Home Theater Review


MartinLogan Purity Hybrid Electrostatic Loudspeaker Reviewed

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High Points
• Despite being a powered design and of budget price, the essence of what makes a MartinLogan speaker special is apparent in spades with the Purity, which provides a rich natural midrange and remarkable bass from smallish woofers.
• The ability to run the Purity off an iPod or other portable device makes it a cost-effective way to get into the hi-fi game where the speakers become the only piece of "kit" in the system.
• The ability to run the Purity via a line level input or by outboard amplification gives consumers a clear upgrade or downgrade (if you so choose) path, so that the speaker can truly evolve with the needs of the user.
• The Purity's compact size and bass controls make it a very stylish and room-friendly speaker for audiophiles and non-audiophiles alike.
• The Purity is by far one of the most effective and proper-sounding high-end lifestyle loudspeakers on the market today.  It does not compete with the likes of B&W or Paradigm or higher-end MartinLogan models in terms of traditional thought about high-performance speakers, but it should be considered an alternative to Bang & Olufsen and other style-first speaker products.  Unlike the competition, the Purity packs a double punch, as it is both stylish and fantastic-sounding.

Low Points
• While the internal 200-watt amplifier is more than sufficient for powering the Purity to concert levels, you can hear the difference when mating it to a higher-quality amp.
• The bass controls help, but the rear-ported design and di-pole factor means placement is still a concern for the Purity.
• In order to keep costs low, MartinLogan only offers the Purity in two finishes, both dark (dark cherry and black), which may not be suitable for all environments.
• The Purity, like all MartinLogan hybrid speakers, needs to be located near an outlet or two in order to work at all.

Costing just shy of $3,000 per pair and available at retail stores and online through Amazon, the Purity is more than just another electrostatic loudspeaker from MartinLogan - it's a statement.  As a statement and as a product, the Purity says that the future of home audio is headed toward the iPod, convergence and lifestyle, but instead of sacrificing sound quality for looks, you can have your cake and eat it, too.  The Purity has all the hallmarks of a MartinLogan product, but has the added benefit of not needing costlier components in order to achieve its unique and special sound.  I consider this to be a true breakthrough and a sign of things to come.  My only hope is that MartinLogan doesn't abandon this approach on behalf of the purists out there, who would have you believe that the Purity isn't audiophile-grade because of its innovation.  Rest assured, it is.
Additional Resources
• Read more floorstanding speaker reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com's staff.
• Find an amplifier to pair with these speakers.

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