MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker Review


MSRP $2000
(H × W × D)
36.60” × 6.80” × 11.70”
930mm × 173mm × 297mm
Power Type Passive
Frequency Response 46-25,000 Hz
MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: The MartinLogan Motion 20i impresses with its refined soundstage and crisp, articulate highs courtesy of the Folded Motion tweeter. The balanced mids and tight bass from the aluminum cone woofers ensure a rich listening experience. Aesthetically sleek, they'll complement any room. On the downside, they demand quality amplification to truly shine, and their bass might not satisfy those craving a deep thump without a sub. Overall, a solid choice for discerning audiophiles after clarity and detail.

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MartinLogan Motion 20i: Our Take

The MartinLogan Motion 20i is a floor-standing tower speaker that serves as an entry point to the world of high-fidelity audio. Its sleek design and modern aesthetics make it an appealing addition to any home audio system. The Motion 20i builds upon its predecessor's success by offering enhanced audio components and improved build quality. With a reputation for creating speakers that blend art and science, MartinLogan aims to deliver a listening experience that is as pleasurable to the eye as it is to the ear.

One of the unique features of the Motion 20i is the use of MartinLogan's signature Folded Motion tweeter. This technology promises to deliver precise and highly dynamic high frequencies, with a speed and response that outperforms traditional dome tweeters. The Folded Motion tweeter's distinctive accordion-like structure allows for a larger surface area, which in turn facilitates a more controlled sound dispersion, minimizing distortion and providing a clear and detailed high-end.

Below the Folded Motion tweeter, the Motion 20i houses two 5.5-inch aluminum cone woofers. These are designed to produce tight and accurate bass, maintaining a balanced sound throughout the lower frequencies. Furthermore, the rigid structured dust caps help reduce cone breakup and distortion, which can occur at higher volume levels. The integration of these woofers with the Folded Motion tweeter aims to create a seamless and immersive soundstage.

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Design and Build Quality

The Motion 20i doesn't just offer auditory pleasure; its design is equally well-considered. The cabinet is carefully crafted to minimize resonances and vibrations, which can color the sound and detract from the listening experience. Available in several finishes, the speaker can easily integrate into a variety of room decors. The build quality is evident in every aspect, from the solid cabinet construction to the luxurious finish, ensuring that these speakers not only sound good but also feel durable and well made.

Despite its many strengths, there are some potential downsides to consider with the MartinLogan Motion 20i. The price point might be a barrier for some budget-conscious audiophiles. Additionally, while the bass response is accurate and well-defined, those looking for earth-shattering lows might find themselves needing a dedicated subwoofer to fill out the very bottom end of the frequency spectrum. This could add to the overall cost and space requirements of one's audio setup.

Comparisons and Alternatives

When considering other products in the market, potential buyers might look at speakers like the Bowers & Wilkins 603 or the KEF Q750. Both are respected competitors within a similar price bracket and offer their own unique take on sound reproduction. The B&W 603, for instance, boasts its Continuum cone technology for midrange clarity, while the KEF Q750 features its Uni-Q driver array designed for expansive sound dispersion. These alternatives are worthy of consideration and provide different sonic signatures that may suit various listener preferences.

Connectivity and compatibility are other considerations for any potential buyer of the Motion 20i. The speaker has a standard set of binding posts that should accommodate most types of speaker wires or banana plugs. However, those with existing bi-wiring or bi-amping setups will need to note that the Motion 20i does not have separate terminals for these configurations. As such, some enthusiasts who prefer these methods might find this limitation a reason to explore other options.

For those looking to build a full home theater system, MartinLogan offers other models in the Motion series, such as the smaller Motion 15i bookshelf speakers or the Motion 30i center channel speaker. This compatibility allows for an aesthetically cohesive and sonically matched surround sound setup. Integration with other models ensures that transitioning from stereo to surround doesn't require mixing and matching brands, which can sometimes lead to inconsistent sound characteristics.

In conclusion, the MartinLogan Motion 20i tower speaker brings to the table a combination of aesthetic design, innovative technology, and high-quality sound reproduction. While it may not fit every budget or satisfy those seeking thunderous bass without a subwoofer, its overall performance makes it a strong contender in its class. For anyone in search of an engaging audio experience with a focus on clear and detailed highs paired with balanced mids and lows, the Motion 20i is certainly worth auditioning alongside its competitors in the high-fidelity speaker market.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Folded Motion Tweeter in the MartinLogan Motion 20i affect high-frequency performance?

The Folded Motion Tweeter in the MartinLogan Motion 20i is one of its standout features, setting this speaker apart from many traditional designs. This unique tweeter employs a large surface area that can move air more efficiently and with less distortion than typical dome tweeters. The result is a remarkably precise and smooth high-frequency response that is not just detailed but also easy on the ears, even during extended listening sessions. The Folded Motion Tweeter's ability to render the subtle nuances of music makes it highly appreciated among audiophiles, especially those who favor clarity and articulation over brightness.

What are the sonic benefits of the MartinLogan Motion 20i's cabinet design?

MartinLogan has invested significant effort into the cabinet design of the Motion 20i to ensure that it not only looks good but also supports optimal sonic performance. The cabinet is constructed to be rigid and acoustically inert, which minimizes unwanted resonances that can color the sound. This careful engineering results in cleaner, more focused audio reproduction. Moreover, the elegant yet functional design includes a subtle taper on the speaker's front, which helps to minimize diffraction and thus contributes to a wide and open soundstage, allowing the Motion 20i to fill a room with sound that is both immersive and cohesively integrated.

Can the MartinLogan Motion 20i be bi-amped or bi-wired, and what are the advantages?

Yes, the MartinLogan Motion 20i is equipped to be bi-amped or bi-wired, thanks to its dual binding posts that allow for greater flexibility in how the speaker is connected to an amplifier. Bi-amping involves using two separate amplifiers to power the tweeter and woofer independently, which can lead to improved sound quality by allowing each amp to specialize in a specific frequency range and reducing the possibility of intermodulation distortion. Bi-wiring, on the other hand, uses separate cables for the high and low frequencies from a single amplifier to the speaker, which can potentially result in improved separation between frequencies and a clearer, more detailed sound.

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