A Brave New Direction in Electrostatic Design
MartinLogan's ElectroMotion EM-ESL represents a brave new direction for electrostatic loudspeaker design. Featuring a full-sized 34" tall curvilinear XStat electrostatic transducer, the ESL performs more like a mini-flagship than an entry-level audiophile speaker.
This bold loudspeaker establishes a new benchmark for price versus performance. Pushing thin film transducer technology to its limit, the ElectroMotion ESL features the most affordable full-size XStat electrostatic transducer ever designed.
"I think the EM-ESL is one of the best bargains going in an audiophile music speaker," raves Brent Butterworth in the October 20, 2011 issue of Sound+Vision magazine. "It gives audiophiles all the things most of us seem to want (huge soundstaging and a dramatic presentation) and all the things we should want but sometimes neglect (like neutral tonal balance and natural sound)."
Is There a More Exciting Speaker at This Price?
"If there's a more exciting loudspeaker out there at this price, I certainly haven't heard it," marvels Jeff Dorgay in the May 2011 issue of ToneAudio magazine. "While the year isn't yet half over, the EM-ESLs are on our short list for a Product of the Year award."
"The ElectroMotion ELS system is the least expensive way to join an exclusive (and very ecstatic) club," reports Darryl Wilkinson in HomeTheater.com for October 31, 2011.
MicroPerf and AirFrame Technology
ElectroMotion ESL's XStat electrostatic MicroPerf panel is housed within a radical aluminum and composite AirFrame similar to those found on MartinLogan's flagship products. AirFrame technology rigidifies the electrostatic panel without obstructing playable surface area or interfering with ambience enriching dipole sound radiation. At the same time, an AirFrame provides electrical and acoustical isolation, minimizing intermodulated distortion caused by vibration and resonance while enhancing imaging, low-level sonic detail, accuracy, and efficiency.
MicroPerf design optimizes the individual holes of The EM-ESL's electrostatic panel. MicroPerf design substantially increases diaphragm radiating area, compared to early generations, without compromising structural integrity. The resulting increase in output capability and efficiency allows The EM-ESL's panel to enjoy a substantial leap in bandwidth and dynamics without growing larger. For example, The EM-ESL's XStat electrostatic panel features 129 square inches of sound radiating surface on both the front and back and a sensitivity of 91dB into 6 Ohms.
CLS XStat Transducer
One of MartinLogan's original breakthroughs, CLS (Curvilinear Line Source) technology, has been an essential ingredient of every electrostatic loudspeaker the company has ever produced, and the ElectroMotion ESL is no exception. Proprietary manufacturing methods enable construction of electrostatic panels as cylindrical sections. Their gentle horizontal curvature solves the problem of obtaining good high-frequency dispersion from a large radiating surface without compromising overall sound quality or reliability.
A unique XStat transducer was developed for the ElectroMotion ESL to reduce the gauge thickness of the electrostatic panel's steel stators. The reduced gauge does not alter the performance characteristics of the panel. However, as a natural byproduct of tighter build tolerances, it does increase the visual transparency of the panel. The EM-ESL's new XStat panel is so visually transparent it nearly vanishes when you're sitting and listening.
Controlled Dispersion Sound Radiation
Another key attribute of the ElectroMotion ESL is its naturally dipolar radiation pattern. A true dipole, The EM-ESL radiates sound with equal intensity from the front and back of its diaphragm, but the outputs are in opposite phase. As a result, sound waves rippling out toward the sides meet at the speaker's edge and cancel.
That and the relatively large size of the ElectroMotion ESL's electrostatic panel cause output at the sides to be very low relative to that of a conventional loudspeaker, which in turn minimizes side-wall reflections that tend to muddle sonic detail and stereo imaging. While the reduction in output to the sides contributes to the astonishing clarity for which electrostats are revered, the energy reflected off the wall behind the speaker opens up and deepens the sound.
