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MartinLogan Motion 15 / LX16 Bookshelf Speaker Listening Tests

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Music  CD:  Ben Folds – University A Capella This CD is full of rich vocal harmonies that will bleed together on a low quality speaker; luckily that wasn’t the case here. Ben Folds traveled around the country recording a capella versions of some of their most famous songs sung by university choirs. The result is a well recorded CD that offers a lot of local variety.   Track # 3 “You Don’t Know Me” This song isn’t particularly complex, but it offers a back and forth between a male and a female singer. As the chorus, “You don’t know me at all”, is repeated over and over, the first syllable in “don’t” is almost palpable. The Motion LX16’s were able to evoke the emotion with this song that I have heard in much larger and more expensive speakers.   Track #8 “Magic” – This track starts out with haunting male bass singers, which come in and out throughout the song. Male and female vocalists singing at the same time, in harmony, allowed the LX16s to show how smooth of a midrange they have. Each voice was clear, not getting mushed together with other singers. Towards the latter half of the song a female singer takes center stage, her voice floated delicately right in the middle of the soundstage, in front of the chorus.  CD: Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams Jack Johnson doesn’t write the most complex music out there, but it is well recorded and is a joy to listen to.  Track #5 “No Other Way“ The acoustic guitar in this track came across very clear. As Jack Johnson slides his finger up and down the strings, you can almost feel the texture of the strings. Although that statement may sound odd, if you play guitar you should have the same feeling. The vocals floated in the middle of the soundstage, the drum kit just inside the right speaker.   Track #9 “Crying Shame“The song starts out quietly with a few soft strums of the acoustic guitar, and then Jack’s vocals come into the mix and the pitter patter of a high hat sets the beat. The soundstage was very open, each instrument was clearly held in one spot, not muddled with other instruments. I also tested a little bit of the output capabilities of these speakers; I had them around 90db, and didn’t notice any driver breakup.   CD: Dave Mathews Band  - Best of What’s Around Track #4, Disc #1 – “So Right” – This song, like many DMB songs, has a lot going on. A whole host of different instruments fills the soundstage, and keeping each instrument distinct and separate can be a difficult task for a speaker. The LX16s did a commendable job, but missed some of the detail that more expensive speakers can bring out. The imaging was excellent, with Dave Mathew’s voice locked right in the middle of the soundstage. I didn’t notice any major coloration, but the bass started to lose some clarity at higher volume levels.   Track #2, Disc #2 - “Warehouse/Louie, Louie” starts out with the crowd chanting, and slowly picks up pace and adds instruments. There is a rapid ascending and descending bass rift that the LX16s simply could not handle. The bass guitar would come in strong, then fade away completely with the descending notes. This track really showed the low-end limits of the speakers, hence why they should be bass managed and supplemented with a subwoofer.    Movies   Blu-ray: The Incredible Hulk The Incredible Hulk is a re-launch of the Hulk franchise. It is an entertaining movie, especially when compared to The Abomination of a film (see what I did there?), Hulk. There are a number of great action scenes in this movie, and the soundtrack is DTS HD Masteraudio. During chapters 10 & 11, Bruce Banner is surrounded by General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross and his troops. Bruce transforms into the Hulk and absolutely obliterates all of Ross’s forces. This scene has plenty of explosions, gun shots, and vehicles being thrown around like ragdolls. The LX16s were able to handle everything the soundtrack offered. Even though the speakers sounded slightly bright, they were never harsh. The dialogue floated right in front of the screen, providing for a convincing phantom center. They handled the dynamic swings with ease, and never bottomed out even though I fed them a full-range signal. The bass response was surprisingly accurate and full. I never felt like I was missing something, adding a sub would certainly make a difference, but the speakers rallied up enough bass to be satisfying for casual use.    Blu-ray: Inception Inception is one of those movies you need to watch at least twice to really understand everything that is going on, similar to films like Donnie Darko and Stay. Not only is Inception an intriguing and engaging movie, the soundtrack can be considered reference level. During chapter 3, Cobb enters into a shared dream with Ariadne. As she starts to realize that they are in a shared dream, the dream world begins to collapse. Everything in the scene starts to shoot around and explode. The bursting plates were especially crisp and realistic. The exploding pavement can be a demanding load for any speaker, but the LX16s held their composure. The bass was by no means thunderous, and the speakers were at their limit, but distortion was very low and not blatantly obvious. Still, I could start to tell there was supposed to be more bass. Adding a subwoofer to take the strain off of the LX16s allowed them to open up, and isin fact an obvious necessity for heavy movie use. For the sake of comparison, I powered on my Martin Logan Theos to compare how the LX16s held up against Martin Logan’s own electrostat hybrids. There was quite a difference in overall fidelity, timbre, and bass response, which should be expected as the Theos cost six times more. The LX16s are certainly no replacement for the electrostats; although, the entire Motion series is supposed to be voiced to work in unison with Martin Logan’s electrostat speakers.   	Editor’s note – Although most Audioholics reviews include detailed measurements, because 	of issues with the measurement equipment we were unable to take measurements at the time of 	this review. Measurements may be added later. Music

