ELAC ARB51 Navis vs. MartinLogan Motion 60XTi

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers MartinLogan Motion 60XTi Tower Speaker
$2000 $3750
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.58” × 7.44” × 9.45”
345mm × 189mm × 240mm
48.00” × 11.40” × 14.40”
1219mm × 290mm × 366mm
Power Type
Powered Passive
Frequency Response
44-28,000 Hz 35-25,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the quest for pristine audio, the ELAC ARB51 Navis offers an exemplary powered bookshelf solution, marrying custom drivers with built-in amplification for a seamless, room-friendly setup. Conversely, the towering MartinLogan Motion 60XTi, with its distinct folded motion tweeters and dynamic bass response, stands as an audiophile's dream for a more traditional, passive listening experience. While the ELAC excels in convenience and integration, the MartinLogan demands space and a separate amp but rewards with grandiose, room-filling sound. The choice hinges on user preference for simplicity versus scale, and the intimacy of bookshelf speakers versus the authority of floor standers.

Speaker Comparison

When we enter the realm of high-fidelity audio, it's like stepping into a gallery where each piece of equipment is a work of art, both in design and sonic performance. The ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the MartinLogan Motion 60XTi Tower Speakers are two such masterpieces, each offering a unique aural experience that caters to the discerning ears of audiophiles. On one hand, we have the compact, self-contained universe of the ELAC ARB51, and on the other, the statuesque presence of the MartinLogan Motion 60XTi, standing tall and proud. The comparison between these two isn't just about the sound—it's about the philosophy behind their designs, the technology that powers them, and the type of listener they aim to please.

Design Philosophy: Bookshelf Versus Tower

The ELAC ARB51 hails from the school of thought where space efficiency and the integration of amplifier and speaker into a single unit reign supreme. It's a speaker that asks for minimal space but promises a bounty of performance. In contrast, the MartinLogan Motion 60XTi is a testament to the traditional tower design where size is leveraged to accommodate larger drivers and deliver potentially more authoritative bass and dynamics. The choice between a bookshelf and a tower speaker often comes down to the aesthetics of one's listening space and the ability to accommodate either form factor.

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

Amplification: The Powered versus Passive Debate

The Navis ARB51 removes the need for external amplification, making it a plug-and-play solution for music enthusiasts who appreciate simplicity and elegance. The speaker's built-in amplification is tailored to its drivers, ensuring a synergistic relationship between power and performance. The Motion 60XTi, being a passive speaker, offers the flexibility to pair with a variety of amplifiers, allowing the user to tweak the sound to their preference, but at the additional expense and requirement of external hardware. This decision can significantly affect not only the sound character but also the overall cost and complexity of one's audio system.

Sound Performance: A Symphony of Differences

In terms of sound, the ELAC ARB51 is a master of precision and nuance. Its three-way design and dedicated drivers mean that each frequency range is handled with meticulous care, resulting in a balanced sound that's both accurate and immersive. The ARB51 excels in delivering a soundstage that's both wide and deep, with an uncanny ability to disappear in the room, leaving only the music to fill the space. The MartinLogan Motion 60XTi, with its larger cabinet and signature Folded Motion XT tweeter, offers a different kind of sonic spectacle. The Motion 60XTi's sound is grand, assertive, and dynamic, with a high-frequency extension that sparkles without harshness and a low-end presence that can fill a room with ease.

MartinLogan Motion 60XTi Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 60XTi arrow (at Amazon.com)

When it comes to bass response, the ELAC ARB51, despite its compact size, surprises with its depth and definition. However, it's the MartinLogan Motion 60XTi that truly flexes its muscles, thanks to its larger woofers and a cabinet designed to support deeper, room-shaking low frequencies. This is not to say the Motion 60XTi is all about the bass—it maintains a remarkable balance across the spectrum, but it certainly has the edge in terms of sheer power and impact.

Imaging and Soundstage

Imaging is another area where these two contenders show their distinct personalities. The ARB51's smaller footprint allows it to carve out a more precise sonic image with exceptional placement of instruments within the soundstage. The MartinLogan, with its larger drivers and advanced tweeter technology, has the ability to create a more expansive soundstage that can make the music seem larger than life. Yet, despite its grandeur, it manages to keep a tight handle on imaging, ensuring that each element in the sound mix is clearly located and defined.

So, what's the verdict? In truth, the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the MartinLogan Motion 60XTi Tower Speakers are both excellent but serve different masters. The ARB51 is for the audiophile who values clarity, coherence, and the convenience of a self-contained system. The Motion 60XTi, on the other hand, is for those who crave the power and presence of a full-sized tower and the flexibility of choosing their own amplification path. Ultimately, the listener's preference in sound signature, space constraints, and the pleasure of the listening experience will guide them to the right choice. Both speakers are worthy of the highest praise, and each will find a home where their strengths can shine and their music can speak directly to the soul.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 60XTi Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 60XTi Tower Speaker

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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.