MartinLogan Motion 40i vs. Pioneer SP-BS22-LR

MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers
$2600 $160
Dimensions (H × W × D)
42.50” × 7.60” × 12.80”
1080mm × 193mm × 325mm
12.56” × 7.13” × 8.44”
319mm × 181mm × 214mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
40-25,000 Hz 55-20,000 Hz
ASR Score
n/a 5.0
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
n/a 7.5

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the arena of high-fidelity audio, the MartinLogan Motion 40i towers loom with their sleek design and electrostatic prowess, offering a detailed and spacious soundstage suited for discerning audiophiles. Conversely, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR, designed by the legendary Andrew Jones, punches above its weight class, delivering remarkable performance at an entry-level price. The 40i's articulate highs and robust bass response eclipse the more modest Pioneers, yet for small rooms or budget-conscious listeners, the SP-BS22-LR's warm and balanced sound is compelling. Both champions in their respective categories, the choice hinges on space, budget, and sonic preference.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to high-fidelity audio, the choice of speakers can make or break the listening experience. It's an age-old debate between the towering might of floor-standing speakers versus the nuanced agility of bookshelf models. In the battle for acoustic supremacy, I've had the pleasure of experiencing the MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speakers and comparing them to the more modestly sized Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers. While both offer compelling arguments for their respective categories, they serve distinctly different listening philosophies and budgets.

Design and Aesthetics

The MartinLogan Motion 40i immediately makes a statement with its sleek, elegant design and the signature folded motion tweeter—a testament to MartinLogan's commitment to both visual and auditory artistry. Standing confidently at just over a meter tall, these towers are designed to be a centerpiece in any audiophile's listening room. Conversely, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR, designed by the renowned Andrew Jones, presents a more understated look. Compact and unassuming, these bookshelf speakers can comfortably blend into smaller spaces without drawing undue attention. However, they still maintain a level of craftsmanship that reflects a serious dedication to sound.

MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 40i arrow (at

Sound Quality

In terms of sonic performance, the MartinLogan Motion 40i exhibits a broad soundstage that is as expansive as its physical stature suggests. The clarity of the highs, courtesy of the unique tweeter design, is truly a highlight, offering a level of detail that can make the intricacies of a symphony or the subtleties of a jazz ensemble come alive. The midrange is also articulate, ensuring vocals and instruments are rendered with lifelike precision. The bass, while not overpowering, is tight and well-integrated with the rest of the frequency spectrum.

On the other side of the ring, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR, though smaller in size, punches well above its weight class. These speakers deliver a warm and balanced sound that belies their modest footprint. The highs are crisp without being harsh, and the mids, while not as detailed as the Motion 40i's, are still impressively clear and present. The bass response is the most noticeable compromise due to the speaker's size, but for their category, they perform admirably, offering a coherence and musicality that can still satisfy the critical listener.

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR arrow (at

Room Integration and Flexibility

The MartinLogan Motion 40i, with its larger drivers and cabinet design, requires a more spacious environment to truly breathe and express its full potential. Their presence demands not only physical space but also some attention to room acoustics to mitigate any potential bass reinforcement or sound wave reflection issues. The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR, on the other hand, is far more forgiving and adaptable to a variety of room conditions. Their compact nature allows for easier placement on shelves or stands, making them suitable for both small apartments and larger rooms where space is a premium.

Value and Accessibility

Considering value, the MartinLogan Motion 40i speakers are a significant investment, reflecting their high-end positioning in the market. They're built for the enthusiast willing to pay a premium for superlative performance and the accompanying aesthetic elegance. The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR, in contrast, is an exceptionally affordable entry-point into the world of high-fidelity audio. They offer an incredibly high performance-to-price ratio, allowing even the budget-conscious listener to enjoy a taste of audiophile-grade sound without breaking the bank.

In conclusion, the MartinLogan Motion 40i and Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers cater to different audiences but both stand as strong contenders in their respective categories. The Motion 40i is the choice for those seeking an immersive, full-bodied audio experience with a touch of luxury, while the SP-BS22-LR appeals to the practical audiophile who desires exceptional performance without sacrificing space or savings. Ultimately, the decision rests on personal preference, listening habits, and environmental considerations, but rest assured, neither choice would leave an enthusiast wanting.

Check Current Prices:

MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR 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.