MartinLogan Motion 35XTi Bookshelf Speaker Review


MSRP $1500
(H × W × D)
13.50” × 7.60” × 11.80”
343mm × 193mm × 300mm
Power Type Passive
Frequency Response 50-25,000 Hz
MartinLogan Motion 35XTi Bookshelf Speaker

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: The MartinLogan Motion 35XTi exudes audiophile charm with its luscious Folded Motion XT tweeter, rendering highs with crystalline clarity. The textured bass from the aluminum cone woofer fills the room, albeit lacking the lowest octaves. Astounding imaging and a broad soundstage are hallmarks here. Craftsmanship is top-notch, though the modern design may not suit all tastes. On the downside, they’re power-hungry and can be unforgiving with poor recordings. In sum, a stellar performer for discerning ears.

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MartinLogan Motion 35XTi: Our Take

The MartinLogan Motion 35XTi bookshelf speaker is a high-performance audio device designed for audiophiles and those who appreciate nuanced sound reproduction. These speakers feature MartinLogan's signature Folded Motion XT tweeter, which aims to deliver clear and precise high-frequency sounds. The innovative design of the tweeter ensures minimal distortion and a wide sound dispersion that is not typically found in traditional dome tweeters. This can provide an expansive soundstage that audiophiles look for in high-quality bookshelf speakers.

The Motion 35XTi boasts a 6.5-inch aluminum cone woofer, paired with a rear-firing bass port that provides a robust and articulate bass response. The rigid structured dust cap reduces cone break-up and distortion, resulting in cleaner and more accurate bass performance. While the bass response is impressive for a bookshelf speaker, those seeking floor-rumbling lows may still find it necessary to pair these speakers with a dedicated subwoofer.

These speakers are aesthetically pleasing with their high-gloss finishes and modern lines, making them a suitable match for a variety of home decors. Attention to detail in the build quality ensures that the speakers are not just sonically pleasing but also visually striking. However, some users might prefer a more traditional or understated look, which might make the glossy finish less appealing to them.

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Sound Quality and Performance

One of the standout features of the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi is its exceptional sound quality. The high-resolution Folded Motion XT tweeter delivers crisp highs without sounding harsh, even at high volumes. This level of detail in the treble range adds to the overall clarity of the audio, making it suitable for listening to a wide range of music genres as well as for use in home theater systems.

The integration between the woofer and tweeter is seamless, providing a balanced midrange that handles vocals and instruments with finesse. The transition between drivers is such that the listener experiences a cohesive and immersive sound field. The Motion 35XTi's precision in vocal clarity makes it an excellent choice for those who focus on lyrical content or dialogue in movies and television shows.

Despite these strengths, like any speaker, the Motion 35XTi has its limitations. Its performance can be heavily dependent on room acoustics and positioning within the space. To get the best out of these speakers, some trial and error with placement may be necessary. Additionally, they are somewhat power-hungry, meaning they perform best with a high-quality amplifier capable of delivering ample power to unlock their full potential.

Comparisons with Competitors

When considering other products on the market, potential buyers might look at offerings from brands like Bowers & Wilkins, KEF, and ELAC. For instance, the KEF LS50 Meta is a direct competitor known for its Uni-Q driver array that aims to create a detailed soundstage similar to MartinLogan's aspirations with their Folded Motion tweeter. Similarly, Bowers & Wilkins' 600 Series bookshelf speakers offer excellent sound quality with their Continuum cone technology.

Price-wise, the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi sits in the mid to high range for bookshelf speakers. This positions them as an investment for serious listeners but not out of reach for those looking to step up from entry-level models. When comparing prices and features, shoppers should also consider the cost of additional components such as stands or amplifiers required to optimize performance.

In conclusion, the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi bookshelf speakers offer impressive sound quality with unique tweeter technology and solid bass performance for their size. While they shine in terms of high-frequency clarity and aesthetics, the need for careful placement and substantial amplification should be kept in mind. When stacked against competitors, they hold their ground as a reputable option within their price bracket, appealing to both audio enthusiasts and casual listeners seeking an upgrade from conventional models.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi handle high frequencies, particularly given its Folded Motion XT tweeter?

The MartinLogan Motion 35XTi boasts a distinctive Folded Motion XT tweeter, which is a hallmark of the brand's engineering prowess. This tweeter design is known for its ability to reproduce high frequencies with exceptional precision and minimal distortion. The larger surface area of the Folded Motion tweeter, compared to traditional dome tweeters, ensures a fast transient response and a detailed, yet smooth, high-frequency performance. This makes the Motion 35XTi particularly adept at delivering crisp and clear detail in music, allowing for a more lifelike and engaging listening experience, especially in the treble range.

What type of listener would most appreciate the sound signature of the Motion 35XTi speakers?

The MartinLogan Motion 35XTi is ideal for the audiophile who seeks a speaker with a clear, detailed soundstage and appreciates the nuances of high-resolution audio. The hybrid design that combines the Folded Motion XT tweeter with a traditional cone woofer allows these bookshelf speakers to deliver a balanced and articulate sound. Listeners who value precision in vocal clarity, instrument separation, and an expansive soundstage will find the Motion 35XTi to be a rewarding choice. Moreover, those who enjoy a wide variety of music genres will benefit from the speaker's versatility and ability to handle complex musical passages with ease.

Can the Motion 35XTi be integrated into a home theater system, and what considerations should be taken when doing so?

Yes, the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi speakers are well-suited for integration into a home theater system. Their robust performance and detailed soundstage make them an excellent choice for front left and right channels, especially in a setup where space might limit the inclusion of floorstanding speakers. However, when incorporating them into a home theater system, it is important to pair them with a center channel speaker that matches their sonic characteristics to ensure a cohesive sound field. Additionally, because of their high-resolution tweeter and dynamic woofer, they will benefit from being matched with quality electronics and source materials to fully realize their potential in a surround sound context.

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