Montreal Audiofest 2023 - Montreal, Canada
- Written by Jason Thorpe Jason Thorpe
- Parent Category: Shows-Events Shows-Events
- Created: 25 March 2023 25 March 2023
Montreal Audiofest 2023: A Flurry of MartinLogans
I’m fairly certain that whenever most people think of MartinLogan speakers, an image of an electrostatic panel comes to mind. Probably one of the company’s classic hybrid speakers with a dynamic woofer at the bottom.
MartinLogan also manufactures conventional box speakers—the Motion and Motion XT series. All models employ the company’s Folded Motion Tweeters, which produce sound by squeezing an accordion-like pleated diaphragm, creating what the company calls electrostatic-like speed and detail. Motion XT models have larger tweeters than Motion-series speakers.
MartinLogan has completely redesigned the Motion and Motion XT series for 2023—this is the third iteration. For the first time ever, MartinLogan has surrounded the tweeter in each model with a large waveguide to increase output and better control dispersion. Justin Brown, MartinLogan’s Canadian sales manager, told me that these were the first MartinLogan Motion speakers to have been engineered with the assistance of Paradigm’s anechoic chamber. If you are wondering why that is, Paradigm, MartinLogan, and Anthem are sister companies.
The lineup is vast, ranging from an on-wall surround speaker to full-range floorstanders, all of which are available in Gloss Black, Walnut, and Satin White finishes. Several models were on display in the demo room of Planète Haute-Fidèlité, a MartinLogan dealer in Montreal.
The flagship model is the F200, which retails for $7000 per pair (all prices in CAD). Employing three 8″ woofers featuring aluminum cones and cast baskets, a 6.5″ Nomex midrange, and the company’s Gen2 Obsidian Folded Motion XT Tweeter, the F200 is larger than it appears in photographs. This generously sized speaker seems like it would require a fairly large room.
The F200s were driven by Saturn Audio’s overachieving 701 integrated amplifier, which was shown at Audiofest in its final production-ready form. MartinLogan was being quite daring, playing the F200s at a fairly high volume, which could have been problematic in this square, undamped room. I’d heard some speakers sounding boomy and uninvolving at the show by this point. But in the MartinLogan room, bass was tight and well controlled, and the mids were unforced yet rich in texture. With typical demo music, I find it hard to judge sound quality, but I thought that the highs were quite silky and restrained.
And then it happened! I poked the bear and asked for some music by the Tragically Hip. With “New Orleans Is Sinking” played at my kind of volume (read: loud), I heard the F200s come alive. Crisp attacks, driving bass, and a snappy top end made me really like these speakers. For a well-designed, full-range pair of floorstanders, $7000 seems like a very reasonable price.
Another ballsy move: after the Hip track finished, Sylvain Gagnon of Planète Haute-Fidèlité cranked up “Pneuma” by Tool, at the top of my just right volume level, which was much louder than what I usually hear at an audio show. The F200s handled it not only without complaint, but with a sense of ease and willingness that startled me. These speakers deserve a review here at SoundStage!
On static display was the F100 floorstander, which retails for $6000 per pair. The F100 is armed with three 6.5″ woofers and the same midrange and tweeter as the F200. Measuring 47″ tall, it’s only 3″ shorter than the F200. But it seemed slightly less imposing—more likely to fit in a space-constrained room.
The $2000-per-pair B100 bookshelf speaker is essentially the top part of the larger F-series speaker, with a 6.5″ midrange and the same Gen2 Folded Motion XT Tweeter. The matching stands, which are sold separately, attach via screws into threaded inserts on the speakers’ undersides. This is a great idea, as I may have knocked a bookshelf speaker off a stand once or twice in my lifetime.
At $1500 per pair, the Motion B10 is a lower-priced version of the B100. It employs a lower-spec midrange and smaller Gen2 FMT high-frequency driver. MartinLogan’s MP10 multi-purpose speakers ($1300 per pair) can be mounted on the wall or hung from the ceiling. In home-theater applications, they can be used as surround or height-effects speakers.
Senior Contributor, SoundStage!
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