Loudspeakers

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Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 20, 2021
hfnoutstandingFlagship of the ElectroMotion series, this hybrid electrostatic promises a taste of the range-topping Masterpiece loudspeakers at a more wallet-friendly price

The hi-fi market is replete with loudspeakers that look a little 'different', but few are as eye-catching as an electrostatic design where music appears to be coming almost from thin air. MartinLogan, the Kansas-based company established in the early 1980s, is one of the technology's best-known advocates. It began life with a 'static model, and even though its range has expanded since into conventional box-type speaker territory, its mantra remains 'wherever possible, we go electrostatic'.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 13, 2023
hfncommendedThe baby of MartinLogan's Motion range features a compact version of the brand's second-generation 'Folded Motion Tweeter' – this little box is full of big surprises!

How time flies: it's just over a decade since MartinLogan applied its expertise with hybrids to box-type systems instead of the usual electrostatic-panel-plus-cone-woofer which defined most of its models. Even though MartinLogan started out with a full-range ESL – the legendary CLS [HFN Feb '87] – its engineers swiftly excelled in the black arts of combining two speaker technologies, so the Motion range created a whole new field for them to plough. In this case, it's a cone woofer and a 'Generation 2 Folded Motion Tweeter', found here in the £1395-per-pair Motion B10 standmount model.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 07, 2023
hfnoutstandingAmerican marque's flagship Motion tower is a three-way that showcases driver upgrades and a bold new aesthetic

Although MartinLogan is known for its electrostatic loudspeakers, culminating in the flagship Neolith [HFN Jul '16], and 'static/moving-coil hybrids [HFN Jan '17, Feb '18 & Nov '21], the Kansas-based brand has, since 2003, ploughed another furrow with conventional cabinet models targeted at a wider audience. And since 2010, MartinLogan's Motion range, now headed by the Motion XT F200 reviewed here, has employed a tweeter technology the company says offers 'electrostatic-like high frequency detail'. There's a strong suggestion that the move from specialist brand to mass-market competitor hasn't extinguished ML's raison d'etre.

Ken Kessler and Keith Howard  |  Apr 24, 2009
Purists will never yield on the topic of full-range electrostatic vs hybrid. The reality is that ESLs need to be huge if they’re to deliver deep bass and high SPLs. So mazel tov to those who can house and afford, say, big Sound Labs. For the rest of us, hybrids are a sane compromise.
Ken Kessler and Keith Howard  |  Nov 25, 2009
Blown away by MartinLogan’s Spire earlier this year [see HFN, Apr ’09], I assumed that it would replace the Summit. Before the ink was dry, the Summit X was announced, and at a higher price point to ensure that the gap would prevent customer confusion. But in order to justify the cost difference, for a speaker not that much larger, its performance would have to be instantly, audibly superior. Luckily for ML, the Summit X may be the best hybrid the company has delivered to date.
Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 01, 2021
hfnedchoiceThe speaker with no sweet spot arrives on our shores, offering a sound that's as distinctive as its aesthetics

Few loudspeakers are as instantly recognisable as the 'Radialstrahlers' – directly translated 'radial emitters' – designed and built by German brand MBL. At every international hi-fi show their appearance draws crowds while the all-encompassing sound of those iconic 'melons' keeps visitors rooted to their seats. Am I giving away the punchline? Not really. Few seasoned audiophile travellers will not have heard these incredible music machines, but we have still waited a decade for them to reach these shores and be explored, inside and out, Hi-Fi News-style.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 25, 2022
hfncommendedLaunched 44 years ago, the original 770 loudspeaker with its polypropylene woofer and white baffle was nothing if not controversial. Will the reimagined 770 also make waves?

Hi-fi's 'subjective' revolution was just picking up steam when Mission's 770 shovelled a heap of coal on the fire in 1978. The move away from heavy plastics (Bextrene) was reflected in its polypropylene bass/mid driver while the light but rigid ply cabinet doffed its cap to earlier BBC-inspired designs. Its sound, meanwhile, provoked more column inches over the years than possibly any speaker since! The 770 received a very favourable review in Hi-Fi News [HFN Mar '79, 'Milestones' HFN Aug '12 and 'From the Vault' HFN Dec '15] but, writing elsewhere, a fledgling author by the name of Ken Kessler was, shall we say, less enthusiastic...

