MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL 5.1-Channel Speaker System (TPV 109)

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Martin Logan ElectroMotion ESL
MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL 5.1-Channel Speaker System (TPV 109)

The name MartinLogan will forever be associated with high performance hybrid electrostatic loudspeakers, since this is the area where the firm has done most of its pioneering development work. But what we didn’t necessarily see coming was the firm’s new ElectroMotion ESL 5.1-channel system, which turns out to be a “hybrid of hybrids” that combines—what else?—hybrid electrostatic main speakers, center and surround speakers featuring a hybrid mix of Heil-type “Folded Motion transducers” and dynamic drivers, and a powerful conventional subwoofer. The result is a heady sonic brew that provides a blend of unexpectedly exotic driver technologies, is surprisingly affordable, and is altogether wonderful to hear in action. Let me come right out and say it: this system may well offer more serious (and I mean really serious) high-end sonic goodness per cubic dollar than any other I’ve run across thus far.

Our 5.1-channel ElectroMotion ESL review system consists of a pair MartinLogan ESL hybrid electrostatic floorstanding speakers ($2195/pair), an ElectroMotion C2 center channel speaker ($799.95/each), a pair of ElectroMotion FX2 surround-channel speakers ($649.95/each), and a 500-watt Dynamo 1000W powered subwoofer ($995). If you add up those figures you’ll discover this system sells for a total of $5290 (rounded to the nearest dollar)—certainly not an inconsequential sum, but an outright bargain when you consider the ElectroMotion ESL system can and does stand tall in the company of surround systems costing thousands more.

Veteran high-end audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts may view the preceding paragraphs with a healthy and I would say perfectly appropriate dose of skepticism, and here’s why. The honest truth is that while the concept of using hybrid technologies is appealing (the train of thought being that you would have opportunities to combine the best aspects of multiple designs), the practical reality often paints a far less rosy picture. The fact is that it is difficult to get disparate types of drivers to work and play well together, and harder still to get them to produce a truly coherent, self-consistent sound. Consider this: It has taken MartinLogan many years to perfect the art and science of marrying electrostatic panels with conventional dynamic drivers, and not all of their efforts were at first successful or sonically pleasing. Now consider that the ElectroMotion ESL faces an even tougher challenge, which is figuring out a way to blend two different kinds of hybrids in one system—a system where the hope is to get electrostatic panels, Heil-type folded motion transducers, and dynamic drivers to sing sweetly and in unison.

Is MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL system able to pull off this admittedly challenging feat? For the most part I think that it is, as I will explain in this review.

FEATURES

As you have gathered from my introductory comments, there are lots of technologies at work in this system, so that it’s helpful to consider the highlights that make each of the system elements special in its own right.

ElectroMotion ESL floorstanding speakers, technical highlights:

•In many respects, the ElectroMotion ESL (or EM-ESL, for short) harks back to one of the best-loved MartinLogan hybrid electrostats of all time; namely, the late, lamented Aerius i-model floorstander. The two speakers are similar in size, configuration, and overall design intent, though I would argue that the ElectroMotion ESL is the far better speaker of the two, and for essentially no increase in price (despite the many years that have elapsed since the late, great Aerius i was discontinued). The ElectroMotion ESL is, by the way, by far the least expensive hybrid electrostat that MartinLogan presently offers.

•The EM-ESL sports a large (34-inch high x 8.6-inch wide), curved, thin, see-through electrostatic panel that handles all midrange and high frequencies from about 500Hz to well beyond 22kHz. The panel requires a low-voltage outboard DC power supply (included), which is triggered by a signal-sensing circuit and that charges up the panel within two seconds of detecting an audio signal. The electrostatic panel incorporates a number of signature MartinLogan technologies developed over the years:

oCLS (curvilinear line source) technology: MartinLogan’s answer to the decades-old problem of achieve horizontal dispersion from electrostatic panels has been to develop an ingenious curved panel architecture that provides about 30 degrees of horizontal dispersion—enough to provide a relatively wide listening area, but not so much as to interact in undesirable ways with the sidewalls of rooms.

