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MartinLogan Purity Loudspeakers Print E-mail
Saturday, 01 March 2008
Article Index
MartinLogan Purity Loudspeakers
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The Downside
As much as I adore the MartinLogan Purity loudspeakers, there are a few concerns that I must share with you. First, while I love the inclusion of a metal base plate to allow for tilting options, it’s not the sort of thing that can be adjusted quickly. While not difficult, resetting the base will require you to unhook the speakers, lay them down and manually undo the base to swap it around. Again, not difficult, but if you’re going from critical listening to party mode, plan on setting aside some time to make the adjustment.

Next, the dual woofers are capable of copious amounts of bass output, more so than previous designs from MartinLogan. However, because of the Puritys’ rear-ported nature, they can get a bit boomy, even with bass attenuation. Proper room placement remains key in getting the most out of these magnificent mini ESLs.

While I did most of my listening via an iPod, keep in mind that the quality of the rip does matter and will affect the results dramatically, for the Puritys can be rather revealing. While some 256K rips sounded good enough for casual listening, nearly every 128K rip bordered on torture. Do your homework, rip wisely and you’ll be fine. I just don’t want to give the impression that the Puritys can make a cellular phone ring tone sound like Beethoven’s Fifth.

There is a small speaker grille-like inset behind the CLS panel that affixes to the top of the cabinet itself to aid in softening the reflection off the cabinet where it meets the panel. While necessary, it did find ways of coming loose from time to time. I would prefer to see a more permanent mounting solution for this small grille than merely the average push pins of old.

Lastly, and I am nitpicking, I would have like to see a few more finish options besides black ash and cherry. I know having a limited palette keeps costs low, but MartinLogan has become the king of customization and, even if it cost a bit more, I’d like the same finishes to be offered on the Puritys as on other models.

It seems musical playback is going the way of servers and computer-aided devices such as the iPod more and more each day. Try as some might to fight this, the MartinLogan Puritys embrace it.

Allow me to paint you a picture: you come home after a hard day at the office, laptop or iPod in hand, dock it in your living room, kitchen or office, and hit play. Whether your Purity loudspeakers are hooked directly to your playback device or simply to a device like Apple’s own AirPort, you’re treated to all the natural, quality sound you’d expect from a system costing thousands more, only you don’t have a large rack of electronics and a half-mile of garden hose-like cables cluttering up the works. You have two beautifully designed speakers, a couple of thin power cords and a pair of interconnects, and your entire music library at your fingertips. This is where the Puritys shine and why I consider them to be one of the most important speaker designs in recent memory, for they cut through the audiophile red tape that has kept so many at bay and get to the heart of the matter, which is the music and our enjoyment of it.

They are not perfect by any means, but for their price and lack of need for expensive associated equipment, their value proposition quickly overshadows their minor shortcomings. The Puritys’ sound is equally adept with hip-hop as it is with acoustic and everything in between, which makes them among the best-rounded speakers I’ve ever encountered. I simply adore these speakers, not only for what they can do, but also for what they represent for the future of this hobby I love so much.

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