ELAC ARB51 Navis vs. MartinLogan Motion 2i

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers MartinLogan Motion 2i Bookshelf Speakers
$2000 $200
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.58” × 7.44” × 9.45”
345mm × 189mm × 240mm
10.00” × 4.70” × 4.60”
254mm × 119mm × 117mm
Power Type
Powered Passive
Frequency Response
44-28,000 Hz 110-23,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the clash of compact sonic titans, the ELAC ARB51 Navis offers audiophiles a self-powered solution with custom drivers and a built-in tri-amp configuration, ensuring a meticulously controlled and dynamic performance across the frequency spectrum. Meanwhile, the MartinLogan Motion 2i serves as a passive alternative, flaunting their acclaimed Folded Motion tweeter for a precise and airy high-end. Both speakers excel in clarity and detail, but the ELAC's heftier price tag reflects its all-in-one convenience and robust build, suited for enthusiasts seeking a high-resolution standalone system, while the MartinLogan is a perfect contender for traditionalists keen on integrating with existing amplification.

Speaker Comparison

When you're a serious audiophile, choosing the right bookshelf speakers can be akin to selecting the perfect vintage wine—it's all about the nuance. The ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the MartinLogan Motion 2i Bookshelf Speakers are both exceptional contenders in the high-fidelity arena, yet they cater to slightly different tastes and listening preferences. Diving into the details, it's evident that each speaker has its own unique aural signature, craftmanship, and technological approach to delivering sound that engages and moves you. The following comparison aims to dissect the qualities of each, ensuring that enthusiasts can make an informed decision that resonates with their personal audio palate.

Design and Build Quality

The ELAC ARB51 Navis exudes a sense of robustness combined with a simplistic elegance that many audiophiles will appreciate. Its cabinet is constructed with meticulous attention to detail, reducing resonance and ensuring sound purity. On the other hand, the MartinLogan Motion 2i, with its distinct folded motion tweeter and compact form factor, presents itself as a modernist piece that can blend seamlessly into contemporary decor. While both speakers exhibit excellent build quality, the Navis may appeal to those who prefer a more traditional speaker appearance, whereas the Motion 2i will attract fans of avant-garde design.

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

Sound Performance

When it comes to sound performance, the ELAC ARB51 Navis boasts a fully active tri-amplified design, which means each driver has its own dedicated amplifier. This results in a precise, controlled sound that's both balanced and dynamic, suitable for a wide range of musical genres. The highs are crisp without being fatiguing, the mids are clear and present, and the bass is tight and well-defined. Conversely, the MartinLogan Motion 2i employs an advanced folded motion tweeter to render high frequencies with a life-like precision that's hard to find in traditional dome tweeters. The soundstage they create is broad and enveloping, although the bass might not be as pronounced as in the Navis, due to the smaller cabinet and design focus on midrange and highs.

Connectivity is another area where these speakers diverge. The ELAC ARB51 is quite versatile, offering a plethora of inputs, including XLR, RCA, and Bluetooth with aptX, catering to both the audiophile who loves a wired connection and the convenience seeker who appreciates wireless options. The MartinLogan Motion 2i, however, sticks to a more conventional setup, requiring an external amplifier or receiver to drive them. This could be considered a limitation or an opportunity, depending on whether the listener prefers a self-contained system or enjoys the process of pairing speakers with different amplifiers to tailor the sound to their liking.

MartinLogan Motion 2i Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 2i arrow (at Amazon.com)

Value and Verdict

For those considering an investment in high-end bookshelf speakers, the ELAC ARB51 Navis and the MartinLogan Motion 2i both present compelling cases. The Navis, with its built-in amplification and audiophile-grade components, is positioned as an all-in-one solution for those seeking a minimalist setup without sacrificing sound quality. On the flip side, the Motion 2i's strength lies in its exquisite high-frequency detail and practical size, making it a superb choice for those who already have an amplifier they adore and wish to add a touch of sonic excellence to small and medium-sized rooms.

Ultimately, the choice between the ELAC ARB51 Navis and the MartinLogan Motion 2i may come down to personal listening habits and the specific requirements of one's audio system. The Navis excels as a standalone unit, ideal for listeners who value ease of use and a clutter-free environment. The Motion 2i, meanwhile, is perfect for the enthusiast who enjoys the customization and flexibility of a passive speaker system. Regardless of the direction one leans, both speakers are testament to the incredible advancements in audio technology and design, promising to deliver a captivating listening experience that's bound to satisfy discerning ears.

In conclusion, weighing the nuances of the ELAC ARB51 Navis against the MartinLogan Motion 2i isn't just a comparison of specifications—it's an appreciation of different philosophies in sound reproduction. Whether it's the Navis' self-contained elegance or the Motion 2i's traditional approach coupled with innovative tweeter technology, both speakers stand as top-tier choices for those chasing audio perfection. As with all high-fidelity equipment, the proof is in the listening, and I encourage audiophiles to experience both in their natural habitat—the home environment—where they can truly sing and reveal their character.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 2i Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 2i Bookshelf Speakers

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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.