oXStat Transducer technology: a package of technologies (too numerous to list) that allow MartinLogan to use an incredibly thin (just 0.0005-inches thick) conductive diaphragm that is driven in push-pull fashion between a pair of the firm’s signature MicroPerf stators. The driver is said to provide exceptional linearity, wide bandwidth, low distortion, and to play surprisingly loudly without danger of arcing or other damage.

oMicroPerf stator technology: Many electrostatic drivers use heavy, bulky, grid-like stators that block part of the sound emanating from the diaphragms within, but MartinLogan electrostats use insulated steel stators with myriad tiny “microperf” openings spread over their entire surface, allowing more sound from the diaphragm to pass through unimpeded. MartinLogan claims that output from its panels can match the output of competing electrostatic panels twice their size.

oAirFrame technology: MartinLogan uses light, compact, yet exceptionally rigid extruded aerospace-grade aluminum frames both to support its electrostatic panels and to attach them to woofer enclosures below, while minimizing unwanted vibration or resonance.

•The EM-ESL uses a long-throw, high-rigidity, paper cone mid-bass driver housed in a reflex enclosure (with a downward-firing port).

•Importantly, the woofer enclosure features a non-resonant “asymmetrical chamber” design, as can plainly be seen when the woofer section of the EM-ESL is viewed from the side. As an appealing and useful detail touch, the EM-ESL comes fitted with beefy floor spikes that are, in turn, equipped with removable rounded floor shields. The concept is that users will leave the floor shields in place until a final position for the speakers is found. Then, if the room features carpeted floor surfaces, the shields can be removed to allow the spikes to more firmly anchor the speaker to the floor.

•The EM-ESL is offered in either matte or gloss black finishes.

•IMPORTANT POINT: The EM-ESL speakers come with what I regard as hands down the finest manual I have ever encountered with any loudspeaker (competitors take note)—or for that matter the finest manual I’ve found for any type of audio product. If you buy these speakers, then, do yourself a favor and take time to read the manual and to follow the invaluable speaker positioning tips found within.

ElectoMotion C2 center-channel speaker, technical highlights:

•The signature technology found in the ElectroMotion C2 (EM-C2 for short) is MartinLogan’s Heil-type “Folded Motion XT” tweeter, which is similar in concept to the tweeters used in the firm’s less costly Motion-series speakers. A big difference, however, is that the 2.4-inch high x 1.27-inch wide Folded Motion XT driver used in the EM-C2 is a whopping 40% larger in area than the standard Motion driver—a change said to give it wider bandwidth and improved efficiency.

•One interesting note is that the diaphragms in Heil-type drivers are pleated and therefore have much greater radiating area than the driver openings, themselves, would suggest. For example, the radiating area of the C2 tweeter is specified at 4.5-inches x 2.75-inches. Impressive.

•Sonically, Heil-type folded motion drivers are thought to provide some of the same desirable qualities as electrostatic driver, such as transient speed, good linearity, and relatively wide bandwidth, plus an ability to play more loudly than you would think, given their diminutive size. They are also less costly to produce than electrostatic panels.

•The EM-C2 sports two 5.25-inch paper cone mid-bass drivers arranged in a D’Appolito-like (midrange-tweeter-midrange) array with the Folded Motion XT tweeter in the center.

•The EM-C2 provides a dual-ported (front-firing ports), “non-resonant, asymmetrical chamber format” enclosure. Apart from helping minimize internal reflections and standing waves, the asymmetrical enclosure provides a tipped-back mounting position that helps direct energy from the center speaker upward toward the listening area (when the speaker is positioned on a shelf below the screen). Alternatively, the speaker can be flipped upside down, which will cause the front baffle to point straight forward (rather than tilting upward by a few degrees as would normally be the case).

•The EM-C2 is offered in an attractive matte black finish with a perforated black metal grille that provides large openings over the Folded Motion XT tweeter.

