The stunning piece of technology above is not the cockpit guard from an X-Wing fighter, nor some sort of teleportation device plucked from the future. No, this curious, screened contraption is the latest breakthrough from the audio gurus at Martin Logan, a new speaker called the Neolith. And that screen rising from that stout anchor of speakers at the base isn’t for show — it’s the company’s largest-ever electrostatic radiating surface.
Channeling the history nerd inside, Martin Logan apparently named the Neolith after the Neolithic period. For those a little rusty on their background of human evolution, the Neolithic period was a watershed moment for civilization — a time when humankind stepped from the shadows of ignorance, created tools and agriculture, and took its first real strides towards enlightenment.
It’s perhaps a fitting name for what Martin Logan is painting as a powerful step forward for audio performance. Using what the company calls a “curvilinear electrostatic transducer,” the Neolith aims to create a 3-dimensional sonic image, able to reproduce nearly the entire soundstage with specialized dispersion technology to create a vividly accurate audio performance in virtually any environment. Along with its 22 x 48-inch electrostatic transducer, the speaker hosts a 15-inch rear-firing woofer, and a front-firing 12-inch midrange driver, all of which is set in a “super-dense” composite chassis for minimal resonance.
For those unfamiliar with electrostatic transducers, the technology has been around for years but rarely makes an appearance in consumer audio. Primarily used in audiophile-grade hi-fi systems, electrostatic transducers create sound by exerting force on a thin membrane suspended in an electrostatic field. The speakers are notorious for their stunning accuracy, and extremely agile response due to a diaphragm that’s much smaller than that of a standard dynamic driver. And while the tech is known for its limited bass response, the Neolith’s added conventional drivers help it reach down to a claimed 23Hz at the low end.
This speaker is far from the first of its kind for Martin Logan in the genre. The Neolith, which was three years in the making, is the evolutionary stepchild of both the company’s famed Monolith electrostatic speaker circa 1983, and the company’s Statement e2 speaker, the latter of which is claimed to be the culmination of 15 years of research and product development.
Promising a performance so realistic and accurate the company calls it “living sound,” Martin Logan is taking its fantastical new electrostatic creation on the road to show listeners first-hand just what it can do. Dubbed the Truth in Sound Tour, the trek will begin with a two day event at Overture Ultimate Home Electronics in Wilmington, DE on November 7 and 8. On the second day, the Neolith will be taking requests as Martin Logan allows audience members to play their own music on a first come, first serve basis.
Naturally, you want a pair — who wouldn’t? Take a deep breath, though, because — are ya ready? — the made-to-order Neollith start at $80,000/pair and go up from there, depending on finish choice. Hey, evolution always comes at a price, and this paradigm shift is particularly pricey one.
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