Klipsch Reference R-51M vs. MartinLogan Motion 20i

Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker
$350 $2000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.00” × 7.00” × 8.56”
330mm × 178mm × 217mm
36.60” × 6.80” × 11.70”
930mm × 173mm × 297mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
62-21,000 Hz 46-25,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of immersive soundscapes, the Klipsch Reference R-51M bookshelf speakers and MartinLogan Motion 20i tower speakers cater to different auditory appetites. The R-51Ms, with their iconic horn-loaded tweeter and punchy dynamics, offer an energetic presence that’s compact and room-friendly. Meanwhile, the Motion 20is provide a more statuesque approach, with their signature Folded Motion tweeter delivering nuanced highs and the larger cabinet ensuring a fuller bass response. The choice between the two is a classic case of spatial considerations and acoustic preference—Klipsch's direct excitement versus MartinLogan's refined elegance.

Speaker Comparison

If you're in the market for a new set of speakers, you may find yourself choosing between the dynamic Klipsch Reference R-51M bookshelf speakers and the sophisticated MartinLogan Motion 20i tower speakers. At first glance, the difference in size and design philosophy is the most noticeable distinction, with Klipsch presenting a more traditional, rugged look and MartinLogan offering a sleek, modern aesthetic. Both brands have staunch supporters, but when it comes down to the listening experience, that's when the rubber meets the road.

Design and Build

The Klipsch R-51M speakers feature the company's signature copper-spun IMG woofers and a tractrix horn-loaded tweeter, a design choice that Klipsch has fine-tuned over decades. Their bookshelf size makes them a versatile choice for those with limited space. In contrast, the MartinLogan Motion 20i tower speakers stand tall with their elegant and slim profile, boasting a bold yet understated design that's meant to be both seen and heard. The Motion 20i uses an Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter and aluminum cone woofers that reflect its high-end status and promise of superior sound reproduction.

Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-51M arrow (at Amazon.com)

Sound Characteristics

When it comes to sound, the Klipsch R-51M pack a punch. Known for their lively and energetic sound, the R-51M can fill a room with ease, providing a detailed and dynamic soundstage. The horn-loaded tweeter ensures high frequencies are crisp and clear, while the copper-spun woofer delivers mids and bass that Klipsch fans adore. On the other hand, the MartinLogan Motion 20i speakers shine with their AMT tweeter, offering an impeccably clean and precise high end. Their sound signature is refined and balanced, with an articulate midrange and well-defined bass that can be attributed to their larger cabinet and sophisticated crossover design.

Room Integration

Room integration and speaker placement are crucial to the overall sound. The Klipsch R-51M, due to their compact size, can be placed on bookshelves or stands and are relatively forgiving in terms of room placement. On the flip side, the MartinLogan Motion 20i, being floorstanding speakers, require careful placement to ensure they perform at their best. They are more sensitive to room acoustics, and you may need to experiment with positioning to achieve the optimal soundstage.

MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 20i arrow (at Amazon.com)

Power handling is another aspect where these two differ markedly. The Klipsch R-51M, with a power handling of 85 watts RMS, are easily driven by most amplifiers or receivers. This makes them an excellent choice for someone with a modest amp looking for a speaker that's not too demanding. Conversely, the MartinLogan Motion 20i speakers, with recommended amplifier power starting at 20 watts and going up to 300 watts per channel, are more demanding and may benefit from a more robust amplifier to truly sing.

Value Proposition

In terms of value, the Klipsch R-51M speakers offer an excellent price-to-performance ratio. They're well-suited for audiophiles on a budget who still seek high-quality sound. The MartinLogan Motion 20i speakers, while more of an investment, align with the expectations of high-fidelity enthusiasts looking for a more premium sound experience. These speakers are crafted for those who not only desire acoustic excellence but also demand a visually stunning component within their listening space.

Ultimately, the choice between the Klipsch Reference R-51M bookshelf speakers and the MartinLogan Motion 20i tower speakers will come down to personal preference, listening habits, and budget. If you crave high-energy performance with a smaller footprint, the Klipsch R-51M may be your front-runner. For those who seek an elegant, full-bodied sound and have the space to accommodate larger speakers, the MartinLogan Motion 20i will likely be more appealing. Both options promise to elevate your listening experience, but the journey there will differ as much as the designs that embody these two speakers.

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Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 20i 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.