MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker Review


MSRP $900
(H × W × D)
11.40” × 6.80” × 9.50”
290mm × 173mm × 241mm
Power Type Passive
Frequency Response 60-25,000 Hz
MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: The MartinLogan Motion 15i exudes clarity and precision, with the signature Folded Motion tweeter offering exquisite highs that audiophiles will cherish. Its compact design belies a robust soundstage and articulate midrange. While bass response is decent for its size, those thirsting for visceral low-end may require a subwoofer. The build quality is superb, and the aesthetics are sleek. An excellent choice for discerning listeners, though the price tag might make the budget-conscious think twice.

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MartinLogan Motion 15i: Our Take

The MartinLogan Motion 15i bookshelf speaker is a high-end audio device designed to deliver superior sound quality for music and home theater systems. As a successor to the original Motion 15, the Motion 15i incorporates MartinLogan's acclaimed Folded Motion tweeter, which claims to minimize distortion and provide a faster response than traditional dome tweeters. This technology is designed to enhance the clarity and detail of high-frequency sounds, potentially making it an attractive option for audiophiles and those who appreciate nuanced audio reproduction.

From a design standpoint, the MartinLogan Motion 15i exhibits a sleek and modern aesthetic that would complement most contemporary living spaces. Its compact form factor allows it to fit easily on bookshelves or stands without taking up excessive room. The build quality is generally regarded as high, featuring a solid cabinet construction that helps reduce unwanted resonance, contributing to clearer sound. The availability of different finishes, such as gloss black and red walnut, provides consumers with some flexibility to match their interior decor.

When it comes to performance, the Motion 15i showcases a well-balanced sound profile that delivers crisp highs, detailed midrange, and respectable bass for a speaker of its size. The precision of the soundstage created by these speakers is often praised, allowing for an immersive listening experience. While they are capable of producing a fair amount of bass, those seeking deeper and more powerful low-end may need to pair the Motion 15i with a subwoofer, especially in larger rooms.

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Technical Specifications

In terms of specifications, the MartinLogan Motion 15i is equipped with a 5.25-inch aluminum cone woofer alongside the aforementioned Folded Motion tweeter. The speaker has a frequency response of 60Hz–25kHz, which is typical for bookshelf speakers in its class. With a sensitivity rating of 92 dB, they are relatively efficient and can be driven by a wide range of amplifiers and receivers without the need for excessive power. However, as with most high-end speakers, the quality of the connected components can greatly influence overall performance.

Connectivity and Compatibility

Connectivity is straightforward with the Motion 15i, offering binding posts that accommodate various types of speaker wire connections. Whether users opt for banana plugs, spade connectors, or bare wire, the speakers are designed to ensure a secure and reliable connection. This flexibility can be important for users with existing high-quality cables who wish to maximize their system's potential. Additionally, the Motion 15i's impedance is rated at 5 ohms, which should be compatible with most home audio equipment, but it is something potential buyers might need to verify with their existing gear.

One potential downside of the MartinLogan Motion 15i is the cost. These bookshelf speakers are positioned at a premium price point, which might put them out of reach for budget-conscious consumers. However, for those willing to invest in their sound system, the price may be justified by the quality and performance offered. As with any high-end audio equipment, diminishing returns should be considered; there is a point where additional investment yields smaller improvements in sound quality.

In comparing the MartinLogan Motion 15i to other products on the market, potential buyers might consider alternatives such as the KEF LS50 Meta or Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 Anniversary Edition. Both competitors offer excellent sound quality and have their unique features that appeal to different preferences. The KEF LS50 Meta is known for its Uni-Q driver array that aims to create a more detailed soundstage, while the Bowers & Wilkins model boasts Continuum cone technology for improved midrange performance.

Overall, the MartinLogan Motion 15i bookshelf speaker stands as a testament to the brand's dedication to audio innovation and quality craftsmanship. It offers unique technological features like the Folded Motion tweeter and combines them with an elegant design that meets the aesthetic needs of modern homes. While it has its potential drawbacks in terms of bass output and price point, its merits in delivering precise and articulate sound make it a strong contender in its category.

In conclusion, anyone considering investing in a set of premium bookshelf speakers would do well to audition the MartinLogan Motion 15i. Its combination of audio fidelity, build quality, and aesthetic appeal makes it an enticing option for discerning listeners. By comparing it against other top-tier alternatives and considering individual needs and system compatibility, consumers can make an informed decision about which speaker is best suited to elevate their listening experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the unique characteristics of the MartinLogan Motion 15i's Folded Motion Tweeter compared to traditional tweeters?

The MartinLogan Motion 15i stands out in the crowded bookshelf speaker market, largely due to its innovative Folded Motion Tweeter. This proprietary technology functions differently compared to traditional dome tweeters. The Folded Motion Tweeter operates on the principle of an accordion-like diaphragm, which moves air more efficiently and with less distortion. The result is a remarkably quick, precise sound that captures the delicacy and dynamic range of music with a lifelike presence, delivering an expansive soundstage that is both broad and deep. Audiophiles often note the crystalline clarity and detail in the high frequencies without the harshness that can sometimes plague conventional tweeters.

How does the MartinLogan Motion 15i's cabinet design contribute to its overall sound quality?

The cabinet design of the MartinLogan Motion 15i is not just about aesthetics; it plays a critical role in its acoustic performance. The rigid, reinforced cabinet minimizes internal resonances, preserving the purity of sound. Attention to the cabinet's construction, with both internal bracing and the materials used, ensures that the speaker delivers tight, controlled bass and allows the drivers to perform optimally. Additionally, the tapered cabinet design helps to reduce edge diffraction, which further contributes to a clean and clear soundstage, allowing the Motion 15i to produce sound that is coherent, seamless, and immersive, pulling the listener into the heart of the performance.

Can the MartinLogan Motion 15i be integrated into a multi-channel home theater system, and what should be considered for best performance?

Absolutely, the MartinLogan Motion 15i speakers can be seamlessly integrated into a multi-channel home theater system. They are versatile enough to serve as main speakers in a smaller room or as surround channels in a larger space. When integrating them into a home theater setup, it's crucial to ensure that they are properly matched with a center channel speaker, preferably from the same MartinLogan Motion series for tonal consistency. Additionally, the inclusion of a compatible subwoofer will extend the system's lower frequency response, creating a full-range cinematic experience. Careful consideration of speaker placement and room acoustics will also greatly enhance the overall performance, making sure that the Motion 15i's can truly shine as part of an immersive audio setup.

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MartinLogan Motion 15i

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