ElectroMotion FX2 surround-channel speaker, technical highlights:

•The ElectroMotion FX2 (EM-FX2 for short) uses two of the same Heil-type Folded Motion XT tweeters as used in the EM-C2 center-channel speaker. The front face of the EM-FX2 is shaped like a semi-circle, so that if the EM-FX2 is mounted to the sides of the listening position one tweeter is angled forward, while the other is angled toward the rear.

•The EM-FX2 uses a single 6.5-inch paper cone mid-bass driver that is positioned in the center of the EM-FX2’s face, flanked by the two Folded Motion XT drivers.

•The EM-FX2 provides a dual-ported (front-firing ports), “non-resonant, asymmetrical chamber format” enclosure. By design the enclosure allows the EM-FX2 to placed on a stand or tabletop, wall-mounted, or—as an interesting design touch—corner-mounted. What makes the latter mounting option possible is the fact that the rear of the EM-FX2 enclosure is not flat; instead, the rear surface if flat in the center (where wall-mount brackets go), but provides left and right surfaces beveled at 45-degree angles (where the corner mounts go). It’s an option few if any other surround speakers offer.

•The EM-FX2 is offered in a matte black finish with a curved, black fabric grille.

Dynamo 1000W powered subwoofer, technical highlights:

•500-watt amplifier with controls for phase, crossover frequency, LFE bypass, and that provides left/right/LFE line-level inputs.

•The Dynamo 1000W features a 12-inch, high-excursion woofer with a polypropylene diaphragm.

•By design, the Dynamo 1000W allows the user to choose a downward-firing configuration (the standard out-of-box configuration) or an optional forward-firing configuration made possible through clever removable feet and a detachable woofer grille.

•The sealed enclosure of the Dynamo 1000 is said to provide heavy internal bracing, and the cabinet comes fitted with Energy Transfer Coupler (ETC) floor spikes.

•The Dynamo 1000W offers wireless connectivity in the form of its (included) SWT-2 wireless transmitter kit.

SONIC CHARACTER

Let me begin by pointing out that MartinLogan recommends giving this system a full 72 hours (or more) of break-in at levels of around 90 dB before settling in to do critical listening. We followed this advice and strongly recommend that you do, too. The gist of things is that the ElectroMotion ESL speakers sound good (even very good) straight out of their boxes, but they really need that break-in time in order to loosen up and—importantly—to develop the kind of sonic “fluidity” that enables the textures of the various exotic drivers to merge and meld in a harmonious way.

In a holistic sense, the sound of the ElectroMotion ESL floorstanders is what sets the sonic tone for the entire system, and the EM-ESLs are among the finest speakers I’ve yet heard at their price (although Magnepan’s magnificent 1.7 planar magnetic speakers offer extremely strong competition). The EM-ESLs offer a really intoxicating set of virtues: open, airy, and beautifully extended highs; almost shockingly transparent, pure, and agile midrange frequencies; and fast, taut, and surprisingly deeply extended bass. MartinLogan’s extensive experience in building hybrid electrostats really shows in the EM-ESL, in that the transition between the electrostat panel and the dynamic woofer is handled so artfully that you have almost no awareness of crossing from one type of driver to the other.

Please note that I used the qualifier “almost” in the preceding sentence, not because I’m bent on being bull-headedly finicky about things, but because I know and respect the sound of MartinLogan’s über-expensive, flagship full-range electrostatic CLX speaker, which is one of the most eerily coherent-sounding speakers on the planet. I won’t tell you the EM-ESLs are fully the equals of their magnificent big brothers because that would be untrue, but I will tell you that they capture an awful lot of the sonic “vibe” of the big guys for about one-tenth the price. In my book, that fact alone makes the EM-ESLs a marvel of value-oriented engineering. What is more, once fully broken in, the EM-ESL seems to have almost no problems with perceived excess treble brightness or stridency when reproducing hard, sharp transient sounds. This is important, since the larger MartinLogan hybrid electrostats occasionally have been known to exhibit quirks in those areas. My point is that the EM-ESL gives most of the joys of top-tier hybrid electrostats, with essentially none of the potential drawbacks.

