There are bluetooth speakers and there are AirPlay speakers, there are USB speakers and there are WiFi speakers. Rarely is there anything that can do everything. But when a high-end manufacturer like Martin Logan devote themselves to developing a lifestyle speaker they have not opted out of anything.
The new Crescendo is a venture in an entirely new product category for Martin Logan. They have however maintained their normal quality thinking and produced a product that belongs in the top class among "wireless desktop speakers".
Bluetooth And Much More
I'll quickly admit that I usually do not have much sympathy for bluetooth- and lifestyle speakers, there are lots of them and few are good. As with everything else, you also have to pay for it to sound at least decent. Most Bluetooth speaker are just boring to listen to, you can often get a lot of sound but not much quality - in my humble opinion, anyway.
As with so much else, I prefer to save up a little more and get something that makes me really happy instead. In the case of MartinLogan Crescendo, it is worth sacrificing a little more money, for here, lo and behold, we get “real” sound from a lifestyle speaker.
This is evident just by looking at the speaker drivers. A middle positioned oval subwoofer with a 50-watt Class D amplifier and two tweeters with a 25-watt Class D each. The two tweeters are angled outwards to enhance the stereo effect. Moreover, these are not just any tweeters, they are so called Folded Motion drivers with a pleated membrane, a variant of Dr. Heils Air Motion Transformer. It is a seriously competent driver and the same one used in Martin Logan's other speakers that are not electrostatic speakers.
Stylish And Elegant
The speaker, or unit, is elegant. It is a refined design that many of my friends really liked. The finish comes in either gloss black or real walnut veneer, very neat. Everything exudes quality. It looks as good as it sounds, but more on that later. A remote control is also included.
Inside, a 24 bit/48kHz DSP/preamp allows you to play just about anything. Since each driver has its own amplifier it lets the DSP optimize the performance. You can stream directly from a phone or computer, connect via USB (only Apple devices) or through analog or digital cable. It just works.
I connected it to the network via my iPhone using USB and the Crescendo fetched all the codes to my network. As simple as that, it was connected in a few seconds. If you don´t have an iPhone, it is a little trickier and you must use a browser on your computer, but it is not very difficult.
As I write these words I streams music from my computer, and on a Mac the Crescendo just pops up as an AirPlay option. It works impeccably. It´s also interesting that Crescendo has better contact with Bluetooth than most other devices I´ve tried – it´s stable and has proper reach.
The sound? Yes, at first it did not sound good at all. Crescendo needed some time before it started to sound good. In return, it was all the better. It might sound silly that it is so, but some devices needs to 'break-in' a number of hours before they start to sound as they should and is something that is very common for quality hi-fi.
Quality? Yes, we are talking real quality of sound here. There´s an astonishing body in the sound without it, as it often is with this type of speaker/device, becoming swollen and muddy. It has a nice resolution and clear details that justify the cost. The overall sound reminds me a lot of what you´ll get with Martin Logan's Motion speakers, which is perhaps not so surprising since it's a similar set of drivers.
Can it play out loud? Yes. In many tests of wireless "desktop speakers", which we suppose is the category Crescendo belongs in, people are trying to use them for parties. It rarely works, if ever, in my opinion. But with Crescendo, we get a really good sound pressure - with quality! It means that you won´t get so tired and find it becomes unbearable when, as always, you crank up the volume more and more the longer the party goes on. A sign that there´s not so much distortion in the Crescendo as in most cheaper competitors. And yes, it can get loud enough unless you don´t have a ballroom to fill.
Bass? Yes, it can play a lot of bass and great bass for the size. This is one of the advantages of DSP. But, if you think that there isn´t enough bass, there is an output for an external subwoofer.
Expensive? Well, everything is relative. I believe that products such as Crescendo and JBL Authentics show that it is possible to design products that also performs excellent sonically, but it costs money. However, this brings much greater musical joy to the buyer. If I were to buy myself a design speaker, the Crescendo would be on top of the list of those I would check out. I like it!
Martin Logan Crescendo does a lot and also sounds really good. Crescendo plays with full-bodied conviction and joy - it is fun to listen to. It is also well-built and good-looking and will fit in any home. It´s a lot of money, yes, but quality costs!
GET IT ON eBay!
- Current Price: $499.99
- Ends: Oct 27, 2016 17:49:36 CEST
- Current Price: $499.99
- Ends: Nov 18, 2016 21:42:41 CET
|Frequency Response||50–23kHz ±3dB|
|High Frequency Transducer||Two 0.94” x 1” (2.4cm x 2.5cm) Folded Motion Transducers with 2.8” x 1.25” (7.1cm x 3.2cm) diaphragm.|
|Low Frequency Transducer||5” x 7” (12.7cm x 17.8cm) fiber cone with extended throw drive assembly. Non-resonant asymmetrical chamber format.|
|Amplifier||1 x 50 Watts (woofer). 2 x 25 Watts (tweeters) 100 Watts (140 Watts peak) combined total output.|
|Crossover Frequency||3,600 Hz|
|Components||24-bit 48kHz DSP based preamplifier Class-D amplifier|
|Inputs||802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz) Bluetooth v4.0 (supports AAC, aptX®, MP3, SBC), USB (iPhone, iPad, iPod digital connection) Auxiliary analog/optical digital (3.5mm mini jack) RJ45 Ethernet|
|Power Draw||Max: 70 Watts, Idle: 6.5 Watts, Standby: < 4 Watts|
|Weight||15 lbs. (6.8 kg)|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||
8.1" × 25.7" × 6.9"
(20.53cm × 65.3cm × 17.5cm)
- Wi-Fi - connect AirPlay capable devices wirelessly (iPhone, iPad, iPod, or a computer with iTunes) to stream audio.
- Bluetooth - connect Bluetooth capable devices wirelessly to stream audio. Bluetooth V4.0 supports SBC, MP3, AAC, and apt-X®.
- Wired Ethernet - audio information can be sent over a LAN to the Crescendo using various protocols (such as AirPlay or DLNA)
- USB - connect compatible Apple devices and use the Crescendo as an audio dock and charger. The USB connection was designed to rapidly charge a variety of devices.
- Analog - any device that has an analog audio output can connect to the auxiliary analog input via a 3.5mm headphone style jack.