Classic ESL 9

Classic Performance

Classic ESL 9 is your ticket to a life-changing experience with a masterpiece of audio performance. This completely passive design features a 9.2-inch (CLS™) XStat™ electrostatic transducer, dual 8-inch aluminum-Cone woofers, and custom 5-way bi-wire tool-less binding posts.

$7,499.98 $6,749.98 pair
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Classic ESL 9

A masterpiece doesn’t just inspire emotions. It changes the way you feel, and it sticks with you long after you’ve left the art gallery or the concert hall. It’s considered a masterpiece precisely because of its ability to alter something inside you. Once you experience it, you’ll never be the same. Enjoying a masterpiece in your own home is something to aspire to.

Consider the Classic ESL 9 your ticket to a life-changing experience with a masterpiece of audio performance. You will never be the same.

A Classic Masterpiece of Sound Reproduction

MartinLogan unveils the Classic ESL 9, its newest modern Masterpiece. All the familiar elements of MartinLogan’s flagship ESL series are here, with some revolutionary refinements. The heart of this exceptional loudspeaker is its 9.2-inch-wide Curvilinear Line Source (CLS) XStat vacuum-bonded electrostatic transducer. Advanced MicroPerf stator technology reveals more of the diaphragm surface area than any other electrostatic panel in this size class, efficiently increasing the narrow panel’s output. Ultra-rigid AirFrame Blade construction reduces performance-robbing vibrations, its shape creating an expressive alignment with the woofer cabinet. Deep bass is rendered with unflinching accuracy and authority by dual 8-inch low-distortion, high-excursion aluminum cone woofers in a beautifully sculpted enclosure.

Look at the familiar elements of the classic MartinLogan electrostatic loudspeaker:Advanced MicroPerf stator technology, which allows for almost twice the exposed electrostatic diaphragm surface as a traditional electrostatic panel of the same size. A reinforced electrostatic panel with rigid ClearSpar™ spacers, keeping an exact level of tension on the vacuum-bonded diaphragm without obscuring the beautiful see-through design. Add to these the slender, pointed-arrow design of the new AirFrame™ Blade construction and the result is a powerfully evocative composition creating a harmonious connection between the panel and its woofer cabinet.

Classic Elements, Experienced In a New Way: Advanced MicroPerf stator technology, which allows for almost twice the exposed electrostatic diaphragm surface as a traditional electrostatic panel of the same size. A reinforced electrostatic panel with rigid ClearSpar™ spacers, keeping an exact level of tension on the vacuum-bonded diaphragm without obscuring the beautiful see-through design. Add to these the slender, pointed-arrow design of the new AirFrame™ Blade construction and the result is a powerfully evocative composition creating a harmonious connection between the panel and its woofer cabinet.

Now notice some refinements: We have reinvented the Classic ESL 9 woofer section. We use two 8-inch laser-engineered low-distortion aluminum cone woofers, balanced in an opposing array, one forward- and one rear-firing. This design greatly reduces cabinet vibrations inherent in same-direction woofer positioning, specifically in the 34Hz to 100Hz range for uniform frequency response resulting in realistic bass effects you can feel.

Classic ESL 9

New Ultra-Rigid AirFrame Blade Design

Classic ESL 9 XStat panels are joined to their speaker cabinets using MartinLogan’s redesigned AirFrame Blade construction, precision manufactured from an aerospace-grade extruded aluminum alloy. This material, and this exclusive manufacturing process, makes the panels extremely rigid.

The bold, forward-moving styling of this AirFrame Blade rail system, narrow and strong in front, broad and forceful from the side, is a modern design statement. It never obstructs playable surface area or interferes with the panel’s dipole sound radiation pattern. It also provides electrical and acoustical isolation, minimizing intermodulation distortion caused by vibration and resonance. The flowing lines emphasize the groundbreaking integration of the panel itself with the compact woofer and amplifier section. The breathtaking AirFrame Blade design enhances imaging, low-level sonic detail, accuracy, and speaker efficiency.

Classic ESL 9
Classic ESL 9

Curvilinear Line Source (CLS) Electrostatic Panel

CLS technology is an essential ingredient of every electrostatic loudspeaker we produce. Through our proprietary manufacturing method, we have built-in the panel’s gentle horizontal curvature. This unique design enhances the high frequency detail produced by the large radiating surface, without compromising overall sound quality. Notice how the gentle modern curve and perforation pattern gives way to the flat grille of the woofer section.

