For all the richness of the range of the American company MartinLogan, the first and the most stable association with it is electrostatic acoustics, thanks to this technology, the company became famous, creating a worthy competition to the British Quad, and these models are the benchmark of quality for the company's engineers.
However, not with the electrostat alone. MartinLogan- their classic cabinet loudspeakers deserve the same attention. And because of its more familiar and compact form factor, it may even be more attractive to the user.
Motion is MartinLogan's entire range of cabinet loudspeakers, from subwoofers and microspeakers to ultra-slim designer loudspeakers and solid High End floor units, and we'll take the latter as the most obvious and compelling demonstration of what our engineers are capable of when it comes to traditional format.
The Motion 60XTi is the flagship of the range and the largest of the three floor standing models, with an "i" for a new, improved version of the series. And in terms of solutions and technology, this model combines all the existing achievements of MartinLogan engineers, so after a close look at the Motion 60XTi, we will not miss anything important.
The most noticeable design element that defines the sound is the XT branded tape tweeter. Thanks to its design, the developers decided to bring the possibilities of cabinet acoustics as close as possible to those characteristics, which by default have electrostats. Thanks to multiple folding, the actual working surface of a ribbon tweeter is significantly larger than that of a traditional fabric dome, and therefore requires significantly less aperture travel, just like an electrostatic panel. At the same time, the belt is driven dynamically by a permanent magnet field. The result is excellent dynamics, high linearity of frequency and phase response in the audible range, detailed and precise sound. A specific feature of the XT tweeters is its thin-film production technology, which has resulted in a 40% increase in effective aperture area and wide 80x30° sound wave dispersion. The latest version also extends the reproduction frequency range, pushing the natural drop in response and accompanying distortion further beyond the limits of audibility.
For the construction of cones for the midrange and low frequency units, aluminium was chosen, which has the advantageous combination of high rigidity and low weight. The cone shape of the diffusers is conical, which, combined with the high strength of the material, prevents the formation of bends, while maintaining piston operation at high amplitude. For models with an index of "i" the central dust cap has also been improved, adding rigidity to the cone design. Cooling the voice coil is another means of improving sound quality at high volumes. In the case of aluminium, this is done naturally as the cone itself acts as an effective radiator. As a result of all the technologies described above, distortion and coloration of the sound is minimized, especially at high volume, as well as high detail and precision of fine tones and nuances in the reproduction of musical material.
In terms of size, the midrange does not differ significantly from the bass: 165 mm vs. 203 mm. The cone's own resonances are close enough to bring them out of the operating range and into perfect alignment with each other. In both cases, they are tighter than usual: when the cone is pressed, the midrange makes a subtle movement. These manipulations resulted in the 400Hz and 2200Hz section frequencies, and the sound is inevitably clearer and more controlled with this approach, provided the amplifier is doing its job properly.
Transmitter alignment is the part where MartinLogan engineers pay no less attention than to transmitter design. The proprietary Vojtko crossover technology was developed by one of the company's leading engineers (after whom it was named). The first step towards harmonizing the bands takes place during the design phase of the transmitters: their operating ranges and natural recoil drops are selected in such a way that minimum crossover participation is required and little detail is required. The electrical characteristics of the transmitters are taken into account as inevitable components in the circuit design, as are other crossover elements. Final adjustments are made by hearing under conditions similar to typical residential environments.
Quality components are used to assemble the crossover: air-core inductance kastom coils, polypropylene capacitors as well as electrolytic capacitors with improved transient characteristics. To protect the emitters, temperature and current protection circuits have been included in the circuit.
Another specific feature that directly affects the sound is the position of the bass drivers. It's not hard to see that they're moved down significantly, and the bass drivers are located right on the floor. This approach helps to minimise the negative effects of bass reflection from the floor surface.
We also note how elegantly the designers beat the considerable distance between the RF/HF and LF sections by placing a logo there and using a set of two independent grills for each group of transmitters.
The aesthetics of design in general corresponds to the concept of retrofiturism, as if this acoustics was taken from fantastic movies of the eighties, but rethought in a modern manner. The sloping top panel adds a special charm: when viewed from a perspective, it creates the deceptive impression that the acoustic enclosures have a trapezoidal cross-section. In fact, only one plane is tilted, and this is probably done to dampen the standing wave, but the visual effect is significant and unexpected. The quality of the finish is impeccable, which can be fully appreciated during unpacking and installation: the polished walnut veneer responds to the pleasant warmth and softness of natural wood when touched. The lacquered black and white versions have not been directly interfaced, but both look flawless.
