Martin Logan Stage X Electrostatic Center Channel Speaker

Expert Review

While dynamic speakers come in all shapes, sizes, and configurations, they have one common shortcoming that those with the most discerning ears will often comment upon: even the smallest, fastest dynamic speakers can be a bit slow when rendering complex music, especially orchestral passages with dozens of instruments and even more individual parts to be dissected. In the eardphone world, these ears opt for faster balanced armature earphones; the home audio world, however, draws its speed-freaks to electrostatic speakers. For these audiophiles with an absolute love of precision, Martin Logan has designed the Stage X.

Bass will never be a strength of electrostatic speakers; owners will tell you that this is what the subwoofer is for. Electrostats are capable of producing incredible image depth, detail, speed and dynamics, but they will never sound as full as dynamic speakers; the Stage X is no exception. Placement is also a very high consideration for electrostats; any home theater system should be tuned and placed by a professional or audiophile with a trained ear, but electrostatic speakers are even pickier about their space, requiring a larger room to sound their best and ample space from any potentially-interfering surfaces. Also please keep in mind that the "sweet spot," or ideal listening position, for electrostatic-based systems is typically very small, even when properly configured; sound will become unnatural to anyone not within the 2 or, at best, 3-person sitting space towards which the speakers are angled.

Electrostats are a huge pain, but Martin Logan makes the best, and anyone with the patience and ear (or money) to get the Stage X and its companions properly setup will be rewarded with unparalleled clarity and detail; just make sure you get a great woofer.Rating: 4.25/5

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