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MartinLogan’s Motion Foundation Series: High Tech Sound For ‘Emerging Audiophiles’

MartinLogan Motion Foundation

MartinLogan Motion Foundation


  • Product Name: F2, F1, B2, B1, C1 Motion Foundation Speakers
  • Manufacturer: MartinLogan
  • Review Date: August 28, 2023 12:00
  • MSRP: $1,000/ea - F2, $750/ea - F1, $400/ea - B2, $300/ea - B1, $500/ea - C1
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now

Motion Foundation F2 

Frequency Response: 36 Hz - 23 kHz ± 3 dB

Impedance: 4 ohms

Sensitivity (2.83 volts/meter): 92 dB

Dimensions (H x W x D): 44-7/16" x 8-3/4" x 16”

Weight: 52.5 lbs

Motion Foundation F1

Frequency Response: 41 Hz - 23 kHz ± 3 dB

Impedance: 4 ohms

Sensitivity (2.83 volts/meter): 92 dB

Dimensions (H x W x D): 41-7/16” x 8-3/8” x 14-7/16”

Weight: 46.5 lbs

Motion Foundation B2

Frequency Response: 42 Hz - 23 kHz ± 3 dB

Impedance: 5 ohms

Sensitivity (2.83 volts/meter): 90 dB

Dimensions (H x W x D): 15” x 7-3/4” x 11-1/2”

Weight: 15 lbs

Motion Foundation B1

Frequency Response: 48 Hz - 23 kHz ± 3 dB

Impedance: 5 ohms

Sensitivity (2.83 volts/meter): 89 dB

Dimensions (H x W x D): 13-11/16” x 7-1/4” x 9-1/2”

Weight: 11.5 lbs

Motion Foundation C1

Frequency Response: 53 Hz - 23 kHz ± 3 dB

Impedance: 4 ohms

Sensitivity (2.83 volts/meter): 91 dB

Dimensions (H x W x D): 7-5/8” x 20” x 10”

Weight: 18 lbs

Executive Overview

MartinLogan has been making various incarnations of its Motion Series speakers since 2009. Chief Audioholic Gene DellaSala described some of the older Motion speakers as “very dynamic (with) good bass response.” They weren’t perfect, but they “had the ability to play loud and clean,” according to Gene. So in February of 2023, when MartinLogan launched the all-new Motion Series and Motion XT Series speakers at an exclusive event hosted by our friends at Audio Advice in North Carolina, Gene was there to see what the new speakers could do. Compared to the older versions, the 2023 Motion and Motion XT speakers represented “a big step up,” according to Gene, who was “enamored by their performance.”

MartinLogan Motion XT F200 Demo & Foundation Series Brings Similar Tech at Lower Prices?

Vocals were anchored right in the center, there was no coloration or bloat. …Everything we put on in this demo really gave us a sense that these speakers are well tuned (and) well balanced.

— Audioholics founder Gene DellaSala (F100 Listening Impressions)

Given that the Motion XT Series maxes out at about $5,500 per pair for the flagship towers, this kind of performance is impressive indeed. Compared to MartinLogan’s famous electrostatic speakers, the Motion and Motion XT speakers are priced far more accessibly, and they’re also easier to drive and easier to place in a room. It’s no wonder, then, that these speakers have been so successful over the last dozen years or so. But while the prices of the Motion and Motion XT offerings are considered very reasonable in some circles of the high-end audio world — and they’re certainly fair for what you’re getting — the average consumer at a big-box store like Best Buy might not be ready to take the plunge. And so, with the aim of expanding the company’s reach to a much wider audience, MartinLogan is now launching the new Motion Foundation Series. This five-strong range of loudspeakers is designed to offer unprecedented value for “emerging audiophiles” and anyone else who wants to enjoy great-sounding music and entertainment at home. MartinLogan says that this highly-anticipated line of speakers “redefines affordability while maintaining the brand’s commitment to an uncompromising audio experience,” and is “designed to capture new customers” by offering the brand’s renowned high-performance technologies at lower prices. The result is simply exceptional value and “an immersive audio experience (that will) set new standards in affordable performance,” according to the company.

