MartinLogan has a special place in the heart of audiophile enthusiasts. Despite many on the English audio scene feeling that the UK ‘owns’ electrostatics through the medium of Quad, MartinLogan sells well here. And the Montis is the latest iteration of MartinLogan’s hybrid approach, which combines an active dynamic bass unit with an electrostatic mid-top panel.
The Montis is at the base camp below the Summit X. The two share more in common than you might expect, with both using the same electrostatic panel. The principal difference in fact is the use of two bass drivers in the Summit X and one bass unit in the Montis. That makes the Montis notionally similar to the Spire loudspeaker it replaces. However, the Montis shows how much loudspeaker technology can move forward in a few short years.
The key to the Montis’ bass is the combination of 250mm long-throw aluminium woofer in a sealed cabinet, a 200W power amplifier, and – perhaps most significantly – a move away from analogue filtering to DSP network control, which takes on equalisation, limiting, and filtration. The net result makes the Montis slightly easier to install (it means just one level control on the rear panel) and helps integrate that bass unit with the 112cm tall CLS (curvilinear line source) panel. MartinLogan has several proprietary technologies attached to the panel and the cabinet, including the XStat panel and the AirFrame it’s attached to, the MicroPerf stators, and the Vojtko filtering and 24-bit DSP. Naturally, it bristles with custom-wound audio transformers, air-core coils, and high-grade polypropylene capacitors. However, these elaborate technologies are deceptively simple to use, leaving owners with nothing more complex than one 100Hz dial (with a ±20dB scale), the choice of spikes or feet, and speaker placement to play with. In other words, the Montis is the loudspeaker equivalent of a swan; graceful on the surface, but there’s a lot of work going on underneath.