MartinLogan Motion 35XTi vs. NHT SuperZero 2.1

MartinLogan Motion 35XTi Bookshelf Speaker NHT SuperZero 2.1 Mini-Monitor Speaker
$1500 $300
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.50” × 7.60” × 11.80”
343mm × 193mm × 300mm
9.00” × 5.50” × 5.00”
229mm × 140mm × 127mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
50-25,000 Hz 85-20,000 Hz
ASR Score
n/a 3.4
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
n/a 6.7

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of high-fidelity audio, the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi and NHT SuperZero 2.1 stand as noteworthy bookshelf contenders. The Motion 35XTi, with its luscious Folded Motion XT tweeter, offers a remarkably detailed soundstage, excelling in both instrumental separation and airy highs. The NHT SuperZero 2.1, a mini-monitor marvel, achieves a surprisingly full-bodied sound for its size, with a well-defined midrange, although it may lack the bass extension and treble refinement of the MartinLogan. Each speaker has its merits, but the 35XTi's broader dynamic range and crisp articulation cater to the discerning audiophile seeking a more vivid and immersive listening experience.

Speaker Comparison

When we talk about the high-fidelity audio landscape, it's impossible not to mention two standout performers in the realm of bookshelf speakers: the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi and the NHT SuperZero 2.1 Mini-Monitor. Both are compact powerhouses, but they interpret their mission to deliver exceptional sound in distinctly different ways. The MartinLogan Motion 35XTi comes from a brand synonymous with electrostatic speaker designs, albeit this model is a dynamic speaker that leverages the company's expertise in high-end audio. Meanwhile, the NHT SuperZero 2.1 is the swan song of a brand deeply admired for producing no-nonsense, high-quality, affordable speakers.

The Soundstage and Imaging

The MartinLogan Motion 35XTi presents a rigorous, expansive soundstage that seems to defy the limits of its physical size. With a Folded Motion XT tweeter, the speaker brings a sense of airiness and detail that's unparalleled at its price point, allowing for pinpoint imaging that captures the nuanced placement of instruments within a recording. The NHT SuperZero 2.1, while modest in its sonic spread, punches well above its weight, offering a coherence and focus that's rare for speakers of its size and price. It may not throw as wide a net as the Motion 35XTi, but what it lacks in expansiveness, it makes up for in precise and intimate soundstage representation.

MartinLogan Motion 35XTi Bookshelf Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 35XTi arrow (at

The Bass Response

Moving to the lower end of the frequency spectrum, the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi showcases an articulate and tight bass response. They aren't subwoofer-dependent for most music genres, but pairing them with a subwoofer can truly elevate the experience for bass-heavy tracks. The NHT SuperZero 2.1, on the contrary, takes a minimalist approach to bass. These speakers inherently rely on a subwoofer to fill in the lower frequencies, which isn't necessarily a mark against them—it's simply a design choice that allows for a small cabinet size. When appropriately matched with a capable subwoofer, the SuperZero 2.1 can deliver a complete and satisfying sound.

Design and Build Quality

The visual and tactile aspects play an enormous role in the enjoyment of any high-fidelity gear. The Motion 35XTi boasts a luxurious, modern look with real-wood veneer finishes and a robust, precision-built cabinet that exudes quality. Comparatively, the NHT SuperZero 2.1 sports a more utilitarian design, with a simple, boxy shape and a no-frills aesthetic that focuses squarely on performance over appearance. Both are solidly constructed, but the Motion 35XTi seems to cater to the audiophile who values the speaker's presence in the room as much as its auditory performance.

NHT SuperZero 2.1 Mini-Monitor Speaker
NHT SuperZero 2.1 arrow (at

Connectivity is another point of divergence between these two models. The MartinLogan Motion 35XTi features high-quality binding posts that can accommodate thick gauge wires and sophisticated terminations, ensuring a secure and superior connection. In contrast, the SuperZero 2.1 provides decent but basic connectors, which are functional but might not give the same confidence or pleasure during setup and use for those who revel in the finer details of their audio systems.

Efficiency is yet another factor to consider. The Motion 35XTi, with a sensitivity of 92 dB, is relatively easy to drive and can be paired with a wide range of amplifiers, from low-powered tube amps to more robust solid-state models. The SuperZero 2.1, being less efficient at 86 dB, might require a bit more power to perform optimally, but its forgiving impedance curve means it's still quite amicable with a variety of amplification sources.

In conclusion, while the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi and the NHT SuperZero 2.1 Mini-Monitor occupy different echelons of the bookshelf speaker market, both can claim to deliver remarkable audio experiences within their respective design philosophies. The Motion 35XTi aims to dazzle with its audiophile-grade components and superior soundstage, whereas the SuperZero 2.1 maintains a reputation for solid, no-frills performance at a great value. The choice between the two will ultimately come down to listener preference, room dynamics, and system synergy, but rest assured, both are more than capable of bringing the music home.

Check Current Prices:

MartinLogan Motion 35XTi Bookshelf Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 35XTi Bookshelf Speaker
NHT SuperZero 2.1 Mini-Monitor Speaker
NHT SuperZero 2.1 Mini-Monitor 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.