Imaging, whether you are listening just to a stereo pair of EM-ESLs or to the entire surround system, is exceptionally good, with smooth and very effective wraparound surround soundstaging on well-recorded movie soundtracks or multi-channel music material

Next, we come to the system’s other hybrids: the EM-C2 center channel and EM-FX2 surround speakers. I would say their virtues are similar, though not strictly speaking identical, to those of the EM-ESLs, though in some key respects their strengths are complementary to one another. For starters, the Folded Motion XT Heil-type tweeters are very fast and smooth sounding. If you listen very, very carefully you’ll notice that their way of handling treble textures and timbres is oh-so-close to that of the ESLs’ electrostatic panels, though their dispersion and radiation patterns are significantly different—basically because the Folded Motion XT drivers offer better horizontal and vertical dispersion and offers terrifically punchy dynamics when the need arises. If you stop to think about it, these characteristics fit really well with the workload the center channel speaker (and to a lesser extent the surround speakers) must play. The mid-bass drivers used in the EM-C2 and EM-FX2 seem to match the tonal and timbral characteristics of the EM-ESLs own dynamic mid-bass driver, so that from the midrange on down the voice-matching of the system’s speakers becomes even more consistent.

Strict purists will ask, I suppose, “Yes, but are the EM-C2 and EM-FX2 precisely voice matched with the EM-ESL?” The answer is that the match is not exact, though it comes awfully darned close—so close that I doubt most listeners could or would detect any difference at all. Bear in mind that we are making hair-splitting distinctions while discussing upper reaches of performance that many speaker systems can’t get to in the first place. Please note that, if the idea of merging speakers with electrostatic panels with speakers that use folded-motion drivers is going to keep you up nights, then MartinLogan can happily sell you center channel and surround speakers that do incorporate electrostatic drivers. The trick, however, is that making that change would add multiple thousands of dollars to the price of the system. My sense is that, for the overwhelming majority of listeners, the benefits of switching to an all-hybrid electrostatic system would be small, while the jump in price would not be—proving the innate wisdom and cost-effectiveness of the original ElectroMotion ESL “hybrid of hybrids” approach.

Finally, we come to the Dynamo 1000W subwoofer, which can give very good results provided you keep one simple rule in mind, which is this: use a relatively low crossover frequency for the subwoofer. In other words, don’t run the sub at higher frequencies than you need to. Here’s the deal: MartinLogan has spent decades figuring out ways to may dynamic woofers keep up with its lightning-fast electrostatic drivers, and they’ve leveraged what they’ve learned in all of their ElectroMotion-series speakers. The practical reality is that even very good subs (and the Dynamo 1000W is a good one) are going to have a hard time keeping up with the transient speed and definition of the ElectroMotion speakers. The solution, then, is to use the sub down at frequencies low enough that you won’t notice the inevitable speed disparities that are present. Happily, the ElectroMotion speakers invite this practice because they all offer quite good bass extension (deeper than you would expect), so that there’s really no need to bring in the sub at mid-bass frequencies. The good news is that you can get a really well-blended (and spacious) sound provided that you use the powerful Dynamo sub to fill in the bottom octave and a half for the center and surround speakers, and—where possible—use an even lower crossover frequency between the main EM-ESL speakers and the sub.

How good is the EM-ESL system really? An anecdote will help answer the question. I played the system for a high-end audiophile friend who was favorably impressed from the outset. He asked how much the system cost, and when I told him the price ($5290) he assumed—purely on the basis of sound quality—that I had provided the price for the main speakers only. When I explained the entire system could be had for the sum I had specified, my friend was simply dumfounded at the news. My point is that the ElectroMotion ESL system offers performance and value in equal abundance.

MOVIE PERFORMANCE

Perhaps one acid test for surround sound systems is to see if they can make even familiar movie soundtracks seem fresh and new. It’s a test the ElectroMotion ESL system passed with flying colors on the soundtrack for Inglourious Basterds. There is a certain horrific fascination that comes with watching the opening scenes of the film as SS Colonel Hans Landa (Christopher Waltz) visits the French dairy farmer Perrier LaPadite (Denis Menochet), to track down information on French Jews from the region thought to have gone into hiding from the Nazis.

