At CEDIA Expo 2018, MartinLogan became the talk of the show by leading attendees into a darkened room and demoing a system that no one could see, with no details about form factor, specifications, pricing, or even the underlying technology. At this year’s show in Denver, we finally got to see what all of the fuss was about. The company’s new Masterpiece CI Series comprises five new models in all, including four in-walls and one in-ceiling speaker, all relying on the company’s Folded Motion XT Obsidian. The real star of the show, though, was the flagship Statement 40XW which boasts forty drivers in all, configured as a line source, with sixteen tweeters, sixteen 3.5-inch mid drivers, and eight 6.5-inch woofers. This beast of a speaker served as the front left and right channels for an impressive 9.4.4-channel demo system (accompanied by four Dynamo 1600X subs).
For more details on the new Masterpiece CI lineup, read on for the full press release direct from MartinLogan:
MartinLogan is pleased to announce the new Masterpiece CI Series of custom installation speakers including the flagship Statement 40XW line source in-wall speaker, three ultimate-performance in-wall speakers, and a sophisticated ultimate-performance in-ceiling speaker.
Masterpiece CI Series Key Features:
Flagship Class Performance In-Wall and In-Ceiling Speakers
From extreme home theater to transcendent 2-channel listening, Masterpiece CI is the pinnacle of discreet in-wall and in-ceiling loudspeaker design–state-of-the-art Truth in Sound. Featuring lightning-fast, low-distortion, Folded Motion XT Obsidian tweeters, flagship-class Vojtko crossover networks, and unidirectional carbon fiber multi-section cone drivers with a Nomex backer, the Masterpiece CI Series offers the biggest, boldest, and most lifelike performance possible–a tribute to the acoustic achievements of MartinLogan’s original iconic masterpiece, our flagship floorstanding electrostatic speakers.
Benefits of Statement 40XW’s Line Source Configuration
Designing an in-wall speaker with performance on par with MartinLogan’s most ambitious floorstanding hybrid electrostatic speakers is an immense challenge. The power and effortlessness of electrostatic speakers is breathtaking–a living manifestation of Truth in Sound. The Statement 40XW is MartinLogan’s answer–a triumph of engineering delivering a seamless melding of authoritative, accurate bass and mid-range with lightning-fast thin-film tweeters. Each channel features 40 drivers, including eight 6.5-inch unidirectional carbon fiber multi-section cone woofers with a Nomex backer, 16 matching 3.5-inch midrange drivers, and 16 exquisite Folded Motion XT Obsidian tweeters.
The use of 16 tweeters, 16 mid-range drivers, and eight woofers significantly contributes to the effortless sonic presentation of the Statement 40XW. All drivers, even superb drivers such as the carbon fiber cones and thin-film tweeters used in the speaker, begin to exhibit distortion when pushed hard. By using a large number of drivers operating in perfect unison, the movement required from each driver is a fraction of what it otherwise would be while still achieving impressive levels of overall output. The combination of such inherently high-resolution drivers and the reduction in demands on each results in a highly accurate and distortion-free performance during even the most demanding sonic passages.
Additionally, with large line source designs, as seating positions move further away from the speaker, sound levels don’t drop off as quickly as they do with smaller, less efficient speakers. The ability of the Statement 40XW to deliver higher levels of sound over much greater distances results in an extremely uniform sound pressure throughout large rooms–especially beneficial in substantial home theaters with multiple rows of seating.
Folded Motion XT Obsidian Tweeters
MartinLogan’s signature Folded Motion tweeter, found throughout the Masterpiece CI Series, utilizes an extremely low mass diaphragm that “squeezes” air, thus demanding significantly less excursion than the typical 1-inch dome tweeter. Its folded design allows for a much larger surface area (compared to that of a regular 1-inch dome tweeter), controlled dispersion characteristics, and vanishingly low distortion. It’s a miracle of audio engineering that’s able to deliver much of the high-frequency detail and speed of a large, dynamic electrostatic panel in a small space. Folded Motion XT tweeters advance thin-film transducer technology even further, with a 40% larger radiating surface and 80×30-degree controlled dispersion. This tweak increases audible bandwidth without sacrificing details and minimizes distortion to an unprecedented level while increasing efficiency and the tweeter’s already lightning-fast response time–the result–superior realism and alarming specificity that is aurally astounding, and only by MartinLogan. Masterpiece CI Series Folded Motion XT Obsidian tweeters feature a black diaphragm.
