What We Like
- A design which is both luxurious and minimalistic
- A versatile form factor which provides myriad placement opportunities.
- The sound quality—especially the treble response—is exceptional.
What We Don’t Like
- Tracks which rely on the bottom-end can be comparatively disappointing.
Started by Gayle Martin Sanders and Ron Logan Sutherland in 1979, MartinLogan (see what they did there?) is based in Lawrence, Kansas in the USA and has been producing high end audio equipment for the best part of 30 years.
The Motion 15s are an impressive looking offering and it’s immediately obvious upon first seeing and handling them that they have been built with enormous care and attention to detail. Available in three equally luxurious finishes—the sleek, elegant Piano Black; a modern, techy White; and a classic, timeless Black Cherrywood—, the design manages to find that rare balance between looking incredibly simple and extremely high quality.
The most unusual design element is the folded motion ribbon tweeter which is located, as you would expect, towards the top of the matte black baffle. It’s an unusual, futuristic looking thing and is certainly eye catching in its unique, slightly alien aesthetic without being garish in the slightest.
Weighing in at just 5.4kg each, the Motion 15s are fairly small and compact which is of great benefit when it comes to finding a suitable place for them within a given room. You will have a ton of options in terms of space, and, as it turns out, they manage to produce a good deal of sound regardless of placement so all in all it’s an exceptionally versatile experience.
The Motion15 uses what MartinLogan describes as a Folded Motion tweeter. Essentially, this works by drastically reducing the excursion relative to a standard, 1 inch dome tweeter which, in turn, reduces distortion significantly and aids in the speed of the response. It is engineered to have as large a surface area as possible—around 8 times as large as your standard 1 inch tweeter—and this goes a long way towards creating a treble response which is dynamic, precise, and enjoyable to listen to.
Another nice touch is the rear firing port which is designed to inhibit air turbulence in order to extend the already fairly sumptuous bass response whilst keeping it tuneful and tight.
The name of the game here is agility. Across the wide variety of tracks we tested, we could not find anything which the Motion 15s could not keep up with in terms of precise, energetic articulation of even the most rhythmically complex and involved phrases and tracks. The dynamics are also well above average, and the clarity was, at times, well within the ‘you have to hear it to believe it’ range of accuracy.
The use of a folded ribbon tweeter sets the Motion 15s apart from most other speakers in this price range, and it is probably time that other manufacturers started to jump aboard what is clearly a very successful trend. We would go so far as to say that the tweeter is the single best feature of these speakers, and tracks which employ a lot of treble sound noticeably better than the already good sound you get from tracks which do not. It is silky, totally devoid of unwanted sibilance or hiss, and just an all-round great listening experience.
Our one complaint—and one which is fairly standard with bookshelf speakers—is with the bass response which, at times, could sound a little more compressed and heavy than would be ideal. It is hard to criticise MartinLogan for this specifically as it is more a problem inherent to the form factor of a bookshelf speaker than a problem of their own making, but it is worth noting nonetheless that you may wish to pair the Motion 15s with a small sub-woofer to achieve an optimal audio experience in whatever room you establish as your entertainment center.
The Motion 15s are an extremely solid purchase which combine a keen eye for visual design with a highly refined ear for phenomenal audio quality. It is hard to find fault with these speakers, and we don’t say that often.
AR Rating 96/100
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Final Words on the Martin Logan Motion 15
Something created to resemble, and with the same makeup, as the products that have gone before, is always a good idea. Having the old form in something with new features is what makes new product quality. All the features this product contains are things to be desired.
For starters, the design is of the highest quality, which is part of what matches the look, as well. The features, altogether, make up a speaker that gives the best sound you can imagine. The performance is clear and will keep your music sounding smooth and desirable.
Overall, the speaker is as smooth as butter. If you are looking for all these features in order to play great music and hear it sound with as good of a pitch and frequency as the one you are playing it at, then you cannot lose with this one.