MartinLogan Neolith Electrostatic-Hybrid Loudspeaker

The Sword in the Stone

Equipment report
Categories:
Floorstanding
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Products:
Martin Logan Neolith
MartinLogan Neolith Electrostatic-Hybrid Loudspeaker

Conclusion
MartinLogan’s Neolith is a world-class product, taking its place in the upper echelon of today’s best loudspeakers. The Neolith’s transparency to sources, resolution, coherence, transient fidelity, and lifelike sense of presence and immediacy are as good as they get. In short, the Neolith is as colorless a loudspeaker as I’ve heard.

The blend between the electrostatic panel and dynamic woofer is masterfully executed, belying its hybrid nature. The bass integrates with the panel to an extent I did not think possible. The low bass may not have quite the tautness and impact of some cost-no-object cone loudspeakers, but that deficiency pales beside the Neolith’s state-of-the-art midrange and treble.

The build-quality and finish are superb, and the product is backed by a solid company with a 33-year track record. Those are important considerations when making an investment of this magnitude.

The Neolith is an unqualified technical and musical triumph. It’s also more than fairly priced at $80,000. Although that’s a huge amount of money by any standard, I can name off the top of my head about ten speakers (more if I thought about it) that cost far more and that I wouldn’t choose over the Neolith. MartinLogan has successfully blended its electrostatic panel technology with dynamic woofers to create a truly full-range, coherent loudspeaker—finally succeeding in the audio equivalent of pulling the sword from the stone.

SPECS & PRICING

Type: Three-way electrostatic/dynamic hybrid loudspeaker
Frequency response: 23Hz–22kHz +/–3dB
Recommended amplifier power: 50–1300Wpc into 4 ohms
Sensitivity: 90dB, 2/83V/m
Impedance: 4 ohms nominal, 0.43 ohms minimum at 20kHz
Crossover frequencies: 60Hz, 250–400Hz (variable)
Mid/high-frequency driver: 48" x 22" CLS XStat electrostatic
Woofers: 12" carbon-fiber sandwich (front-firing); 15" aluminum-cone (rear-firing)
Woofer loading: Sealed (front-firing 12"); ported (rear-firing 15")
Bass control: 0dB, –4dB, –8dB
Distance control: 3m (or less), 4m, 5m (or more)
Power consumption: 1W (standby), 15W (maximum)
Dimensions: 30.3" x 74.8" x 34.2"
Weight: 385 lbs. each (net); 600 lbs. each (crated)
Price: $80,000/pr.

Associated Equipment
Amplification:
Constellation Audio Altair 2 preamplifier and Hercules 2 monoblock power amplifiers; Soulution 725 preamplifier and 701 monoblocks
Digital front end: Aurender W20 music server, Berkeley Alpha Reference DAC, Berkeley Alpha USB converter
Analog front end: Basis Inspiration turntable, Air Tight PC-1 Supreme cartridge, Moon by Simaudio 810LP phonostage
Support: Critical Mass Systems Maxxum equipment racks (x2), Maxxum amplifier stands (x2)
Cables: MIT Oracle MA-X and Oracle SHD, AudioQuest Wild Digital AES/EBU, WireWorld Platinum Starlight USB
AC: Four dedicated 20A AC lines; Shunyata Triton 2, Triton DP, Typhon (x3) conditioners, Shunyata Sigma power cords
Acoustics: ASC 16" Full-Round Tube Traps, ASC Tower Trap, Stillpoints Aperture Panels
Accessories: Klaudio ultrasonic record cleaner; Shunyata cable lifters, Critical Mass Systems Rize isolation

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