MartinLogan Motion 35XTi speakers and 800X subwoofers; Benchmark D/A DAC3 B DAC, LA4 line amplifier, AHB2 power amplifier, and Star-Quad speaker and interconnect cabling

If you, like me, tend to associate MartinLogan with electrostatic transducers, you may be surprised to learn that their more traditional Motion line accounts for most of their sales. The upgrades on the Motion 35XTi speaker ($649.99 each) are subtle, and termed “housekeeping” by the company’s Peter Soderberg. Designed by their head engineers, they are claimed to carry over the electrostatic voicing that distinguishes the company’s other models. Together with MartinLogan’s Dynamo 800X subwoofers ($799.99/each), Benchmark’s D/A DAC3 B D/A converter ($1699), LA4 line amplifier ($2499), AHB2 power amplifier ($2999), and star-quad speaker cables and interconnects, the system acquitted itself nicely on a 24/192 file of Lori Lieberman and the Matangi Quartet’s “Empty Chairs” and another hi-rez track from David Chesky, "Transcendental Tripping" from Jazz in the New Harmonic.

COMMENTS
Ortofan's picture

... really of the Motion 60XTi?
This dealer's site suggests that the Motion 60XTi is a floor-stander, as was the outgoing Motion 60XT.
https://www.audioadvice.com/home-audio/martin-logan-motion-60xti-floorstanding-speaker.html
https://www.martinlogan.com/en/product/motion-60xt

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Thank you for catching this. I was handed a room card with two speakers indicated on it. In my haste to finish blogs before we head to Seattle for my husband's surgery, I didn't do the checking that you did. This is the Motion 35XTi ($649.99/each).

Ortofan's picture

... hope all goes well.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture
Jason Victor Serinus's picture
Jason Victor Serinus's picture
Jason Victor Serinus's picture
Jason Victor Serinus's picture

very much.

JRT's picture

I too hope that all went well and recovery has started by the time you read this.

JRT's picture

What I like about this demonstration system,

"...Benchmark’s D/A DAC3 B D/A converter ($1699), LA4 line amplifier ($2499), AHB2 power amplifier ($2999), and star-quad speaker cables and interconnects, the system...",

is that the excellent performance of that gear leaves only the loudspeakers, placement, room acoustics, and content of the music data files as variables.

The electronics and non-esoteric system cable plant mentioned would deliver uncolored converted data at suitable voltage function to the input terminals of the loudspeaker satellites and subwoofer(s) input terminals, as it should to demonstrate the performance of the loudspeaker system and any associated signal processing used with that loudspeaker system.

For those involved in engineering the demonstration system design and component equipment selection ... applause ... good work and nicely done.

That said...
The demonstration system is very unbalanced as a consumer playback system. The room, loudspeakers and placement make the biggest differences. In this demo system, everything upstream of the loudspeakers would be well suited (and still maybe overkill) for use with a _very_ much better set of loudspeakers (eg. Revel Ultima Studio 2 and bespoke low frequency subsystem). Readers new to the subject matter would be better off if forewarned about that (not that any of them will likely read my comment).

Bogolu Haranath's picture

People who are gonna buy speakers like the Motion 35XTi, probably are gonna use them with an integrated amp similar to Parasound HINT-6 ($3,000, reviewed by Stereophile) :-) ...........

Ortofan's picture

... $900 Yamaha A-S801, about which a TAS reviewer stated:
"The Yamaha A-S801 looks good, sounds splendid, and has a long list of useful features at a price that makes it a flaming bargain! I suspect many readers are lifelong audiophiles like me, for whom system upgrades are a way of life, possibly even the purpose of life. But for lots of people who just want a good hi-fi to play their music on, a hi-fi may be a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. For those people, or for anyone who wants good sound with lots of flexibility at a reasonable price, the Yamaha A-S801 integrated amplifier would be my top recommendation. It may be the only hi-fi electronics purchase they will ever need."
https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/yamaha-a-s801-integrated-amplifier-and-yba-11-bluetooth-wireless-adapter/

130W (plus an output for a subwoofer) should be enough for those speakers.
https://audio.com.pl/testy/stereo/wzmacniacze-stereo/2786-yamaha-a-s801

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Agreed ...... I have already said 'similar' components/integrated amps, in my comments ........ Other choices include, Outlaw Audio RR2160 ($799, reviewed by Stereophile), Denon PMA-1600NE ($1,599), Parasound NewClassic 200 integrated ($1,200) etc. etc. :-) ..........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Actually, KEF LS-50 (the king of all bookshelf/stand-mount speakers), is a stiff competition for these speakers, especially if subwoofer(s) are being used :-) ..........

