ELAC ARB51 Navis vs. MartinLogan Motion 35XTi

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers MartinLogan Motion 35XTi Bookshelf Speaker
$2000 $1500
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.58” × 7.44” × 9.45”
345mm × 189mm × 240mm
13.50” × 7.60” × 11.80”
343mm × 193mm × 300mm
Power Type
Powered Passive
Frequency Response
44-28,000 Hz 50-25,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of high-fidelity sound, the ELAC ARB51 Navis and MartinLogan Motion 35XTi bookshelf speakers present two distinct approaches. The Navis champions a self-contained, powered design with custom drivers, offering a precise, unified system that delivers a pure, robust audio experience with convenient setup. Conversely, the 35XTi, a passive speaker, requires external amplification, yet it's revered for its trademarked Folded Motion tweeter, which yields an exceptionally detailed and airy high-end. Deciding between the two often hinges on listeners' preferences for convenience versus customization in their audio setups, as well as their desire for a specific sound signature.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to high-fidelity sound, audiophiles often find themselves at a crossroads between the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi Bookshelf Speakers. These two titans of the audio world represent the pinnacle of bookshelf speaker design, balancing size with sonic prowess, but they come at their craft from slightly different angles. The ELAC ARB51, a powered speaker, offers an all-in-one solution, while the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi requires external amplification.

Design Philosophy and Aesthetics

The ELAC ARB51 Navis exudes a sleek, understated elegance with its no-nonsense rectangular cabinet and comes in a variety of finishes to blend with any decor. In contrast, the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi boasts a more exotic look with its distinct folded Motion tweeter, which not only serves as an eye-catcher but also as a sound-shaping tool. The MartinLogan's finish is impeccably high-end, adding a touch of sophistication to its appearance. Both speakers make a statement, but the MartinLogan does so with a bit more flair.

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

Sound Quality and Performance

When it comes to the sound, the ELAC ARB51 delivers a beautifully balanced audio experience. Its built-in amplification is meticulously tuned to the drivers, ensuring a synergy that’s hard to replicate in passive speakers paired with separate amplification. On the other hand, the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi's signature sound comes from its Folded Motion tweeter, which provides an astonishingly fast, detailed, and nuanced treble response that's hard to beat. Bass response is solid on both models, but the ELAC may have a slight edge in control due to its internal amps.

The soundstage is where things get interesting. The ELAC ARB51 projects a wonderfully wide and deep soundstage, offering an immersive listening experience. Its focus on precision and accuracy allows for pinpoint imaging that brings out the best in well-recorded material. Conversely, the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi's soundstage is nothing short of expansive, with the electrostatic heritage of the brand shining through in the way it disperses sound into the room. It has a slightly more enveloping feel, although it might sacrifice a bit of the pinpoint accuracy the ELAC provides.

MartinLogan Motion 35XTi Bookshelf Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 35XTi arrow (at Amazon.com)

Connectivity and Functionality

In terms of functionality, the ELAC ARB51 is a winner for those who value convenience. The speaker's built-in amplification means fewer cables and no need for external components, which could be a significant advantage in a minimalist setup. For the more traditional audiophile who enjoys the process of selecting and pairing components, the passive MartinLogan Motion 35XTi offers the flexibility to match with an amplifier that suits one's taste. This could lead to a more customized sound but requires a greater investment in both time and money.

Connectivity is another area where the ELAC shines. With analog and digital inputs, including an optical connection, these speakers are ready to interface with modern streaming devices, TVs, and turntables with a preamp. The MartinLogan, being a passive speaker, leaves the choice of connectivity to the accompanying amplifier, which could be seen as an opportunity or an additional challenge, depending on the user's perspective.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, choosing between the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi Bookshelf Speakers comes down to personal preference and individual needs. The ELAC offers a high-performance, plug-and-play experience that's hard to fault, while the MartinLogan invites listeners to explore the depths of high-fidelity sound with its detailed highs and customizable setup. Regardless of the choice, both speakers stand as testaments to the incredible experiences that can be had from the confines of a bookshelf speaker.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 35XTi Bookshelf Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 35XTi 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.