At first Col. Landa seems polite to a fault, indeed almost solicitous of LaPadite’s good will. But as the polite back-and-forth exchange unfolds the conversation takes a turn toward darkness as Landa explains, in a fearfully amiable voice, how he earned the nickname, “The Jew Hunter.” As Landa explains things (with the twisted logic only an SS officer could evince), he is good at hunting Jews because he can “think like them” and because he understands them to be desperate, inventive, tough, survival-oriented animals much like rats—animals that we all instinctively dislike. And then, as quiet pastoral farm sounds are faintly heard in the background, the scene shifts from the bizarre Jews-as-rats analogy to take on a more sinister, threatening tone as Landa explains that he thinks some Jewish families may be in hiding with their Gentile neighbors, and then fixes LaPadite with a penetrating gaze and asks in a cold, steely tone of voice, “You are harboring enemies of the state, are you not?”

Realizing he is caught and that he has put his own family in jeopardy, LaPadite’s eyes brim with tears as he swallows and softly answers, “Yes.” The horror reaches a fever pitch as Landa asks—in English so that the hiding Jewish family will have no warning—if the Jews are hiding beneath the floorboards of the farmhouse. LaPadite nods to indicate that they are, and Landa, pretending to welcome LaPadite’s daughters back into the house, beckons for his henchmen who promptly spray the floors of the home with machine gun fire, killing all but one of the Jewish family members hiding below.

Several characteristics of the Electro Motion ESL system really bring this scene alive. First, their unfailing ability to faithfully retrieve even the smallest details works powerfully in this scene, so that, for example, we hear the threatening sound of the German motorcade coming up the road from afar, even before we see them onscreen. Similarly, the MartinLogan’s capture the myriad small sounds that represent the fundamental peacefulness of the French farmhouse—very faint sounds of a breeze outside (which diminish even further when a window is closed), or the gentle, pitch perfect sounds of cows lowing on the grassy hills outside. Even basic domestic sounds, such as the sound of a cork stopper being pulled from a bottle so that the Colonel can be poured a glass of milk, sound dead accurate—neither exaggerated nor artificially understated.

But the real genius of the ElectroMotion ESL system becomes apparent as it tracks the ultra-subtle shifts in tone in Landa’s voice, as he goes from seeming charmer, to storyteller, to unhinged storyteller, to Germanic administrator seeking data, on through to taking on the coldly threatening tone of a maniacal SS bully (but one with an outward show of manners). I can’t speak for you, but when I heard this scene through the MartinLogans I experienced a chill and thought to myself, “I’ll bet this is precisely what the voice of evil sounds like.” Most speaker systems don’t inspire such thoughts, because they just can’t evoke sufficient levels of realism for me to suspend disbelief. But through the EM-ESL system, the scene positively gave me the creeps.

And then, to make the horror complete, Landa decides to turn the farmer’s home into a slaughterhouse before his very eyes. The crazy merriment in Landa’s voice as he invites the “ladies” of the house back inside is unnerving through this system, as is the ensuing racket as Landa’s gunmen open fire, shattering forever the peace and stillness of the home. If you’ve bought into the myth that electrostats cannot play loudly, the sheer violence of this scene, and the fierceness with which this system recreates the sounds of the machine gun fire, will change your mind in one terrifying instant. Again, compelling realism—whether reproducing soft sounds or very loud ones, is the hallmark of the EM-ESL system.

MUSIC PERFORMANCE

Let me share two illustrations to show what the EM-ESL system can do with well-recorded musical material.

First, let’s talk about the way the MartinLogans handled the Chicago Symphony Orchestra brass and percussion sections handling of Silvestre Revueltas’ Sensamoyá from Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass Live (CSO-Resound, multichannel SACD). This remarkable modern composition features the orchestra’s brass section (including a tuba solo), clarinet, string bass, and many of the instruments of the percussion section. The theme, according to Philip Huscher’s liner notes from the recording, is to musically recreate the feel of a Cuban poem about “a ritual Afro-Cuban chant performed while killing a snake.”

