With seemingly everything in the consumer electronics industry growing more Zen with the popularity of flat panel TV's and on-wall and/or in-wall speakers it seems that the market for a $20,000-plus, six foot tall loudspeaker is somewhat going the way of the dinosaur. That being said, if there was ever a speaker that needed to be made it's the new CLX from MartinLogan. While some would call the CLX a follow up to MartinLogan's legendary CLS, they're wrong other than in the similarity in model name. The old CLS, while brilliant in their own right, was bass shy, highly directional, and power hungry like no other speaker I have ever encountered. The MartinLogan CLX loudspeaker suffers from none of those afflictions. While still visually imposing the CLX can be run (though not recommended) by a receiver with 100 Watts on tap. Its curved diaphragm that handles the high and middle frequencies makes the CLX less directional than its predecessor and the bass, well it's just staggering. To call the MartinLogan CLX a "follow up to the CLS" is an outright insult to this new and ground-breaking design. The new MartinLogan CLX is all new and better than the CLS could've ever hoped to be.
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• Read a review of the MartinLogan Purity audiophile speakers here.
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The CLX comes in two finishes, black oak (standard) and aluminum, which is reserved for the first 100 units that MartinLogan are calling their Anniversary Editions. Keep in mind that the anniversary title is going to run you an extra five grand and the difference is almost entirely cosmetic. The CLX boasts a frequency response of 56-23,000 Hz and has a horizontal dispersion of 30 degrees, a huge leap over the old CLS. Its vertical dispersion has also improved to 57 inches making for a much broader, yet still focused sweet spot. The CLX is more sensitive than the old CLS with its 90 dB/2.83 volts/meter rating into six ohms meaning you'll be able to pair it to a variety of mid level and high end electronics.
In terms of looks the CLX takes some getting used to, okay its odd looking and a bit off putting given MartinLogan's latest design efforts seen in the Summit and Spire loudspeakers. It does feature some subtle design touches that help "dress" it up a bit like dimmable/defeatable LED lighting that bathes the almost completely transparent CLS panel in a soft blue light. MartinLogan will soon be offering the CLX in a variety of custom finishes via their website but its going to cost you and no prices have yet been set. That being said, I've seen photos of the CLX finished with Ferrari red (Rosa forte) lacquer rails and the visual effect is dramatic turning an otherwise awkward looking speaker into one that belongs in a modern art museum.