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Warsaw 2015: Martin Logan Neolith

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By Thomas Hyniewski

This year we were thankfully blessed by a heavy rain of loudspeakers hors de l’ordinaire: Martin Logan, Zeta Zero, B&W, Living Voice, FM Acoustics, Triangle and many, many more…

Attending the Warsaw-AS regularly, I would call this year’s show “The Show of the Speakers: Loud and clEar”. What an incredible experience! What a diversion from electronics.

A star amongst the “non-electronics” was the latest Martin Logan crown jewel, the Neolith.

Proud, the legacy of true electrostatics in its embedded family genes, it stood to be judged not only by its heritage, but by its comportment. No reverberations, no perceptible coloration, precise mids, lightly whistling highs (most likely due to acoustically untreated windows), fast slamming bass. I could go on … Disconcerting at the very least.

My first impressions: unconstrained! true in sound (but not clinically disturbing), very realistic soundstage and very stable. 

Afterthoughts: very pleasant-sounding and not tiring after a prolonged listening at a very close proximity. I wish I could afford to have the jewels for longer!

The Neoliths are one of MartinLogan’s largest electrostatic radiating surfaces, much larger than the Statement E2. The curvilinear electrostatic transducer reproduces nearly the entire mid-range and high frequency audio spectrum. Bass is provided by a 15-inch rear-firing ported woofer and 12-inch front-firing sealed mid-bass woofer. Combined, they should deliver powerful, extremely accurate bass. In my opinion this relies on the damping factor of the driving amp, in this case I found the damping control a little wanting. They were driven by McIntosh, I don’t remember which or why.

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It is important to understand that an electrostatic speaker has its dipolar radiation pattern. Quoting Martin Logan: “A true dipole transducer radiates with equal intensity from the front and back of its diaphragm, with the outputs in opposite phase. As a result, sound waves rippling out toward the sides meet at the speaker’s edge and cancel, minimizing side-wall reflections with short relative arrival times. This reduction in side-output minimizes interfering side-wall reflections, which can muddy the image. It frees the dipole radiation pattern to produce a generous amount of ambience-enriching late-arriving reflections off the wall behind your loudspeakers. At the same time, electrostatic panels maintain relatively limited vertical dispersion, which minimizes undesirable floor and ceiling reflections.”

I wish I could have spent the whole time at the show just listening to the Neoliths, but the Show director, Adam Mokrzycki, just had made it impossible by inviting too many participants. In view of this, I had to listen to many acclaimed speakers to make sure I personally liked some … Neolith is on my very short list of the best of the best of the Warsaw Audio Show 2015!

The embedded pictures are courtesy of POLPAK POLAND Ltd., established in Warsaw, Poland in 1996 as a specialized distribution company in the field of high-end quality audio and audio-video products. Chapeau bas for presenting one of the most exciting “non-electronics” shows at THE SHOW! I hope Martin Logan will be once again present in 2016 at the WAS, especially, after seeing all the (multi-language) crowds all day long at its room. I certainly will come from Geneva, Switzerland to listen to maestro Martin Logan!

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4 Comments on Warsaw 2015: Martin Logan Neolith

  1. ..well it appears my comments did make the cut. In the immortal words of Rosanne Rosannadanna….nevermind..

  2. what do you expect if the macs got dumped on the floor like a sack of sand, no decent antivabration stands, chaotic cabling without vibration supports? nah. Martins had to swallow all that and yet play, what a shame to the macs

  3. ..yes I do have something to say. It appears my comments aren’t getting posted. Just who exactly have I pissed off?

  4. ..”they were driven by McIntosh…don’t know which or why”. The amps are the MC601s and mighty fine amps are they…so maybe that’s why. I’ve compared the 601s to amps cost 5X as much and the MACs prevailed. I just don’t get it. Why do so many “reviewers” turn their collective nose up when it comes to McIntosh amplifiers. It’s a real disservice to MAC not to mention the readership….grrrr..

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