MartinLogan Motion XT F200 Loudspeaker Page 2

Indeed, there is a touch of ebullience to the F200's overall performance – a forward, direct feel to the presence region that goes hand-in-hand with its forthright bass delivery. In other words, it's not exactly a loudspeaker for a quiet night in and some contemplative listening. Of course, the choice of partnering electronics will have an impact here, but even used with the refined-sounding Exposure 3510 preamp/monoblock system, the F200's inherent character remained apparent throughout.

The dark, brooding 'Sail Into The Black' from Machine Head's Bloodstone And Diamonds [Nuclear Blast Records 27361 33222] is a track seemingly penned for the band's live shows, with an explosive mid-section that heralds a shift from acoustic ballad to mosh-pit mayhem, and it's to the Motion XT F200's credit that both sides of the coin are well presented. The opening verses have keyboard and string notes as the background to a haunting piano refrain and delicate guitar, and the speaker finds room for each element, creating a large, atmospheric image peppered with succinct detail. It then switches to pounding bass drums that ignite that cohort of bass drivers, and a crushing riff that seems to suck the air from the room.

Take To The Floor
In a similar vein, the exceptionally 'heavy' – and articulate – production of Metallica's eponymous 1991 album [Vertigo 510 022-2] presents no problem to the Motion XT F200 loudspeakers. They bring a stadium-sized presence and frightening bass weight to the drop-D tuned guitars on 'Sad But True', and follow this up with a flab-free rendition of the up-tempo 'Holier Than Thou'. It was fast, furious and fun.

Arguably the Motion XT F200 is made for music like this, providing you have the necessary amplifier power to really open up the sound. And it's worth emphasising this speaker's scale and depth, as it's surely a key selling point over the more petite F100. With the subterranean electronic lows of Dimension & Raphaella's 'Pull Me Under/Maschinen' release [MTA Records; 44.1kHz/16-bit], and the bouncy hip-hop funk of De La Soul's 'Say No Go' [3 Feet High & Rising; Tommy Boy TBCD1019], it's the physical sensation of shifted air that will get your house guests dancing.


Bi-wiring and bi-amping are accommodated via ML's split crossover and while the dual 'twin cannon' ports are tucked away under the cabinet, thick carpets will likely attenuate their output

As for MartinLogan's 'floor bounce', on tracks such as these the impact is noticeable, and a reason to not set your listening position too close to the cabinets. There's no distance given in the manual, just a range between one and two times that of the space between the speakers. My advice would be to err towards the latter.

Sun Kissed
Setting these multi-driver cabinets to work with something as mid- and treble-focused as Joni Mitchell's 'Ladies Of The Canyon', from the album of the same name [Warner Bros Records; 96kHz/24-bit], could be seen as using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Yet when the trio of woofers remains mostly untroubled, it's easier to appreciate the deft touch the speaker brings to the song's vocal harmonies and sun-kissed instrumentation. It's a clear, crystalline sound, aided by the two cabinets drawing a precise soundstage. Mitchell was a well-defined central figure, flanked by fluttering acoustic guitars.

Opt for music with more varied instrumentation, in this case Sting's 'Englishman In New York' [Nothing Like The Sun; A&M Records 540 993 2], and the pin-prick detail of the hi-hat, the fluid saxophone melody, the supple bass guitar sound and the space given to the singer reveal a speaker capable of subtlety as well as full-steam-ahead power and scale. With high-quality recordings such as this, the F200 is poetry in motion.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
With its sizeable heavyweight cabinet, five-strong driver complement and striking looks, the F200 clearly offers plenty of bang for your buck. Mirroring this is a performance that really comes alive with dynamic, bass-rich music, but one that's equally adept at extracting fine detail when you switch tempo. Feed MartinLogan's floorstander plenty of power, and you're ready to sit back and enjoy the show.

Lawrence, KS, US
Supplied by: The Professional Monitor Company Ltd, UK
01767 686300