MartinLogan Motion Vision Soundbar


Design and Set up of the Motion Vision Soundbar

It seems like soundbars are still proliferating since I last attended CEDIA in 2010. Almost every major speaker manufacturer has produced at least one model or another, and now, MartinLogan has developed the Motion Vision. ML has been well known by consumers for years by making wonderfully crafted electrostatic speakers that are made in the heartland of Kansas. Since their first speaker that was demoed at CES in 1984, the have now become firmly established as a loudspeaker ‘technology’ company (not just an ‘electrostatic’ company). The Motion series is designed like a more convention “box speaker” system with drivers that are typical in design except for the folded ribbon tweeter.

This tweeter design is not unique to ML, as it also appears in speakers like GoldenEar Technology, Emotiva and others. The biggest advantage to this type of tweeter is its ability to move air perpendicularly to the folded ridges of the diaphragm. Similar to how an accordion works, the diaphragm squeezes the air and requires almost 90% less excursion than the typical 1” dome tweeter.

The response time is increased while the distortion level decreases. The increased surface area also provides a wide, yet controlled sound dispersion to create a realistic, detailed sound stage. Included in the Vision are four 4” mid-woofers, along with three of the tweeters. Each driver has its own dedicated amplifier (for a total of 100 watts). All of these are housed in a very svelte looking piano black finished polycarbonate case with aluminum accents.

All the hardware needed for wall mounting is included and you have the option, like me, to place it on a counter top or hang it on a wall under your flat panel TV.

The speaker can be assigned for either type of installation. (By assigned, I mean the bass output will be modified from wall mount vs. surface mount). The overall appearance of the Vision complimented the gloss black of my 42” Samsung PDP nicely.

The back of the Vision has two vented ports, a stereo analog input, one sub output, one coaxial and two optical digital inputs. The Vision also has a SWT-2 wireless transmitter to connect to compatible sub. The small remote allows for volume adjustments as well as changing inputs, three discrete acoustic modes, “night” mode, and bass adjustments.

The Vision can emulate the sound of a 5.1 system, though like many “faux surround” systems, how much is a matter of listener’s preference. The Vision is not magnetically shielded, but this is less of an issue these days as CRT displays have gone the way of the Dodo. LCD and PDP screens are not affected by magnetic interference, so placing above or below your display is fine.

The instruction manual is very well written and gives detailed instructions for installing and operating the speaker. All of the different options for hooking it up are detailed as well. The top control panel allows for setting the volume and scrolling through the input modes. My only complaint about this product is the somewhat cumbersome sub menus you’ll need to access when setting up the Vision for the first time.

Copy of MLvisionMenu10

Notice my photo of the instruction manual called “An Overview of the Menu Structure”. I found that while I navigated the dense layers in the menu, if you hit the wrong button on the remote, you’d be thrown out to the very beginning and have to start wending your way through the menu again. I can’t tell you how many times I screwed up, but it was a lot. I became quite frustrated with it. (Unlike the ZVOX that I reviewed a few months ago, which was perhaps the easiest remote system I have ever used). In all fairness, when you finally do finish the setup, you will probably not need to dig down into the menu again to make substantial changes, but still