ELAC Uni-fi UB5 vs. MartinLogan Motion 15i
|ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
|MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker
|Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.81” × 7.94” × 12.19”
325mm × 202mm × 310mm
11.40” × 6.80” × 9.50”
290mm × 173mm × 241mm
TLDR Summary: In the realm of high-fidelity sound, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and MartinLogan Motion 15i stand as remarkable bookshelf speakers. The UB5 dazzles with its concentric driver design, delivering a cohesive, precise soundstage, while its three-way configuration offers exceptional midrange clarity. In contrast, the Motion 15i shines with MartinLogan's signature Folded Motion tweeter, ensuring an airy, detailed high-end. The aesthetics diverge, with ELAC's minimalist charm versus MartinLogan's sleek, modern lines. Both speakers demand quality amplification, but the choice ultimately hinges on listener preference for ELAC's articulate midrange or MartinLogan's sparkling highs.
When it comes to the audiophile landscape, few speakers capture the imagination like the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and the MartinLogan Motion 15i. Both are stellar bookshelf speakers that aim to deliver a high-fidelity audio experience in a compact form-factor. The ELAC Uni-fi UB5 comes with the pedigree of acclaimed designer Andrew Jones and has been a disruptor in the market with its remarkable value proposition. On the other hand, MartinLogan's Motion 15i carries the legacy of electrostatic speaker design translated into a more traditional speaker architecture, boasting an exotic folded motion tweeter.
The Sonic Signature
The ELAC Uni-fi UB5s present a sound that's both warm and detailed, offering a three-way design that segregates the lows, mids, and highs more distinctly than most two-way bookshelf speakers. This results in a soundstage that feels larger and more lifelike. Conversely, the MartinLogan Motion 15i speakers articulate a more airy and spacious sound, thanks in large part to their Folded Motion tweeter, which provides a lightning-fast response and the kind of detail that can make audio seem to float in the space around you.
Design and Build Quality
In terms of design, the ELACs are somewhat utilitarian but solid, with a no-frills aesthetic that appeals to the purist. Their build quality is robust, offering confidence in their longevity, but they are also a bit more bulky and might demand more space on your bookshelf. The MartinLogan Motion 15i, with its sleek curves and glossy finish, speaks to a modernist design ethos. They feel meticulously crafted, showcasing the attention to detail that MartinLogan is known for. Their footprint is also slightly more compact, making them a bit easier to place in tight spaces.
Delving into performance, the UB5s are a bit more demanding in terms of power. They have a nominal impedance of 4 ohms, which means they pair best with amplifiers capable of delivering robust current. The Motion 15i speakers are a little more flexible, with a 5-ohm nominal impedance and a sensitivity that's slightly higher. This allows them to play well with a broader range of amplifiers, from high-end separates to more modestly powered integrated amps.
The bass response is another area where these two diverge. The UB5s, with their dedicated bass driver and a concentric midrange/tweeter, manage to deliver deep and tight bass, even surprising for their size. In contrast, the Motion 15i relies on a more traditional two-way design and while the bass is precise, it may not have the same depth and fullness without the support of a subwoofer.
Compare to similar speakers
Value Proposition and Conclusion
Finally, when considering value, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5s are often heralded as giant-killers due to their exceptional performance at a relatively modest price point. They're a compelling choice for the serious audiophile on a budget. The MartinLogan Motion 15i, while typically more expensive, offer that signature MartinLogan sound and a more luxurious build, which for many justifies the additional investment. Ultimately, the choice between these two bookshelf titans will depend on one's personal sound preference, design sensibility, and budget considerations.
In conclusion, both the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and the MartinLogan Motion 15i bookshelf speakers offer distinct takes on high-fidelity sound that can satisfy a variety of audio enthusiasts. The UB5s impress with their three-way design and rewarding sound at a lower price point, while the Motion 15i speakers captivate with their exceptional detail and elegant aesthetics. The final decision might just come down to an audition, where the listener's ears will be the best judge of which speaker truly sings to their unique tastes and space.
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