Ortofan's picture

... B&W 706 S2?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7WJ1dzNxlQ

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Several (well respected) audio reviewers personally own the KEF LS-50s ........ LS-50s look 'prettier' ...... To quote JA1, B&W speakers could be 'idiosyncratic' ........ I would like to see a formal review with measurements by Stereophile (or, Hi-Fi News) :-) .........

JRT's picture

Those monitors have got a great reputation.

And he has a variant with bass bins under the monitors serving as stands.

I was never a fan of stand mounted monitors, as the stands occupy floor space that could be used by bass bins. And regardless the bass bins, the main speakers are still just satellites that should be crossed to a separate low frequency subsystem optimized for smoothed modal response.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Kii Three are great speakers ...... They are Stereophile Class-A listed ........ But, they also cost $17,500 .......... They are not in the same price range of these Martin-Logan bookshelf speakers ....... Kii Three with added matching BXT subwoofers cost almost $40k ........ These Martin-Logan speakers with any of the above mentioned integrated-amps and even with added powered subwoofers can be put together for around $5k :-) .........

JRT's picture

It was the portion of your comment where you stated, "Actually, KEF LS-50 (the king of all bookshelf/stand-mount speakers)..."

KEF's LS-50 seem popular. I would not consider them king of the monitors, not even qualifying it at their pricepoint.

R. Dennis Murphy is no longer taking orders on these, but they were available until earlier this year.

"New Philharmonitor with RAAL ribbon tweeter and ScanSpeak Revelator midwoofer.
$1100/pair

http://www.philharmonicaudio.com/New%20Philharmonitor.html

"BMR Philharmonitor" With RAAL ribbon tweeter, BMR midrange, and ScanSpeak 8545 midwoofer (a very good midwoofer, regardless not labeled "Revelator").
$1350/pair

http://www.philharmonicaudio.com/BMR%20Philharmonitor.html

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Those Philharmonic Audio speaker(s)' measurements look impressive ......... That Revelator mid-woofer looks like the ScanSpeak famous 'sliced-cone' driver, which are used by some famous brands ........ It would be nice to see Stereophile formally reviews them with measurements :-) .........

BTW ........ RAAL also makes ribbon headphones, which seem to be popular among some recording engineers ........ It would be nice to see JA1 or HR review those headphones :-) .........

JRT's picture

I hadn't seen those.

Interesting in that it does not seem to have any transformer near the ribbon. The ribbon element is usually very low impedance, so would use an impedance matching transformer.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Check RAAL website ........ They supply those headphones with a box which they call 'ribbon amp interface' ........ That box needs to be connected to a regular amp/integrated-amp speaker outputs ........ They have a video posted on their website explaining, how it is done :-) .........

JRT's picture

The Phils are no longer available new, and were only available in direct sales business model, so JA1 won't be measuring them.

Dennis's measurements on his website are proper and honest. You can take them at face value.

Take a look at the Phil 3, his top model.

http://www.philharmonicaudio.com/phil3.html

Bogolu Haranath's picture

All those Philharmonic speakers, including the Phil 3, have impressive measurements ........ All those drivers (transducers) they are using in their speakers are popular name brands and well regarded ........ That is a good sign :-) .......

JRT's picture

Salk Sound (Jim Salk) builds and sells R. Dennis Murphy's BMR Philhamonitors. Jim Salk is an expert cabinet maker with attention to detail, and builds some beautifully finished cabinets. Salk's pricing is higher than Murphy's was, and is more realistic to sustaining a business.

http://www.salksound.com/model.php?model=BMR+Monitors

Stereophile could review those, if the direct sales business model does not preclude further consideration.

I would like to see Salk offer RDM's Phil-3.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Revel's new F226Be ($7,000/pair) or F228Be ($10,000/pair, reviewed by Stereophile) could be competition(s) for Phil-3 :-) .........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Actually, Revel with their new Performa Be models, are going after the passive speakers market, in different price categories, in a very big way :-) ..........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Another potential competition for Phil-3 is, KEF R11 ($5,500/pair, EISA award winner) :-) .........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Revel Performa Be top model, the F328Be ($15,000/pair), could give some mega-expensive speakers, a run for their money :-) .........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Revel Performa F226Be ($7,000/pair), could give many bookshelf/stand-mount speakers in this price range, a run for their money :-) .........

count.de.monet's picture

I'm not surprised these models are their breadwinners. That was their plan. Martin Logan was bought for the name, not their ongoing electrostatic speaker business. new owners wasted no time in putting these cheaper box speakers out, mostly for the home theater market, where their electrostatic speakers were a difficult fit. (i mean really lets be honest, the martin logan electrostatic centers were a mess of crap) These new speakers have no groundbreaking technology, despite Martin Logans' tendency to give ordinary implementations a fancy trademarked name. This was a good business play, and that's all. Gayle Sanders got to retire very well and cash out the goodwill he had built up and banked over the years in Martin Logan. The new owners get to use that goodwill to shift a lot of very ordinary boxes.

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