In fact, the Motion speakers combine relatively exotic tweeters with conventional mid-bass drivers in a way that allows the whole to become greater than the sum of the parts. And the Dynamo subwoofer gets in on the act too, blending extremely well with the Motion-series main, surround, and center channel speakers. As a result, the entire system is quite detailed and revealing, yet also sounds smooth and surprisingly full-bodied, with very good bass extension and pitch definition.
One word of advice/caution is in order, though; plan on giving the Motion system plenty (as in 100 hours or more) of run in time before optimal sound is achieved. Straight out of the box, the Motion system tends to sound a bit thin, bright, and shrill, but pay this no mind. Just run the system at moderate levels for 100+ hours and watch what happens. Over time, both the tweeters the mid-bass drivers will smooth, while developing deeper and richer bass response as playing time accumulates. In the end, your patience will be rewarded with significantly improved smoothness, warmth and a well-integrated system sound overall.
Should you use the Motion system with an A/V receiver or controller that provides room EQ functions? I found the Motion system sounded quite good on its own (that is, without any EQ) but that its performance could be tweaked for even better sound with a good room EQ system. In particular, I found that the Audyssey EQ system helped the Motion rig “snap into focus” in an even tighter way, while improving overall integration between the Dynamo subwoofer and the Motion speakers. If you do use a room EQ system, you may want to run calibrations once when you first install the system, and then again after break in is complete. Hint: don’t be surprised if you find—as I did—that calibration settings needed for the system can and do change significantly as break-in progresses.
Above, I’ve mentioned the rich, full-bodied, yet detailed character of the Motion system, and to experience those qualities in action you need look no further than to the soundtrack of the music-centric, academy award-winning film Crazy Heart. A major theme of the film involves the unlikely development, growth, and ultimate collapse of a relationship between the grizzled, road-weary, alcoholic, and yet also profoundly talented country music musician Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) and the much younger, single-mom music journalist Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal).
What starts out as a series of background interviews for an article Jean hopes to write about Blake becomes something more when, late one evening, Blake turns to Jean with a sly smile and half murmurs/half whispers, “I wanna talk about how bad you make this room look. I never knew what a dump it was until you came in here.”
Jean laughs softly laughs and blushes, sounding both a bit nervous yet also obviously touched and flattered by Blake’s attention. Blake, encouraged by this, grins, laughs, then adds, “I haven’t seen someone that blushed in I don’t know how long.” Jean dips her head for a moment, then coquettishly replies, “Well, I can’t help it if my capillaries are close to the skin.”
The Motion systems catches all of the fine sonic textural details in this scene, letting you hear the alcoholic charm beneath the just-slightly slurred edges of Blake’s words, and the unmistakable undertones of sincere longing behind the bravado in his voice. And just as plainly, you can hear Jean being won over in spite of herself. In this and in several other quiet, tender, dialog-driven scenes between Bad and Jean, the Motion system shows off its terrific clarity, delicacy, and finesse, exposing not just the sounds but also the subtle emotions in the actors’ voices.
But it’s during the live music scenes in Crazy Heart that the system’s bigger, bolder, more full-bodied character comes into play. One of my favorite scenes involves an evening concert at a large outdoor pavilion in Phoenix, where Blake has been invited to open for Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), a former sideman and protégé of Blake’s whose career is enjoying a meteoric rise, even as Blake’s is in decline. As the scene opens, you seen an audience member’s view of the stage and hear the loud, overblown sound of the PA system playing canned, pre-show music. The sound is ever so realistic, capturing to a “T” the overblown sound of waves of bass notes cascading forth from the PA speakers and rolling upwards into the inclined seating areas outside. But as Blake take the stage you hear—again, quite realistically—the sound of the PA system change and improve dramatically as well-judged concert soundboard setting, which Blake had worked out with the soundman earlier in the day, suddenly take hold.