MartinLogan Motion 40i vs. Polk T50

MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker Polk T50 150 Watt Tower Speakers
$2600 $400
Dimensions (H × W × D)
42.50” × 7.60” × 12.80”
1080mm × 193mm × 325mm
36.50” × 9.25” × 8.75”
927mm × 235mm × 222mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
40-25,000 Hz 38-24,000 Hz
ASR Score
n/a 3.7
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
n/a 5.7

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of floorstanding speakers, the MartinLogan Motion 40i and Polk T50 stand apart in their approach to audiophile aspirations. The Motion 40i, with its precise Folded Motion tweeter, offers exceptional high-frequency clarity and a lush midrange courtesy of its aluminum cone drivers. Conversely, the Polk T50, powered by a 1-inch silk dome tweeter and dual 6.5-inch drivers, presents an affordable, dynamic performance. While the Motion 40i excels in detailed soundstage and audiophile nuance, the T50 brings a powerful, room-filling experience at a more accessible price point, offering a robust choice for budget-conscious music lovers.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to the world of high-fidelity audio, the quest for the perfect speaker setup is often a journey of nuanced trade-offs and meticulous comparisons. In the realm of floorstanding speakers, the MartinLogan Motion 40i and the Polk T50 are two distinct representatives of quality and design philosophy. The MartinLogan Motion 40i, part of a highly regarded line of electrostatic speaker designs, offers a glimpse into the upper echelons of sonic purity. On the other hand, the Polk T50 tower speakers are known for delivering respectable audio performance at a more accessible price point. This comparative exploration will delve into the intricacies of both models, shedding light on what sets them apart for the discerning audiophile.

Design and Build Quality

The MartinLogan Motion 40i exudes a premium aura, with its sleek, modern lines and luxurious finishes. The build quality speaks of a meticulous attention to detail, housing the proprietary Folded Motion tweeter—a hallmark of MartinLogan's dedication to audio fidelity. Each speaker stands as a testament to the brand's commitment to both aesthetics and acoustic engineering. In contrast, the Polk T50 has a more understated appearance, but still offers a solid construction that feels robust for its price range. The T50's emphasis lies more in functionality and affordability, aiming to bring decent performance without the frills.

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

Sound Quality – Highs and Mids

The most striking difference between the two speakers can be heard in the higher frequency ranges. The MartinLogan Motion 40i's Folded Motion tweeter delivers an exceptionally detailed and transparent treble, which is almost ethereal in its ability to translate the air and space around instruments. This precision extends into the midrange, where the Motion 40i exhibits a clarity that allows vocals and instruments to shine with an articulate presence. The Polk T50, while commendable for its price point, can't quite match the Motion 40i's nuanced highs and mids. The T50's 1-inch silk dome tweeter gives a respectable performance, but it leans towards a warmer, slightly less detailed sound profile.

Bass Response

Bass reproduction is another area where these two speakers diverge. The MartinLogan Motion 40i is equipped with robust aluminum cone woofers that work in tandem with a rear-firing bass port to produce tight and controlled low frequencies. The bass is punchy without being overwhelming, maintaining a balance that complements the speaker's overall transparency. The Polk T50 features a dynamic balance composite driver and two passive radiators that provide a surprisingly full low-end response. While the T50's bass is more pronounced, it may lack the precise control found in the Motion 40i, tending towards a slightly boomy character which can be a plus or minus depending on listener preference and room acoustics.

Polk T50 150 Watt Tower Speakers
Polk T50 arrow (at

Value and Overall Experience

In terms of value, the MartinLogan Motion 40i and Polk T50 cater to different audiences. The Motion 40i sits at a higher price point, justified by its refined sonic capabilities and exceptional build quality. It's an investment for the audiophile seeking an immersive listening experience and is well-suited to a variety of genres, from classical to acoustic, jazz, and well-recorded pop and rock. The Polk T50 is the budget-conscious choice, offering a more-than-acceptable performance that punches above its weight, making it a great entry-level option for those venturing into high-fidelity audio without the financial commitment of more premium offerings.

Ultimately, choosing between the MartinLogan Motion 40i and the Polk T50 will depend on personal priorities. For those who demand the highest level of audio purity and are willing to invest in a speaker that can deliver a truly mesmerizing experience, the Motion 40i is the clear choice. However, for listeners who are new to the world of high-fidelity sound or are working within a tighter budget, the Polk T50 offers a gateway into the nuanced pleasures of more detailed audio without breaking the bank.

In conclusion, both the MartinLogan Motion 40i and Polk T50 tower speakers represent their respective classes with distinction. Whether it's the refined elegance and sonic excellence of the Motion 40i or the solid, accessible performance of the T50, each has its merits. As with all things audio, the final judge will be the ears of the beholder, and either choice could be the perfect fit for the right listener and their listening space.

Check Current Prices:

MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker
Polk T50 150 Watt Tower Speakers
Polk T50 150 Watt Tower 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.