MartinLogan Motion 8i Center Channel Speaker Review


MSRP $450
(H × W × D)
5.60” × 22.00” × 5.20”
142mm × 559mm × 132mm
Power Type Passive
Frequency Response 70-23,000 Hz
MartinLogan Motion 8i Center Channel Speaker

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: The MartinLogan Motion 8i dazzles with its Folded Motion tweeter, rendering crystalline highs that complement the robust mids from the doped fiber cones. Its sleek, curved design adds aesthetic appeal to any setup. However, its horizontally oriented dual woofers may limit vertical dispersion, potentially affecting sound consistency across varied listening positions. Best suited for intimate home theaters, it may struggle in larger spaces. This center channel warrants applause for clarity but demands careful placement for optimal performance.

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MartinLogan Motion 8i: Our Take

The MartinLogan Motion 8i Center Channel Speaker is a premium audio product designed to provide an exceptional listening experience for home theater enthusiasts. As part of MartinLogan's renowned Motion Series, the Motion 8i has been engineered to deliver crisp, clear dialogue and full-bodied sound, which are crucial elements for any immersive movie-watching experience. The Motion 8i is designed with a sleek and modern aesthetic, allowing it to blend seamlessly into many living spaces and home theater setups.

One of the standout features of the MartinLogan Motion 8i is its Folded Motion tweeter technology. This unique design significantly reduces distortion and enhances transient response times, meaning that audio signals are converted into sound waves much quicker than with traditional dome tweeters. The result is incredibly detailed high-frequency reproduction, making the speaker well-suited for high-resolution audio formats. The Folded Motion tweeter is paired with dual 4-inch, high-excursion, low-distortion cone woofers and a rear-firing bass port, which together produce a well-rounded soundstage with ample bass.

The cabinet of the MartinLogan Motion 8i is acoustically inert and rigidly constructed, which helps to minimize unwanted resonances and vibrations that can color sound and reduce audio clarity. Furthermore, its curved design not only contributes to its visual appeal but also serves an acoustic purpose by reducing diffraction effects that can occur with more angular enclosures. The cabinet's internal bracing has been optimized to support the drivers and ensure a cleaner sound output.

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Integration with Home Theater Systems

The versatility of the MartinLogan Motion 8i in terms of placement adds to its appeal. It can be mounted on a wall using the included wall-mount bracket or placed on a shelf or dedicated speaker stand. Its form factor is particularly conducive to being positioned beneath a flat-screen television, making it an unobtrusive addition to a home theater setup. Additionally, the speaker's nominal impedance and sensitivity are compatible with a wide range of AV receivers, making it relatively easy to integrate into existing systems.

Despite its many positive attributes, potential buyers should consider the MartinLogan Motion 8i in the context of their unique listening environments and preferences. The speaker's performance can be influenced by room acoustics and placement. It is important for users to calibrate the speaker within their space to achieve optimal sound. Additionally, while the Motion 8i offers substantial bass for a center channel, those seeking deep, room-shaking low frequencies may want to pair it with a dedicated subwoofer.

Comparison with Competitors

In comparison to other center channel speakers on the market, the MartinLogan Motion 8i holds its own, particularly within its price bracket. Alternatives like the KEF Q650c and the Polk Audio Signature S35 offer different sonic signatures and design philosophies, which may appeal to different tastes. The KEF Q650c, for example, features the brand's signature Uni-Q driver array for a different approach to sound dispersion, while the Polk Audio Signature S35 boasts a slimmer design that could be advantageous for those with space constraints.

When considering the pros and cons of the MartinLogan Motion 8i, it's important to factor in price-to-performance ratio. The speaker offers many high-end features that are typically found in more expensive models, making it a value proposition for audiophiles on a budget. However, some might find that there are more cost-effective alternatives that satisfy their specific needs without compromising too much on quality.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the MartinLogan Motion 8i Center Channel Speaker is a compelling option for those who prioritize clarity and detail in their center channel speaker. It exhibits a level of craftsmanship and sonic performance that MartinLogan customers have come to expect from the brand. While no speaker is without its drawbacks, such as reliance on proper room acoustics and potential need for additional bass support, the Motion 8i offers a balanced blend of aesthetics, performance, and versatility that make it worthy of consideration for any serious home theater setup.

Potential buyers looking to make an informed decision should take into account their personal preferences, room characteristics, and overall budget. As with any significant audio investment, auditioning the speaker in person if possible can provide valuable insight into how it will perform in one's own home environment. Comparing it side-by-side with alternatives like those from KEF or Polk Audio can help consumers choose the center channel speaker that best meets their expectations and enhances their home theater experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the MartinLogan Motion 8i's Folded Motion tweeter compare to traditional dome tweeters?

The MartinLogan Motion 8i center channel speaker features a unique Folded Motion tweeter, which sets it apart from speakers using conventional dome tweeters. This innovative design allows for a larger surface area, which results in a more controlled, precise, and efficient sound dispersion. The main benefit of this technology is that it provides an incredibly fast transient response, which captures the delicate nuances of the audio with impressive clarity and minimal distortion. In comparison to traditional dome tweeters, you will likely notice a smoother and more refined high-frequency response from the Motion 8i, ensuring that dialogue and high-pitched sounds are crisp and well-defined in your home theater setup.

Is the MartinLogan Motion 8i suitable for both music and movies, considering its center channel designation?

While the MartinLogan Motion 8i is designated as a center channel speaker and is primarily designed to anchor the dialogue and action in a home theater system, it is also more than capable when it comes to handling music. The overall sound quality, balance, and the aforementioned Folded Motion tweeter technology make it a versatile speaker for various audio content. The Motion 8i's ability to render vocals with clarity and precision, as well as its coherent integration with the rest of the MartinLogan lineup, ensures that it can contribute to a high-fidelity music listening experience as part of a larger stereo or surround sound setup.

Can the MartinLogan Motion 8i be integrated with other non-MartinLogan speakers in a surround system?

While the MartinLogan Motion 8i is designed to complement other MartinLogan speakers in a cohesive manner, it can also be integrated into a surround system with non-MartinLogan speakers. When mixing and matching different brands, it is important to consider the general tonal balance and timbre of the speakers to ensure a harmonious sound field. The Motion 8i, with its neutral and accurate sound signature, can often blend well with other high-quality speakers. However, for optimal results, it is always best to audition the speaker with your existing setup, or aim for a timbre-matched system, especially for the front soundstage, to ensure a seamless audio transition across the channels.

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MartinLogan Motion 8i

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