About the MartinLogan Masterpiece Classic ESL 9
Impressive detail and an expansive soundstage
The MartinLogan Masterpiece Classic ESL 9 is a perfect blend of high-end form and function.
Impressive detail and an expansive soundstage
When MartinLogan demonstrated a pair of Masterpiece Classic ESL 9 speakers at Crutchfield HQ, I made sure to look around the room. As I expected, I saw telltale signs that our veteran writers and Advisors were impressed: they exchanged significant looks, arched a single eyebrow, or mouthed "wow" to a neighbor. Nobody spoke out loud, which was good — I wanted my ears to focus on the crystalline detail, musical bass, and room-spanning soundstage the Classics were producing.
Efficient, elegant electrostatic panel design
If you're used to traditional woofers and tweeters, welcome to something different, and very cool. Instead of domes and cones, this speaker uses an electrostatic panel to reproduce treble and midrange. It's an ultra-thin diaphragm that's suspended between two electrically charged perforated steel plates. The diaphragm's light weight allows it to move back and forth between the plates thousands of times a second, creating incredibly detailed, lifelike sound.
The ESL 9's curved panel is a perfect blend of high-end form and function. Efficient MicroPerf technology exposes more of the electrostatic diaphragm surface, allowing the speaker to create a wide soundstage from a relatively narrow panel. Ultra-rigid AirFrame Blade construction — precision manufactured from an aerospace-grade extruded aluminum alloy — reduces vibrations and enhances imaging, sonic detail, and accuracy.
Refined woofer array
Previous speakers in the ESL line have offered powerful bass, but MartinLogan made some important tweaks to the Classic ESL 9. The speaker's cabinet houses two 8" laser-engineered low-distortion aluminum cone woofers in an opposing array — one facing forward and one rear-firing. It's a balanced design that greatly reduces cabinet vibrations that can occur when both woofers face forward.
The first time I heard MartinLogan electrostatic speakers
I grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, which also happens to be MartinLogan's hometown. As a student at the University of Kansas, I had a part-time job at the on-campus public radio station, which gave me an early opportunity to learn about music and electronics. I clearly remember one special occasion circa 1990, when one of the station's benefactors — a retired physician and professor emeritus — invited some of the staff to his home.
When I walked into his well-appointed living room, my eyes were drawn to a pair of relatively tall structures I could not identify. I said "what are those?" in an awestruck voice. They were, of course, a pair of MartinLogan's early electrostatic speakers. Our host — a classical music aficionado — proudly put them through their paces, playing soaring arias and soulful string quartet pieces. It was my first exposure to audiophile-quality speakers, let alone electrostatic technology, and I was floored.
That memory of game-changing sound came flooding back when MartinLogan auditioned the Classic ESL 9 at Crutchfield HQ. The sound is even more extraordinary today, as the company has applied the technological advances of the intervening decades to their time-tested speaker design. To my mind, the Classic lives up to its name: it's modern in its look and sound, with ample respect for MartinLogan's legacy.
Unique crossover network
MartinLogan speakers feature proprietary Vojtko™ crossovers, named after thecompany's chief audio technologist, Joe Vojtko. "A Vojtko crossover isn't so much a set of design requirements as it is a philosophy," the company explains. Each speaker's drivers are carefully selected or designed to operate within an intentional frequency range and specific performance parameters. That allows the crossover networks — built from high-quality capacitors and resistors — to be clean and uncomplicated.
- 44" x 9-1/4" CLS™ (Curvilinear Line Source) XStat™ electrostatic transducer for wide sound dispersion, excellent clarity, and low distortion
- ultra-rigid AirFrame Blade construction reduces vibrations that can harm performance
- efficient MicroPerf stator technology increases the panel's output
- two 8" high-excursion aluminum cone woofers in opposing array
- bass-reflex woofer enclosure with rear-firing slot port
- external low-voltage DC power supply (included) requires AC outlet connection to energize electrostatic panel
- proprietary high-performance Vojtko™ crossover network
- frequency response: 34-23,000 Hz (±3dB)
- sensitivity: 90 dB
- impedance: 4 ohms (compatible with 4, 6, or 8 ohm rated amplifiers)
- recommended amplifier power: 20-400 watts
- includes adjustable floor spikes
- custom 5-way binding posts allow for secure wire connections
- bi-amp and bi-wire capable
Dimensions and warranty:
- 10-7/16"W x 59-13/16"H x 25-7/16"D
- weight: 78 lbs.
- warranty: 5 years (with product registration)
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # MLCLA9WAD
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More details on the MartinLogan Masterpiece Classic ESL 9
Features & specs
|Tweeter Size (inches)||---|
|Midrange Size (inches)||---|
|Woofer Size (inches)||---|
|Built-in Powered Sub||---|
|Dolby Atmos Drivers||No|
|Parts Warranty||5 years|
|Labor Warranty||5 years|
|Frequency Response||34-23,000 Hz|
|Subwoofer Amp Power||---|