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MartinLogan Motion 35XTi Loudspeakers | Review

by Marc Phillips in Loudspeakers

Would I like to come visit the room at the 2019 RMAF to see the MartinLogan Motion 35XTi? Sure, I thought when I read the email from Devin Zell, MartinLogan, Paradigm and Anthem Marketing Manager. There was a phase of my audiophile life where I had nearly constant seat time with many of their ESLs. I even reviewed one of their active hybrid speakers, one called the Purity. Seems like ages ago, I thought, which is why I said yes so quickly. Then I thought of something completely crazy—Devin [...]


  • Volti Audio Rival, Revisited | Review

    March 8, 2020 // 1 Comment

    A date with Volti Several years ago, I received delivery of a pair of deliciously fun loudspeakers, the Volti Audio Rival. Since that happy day, the Rivals have been in heavy rotation in my primary audio system here at chez moi. That’s kind of an odd thing to say, come to think about it, and saying that I have a pair of massive loudspeakers “in rotation” implies that I have many such. Which is pretty much the case. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but it [...]
  • Raven Audio CeLest’ Speakers | Review

    March 1, 2020 // 4 Comments

    In recent years, it seems that a number of audio manufacturers have made the decision to expand their product lines well beyond whatever it was that put them on the map in the first place. Such a move is bold, but can also be dangerous. In the high-end arena, this has proved to not always be a great idea, this shift to becoming “everything to everybody.” I’ll, therefore, admit to a bit of concern when the editor asked me to review the Raven Audio CeLest’ loudspeakers, a well-known [...]
  • Daedalus Audio Apollo Speakers | Review

    October 27, 2019 // 3 Comments

    Sometimes the timing of an audio review seems inadvertently auspicious. Such is the case of my latest project: the Daedalus Audio Apollo full-range speakers. I’ve had these lovely wooden wonders here in my home for a few months now, but other pressing projects, both audio and non-audio related, kept placing the review on the back burner. I’ve finally had the pleasure of getting a solid month of critical listening and note-taking in, and it’s time to put pencil to paper… Through no [...]
  • Fern & Roby Raven Loudspeakers | Review

    October 19, 2019 // 0 Comments

    My adventures with the Fern & Roby Raven loudspeakers started last year, right before I left my house in Western New York to drive down to the Capital Audiofest in the suburbs of Washington DC. Minutes before I left, I double-checked the CAF website for the address so I could put it into the GPS and there it was, on the landing page, an image of a beautiful single-driver loudspeaker with glorious mid-century style wooden legs and a curiously wide baffle. It reminded me of a perfect pair of [...]
  • Olympica Nova from Sonus Faber | Review

    September 5, 2019 // 2 Comments

    The new Olympica series from Sonus Faber features a number of innovations—new drivers and crossovers, new cabinet designs and new approaches to enclosure bracing and tuning. The result is breathtaking looks and elegant sound in a compact package. [...]
  • Sonus Faber Serafino Tradition | Review

    June 30, 2019 // 2 Comments

    With the Sonus Faber Serafino Tradition in your room, chances are high you will tend to let irrelevancies slide. Like food, water, and personal hygiene. Because you will have more important things to attend to. Like how unbelievably pretty these speakers are. That really is the first and last word — these loudspeakers are the best-looking that I have ever had the pleasure of seeing in my home. They’re embarrassingly well-made. Every aspect is attended to, and the whole is so [...]
  • Amphion Argon 3S loudspeakers | Review

    February 9, 2019 // 4 Comments

    Better living through chemistry As a practicing chemist (or rather, “purveyor of chemical knowledge”), I’m quite keen on all things chemistry. My interest was piqued, therefore, several years ago when I first noticed the offerings of the Finnish company Amphion. As far as I could tell, the operation crafted speakers for both the pro audio and high-end consumer communities, and more importantly, they named their home audio products after chemical elements! Yes, lots of companies do [...]
  • Sonus Faber Sonetto II Speakers | Review

    December 30, 2018 // 17 Comments

    Nothing but the truth Should audio components always be 100% truthful to the source? Ahhh, that’s one of those questions that has resulted in untold audiophile angst, much like the supposed supremacy of analog over digital, or tubes vs. solid state. In the end, it’s ultimately up to the ear of the listener, and nothing else. If it sounds good to you, then it’s probably good. Me? I’m an unabashed truth guy. That’s perhaps why I tend to gravitate toward pro audio DACs and speakers for [...]
  • Do I really need an excuse to ditch Rochester just before the first major snowstorm of the season just to head down to San Diego? As excuses go, I can think on none more sublime than visiting a high-end audio dealer to evaluate a couple of state-of-the-art designs that have just been introduced. Alma Audio is nestled in the Kearney Mesa area of the city, not far from the airport. It’s a fairly new enterprise, opened in 2015 by partners Alexandre Siufy and Fabio Storelli. Along with Adrienne [...]
  • Brian Berdan, owner of Audio Element in Pasadena California grew up in a household filled with music, his late father was a well known hi-fi  dealer, so I can suspect that he had some killer vintage gear to play around with.  Brian’s first pair of Wilson Audio Speakers were a pair of Wilson Watt 2/Puppy 1 loudspeakers that began his Wilson journey and which he still owns today.  As Brian and his wife Jennifer geared up to celebrate Audio Element’s 5th anniversary this month, it [...]
  • Wilson Audio Sasha DAW | First Look

