MartinLogan Launches Masterpiece CI Speakers at CEDIA

MartinLogan CI40XW

MartinLogan has introduced more than a few flagship loudspeakers over the past four decades including the classic Monolith, CLS, Statement e2, CLX, and Neolith. Audiophiles who prize the transparency, speed, and detail that electrostatic loudspeakers can provide have a special bond with the manufacturer that began its journey in Lawrence, Kansas in 1979. Having owned five pairs over the years (Sequel II, CLS IIz, Aerius, Aerius i, and reQuests), it’s always fascinating to see what the engineers in Kansas and Ontario (where they are manufactured) will come up with next. The Masterpiece CI series in-wall loudspeakers are a major statement in the category; the flagship 40XW feature 40 drivers per channel.

Forty. Not a typo.

We’re still awaiting final pricing from MartinLogan, but expect the 40XW to be one of the most expensive in-wall loudspeakers ever made — which doesn’t diminish our desire to own a pair even one iota.

Okay…they are $20,000 each.

The Masterpiece series features a number of new models; the aforementioned 40XW, Monument 7XW, Tribute 5XW, and Icon 3XW in-wall models (the model number denotes the number of drivers per speaker), and the Sistine 4XC in-ceiling loudspeaker.

MartinLogan didn’t provide a firm shipping date but the plan is for early-2020.

From the press release:

Masterpiece CI Series Key Features:
• Flagship Statement 40XW in-wall speaker features forty drivers in a line source configuration
• Folded Motion® XT Obsidian tweeters
• Powerful mid-frequency and bass drivers featuring unidirectional carbon fiber multi-section cones with a Nomex® backer
• Proprietary Vojtko™ crossover networks featuring audiophile grade components
• Phenolic baffles (except for Sistine 4XC)
• Sealed back box enclosures
• Die-cast aluminum mounting-locks
• Spring-loaded binding posts

The flagship 40XW are enormous — both channels (with a projection screen or 65″ UHD 4K television in-between) would easily require a room between 13-18′ wide just to look normal.

According to MartinLogan’s release:

Designing an in-wall speaker with performance on par with MartinLogan’s most ambitious floorstanding hybrid electrostatic speakers is an immense challenge. The power and effortlessness of electrostatic speakers is breathtaking—a living manifestation of Truth in Sound. The Statement 40XW is MartinLogan’s answer—a triumph of engineering delivering a seamless melding of authoritative, accurate bass and mid-range with lightning-fast thin-film tweeters. Each channel features 40 drivers, including eight 6.5-inch unidirectional carbon fiber multi-section cone woofers with a Nomex® backer, 16 matching 3.5-inch midrange drivers, and 16 exquisite Folded Motion XT Obsidian tweeters.

The use of 16 tweeters, 16 mid-range drivers, and eight woofers significantly contributes to the effortless sonic presentation of the Statement 40XW. All drivers, even superb drivers such as the carbon fiber cones and thin-film tweeters used in the speaker, begin to exhibit distortion when pushed hard. By using a large number of drivers operating in perfect unison, the movement required from each driver is a fraction of what it otherwise would be while still achieving impressive levels of overall output. The combination of such inherently high-resolution drivers and the reduction in demands on each results in a highly accurate and distortion-free performance during even the most demanding sonic passages.”

The statement 40XW incorporates a reinforced back box that embeds into the wall and a flush-mounted grille that installs even with the finished wall surface. This platform decouples the drivers from the wall surface while maintaining a clean aesthetic with a high level of fit and finish. The speaker is designed to work with either ½-inch or ⅝-inch wallboard in new construction or retrofit installations.

MartinLogan Masterpiece CI Monument 7XW
MartinLogan Masterpiece CI Monument 7XW in-wall loudspeakers

We’re not getting a pair for review. Nobody wants to get divorced that badly.

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Check out Techno Dad’s review of the ESL X, ESL C, Dynamo 16