MartinLogan Motion 4i vs. Polk Signature Elite ES20

MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 Bookshelf Speakers
$250 $400
Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.60” × 5.60” × 5.70”
320mm × 142mm × 145mm
14.80” × 8.50” × 13.80”
376mm × 216mm × 351mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
70-23,000 Hz 44-40,000 Hz
ASR Score
1.5 n/a
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
5.1 n/a

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the bustling arena of high-performance bookshelf speakers, the MartinLogan Motion 4i and Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 stand out. The MartinLogan Motion 4i dazzles with its Folded Motion tweeter, offering an airy and detailed high-frequency response that audiophiles covet, while its compact design fits unassumingly into any room. In contrast, the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 brings a robust presence with its larger footprint and Dynamic Balance driver technology, ensuring a full-bodied sound that fills the space with ease. Both speakers cater to discerning ears, but the choice hinges on whether one prefers MartinLogan's articulate precision or Polk's rich, expansive audio landscape.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to bookshelf speakers, audiophiles are often seeking the perfect blend of size, aesthetics, and above all, sound quality. In this comparative analysis, we'll be putting the MartinLogan Motion 4i and Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 speakers under the microscope. Both brands have a storied history in delivering high-fidelity audio, but each brings a distinct flavor to the listening experience, catering to different types of audio enthusiasts.

Design and Build Quality

The MartinLogan Motion 4i speakers boast a sleek and modern design that's immediately eye-catching, with a high-gloss finish giving them a premium feel. These speakers exude sophistication and are built to impress visually, as much as they are to deliver sonically. The folded motion tweeter is a unique feature that's not just there for looks; it's central to the MartinLogan sound signature. In contrast, the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 speakers offer a more traditional appearance, with a no-nonsense, utilitarian build that prioritizes function over form. Their well-constructed MDF cabinets with a nice wood grain finish ensure a solid, resonance-free performance. Both sets of speakers are quite robust, but MartinLogan takes the edge in terms of high-end appeal.

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

Sound Profile and Performance

The MartinLogan Motion 4i's signature sound is largely thanks to its folded motion tweeter, which ensures incredible detail and clarity in the high frequencies. The bass response, while not earth-shattering due to the speakers' compact size, is tight and precise. The midrange is where the Motion 4i really shines, offering a level of transparency that's quite astounding in a bookshelf speaker. In comparison, the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 speakers are equipped with a 1-inch Terylene tweeter delivering clear, crisp highs, and Polk's proprietary Dynamic Balance driver technology for a well-balanced midrange. The bass response is warm and more pronounced, partly due to the Power Port technology that enhances low-end performance. The ES20s offer a sound that is both dynamic and robust, making them particularly well-suited for movie watching and listening to genres that thrive on a strong bass presence.

Frequency Response and Room Adaptability

The Motion 4i speakers have a frequency response that's commendably flat, which means they reproduce audio in a manner that's true to the source material. They work well in small to medium-sized rooms and can be quite revealing of the nuances in high-resolution audio recordings. On the other hand, the Polk Audio ES20s are a bit more forgiving and versatile. They have a slightly warmer sound profile that can be quite pleasing when dealing with less-than-perfect recordings or room acoustics. Their performance is substantial enough for larger rooms, and their sound can be tailored with receiver settings to accommodate personal preferences or room anomalies.

Ultimately, choosing between the MartinLogan Motion 4i and the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 bookshelf speakers will depend on what you're looking for in your audio experience. The Motion 4i is perhaps the purist's choice, offering a sound quality that's as close to the studio mix as you're likely to get from a speaker of its size. The Polk ES20s, conversely, are the workhorses of the two, delivering a robust, room-filling sound that can adapt to a variety of audio sources and environments.

Price-wise, the MartinLogan Motion 4i's tend to be a bit more of an investment, reflecting their high-end design and audio fidelity. The Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 speakers, while still offering a premium listening experience, are generally more budget-friendly, making them an excellent value for those wanting to step into the world of high-quality audio without breaking the bank.

In the end, whether you're drawn to the precise and articulate sound of the MartinLogan Motion 4i, or the warm and powerful performance of the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20, both pairs of speakers stand as testaments to their manufacturers' dedication to audio excellence. Your personal preference in music, listening habits, and budget will guide your choice, but rest assured, neither will disappoint in bringing a superior audio experience into your home.

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MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers
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.