KEF LS50 Meta vs. MartinLogan Motion 40i

KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker
$1600 $2600
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.90” × 7.90” × 11.00”
302mm × 201mm × 279mm
42.50” × 7.60” × 12.80”
1080mm × 193mm × 325mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
79-28,000 Hz 40-25,000 Hz
ASR Score
4.6 n/a
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
6.7 n/a

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of high-fidelity audio, the KEF LS50 Meta and MartinLogan Motion 40i represent pinnacle performances in their respective classes—bookshelf and tower speakers. The LS50 Meta brings KEF's acclaimed Uni-Q driver array and Metamaterial Absorption Technology for precise imaging and purity of sound within a compact frame, ideally suited for smaller spaces or as part of a sophisticated studio setup. The Motion 40i, with its distinctive Folded Motion tweeter and powerful bass response, offers an immersive listening experience, commanding larger rooms with its statuesque build and dynamic range. Both deliver sonic excellence, but their applications and aesthetics serve different auditory landscapes and listener preferences.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to selecting the ideal speakers for a high-fidelity audio system, enthusiasts are often faced with the enviable task of sifting through a plethora of compelling choices. Two standout options that have garnered significant attention from audiophiles are the KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers and the MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speakers. Each brings its own unique set of strengths to the table, marrying innovative technology with acoustic excellence. The LS50 Meta, a compact marvel, has already solidified its status as an audiophile darling, while the Motion 40i continues MartinLogan's legacy of crafting visually stunning and sonically impressive floor-standing speakers.

Design Philosophy and Build Quality

The KEF LS50 Meta speakers follow the brand's philosophy of creating acoustically inert enclosures, aiming to eliminate coloration and resonance. With the inclusion of their Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), KEF claims to have significantly reduced distortion, allowing for purer sound reproduction. On the other hand, the MartinLogan Motion 40i's slender towers are not just designed to make a statement in your listening space; their rigid construction and reinforced baffles reduce vibration and enhance sound clarity. Both speaker sets exude a premium feel, but they cater to different aesthetic preferences and spatial considerations.

KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
KEF LS50 Meta arrow (at

Soundstage and Imaging

One of the most revered aspects of the KEF LS50 Meta is its uncanny ability to create an expansive soundstage from such a compact form. Thanks to KEF's Uni-Q driver array, the LS50 Meta presents a holographic and immersive listening experience that belies its small stature. The MartinLogan Motion 40i's, with their larger footprint, offer a commanding presence, with a soundstage that feels both wide and deep. MartinLogan's Folded Motion tweeter provides crisp, detailed highs that complement the dual woofers and a dedicated midrange driver, creating a full-bodied and layered sonic landscape.

Performance Across Frequencies

In the low-end department, the MartinLogan Motion 40i's naturally have an edge, given their tower configuration and larger drivers. They deliver deep, authoritative bass that fills a room with ease, without the need for a subwoofer in most cases. The KEF LS50 Meta, while not lacking in bass response for its size, does benefit greatly from pairing with a dedicated subwoofer to achieve a full-range sound. Mids on both speakers are articulate and well-defined, with the LS50 Meta particularly shining in vocal clarity. The Motion 40i's are equally adept at rendering mids, with a warmth that complements a wide range of musical genres.

MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 40i arrow (at

The highs on both the LS50 Meta and the Motion 40i are executed with finesse and detail. KEF's MAT technology plays a pivotal role in ensuring that high-frequency sounds are crisp and devoid of sibilance or artificial brightness. MartinLogan's unique tweeter design also means that treble frequencies are handled with an airy and effortless quality that is enchanting on orchestral and acoustic recordings.

Amplification is an important factor to consider when comparing these two contenders. The LS50 Meta, being less sensitive, requires a robust amplifier to truly sparkle. The Motion 40i is moderately more efficient, allowing for more flexibility when it comes to amp pairing. However, to fully appreciate what either speaker has to offer, quality amplification is key.

Ultimately, the choice between the KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers and the MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speakers boils down to personal preference, listening habits, and space availability. The LS50 Meta is ideal for those seeking a compact solution without compromising on soundstage and imaging, while the Motion 40i caters to listeners looking for dynamic full-range performance with a visually striking design. Whichever path one takes, both are capable of delivering an enriching and immersive audio experience that can be the centerpiece of any high-fidelity setup.

Check Current Prices:

KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower 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.