Elac Carina BS243.4 vs. MartinLogan Motion 4i

Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers
$1000 $250
Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.63” × 8.06” × 9.69”
321mm × 205mm × 246mm
12.60” × 5.60” × 5.70”
320mm × 142mm × 145mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
46-30,000 Hz 70-23,000 Hz
ASR Score
n/a 1.5
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
n/a 5.1

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the bustling realm of high-fidelity audio, the Elac Carina BS243.4 emerges with its JET folded ribbon tweeter, delivering a soundstage that's as expansive as it is detailed. The bass reflex design and 5.25-inch aluminum woofer combine for a robust, room-filling presence. Meanwhile, the MartinLogan Motion 4i, with its distinct Folded Motion tweeter, offers articulate highs and a midrange clarity that punches above its weight class. Its compact and sleek design hides a powerful 4-inch woofer that ensures a precise and responsive bass. Both stand as titans in their class, each offering a unique window into the soul of music.

Speaker Comparison

When discussing high-quality bookshelf speakers, the Elac Carina BS243.4 and the MartinLogan Motion 4i immediately come to mind, both representing substantial value and performance in their respective price classes. They offer unique approaches to reproducing music, with Elac favoring a traditional dynamic driver design and MartinLogan sporting its signature folded motion tweeter. It's this fundamental difference in driver technology that shapes much of the listening experience, and ultimately guides the preferences of the audiophile.

Design Philosophy and Build Quality

The Elac Carina BS243.4 speakers are a testament to Andrew Jones's commitment to creating speakers that not only sound great but also exhibit excellent craftsmanship. The sleek, jet-black finish and the sophisticated silhouette of the Carina series exude a high-end appeal that is both visually and acoustically impressive. On the other hand, the MartinLogan Motion 4i speakers showcase a more futuristic and distinctive aesthetic with the iconic MartinLogan perforated grille and the slender, curved cabinet design. Both pair well with modern home decor, but the choice between understated elegance and avant-garde style is a subjective one.

Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers
Elac Carina BS243.4 arrow (at Amazon.com)

Soundstage and Imaging

The Elac Carina BS243.4 speakers are known for their expansive soundstage, a trait that is highly sought after by audiophiles looking for an immersive listening experience. The spatial separation and placement of instruments within the Carina's soundstage are precise, offering a realistic and enveloping performance. Conversely, the MartinLogan Motion 4i, thanks to its Folded Motion Tweeter, delivers exceptional transient response and a more pinpoint imaging. This tweeter design allows for a faster response than traditional domes, leading to a nuanced and articulate high-frequency performance that can make the Motion 4i's soundstage feel almost holographic at times.

Bass Response and Dynamics

Elac's Carina BS243.4 speakers, with their 5.25-inch aluminum cone woofers, produce a tight and punchy bass that's suitable for most genres. While they may not plunge into the subterranean depths, the Carina's do offer a balanced and natural low-end presence. The MartinLogan Motion 4i speakers, with their slightly smaller 4-inch woofers, are also capable of a surprising amount of bass; however, they may benefit from the addition of a subwoofer in larger rooms or for bass-heavy music. In terms of dynamics, both speakers handle sudden swings in volume with poise, but the Carina tends to offer a bit more heft and impact, particularly noticeable on powerful drum hits or explosive orchestral passages.

MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 4i arrow (at Amazon.com)

The midrange is where the Elac Carina BS243.4 really shines, producing clear and natural vocals that are rich with texture. Instruments sound lifelike and present, fostering a strong emotional connection with the music. The MartinLogan Motion 4i, while also delivering a detailed midrange, emphasizes clarity and resolution a bit more than warmth, which might suit certain audiophile tastes—especially those who value detail over fullness.

In the treble department, the Elac Carina series avoids any hint of brightness, opting for a smooth and refined top-end that can be listened to for hours without fatigue. The MartinLogan Motion 4i's Folded Motion Tweeter, known for its lightning-fast transient response, offers a crisper and more detailed high-frequency reproduction that can uncover subtle nuances in recordings, but may also be less forgiving on poorly mastered tracks.

Ultimately, choosing between the Elac Carina BS243.4 and the MartinLogan Motion 4i bookshelf speakers is a matter of personal preference and intended use. The Elac Carinas might be better suited for listeners who prioritize a natural, balanced, and organic sound, while the MartinLogans appeal to those who desire precision, detail, and clear imaging. Both speakers have the potential to become the cornerstone of a high-fidelity audio system, providing years of musical enjoyment for the discerning listener.

Check Current Prices:

Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers
Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 4i 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.