|MartinLogan Montage Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Matthew Evert|
|Monday, 01 November 2004|
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Music and Movies
I began the music listening with Keb’ Mo’ and his album Just Like You Super Audio CD (Okeh/Epic). Singer and guitarist Kevin "Keb' Mo'" Moore has definitely got a talent for generating soothing blues-inspired folk music. Mo’s “More Than One Way Home” is a positive and upbeat song about growing up in Los Angeles and appreciating public transportation available to those with no bling-bling. The guitar solo halfway through this track was detailed and tonally appealing. The midrange driver nicely communicated Mo’s talent while the bass driver had no problem pushing the low range snaps of the drumbeats. The sweetness of the high-frequency transducer became evident during the beginning of the song, when the small bells and chimes where used. There is a section where the chimes shift across the soundstage from left to right, giving me a lovely taste of the space and imaging made possible by the Montages. “Just Like You” really puts the dynamic range of the Montage to the test by utilizing a variety of instruments and singers. A female singer and another male singer are matched up with the deeper voice of Mo. There is a faint cymbal or tambourine-like instrument that is brought to life by the Montage that was difficult to hear on lesser speaker systems of mine. Perhaps what struck me most was the Montage’s sheer sense of ease and its overall liquid midrange. These speakers were performing above and beyond their price class. In the past, MartinLogan offered one of the lowest-priced avenues into high-performance sound and the Montages have extended this trait. Again, the Montages are doing this at a price that competes directly with speakers that sound good but are incapable of serious soundstages and other high-end characteristics.
Sade’s Lovers Rock album (Epic) has to be in my CD changer at all times when a date is over. Her music is smooth and sultry. I have met few people who disagree with me on that. The track “Lovers Rock” displays a variety of percussion, from aluminum drums to the scratch-like noises of the Latin super guiro. No noticeable graininess or harshness was found in the reproduction of these unique instruments. The dynamic vocal range of Sade was outstanding and lush, thanks to the Montage’s versatile midrange driver. Some chest-thumping bass guitar was prominent in this track as well. The Montage does not have as large a woofer as the Polk LSi-15, yet the Montage was still able to put some vibrations in my chest while I sat in my couch. I have heard more powerful bass on different and higher-priced speakers, yet to the Montage’s credit, it had no poor-sounding characteristics. It may not drop to earthquake lows but the bass that it does supply is very high quality and void of negative artifacts. On “Every Word,” Sade seduced me with her smooth and gentle cries. The sliding sounds of the guitar player’s hands moving up and down the neck of guitar were very detailed and musical.
For movies, I decided to go against my better judgment and select a Will Smith film. Even though I am not a big Smith fan, I was impressed by the gross amounts of unnecessary violence in “Bad Boys 2” (Columbia/TriStar Studios). Guns, bikini-clad bodies, foul language and Martin Lawrence one-liners are all the right ingredients for a good action flick and product evaluation. This time around, the Bad Boys stumble into a big smuggling case and eventually save the day. The opening car chase features the roaring noises of Smith’s Ferrari, the crashing of countless cars and trucks, and a boat taking out a bunch of cop cars. Add a heaping tablespoon of machine gun fire to a dash of car crashes and you get two dozen servings of explosions. The complexity of the sound in this chaotic scene was handled beautifully by the Montages and never became congested or harsh. Details in the sounds like the cracking and shattering of glass were amazing with these speakers. I never seem to get sick from repeatedly hearing the sound of metal crunching and safety glass crackling, except of course if it is my car that is getting smashed.
“Dune” (Universal) is one of my favorite films of all time. It is also one of the most underrated sci-fi films. It is sad that crappy films like “Independence Day” get more commercial success than “Dune.” The best part is that Sting plays one of the bad guys – right on. The scene where Paul Atreides is practicing to fight a machine simulator using a weirding module was awesome. The weirding module is a weapon that uses amplified sound to destroy things. The mechanical and whirring noises made from the simulator were so real that it felt like it really was actually in my living room. I heard the hum of the weirding module charging up and the “eeeechhaaa” noise that resulted in the exploding of one of the simulator’s arms. The massive assault on the Harkonnen base rocked my whole living room. Any possible issues you may have with the Montages not having the power that bigger speakers may possess in the bass department will be cast aside with this scene. I found that the atomic explosions, lasers firing and mountains crumbling all sounded great with Montages in my system.
“Ronin” (MGM/UA) is a great demonstration DVD for showing off the power capabilities of your system. When I first got my Anthem A5 amplifier, this DVD went in before any others. Amazing car chases and gun fights in the middle of Nice make this film a premier action flick. The ambush scene in Nice had a wide spectrum of sound that ranged from the really high frequencies to the low explosions sounds at the other end of the scale. The high-frequency beeps of the computer noises as the computer specialist banged away at the keyboard reminded me of old school Atari games. My walls shook as a result of the thump of the grenade launcher firing and the resultant massive explosion of the bodyguard’s car. Again, the Montages produced plenty of energy and the sound was delineated nicely. Never did the Montages sound compressed or over-pushed at any time and the amount of detail that they presented was amazing.