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Article Index
Martin Logan Electromotion review
Page 2
Sound Quality
Conclusion
Measured Performance
All Pages

SOUND QUALITY

Despite being tall, and not exactly pocket size, the ElectoMotion is easily manhandled. Their narrowness is a factor of course, and so is the weight – each speaker tips the scales at a mere 16.1kg, and can be ‘walked’ into and out of the excellent packaging readily.  Another factor here common to all MartinLogans is that the electrostatic panel is protected by perforated panels. Visually, this renders them semi-transparent. They barely block light from rear windows, for example, which goes a long way to reducing the loudspeaker's visual bulk.martinl_electromotion_2

 

Another factor in the practicality equation is that the speaker has a claimed sensitivity of 91dB (in our test they came out at 87dB rather than 91dB, but this means they on a par with many moving coil designs) and they are abstemious in their power demands. The way they deliver power, in particular their dryish bass delivery, and their unusual throw (common to many line source loudspeakers) means they appear to be more sensitive than the raw numbers suggest, and certainly more so than many moving coil speakers in the same price range.

 

It is true that impedance drops to around 1 Ohm at 20kHz, which is par for the course with MartinLogan electrostatics, but so little power is involved at this frequency that this has no practical implications – that has been my experience with this marque anyway. If it does with your choice of music you would need to fear for the long term health of your hearing. As the lab tests indicate, they don’t need much, if any toe in, despite what the otherwise excellent instruction manual suggests. You can use the ElectroMotion with small pre power amps, or with a medium power integrated amplifiers or receivers – start your search at 50 Watts or so.

 

The one performance area that cannot be shortchanged however is sound quality. The ElectroMotion can sound bright and grubby if given half a chance with an unsympathetic choice of amplifier or source component.

 

Earlier MartinLogan models were open to criticism on the grounds that the bass and the mid/top (the stomping ground for the ESL driver) was rarely completely at one. The ElectroMotion, which is MartinLogan’s least expensive full range speaker, resolves this complaint almost completely. The worst you can say is that the lean quality of the mid and top is somehow mirrored in the performance of the bass driver. In fact the bass is quite well extended from the relatively small bass bins. Although not exactly muscular or meaty, it is reasonably well articulated, with realistic tonality and a meaningful sense of depth and weight, and a tuneful quality to match.

 

The real magic of the ElectroMotion however is higher up the band, the area generated by the electrostatic panel, where the speaker is fast, highly detailed and assured, and once again completely seamless. Even without stretching to more costly models in the range, this model is notable for its almost holographic stereo imagery and its presence.

Refinement is also part of the equation; tonal colours are explicit. And in common with many MartinLogans, the ElectroMotion is almost magical with human voice, as I quickly discovered with some well liked recordings of Mahler and Richard Strauss. I enjoyed the speaker with full throttle recordings (including a notable transmission from this year’s Prom performance of Mahler’s 'Resurrection', which I had previously attended on the night, played by the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra), but its real métier is chamber and small scale music making,

 

Some may want a little more weight than the basic vanilla speaker can provide, and for them a subwoofer would be an obvious addition. In this case one of REL’s new R series subwoofers added just the weight and authority that may be required in many systems, but without loss of articulation, or unwanted boxiness. I am not suggesting that a subwoofer is necessary, merely that the speaker is good enough that it can be stretched even further with a well chosen subwoofer, even when partnering a two channel system, assuming careful setup.



 

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