Controlled Dispersion Sound Radiation

The sound we hear from a loudspeaker is a combination of direct radiation from it to our ears, and reflections off of room surfaces—walls, floor, and ceiling. How our brains integrate this information is far from simple. Depending on the angle of incidence to the ears and the arrival-time difference between direct and reflected sound, reflections can either blur detail and stereo imaging, or enhance the natural impression of depth and openness.

Electrostatic panels, which are true dipole speakers, produce a nearly-ideal controlled dispersion radiation pattern. They send very little sound to the sides, thereby minimizing side-wall reflections, whose short arrival times tend to interfere with the perception of the direct sound. Their strong rear radiation, however, produces a generous amount of natural, ambience-enriching later-arriving mid- and upper register information.

Classic ESL 9

Big, Well-Blended Bass Performance

Rounding out the dynamic performance of this Masterpiece is a passive pair of high-excursion 8-inch laser-engineered aluminum cone woofers custom designed by MartinLogan’s in-house engineering team. This efficient, cast basket woofer design improves cone suspension and the magnetic flux field, maximizing response time, to produce truly profound bass output (down to 34Hz) with vanishingly low distortion.

The woofers are balanced in an opposing array, one forward- and one rear-firing. This design greatly reduces cabinet vibrations inherent in same-direction woofer positioning, specifically in the 34Hz to 100Hz range. Roll-off characteristics for this opposing woofer array are further optimized for a realistically coherent bass wave form. In addition, we’ve tuned the rear-firing woofer to minimize near-wall interactions, perfectly complementing the dipole nature of the electrostatic panel. Bass performance from this configuration is accurate, musical and utterly lifelike.

A flared, ultra-low turbulence rear-firing slotted bass port is integral to the design of the enclosure, providing an extra layer of rigid internal bracing and increasing deep bass output with no added port noise.

Classic ESL 9

Bi-wirable Tool-less Binding Posts and Low-Voltage Power Supply

MartinLogan's proprietary tool-less binding posts simplify cable connection and management. Two sets are supplied—one connected to the electrostatic panel and the other feeding the woofer. Listeners can choose to vertically/horizontally bi-amp the Classic ESL 9, or use jumper clips between the binding post sets for a single wire-connection. Classic ESL 9 features bi-wirable binding posts and provide the ultimate level of flexibility for connection and setup. To further simplify setup and cable management, Classic ESL 9 features a low-voltage DC power supply eliminates the need for a traditional, heavy IEC power cord.

Classic ESL 9

Precision-Built Advanced-Topology Vojtko Crossover

Control is key in the production of a Masterpiece. (Just ask Michelangelo.) Control in the Classic ESL 9 is provided by the advanced Vojtko-voiced crossover. Carefully hand-built using only the finest metallized film capacitors, air-core coils, and low DCR steel laminate coils, the crossover employs MartinLogan’s proprietary Vojtko topology for vanishingly low distortion and seamless driver/ESL integration. This precision-tuned network excels at preserving and reproducing even the most microscopic sonic nuances, while ably handling the full dynamics of any source. The Classic ESL 9 is engineered to work well with practically any type of electronics. MartinLogan’s state-of-the-art electrical interface engineering ensures an absolutely transparent link from your amplifier to the electrostatic panel and woofer array. This produces sound of unparalleled purity, precision, clarity, and openness.

Like all of the loudspeakers in the Masterpiece Series, and like any true masterpiece, when you experience the realistically transparent performance of the Classic ESL 9, you will be changed by it.

Turning Unused Space Into Better Bass

Masterpiece Series Cabinet Cut-away

The depth of Masterpiece Series speaker cabinets was carefully chosen to maximize benefits of advanced bass technologies, providing a level of low-frequency precision that is truly unique.

With ForceForward bass technology, the farther apart the woofers are from each other the lower in frequency its beneficial effects extend. MartinLogan’s ForceForward technology has solved a problem (found in nearly all speakers) where low bass frequency soundwaves reflect off the wall behind the speakers and interact with the waves traveling towards the listener. These interactions create non-linearity in those frequencies as they arrive at your ears and bass information suffers from both cancelations and excessiveness that is not accurate to the original sound. By selectively adjusting phasing of output from their opposing woofers, powered Masterpiece Series speakers eliminate problematic bass energy from behind the speakers.

