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Martin Logan Electromotion loudspeakers, Hi-Fi World, April 2013 issue, p70.

 

 

LIVING WITH MOTION

 

"Will Electromotions suit my system, home, life?" Noel Keywood lives with Martin Logan's budget electrostatic loudspeakers to find out.

Our review of the Martin Logan Electromotion ESL loudspeaker, October 2011 issue, captured a lot of interest and continues to do so on our website. The chance of paying just £2500 for a hybrid electrostatic appeals to many people. In our review Alvin Gold succinctly captured the basic sound and strengths of the Electromotions, but the queries we receive about them concern matching, into the lounge, to the amplifier and such like. So I’ve been living with a pair to find out how they fare in everyday use.
    For ‘everyday use’ I put the Electromotions into a hard working AV system in my lounge, driven by a Marantz SR8002 AV receiver. I wasn’t pernickety about positioning: they had to fit in, be run from a transistor amplifier and take everything thrown at them, including being used to carry TV and Blu-ray sound.  They did also spend time in a stereo system in another room, driven by my World Audio Design 300B valve amplifier, and they blossomed in this role, but for the most part I treated the Electromotions as everyday working loudspeakers to see what issues arose.
    The Electromotions fitted my lounge surprisingly well. Although tall at 1.36m, their width of just 24cms limited visual intrusion and they sat either side of a 5ft wide chimney breast as if designed to be there. They are deep, rear cable protrusion making depth 46cms in all, but as the chimney breast is 37cms deep a lot of this was lost if the speakers were pushed against the wall. This position didn’t do much for imaging but it removed the speakers from usable floor space yet retained their basic properties and strengths.
    Because the electrostatic panel fires sound backwards as well as forwards, a close rear wall is not ideal but rear curtains or sound absorbing acoustic panels, such as the  StudioSpares Grey acoustic panel (£25 each, see www.studiospares.com) can be used to suppress a lot of reflected sound. I chose a compromise, placing the electrostatic panel forward of the rear wall by 80 cms, well over half a wavelength of their lowest frequency (400Hz/ 42cms), and used a pair of rear acoustic panels that stand up against the wall.
    This put the speakers 5ft apart, either side of a Samsung HD LED TV on the chimney breast. The black see-through metal grilles of the ‘speakers suited the TV’s modern minimalism well, better than box loudspeakers; they appeared made for each other.
    The Electromotions HD sound fully complemented the TV’s clear HD picture I felt; the height of their stereo image even matched the height of the TV, for which 1m high floorstanders are a little low I’ve found. Being so high, the Electromotions produce a celestial sound stage from which singers sang down at me – impressive.

World Audio Design 300B amplifier   We said in the original review the Electromotions have a ‘lean’ balance. Bass is clean and firm, but unintrusive. This is not a bass heavy loudspeaker, and that’s why it could be placed close to a rear wall, without inducing boominess. I feel electrostatics are best driven by a valve amplifier and the Electromotions sounded gorgeous with my WAD 300B, its full bass complementing their lean nature, whilst the electrostatic panel revealed how silky and spacious 300B triodes are,
    The story was a bit different on the Marantz receiver, which is clean and fast – but solid-state. The sense of air and space a valve amp brings was lost and the panel’s strong output right up to 20kHz highlighted the receiver’s incisive nature.
    All the same, there was extraordinary revelation and hair trigger speed to fine events, made dramatic by stereo imaging few loudspeakers are able to approach. Watching Jeremy Clarkson and his crew drive three super-cars through America’s South, little event details in the sound track like a hand drum being struck at far left, jumped out.
    On speech intelligibility the Electromotions manage a score of 110%; I could hear absolutely every word and nuance with a sense of dry, forensic clarity. I say “110%” because the Electromotions actually over do it a little, because of some slight midrange lift. I heard everything, but there isn’t a lot of warmth or body to the sound.
   



 

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