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What makes a masterpiece? Is the “Mona Lisa” just a picture of a woman smiling, or is there more to it?
We consider something a masterpiece when uncommon skill and artistry shapes familiar elements in an unexpected way, revealing an essential truth.
For MartinLogan, the essential truth revealed by our skill and artistry is audio realism. Fittingly, our next generation of electrostatic loudspeakers debuts with the new Renaissance ESL 15A. Three decades of audio design and engineering innovation, distilled into a startling fresh loudspeaker ideal.
A Masterpiece of Design & Engineering
Befitting a loudspeaker of this name, MartinLogan has combined decades of innovations, and more, to reinterpret the uniquely detailed electrostatic loudspeaker. This is a flagship audio achievement for the 21st Century.
The pièce de résistance is the integration of MartinLogan’s award-winning 15-inch wide Curvilinear Line Source (CLS™) XStat™ electrostatic (ESL) transducer with its robust woofer section, the revolutionary melding of design and engineering.
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. The panel is reinforced with rigid ClearSpar™ spacers, keeping an exact level of tension on the vacuum-bonded diaphragm without obscuring the beautiful see-through design. Add the slender, pointed-arrow design of the new AirFrame™ Blade construction; a powerfully evocative composition creating a harmonious connection between the panel and its woofer cabinet.
Now notice some radical refinements: Inspired by our own breakthrough design, we have reinvented the Renaissance ESL 15A woofer section, powered by new dual 500-watt Class-D amplifiers, and controlled by a 24-Bit Vojtko™ DSP Engine and ARC™ (Anthem Room Correction).
Using two 12-inch laser-engineered low-distortion aluminum cone woofers in independently enclosed compact chambers, exclusive PoweredForce Forward™ bass alignment technology controls the interaction between the rear-firing woofer and the wall behind that woofer. With smart phase-shifting logic, we minimize the effect that wall has on bass information that might bounce back into the listening room. This uniform frequency response results in realistic bass effects you can feel. It’s one more way MartinLogan innovation improves your listening experience in any room.
Achieving the Laboratory Standard in Your Own Room
In the lab, MartinLogan engineers strive for transparency. Outside the lab, there’s one wildcard our engineers can never account for: Your listening room. The unique size and shape of your listening space (and the size and shape of its contents) can make bass waves do unpredictable things, greatly affecting a speaker’s overall performance.
For the first time in an electrostatic speaker we are introducing the integration of exclusive Anthem Room Correction (ARC) technology. By engaging ARC to control the low-frequency curve in relation to the output of the ESL panel (as seen in this graph), you will experience performance on par with MartinLogan’s audio test lab.
ARC measures low-frequency sound output in your room and compares it to optimal response curves that account for spatial anomalies. The advanced algorithms of ARC then effectively remove the anomalies, leaving only the ideal standard: realistically blended, natural-sounding bass performance in your listening space.
By minimizing room interactions with PoweredForce Forward bass technology and the advanced room correction capabilities of ARC, along with its unique synthesis of the ESL and bass sections, the Renaissance ESL 15A produces perfectly-etched imaging and focus; optimum natural reproduction of sound at lifelike listening levels; and agile, full-range operation in open air.
Clearly, it is this level of ultimate performance that separates the merely excellent from a true masterpiece.
New Ultra-Rigid AirFrame Blade Design
Expression ESL 15A 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.
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.
New PoweredForce Forward™ Bass Technology
PoweredForce Forward bass technology combines two MartinLogan audio innovations: PoweredForce, which allows small enclosures to accurately produce massive amounts of bass, and ForceForward, which significantly reduces performance-robbing front-wall bass reflections.
PoweredForce Forward bass technology uses an advanced crossover topology with phase-timed woofers to minimize destructive reflected energy. By virtually eliminating front-wall bass reflections and working in tandem with the panel, PoweredForce Forward Bass Technology gives you more placement flexibility, and enhances the true audio realism of your sound source.
Turning Unused Space Into Better Bass
The depth of Masterpiece Series speaker cabinets was carefully chosen to maximize benefits of both PoweredForce and ForceForward technologies, providing powerful bass with extreme detail. Combined with Anthem Room Correction (ARC™), these advanced bass technologies provide a level of low-frequency precision that is truly unique.
Masterpiece Series speaker cabinet dimensions create an ideal relationship between the woofers, cabinet volume, and amplifiers in their PoweredForce woofer systems. By providing ample internal volume for the woofers (two sealed enclosures—one per woofer) along with powerful amplification, Masterpiece Series speakers with powered woofer systems are capable of reaching the lowest registers with authority while preserving bass detail.
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). For an added level of control powered Masterpiece Series speakers incorporate two level controls (at 75Hz and 200Hz) to allow for fine tuning of bass integration.
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.
New More Performance, Versatility, and Safety, with WBT Binding Posts
Connect your electronics safely and securely using 5-Way audiophile WBT Binding Posts. Their pure copper connection plate is highly conductive and free from “eddy current” effects. These posts are insulated for shock protection, and fully damped against vibrations. They give you plenty of room for large-gauge professional speaker connections.