CD: Ben Folds – University A Capella

This CD is full of rich vocal harmonies that will bleed together on a low quality speaker; luckily that wasn’t the case here. Ben Folds traveled around the country recording a capella versions of some of their most famous songs sung by university choirs. The result is a well recorded CD that offers a lot of local variety.

Track # 3 “You Don’t Know Me” This song isn’t particularly complex, but it offers a back and forth between a male and a female singer. As the chorus, “You don’t know me at all”, is repeated over and over, the first syllable in “don’t” is almost palpable. The Motion LX16’s were able to evoke the emotion with this song that I have heard in much larger and more expensive speakers.

Track #8 “Magic” – This track starts out with haunting male bass singers, which come in and out throughout the song. Male and female vocalists singing at the same time, in harmony, allowed the LX16s to show how smooth of a midrange they have. Each voice was clear, not getting mushed together with other singers. Towards the latter half of the song a female singer takes center stage, her voice floated delicately right in the middle of the soundstage, in front of the chorus.

CD: Jack Johnson – In Between Dreamsjack johnson.jpg

Jack Johnson doesn’t write the most complex music out there, but it is well recorded and is a joy to listen to.

Track #5 “No Other Way“ The acoustic guitar in this track came across very clear. As Jack Johnson slides his finger up and down the strings, you can almost feel the texture of the strings. Although that statement may sound odd, if you play guitar you should have the same feeling. The vocals floated in the middle of the soundstage, the drum kit just inside the right speaker.

Track #9 “Crying Shame“The song starts out quietly with a few soft strums of the acoustic guitar, and then Jack’s vocals come into the mix and the pitter patter of a high hat sets the beat. The soundstage was very open, each instrument was clearly held in one spot, not muddled with other instruments. I also tested a little bit of the output capabilities of these speakers; I had them around 90db, and didn’t notice any driver breakup.

 

CD: Dave Mathews Band - Best of What’s AroundDMS.jpg

Track #4, Disc #1 – “So Right” – This song, like many DMB songs, has a lot going on. A whole host of different instruments fills the soundstage, and keeping each instrument distinct and separate can be a difficult task for a speaker. The LX16s did a commendable job, but missed some of the detail that more expensive speakers can bring out. The imaging was excellent, with Dave Mathew’s voice locked right in the middle of the soundstage. I didn’t notice any major coloration, but the bass started to lose some clarity at higher volume levels.

Track #2, Disc #2 - “Warehouse/Louie, Louie” starts out with the crowd chanting, and slowly picks up pace and adds instruments. There is a rapid ascending and descending bass rift that the LX16s simply could not handle. The bass guitar would come in strong, then fade away completely with the descending notes. This track really showed the low-end limits of the speakers, hence why they should be bass managed and supplemented with a subwoofer.

 

Movies

 

Blu-ray: The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk is a re-launch of the Hulk franchise. It is an entertaining movie, especially when compared to The Abomination of a film (see what I did there?), Hulk. There are a number of great actihulk.jpgon scenes in this movie, and the soundtrack is DTS HD Masteraudio. During chapters 10 & 11, Bruce Banner is surrounded by General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross and his troops. Bruce transforms into the Hulk and absolutely obliterates all of Ross’s forces. This scene has plenty of explosions, gun shots, and vehicles being thrown around like ragdolls. The LX16s were able to handle everything the soundtrack offered. Even though the speakers sounded slightly bright, they were never harsh. The dialogue floated right in front of the screen, providing for a convincing phantom center. They handled the dynamic swings with ease, and never bottomed out even though I fed them a full-range signal. The bass response was surprisingly accurate and full. I never felt like I was missing something, adding a sub would certainly make a difference, but the speakers rallied up enough bass to be satisfying for casual use.