All design elements of the Motion 60XTi are both beautiful and functional. The absence of screws on the speaker flanges also eliminates the need to refract sound waves, and screw terminals with cute butterfly nuts are extremely convenient for fixing stripped cable. Acoustics can be mounted on supports that extend beyond the basic size and are equipped with thin spikes of a very aggressive kind, or limited to soft rubber feet. Both spikes and feet can also be screwed into the base of the cabinet if the supports do not seem attractive.
"Inspired by electrostatic acoustics" - that's how its creators characterised their work on the Motion series. It's obviously a direct reference to their sound, and if you look for any similarities in the sound of the MartinLogan cabinet and electrostatic speakers, you can really see certain analogies. Acoustics Motion 60XTi creates the same sense of wholeness, phase precision and seamless sound picture, has excellent microdynamics and high resolution. The result is that from the first notes you literally fall into the music, with every chance to stop listening only at the end of the playlist.
At the same time, this model constructs the scene in a completely different way, not as electrostats, as it has a fundamentally different sound direction. The large size of the loudspeaker, the relatively narrow tweeter directivity and the separated midrange/high frequency and bass sections do not require comfortable listening from a short distance. At 2.5-3 meters away, the sound from all the drivers forms a clearly focused sound scene with three-dimensional mapping of the space. The comfort zone is sufficient for three to four listeners and the height of the seat is not important due to the wide vertical directivity of the tweeter. Otherwise, (given the height of the speakers) bar stools would have to be used for listening. All of this, however, doesn't mean that you can set up the speakers indoors absolutely freely. At extreme angles, both horizontally and vertically, the RF output drops sharply, and if you cross the radiation axes far behind or in front of the listening position, you can get too narrow or vice versa, falling apart into two parts of the stage. It is optimal to point the acoustics at the listener or at a point half a metre behind him/her. That's how you get that cherished sound hologram.
Top class sound quality MartinLogan 60XTi The acoustics are neutral in the truest sense of the word. They are absolutely transparent to other components of the system. The role of the amplifier was played by two fundamentally different devices: the lamp McIntosh MA252 and the transistor Schiit Aegir. The sound character in both cases was so different as if we were changing not the amplifiers, but the whole system. Paired with McIntosh MA252, the sound of Led Zeppelin's old "number" albums became something particularly clear, understandable and involved.
Any content of the lamp circuitry gave special warmth, naturalness and expressiveness in its inherent vintage style, which clearly benefited those releases that were recorded on similar equipment.
In a very different way - in a more detailed and unbiased way he presented the old records of Schiit Aegir, allowing to "consider" them more critically, without falling into emotions. At the same time, modern releases without lamping sounded much more interesting: more detailed, more energetic and more expressive. Amon Amarth - "The Way of Vikings" was delighted with the combination of pressure and melody, multiplied by the exceptional elaboration of each individual sound, without mixing and blurring of rapid beats and hard riffs. The composition "Instant Crush" - Daft Punk sounded deliciously. All these analogue synthesizers in the lamp version sounded organic, but more focused and smooth transistor sound showed more shades and better conveyed the synthetic sound of the composition.
As a result, all genre preferences of the system were determined exclusively by components and their combination with the content being played, and speakers honestly worked everything from the first to the last sound. The same goes for the bass component. The bass is known to be capricious, depending on both amplification and room acoustics, and on the speakers themselves. So, in this case, the last of the three factors was the least significant, and a combination of the right amplifier and the right spacing gave exceptionally precise, deep, but not exhausted or dried out bass.
Neutrality and transparency MartinLogan 60XTi In Alice Merton recordings, the simplicity of the arrangements was sometimes very obvious, but the rhythm and emotional presentation compensated for this to the full, so that the familiar "No Roots" or "Easy" was enough to start dancing unnoticed. When listening to more audiophile content, especially live recordings, there were no questions about the fullness of the sound, accuracy or volume of the timbre - "Times
The experience of listening to different materials with different system components allows us to conclude that MartinLogan 60XTi - It's a completely neutral and highly transparent playback tool that makes a minimum of its own contribution to the sound. For the acoustics as a whole - a phenomenon quite rare, therefore, and remarkable. Of course it's not fair to call this model the absolute benchmark, because there is no limit to perfection. But we can absolutely say that by the combination of detail and accuracy this acoustics can compete with the most top studio monitors, and with the best examples of the industry High End. Unambiguously recommended for personal acquaintance.
Review author: Maxim Naumov