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MartinLogan Crescendo Bluetooth & Airplay Speaker Preview

Meet the Martin Logan Crescendo, available in gloss black and real Walnut veneer.

Meet the Martin Logan Crescendo, available in gloss black and real Walnut veneer.


  • Product Name: Crescendo Speaker System
  • Manufacturer: Martin Logan
  • Review Date: January 08, 2014 10:45
  • MSRP: $899.95
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

24 bit/48kHz DSP based preamplifier

100W class-D amplifier

2x Folded Motion Tweeters

1x 5"x7" Polypropylene Mid/Woofer

Wireless Connections: Airplay (via WiFi), Bluetooth

Wired Connections: 3.5mm Analog, 3.5mm Optical Digital, USB, Ethernet (Airplay & DLNA)

Subwoofer Out

As most Audioholics are probably aware, 2013 was a big year for soundbars and lifestyle systems, including compact wireless speaker systems. While it may be a bit early to declare the same for 2014, the writing on the wall seems pretty clear: small, convenient systems capable of playing music from iPods and other such devices, preferably wirelessly, will continue to be in high demand. Of course, while being quite popular, such “convenience” speakers tend not to place much emphasis on sound quality. Enter the MartinLogan Crescendo: being introduced at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, and priced at a nickel shy of $900, the Crescendo has high end audio aspirations in a sleek, compact package, not to mention an abundance of connectivity options.

So what is the Crescendo exactly? At the heart of the system is a 24 bit/48kHz DSP based preamplifier, combined with a relatively powerful 100W class-D amplifier. The driver array includes a pair of Martin Logan’s Folded Motion tweeters (also seen in their Motion 15/LX16 speakers and Motion Vision Soundbar) mated to a single 5” x 7” polypropylene cone mid/woofer. The Folded Motion tweeters in particular are interesting, as they require significantly less excursion than traditional dome tweeters, and consequently minimize distortion while providing quick transient response. Rounding out the package is an attractive, solid MDF enclosure (available in gloss black or a real walnut veneer) to keep cabinet resonance low.

Crescendo MartinLogan CES

Unlike most tabletop systems, the Crescendo allows you to add a subwoofer to achieve full bodied sound.

Of course, while all of the above sounds great, Martin Logan has a secret weapon up their sleeves. Unlike the vast majority of tabletop sound systems, the Crescendo offers a subwoofer outpbf-subs-1ut. When a subwoofer is connected, a customized crossover between the mid/woofer and the subwoofer kicks in. This is a feature we asked for when we reviewed the Motion Vision, and are glad to see it implemented here. Add one of MartinLogan’s Dynamo compact sealed subwoofers, and all of a sudden instead of a good sounding table top system, you’ve got a full range dynamo (pun intended) which we reckon bass-heads will like. As of writing this, we do not know the rated frequency response of the Cresendo without a subwoofer or what the crossover is when a subwoofer is added.

So, what about connectivity? While audio performance was certainly high among MartinLogan’s priorities, the Crescendo is first and foremost meant to be a convenience system. The system offers six different methods for attaching source devices: on the wireless side of the equation, the Crescendo offers AirPlay via WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity for other mobile devices. Physical connections include wired Ethernet (supports AirPlay and DLNA), USB (Apple compatible, and charges mobile devices), 3.5mm analog, and 3.5mm optical digital (Toslink to min-Toslink included) inputs. Suffice it to say, with this many options available, you can hook up basically anything to the Crescendo.


If you’re looking for a tabletop music system that doesn’t sacrifice sound quality in the name of an attractive package or convenience, MartinLogan’s Crescendo might be just what you system. Boasting a 100W amplifier and a driver array that doesn’t look to cut corners, as well as a subwoofer output for those who desire full range performance, the Crescendo isn’t the average system in this class. Add to that a plethora of connection options, including AirPlay and Bluetooth, and we think MartinLogan has a hit on their hands.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Steve Munz is a “different” addition to Audioholics’ stable of contributors in that he is neither an engineer like Gene, nor has he worked in the industry like Cliff. In fact, Steve’s day job is network administration and accounting.

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