ForceForward also simplifies the task of speaker placement by removing bass energy from behind the speaker and creating a uniform bass launch. This allows Masterpiece Series speaker cabinets to go closer to the wall than previous generations of MartinLogan speakers. As a rule of thumb we recommend placing the rear of the speaker cabinet no closer to the wall than the diameter of its woofer (Renaissance ESL 15A: 12-inches, Expression ESL 13A: 10-inches, and Impression ESL 11A and Classic ESL 9: 8-inches).

Additionally, due to their dipole nature, electrostatic panels perform best when placed at least 2.5-feet or more from the wall—a distance that is ideal for the front of nearly any high-end speaker, regardless of driver technology. The depth of Masterpiece Series cabinets lends itself to providing electrostatic panels with adequate distance from the wall, guaranteeing a richly detailed, three-dimensional soundstage.


MartinLogan Classic ESL 9 Speakers Reviewed

"These were some of the most transparent speakers I’ve heard, so much so that I often forgot I was reviewing a pair of speakers and found myself utterly enveloped in sound."

—Myron Ho,
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The MartinLogan Classic ESL 9 Speakers: A Worthy Successor

"When I reviewed the MartinLogan Summits back in issue 13, their ability to deliver a major dynamic swing proved impressive. Finally there were some panels that could deliver enough oomph, providing a visceral enough experience to play rock music at a respectable level. The ESL 9 fully embodies this tradition, with a level of refinement that the earlier model did not have."

—Jeff Dorgay, TONE Audio
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Des concerts à domicile / Concerts at Home [FRENCH]

"[Translated] This musical epic proposes a few layers of keyboards, including the famous Mellotron which through the ESL 9 has no difficulty in installing a non-removable seat. The walls seem so far away that I completely forget the characteristics of the room in which I find myself. An irrefutable proof of the immersive effect which these MartinLogan provide me, is the fact that I constantly forget that I am doing an evaluative product review, thus rendering note taking a secondary action. "

—Benoit Varin, TED Mag@zine
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A True Classic

"The Classic ESL 9s are arguably the best loudspeaker I have ever heard..."

—Noel Keywood, Hi-Fi World
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MartinLogan Masterpiece Classic ESL 9 Loudspeakers

"The midrange was ultraclear, revealing details in recordings that I’d never heard before, and the highs were equally clean, and never harsh. The bass was also very deep and fast-hitting, without bloat"

—Roger Kanno, SoundStage!
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MartinLogan Classic ESL 9 Review

"In the price range inhabited by the main MartinLogan product line - up to about $25,000 per pair - there are competing speakers of all types, shapes, configurations, and technologies. Some can claim serious bragging rights in certain categories, but I know of none that manage to put the spark in speakers like a good electrostatic, and no company that understands electrostatics and the listeners who love them better than MartinLogan. The Classic ESL 9 is a mighty addition to that line, and warrants a serious listen by the serious listener in you. "

—Wayne Myers,
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Specifications are subject to change without notice

Frequency Response

34–23,000 Hz ±3dB

Recommended Amplifier Power

20—400 watts per channel

Horizontal Dispersion


Vertical Dispersion

44" (112cm) line source


90 dB/2.83 volts/meter


4 Ohms, 0.8 at 20kHz Compatible with 4, 6, or 8 Ohm rated amplifiers.

Crossover Frequency


High Frequency Transducer

XStat™ CLS™ electrostatic transducer » Panel Dimensions: 44" x 9.2" (112 x 23cm) » Radiating Area: 405 in² (2,576 cm² )

Low Frequency Transducer

Two 8” (20.3 cm) cast basket, high excursion, rigid aluminium cone woofers with extended throw drive assembly, non-resonance asymmetrical chamber format


Custom-wound audio transformer, air core coils, low DCR steel laminate coils, polyester capacitors

Signal Inputs

Custom 5-way bi-wire tool-less binding posts

Power Draw

Max: 2W per channel Standby: <1W per channel


78 lbs. (35.4 kg)


59.8" x 10.4" x 25.4 " (152cm x 26.4cm x 64.6cm)

Customer Reviews For Classic ESL 9

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Robert R.

  • Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Back in 2010, I upgraded my Klipsch RF-7 III to MartinLogan Purity Speakers. The transparency, depth of sound stage and purity of the music with the ML upgrade was startling. I further enhanced the sound by adding ARC Genesis room correction to the mix. My wife and I enjoyed the sound and look of the electrostatic speakers for 13 years. I was ready for an upgrade and read all of the reviews. At the time, I thought the ESL 9 was our of my price range. All of the reviews pointed to try the Revel F226BE which was on sale for an $1800 discount. I purchased and had a 60 day audition period with Crutchfield. Wow! The old Purity ESL still sounded better than the Revel. Revel is a good speaker but not in the league with an electrostatic. I returned the Revel and went for it (my wife wanted to send the Revel's back and get the ML) with the Classic ESL 9 and still used the ARC Genesis room correction. I am glad I did. The ESL 9 gives you goosebumps. Dynamic: These speakers hit you with a wall of sound! Deep Bass (verified flat to 35 Hz on ARC calibration), kick drums, guitar riffs, .......... They knock you out! The speakers do it with so much clarity (zero distortion) that you hear new details in the dynamic sound. Clarity: It is like a live performance (Metallica, Van Halen, Andrea Bocelli, Norah Jones, Diana Krall, .......). You name it. These ML's deliver. You get all of the nuances the sound engineers and performers want you to hear. Sound stage, low level dynamics, efficiency, ........ I can go on and on. The larger ESL panel line array is another big benefit. If you have a bigger room, the ESL 9 will play much louder and more efficient. I have a big open room and the ESL 9 effortlessly fill it with beautiful music (normal dome speakers lose 6 db of sound every doubling of distance, line arrays loose 3 db of sound every doubling). At our normal listening distance of 14 feet, the ESL 9 are incredible. The is an End Game speaker for me. Thank you MartinLogan.


  • Tuesday, September 5, 2023

I previously worked at a hifi store in Hamilton NZ and first heard Martin Logans back in 1998. I was so impressed with them that I promised myself I'd own a pair one day. Well, just recently the stars aligned, and I purchased a pair of Classic ESL 9's and my memory has not failed me...these sound amazing! I don't have a flashy front end, I'm using AudioLAB CDQ8300 preamp with AudioLAB MB8200 250w monobloc power amps with a Music Hall 2.2 turntable, with a Bluesound Node 2i for streaming. I have a very standard 4.8m x 5.5m lounge with a high stud and as usual this room has limitations on placement for speakers this size. Currently these speakers are sitting about 300mm from the front wall and at normal listening levels it is completely fine. My previous speakers are 30 year old Mordaunt Short Performance 860's and to be honest they have served me extremely well and I was very happy with the sound, until I heard these...WOW, the sound stage is enormous, base weight is admirable, mid-range and high frequencies are superb, making the entire listening experience an absolute delight. I had doubts about my amplifiers ability to drive these speakers (being just 4ohm) but I needn't have been worried, they appear to be driving them effortlessly. There is no gaps or shortfalls in the sound, it's rich, round, and full bodied just like a really good cup of coffee! For those sitting on the fence and considering replacing speakers, Martin Logan's are an absolute MUST in any speaker lineup you may be judging. These ESL 9's stack up next to speakers well over twice the price! Thank you Martin Logan for producing products of this calibre and continuing the heritage that I remember so well. Andrew Scott, New Zealand


  • Wednesday, May 12, 2021

I must agree with Jose! The Classic 9 is my first time owning an electrostatic, and after owning Klipschorns and vintage tube gear to power that system, I have moved on. Coupling the ESL 9's with a Parasound A-21 amp and P6 2.1 preamp was the pairing setup by my dealer (Safe and Sound - Chicopee, MA.) and I could not be happier! With that much power, these speakers match the Klipschorns in dynamic range right down to the DB-A response ! (I took notes, and the benchmark was set with the Klipschorns before I sold them). Incredible sound and image in my 18x24x8' dedicated listening space! Thank YOU Martin Logan for continuing to perfecting this 'exotic' speaker technology. ........Gary

jose G.

  • Saturday, February 8, 2020

All I can say is that wow these speakers had blown my mind away, they are very fast, articulate, very true to the system that is feeding them, they can play all kind of music with no problem, highly recommend.