Martin Logan Motion Vision Sound Bar - Review

Martin Logan elevates sound bar performance

Martin Logan Motion Vision Sound Bar
Martin Logan Motion Vision Sound Bar. Images provided by Martin Logan

Probably the most popular home audio product to jump out in recent years is the Sound Bar. They are easy to install and use, don't take up a lot of space, and for many consumers, sound just fine as a way to improve sound for TV viewing.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of inexpensive soundbars that really don't deliver a quality listening experience. To counter this, an increasing number of high-end speaker makers, such as Martin Logan (who is well known for their impressive line of electrostatic speakers), are jumping into the soundbar market with their own solutions, with the goal of elevating the soundbar into a serious audio solution for those that have limited budgets and space.

Martin Logan is hoping that its Motion Vision Sound Bar will find its way into a lot of homes as a great TV audio listening solution. For a closer look and perspective, keep on reading this review, and afterward, also check out our supplementary Photo Profile.

Motion Vision Sound Bar Features

The features and specifications of the Martin Logan Motion Vision Sound Bar include:

  • Design: Amplified Sound Bar with left, center, and right channel speakers featuring a bass reflex configuration. The Motion Vision can be placed on a shelf or wall mounted above or below a TV.
  • Tweeters: Three 1 x 1.4-inch Folded Motion Transducers with 5.25 x 1.75 diaphragms.

    The Martin Logan folded motion tweeters used in the Motion Vision Sound Bar employ ridges, rather than speaker drivers and cones to produce sound. The ridge structure does not have to physically move as much as a cone to produce sound. This means that the folded motion tweeters can respond faster, enabling them to reproduce high-frequency sounds more accurately. For full details, refer to the Official Martin Logan Folded Motion Technology Page.

  • Midrange/Woofers: Four 4-inch traditionally designed speakers with fiber cones are provided.
  • Ports. Dual rear-mounted ports are provided for extended low-frequency response.
  • Frequency Response (total system): 43Hz to 23kHz + or - 3db.
  • Crossover Frequency: 3 kHz - This is the point where frequencies are split between the mid-range/woofers and the tweeters. In other words, frequencies below 3kHz are reproduced by the mid-range woofers and the frequencies above 3Khz are reproduced by the tweeters.
  • Amplifier Configuration: There are a total of seven amplifiers. Each amplifier is paired with one of the mid-range or tweeter speakers. The total output of all the amplifiers is 100 Watts RMS or 200 watts peak.
  • Audio Decoding: Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 channel surround-sound decoding.
  • Additional Audio Processing: Dolby Virtual Speaker. The is provides an expanded sound field that goes beyond the physical borders of the sound bar.
  • Audio Inputs: Two digital optical, One digital coaxial, One set analog stereo (RCA).
  • Subwoofer Output Options Wired (via RCA line output) and wireless (via built-in SWT-2 transmission) connection options are provided. The Motion Vision is compatible with Martin Logan Dynamo 700w and 1000w wireless-enabled subwoofers.
  • Control Options: The Motion Vision can be operated using either the top mounted onboard controls or via the provided wireless remote control. There is a small front panel LED menu and status display.
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 5-inches x 39.9 inches x 5.85 inches
  • Weight: 20.5 lbs.

Review Set-up

I listened to the Martin Logan Motion Vision in three different setups:

1. As a single, standalone soundbar audio system.

2. As a soundbar combined with the Martin Logan Dynamo 700w subwoofer connected via audio cable.

3. As a sound bar connected the Martin Logan Dynamo 700w via wireless connection option.

Audio Performance

For this review, the Motion Vision was placed on the "shelf" just below the TV. I did not listen to the soundbar in a wall-mounted configuration.

The Motion Vision provided very good mid-range and high-frequency response for music, doing very well in reproducing depth and detail of acoustic instruments and more breathy vocalists, such as Norah Jones and Sade, but was also lively with more rock-oriented groups, such as Heart.

Also, with movies, the vocal dialog was full bodied and well anchored, and background sounds were very clear and distinct.

Also, the highs were well extended and dispersed, but not brittle - a great balance.

