion series has that honor.
As this was a social event, much of the listening occurred in groups. I checked out range-topping Motion 60XTi towers as they belted out that speaker-demo classic Hotel California. A bunch of McIntosh gear served as the electronics in the system. Ah, the nostalgia! And in an adjacent room I heard a Motion surround-sound system reproduce the Live Aid concert scene from Bohemian Rhapsody with clarity, precision, and dynamic impact.
The best part of the evening came near the end, when I returned to the 60XTi system. The formal demos were done so i queued up Metallic Spheres by The Orb and David Gilmour (of Pink Floyd fame). The album is basically two tracks, each one ostensibly taking up one side of a vinyl LP. I listened to Metallic Side, which is a bit over 28 minutes long and is just full of ambient whooshes and electronic beats with Gilmour delivering his signature guitar sound through the whole thing. Thoughts… these are big, powerful speakers that happily dig super deep, play really loud, and generate a stunning 3D soundfield. Considering how much more affordable they are than a pair of Neoliths, I’d say MartinLogan succeeds in distilling the essence of its signature electrostatics into these living room-friendly Motion speakers.
All hail the mighty MartinLogan Motion 60 XTi towers
MartinLogan states that the performance of its electrostatic speaker offerings is the inspiration for the Motion series. The Folded Motion tweeter works with the aluminum-cone mid/bass drivers and a custom “Vojtko™” crossover. Vojtko is no made-up word, it’s the name of MartinLogan’s chief audio technologist. In the company’s words, “His unique approach to crossover design is as big of a part of the “MartinLogan Sound” as are electrostatic and Folded Motion thin-film driver technologies. A Vojtko crossover isn’t so much a set of design requirements as it is a philosophy. Vojtko crossovers are designed in such a way that all drivers are kept within their optimal frequency range and balanced with one another…”
“The drivers themselves are as much a part of a Vojtko crossover as are capacitors and resistors. Before the design of any crossover begins, drivers are carefully selected or designed to operate within a very intentional frequency range and with precise and predictable performance parameters. Vojtko crossovers are always built from high-quality parts, and care is taken to avoid overly complex topologies—a straightforward objective due to the careful selection of woofers and tweeters. The final (and most critical) aspect of a Vojtko Crossover is that final voicing is conducted in a space that is indicative of a real-world environment.”
MartinLogan touts the newly updated line as “the New Look of Proven Performance.” This includes considerations like low-mounted woofers in designs that reduce the effect of “floor bounce” bass cancellation (by using a 2.5-way crossover). MartinLogan also discussed how it uses a stiff suspension for its midrange driver, to raise its resonant frequency so its native response more closely matches the application, providing a natural roll-off. Also, due to their size and power, Motion 60XTi and 50XTi benefit from beefed up internal bracing that mitigates cabinet resonances.
Motion 60XTi: A powerful floorstanding speaker featuring a Folded Motion® XT tweeter, 6.5-inch aluminum cone midrange driver, and dual 8-inch aluminum cone woofers with rear-firing bass ports. $1599.99/each (US) and $1,849.50/each (CAD) retail.
Motion 40i: Floorstanding speaker featuring a Folded Motion® tweeter, 5.5-inch aluminum cone midrange driver, and dual 6.5-inch aluminum cone woofers with a rear-firing bass port. $1,099.99/each (US) and $1,349.50/each (CAD) retail.
Motion 20i: A compact floorstanding speaker featuring a Folded Motion® tweeter and dual 5.5-inch aluminum cone woofers with a rear-firing bass port. $849.99/each (US) and $1,099.50/each (CAD) retail.
Motion 35XTi: Powerful bookshelf speaker featuring a Folded Motion® XT tweeter and 6.5-inch aluminum cone woofer with a rear-firing bass port. $649.99/each (US) and $799.50/each (CAD) retail.
Motion 15i: Bookshelf speaker featuring a Folded Motion® tweeter and 5.25-inch aluminum cone woofer with a rear-firing bass port. $399.99/each (US) and $499.50/each (CAD) retail.
Center channel speakers:
Motion 50XTi: A powerful center channel speaker featuring a Folded Motion® XT tweeter and dual 6.5-inch aluminum cone woofers with a rear-firing bass port. $999.99/each (US) and $1,199/each (CAD) retail.
Motion 30i: Center channel speaker featuring a Folded Motion® tweeter and dual 5.5-inch aluminum cone woofers with a rear-firing bass port. $749.99/each (US) and $899/each (CAD) retail.
• Folded Motion® and Folded Motion® XT tweeters
• Aluminum cone midrange drivers and woofers with concave dust caps that reinforce the strength and rigidity of the cone
• Proprietary Vojtko™ crossover networks featuring custom air core coil and low DCR steel laminate inductors. Polypropylene film capacitors in series and low DF electrolytic capacitors in parallel.
• Custom 5-way tool-less binding posts
• Three luxurious finishes and matching metallic trim, including gloss black with black grilles and gunmetal grey trim, matte white with silver grilles and silver trim, and red walnut with black grilles and champagne-colored trim
MartinLogan’s new Motion Series speakers will begin shipping October 2019.