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MartinLogan Motion 60 XTi Review: Beautiful giants

First of all, the 60 XTi are impressive in size. Far from being small floorboards, at first glance, they inspire respect.

Naturally, with such dimensions, MartinLogan designers could afford not to spare inches for the emitters: the first to draw attention to themselves are two massive bass drivers, which are loaded on an appropriate number of bass reflexes located on the rear panel.

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The low-frequency section, according to the manufacturer, has an isolated asymmetrical inner chamber with a high level of damping to allow the 8-inch speakers to deliver the lowest possible frequencies to the listener. Their diffusers are made of aluminum, decorated with concave dust caps and have a support in the form of cast aluminum baskets.

The entire low-frequency section is located with a significant offset to the bottom of the speaker. This arrangement, according to the manufacturer, helps to minimize the reflection of low frequencies from the floor.

The middle frequency driver, which is located above, differs from the low frequency section, first of all, in size. But 6.5 inches for a midrange is not a little, many floorstanding speakers use drivers of this size for sounding bass.

The rest is the same aluminum diffuser with a dustproof cap, but with a basket, which is molded from polypropylene. According to the calculations of engineers from MartinLogan, such a material in the manufacture of the basket contributes to the shift of resonances in the part of the range that is outside the range of the midrange.

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All these charms are also housed in an isolated cabinet so that the impressive bass section does not make its own adjustments here, and the midrange driver itself, in turn, does not interfere with the tweeter.

At the top of the bezel is MartinLogan’s proprietary ribbon tweeter called Motion XT. Outwardly, it is always recognizable – the usual “accordion” under the grill, which in this case is somewhat recessed into the front panel and framed by a thin edge of the waveguide.

The crossover developed by MartinLogan, which is named after the engineer-inventor – “Vojtko”, is engaged in combining all the emitters into a speaker system. This crossover design is designed to minimize the amount of detail in the signal path.

To make this idea easier to implement, even at the production stage, the speakers are matched to each other by measuring their physical characteristics for maximum compliance. Probably, thanks to this approach, two additional protection circuits were also placed in the crossover circuit – against excessive currents and overheating.

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Visually, the midrange / treble section is separated from the woofers by a rectangular metal decor piece with the manufacturer’s name.

In general, the entire front panel looks strict and may well please fans of the classic appearance of acoustic systems. It is painted in matt black and exactly matches the tone of the diffusers. A yellow ribbon tweeter and a silver sword label add a variety of tones.

Of course, if desired, all this can be hidden by protective grills, but the sword will remain with you: two independent grills dock with it and form a relatively flat surface.

The rest of the large exterior is varnished and pristine, except for the back. Here, in its lower part, there are two pairs of gold-plated terminals for connecting acoustic wires and, as mentioned earlier, a pair of bass-reflex ports.

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The top panel rounds out the design list – it tilts from the front to the back. When viewed from the side, it seems that the speakers have a trapezoidal housing.

To keep the 60 XTi upright, the spike legs extend slightly beyond the perimeter of the case. But this is a common practice for floor-standing speaker systems, and given the considerable size of this model, it is even necessary. Although, if you are sure that your Motion 60 XTi are completely safe, these same spikes can be fixed directly to the speaker cabinet, or you can replace them with rubber feet.

It is also worth mentioning that the cases are made in three colors: gloss black, matte white satin and Canadian walnut red. But in all cases, the faceplate will remain matte and black, and the sword will remain silver.

Components

With just one look, the MartinLogan 60 XTi tells the listener, “Get ready! Will now be…!” But for the 60 XTi’s words to be true, they need the right companions.

So, the amplifier used the Mytek Brooklyn AMP , which, despite its modest dimensions, is ready to control much more complex acoustic systems. His fellow Mytek Brooklyn DAC + worked simultaneously as a DAC and a preamplifier , and the Aurender W20SE streamer / server was engaged in supplying the system with a digital signal .

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This is the kind of company gathered around the Motion 60 XTi. While she was frankly out of her usual size range of rack-mounted audio components, she had no trouble keeping the 60 XTi in check throughout the test.

Big sound

Listening started from that position of the “listener – speaker” system, which, at first glance, did not quite correspond to the arrangement of a regular triangle. I had a fairly spacious room at my disposal, so the test was started by finding the correct, in my ear, speaker placement.

In the initial position, the distance between the speakers was no more than two meters – while the listener’s position was in the region of 3–3.5 m from the speaker line. With this arrangement, the music from the Motion 60 XTi’s speakers poured into the listener in unrestrained waves and pressure, leaving little room for stage construction.

