ElectroMotion FX2 surround-channel speaker, technical highlights:
• The ElectroMotion FX2 (EM-FX2 for short) uses two of the same Heil-type Folded Motion XT tweeters as used in the EM-C2 center-channel speaker. The front face of the EM-FX2 is shaped like a semi-circle, so that if the EM-FX2 is mounted to the sides of the listening position one tweeter is angled forward, while the other is angled toward the rear.
• The EM-FX2 uses a single 6.5-inch paper cone mid-bass driver that is positioned in the center of the EM-FX2’s face, flanked by the two Folded Motion XT drivers.
• The EM-FX2 provides a dual-ported (front-firing ports), “non-resonant, asymmetrical chamber format” enclosure. By design the enclosure allows the EM-FX2 to placed on a stand or tabletop, wall-mounted, or—as an interesting design touch—corner-mounted. What makes the latter mounting option possible is the fact that the rear of the EM-FX2 enclosure is not flat; instead, the rear surface if flat in the center (where wall-mount brackets go), but provides left and right surfaces beveled at 45-degree angles (where the corner mounts go). It’s an option few if any other surround speakers offer.
• The EM-FX2 is offered in a matte black finish with a curved, black fabric grille.
Dynamo 1000W powered subwoofer, technical highlights:
• 500-watt amplifier with controls for phase, crossover frequency, LFE bypass, and that provides left/right/LFE line-level inputs.
• The Dynamo 1000W features a 12-inch, high-excursion woofer with a polypropylene diaphragm.
• By design, the Dynamo 1000W allows the user to choose a downward-firing configuration (the standard out-of-box configuration) or an optional forward-firing configuration made possible through clever removable feet and a detachable woofer grille.
• The sealed enclosure of the Dynamo 1000 is said to provide heavy internal bracing, and the cabinet comes fitted with Energy Transfer Coupler (ETC) floor spikes.
• The Dynamo 1000W offers wireless connectivity in the form of its (included) SWT-2 wireless transmitter kit.
Let me begin by pointing out that MartinLogan recommends giving this system a full 72 hours (or more) of break-in at levels of around 90 dB before settling in to do critical listening. We followed this advice and strongly recommend that you do, too. The gist of things is that the ElectroMotion ESL speakers sound good (even very good) straight out of their boxes, but they really need that break-in time in order to loosen up and—importantly—to develop the kind of sonic “fluidity” that enables the textures of the various exotic drivers to merge and meld in a harmonious way.
In a holistic sense, the sound of the ElectroMotion ESL floorstanders is what sets the sonic tone for the entire system, and the EM-ESLs are among the finest speakers I’ve yet heard at their price (although Magnepan’s magnificent 1.7 planar magnetic speakers offer extremely strong competition). The EM-ESLs offer a really intoxicating set of virtues: open, airy, and beautifully extended highs; almost shockingly transparent, pure, and agile midrange frequencies; and fast, taut, and surprisingly deeply extended bass. MartinLogan’s extensive experience in building hybrid electrostats really shows in the EM-ESL, in that the transition between the electrostat panel and the dynamic woofer is handled so artfully that you have almost no awareness of crossing from one type of driver to the other.
Please note that I used the qualifier “almost” in the preceding sentence, not because I’m bent on being bull-headedly finicky about things, but because I know and respect the sound of MartinLogan’s über-expensive, flagship full-range electrostatic CLX speaker, which is one of the most eerily coherent-sounding speakers on the planet. I won’t tell you the EM-ESLs are fully the equals of their magnificent big brothers because that would be untrue, but I will tell you that they capture an awful lot of the sonic “vibe” of the big guys for about one-tenth the price. In my book, that fact alone makes the EM-ESLs a marvel of value-oriented engineering. What is more, once fully broken in, the EM-ESL seems to have almost no problems with perceived excess treble brightness or stridency when reproducing hard, sharp transient sounds. This is important, since the larger MartinLogan hybrid electrostats occasionally have been known to exhibit quirks in those areas. My point is that the EM-ESL gives most of the joys of top-tier hybrid electrostats, with essentially none of the potential drawbacks.