|Sealed, rear-firing bass reflex port
|1× 1.4-inch Folded Motion Transducer with 5.25 × 1.75-inch diaphragm, 1x 5.5-inch aluminum cone, 2x 6.5-inch aluminum cone woofers.
||4 ohm (compatible with 4, 6, or 8 ohm rated amplifier)
||40 Hz to 25 kHz (+/- 3dB)
|20 — 300 watts per channel
||1 097 x 192 x 326 mm (HxWxD)
SUPPLIED BY Audioholics 011-453-2365
Martin Logan has always been one of the legendary brand names in hi-fi for as long as I can remember. It took me a long time to be able to find and afford a pair of electrostatics with the signature name on them and they have done duty in my system ever since.
So it is with some interest that I took delivery of the new Motion 40i loudspeakers from the Logan stable of thoroughbreds.
The XT40i is a floorstander that sports dual bass drivers, being 6.5-inch aluminium cone affairs, which in their own blurb are, ‘in a non-resonant asymmetrical chamber format’ and sport a ‘cast polymer basket’. ‘Rigid structured dust caps reduce cone break-up’ — which says in fewer words than I could what’s happening on the lower half of the speaker. The midrange driver is a 5.5-inch version of the same, but the tweeter is interesting in that this is a 1× 1.4-inch (2.6 × 3.6 cm) Folded Motion Transducer with 5.25 × 1.75-inch (13.3 × 4.4 cm) diaphragm.
And in English, what is it?
In essence it is a driver that in this case performs the role of a tweeter. It does this differently from a conventional tweeter in that it works works by moving air (which creates sound) perpendicular to the folded ridges of the diaphragm, similar to how an accordion works. This extremely low mass diaphragm “squeezes” air and requires almost 90% less excursion than the typical 1-inch dome tweeter, which drastically minimises distortion while providing a lightning fast response time. The increased surface area also provides a wide, yet controlled sound dispersion to create a realistic and carefully etched soundstage (source https://www.martinlogan.com/en/folded-motion-technology).
Again, they said it better than I could. The bottom line though is whether this tech actually works or not and I must point out that the technology is not unique to Martin Logan, with a number of other high end speaker manufacturers using it. In my listening notes, before I started research into the speakers, I have duly noted to myself that in fact music on these speakers does seem to present with more tempo and alacrity than on others. It’s always a difficult concept to bend one’s mind around, since a song that lasts three minutes…still only lasts three minutes? So how can music appear to be faster?
Whilst you digest on that, the rest of the speaker stats are interesting with a claimed 40 Hz low end being on the conservative side — as far as I am concerned anyway. I was expecting far more roll off on the bass on tracks that punish deep end bass, and yet I was getting more low end information from the Motions than other speakers that claim a much deeper reach. I’ll freely admit to having a bass issue in my current room setup which predicates me moving around a lot, but it is good exercise.
Standing at just under 1.1 m in height, bi-ampable and with optional spikes (I ran them with their adjustable rubber feet) the speakers are present in a room but without being overly imposing. They are a little deeper than most and it is this relative slenderness that I think helps them integrate into a room rather than dominate it. A slight backward lean presumably for some degree of time alignment finishes off the speaker cabinet and because the top of the cabinet slopes down to the rear, you can’t put a cup of coffee on them, which is a design highlight.
Being a low matte white, at first I wasn’t sure. But the longer I spent with them the more I enjoyed the colour. I ran with the grilles off, but in this particular case I have to admit that grilles on enhances the speaker, which is at odds with my usual stance. The ‘Martin Logan’ embossed brushed aluminium insert that separates the two grilles from each other adds a touch of class to the look. It’s a visually handsome minimalist speaker.
The five-way ‘no tools necessary’ speaker binding posts are built to take a decent gauge of cable — and to clamp down on it with an excess of torque should you so desire. They’re some of the best I’ve seen, a joy to use with perfect angulation to get cables in and out. Two thumbs up of approval. Maybe even a grunt.
My pair came pre run in — which was great news. From the get go a recent encounter with an exotic specimen of the speaker brigade brought me back to a reference track I haven’t used personally for some time because I hate the track, but I thought I’d kick the Logans off with it to see if I encountered similar issues. In The Air Tonight should be renamed ‘throw in the dumpster immediately’, but for the sake of my critically important work I sucked it up like a hero.
I concluded that the track is indeed hard and has much tonality about it that I don’t enjoy, quite aside from everything else, but the Martin Logans blew away what I’d heard earlier. No contest. To be completely fair however, context of environment and source will play a big role in enjoyment of music. But it’s interesting that the XT40i presents as more forgiving in the upper mids where your ears feel maximum pain and, if you’re at all human, your psyche too.
Moving swiftly along into the more familiar and welcome arms of stuff I know well, it is immediately apparent that the claims to fame of this tweeter are probably justified. We get to this turn of speed that engages you into the music and gets your foot tapping almost without you realising it. It’s easy to get sucked into not realising that actually what is also happening is that there is an abundance of upper range information — so much so that the XT40i is in dire danger of being accused of being forward. It may sound like that initially, but the reality is that what is happening behind the scenes is a soundstage that has deepened as a consequence. I toed the speakers out flat — and with zero toe-in I found them to be best to my personal liking. It is eerily similar to the way I run the ‘stats, and I had no sense of compromise in the ‘sweet spot’, but I still had an expanded sound stage with a clear image across the board.
It is the soundstage that benefits the most from the wide dispersion of the tweeter, in that your ‘sweet spot’ is much larger than usual — meaning that the size of the sound stage has increased. This, if you’re wondering, is a good thing. A very good thing.
As mentioned earlier bass is taut and with dual smaller drivers it is also fast. Extension felt much deeper than the claimed 40 Hz, but that does happen on occasion with speakers and room setup. Still, the 40i will never be accused of being anemic, and the bass drivers definitely are in keeping with the sense of pace that I was getting from the speakers overall.
I also didn’t run them with a squillion watts of power — the Thule is rated at 100 watts a channel and they didn’t feel as if they needed more. They are rated at a 4 ohm impedance but again, the amp wasn’t complaining. The stats do say the 40i is comfortable with between 20 and 300 watts of power, which is a wide spread, but that does speak to the ease at which they can be driven. I got the feeling that the amp was more than happy doing duty and certainly all the information being sent to the speakers was readily on display in the sonic picture as painted.
Much time passed I won’t lie, and the music kept on flowing as it should. At no stage did I find the MLs to feel flustered or overworked, and I do enjoy my music on the upper end of the volume spectrum — and that’s not an age thing — I always have. Critical listening is always fun when it reverts to track skipping in dusty old playlists and from my fill of female vocals to satiate my need to have my midrange desires fulfilled – the XT40i in fairness, dispatches these with a swat — there are no issues with detail, accuracy or tonality that I could discern and leaving silences in the midst of lingering resonances is the hallmark of a truly well designed speaker.
But equally, if you happen to enjoy fast-paced party music of the doef doef inst inst genre, and who doesn’t (if there isn’t anybody watching) the Motions are going to leave you super mega happy fun slide fulfilled. They are so clean and so crisp throughout that they run the real risk of cooking something well and properly before the teeny amount of sibilance that creeps in is detected — at those ludicrous listening volumes where in essence something HAS to give. Physically I think the speakers are indestructible — the amp will expire long before the speakers do.
The Motion 40i then. A top quality product, with top quality drivers and design and the performance to match – these are speakers you will be able to hand down to your kids and they will thank you for it. Very hard to fault.