Article Index
Martin Logan Summit X
page 2
page 3
page 4, Sound quality
page 5, Conclusion
page 6, Measured Performance
All Pages


Martin Logan’s top hybrid electrostatic, the Summit X, is a powerful technological statement.


Hi-Fi World - February 2014 issue

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Martin Logan Summit X

Martin Logan’s top hybrid electrostatic, the Summit X, is a powerful technological statement, Noel Keywood finds.


Electrostatic loudspeakers have a clarity and a purity that is both obvious and stunning. They also have a gloriously large sound stage on which instruments and singers are placed with eerie precision. But on the negative side, they struggle to produce bass and struggle to remain unseen! And I’ve struggled to get them to work in my home for longer than I can remember. Martin Logan’s budget (£3.5k) Electromotion hybrid electrostatics work for me, however. So how would their top-of-the-range Summit X costing £15,000 perform I wondered? Yes, that’s expensive, but not as top quality loudspeakers go.
    And here we are talking quality with a large Q, as delivered by a very special see-through drive unit that uses a fine Mylar film – think Clingfilm – driven by electrostatic forces to move air. It looks magic – and its looks don’t deceive: it is magic.This is Martin Logan’s wonderful XStat panel, the electrostatic bit. Beneath it lies a compact bass cabinet in which, on the Summit X, are two bass units, one firing forward and one downward. Both are driven by on-board power amplifiers, in order to deliver powerful bass from a small box no wider than the panel above it. And that’s why the Summit X is defined as a ‘hybrid’ electrostatic; the electrostatic part covers most of the audio band, from the highest of highs down to the lower midband, below which the forward firing, internally powered bass driver takes over to handle all the lows, aided by a downward firing unit.

What you get with this premium model is Martin Logan’s largest and best XStat panel – quoted as 44in tall and 11.3in wide (Imperial units because Martin Logan are a U.S. company), or 111.8cms x 28.7cms.Full range electrostatics that produce all the audio band – including bass – from an electrostatic panel are necessarily wide and visually intrusive. See Martin Logan’s own CLX, Quad’s 2905 or Kingsound’s King III for examples. The narrow Summit XStat panel, however, visually better blends into a room, helped by its transparency – and this is the advantage of a hybrid: they are room friendly. Martin Logan say the panel works down to 270Hz, covering just a bit more of the lower midband than the Montis (340Hz) and our measurements confirm this.

Comments (2)
summit x noise
2Friday, 24 October 2014 14:52
I really enjoy the sound quality the Summit delivers, but has anyone recognised the noise both of the digital amps produce?
Summit X
1Thursday, 13 February 2014 21:46
Bruce Low
Very interesting review re the above especially in the context of Noel's love of dipole bass. As a former Quad 57 and 63 listener but current martin logan Spire owner I was particularly struck by Noel's far more positive comments re Summit X bass, (and indeed overall performance) in contrast to his comments on the Montis bass performance. Did I pick you up right? Should I upgrade to Summit X if that is the case. Did Noel find any difference in the xStat performance in Montis compared with Summit X eg soundstage .... Or was this essentially identical given same panel. If it had gains here that would also interest me in terms of potential upgrade. With the Spires I find the slightly soggy and texturally undifferentiated bass (by the highest standards) its only real weakness. It is so good I have hesitated to make any upgrade move up until now,

Yes, the Summit X does have better bass than the Montis, although it isn't perfect perhaps. There is less disparity between panel and box, they seemingly integrate better. That "textural" lack of differentiation remains, but it is less apparent. The Summit X seems to have lighter and drier bass, although it goes very low and subsonics are obvious.
I heard no difference in the XStat panel, and its imaging remains superb.
The Summit X is a step up on the other models and bass is improved. It has become more academically correct, as it were. Big bass form a small box will forever raise problems DSP cannot eradicate. The big issue is internal energy emerging through the cone time delayed (overhang). There's little that can be done about this, other than Isobarik loading. NK

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