Floor-standing Speakers

MartinLogan Spire Floor-standing Electrostatic Hybrid Speakers



When you love your job, you can consider yourself very lucky, and I consider myself very lucky. I was trained as a neuroscientist and did research for years back in the 1970's and 1980's. I then stopped the research but continued in the field by becoming an editor of medical journals. Although I like editing journal articles in the field of science and technology, I would not like to go back to being in an animal research laboratory. Working with hi-fi equipment is so much more fun than culturing neurons in plastic dishes.

One of the main benefits of being an audio writer is having so many new toys to play with constantly. I have often referred to my love of flat panel speakers, and Electrostatic Speakers (ESLs) are one of those.

My first experiences with hearing ESLs included MartinLogan decades ago. Recently, I reviewed the MartinLogan Purity.


  • Design: Electrostatic Panel with Powered Cone Woofer
  • Drivers: ESL Panel, One 10" Woofer with 200 Watt Amplifier
  • MFR: 29 Hz - 23 kHz ± 3 dB
  • Sensitivity: 91 dB/2.3 Volts/Meter
  • Nominal Impedance: 4 Ohms (0.8 Ohms at 20 kHz)
  • Crossover Frequency: 320 Hz
  • Bass Control: ± 10 dB at 35 Hz
  • Power Handling: 250 Watts
  • Dimensions: 59" H x 12.5" W x 17.8" D
  • Weight: 58 Pounds/Each
  • MSRP: $8,495/Pair USA
  • MartinLogan

In May, 2008, MartinLogan released their newest model, called the Spire. It is larger than the Purity, and has a 10" cone woofer to handle the frequencies below 320 Hz, which makes this a hybrid. While the Purity had built-in amplifiers that drove both the ESL panel and the woofer, only the woofer in the Spire is powered.

The ESL panel is 43" high by 12" wide, so it has a rather big surface area. It's not really big enough to be a full-range ESL, but it's getting there. Most full-range ESLs are about the size of a door.

Like all ESLs, you need an AC wall socket to plug them in so that the panel membrane can be electrostatically charged. This also supplies power to the woofer amplifier.