MartinLogan, Parasound, AudioQuest, Qobuz | Audio Advice LIVE 2022

Placed a little off the beaten path at Audio Advice LIVE 2022, the MartinLogan Neolith room maintained a heavy crowd all weekend long. The Neolith have a great reputation that they’ve built over the decade or so that they’ve been around. I was at the launch of these loudspeakers way back when, and remember distinctly how great they sounded, and how they changed my perception of the MartinLogan brand.

Reporting by Eric Franklin Shook

The first time I heard the Neolith’s it was on flagship Ayre components in a vertical bi-amped configuration (read that as four amps total). This time with Parasound at the helm I was dutifully impressed with how the JC1+ monoblocks — reviewed by our own Dave McNair (linked here) — controlled the Neolith’s large front and rear facing woofers. Remember, this is an entirely passive and complex loudspeaker. No wimps need apply.

Parasound JC1+

The JC1+ is an updated version of the JC1. The amplifier is a John Curl design, operating in Class-A for the first 25 watts, and then off to high-current Class-A/B on up.

Notable changes in the JC1+ from the JC1 it replaces:

  • 400 → 450 Watts @ 8Ω
  • 800 → 850 Watts @ 4Ω
  • 1200 → 1300 Watts @ 2Ω

More power baby! Along with a lot of refinements.

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The Elephant in The Little Room

This room presented challenges to the MartinLogan Neolith loudspeakers.

To us, had these speakers been placed a little further into the room, and directed (not exactly toe-in) more towards creating that sweet spot for a single listener, our assessments would have been more thrilling.

What seemed to be on display here was how well these speakers could play a room of considerable size (and with architectural challenges) evenly across many seating positions.

Opting instead for a “good-sound-from-socialism”** stance. Good sound, for all!

** Jameson quote that I’ll never forget.

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