MartinLogan Motion 4i vs. Wharfedale Denton 85th

MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
$250 $1000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.60” × 5.60” × 5.70”
320mm × 142mm × 145mm
13.44” × 9.44” × 11.94”
341mm × 240mm × 303mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
70-23,000 Hz 45-20,000 Hz
ASR Score
1.5 n/a
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
5.1 n/a

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the vibrant world of high-fidelity audio, MartinLogan's Motion 4i and Wharfedale's Denton 85th Anniversary speakers represent a study in contrasts. The Motion 4i, with its precise Folded Motion tweeter, delivers an airy and detailed soundstage, offering a modern aesthetic and advanced engineering. Conversely, the Denton 85th revels in its heritage, with a warm, rich sound signature emanating from its classic woven Kevlar drivers, wrapped in a nostalgically crafted cabinet. While the Motion 4i appeals to the detail-oriented listener, the Denton 85th seduces those yearning for the romance of vintage audio with a soulful touch.

Speaker Comparison

There's a certain thrill in the high-fidelity journey where two competing bookshelf speakers vie for the spotlight in a listener's personal space. In this sonic showdown, we have the sleek MartinLogan Motion 4i, a modern speaker with a futuristic flair, squaring off against the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Edition, a speaker that exudes classic charm and a sense of history. This comparison is not just about two audio devices; it's a clash of philosophies, design principles, and, most importantly, auditory experiences.

Design and Build

The MartinLogan Motion 4i immediately catches the eye with its contemporary aesthetic, slim profile, and distinct folded motion tweeter—a hallmark of the brand's innovative approach. This speaker feels at home in a minimalist or modern interior, and its build quality speaks of precision engineering. Conversely, the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary speaker offers a nostalgic nod to its predecessors with its vintage look, featuring a wood veneer finish and traditional woven cloth grille, exuding a craftsmanship that pays homage to the rich history of the Wharfedale brand.

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

Sound Profile

Sound-wise, the MartinLogan Motion 4i impresses with its clarity and openness, primarily due to its signature tweeter design, which ensures that high frequencies are articulated with a sense of ease and airiness. This speaker delivers a soundstage that appears larger than its modest footprint might suggest and excels in rendering fine details. In contrast, the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary leans towards a warm, smooth sound profile. It boasts a lush midrange that makes it particularly suited for those who cherish vocals and string instruments—a sound that wraps around you like a warm blanket on a cold evening.

Performance and Listening Experience

When it comes to performance, the Motion 4i showcases its capability to handle dynamic swings with remarkable poise. The bass, although not ground-shaking due to its smaller size, is tight and focused, lending itself well to genres like jazz and acoustic music. On the other end, the Denton 85th Anniversary, with its larger mid-bass driver, provides a more substantial low-end presence that can be felt as well as heard, making it particularly enjoyable for rock or classical music performances where the fuller body of instruments needs to be conveyed.

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

The Motion 4i's airy highs and detailed soundstage lend themselves brilliantly to high-resolution audio tracks, where the nuances of a recording can be revealed. It's a speaker that encourages active listening, as each layer of the music is presented with precision. The Denton, with its warm and inviting midrange, tends to create an intimate listening experience, one that favors a relaxed approach where the texture and tone of the music take precedence over analytical listening.

In terms of power handling and sensitivity, the MartinLogan Motion 4i is relatively efficient, performing well with a variety of amplifiers and AV receivers, making it an easy fit for most setups. The Wharfedale Denton, while not overly demanding, may benefit from a bit more power to truly sing, preferring the control and current of a robust amp to show off its dynamic capabilities and full-bodied sound.

In conclusion, the choice between the MartinLogan Motion 4i and the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary bookshelf speakers comes down to personal preference and the aesthetics of your listening environment. The Motion 4i is a speaker for the modern audiophile who appreciates precision and detail, while the Denton is for the lover of all things classic and warm. Both have their merits, and both deserve a listen. For those who value both the past and the future, perhaps the ideal solution lies in the harmony of having both speakers in their collection—each ready to transport the listener through time and genre with the switch of an input.

Check Current Prices:

MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers
Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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.