MartinLogan Motion 4i vs. Polk Signature Elite ES15

MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15 Bookshelf Speakers
$250 $300
Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.60” × 5.60” × 5.70”
320mm × 142mm × 145mm
12.00” × 7.50” × 10.20”
305mm × 190mm × 259mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
70-23,000 Hz 48-40,000 Hz
ASR Score
1.5 n/a
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
5.1 n/a

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of audiophile-grade bookshelf speakers, the MartinLogan Motion 4i and Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15 present an intriguing comparison. The Motion 4i impresses with its distinct Folded Motion tweeter, delivering exceptionally crisp and detailed highs that cater to the discerning ear. In contrast, the ES15 from Polk's Signature Elite series boasts a well-balanced soundstage with its Dynamic Balance acoustic array, catering to those seeking a rich, full-bodied performance. With their individual acoustic merits, choosing between the articulate precision of MartinLogan and the robust versatility of Polk Audio will ultimately hinge on personal preference and listening priorities.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to achieving that perfect blend of high-fidelity audio within the cozy confines of your personal space, the speakers you choose are of paramount importance. They are the final translators of all that has been promised by your components upstream—the amplifiers, the DACs, the wires—and they can make or break the illusion of being there, in the concert hall or the recording studio. Today we pit two highly regarded bookshelf speakers against each other: the MartinLogan Motion 4i and the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15. Each brings its own unique strengths to the table, so let's dive into what sets these contenders apart in the quest for the ultimate audio experience.

Design Philosophy and Aesthetics

The MartinLogan Motion 4i speakers sport a sleek and modern design, with a high-gloss piano black finish that oozes sophistication. Their Folded Motion tweeter, a staple of the MartinLogan ethos, is a true piece of audio art, promising to deliver crisp highs with its unique accordion-like design. On the other hand, the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15s showcase a more traditional look, with a classic wood grain finish and a no-nonsense, durable build. Their Terylene dome tweeter is designed for a wide sound dispersion, which Polk claims will provide a spacious and realistic soundstage.

MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 4i arrow (at

Sound Characteristics

When it comes to sound, the MartinLogan Motion 4i's signature Folded Motion tweeter provides an incredibly fast transient response, yielding a detail and clarity that can often give the impression of a live performance. The bass response is tight and precise, if not ground-shaking, which is expected in a speaker of this size. These are speakers that thrive in the midrange, making them exceptional for vocal performances and string instruments. The Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15s, by contrast, are no slouches in the performance department. With their proprietary Dynamic Balance drivers, Polk has aimed for a rich, clean sound that doesn't fatigue the ears, even after long listening sessions. They offer a surprisingly deep and punchy bass for bookshelf speakers, rounding out the lower frequencies in a way that belies their modest footprint.

Power Handling and Efficiency

Power handling is a crucial aspect to consider, especially when pairing your speakers with the right amplifier. The Motion 4i's are relatively efficient, with a sensitivity rating of 90dB, suggesting that they won’t require a monstrous amp to get them singing. They can handle up to 75 watts of power, which means they're suited to a wide range of home audio environments. In comparison, the Polk Audio ES15s have a sensitivity of 88dB and can handle a robust 100 watts of power. This makes the Polks slightly less efficient but gives them a bit more headroom when it comes to dynamic peaks in your music or movies, ensuring that they can keep up with the demands of a more power-hungry listener.

Ultimately, choosing between the MartinLogan Motion 4i and the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15 bookshelf speakers comes down to what you value most in your audio experience. The Motion 4i's are the epitome of precision and detail, offering an audio landscape that is sharp, clear, and highly articulate. The Polk Audio ES15s, on the other hand, are workhorses that deliver a full-bodied, rich sound that is as generous in its bass response as it is in its easy-going presentation.

So, what's it going to be? The elegant and revealing MartinLogan Motion 4i, with its unique tweeter design and exceptional midrange performance? Or the robust and warm Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15, with its capacity for a more immersive bass and an all-around pleasing sound signature that's easy to live with session after session? Your room, your ears, and your heart will ultimately make the call, but rest assured, you can't go wrong with either of these fine audio craftsmen in your corner.

Whichever direction your preferences lean, know that both the MartinLogan Motion 4i and the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15 stand as testaments to the incredible feats of engineering that can be packed into a compact, room-friendly package. Whether you're a discerning audiophile seeking the subtle details in a delicate piece of music, or a home theater enthusiast craving the full force of a cinematic explosion, these speakers promise to deliver an experience that will keep you engaged and wanting more.

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MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers
Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15 Bookshelf Speakers
Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15 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.