Some of MartinLogan’s signature technologies are easy to spot, starting with the Foundation speakers’ 2nd-generation Obsidian Folded Motion Tweeter S, which reportedly delivers much of the same performance found in the Motion and Motion XT Series tweeters, but in a more compact and affordable design. And like those more expensive speakers, the Foundation Series places the tweeter within a custom Folded Motion Waveguide to deliver consistent, smooth, and controlled sound across the listening area. Aluminum midrange and bass drivers, designed in house, promise robust and detailed performance throughout the range. These new drivers, combined with all new crossovers and cabinets, should deliver the “remarkable articulation, detail, and realism” that MartinLogan is known for, at more approachable prices than ever before.

The Motion Foundation Series is a game-changer for MartinLogan and the world of high-end audio. We are excited to offer an exceptional audio experience at a price point that is accessible to a broader audience. This series opens up new possibilities for emerging audiophiles, allowing them to elevate their listening experiences and enjoy the unparalleled clarity, detail, and precision that have defined the MartinLogan brand for over 40 years.

— Allan Tarrant, Senior Vice President at MartinLogan

Key to the clarity, detail, and precision that Mr. Tarrant refers to is MartinLogan’s Gen2 Obsidian Folded Motion Tweeter S. The company describes this “groundbreaking” design as a “technological marvel (that) delivers effortless performance that surpasses conventional tweeters.” Like the tweeters in the Motion and Motion XT Series speakers, the Folded Motion Tweeter S is an air motion transformer (AMT) tweeter that uses folded thin film material to squeeze air in and out. Like the bellows of an accordion, the folded diaphragm allows a greater surface area of material to fit into a small space, resulting in a more efficient mechanism for moving air. MartinLogan promises “incredible detail and clarity that brings your favorite content to life with remarkable realism.” The tweeter is designed with a hallmark feature called Controlled Dispersion, which “optimizes room acoustics and minimizes the detrimental effects commonly associated with speaker placement,” according to the company. The sound is focused into the listening area in such a way that it “ensures increased flexibility, clarity, and enhanced (loudspeaker) placement options, regardless of the room’s design.”

Controlled Dispersion is further enhanced by the Folded Motion Waveguide used around the tweeter throughout the Motion Foundation Series. Similar to the waveguide used in the more expensive Motion Series, this waveguide is designed for a tweeter dispersion of 90° vertical x 90° horizontal. (The step-up Motion XT Series employs a larger tweeter with a 45° x 90° waveguide.) MartinLogan says that the FMT Waveguide envelops the listening space with exceptional detail and precision, while “avoiding performance-robbing room reflections.” The result is reportedly a more consistent sound across a wider seating area. The FMT Waveguide isn’t just about creating an immersive audio experience for all listeners, however. It should make for a listening experience that is not only more consistent but also more accurate, as it’s designed to align “the output of the tweeter and midrange in perfect harmony,” according to MartinLogan.

Room acoustics are vital, as everything in the listening room has an impact on speaker performance. MartinLogan minimizes these harmful effects by focusing the sound into the listening area.

— MartinLogan

Of course, a tweeter can only do so much. The Motion Foundation Series also incorporates new aluminum midrange and bass drivers featuring trickle-down technology from the Motion and Motion XT Series. The drivers use cast aluminum baskets, which you don’t always see in this price range. The aluminum cones themselves feature a unibody construction that helps to “maximize clarity, detail, and output, ensuring an engaging and captivating listening experience,” according to MartinLogan.

The Motion Foundation Series represents a significant milestone for MartinLogan. We believe in making it possible for a wider audience to experience true High Fidelity sound. We leveraged our 40 years of design and engineering experience to meticulously refine every aspect of these speakers to achieve the best possible performance. This kind of expertise is not commonly seen in this range of products. Each detail has been carefully crafted to provide an extraordinary audio experience at an amazing value. The Motion Foundation Series represents the culmination of extensive research and development. Following the approach we used with our premium Motion XT and Motion Series products, Motion Foundation takes into account anechoic measurements, in-room testing, and blind listening tests resulting in a line of speakers that sets high benchmarks for performance and value within their class.

