Klipsch Reference R-51M vs. MartinLogan Motion 2i

Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers MartinLogan Motion 2i Bookshelf Speakers
$350 $200
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.00” × 7.00” × 8.56”
330mm × 178mm × 217mm
10.00” × 4.70” × 4.60”
254mm × 119mm × 117mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
62-21,000 Hz 110-23,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: When comparing the Klipsch Reference R-51M and MartinLogan Motion 2i bookshelf speakers, we're looking at two distinct sound philosophies. Klipsch boasts a lively, dynamic sound with its signature horn-loaded tweeter and a punchy low end, suitable for rock and cinematic experiences. Meanwhile, the Motion 2i offers a more refined, balanced delivery with its Folded Motion tweeter, excelling in clarity and detail, which classical and jazz aficionados would adore. Choosing between them comes down to personal sonic preference: Klipsch for raw energy and MartinLogan for nuanced audio finesse.

Speaker Comparison

When diving into the world of high-fidelity audio, the journey often begins with a set of quality bookshelf speakers. Two notable contenders in this arena are the Klipsch Reference R-51M and the MartinLogan Motion 2i. Both of these models are highly regarded in their own right, but they offer distinctly different listening experiences that cater to a variety of audiophile preferences.

Design and Build Quality

The Klipsch R-51M carries the brand's iconic design with a copper-spun IMG woofer that not only stands out visually but also promises durability. The textured wood-grain vinyl gives them an aesthetic edge that harkens back to Klipsch's classic speaker design. The MartinLogan Motion 2i, on the other hand, boasts a sleek, high-gloss piano black finish that exudes modern elegance. The Motion 2i's curved design is not just about looks; it also helps reduce edge diffraction for a cleaner sound.

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

Sound Signature and Performance

Klipsch speakers are known for their lively sound, and the R-51M model is no exception. With its Tractrix horn-loaded aluminum tweeter, it delivers a crisp and detailed high-end that can easily fill a room without sounding harsh. The emphasis on the higher frequencies makes these speakers particularly well-suited for genres like rock and pop, where clarity and punch are essential. In contrast, the MartinLogan Motion 2i features the brand's signature Folded Motion tweeter, which offers a lightning-fast response with a broad sound dispersion. This translates to an open, airy treble that complements a well-balanced midrange, making them ideal for vocal-centric music and intricate soundscapes.

At the core of the bass response, the Klipsch R-51M's 5.25-inch woofer offers a surprisingly authoritative low end for its size. It may not reach the subterranean depths that larger floor-standing models can, but for a bookshelf speaker, it punches above its weight class. Conversely, the MartinLogan Motion 2i, with its 3.5-inch woofer, takes a more subdued approach to bass. It is tight and well-defined but may require a subwoofer to satisfy bassheads or to fill larger rooms.

MartinLogan Motion 2i Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 2i arrow (at Amazon.com)

Imaging and Soundstage

Imaging is where the MartinLogan Motion 2i shines. Thanks to its Folded Motion tweeter and the precision-engineered crossover network, the speaker can pinpoint the placement of instruments and vocals within a three-dimensional space. The soundstage is wide and enveloping, inviting listeners into a more immersive experience. The Klipsch R-51M, while offering a robust soundstage in its own right, focuses more on dynamics and presence. Its sound is direct and engaging, ensuring that listeners are more aware of the music's energy and detail rather than feeling surrounded by it.

Setting up the Klipsch R-51M and MartinLogan Motion 2i presents two different paths. Klipsch's speakers are generally more forgiving in terms of placement, thanks to their horn-loaded design, which allows for broad dispersion. The MartinLogan Motion 2i, while still versatile, benefits from careful positioning and some breathing room from walls to maximize the potential of the Folded Motion tweeters and achieve optimal soundstaging.


In conclusion, the choice between Klipsch Reference R-51M and MartinLogan Motion 2i bookshelf speakers largely depends on personal taste and the specific requirements of your listening space. The Klipsch offers a dynamic and impactful sound, perfect for those who want to feel the energy of their music with a bold aesthetic to match. MartinLogan, with its refined highs and sophisticated soundstage, caters to listeners seeking a more nuanced and immersive audio experience. Regardless of your preference, both speakers are impressive performers in the bookshelf category and are sure to elevate any home audio system.

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Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 2i Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 2i 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.