New Powerful Dual 500-Watt Class-D Amplification with 24-Bit Vojtko™ DSP Engine
The performance of Renaissance ESL 15A has been reconsidered from the ground up. Taking full advantage of innovations like PoweredForce Forward and ARC Technology, and the integration of the electrostatic panel with the woofer array, required daring thinking about power and efficiency. Our new dual 500-watt amplifiers produce clean power, in a small space, more efficiently than ever before. They enable the effortless delivery of exhilarating dynamic impact, with plenty of overhead. Superior, reliable Class-D technology means there’s virtually no energy lost between the amplifiers and the woofers.
MartinLogan’s dedicated in-house design and engineering team created an extremely precise 24-bit Vojtko Digital Signal Processing (DSP) engine to work in conjunction with these powerful new amplifiers. It gives these speakers the ability to deliver detailed low-frequency performance reaching down to 22Hz. Advanced DSP allows complete control and performance optimization over the low pass filters, woofer equalization and limiting functions, all of which are mapped mathematically in the digital domain. Complete control of the signal, along with instant response, huge amounts of clean power, and efficient, integrated performance, paints an original picture of lifelike audio performance.
Vojtko Voiced, the advanced crossover and electronics in Renaissance ESL 15A add enhanced mid-range clarity to this artful composition. Carefully hand-built using only the finest polypropylene capacitors and air-core coils, the crossover employs MartinLogan’s proprietary Vojtko topology for vanishingly low distortion and seamless driver/ESL integration. This precision-tuned network preserves even the most microscopic sonic nuances while handling the full dynamics of any source.
We’ve also considered the signal you will feed your loudspeakers, and have engineered Renaissance ESL 15A to work well with practically any type of electronics. MartinLogan’s state-of-the-art toroidal transformer and electrical interface engineering ensure an absolutely transparent link from amplifier to electrostatic panel and woofer array. This produces sound of unparalleled purity, precision, clarity, and openness — the next best thing to no speaker at all.
Anthem Room Correction and Martin Logan Renaissance ESL 15A
"As this exercise shows, the measurements and auto-corrections that are done by ARC can make a profound impact on the quality of the bass. What’s more: even when the speakers have already been positioned ideally, the ARC results are still far from subtle."
"The Renaissance ESL 15A’s are simply the absolute best MartinLogans that I have heard. They have seismic yet superbly articulate and very even-handed bass, coherence to rival the best multi-driver dynamic speakers and incredibly transparent and super-refined, yet smooth and gloriously rich midrange with precise, fluid and airy treble. These speakers combine so many audiophile tricks and weave them together so very well that it becomes a hardship to return to other speakers."
"Yes, I've drunk the Kool-Aid for years. But even though I'm pre-primed to like electrostatic-panel speakers, I'd never found a one-stop solution I could live with. Now that a MartinLogan active subwoofer endowed with ARC-2 has been successfully mated to an XStat panel, anyone serious about big, full, accurate sound reproduction can start here. Unconditionally recommended."
To run Anthem Room Correction (ARC) with your speakers you will need to purchase a PBK or ARC Kit (Please note that MartinLogan Perfect Bass Kit (PBK) microphones are fully compatible with Anthem Room Correction for MartinLogan speakers). Each kit is shipped with a unique microphone.
To download the most up-to-date version of ARC, please click the link below to go directly to Anthem's website.
ARC Genesis requires an ARC or PBK Microphone, a Mac OS X (10.12+) or Windows (7/8/8.1/10) computer, and an ARC or PBK compatible audio product.
One USB port is required. If you are using a laptop computer, check power settings and battery meter before starting to ensure the procedure is not interrupted.
Custom-wound audio transformer, air core coils, polypropylene capacitors. 24-bit DSP based preamplifier (used with woofer amplifier).
Bass: ±10 dB under 75 Hz
Mid-Bass: –2 dB, 0 db, +2 db
Light: On, Dim, Off
ARC™ Room EQ: On, Off
WBT-0703Cu nextgen™ 5-way binding posts feature a filigree signal conductor made from gold plated, nickel free, non- ferromagnetic, pure copper for high conductivity and fully insulated. Free from eddy current effects.
AC Power, RJ45 (for ARC), mini USB (for ARC)
Idle: < 0.5W/channel
LED intensity control: on, dim, off
140 lbs. (63.5 kg)
69.8" x 15.75" x 28.9 "
(177.3cm x 40cm x 63.3cm)
Specifications are subject to change without notice
Fantastic! (Upon Further Review) Upon first purchasing these "bad boys", I gave the Renaissance a four star, alluding to my sound system "getting better".
Well, after a short break in period, fully utilizing the ARC, and a new amplifier, I think I have hit my upper end as far as what my ears will allow me to ascertain. They are fantastic in all realms, including "value". Who would have thought that spending $25,000 would be a "good buy"?
And the customer support and willingness/desire to talk to you about your whole system, as well as ML products is/has been great. One ML representative said that "friends and family don't get it (spending dollars on high end equipment)" and they are right (except for one astute nephew of mine), but we certainly do and appreciate the whole ML speaker family!
This is a great company to do business with...it's a pleasure.
Nice So far, so good with these new toys. Compared to my Ethos, the Renaissance is just a bigger and more powerful sound. And as they break in, it only gets better. My McIntosh is a perfect match. And I haven't even got the bass kit hooked up yet...this will be great.