But the first impression is the most important. The size of 60 XTi did not deceive – behind these hefty dimensions there is an equally great sound! And he will clearly be cramped in a small KDP.

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There were also concerns about the height of the tweeters: when the listener sits on an ordinary couch, they are much higher than his head. But, as practice has shown (and then data from MartinLogan), their tweeter has a wide directivity angle in the vertical plane, and the displacement of the listener in the same plane practically does not change the perception of high frequencies.

In order not to bother the reader with an analysis of the sound features of the Motion 60 XTi in different positions relative to the listener, let’s go straight to the part of the test where there are about 3 meters between the speakers and they are directed at the listener, to which the speaker line is about the same distance.

Regular triangle

The right triangle is the right music. The Baba Blues team came in handy here. On first impressions – absolutely natural tonal balancing of guitars, vocals sounded quite familiar and recognizable.

In the new position, the 60 XTi have built a proportional, tactile soundscape with distinct vocal and instrument positions. The low-frequency range showed good compatibility with blues compositions – plucking the strings could really be felt with the chest, and not just heard.

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Jazz and its derivatives were contacted to see how the Motion 60 XTi would react to having more than two instruments in the recording. And here they did not fail: all the instruments are clearly distinguishable and are presented to the listener with a sense of their volume, without excessive separation of the sound canvas into components.

In this case, the low frequencies were played out the same way, with a sharp attack, and in some jazz compositions there was an excess of this sharpness. Perhaps, at times, I even wanted some imposingness, but the strong reins of the Brooklyn AMP strove to squeeze out the maximum accuracy and attack from the bass.

It is also worth highlighting the vocals – there are plenty of emotions in it! Although the female vocals in some compositions lacked the “sparkle” and airiness that lives in the high-frequency zone, the rest of the range is filled with overtones to the brim.

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On the other hand, this feature of playing highs played a plus when listening to songs from heavy genres. They were played with the utmost intelligibility and pressure, while the flaws in the information are minimal, and in some places they did not interfere with getting their portion of the drive at all. The effect of listening to Guns N`Roses on 60 XTi is impressive – you want to put on a biker jacket, sit on a Harley Davidson and drive off into the sunset, taking 60 XTi with you.

Working out the low-frequency range in terms of speed characteristics is beyond praise. Lamb of God with the song “Memento Mori” will not allow you to lie: the rhythm of the drums was traced until the last beat, none of them drowned in the abyss of guitar riffs.

High frequencies as a reason for a separate chapter

The attentive reader should have noticed that almost all ranges have already been decomposed into shelves, but HF has still remained on the sidelines. Let’s restore justice by highlighting a separate chapter for their discussion. Moreover, they deserve it!

For the first time in today’s test, the high frequencies were noticed when listening to excellent orchestral recordings from the Kenichi Tsunoda Big Band. In most of their tracks, HF is recorded with approximate quality and extends far beyond the human-audible range.

Of course, this is too much, considering the threshold of 25 kHz for the 60 XTi and the upper bar of 16 kHz for my hearing. But even this threshold of perception is quite enough to feel at what level is the elaboration of high frequencies in MartinLogan Motion 60 XTi. And this level is quite high.

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On first impressions – quantitatively there are not so many high frequencies. Perhaps less than I’m used to hearing. However, after some time, the understanding comes that the rate here was made on their quality, and the quantity turned out to be exactly such as not to become annoying and not pull the blanket over yourself.

When the ear adapted, the diverse world of percussion appeared before it, which has a body, a clear tone and correct decays. And the delicacy with which the Motion XT driver opens this world to the listener is sometimes mesmerizing. Interrupting listening to Jonny Griffin’s “Hush-A-Bye” was beyond my strength.

The delicacy of this range is also expressed in an interesting moment: when a recording has “roughness” in the HF region, in most cases they will be skillfully worked out without harming the listener by focusing on them.

Overall, this high end quality is a good complement to the emotional, sometimes intimate mids and accurate bass.

Conclusion

It seems that MartinLogan Motion 60 XTi are quite capable of opposing themselves as a driving and delicate alternative to the “flashy high end”. At the head of these speakers is clearly comfortable, long, rhythm-filled listening, which will not tire with excessive harshness and unnecessary accents, but will allow you to fully enjoy any genre with a glass of your favorite drink. At the same time, the detail of sound and nuances will not only not be hidden from the listener’s attention, but will also add zest to the overall emotionality of the sound.