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Article: MartinLogan Motion 40i Review

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1 hour ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Hi George - Thanks for the review. Very concise. 

 

I have a soft spot for MartinLogan and I'm always interested in its speakers. ReQuests were one of my first real high end speakers and I'll never forget that sound :~)

 

Same here...passed them on to a family member and he is absolutely thrilled with the Requests. They still sound great and Dirac Live takes care of any room issues.

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> "bi-wiring if one believes in such a thing"

 

Have you ever tried bi-wiring? It made a significant and easily noticeable difference in the two pairs of speakers I tried it on. The sound also changed when I single-wired with jumpers on the tweeters vs. jumpers on the woofers.

 

Martin Logan speakers would definitely rate a look if I were shopping. The price is reasonable and the AMT tweeter is an amazing device. Quite a few designs used an AMT at the Toronto audio fest. I'm not a fan of ported speakers either. I would want to block the ports and cross over to my subs.

 

I am not a fan of previous ML speakers. Crystalline highs but no body. 

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On 12/20/2019 at 8:02 PM, audiobomber said:

> "bi-wiring if one believes in such a thing"

 

Have you ever tried bi-wiring? It made a significant and easily noticeable difference in the two pairs of speakers I tried it on. The sound also changed when I single-wired with jumpers on the tweeters vs. jumpers on the woofers.

 

Martin Logan speakers would definitely rate a look if I were shopping. The price is reasonable and the AMT tweeter is an amazing device. Quite a few designs used an AMT at the Toronto audio fest. I'm not a fan of ported speakers either. I would want to block the ports and cross over to my subs.

 

I am not a fan of previous ML speakers. Crystalline highs but no body. 

Bi-wiring doesn’t really do anything positive. As far as cable is concerned, it’s like upping the gauge to the wire, but if you are splitting the woofer and tweeter by removing the shorting straps at the speakers and connecting them back together at the amplifier, all you are really doing is moving the place where the woofer and tweeter are joined from the back of the speaker with just a very short, low-resistance strap to a long, higher resistance cable. Sure it can change the sound, but I assure you it is subtracting something rather than adding anything. If you like that better, well, that’s up to you. But you really should know what’s actually going on. Also, while we’re on the subject, bi-amping a speaker that won’t let you bypass the built-in cross-overs, is also, mostly futile. For proper bi-amp performance you want a small signal crossover BEFORE the amplifiers. Now you’ve got the true advantages afforded by bi-amping! There is an exception to that. Even if you are stuck with the speaker’s built-in crossover, you will still get benefit if, for instance the two amplifiers you are using have vastly different sonic signatures. For instance, if you prefer the bass of a solid-state amp, you might want to put that on the woofer, but if you prefer the sweet open high-end often attributed to tubes, then you might want to use a good-sounding tube amp on the tweeter (perhaps even a low wattage SET).

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Dick Vandersteen likes bi-wiring...


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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7 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

Dick Vandersteen likes bi-wiring...

I don’t think that changes the physics, do you? It has to take something away. I mean you have replaced a very short strap with a long piece of wire. That adds resistance, capacitance and  inductance. It has to change something, and since wire is passive, not active, it can only attenuate, not amplify. Therefore, some portion of the tweeter’s passband has to be attenuated. So, if Mr. Vandersteen or anyone else hear’s an improvement, it’s because they like a certain portion of the high frequency spectrum being reduced in volume. Am I not right?

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On 12/25/2019 at 10:37 PM, Sonis said:

Bi-wiring doesn’t really do anything positive. As far as cable is concerned, it’s like upping the gauge to the wire, but if you are splitting the woofer and tweeter by removing the shorting straps at the speakers and connecting them back together at the amplifier, all you are really doing is moving the place where the woofer and tweeter are joined from the back of the speaker with just a very short, low-resistance strap to a long, higher resistance cable. Sure it can change the sound, but I assure you it is subtracting something rather than adding anything. If you like that better, well, that’s up to you. But you really should know what’s actually going on. 

I asked if you had ever tried biwiring, you responded with reasons why you believe it isn't worthwhile. I assume that you have not tried, and are therefore working with limited information. I investigated biwiring my system with dual and single 10' runs of Linn K400 13ga cable. Every configuration sounded different; single run to tweeters with short K400 jumper cable to woofer, same except connected to woofers first, and finally biwired. 