David Berriman and Keith Howard  |  Oct 25, 2009
These new Mission 792s certainly have kerb appeal, or maybe that should be curve appeal. With their contoured sides, wrap-around grilles and sculpted front, no one could accuse them of not standing out from the crowd – even if their looks are sure to divide opinion sharply. The shiny black finish is actually genuine piano lacquer, with seven coats applied to create a truly deep and lustrous gloss. This approach is both labour and time intensive, as each coating must be dried for 24 hours before it is rubbed down by hand and re-sprayed.
Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 25, 2023
hfnoutstandingHi-fi's 'go-to' speaker innovator, Andrew Jones, is behind MoFi's first loudspeaker – a robust standmount featuring a dual-concentric driver with nothing less than a 10in cone

Launched in the 1970s as an audiophile-grade record label, Chicago's Mobile Fidelity has acquired a celebrated reputation among vinylistas, particularly for its One-Step pressings [HFN May '17]. Its move into the world of vinyl replay in 2016, under a new MoFi Electronics division, was arguably a long time coming. The range now extends to cartridges [HFN Jan '22], phono preamps [HFN Mar '20], and three turntables – the StudioDeck [HFN Jan '20], UltraDeck [HFN Jul '19] and the luxurious, Fender-branded PrecisionDeck. And the next obvious step? Loudspeakers.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 18, 2023
hfnoutstandingWith the 'proof of concept' SourcePoint 10 already under his belt, MoFi's Andrew Jones has engineered a more compact coincident driver array for the SourcePoint 8 cabinet

Speaking to designer Andrew Jones at High End Munich in May '23, he kidded that his latest loudspeaker could be considered the 'European' version of his larger SourcePoint 10 [HFN Apr '23]. 'People were often surprised by its size – it does host a 10in driver after all – so something smaller was needed', he explained. Cue the 'modest' SourcePoint 8, with its 8in version of the launch speaker's inaugural 10in coaxial driver.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 14, 2020
hfnoutstandingA foundation range for two decades, MA's Bronze series goes for gold with the standmount 100

Is it brave to label a loudspeaker series 'Bronze', with the implication that its models are worse than second-best? Monitor Audio doesn't seem to think so, and has been using its precious metal hierarchy long enough for its Bronze lineup to now be relaunched in sixth-generation guise, five years after a previous update [HFN Feb '16]. The promise, as always, is of speakers that hit the price/performance sweet-spot via trickle-down driver tech, while looking good, too. Silver, Gold and Platinum are ranged above, and below you'll find the Monitor series, presumably because Copper felt like a step too far...

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 16, 2021
hfncommendedThis slim floorstander has million-dollar looks but a wallet-friendly price, and aims to sound bigger than it seems

Monitor Audio's close-to-entry-level Bronze series wants to offer something for everyone – the full range runs to eight models, including various multichannel options – but it's perhaps the Bronze 200 floorstander that many potential buyers will investigate first. A slim two-and-half-way tower speaker priced £569, with attractive finish options (white, walnut, urban grey and black), plus driver technologies borrowed from pricier models, it appears at face value to offer performance potential and that hi-fi holy grail: value for money.

Review: James Parker, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Oct 21, 2019
hfnoutstandingThis may be the baby of the latest Gold range, but it has the company's usual impeccable design, fit and finish, and a big sound that belies its compact dimensions

The hierarchy of the Monitor Audio loudspeaker range – starting with Bronze, and progressing through Silver and Gold to the flagship Platinum series – is well-established, and so too is the company's rolling programme of updating the products line by line. In recent times this has run alongside a series of acquisitions – the company scooped up electronics manufacturer Roksan in 2016, and more recently added Blok, the maker of the STAX range of hi-fi stands and AV racks, to its stable.

John Bamford and Keith Howard  |  Oct 02, 2011
Monitor Audio pushed the boat out with its prestigious PL300 floorstanders in 2007, the first speakers in its then new Platinum range to employ an in-house designed ribbon tweeter. Later came the more affordable PL200s with a slightly smaller footprint, £5000 three-ways whose sharp clarity and fi nesse impressed me greatly when we reviewed them in Dec ’09. Below the company’s flagship Platinum range comes the Gold series: substantially more affordable speakers with less elaborately constructed enclosures and drive units. The Gold GS models, in the market since 2006, have been replaced this year by an entirely new Gold line-up now called GX.
Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 13, 2023
hfnoutstandingThey started out as a Concept, and have become a reality combining a skeletal form and novel engineering solutions – but do they sound as other-worldly as they look?

As safe bets go, that you've never seen anything quite like the £70k Monitor Audio Hyphn speaker is pretty much a dead cert. Yet look closer and there's actually a lot of 'form following function' going on here in those two columns with a gap between them, linked by a central belt. And while to unsympathetic eyes they may look like two huge clothes pegs, it won't take long for audiophiles to understand the thinking behind the configuration, however unusual the speakers look by comparison with traditional 'box, domes and cones' designs.

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