Powerful Mid-Frequency and Bass Drivers Featuring Unidirectional Carbon Fiber Multi-section Cones With a Nomex Backer
Custom built, low-distortion drivers pair high-power magnet structures with unidirectional carbon fiber multi-section cone diaphragms with a Nomex backer to deliver massive excursion and sound output, preserve minute bass details and maximize power handling capability, all without a hint of distortion. The use of unidirectional carbon fiber yields a cone that is twice as strong as steel with a sixth of the density, providing exceptional rigidity without adding excessive weight. The multi-section design of Masterpiece CI drivers serves to reduce resonant modes within the driver, allowing for a smoother response. Nomex backers improve overall driver performance by damping the cone to prevent deleterious ringing and reduce break up modes–a crucial requirement for extremely rigid cone materials. These exceptional woofers ensure a smooth, non-resonant response necessary for seamless blending with the extreme accuracy of high-resolution Folded Motion tweeters.
To deliver accuracy in the critical midrange, mid-frequency drivers feature a specially engineered “stiff” suspension. Stiffening the suspension (the spider and surround) raises the driver’s resonant frequency and optimizes its performance to achieve a natural roll-off and inherently operate within an ideal range for a mid-frequency reproduction (as opposed to a comparably sized woofer).
Each cone includes a concave dust cap that adds additional strength and rigidity while further reducing break up modes. An inverted surround design maximizes clearance behind the grille cover to enhance driver excursion, clarity, and linearity.
Proprietary Vojtko Crossover Networks
Carefully hand-built using only the most exceptional polypropylene and polyester capacitors, custom wound and large steel laminate low-DCR inductors, and double thick PCBs, Masterpiece CI Series crossovers employ MartinLogan’s proprietary Vojtko topology for vanishingly low distortion and seamless driver integration. This precision-tuned network preserves even the most microscopic sonic nuances while handling the full dynamics of any source.
Vojtko crossovers are named after MartinLogan’s chief audio technologist, Joe Vojtko. His unique approach to crossover design is as big of a part of the “MartinLogan Sound” as are electrostatic and Folded Motion thin-film driver technologies. A Vojtko crossover isn’t so much a set of design requirements as it is a philosophy. Vojtko crossovers are designed in such a way that all drivers are kept within their optimal frequency range and balanced with one another. The drivers themselves are as much a part of a Vojtko crossover as are capacitors and resistors. Before the design of any crossover begins, drivers are carefully selected or designed to operate within a very intentional frequency range and with precise and predictable performance parameters. Vojtko crossovers are always built from high-quality parts, and care is taken to avoid overly complex topologies–a straightforward objective due to the careful selection of woofers and tweeters. The final (and most critical) aspect of a Vojtko Crossover is that final voicing is conducted in a space that is indicative of a real-world environment. This pragmatic approach allows MartinLogan speakers to sound their best in real-world rooms.
Phenolic Baffle and Sealed Back Box Enclosure
Statement 40XW, Monument 7XW, Tribute 5XW, and Icon 3XW utilize baffles constructed from incredibly dense and durable phenolic resin polymer–an exceptional, acoustically superior substrate. Phenolic resin polymer, the same material used in the Neolith cabinet, offers extraordinary material consistency that naturally minimizes acoustically deleterious resonances and vibrations. This sealed design helps keep sound from leaking through the wall to unintended areas of the home, while also providing predictable airspace for the woofers to perform their best.