Accordingly the piece is rhythmic, angular, and very powerful—at times almost dissonantly so, and yet it also has moments of great delicacy. What caught my ear was both the timbral purity and relative ease with which the EM-ESL system navigated the sounds of the lowest pitched brass and percussion instruments right on up to the highest pitched ones. What touched me, really, was the system’s ability to faithfully capture the diverse tonalities, textures, and orchestral personalities of the individual instruments, while showing how their distinctive voices became woven together to create the sound of the overall orchestral section. You expect high-priced high-end speakers to get subtle timbres and textures right, but it’s refreshing to hear a relatively low-cost high-end system pull off this feat in such an accomplished way.

Tonal balance seemed pretty much ideal, with the EM-ESL main speakers contributing, through their dipolar electrostatic panels, much less in the way of room interactions than I expected. Thus, it was easy to feel myself transported away from the acoustics of The Perfect Vision listening room and into the three-dimensional acoustics of Chicago’s Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, where this recording was made. Importantly, output from the system’s front channel speakers combined to create an almost perfectly seamless sound that did a great job of conveying in a three-dimensional way the sound of the ensemble arrayed in an arc upon the stage. In turn, the surround speakers, acting both alone and in conjunction with the front main speakers, masterfully revealed the acoustics and dimensions of the recording space, yet without drawing too much attention to themselves.

Yet another fine musical example comes from the Maya trio’s performance of Robert Paterson’s The Book of Goddesses [American Music Recordings, CD]. I wanted to include this recording because A) it is very well made, and B) it afforded an opportunity to evaluate the EM-ESL system both in a purist-oriented stereo context, but also—with surround sound processing engaged—to see how well other system elements matched the voicing of the main EM-ESL speakers.

The Maya trio features Sato Moughalian on flutes of various types, Jacqueline Kerrod on harp, and John Hadfield on percussion. The Trio commissioned Paterson to write The Book of Goddesses, which a collection of nine short, highly evocative pieces that each attempts to capture the personality of an historical goddess, with sources drawn from various cultures and story traditions from around the world. My favorite vignette (at least this week) is the third of the pieces in the series, named for the Greek goddess Aphrodite. I like this track in part because it includes all the members of the trio (not all of the pieces include percussion, but this one does), and because it introduces a light, jazzy, propulsive dance rhythm and beautifully reveals the voices of the trio’s instruments.

Even if you sit down to listen to “Aphrodite” in a casual way through the ElectroMotion ESL system, my bet is that it won’t be long before you get drawn in and start tapping your toes in time to the music. The sound of the EM-ESL speakers—in stereo—is so clean and taut that they make child’s play of capturing subtle variations in rhythm and syncopation. But what is more, they dig down deep to retrieve inner details that capture the very essence of the sound of the harp and flute—so that you have a sense of the speakers having more than enough transient speed to keep up with the attack, sustain, and decay of sounds from each of the instruments, whether heard in isolation or in combination with the others. In short, you have the sense that the electrostatic panels have more than sufficient speed to stay ahead of the music—a sensation that, quite frankly, few other types of speakers can convey.

I wondered if engaging a surround sound processor (e.g., Dolby Digital ProLogic IIx Music or the like) and thus engaging the other speakers in the system would cause the sound to become slower, more diffuse, or to lose focus, but my concerns proved unfounded. When I turned on the surround processor neither the voicing nor the textural acuity of the system changed much at all, though I did note a heightened sense of ambience and front-to-back depth. This suggests to me that, while the EM-C2 and EM-FX2 speakers may not sound identical in voicing to the superb EM-ESLs, they get close enough that, even on a very revealing record like this one, the changes you hear will be small and largely beneficial in nature. The point is that this is one surround system you can trust not only for movie playback, but for serious, critical music listening.

CONCLUSION

Consider this speaker system if:

•You have always wanted to take the quantum leap up to true high-end surround sound, but figured it would set you back $10k or more. This MartinLogan rig puts you in the (serious) high-end game for a little over $5k.

