“Extreme” isn’t a word I would normally associate with MartinLogan’s speakers, especially the Motion Series. “Graceful”? Yes. “Gorgeous”? Absolutely. “Beautifully balanced” and “deliciously dimensional”? Oh yeah. But I typically associated adjectives like “extreme” with flame decals, faux-punk music, and all capital letters. Which is about as far from the MartinLogan aesthetic as you can get.
Still, you can’t blame the company for getting a little boisterous in describing its latest Motion Series speakers. The new Motion 60XT tower, Motion 50XT center speaker, and Motion 35XT bookshelf speaker (and yep, in case you hadn’t guessed it, the XT stands for “extreme”) take everything that made the Motion Series great and cranks it all up a notch or three: bigger cabinets, bigger woofers, and most importantly, a much larger Folded Motion XT driver.
That last one is the one that interests me the most, so let’s start there. All MartinLogan Motion Series speakers employ a variation on Dr. Oskar Heil’s Air Motion Transformer instead of a traditional dome tweeter. Instead of pushing air to create high frequency sounds, the Folded Motion driver is an accordion constructed from a thin rectangular membrane, which squeezes the air instead. As such, it has to move much shorter distances to move the same amount of air, resulting in much lower distortion levels.
Until now, MartinLogan’s Motion Series speakers have relied on a Folded Motion driver that began its life as a 5.25″ × 1.75″ membrane, which was folded down to 1″ × 1.4″. The new Folded Motion XT driver, by contrast, consists of a 4.5″ x 2.75″ diaphragm folded down into a more elongated 1.25″ × 2.4″. I’m not sure what effect the new, more elongated shape will have, but the increased surface area of the new Folded Motion XT driver should allow it to play even louder, with less distortion.
That isn’t the only “Extreme” upgrade to the new flagship models, though. In addition to their larger cabinets, the new Motion XT Series speakers also boast larger woofers: In contrast with the Motion 40 tower’s 5.5″ midrange driver and dual 6.5″ woofers, the Motion 60XT features a 6.5″ mid driver and two 8″ aluminum cone woofers. The Motion 35XT, as compared with the next largest bookshelf in the series—the Motion 15—has seen an upgrade in woofer size from 5.25” to 6.5″. And the Motion 50XT center benefits from the same driver upgrade. Twice, in fact.
Despite the “Extreme” upgrades, the new Motion XT Series speakers are voice-matched with the rest of the line in its entirety, so if you already have a Motion Series system, you can upgrade components one or two at a time. Or you can build an entirely new system out of a mix of Motion and Motion XT speakers.
The new models start at $899.95 for the 50XT, $1,199.95 per pair for the 35XT, and $2,999.95 per pair for the 60XT towers. The speakers will be available in your choice of high-gloss piano black or high-gloss black cherry finishes, and will be shipping to local authorized MartinLogan dealers by the end of this month.