MartinLogan Motion 20i vs. Wharfedale Denton 85th

MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
$2000 $1000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
36.60” × 6.80” × 11.70”
930mm × 173mm × 297mm
13.44” × 9.44” × 11.94”
341mm × 240mm × 303mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
46-25,000 Hz 45-20,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the battle of clarity and space, the MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speakers stand tall with their precise electrostatic-like soundstage and room-filling presence, attributed to their Folded Motion tweeters and powerful bass. Meanwhile, the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers exude vintage charm and warmth, with a lush midrange that's perfect for intimate listening spaces. The Motion 20i's suit modern and spacious rooms, craving detailed sound, while the Denton's appeal to the nostalgic audiophile favoring a rich, classic tone. Your choice hinges on personal taste, aesthetics, and the size of your listening environment.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to high-fidelity audio, selecting the right speaker for your system can be a journey riddled with numerous variables. In the realm of premium sound, the MartinLogan Motion 20i tower speaker and the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary bookshelf speaker represent two distinct approaches to audio excellence. They not only differ in physical stature but also in their acoustic philosophy and the type of listener they are likely to enchant.

An Overview of Design and Aesthetics

The MartinLogan Motion 20i is a sleek, floor-standing tower that commands presence in any room. With its slender profile and the visually striking Folded Motion tweeter, it exudes a modern aesthetic that's at home in contemporary spaces. The Wharfedale Denton, on the other hand, is a classic bookshelf model that carries a sense of timeless elegance with its wood veneer finish and traditional box design. It's a speaker that looks like it has a story to tell, crafted to celebrate the brand’s 85th anniversary with a nod to its rich heritage.

MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 20i arrow (at

Sound Characteristics and Performance

The sonic signature of the MartinLogan Motion 20i is characterized by its detailed and open high frequencies, thanks to its distinctive Folded Motion tweeter. This unique transducer provides a lightning-fast response with minimal distortion, resulting in a crisp, articulate treble that can reveal the nuances in recordings. In contrast, the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary leans towards a warmer and richer sound. Its 1-inch soft dome tweeter paired with a 6.5-inch woven Kevlar woofer delivers a smooth, yet dynamic performance that's especially forgiving on less-than-perfect recordings.

When it comes to the low end, the Motion 20i's dual 5.5-inch aluminum cone woofers provide tight, controlled bass that complements its transparent mid-range. The precision here ensures that the bass lines are always articulate and never overpower the rest of the spectrum. The Denton, though more modest in stature, surprises with its bass response. The rear-ported design and the Kevlar-coned driver manage to produce a full-bodied and enveloping bass that belies the speaker's bookshelf dimensions.

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

Room Integration and Placement Flexibility

Despite their different forms, both speakers require thoughtful placement within a room for optimal performance. The MartinLogan Motion 20i, with its larger footprint, might necessitate more free space and a well-thought-out listening area. It thrives in an environment where it can breathe, away from walls that could potentially smear its stereo imaging. The Wharfedale Denton, while more accommodating due to its size, still demands consideration regarding its rear port. Close proximity to a wall might reinforce the bass, but could also muddy the overall sound if not managed correctly.

Listeners with more constrained spaces may find the Wharfedale Denton to be a more practical choice. Its bookshelf nature allows it to fit into various nooks without dominating the room. Conversely, the MartinLogan Motion 20i is decidedly more of a statement piece, designed to be the focal point of a dedicated listening environment. This difference in placement flexibility directly ties to the lifestyle of the listener and their personal space constraints.

Conclusion: Matching Speakers to Listeners

In the end, the choice between the MartinLogan Motion 20i tower speaker and the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary bookshelf speaker may come down to personal preference and context. The Motion 20i is ideal for the audiophile seeking a modern, detailed soundstage and has the room to accommodate its stature. The Wharfedale Denton, with its warm, inviting sound and classic look, will appeal to those who value tradition and a speaker that can blend into a variety of spaces. Both stand as testaments to their manufacturers' commitment to quality, and either set of speakers could be the crown jewel of a home audio system, depending on the ear of the beholder.

Check Current Prices:

MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower 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.