    October 25, 2018 // 9 Comments

    It was a once in a lifetime experience about 1.5 years ago when I got to sit alongside David Wilson in his inspiring listening room and hear the WAMM Master Chronosonic. I will never forget those precious minutes with David, nothing has gotten closer to being there. In a world where many high-end companies fade away when they lose their founder, one American company is breaking the mold and demonstrating that a new generation can deliver breath-taking products, namely Daryl Wilson who has taken [...]
  • The Apple HomePod is reported to be an excellent sounding smart speaker, one of the best in the segment. Apparently, that's not a high bar. [...]
  • Studio Electric looks for a higher class of consideration Call me crazy but I have a particularly unwavering bias in this hobby for sound and sound only. I do not personally subscribe to the church of audio-bling, although I don’t mind its existence or necessity in another’s sense of taste. I understand the appeal high-end-audio-jewelry and cost-no-object endeavors that embody faultless craftsmanship inside and out. I don’t fault high-end audio manufacturers for looking to one-up each [...]
  • Sonus Faber Launches Sonetto

    June 29, 2018 // 3 Comments

    The 1900 Building in Kansas City, Missouri, is the original HQ for Lee Jeans, and last week I got a tour, courtesy of Mr. Karbank, the owner. The “new” 1900 Building is a very posh and modern affair, with space for industry and a fantastic restaurant, but most interesting to you, dear reader, is that Mr. Karbank is also a client of a local Sonus Faber dealer Elevated Electronics, and that relationship allowed Sonus Faber the opportunity to bring some friends in to introduce a new [...]
  • Uh oh.  Something was really off. The Velvet Fog’s voice was all over the place.  The sibilance was nasty. Next I know, I am standing next to a finely made miniature metal hand crank.  Dave Wilson is telling me, “okay, now we need to go from 24mm to 27.5mm”.  I slowly and carefully turn the crank in a circle clock-wise until a very fine calibration hash mark moves between 27 and 28. I go back to the listening chair.  Dave cues up the Mel Torme track again. Ahhh, the voice is focused [...]
  • Concurrent with my receipt of the amplifier up for review here, Linear Tube Audio’s (LTA) ZOTL 10 Mk.II, came another welcome piece of news: the well-regarded German jazz/classical label ECM had decided to release its entire catalog for streaming via Tidal and other services. Most audiophile types are well aware of this label, especially for its collection of albums by interesting European and American jazz artists, all rendered in superbly recorded sound. It’s one of my favorite jazz [...]
  • Wilson Audio Tunetot gets newborn pictures

    May 17, 2018 // 1 Comment

    Wilson Audio gave birth to its newest family member, the TuneTot loudspeaker on May 10th.  We couldn’t wait to pay this beautiful baby a visit, so 24 hours after birth we made a trip to Definitive Audio in Seattle to give them a peak.  Always exciting to see a product announcement is in sync with actual availability. Sharing some newborn pictures… In the nursery: Up close… Head, shoulders, knees and toes… Rocking a high chair… Wrapped up in a blanket… [...]
  • Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 loudspeaker: Review

    February 25, 2018 // 11 Comments

    Harbeth Compact 7ES-3, pipe and slippers.  If you’ve ever been into high fidelity gear from the United Kingdom then you’ve heard that phrase bandied about as a descriptor for British Isle-built sound. I love the images it conjures up in one’s imagination: Gust-driven rain pelting against a window partially concealed by thick Hunter Green velvet curtains, lots of built-in wooden shelves stocked with books, CDs, and LPs… an overstuffed, weathered leather wing chair, thick [...]
  • Review: AmpsAndSound Hudson

    February 11, 2018 // 4 Comments

    By Lee Shelly Well, a more accurate title would be “Life with the Hudsons”, but that seems less poetic, so there you go. A few disclaimers before I get started. Yes, I’m a photographer who does a lot of work in the high end audio genre. With that said, AmpsAndSound is not and has not been a client of mine. I consider Justin, who owns AmpsAndSound to be a personal friend, though I really only see him at audio shows. With that out-of-the-way, lemme tell you about life with the [...]
  • There’s something about John DeVore’s loudspeakers that intrinsically connect me to the music. Jazz, blues, EDM, folk, rock, or pop… it doesn’t matter. The electron translations being performed by DeVore Fidelity designs – like the O/93 graciously provided to me by Soundhounds in Victoria, B.C., being reviewed here – would be listened to with envy by those involved with maintaining harmonious diplomatic relations between countries with disparate languages at the [...]