One DVD I popped in to test was Master and Commander. The initial battle scene in this movie can really reveal how a sound system can reproduce detail and low-frequency sounds, and also project a surround sound field.

The scene starts with a subtle breeze against the sales and rigging, and the ship's bells in the background, followed by the soft cannon fire in the distance. Then, as the action intensifies and vocalizations of the actors and the special effects sounds of the battle become more chaotic, the Motion Vision did an excellent job separating sound elements. Also, the low frequencies produced by the canons were definitely good by soundbar standards - of course, when I added an external subwoofer the combination was perfect.

However, in terms of surround sound, I didn't get the sense of the splintering wood sound effects jumping very far out of the confines of the sound bar as I have experienced with a sound bar or digital sound projector that can produce a wider sound field.

Another DVD I checked was U571, which takes place on a WWII German U-Boat. One specific scene alternates between exterior depth charge explosions and all of the activity going on inside the sub, include spraying water, clanging metal, and general chaos. The Motion Vision did a great job keeping up with the demands of the low-frequency depth charges (albeit not down into LFE territory) and the high frequency breaking metal and spraying water.

Even though replaying the scene with an external subwoofer does provide a more impactful LFE experience, especially with regards to the depth charges, I was surprised at how well the Motion Vision, taking into consideration that it is a sound bar, did in reproducing low frequencies.

On music, the Motion Vision did a great job reproducing vocals and acoustic instruments and was also especially good at reproducing piano and percussion. I even popped in a CD copy I had previously made of an old vinyl album, the Best of Esquivel which is a 50's/60's big band compilation with lots of percussion effects and a wide stereo field (typical of the late 1950's/early-60's stereo recordings), and I must say, I haven't heard it that good on a sound bar, ever...


  • Great Sound - clear and distinct midrange and highs, and good low-frequency response for a soundbar.
  • Wired and wireless subwoofer connection options provided.
  • 40-inch width matches well in appearance with LCD and Plasma TVs up to 48-inches.
  • Well spaced and labeled rear panel connections.
  • Comes with lots of accessories and documentation - including a wall-mounting bracket.


  • No HDMI connectivity - resulting in lack of access to Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio decoding possibilities.
  • Remote control and menu were tricky to use - not as intuitive as I would have preferred.
  • Minimal projected surround sound field.

The Bottom Line

I was impressed with the quality of the audio provided by the Martin Logan Motion Vision. The power output is sufficient for both small and medium size rooms and the clarity and detail at the mid and high frequencies served both movie and music listening well.

Physically, the Motion Vision is heavier and deeper than most sound bars, but in my opinion that is actually an advantage as provides enough interior volume for the dual rear ports to provide an extended low-frequency response.

However, I was disappointed that the although there is good channel separation within the confines of the sound bar, and also extending up to a foot or so from the ends, any sense of surround sound is limited. Although I wouldn't expect a lot sound placed on the sides and none placed overhead or towards the rear, I would expect a wider sound field than I got from the Motion Vision.

I was also disappointed that the sound bar does not have HDMI connections or video pass-through capabilities. For Blu-ray or upscaling DVD players, this means a separate audio connection to the Motion Vision Sound Bar, while your HDMI or other video connection needs to be made to a TV.

By not having the HDMI connection option, this means no access to Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on Blu-ray discs (you can still access standard Dolby and DTS). However, this is common for most amplified sound bars.

On the other hand, Martin Logan has been able to pack in very good wide range frequency response, including down into the lower frequencies, into the Motion Vision, and for those that aren't interested in adding a separate subwoofer, that is good news. That is not to say that an extra subwoofer would be highly desirable, as you can definitely tell the difference, but the Motion Vision actually does provide good low-frequency output (especially if you engage the Bass+ feature) that is suitable for movie watching and music listening in a bedroom or other small room setup.

I highly recommend that if you are shopping for a soundbar and have the opportunity to give the Motion Vision a listen, it is well worth your time and consideration - and definitely worth the extra cash.

Buy From Amazon.

NOTE: There is a newer version of this soundbar, the Motion Vision X, that includes all of the core features and audio quality of Motion Vision, but adds DTS Play-Fi capability.

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