The Ultimate MartinLogan Motion 15 Review: Speakers Your Home Will Love

(Last Updated On: September 3, 2017)

MartinLogan makes a ton of audio product, ranging from speakers to soundbars to installations. The relatively small 70 employee company has been manufacturing speakers since the 70s and is held in high regard for audiophiles and audio lovers alike.

The Motion series is a modular set of speakers to build a system in your home. The goal is beautiful speakers that sound great for a reasonable price. The Motion 15 is one of the two bookshelf speakers in the series, meant to accent the floor-standing variants.

Of course, MartinLogan capitalizes on their goal. The Motion 15 is a relatively inexpensive speaker with a gorgeous look. While it doesn’t satisfy as an all around audio solution, a pair of them is sure to compliment any existing setup.

Specifications

Frequency Response 60Hz – 25kHz
Driver Size 5.25”
Dimensions 11.4” x 6.8” x 9.5”
Weight 12 lbs
Impedance 5 Ohms
Crossover Frequency 2.7kHz
Sensitivity 92 dB @ 2.83 volts/meter
Price $319.99 – $424.99 (Check out the latest prices here!)

Design and Construction

MartinLogan manages to create speakers that just look gorgeous. If you’ve ever owned one of their products, you know that they create total eye candy that will stand up to the test of time. The Motion 15 is no exception to that.

The speakers comes in piano black, white, and dark cherrywood. Despite the options, I can’t seem to pick a favorite. Each one of the finishes is beautiful. The white is a bit more liberal, but it still looks great.

While they look amazing, these finishes are highly glossed meaning they are total fingerprint magnets. Thankfully, MartinLogan includes a microfiber cloth in the packaging. If you’re like me, you’ll want to keep it handy to wipe your speaker down the moment a fingerprint shows up. Or dust. I’m a clean freak.

Also included is a removable metal grille. While this does protect the drivers inside, I’m not a fan of the look. The grille takes away from the elegant look of the speaker and hides some more of that beautiful finish on the front. If this is actually sitting on a bookshelf, that means the majority of the finish is lost. It’s not for me, but the option is there.

In context, I can’t really blame MartinLogan for going with a metal grille. While I’m not a fan of the look, it’s much better than a cloth version. MartinLogan could easily include one of those, but the metal version protects much better. I just don’t like how it looks. I wouldn’t like how the cloth would look either, so there’s not much you can do.

Design wise, the speaker also includes the Folded Motion tweeter, hence why it’s in the Motion series. We’ll dive more into that in the next section. In terms of the looks, it is a nice departure from a typical dome tweeter so props to MartinLogan.

Sound

Performance is king, always. Thankfully the Motion 15 delivers. As stated before, these speakers complement the floor-standing versions, so they don’t have the range that the larger version do. However, they’re great for some additional speakers in a surround setup or paired with a sub.

Let’s start with what they do well. The Folded Motion tweeter is MartinLogan’s own design that adds more surface area to the tweeter. What results is a top-end that is detailed without being shrill. The clarity that results makes the speakers sing, adding dimension to the high frequencies.

While the top-end is great, the low-end is lacking. It should come as little surprise from a 5” inch driver, but these speakers don’t produce much bass. The punch lives in the lower mids and that satisfies, but true bass junkies will be sorely disappointed.

Because of this, the speakers work better in a setup instead of on their own. A properly implemented sub between a set of these bad boys is an ideal situation.

These are 5 Ohm speakers. They don’t need any special equipment to run, but your amp should be considered. They pull a lot of power, meaning cheaper amps will struggle. At high volumes, the speakers will distort which can be damaging. A good amp will not only protect your investment, but provide a more pristine audio experience as well.

Best Feature of the MartinLogan Motion 15

Like all of the speakers in the Motion series, the key feature is the Folded Motion tweeter. Let me assure you, the hype is real. This is not only the key heart of the Motion 15, but the best feature as well.

Increasing the surface area means that the actual vibrations have more space to disperse before being shot out of the tweeter. Instead of being lost, the folded design pushes out top-end, with the harsh frequencies being lost in the stack of surface area.

What results is actual depth to the sound. The top end is detailed in a way that allows you to hear elements that would otherwise be lost. The top-end of horns, strings, hi-hats, everything comes through in a way that is beautiful and doesn’t hurt your ears.

Worst Feature of MartinLogan Motion 15

The other end of the spectrum is where the worst feature of the Motion 15 shows up. It’s not deal breaking, and shouldn’t be surprising, but the lack of low-end is disappointing.

Let’s be clear, though. It’s not disappointing if you know about how driver size effects low-end, and it’s not disappointing on MartinLogan’s part. It’s just disappointing because the speaker sounds so good and I wish it had more.

It doesn’t, but don’t let that turn you off. This speaker is intended to be part of a system, and it works beautifully in that context. Just don’t expect it to be the end all-be all of speakers on their own.

Conclusion

The MartinLogan Motion 15 is a wonderful speaker overall. The design is simple and elegant, making a product that fits into your room without being too flashy. Generally, companies either create beautiful products that don’t focus on quality, or quality products where looks take a back seat. MartinLogan proves that you can do both.

The sound is exceptional. The Folded Motion tweeter stands out as one of the best designs out there, making the top-end crisp, rich, and detailed. The dimension added is a key feature, and makes these speaker shine overall.

There is a lack of low-end, but that shouldn’t be surprising. There is plenty of punch in the low mids, but true sub range frequencies are totally gone. Make sure you pair them with a sub to get the best experience.

Alternatives to Consider

Klipsch R-15M – $249.99/Pair

Klipsch is one of those companies that sits alongside MartinLogan. They produce audio products that not only sound great, but look great as well.

These are an inexpensive pair of 5.25” bookshelf speakers that make a great alternative if you’re looking to save a few bones. This speaker is out of Klipsch’s line, which sounds incredibly natural and smooth.

Plus that copper-spun woofer is just purely beautiful. Like, dang.

KEF Q300B – $399.99/Pair

The KEF Q300B is another speaker that can stand up to the Motion 15, for a lower price. It isn’t perfect and doesn’t sound as good as the MartinLogan, but it’s a great option if you’re looking for a more ‘bang for your buck’ option.

The 5.5 inch driver is a little more room, but that’s now what fixes the low-end issue. What you do get it KEF’s awesome Uni-Q driver array, that boasts a 2-inch voice coil to drive all that low-end thump.

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 – $495.99/Pair

Perhaps the most direct comparison to the Motion 15 is this speaker. It has the same issues, and it doesn’t excel as much in the top-end, but the overall quality feels on par with the MartinLogan variant.

If you’re looking for a different look, or just think that the Motion 15 isn’t for you, then the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 is a great choice.

Juan Alexander

Juan is a self-professed sound-nerd and the webmaster / lead author & tester for AllSoundLab. You might literally walk into him on the street because he's tuned out to the world and tuned in to his beats...

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