MartinLogan Motion 15i vs. Wharfedale Denton 85th

MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
$900 $1000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.40” × 6.80” × 9.50”
290mm × 173mm × 241mm
13.44” × 9.44” × 11.94”
341mm × 240mm × 303mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
60-25,000 Hz 45-20,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the niche world of high-fidelity audio, the MartinLogan Motion 15i and Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary speakers represent two distinct philosophies. The Motion 15i exudes a modern aesthetic, featuring a Folded Motion tweeter for precise highs and a punchy midrange. Contrastingly, the Denton 85th Anniversary exudes classic charm with its wood veneer finish and warm, enveloping sound signature, thanks to its Kevlar woofer. The MartinLogan appeals to those craving detail and clarity, while the Wharfedale invites listeners into a rich, nostalgic soundscape. Choosing between them is a matter of personal audio preference and aesthetic appreciation.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to high-fidelity audio, the bookshelf speaker segment is fiercely competitive and offers an array of options for the discerning listener. Today, we're comparing two exceptional models that cater to the audiophile niche: the MartinLogan Motion 15i and the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary edition. Both are steeped in heritage and represent their respective brands' commitment to superior sound reproduction, but they bring their own unique flavors to the audio experience.

The Legacy of Sound

The MartinLogan Motion series is the offspring of electrostatic speaker technology, and the Motion 15i inherits that clear, precise sound in a more traditional driver design. Featuring MartinLogan's renowned Folded Motion tweeter, these speakers deliver a sharp, accurate high-end that's hard to beat. The Wharfedale Denton, on the other hand, is more of a classic British speaker, with its 85th Anniversary edition celebrating decades of audio craftsmanship. The Denton offers a warm, inviting sound with a vintage aesthetic that pays homage to its rich lineage.

MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 15i arrow (at

Design and Build

Design-wise, the MartinLogan Motion 15i carries a modern, almost minimalist appeal with its sleek lines and compact build. It's unobtrusive and can blend seamlessly into a contemporary living space while still providing a visual statement. The Wharfedale Denton is quite the contrast, with its throwback look featuring wood veneer and Tungsten cloth grille. It's bulkier and demands more presence in a room, appealing to those who appreciate the nostalgic feel of classic hi-fi gear.

Sound Signature and Performance

When pushing play, the differences become even more pronounced. The MartinLogan Motion 15i shines in transparency and detail retrieval, offering an expansive soundstage that's impressive for its size. It's particularly adept at handling complex arrangements, where separation of instruments is key. The Denton 85th Anniversary's sound is lush and rich, with a focus on delivering a full-bodied midrange that makes vocals stand out. Its bass response is substantial for a bookshelf speaker, though it may not match the tight control found in the Motion 15i's bass performance.

Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
Wharfedale Denton 85th arrow (at

Listeners who prioritize precision and the feel of 'being there' at a live performance will gravitate toward the Motion 15i. Those who prefer a more relaxed listening experience, with a bit of warmth and smoothness to the sound, might find the Denton 85th's presentation more to their liking. It's a matter of preference, as both are capable of delivering a quality audio experience but do so in their own distinctive ways.

Compatibility and Integration

In terms of system integration, the Motion 15i's revealing nature means it pairs well with high-quality amplification and source components that can match its resolution capabilities. The Denton, while not as demanding, still benefits from thoughtful pairing to ensure its characterful sound is not overshadowed by overly bright or harsh electronics. Both sets of speakers are relatively easy to drive, although the Motion 15i's 4 Ohm impedance may require an amplifier with a robust power supply.

Conclusively, the choice between the MartinLogan Motion 15i and the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary speakers is less about outright quality and more about personal taste and the desired interaction with one's listening space. Whether it's the cutting-edge clarity and dynamic poise of the Motion 15i or the vintage warmth and smooth musicality of the Denton 85th, both speakers stand as testament to their makers' audio philosophy and are worthy contenders in any audiophile's quest for acoustic perfection.

Check Current Prices:

MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker
Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary 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.