Klipsch Reference R-51M vs. MartinLogan Motion 40i

Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker
$350 $2600
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.00” × 7.00” × 8.56”
330mm × 178mm × 217mm
42.50” × 7.60” × 12.80”
1080mm × 193mm × 325mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
62-21,000 Hz 40-25,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of high-fidelity audio, the Klipsch Reference R-51M bookshelf speakers deliver dynamic, detailed sound with a punchy bass response, thanks to their iconic horn-loaded tweeter and copper-spun IMG woofer. Their compact form is ideal for space-conscious setups. In contrast, the MartinLogan Motion 40i tower speakers assert their stature with a sophisticated design, offering an impressively wide soundstage and articulate audio reproduction, courtesy of the Folded Motion tweeter and robust bass drivers. The choice between these two boils down to spatial considerations and sonic preferences: punchy and precise versus expansive and eloquent.

Speaker Comparison

When evaluating speakers such as the Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers and the MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker, one must consider a variety of factors that contribute to their overall performance and suitability for different listening environments. The Klipsch R-51M is a compact, dynamic bookshelf speaker known for its punchy and lively sound, while the MartinLogan Motion 40i is a refined floor-standing speaker that boasts an articulate and spacious sonic presentation.

Design and Aesthetics

The Klipsch R-51M sports a classic black vinyl finish with a distinctive copper spun woofer that immediately grabs the eye. Its small stature allows for flexibility in placement, making it an ideal choice for those with limited space. On the other hand, the MartinLogan Motion 40i towers with elegance, featuring a sophisticated design with a gentle curve on the top panel and a choice of premium finishes. The 40i's are not just speakers but a statement piece that blends with the decor of a modern living space.

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

Sound Performance

At the heart of the Klipsch R-51M's sound signature is the proprietary Tractrix horn-loaded tweeter, which delivers an exceptionally efficient and direct sound. This translates to a lively and detailed high-frequency response that Klipsch fans have come to adore. The low-end, while not earth-shattering due to the speaker's size, is tight and punchy, making these bookshelves surprisingly robust in their bass response. Conversely, the MartinLogan Motion 40i, with its Folded Motion tweeter, provides an airy and revealing treble that can articulate the nuances in music with uncanny precision. The larger cabinet and multiple drivers, including a dedicated midrange, ensure a full-bodied sound with deep, controlled bass that can fill larger rooms with ease.

Imaging and soundstage are areas where these two contenders diverge significantly. The R-51M, with its directivity aided by the Tractrix horn, presents a focused and pinpoint soundstage, excellent for rock and fast-paced music where instrument separation is crucial. The MartinLogan Motion 40i, renowned for its electrostatic-like sound dispersion, casts a wide and enveloping soundstage that can make orchestral pieces and live recordings feel as if you are in the presence of the musicians themselves.

MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 40i arrow (at Amazon.com)

Power Handling and Efficiency

Another stark contrast between the two lies in their power handling and efficiency. The Klipsch R-51M is known for its high sensitivity, meaning it can be driven to satisfactory levels with relatively modest amplification. This characteristic makes the Klipsch speakers a great partner for entry-level receivers and amplifiers. In contrast, while the MartinLogan Motion 40i is still reasonably efficient, their performance scales up with higher-quality amplification, rewarding the listener with a more dynamic and expansive sound as more power is delivered to them.

Price and Value

Price always plays a pivotal role in decision-making, and here it is important to note that the Klipsch R-51M comes in at a significantly lower price point than the MartinLogan Motion 40i. This difference is expected considering the form factor and the advanced technology employed in the Motion 40i. For budget-conscious audiophiles, the R-51M offers a compelling value, delivering an engaging listening experience without breaking the bank. Meanwhile, the Motion 40i is an investment in high-fidelity audio, intended for those seeking a premium listening experience with a price tag to match.

In conclusion, the choice between the Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers and the MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker boils down to the listener's preferences, room size, and budget. The R-51M is a champion of the bookshelf category, offering lively performance in a small package. The Motion 40i, meanwhile, is a high-end audio pillar that provides an immersive and refined sound that can cater to the most discerning of audiophiles. Both have their place in the pantheon of great speakers, each with its unique strengths that can cater to different types of listeners.

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Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-51M 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.