— Andrew Lindsey, MartinLogan Product Manager

Other advanced features include the Anti-Lobing 2.5-way design used in the center-channel speaker, which “minimizes tonality alteration commonly found in 2-way center channel designs without the larger cabinet requirements typically associated with 3-way designs.” MartinLogan promises clearer dialogue and higher accuracy, all without sacrificing “furniture-friendly sizing.” Meanwhile, the tower speakers in the Motion Foundation Series have built-in floor bounce compensation via “precision woofer placement and crossover tuning.” MartinLogan says that these design elements combine to deliver “a more natural and full sound by taking advantage of a constant found in all listening rooms: the floor.” Each speaker in the Motion Foundation Series was extensively measured (both in an anechoic chamber and in real-world listening rooms) and subjected to multiple blind listening tests to achieve the best possible performance from every component, from the drivers to the cabinets to the low-distortion McCracken-Vojtko Crossovers. (While I don’t know for sure, I have a feeling that these custom crossover networks were designed by MartinLogan’s Senior Loudspeaker Design Engineer, Joe McCracken, and the company’s longtime Lead Audio Technology Engineer, Joe Vojtko. Just a hunch.)

The MartinLogan Motion Foundation Series includes five new models: two floorstanders, two stand-mounts, and one center-channel speaker. All are rear-ported, and all are available in Black, Walnut, and Satin White finishes. They all include Secure-Lock Grilles with stealth mounting tabs. Note that MartinLogan lists the price for each speaker, rather than for a pair.

Motion Foundation F2: $999.99 each

The F2 is the flagship tower, designed for “those looking for the most dynamic listening experience.” The  F2 pairs the Gen2 Obsidian Folded Motion Tweeter S with a 5.5-inch midrange driver and a trio of 6.5-inch aluminum woofers. It stands just over 44 inches tall, and promises bass response down to 36Hz (± 3dB ). The F2’s nominal impedance is 4 ohms, and its sensitivity rating is a usefully high 92dB.

F2 F1

Motion Foundation F2 (left) and F1 (right)

Motion Foundation F1: $749.99 each

The smaller F1 floorstander uses the same tweeter and midrange driver as the F2. The three aluminum bass drivers are scaled down to 5.5 inches. It stands just over 41 inches tall, and promises bass response down to 41Hz (± 3dB). The F1’s nominal impedance is 4 ohms, and its sensitivity is 92dB.

Motion Foundation B2: $399.99 each

The B2 is the larger of two bookshelf speakers in the Motion Foundation Series. In addition to the Gen2 Obsidian FMT S tweeter, it uses a 6.5-inch mid-bass driver. Standing 15 inches tall, the B2 promises bass response down to 42Hz (± 3dB). The B2’s nominal impedance is 5 ohms, and its sensitivity is 90dB.

B2 B1

Motion Foundation B2 (left) and B1 (right)

Motion Foundation B1: $299.99 each

The B1 uses a 5.5-inch mid-bass driver in a cabinet just over 13-and-a-half inches tall. The B1 promises bass response down to 48Hz (± 3dB). The B1’s nominal impedance is 5 ohms, and its sensitivity is 89dB.

Motion Foundation C1: $499.99 each


The C1 center-channel speaker is a 2.5-way design using a pair of 5.5-inch drivers flanking the tweeter. The C1 promises bass response down to 53Hz (± 3dB). The C1’s nominal impedance is 4 ohms, and its sensitivity is 91dB.

Build Your Foundation with MartinLogan?

The Motion Foundation Series are available through authorized MartinLogan dealers, like our friends at Audio Advice. But given the low prices, I imagine that many buyers will order them sight unseen. And given their 4-ohm and 5-ohm impedance ratings, these speakers may not pair well with entry-level receivers. The high sensitivity of the floorstanders should help, but we'd recommend an amp rated for 4-ohm speakers even though the series brochure describes the speakers as “compatible” with amps rated for 8 ohms if you're planning to listen at exceedingly loud SPL for long durations of time. Will the “emerging audiophiles” and new customers that MartinLogan is trying to reach know that they’ll need a stout amplifier to make the most of the Motion Foundation Series? I don’t expect someone spending $600 on a pair of Motion Foundation B1 bookshelf speakers to have a very expensive amp, and there are plenty of good, affordable integrated amps and mid-range AV receivers capable of driving these speakers. Nevertheless, it’s a caveat worth mentioning in the context of a product aimed at newcomers to the world of high-end audio. Will the Motion Foundation Series be able to offer a significant chunk of the impressive performance we’ve seen from MartinLogan’s costlier Motion and Motion XT Series? Share your thoughts in the related forum thread below.

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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Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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