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MartinLogan Motion 2 Bookshelf Speaker

December 7th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

4 Stars- techdad
MartinLogan Motion 2 Bookshelf Speaker

MartinLogan. Honestly, when I received the Motion 2, it was the first I had heard of them. To the layman, they are certainly not as ubiquitous to stereo electronics as say, Sony, Pioneer, Harman Kardon, Yamaha, Polk Audio, Bose or Onkyo. There’s a reason for that really. Until the Motion Series of speakers, MartinLogan specialized in extremely high-end electrostatic speakers that were priced way beyond the realm of affordability for the average consumer. We are talking tens of thousands of dollars. Ah, but what’s this? MartinLogan has decided to let us common folk finally appreciate what the elite have been enjoying for years. Watch out! Here comes the comMotion.


  • Affordable high-fidelity
  • Fantastic highs and mids
  • Sleek good looks
  • Unique cable connection
  • Includes wall mounting kit


  • Insufficient bass as stand-alone bookshelf speakers
  • Not magnetically shielded

Over the years, I had drastically down-sized my stereo components due to lack of ideal space and the grabby-hands of little children. What remained before receiving the Motion 2 speakers were an Onkyo receiver, a Pioneer DVD/CD player, a TiVo Series 2, and a 32″ CRT Sanyo television. A sad state of affairs, I know. I wasn’t sure if I would be doing the Motion 2’s justice with this set up. I quickly found out that while better quality source components would indeed help, even the most pathetic systems would benefit greatly from the inclusion of MartinLogan’s Motion Series. Keep in mind that I am reviewing the Motion 2’s as bookshelf speakers, not as part of a surround system.

I generally prefer classier, reserved aesthetics in my stereo components. This is why when I was actually trying to keep up with hi-fi circles, I invested in Linn equipment. What I wouldn’t give to have my Linn equipment again to match up with MartinLogan speakers. The Motion 2’s have a glossy black finish and come in a cloth-like bag to protect it during shipping. A cleaning cloth is also included in the box to help keep them looking shiny and pristine. The curves of the speakers give them a distinctive appearance and is much more attractive than the standard, boring rectangular speakers you often see. There aren’t any giant logos on the speaker grill either and it was at least several minutes before I even noticed the small MartinLogan name badge on the bottom of the grill, which by the way, is removable!

As with most good audio equipment, burn in time is recommended. MartinLogan recommends at least 72 hours. I have to admit that I did not burn the Motion 2’s in for the recommended time. I didn’t feel the need as I was immediately impressed with the sound. I started out by playing some music through them and I really could not believe my ears. You hear a lot of people say that good equipment, speakers and headphones especially, make you hear elements of a song you had never heard before. This was absolutely true for me with the music I was playing. I even paused the music a few times because I thought I was hearing external sounds from outside my home but it was that I hadn’t heard the sounds before in the music! I played a range of music from rock, pop, synth pop, and folk. I could’ve dug up the few classical CD’s I owned but those were buried in a box somewhere in a closet so I decided against it, fully believing that Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake would’ve made me weep. Also, these speakers were meant to be played loudly. They shine more brightly at mid to high volumes. The only drawback I found in the sound department was the lack of bass. I can hardly blame the speakers since you typically need a subwoofer to get the best overall sound from a system. Bookshelf speakers normally lack the proper bass characteristics without them, even the very expensive ones. Still, if you intend to use them as bookshelf speakers, you’ll either have to live with insufficient bass, or invest in a sub.

MartinLogan uses a unique, proprietary cable connection that works well. It’s a push-button style which you can use to insert bare speaker wire into the speaker that allows the wire to become more flush with the back of the speaker. This is ideal for mounting on walls. Should you choose, you can also use banana plugs.

The only problem I had with the MartinLogan Motion2’s was the fact that they were not magnetically shielded. Why? Because it appears that I am that lone jerk who refuses to upgrade their TV set to an LCD/LED or plasma. See “grabby-hands” comment above. Due to the speakers being unshielded, I had to make sure I kept them a fair distance away from my CRT television. MartinLogan recommends 2 feet! I had hoped to put the Motion2’s right next to my TV on the TV stand but alas, I had to use a pair of speaker stands to avoid damaging my TV.

The MartinLogan Motion 2’s sound amazing. However, a subwoofer would greatly improve the overall sound. They are a classic hi-fi trap; they make you want to upgrade everything else to achieve the best possible sound, even though they sound wonderful with even the most basic systems. For use without a sub however, I might recommend giving the Motion 4’s a listen. The Motion 4’s at least have a bass reflex port for better bass. If you want hi-fi on a budget, MartinLogan’s Motion Series deserve very serious consideration.

Available at Amazon.com.

* Review unit provided by MartinLogan

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