MartinLogan at Lewis Audio Video



The Neolith-III

MartinLogan is a tale of two men, their love for music and the creation of a new kind of sound. It all begins in an audio store where the two met and shared their love for quality music. Sanders and Sutherland were their names, and they had very unique skills. Together they brought knowledge of engineering, advertising, and architecture; a combination that would eventually create the most innovative speakers to date. It wasn’t quite that simple however. Many failures and trials including speakers bursting into flames were ahead of Sanders and Sutherland, but they weren’t easily discouraged. After many attempts they came to their storybook ending: in the 1982 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) their invention of electrostatic speakers won the CES Design and Engineering awards.


MartinLogan was founded by Gayle Martin Sanders and Ron Logan Sutherland. Sanders had studied in architecture and advertising, and Sutherland in engineering. In the late 70’s the two ran into one another in an audio store where their love for music brought them together.

Together they discovered the electrostatic speaker. Not that they had a completely new idea, but the two reinvented the speaker. A handful of electrostatic speakers had been created before ultimately failing due to several failures including bulkiness, poor bass, poor dispersion, and unappealing looks.


One of the earliest MartinLogan prototypes.

The first prototype created by Sanders and Sutherland was finished in 1980. The speaker definitely didn’t look pretty, but sound was the first step. The speaker performed well… until the sound was turned up and the whole system was fried with a streak of electricity shooting across the panel. Sanders and his team didn’t give up. They continued to experiment and had a break through in design with aerospace materials.

The new prototype looked elegant and sounded great without bursting to flames like previous prototypes. One problem remained- the dispersion of sound. Sanders while drawing how sounds waves traveled was hit with an idea. Since sounds waves traveled in an arc, why not arc the panel to disperse the sound? The idea worked to perfection.

Sanders and Sutherland with only a concept and a few photos presented their new electrostatic speaker at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 1982. Their invention was a huge hit winning the CES Design and Engineering Award.

Advantages of a MartinLogan Electrostatic Speaker:


Hybrid design

One flaw to the electrostatic speaker is the inability to hit low frequency waves. This means that the bass can sometimes be IMG_1497-1280lacking. The electrostatic speakers of MartinLogan perform better in this area than any other electrostatic speaker, but it just is not the same as a traditional speaker of that size. What MartinLogan does to fix this is they integrate a high performance sub woofer to the panel getting even the lowest frequency of sound waves while still keeping the crisp sound of the panel.


Less diaphragm motion creates a crisper sound that cannot be produced by a box speaker

With a traditional cone speaker, sound is produced from one central area and the rest of the cone responds to that movement. Without a completely rigid diaphragm the speaker will vibrate. This vibration is what leads to the distortion of your music. On the other side of the spectrum if the diaphragm is too rigid then many frequencies cannot be reached, meaning you will miss some sounds originally created in the music.

An electrostatic speaker fixes both of these problems. How the electrostatic speaker overcomes the issue of a vibrating diaphragm is with a push-pull system, by charging both ends (front and back) of the electrostatic transducer with opposite charges. For example, when the back is positively charged the front is negatively charged, this leads to a push in the same direction so neither is delayed- no vibrations- no distortion.



Curved panel for greater dispersion.

Direct distribution of sound

The electrostatic speaker cancels any music going out to the sides directing the sound waves forward, and cutting off side wall reflections. When sound waves go out to the sides it reflects back and distorts the sound quality. Cancelling these reflections along with the curved shape of the panel creates optimal sound. The curved panel directs the sound outward at almost 180 degrees, dispersing the sound without sending the sound waves upward or downward, again minimizing reflections and maximizing sound clarity. The carefully engineered and hand-crafted electrostatic panel is an innovative masterpiece that only creates the best sound.





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