•You want all the sonic goodies: resolution, definition, blazing transient speeds, nuances galore, neutral tonal balance and the ability to play at satisfying volume levels.

•You secretly love the waaay cool looks of main speakers with electrostatic panels that you can—no joke—see through. Talk about “transparency.”

Look further if:

•You like the ElectroMotion ESL concept, but want to go even further to find a system that has electrostatic driver equipped center-channel and surround speakers. MartinLogan has a solution if (gulp!) you’ve got the budget.

•You have a mid-sized to large home theater space, and like to listen to action films at occasionally bombastic volume levels. The EM-ESL system can play surprisingly loudly, but it does have its limits.

•You wish all of the speakers in the system were full-range dipoles. If this is the sound you seek, a Magnepan system might better fit your needs (though you’ll need some beefy amps to power those Maggies).

Ratings (relative to comparably priced surround systems):

•Transparency and focus: 10
•Imaging and soundstaging: 10
•Tonal balance: 9.5
•Dynamics: 9
•Bass extension: 10 (the Dynamo sub goes plenty low)
•Bass pitch definition: 9 – 9.5 (the Dynamo is good, but not as taut-sounding as the EM-ESLs played on their own)
•Bass dynamics: 9
•Value: 10

BOTTOM LINE

We consider MartinLogan’s ElectroMotion ESL surround system to be an overachiever of the first rank. It offers very serious high-end sound quality for only a little more money than some mid-fi systems cost. For many listeners, then, the quest for upper-tier sound will begin and end right here, and even jaded audiophiles accustomed to ultra-premium-priced gear will marvel at the sophisticated sound this system delivers.

SPECS & PRICING

MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL 5.1-Channel Speaker System

MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL Floorstanding Speaker
Type: two-way, 2-driver, hybrid electrostatic/dynamic-driver, bass-reflex floorstanding loudspeaker
Driver complement: one 34-inch x 8.6-inch dipolar electrostatic tweeter/midrange panel, one 8-inch paper-cone, long-throw mid-bass driver.
Frequency response: 42Hz -22 kHz ± 3dB
Sensitivity: 91 dB
Impedance: 6 Ohms (but “compatible with 4, 6, or 8 ohm-rated amplifiers”)
Dimensions (H x W x D): 52.1” x 9” x 16.3”
Weight: 35.5 lb. /each
Warranty: 5 year, parts and labor (requires purchase registration with MartinLogan)
Price: $2195/pair.

MartinLogan ElectroMotion C2 Center-Channel Speaker
Type: two-way, 3-driver, bass-reflex center-channel loudspeaker
Driver complement: one 2.4-inch x 1.27-inch Heil-type Folded Motion XT tweeter, two 5 ½-inch paper-cone mid-bass drivers.
Frequency response: 55Hz -25 kHz ± 3dB
Sensitivity: 94 dB
Impedance: 4 Ohms (but “compatible with 4, 6, or 8 ohm-rated amplifiers”)
Dimensions (H x W x D): 6.4” x 18.9” x 14.3”
Weight: 24.5 lb. /each
Warranty: 5 year, parts and labor (requires purchase registration with MartinLogan)
Price: $799.95/each.

MartinLogan ElectroMotion FX22 Surround-Channel Speaker
Type: two-way, 3-driver, bass-reflex surround channel loudspeaker
Driver complement: two 2.4-inch x 1.27-inch Heil-type Folded Motion XT tweeters, one 6 ½-inch paper-cone mid-bass driver.
Frequency response: 55Hz -25 kHz ± 3dB
Sensitivity: 93 dB
Impedance: 5 Ohms (but “compatible with 4, 6, or 8 ohm-rated amplifiers”)
Dimensions (H x W x D): 14.9” x 14” x 6.8”
Weight: 16 lb. /each
Warranty: 5 year, parts and labor (requires purchase registration with MartinLogan)
Price: $649.95/each.

Total System Price: $5290 (rounded to the nearest dollar)

Manufacturer
MARTIN LOGAN LTD.
(785) 749-0133
www.martinlogan.com

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