|MartinLogan Ascent and Theater Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Sunday, 01 July 2001|
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The speakers are large and a proper setup requires more room than conventional speaker designs do. The speakers themselves, especially with the many optional trim panels, are attractive and will likely fit in to just about any décor. Unlike that of the Prodigy speaker, the Ascent’s woofer enclosure is a flat black. While not necessarily beautiful, it works well in a theater room where light reflection is a concern. The real problem with your interior designer (wife, girlfriend, etc.) arises when you incorporate the ASC products as well. While the ASC products provide definite sonic improvements, they will most likely not fit your décor.
Besides being large, electrostatic speakers require careful placement to achieve optimum sound quality. Proper placement of electrostatics may be difficult in tight quarters.
Lastly, as Bryan Southard noted in his Prodigy review, electrostatics must remain plugged in and the woofer grilles are on the flimsy side. The grilles on the Ascents have held up fine so far, and as long as you do not repeatedly remove and replace the grille covers, or place the Ascents in a hazardous area where the grilles are likely to be called to provide protection duty, they should be okay for the duration.
The MartinLogan Ascents, when properly set up and paired with high-quality electronics, will provide detailed, transparent and accurate sound in both stereo and multi-channel systems. The imaging is solid and the soundstage large on nearly every piece of music played through the Ascents.
The MartinLogan Theater center channel could be considered relatively expensive, but it is well worth every penny and should be considered mandatory for those with MartinLogan front speakers. The Theater excels at portraying dialogue with clarity and intelligibility. I also found, after a great deal of experimentation with positioning, that my MartinLogan Scenarios ($1,995 per pair) created an enveloping surround sound field as rear speakers.
At their price, and based on the fact that the MartinLogan Ascents and the Theater center speaker can both excitingly capture the live energy of a live musical event while at the same time playing back surprisingly dynamic but hyper-detailed movie soundtracks, I made the investment and bought the speakers. Along with my MartinLogan Scenario speakers, which I will use for rear speakers, I am now set for future technologies like DVD-Audio, SACD with a 5.1 speaker system that captures details that many speakers costing many times more – glare over. The MartinLogan Ascents are not just strong performers in their price category – they are my new reference loudspeakers.