|MartinLogan Prodigy Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Bryan Southard|
|Friday, 01 June 2001|
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Although overall I truly love the transparent look of the Prodigy loudspeakers, on close examination, I found the overall fit and finish of my review pair to be sub-par. They come finished in the same wrinkle paint as the lowest-priced speakers in the MartinLogan line, which I feel is very appropriate in the $3,000 price range but underdressed in the $10,000-plus class, certainly compared to some recent products that I have reviewed, like the Revel Studios and the Wilson Cub II’s. Additionally, the front- and rear-woofer grille covers are constructed of flimsy vacuum-formed plastic with cloth stretched over and taped to the backside. Upon unpacking and examining the Prodigies, I noticed that the grille cloth had peeled back from the rear cover, exposing the structure. I also noticed that the upper electrostatic membrane on the right speaker was installed wrinkled. I am not sure if this had any sonic impact, but visually it was not appealing and raised questions about the overall build quality.
The MartinLogan Prodigy is a very large speaker. Although it can disappear quite well musically, visually it is unmistakably present. The Prodigy isn’t just tall; it is very deep as well, which means that you need to consider speaker placement carefully and be sure that you have adequate room before purchasing a pair.
Because the Prodigy is an electrostatic loudspeaker, it needs to be plugged in. This means that you need to consider placing the speaker where you can route a power cord. Additionally, the Prodigy consumes power, something that we are very aware of here in California. Although a pair of Prodigies only consume a mere five watts of AC power, this is continuous, regardless of whether they are passing signal or not.
The MartinLogan Prodigy is a speaker that will resolve details in your music that you have never before heard. It supplies air around your instruments that makes them sound real or perhaps even better than real. It’s this air that provides the fabric that embodies the instruments, that turns them into three-dimensional objects. Musical images are also presented in realistic size and proportion – a tremendous strength. The Prodigy’s bass is quite good and the integration between the panel and the traditional driver is nothing short of a technological breakthrough, which successfully addresses two of the classic problems with electrostatic speakers. With little positional tweaking, the Prodigy will image as well as a speaker costing twice as much. The Prodigy has a much-improved level of energy emanating from the electrostatic panel, something that the older models lacked. This also makes the Prodigy considerably more appealing for fans of dynamic music.
High-frequency information tended to sound a tad rolled off at times, becoming most apparent on transient details like cymbal crashes. The Prodigies did, however, supply an enormous amount of information in the upper midrange.
I recommend that you have a medium to large room for the Prodigies, because of their propensity to pull you into the speakers during off-axis music listening or in movies. As stated earlier, I suggest a minimum of a 10-foot distance from speaker to listener and equal distance between the speakers.
I mandate that music and film enthusiasts interested for speakers anywhere near the $10,000 price range must audition the MartinLogan Prodigy before purchasing any other speaker – it is that good. Although there are issues to consider before purchasing this loudspeaker, the sonic performance is nothing short of magnificent.