 

Blu-ray: Inception

Inception is one of those movies you need to watch at least twice to really understand everything that is going on, similar to films like Donnie Darko and Stay. Not only is Inception an intriguing and engaging movie, the soundtrack can be considered reference level. During chapter 3, Cobb enters into a shared dream with Ariadne. As she starts to realize that they are in a shared dream, the dream world begins to collapse. Everything in the scene starts to shoot around and explode. The bursting plates were especially crisp and realistic. The exploding pavement can be a demanding load for any speaker, but the LX16s held their composure. The bass was by no means thunderous, and the speakers were at their limit, but inception.jpgdistortion was very low and not blatantly obvious. Still, I could start to tell there was supposed to be more bass. Adding a subwoofer to take the strain off of the LX16s allowed them to open up, and isin fact an obvious necessity for heavy movie use. For the sake of comparison, I powered on my MartinLogan Theos to compare how the LX16s held up against Martin Logan’s own electrostat hybrids. There was quite a difference in overall fidelity, timbre, and bass response, which should be expected as the Theos cost six times more. The LX16s are certainly no replacement for the electrostats; although, the entire Motion series is supposed to be voiced to work in unison with MartinLogan’s electrostat speakers.

Editor’s note – Although most Audioholics reviews include detailed measurements, because of issues with the measurement equipment we were unable to take measurements at the time of this review. Measurements may be added later.

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

Tomorrow posts on June 13, 2012 23:21
kmpurc56, post: 886191
Can you give me a comparison to the Aperion Grand Versus Bookshelf speakers?
I'm trying to shorten a list for purchasing a 4 bookshelves and a center for an system using the SVS PC12-NSD subwoofer. I'm also intrigued by using a bookshelf as my center for a matched set. I can always use the extra as a rear speaker in a 6.1 system. Could you help me here as well.

Thanks

Here is a detailed comparison of a half-dozen internet direct (ID) speakers, one of which is the nice Aperion Verus Grand Bookshelf speaker. The entire thread is a good read if you have the time…but you can start with post #95. Post #87 will tell you a little about the format used in doing the comparisons. Good luck with your search. http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/general-av-discussions/67150-2010-great-northwest-gtg-10.html
gene posts on June 12, 2012 13:55
kmpurc56, post: 886191
Can you give me a comparison to the Aperion Grand Versus Bookshelf speakers?
I'm trying to shorten a list for purchasing a 4 bookshelves and a center for an system using the SVS PC12-NSD subwoofer. I'm also intrigued by using a bookshelf as my center for a matched set. I can always use the extra as a rear speaker in a 6.1 system. Could you help me here as well.

Thanks

I did a detailed review of the Verus Booshelf speaker. Great little speaker but you need a sub if you want fullrange sound.

see: Aperion Audio Verus Grand Bookshelf Speaker Review — Reviews and News from Audioholics
kmpurc56 posts on June 12, 2012 12:39
Response

Cliff, Thanks for you input. It was very helpfull.
Cliff_is posts on May 26, 2012 16:20
kmpurc56, post: 886191
Can you give me a comparison to the Aperion Grand Versus Bookshelf speakers?
I'm trying to shorten a list for purchasing a 4 bookshelves and a center for an system using the SVS PC12-NSD subwoofer. I'm also intrigued by using a bookshelf as my center for a matched set. I can always use the extra as a rear speaker in a 6.1 system. Could you help me here as well.

Thanks

I have not had the opportunity to listen to the Versus Grand bookshelf speaker, but Tom Andry was very impressed in his review. If you order them and don't like them, you can send them back for free.

Aperion Verus Grand Loudspeaker System Conclusion — Reviews and News from Audioholics

They are both relatively small speakers. The motion series is probably not as good of a value, if budget is your main concern. I would recommend stopping by your local AV shop, or a Magnolia HT, and listening to the rest of the Motion series. They all use the same Folded Motion tweeter, and are voiced the same. I can't tell you which speaker is better, but they are both good speakers. I can tell you that the Motion series is very forward sounding, a little bright at times. Otherwise, I really liked the speakers and would generally recommend them. But, go listen to them and see if you like them. That is the most important part.

Matching your front three speakers is a great idea. If you have the ability to use the same bookshelf speaker upfront, then go for it. It is a great idea.

However, you may consider dedicated surround channels. Martin Logan makes a Motion FX and Motion FX2 that are designed to be the matching surround speakers for the LX16s. Aperion doesn't make a dedicated surround speaker.

As far as 6.1, it typically doesn't do much good over 5.1. Ultimately, that depends on your room and receiver.
kmpurc56 posts on May 21, 2012 17:01
Comparison

Can you give me a comparison to the Aperion Grand Versus Bookshelf speakers?
I'm trying to shorten a list for purchasing a 4 bookshelves and a center for an system using the SVS PC12-NSD subwoofer. I'm also intrigued by using a bookshelf as my center for a matched set. I can always use the extra as a rear speaker in a 6.1 system. Could you help me here as well.

Thanks
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