|MartinLogan Odyssey Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Monday, 01 September 2003|
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The MartinLogan Odyssey is a moderately large hybrid electrostatic loudspeaker, joining the company’s lineup between the much-respected Ascent i and Prodigy speakers. The $6,495 Odyssey features MartinLogan’s latest generation stat panel and leverage's the proprietary ForceForward™ dual woofers that originated in the Prodigies.
The Odyssey is a large speaker at 67 inches tall, 13 inches wide and 27 inches deep, weighing 105 pounds. The driver array consists of the same 48-inch electrostatic line source panel as in the Ascent “i”. The woofer section is vastly different from the Ascent and much closer to the Prodigy. The Odyssey utilizes one 10-inch and one eight-inch driver, configured in the ForceForward™ design. The Odyssey’s appearance follows the theme of other speakers in the MartinLogan line, with a wood-trimmed electrostatic panel above the black finished woofer cabinet. Like many of the speakers in the line, various wood finishes are available to fit your room decor. The one new visual detail that caught my eye is a discreetly illuminated blue “M” logo behind the electrostatic panel, a few inches from the bottom. The light is not bright enough to be a visual distraction when the room is dimmed for a movie and can be turned off with the push of a button.
The idea behind the electrostatic technology utilized in the Odyssey has been around for quite a while, and MartinLogan has been fine-tuning the concept for over 20 years now. The most notable advances include the implementation of the ForceForward™ woofers and Clear Spar technology. In the ForceForward™ design, the eight-inch driver fires forward and the phase-shifted 10-inch driver fires backwards. The effect is to produce deeper, more detailed bass. In a traditional system, the bass energy travels in all directions. The bass energy reflecting from the front wall joins the directly radiated bass energy, causing nulls and peaks, disrupting an otherwise smooth frequency response, often noted as boominess. The frequency response is said to be 35Hz to 22kHz, the same as that of the Ascent i, but in actual use, the Odysseys sound as though they delve considerably deeper in the bottom end.
The other unique new technology in the Odyssey is the ClearSpar™ system. Spars are elements that physically run horizontally across the electrostatic panel and are used to suspend the the diaphragm between the stators. My Ascents and Scenarios have older spars, which are black in color. The new spars are made of lexan (polycarbonate) and are clear. Despite the visual change, the new design is said to increase efficiency and power handling.
The Odysseys replaced the Ascents i reviewed several months back, positioned in my multi-channel room, where I did both my two-channel and multi-channel listening. The Odysseys were placed approximately six feet apart and three-and-one-half feet from the front wall, and were slightly toed in. I placed ASC’s Studio Traps behind the Odysseys, with the reflective side forward, a trick to increase the forward energy of MartinLogan speakers. To round off this system, I used MartinLogan’s Theater center channel speaker and MartinLogan Scenarios in the rear. The system was fed by Kenwood’s DV-5900M DVD-Audio player and controlled and powered by Krell’s HTS 7.1 preamp and Theater Amplifier Standard power amp, respectively.
I found that substituting the Odysseys for the Ascents also required some minor level adjustments to even out the channel levels. The set-up was quite simple, as the owner’s manual is clearly written and should prove helpful to those needing assistance. MartinLogan clients who are making a loudspeaker upgrade can feel free to rip open the boxes like it is Christmas morning.