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MartinLogan Descent i Subwoofer Preview  Print E-mail
Home Theater Loudspeakers Subwoofers
Written by Michael Palmer   
Tuesday, 02 November 2010

While some may say that adding a subwoofer to an electrostatic full-range speaker system is blasphemy (or at least created smeared and disconnected midrange tones), but MartinLogan is here to prove you wrong with its flagship subwoofer, the Descent I, which features the company's proprietary TriLinear, Balanced Force driver configuration and advanced triple-servo monitoring and control system.

Weighing a substantial 105 lbs, the Descent i Subwoofer from MartinLogan has three amplifiers which peak out a system total 2100W, though with the three amps at a much lower 250W each, the total harmonic distortion (THD) is already at 0.24%.  These three amps feed into three identical drivers -- high-performance 10" aluminum cones -- which are mounted precisely 120 degrees apart from each other.  The idea here is that their individual reaction force vectors will exactly cancel, all but eliminating cabinet resonance and vibration.  Say so long to cabinet-radiation coloration and bass blur.  Also, the three 10" drivers combine to equal the output capacity of a huge 18" driver, but do it with all the advantages of smaller, more refined units, most notably less distortion and temperature-induced compression.

MartinLogan's Descent i Subwoofers are quite large (21.4" x 20.5" x 19.9") so they're bound to be as much a part of a room's visual design as MartinLogan's tall loudspeakers themselves.  To compliment any of their speaker models and finishes, the Descent i is available in a variety of real woods: Natural Cherry, Dark Cheery, Ash Black, Maple, Birds Eye Maple, or Bubinga.

In terms of inputs, MartinLogan's Descent i Subwoofer will have just about everyone covered.  There is a direct, unfiltered LFE input (RCA and balanced XLR) for connection to surround preamplifiers and processors and receivers with built-in subwoofer crossover, and line level stereo inputs that connect to a speaker's internal crossover.  Both the LFE and stereo inputs can be connected simultaneously with separate level and crossover settings for each.  For those who want, need, or have multiple sub setups, there is also an line-level output mono jack that carries the sum of all inputs.  Stereo outputs are also available, with the choice to pass the signal directly or through switch-selectable high-pass filters.

With so many options available, it's a good thing MartinLogan placed all the control knobs and switches on the top of the unit (hidden by a removable cover).  Here, enthusiasts and installers can adjust everything with low and high-pass crossover filters, an optional custom CLX / Subwoofer filter designed to work with their CLX Art flagship loud-speakers, 25 and 50Hz level controls, a full-rotation phase switch, and an extended-ranger master level control (which in bit a geek-awesomeness, actually goes to 11!)

MartinLogan's Descent i Subwoofer can be purchased for around $3,500 from your nearest authorized MartinLogan Dealer.






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