MartinLogan Motion 40i vs. Polk Signature Elite ES20

MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 Bookshelf Speakers
$2600 $400
Dimensions (H × W × D)
42.50” × 7.60” × 12.80”
1080mm × 193mm × 325mm
14.80” × 8.50” × 13.80”
376mm × 216mm × 351mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
40-25,000 Hz 44-40,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: The MartinLogan Motion 40i, with its distinctive Folded Motion tweeter, offers a refined high-end paired with a robust bass response in a sleek floor-standing design. It suits the audiophile seeking a full-range, room-filling experience. In contrast, the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 bookshelf speakers, though compact, pack a punch with Polk's proprietary Dynamic Balance drivers, offering clear highs and a surprising bass for their size. Ideal for space-conscious listeners, they provide an impressive soundstage. Both exude quality, but your choice hinges on space, preference for nuanced detail versus powerful dynamics, and willingness to invest in the subtleties of high-fidelity audio.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to high-fidelity audio, the choice of speakers can profoundly influence the listening experience. It's a sonic journey where design, technology, and personal preference intersect to create something deeply subjective. Two noteworthy contenders in this auditory arena are the MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker and the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 Bookshelf Speaker. Both offer distinct approaches to sound reproduction and cater to different aspects of the audiophile's wish list.

The Tower vs. Bookshelf Debate

The MartinLogan Motion 40i is a floor-standing tower speaker that brings a commanding presence to any room. Its larger cabinet not only makes a visual statement but also provides the basis for extended bass response and overall power handling. In contrast, the Polk Audio ES20 bookshelf model offers a more compact solution. It's designed to deliver high-quality sound in a smaller package, fitting conveniently into most living spaces and easily integrating with additional components like subwoofers or surround sound systems.

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

Sound Signature and Acoustic Performance

The Motion 40i towers utilize MartinLogan's signature Folded Motion tweeter, which grants them an exceptional high-frequency response that is both crisp and detailed. This, accompanied by the dual 6.5-inch aluminum cone woofers, ensures a balanced sound with tight, articulate bass. The Polk Audio ES20, on the other hand, features their proprietary Dynamic Balance drivers and a 1-inch Terylene tweeter designed to deliver a wide frequency range with reduced distortion. Though the ES20s may not have the same bass extension as the Motion 40i, they compensate with a warm, rich midrange that is a hallmark of Polk Audio's sound profile.

Listening to the MartinLogan Motion 40i reveals a soundscape that is both expansive and precise. The soundstage presented by these towers is vast, with pinpoint imaging that allows for an enveloping experience. The Polk Audio ES20, while more modest in its spatial presentation, offers a sense of intimacy and immediacy that can be very engaging, especially in smaller rooms or near-field listening environments.

Design Philosophy and Aesthetics

Visually, both speakers reflect their manufacturers' design philosophies. The MartinLogan Motion 40i speaks to a modern aesthetic, with its sleek lines and distinctive curved top panel. The build quality is unmistakable, conveying a premium feel that is expected at its price point. The Polk Audio ES20 adheres to a more traditional loudspeaker appearance with its rectangular shape, but the craftsmanship is still evident. It features a stylish wood grain finish and a minimalistic front baffle that allows it to blend seamlessly into a variety of decors.

When discussing connectivity and compatibility, the MartinLogan Motion 40i and Polk Audio ES20 both offer robust binding posts that ensure a secure connection with a wide variety of amplifiers and receivers. Whether you're using a vintage tube amp or a modern AV receiver, both sets of speakers will integrate without issue. However, due to the Motion 40i's demanding power requirements, they may be better suited to a higher-powered system that can fully exploit their dynamic range.

Ultimately, choosing between the MartinLogan Motion 40i and the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 will depend on the listener's space, budget, and sonic preferences. The Motion 40i is a statement piece for the dedicated audiophile seeking room-filling sound and the delight of high-resolution audio, while the ES20 offers a more accessible entry point into high-fidelity sound with its user-friendly size and price. Both are commendable speakers in their own right, and either choice is likely to elevate the home listening experience, resonating with the passion of an enthusiast who loves the art of sound.

Check Current Prices:

MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker
Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 Bookshelf Speakers
Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 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.