MartinLogan has, for years, been a staple among high-end audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts. In the past few years, MartinLogan has branched out and begun manufacturing high-end solutions at an Everyman price. It began with the Scenario loudspeakers in the mid-'90s, which at the time proved to be hugely successful, albeit a bit limiting in their overall sonic capabilities, which made them suitable for small venues or surround sound speakers. Next came the Aeon, followed by the Clarity. The Aeon proved to be a formidable speaker and became one of MartinLogan most successful and affordable designs, offering much of its big brother's performance without the heavy price tag.
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• Find a subwoofer to beef up the bass of a 2.1 system with the Vantage Hybrids.
Well, MartinLogan is at it again with their new lineup of speakers, the Vantage (reviewed here), Vista and Purity. The Vantage sits in the MartinLogan lineup below the Spire (the Summit replacement), but above the Vista. If the Spire is the new Summit, then the Vantage must be the equivalent to the Ascents of yore. With a retail price of $5,000 a pair, the Vantage is half the price of the old Summits and roughly $3,500 less than the new Spire. The Vantage is visually similar to the Spire, but is a bit smaller, with the woofer enclosure rising up behind the ESL panel for a shallower footprint. The Vantage has MartinLogan's XStat panel, which up until the CLX's arrival was the latest and greatest transducer in MartinLogan's arsenal. While the Vantage is still very good, those wanting the very best electrostatic panel will have to save their pennies and upgrade to the Spire, though in a modest or budget system, I'd argue it would be hard to hear the difference between the Vantage and the Spire.
The Vantage features a 200-watt eight-inch powered aluminum bass driver, which is ported in the rear, giving the Vantage an overall frequency response of 32-23,000Hz. Like the Spire, the Vantage is efficient, with a reported sensitivity of 92dB into a four-ohm load. Since the Vantage is more compact, one has to suppose that MartinLogan is going after consumers with more traditional or moderately-sized listening/viewing rooms. Coupled with the Vantage's relatively good efficiency, this means a powerful receiver or budget separates system should power them nicely.
The Vantage is bi-wireable via MartinLogan's proprietary binding posts that can be found on almost all of their product line, including their statement CLX loudspeakers. The Vantage comes in two base finishes, dark cherry and black ash. Light cherry and maple are optional extras and bring with them an added cost. The Vantage can also be fully customized, courtesy of MartinLogan's own custom shop.
Click to Page 2 for The High Points, The Low Points and The Conclusion.