Superb Bass Integration
To seamlessly blend audio output from the high- and mid-frequency electrostatic panel to the low-frequency woofer, the ElectroMotion ESL features a proprietary Vojtko topology filter utilizing custom air core coil and low DCR steel laminate inductors, polyester film capacitors in series, and low DF electrolytic capacitors in parallel.
A precise 8" high-excursion, perfectly balanced, audiophile grade, doped fiber cone woofer was custom designed exclusively for The EM-ESL by MartinLogan's in-house engineering team. This woofer precisely optimizes cone suspension and magnetic flux field to produce high levels of bass output and simultaneous precise midrange. The custom woofer's rigid light-weight diaphragm eliminates cone flexure and maximizes response time to achieve remarkably low-distortion approaching that of MartinLogan's award-winning electrostatic panel design.
Easy Connections, Solid Adjustable Footing
Convenient push-style speaker terminals and curved inserts help guide speaker wire effortlessly into place. The rubber end caps on the terminal are also removable for the use of banana plugs instead of bare wire. The EM-ESL is supplied with sturdy, 1/4-20 ETC spikes, which can be used to fine tune vertical wave launch, enhance stability on thick carpets, and create tighter coupling between speaker and floor to provide a tighter and detailed bass performance. Each spike is conveniently covered by removable rubber end caps if you prefer not to use spikes.
The Second Coming of the Aerius?
Longtime MartinLogan enthusiasts are sure to describe ElectroMotion ESL as the second-coming of the legendary Aerius electrostatic speaker which debuted in 1992 and went on to sell in record numbers. The new ESL boasts 40 percent more radiating surface, a superbly integrated and authoritative bass performance, and a sensitivity rated at 91 dB. In addition, the ESL is capable of being effortlessly powered by both receivers and high-end amplifiers alike.
"Switching between the Aerius i's and EM-ESLs repeatedly revealed the latter's tremendous refinement," reports Jeff Dorgay in ToneAudio magazine. "Regardless of musical choice, the current model possessed an increased level of resolution that its predecessor couldn't touch."
"I think the EM-ESL is one of the best bargains going in an audiophile music speaker. It gives audiophiles all the things most of us seem to want (huge soundstaging and a dramatic presentation) and all the things we should want but sometimes neglect (like neutral tonal balance and natural sound). If stereo music listening is your priority, I highly recommend these. And you can add the EM-C2, the EM-FX2, and the subwoofer of your choice for those occasional nights when you want to relax with a movie instead of digging deep into your music collection."
- Brent Butterworth, Sound+Vision magazine, October 20, 2011
"On Tab Benoit's Medicine disc, the music hangs in the air like the calls of crickets and owls during a humid night on the bayou. There are few speakers at this price that can so clearly define each instrument and place Benoit's leathery voice in space in such a way that you feel almost as if you were sitting in front of the band while they played a live set. When I listened to Gregory Alan Isakov's 'Light Year' (This Empty Northern Hemisphere), I perceived an especially wide soundstage that extended beyond the speakers with pinpoint placement of drums to the far left, Isakov's voice slightly to the left, one guitar almost in the center, and another guitar to the right. It's almost eerie the way the guitars and vocals never seemed to touch the ground. Likewise with Clare Torry's wailing voice on Pink Floyd's classic, 'Great Gig in the Sky' from Dark Side of the Moon."
"The ElectroMotion ELS system is the least expensive way to join an exclusive (and very ecstatic) club."
- Darryl Wilkinson, HomeTheater.com, October 31, 2011
"Considering what an amazing value the Aerius offered back in 1992 the fact that MartinLogan has hit the same price with its ElectroMotion is nothing less than a major miracle in 2011."
"Switching between the Aerius i's and EM-ESLs repeatedly revealed the latter's tremendous refinement. Regardless of musical choice, the current model possessed an increased level of resolution that its predecessor couldn't touch."
"If there's a more exciting loudspeaker out there at this price, I certainly haven't heard it. While the year isn't yet half over, the EM-ESLs are on our short list for a Product of the Year award."
- Jeff Dorgay, ToneAudio magazine, Issue 37, May 2011
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