Next, I upped the ante with My Morning Jacket's stellar Okonokos concert DVD, played nice 'n' loud. Oh yeah, these guys can play and I love the way vocalist Jim James vacillates effortlessly between a spine-tingling yowl and hot-blooded, rock & roll power. His voice had an "open" quality more akin to live sound than mere hi-fi—again, the sonic purity of the electrostatic design paid big dividends. The MartinLogans' uber resolution let me hear the space around each instrument. It's rare to experience that sort of soundstage depth and three-dimensionality with conventional box speakers. And the Purity's bass reproduction was nimble and crystal clear, defining every nuance and finger plucking sound on acoustic bass instruments.
The Puritys' performance with stereo music, without the subwoofer, was no less exceptional. The syncopated handclaps on Nina Simone's "Sinnerman" from her Pastel Blues/Let It All Out CD [Mercury] sounded, well…like real handclaps—I could hear the fleshy quality of skin slapping against skin. With lesser speakers, handclaps are reduced to vague, percussive popping sounds. Trust me, you don't have to be an audiophile to hear, and more importantly, appreciate the difference.
BOTTOM LINE The clarity of the MartinLogan Purity system is breathtaking—and yet I never felt the sound was too aggressive or overly bright. To the contrary, the system's overall bass/midrange/treble balance was superb. I have to admit, I was having such a good time with the Purity system that I was truly sorry to ship it back to MartinLogan.