MartinLogan Montis

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Martin Logan Montis

The combination of the slim, curved, and transparent stator panel resting on a matching bass, er, base, gives the loudspeaker a design refinement that is rare among loudspeakers. This applies to most MartinLogans, but is worth restating periodically; unlike many loudspeakers that hark back to a time of marquetry or reflect a brutalist school of minimalism, the Montis is one of the few loudspeakers that could be considered attractive by non-audiophiles. It’s the view-through panels; they give the speaker a user-friendly demeanour. According to the manual, Montis is comfortable with any amp from 20-500W, but I’d err on the side of power to drive these speakers the way they’d like to be ridden.

The manual is exceptionally good at describing both the raw and fine tuned installation, and is closer to ‘a good read’ than most. It describes the way to position your speakers, how to fine-tune that positioning (and in particular, what to listen for when fine-tuning), room acoustics, troubleshooting, a history of electrostatics, and more. Some of these aspects relate specifically to MartinLogan speakers or electrostatics, but a lot is solid, universally-applicable audiophile gold for the wannabe loudspeaker installer.

The loudspeakers benefit from taking the installation seriously, so it’s worth taking time over. The speakers should begin with the centre of the front of the panels roughly 60cm from the rear and side walls respectively, and the listener seated at least as far from the speakers as the distance between the speaker, but not more than twice the distance between the speakers (and not close to the rear wall). You should then adjust toe-in using a torch from the listening chair, and then adjust the speaker position to get the best bass response, stage width, and imaging. The manual suggests a trial-and-error method for final placement which is almost perfect (it misses out on two things in my opinion; that electrostatics frequently need to settle after movement, and to mark out the speaker position with low-tack masking tape at the start of the fine-tune process, for milimetre-accurate adjustment and in case it all goes wrong and you need to re-start the process). In terms of partnering equipment, the Montis is extremely unfussy. It respects great quality audio, but does not demand it, and does not throw a sonic hissy fit if it isn’t partnered with the world’s best sources. The loudspeaker itself is fairly sensitive and capable of playing loud, and not simply ‘loud for an electrostatic’. It works best with some power behind it, and it doesn’t need the gentle touch of Class A to sound good.

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