Statement 40XW incorporates a reinforced back box that embeds into the wall and a flush-mounted grille that installs even with the finished wall surface. This platform decouples the drivers from the wall surface while maintaining a clean aesthetic with a high level of fit and finish. The speaker is designed to work with either ½- or ⅝-inch wallboard in new construction or retrofit installations.
Sistine 4XC utilizes a dense, ejection molded back box with a sealed design that helps keep sound from leaking through the wall to unintended areas of the home, while also providing predictable airspace for the woofers to perform their best.
The most significant benefit of a built-in, acoustically inert and sealed back box is predictable volume and a construction methodology that removes the variables of the wall cavity size and construction quality from the acoustic equation, guaranteeing a consistent, accurate performance, regardless of installation. By maintaining complete control over driver performance, crossover design, and cabinet construction, Masterpiece CI in-wall and in-ceiling speakers can achieve an emotionally engaging experience on par with the rarified performance of the world’s most exceptional floorstanding speakers.
Simple Installation and Die-cast Aluminum Mounting Locks
Each speaker includes a full-size installation template featuring quick-reference instructions, and die-cut guides for marking the cutout hole. A simple, yet robust die-cast aluminum mounting-lock system maximizes strength while allowing quick, trouble-free installation. Pocketed screw holes help hold the drill steady, making installation a snap. When not in use, mounting locks are secured within a self-contained housing. When moved into place, they couple the chassis firmly to the ceiling or wall, increasing the rigidity of surfaces. If ever removed, the locks retract and latch back in their housings. Spring-loaded binding posts feature a large 4.5mm wire access hole and connect via banana plug, pin, or 10AWG bare wire.
Pre-installation brackets are available for every model in the Masterpiece CI Series, except for the Statement 40XW which requires unique considerations for installation.
These are the five models in MartinLogan’s new Masterpiece CI Series:
Statement 40XW features forty drivers in a line source configuration; sixteen lightning-fast Folded Motion XT Obsidian tweeters, sixteen 3.5-inch unidirectional carbon fiber multi-section cone midrange driver with a Nomex backer, and eight matching 6.5-inch woofers, seamlessly blended with a flagship-class Vojtko crossover network constructed from Neolith inspired audiophile-grade components.
Monument 7XW features seven drivers; A lightning-fast Folded Motion XT Obsidian tweeter, a 6.5-inch unidirectional carbon fiber multi-section cone midrange driver with a Nomex backer, two matching 6.5-inch woofers, and three 6.5-inch passive radiators, seamlessly blended with a flagship-class Vojtko crossover network constructed from audiophile-grade components. A pre-installation bracket is available.
Tribute 5XW features five drivers; a lightning-fast Folded Motion XT Obsidian tweeter and dual 5.5-inch unidirectional carbon fiber multi-section cone woofers with a Nomex backer and matching 6.5-inch passive radiators, seamlessly blended with a flagship-class Vojtko crossover network constructed from audiophile-grade components. A pre-installation bracket is available.
Icon 3XW, the ultimate compact in-wall speaker, features three drivers; a lightning-fast Folded Motion XT Obsidian tweeter and dual 5.5-inch unidirectional carbon fiber multi-section cone woofers with a Nomex backer, seamlessly blended with a flagship-class Vojtko crossover network constructed from audiophile-grade components. A pre-installation bracket is available.
Sistine 4XC, the world’s most sophisticated and elegant in-ceiling architectural loudspeaker, sounds so clean and dynamic, you’d think it was a superb floorstanding design. Not surprising, since it features four drivers, including a Folded Motion XT Obsidian tweeter, dual 3.5-inch unidirectional carbon fiber multi-section cone midrange drivers with a Nomex backer, and a matching 8-inch woofer seamlessly blended with a flagship-class Vojtko crossover network constructed from audiophile-grade components. A pre-installation bracket is available.
MartinLogan’s new Masterpiece CI Series speakers will begin shipping in early 2020.