ELAC ARB51 Navis vs. MartinLogan Motion 15i

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker
$2000 $900
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.58” × 7.44” × 9.45”
345mm × 189mm × 240mm
11.40” × 6.80” × 9.50”
290mm × 173mm × 241mm
Power Type
Powered Passive
Frequency Response
44-28,000 Hz 60-25,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the high-fidelity arena, the ELAC ARB51 Navis and MartinLogan Motion 15i represent two philosophies. The Navis marries bespoke drivers with a trio of dedicated amplifiers in each speaker, offering a self-contained audiophile experience with a warm, precise soundstage. Conversely, the Motion 15i, with its distinct folded motion tweeter, delivers sparkling highs and dynamic midrange, but requires an external amplifier. The ELAC excels in convenience and cohesion, while the MartinLogan stands out for its airy detail and the flexibility to tailor the system with different amps, appealing to enthusiasts who love to customize their audio journey.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to high-fidelity audio, few experiences gratify the discerning listener like a pair of exquisitely engineered bookshelf speakers. In the landscape of sonic excellence, the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speakers stand as monoliths of aural pleasure, each offering a distinct approach to high-end sound reproduction. The ELAC ARB51 marries the convenience of an all-in-one system with the performance of audiophile components, while the MartinLogan Motion 15i brings its signature electrostatic-inspired Folded Motion tweeter technology to traditional passive speaker design.

Design Philosophy and Build Quality

ELAC's ARB51 speakers come from the mind of renowned designer Andrew Jones, and they embody a sleek, no-compromise build. With a solid MDF enclosure and custom-designed concentric drivers, the ARB51 is built to deliver a highly accurate and immersive listening experience. In contrast, the MartinLogan Motion 15i maintains the brand's legacy with an elegant, slender form factor that features the distinctive Folded Motion tweeter and a precision-built aluminum cone midrange driver. The Motion 15i's high-gloss finishes and modern lines are as much a statement of style as they are a testament to sound engineering.

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis arrow (at Amazon.com)

Performance and Sound Characteristics

The ELAC ARB51's active design means each speaker comes packed with its own built-in amplification, tailored specifically for the driver's requirements. This results in a synergistic blend of components that exudes clarity, depth, and power without the need for external amplification. Their sound is characterized by a rich midrange, tight bass, and sparkling highs. On the other side of the spectrum, the MartinLogan Motion 15i's passive design allows for a customizable audio path through the separate choice of amplifiers and cables, potentially offering a wider range of sonic tailoring. The Motion 15i's distinct tweeter delivers an incredibly fast, detailed, and nuanced treble that can make audio sources seem startlingly lifelike.

Connectivity and Convenience

With the ELAC ARB51, the convenience factor is high, as they eliminate the need for complex setups involving multiple components. Connectivity is straightforward with multiple inputs that cater to both analog and digital sources. The active system simplifies the signal path and removes the guesswork involved in matching speakers to the appropriate amplifier. However, MartinLogan's Motion 15i requires an external amplifier, offering a traditional audiophile setup that can be both a luxury and a labor of love. This arrangement provides flexibility and the joy of fine-tuning your system with different amplification to suit your individual taste.

MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 15i arrow (at Amazon.com)

The match between a listener's preferences and the speakers they choose is deeply personal and often hinges on the kind of listening experiences they seek. The ELAC ARB51 excels in delivering an all-encompassing package that caters to the listener looking for simplicity and superb sound without additional components. In contrast, the MartinLogan Motion 15i appeals to the enthusiast who delights in the process of crafting their sound by experimenting with different amplifiers and signal processing.


In the final analysis, the choice between the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speakers is less about which is superior and more about what suits the individual's audio journey. The ELAC ARB51 provides an effortless route to high-quality sound, while the MartinLogan Motion 15i invites the listener to engage with the intricacies of audio component synergy. Whichever path one chooses, both speakers stand as beacons of sound excellence, ready to envelop the listener in a world of musical bliss.

Whether you lean towards the plug-and-play simplicity and robust sound of the ELAC ARB51 or the customizable, detail-oriented experience of the MartinLogan Motion 15i, both speakers promise an enchanting auditory adventure. Each pair of speakers has its own set of strengths, and it's the listener's preferences and lifestyle that will ultimately dictate the ideal choice. One thing is certain – either will elevate the home listening experience to soaring new heights, marked by the signature quality both ELAC and MartinLogan are known for.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker

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Disclaimer: the speaker data listed on this website are correct to the best of our knowledge, but we do not guarantee the accuracy of the data. Please double-check any measurements with the manufacturer before making a final purchasing decision.