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Martin Logan Motion 4i, 2i Review


At the time that this review was posted it was over month and I had not received a call back from Martin Logan. I had contacted them with questions about their product. I had left my info with a worker who said they would pass on my request. Not hearing from them is concern, especially since the cost of their product is high one would expect, and hope for a good customer relationship. This is a word of caution for the consumer.

Martin Logan Monitor Speaker 4i

Something most people don’t even think of when making their speaker purchase is the actual size of the room they will be in. Also, if they are purchasing to create a home theater system this becomes an even bigger issue.

The size of the speaker, and how it performs is greatly affected by the environment it will be in. Most of us are dealing with smaller rooms. A larger speaker means more power, and volume needed to output and shine.

Towers are great. They deliver a wide range of sonic pleasure, but the smaller the room, the larger the sound level, the more distortion, and annoyance there is. There simply isn’t enough environment to allow the speaker to breath and fulfill its function.

Smaller doesn’t mean less. In fact with the advancements in sonic technology yesterdays smaller speaker box has vastly been improved upon.

At one time it was BOSE that unlocked that door filling that niche of sonic clarity with only a tiny satellite and bass box. However the limitations of that format have changed.

MARTIN LOGAN known for their original, and aesthetically pleasing design has released a speaker series known as, “Motion Series”.

On the high end are the company’s Folded Motion tweeters. They reproduce amazingly clear and precise sound with stunning presence.

Literally I was amazed at the sonic presence these speakers created. There were sounds I really didn’t previously hear in tested material.

The clarity and separation isn’t the only thing I noticed, but there was a deeper 3D quality to the sound stage. More of an openness and a deeper array to the music in two channel stereo. Depth was added and with it a more pleasurable presentation.

There were times I had to see if the receiver setting had switched to a Dolby Surround mode due to the openness and depth of the sound.

Matched with these speakers are the Motion 6i Center channel speaker. Like the 4i’s this too presented a wonderful presence with dialog. Not once with my testing was the speaker overpowered by the others. I never had to raise the volume. It presented a clear and well-located center presence. The volume level was sustained throughout the testing with dialog well presented; both clear and precise.

My set-up also requires Dolby Atmos speakers. The Motion 4i’s would have been too large. I was excited however by the Motion 2i, matched to the others by much smaller tweeter. They mounted to the ceiling with brackets (from a different company) and were easily positioned. However, they seemed a bit dull and without presence. I used the graphic equalizer on the receiver trying to improve their sonic finger print but to no avail. I finally did a Audessy calibration and it helped, but still they lacked the presence and their sound was flat and uninspiring. I believe this was due to the smaller tweeter within and it just didn’t deliver like the other Motion speakers. Truthfully, it was awful.

I tested the 2i's in a basic two channel set-up and found they simply didn’t deliver to any acceptable level as the 4i's. It’s actually amazing they were ever produced by the same company; especially from Martin Logan.

Yes the 4i's speakers are small and although they do deliver well a lager sub is needed to complete an really good set-up. Still I was amazed by what was produced and how they deliver in the lower end. This is managed by an extremely clever design - the Cascading Bass Reflex Port.

This over-lapping back and forth design allows a super bass punch that betrays the size of the cabinet.

Now we're not talking a deep punch to your chest lower end, but a nice deep end completely seemingly not form the speaker.

For a 7.1 configuration the speakers delivered an incredible response and secured a sound field that never distorted. The surround speakers (all Motion 4i’s) seamlessly delivered. Sounds popped up as they were delivered – surprisingly so. Sound just seem to appear, in a startling way. The tweeters are so sweet adding a true sense of realism to the presentation of films.

My side surrounds were on stands, and my rears were mounted on the wall – with supplied mounts.

The speaker series are part of Martin Logan’s lower priced offerings and are a cheaper way of obtaining that company’s offerings.

I must say – I did try to contact the company, twice. The first time I spoke to a person who said they would pass on my request, and that I would be contacted. I wasn’t. I then waited a week, and then was connect to the person I needed to speak to. I left voice mail – and never heard from them.

This disgusted me. A company that produces such expensive items should really be more attentive to customers. I’d like to think this was outside the norm, but I still haven’t been contacted. If I were making a larger purchase this would trouble me. I have received better company support from others.

These speakers are available through retailers such as Best Buy and online retailer, Crutchfield. Both are wonderful to deal with in terms of returns or help. At this point I wouldn't really expect anything from Martin Logan.

After my bad experience with the smaller Motion 2i for Atmos I was hoping to get solutions from Martin Logan, but since they never contacted me I was force to seek out a replacement - one of my own – and not from them.

For Atmos I decided to use 4 pairs of white Orb Audio speakers – which delivered excellently! I was amazed by the added presence clearly heard and defined.

Most pleasurable was the unexpected up convert of non-Dolby Atmos mixes. Not all, but some did deliver extremely well. SPACE 1999 Year Two – every Eagle (space ship) flies above. Incredible debris falling from above in the film THE BEYOND. In GODZILLA RETURNS (Godzilla 1984) he is heard walking above from the point of view of the government shelter.

Of course Dolby Atmos films also delivered as with – DARK CRYSTAL where thunder is heard above in the front right speaker. BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, when Renfield reaches up to the front right, grabbing a bug and hearing it in that same speaker. JUPITER ASCENDING in various parts, like when a spaceship fight takes place over the city and they are heard flying by, above, or debris falling from above.

The Motion line excels in preforming high above other speakers that are the same size. Aside from the smaller 2i’s under performance, give these speakers a chance – you won’t be disappointed.

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