 

I have 12ga zip wire, Linn K400 single and biwire runs and Cardas Neutral Reference bi-wires. There are significant and easily heard differences between them, all in favour of the more expensive options. The opinion often stated by "objectivists" is just to use 12ga from a hardware store does not hold.

 

You agree that capacitance, inductance and resistance change with biwire vs single run. These base parameters are enough to change the sound, IMO, but there are other potential factors as well, e.g. phase effects: 

http://www.empiricalaudio.com/computer-audio/audio-faqs/bi-wiring-speaker-cables

 

and IM effects: https://www.qacoustics.co.uk/blog/2016/06/08/bi-wiring-speakers-exploration-benefits/

 

Biwiring is in no way essential, but if I have speakers with dual terminals and biwire cables, I will definitely use them. 

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On 12/25/2019 at 10:37 PM, Sonis said:

Also, while we’re on the subject, bi-amping a speaker that won’t let you bypass the built-in cross-overs, is also, mostly futile. For proper bi-amp performance you want a small signal crossover BEFORE the amplifiers. Now you’ve got the true advantages afforded by bi-amping! There is an exception to that. Even if you are stuck with the speaker’s built-in crossover, you will still get benefit if, for instance the two amplifiers you are using have vastly different sonic signatures. For instance, if you prefer the bass of a solid-state amp, you might want to put that on the woofer, but if you prefer the sweet open high-end often attributed to tubes, then you might want to use a good-sounding tube amp on the tweeter (perhaps even a low wattage SET).

I intend to start a new thread on this topic, as I find it fascinating and complex. I will link the new thread here.

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10 hours ago, audiobomber said:

I asked if you had ever tried biwiring, you responded with reasons why you believe it isn't worthwhile. I assume that you have not tried, and are therefore working with limited information. I investigated biwiring my system with dual and single 10' runs of Linn K400 13ga cable. Every configuration sounded different; single run to tweeters with short K400 jumper cable to woofer, same except connected to woofers first, and finally biwired. 

 

I have 12ga zip wire, Linn K400 single and biwire runs and Cardas Neutral Reference bi-wires. There are significant and easily heard differences between them, all in favour of the more expensive options. The opinion often stated by "objectivists" is just to use 12ga from a hardware store does not hold.

 

You agree that capacitance, inductance and resistance change with biwire vs single run. These base parameters are enough to change the sound, IMO, but there are other potential factors as well, e.g. phase effects: 

http://www.empiricalaudio.com/computer-audio/audio-faqs/bi-wiring-speaker-cables

 

and IM effects: https://www.qacoustics.co.uk/blog/2016/06/08/bi-wiring-speakers-exploration-benefits/

 

Biwiring is in no way essential, but if I have speakers with dual terminals and biwire cables, I will definitely use them. 

Now, I've tried most everything, including bi-wiring. And yes, it definitely changes the sound of the top end. No doubt. Using an audio spectrum analyzer, I found that in the case of the speaker cable I was using at the time (Symo), the lower treble region was  attenuated about 1.5 dB from around 4KHz to about 6.5KHz compared to single wire. Not a lot, but did it change, on direct comparison, the character of the sound. That's why I say that bi-wiring cannot add anything to the sound, only subtract something from it as it must. Sure, capacitance, inductance and added resistance do, indeed change the sound, but measurement wise, not for the better  (unless it is taming a peak in the speaker's frequency response). But unless you have access many different brands, models, and gauges of wire with which to experiment and some fancy measuring equipment, finding a combination that will improve the sound of one's speakers by attenuating peaks in the FR, for instance,  it's almost impossible to predict the results. Most likely it will makes the speakers sound worse than they did with single wiring. Bi-amping with a low level adjustable crossover before the amplifiers, of course, is a different kettle of fish altogether. 

Mostly, with cable swaps, and bi-wiring schemes it's a crap shoot, and I have found that many audiophiles, impressed that the sound changes, automatically assume that it's a change for the better, whether it is or not because in their minds, different is always better.


George

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I agree that cables are subtractive, but they can also be used to flavour the stew, with subtle but important changes in tonality, detail, soundstage and PRaT. 

 

It is commonly stated that long interconnects with short speaker cables is preferred over the opposite. At a very minimum, biwiring is equivalent to halving the length your speaker wires. The IM and phase improvements vs. single wire are a bonus.

 

Judging the value of a cable swap is best determined with extended listening time. Initial impressions can be misleading, it takes time to determine a cable's strengths and weaknesses. Quick changes and A-B testing are useful but not definitive.

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