MartinLogan Motion 40i vs. Wharfedale Denton 85th

MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
$2600 $1000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
42.50” × 7.60” × 12.80”
1080mm × 193mm × 325mm
13.44” × 9.44” × 11.94”
341mm × 240mm × 303mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
40-25,000 Hz 45-20,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In a sonic showdown, the MartinLogan Motion 40i tower speakers bring a spatial, room-filling experience, courtesy of their electrostatic lineage and dynamic bass. They stand tall as a statement of power and finesse. Contrastingly, the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary bookshelf speakers offer a nod to vintage aesthetics and a warm, inviting sound—cozy and rich with a midrange that sings with legacy. While the Motion 40i aims for the audiophile seeking a bold, clear presence, the Denton's charm lies in its intimate, textured performance, befitting the listener yearning for classic sound in a modern package.

Speaker Comparison

When we talk about the high-fidelity audio experience, two names often pop up for delivering some serious auditory pleasure: MartinLogan and Wharfedale. Both brands have a rich heritage and a dedicated following. Today, we're putting two of their offerings in the ring: the MartinLogan Motion 40i tower speakers and the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers. These two are as different as chalk and cheese in design and approach, yet they share a common goal – to deliver the purest audio performance to the discerning listener's living room.

Design and Aesthetics

The MartinLogan Motion 40i is a sleek, floor-standing speaker that commands presence in any room. The Motion 40i, with its slender profile and signature perforated steel grille, is a modern piece that blends into contemporary spaces with ease. In contrast, the Wharfedale Denton is a classic bookshelf speaker with a nostalgic appeal; it's a nod to the past with its vintage look, featuring a mahogany veneer finish and traditional cloth grille that is sure to evoke a sense of elegance and timelessness. It's quite a choice for the user – a decision between modern minimalism and retro charm.

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

Soundstage and Imaging

When it comes to soundstage, the MartinLogan Motion 40i towers with their larger cabinets and advanced Folded Motion tweeter offer a grand, expansive sound that can fill larger rooms with ease. The Motion 40i's are capable of delivering a wide and immersive soundstage that can make you feel like you're at the heart of a live performance. The Dentons, being smaller bookshelf speakers, offer a more intimate soundstage. However, they are no slouch; they produce a precise and focused audio image that Wharfedale is known for, making them excellent for critical listening in smaller spaces.

Performance and Clarity

Getting into the nitty-gritty of audio performance, the MartinLogan Motion 40i exhibits a crisp and detailed high-end thanks to its unique tweeter design, allowing for high-frequency sounds to be delivered with extreme accuracy. On the other hand, the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary comes equipped with a soft dome tweeter that ensures highs are smooth and well-integrated. The resulting sound is warm and rich, with a hint of that classic British tone that many audiophiles chase after. Mid-range is where both speakers shine in their own right – the Motion 40i with its clear and present vocals, and the Denton with its lush and full-bodied instrumentals.

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

Bass response is another aspect where these two diverge. With its larger size and dedicated bass drivers, the MartinLogan Motion 40i can reach down lower, delivering impactful and tight bass. This makes it suitable for a wide range of genres, from orchestral pieces to electronic beats. The Wharfedale Denton, while not as deep in its bass extension, still provides a satisfying low-end that is well-controlled and natural. It's surprisingly robust for a speaker of its size and can handle complex bass lines with aplomb.

Price and Value

The MartinLogan Motion 40i sits at a higher price point, which is expected given its floor-standing design and the intricate engineering behind its audio components. It's an investment for those who are looking for an endgame speaker that combines both form and function. The Wharfedale Denton, celebrating its 85th anniversary, is priced more modestly, reflecting its position as a bookshelf speaker. It represents exceptional value for those looking to enter the hi-fi space without breaking the bank, or for seasoned audiophiles looking to add a touch of vintage warmth to their collection.

In conclusion, the choice between the MartinLogan Motion 40i and the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary bookshelf speakers is a matter of personal preference, room size, and the type of audio experience one is seeking. The Motion 40i is for those who prefer modern design and crave a large soundstage with detailed bass, while the Denton is for lovers of classic design and a warm, rich sound. Both stand as testaments to their manufacturer's dedication to quality, and either would be a worthy addition to an audiophile's sanctuary.

Check Current Prices:

MartinLogan Motion 40i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 40i 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.