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MartinLogan Odyssey Loudspeakers Print E-mail
Monday, 01 September 2003
Article Index
MartinLogan Odyssey Loudspeakers
Page 2
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The Downside
The Odysseys are large but, unlike many large high-end conventional speakers, they don’t have all of the dynamic punch of boxed speakers. This has always been a trade-off for those who invest in electrostatic speakers. Because of the low mass of the panels, electrostatics deliver detail, transparency and agility that no conventional speaker can dream of. On the other hand, electrostats are simply not able to move the air masses as the conventional drivers can. In their defense, MartinLogan has done an impressive job, especially recently, in dealing with the physical shortcomings of electrostatic technology in order to move their speakers closer to the realm of have-your-cake-and-eat-it.

Electrostatic speakers, due to their radiation pattern, also require careful room placement, even more so than a conventional speaker design. The combination of the Odyssey’s large size and placement requirements can cause problems with any roommates, partners or spouses that are insensitive to the concept of speaker placement driving a room’s décor. I personally find MartinLogans to be so attractive that this isn’t even slightly an issue for me. My girlfriend’s opinion differs, however, so it is worthy of mention. Lastly, MartinLogan’s design requires that you leave the speakers plugged in. The speakers do not draw much power in standby mode, but do require that you have outlets available and could require that power cords be visible. A good decorator can make both speaker and power cables disappear in most cases without too much cost or effort.

With the Odyssey speakers, MartinLogan again ups the ante in the world of high-end speakers. The Odysseys supply incredible value and perform above their price. Sure, there are some considerations before you take the plunge, because these speakers simply aren’t for everyone. Depending on your music and movie tastes, there is no speaker in this class that can match the detail and air that the Odysseys provide. Those who are diehard AC-DC fans might be disappointed with the Odysseys’ level of dynamic impact, but those into acoustic music or subtle motion picture dialogue might find no more exciting speaker on the market today.

I found the Odysseys to be well-suited for both music and theater. Listeners desiring accurate, neutral and detailed speakers that are linear at a wide range of volumes would do well to audition the Odysseys for their theater or stereo system. Those who decide to purchase the Odysseys will need to make sure their electronics are up to par in order to get the most out of these speakers. The Odysseys are transparent enough to request topnotch electronics, require a good deal of power to come alive and, as noted above, careful placement is necessary to achieve maximum performance.

All in all, the Odysseys are a treat. Most listeners will find the MartinLogan Odyssey to be the speaker that they have dreamed of their entire life. Once you hear the Odysseys, you will likely consider them much like a new eyeglass prescription – vision clearer than ever before.

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