Truth in Sound, Embodied
For those who appreciate accuracy and realism in their audio, the electrostatic transducer is the grail. For those who understand this truth in sound, MartinLogan introduces their new flagship loudspeaker: Neolith.
Neolith is not for the faint of heart. As the embodiment of our philosophy of the truth in sound, its performance is unconstrained. It goes against the grain. In a world of small, Neolith says size is no impediment.
Neolith features one of MartinLogan’s largest electrostatic radiating surfaces, fully 35% larger than the Statement E2. Its proprietary curvilinear electrostatic transducer delivers an ideal wave launch; a detailed, ultrarealistic soundstage, reproducing nearly the entire mid-range and high frequency audio spectrum. It is utterly uninhibited by room limitations.
Smoothly blended low-frequencies are provided by a 15-inch rear-firing ported woofer and 12-inch front-firing sealed mid-bass woofer. Combined, they deliver powerful, extremely accurate bass.
And this is just the beginning. The details demand your attention. The exclusive advanced-topology Vojtko Crossover uses hand-selected components for optimum power handling. The passive Neolith design gives you more control, allowing single-wire or bi-amp connections with silver filigree WBT Binding Posts, plus a unique system of audio adjustment jumpers. The audaciously sculpted Neolith frame is made of non-resonant Phenolic Resin Polymer, smoothly finished in a premium automotive gloss. Its hand-crafted woofer cabinet is wrapped in elegant soft leather.
Prepare yourself for an astonishing new audio experience; a bigger, bolder, no-holds-bared experience of breathtakingly articulate performance. The bespoke Neolith is the culmination of over 30 years of MartinLogan passion, engineering innovation and dedication to the ultimate truth in sound.
Electrostatic Truth in Sound
MartinLogan didn’t invent electrostatic transducer technology. But by eliminating the perceived deficiencies of electrostatic technology, such as poor power handling, lack of bass response and narrow soundstage (beaming), MartinLogan has reinforced the benefit of electrostatic technology: uncanny audio accuracy.
An electrostatic transducer has three components—stators, a diaphragm, and spars (non-conductive spacers that keep the tall assembly stationary)—assembled as a sandwich. The diaphragm is an ultra-light film impregnated with an electrically conductive material and stretched taut between two stators, which are perforated steel sheets coated with an insulator. When the speaker is operating, the diaphragm is charged with an electrostatic field of fixed positive voltage. The two stators, between which the diaphragm is stretched, are charged with voltages of equal strength but opposite polarity. These charges occur in instantaneously alternating pulses according the signal received from your audio equipment. When the charge on one stator is positive, the charge on the other is negative. Because like charges repel and opposite charges attract, the diaphragm’s constantly positive charge will force it to move forward or backward depending on the stator charges. With this movement, an electrostatic transducer translates an electrical audio signal into the diaphragm motion that produces sound waves in your room.
Because traditional cone loudspeakers produce sound in response to the separate movements of many small parts (voice coil, former, diaphragm), they can’t help but suffer distortion-inducing time lag as the signal travels through these parts and across the cone. But an electrostatic transducer has only one moving part: the diaphragm. Its movement is instantaneous, with no time lag, enabling the diaphragm to trace even the most delicate sonic details with absolute precision. The diaphragm’s surface area is much larger than any cone driver, giving the electrostatic transducer the ability to perform over an exceptionally wide frequency range without having to cross over to another driver.
MartinLogan engineers have improved these basic electrostatic technologies with their unique innovations.
The components of each MartinLogan electrostatic panel are fused in our proprietary Vacuum Bonding process using an aerospace adhesive whose hold-strength exceeds that of welding. Vacuum Bonding ensures uniform diaphragm tensioning, and facilitates the extremely tight tolerances necessary for the construction of such a precision transducer.
The stators that “sandwich” the diaphragm must be rigid enough to remain absolutely stationary despite the strong electrostatic forces pushing and pulling them during operation. They must also be perforated to allow sound to pass through. MartinLogan’s MicroPerf design optimizes this tradeoff by reducing the size of the individual stator holes, increasing the effective radiating area of the diaphragm without compromising the structural integrity of the panel. MartinLogan’s ClearSpar spacers strengthen the assembly across its width, ensuring the consistent tension of the Vacuum Bonded diaphragm between the stators with absolutely no visual or auditory obstructions.
MartinLogan’s groundbreaking Curvilinear Line Source (CLS) electrostatic panel design is an elegant solution to the impression of sound “beaming” from an electrostatic panel. MartinLogan CLS electrostatic panels feature a gentle horizontal curve. This ingeniously simple innovation radically changes the speaker’s dispersion pattern, radiating a wide, enveloping soundstage, packed with detail; truly unlike any other loudspeaker experience.
Another key attribute of an electrostatic speaker is its dipolar radiation pattern. A true dipole transducer radiates with equal intensity from the front and back of its diaphragm, with the outputs in opposite phase. As a result, sound waves rippling out toward the sides meet at the speaker’s edge and cancel, minimizing side-wall reflections with short relative arrival times. This reduction in side-output minimizes interfering side-wall reflections, which can muddy the image. It frees the dipole radiation pattern to produce a generous amount of ambience-enriching late-arriving reflections off the wall behind your loudspeakers. At the same time, electrostatic panels maintain relatively limited vertical dispersion, which minimizes undesirable floor and ceiling reflections.
Neolith is the apogee of electrostatic performance, combining these innovations in a new design. By delivering an undiluted soundstage with excellent separation, Neolith brings your music and movie soundtracks to startlingly accurate, 3-dimensional life.
A Powerful Dual-Woofer Section
In addition to its large electrostatic transducer, Neolith features two substantial woofers. They are specifically engineered to deliver a Neolith-sized dose of deep bass.
The front-firing 12-inch mid-bass woofer, operating from 60Hz to 250-400Hz (depending on jumper settings) boasts an extremely low moving mass relative to its size. Its non-woven carbon fiber cone, set in a cast aluminum alloy frame, is lightweight and rigid, for high efficiency when moved by its 3-inch copper-clad aluminum flat wire voice coil. The low-inductance single-layer edge-wound coil, with copper-cupped pole piece, reduces intermodulation distortion caused by the changing inductance as the woofer’s big coil moves back and forth within the gap, delivering maximum bass.
On the back of the Neolith is a 15-inch bass woofer playing beneath 60Hz. It features an extended throw assembly, with an efficiently vented triple shorting ring motor and 4-layer coil, to eliminate compression and distortion. The woofer’s rigid, extra thick anodized aluminum cone design, in a stable cast basket, is ideal for producing Neolith’s deep, naturally flat extended bass response.
Precision Vojtko System Blending
Neolith’s performance is controlled by its proprietary Vojtko™ Filter crossover section, engineered to handle massive amounts of power with the utmost precision.
In the low-pass crossover section, multiple super-efficient 100V capacitors are placed in series and/or series-parallel to achieve 200V capability. This innovation couples increased voltage-handling with exceptional heat dissipation. Aluminum-housed resistors mounted to substantial heat sinks draw off additional heat. Compact toroidal inductors keep large amounts of current flowing and eliminate magnetic interactions between the inductors.
The high-pass crossover, which governs Neolith’s electrostatic panel, features audiophile-quality polypropylene capacitors chosen for their excellent performance characteristics, and air core coils for precision inductance. Air core coils eliminate the hysteresis distortion (“magnetic memory”) effects that are common with steel based inductors.
Connect your electronics safely and securely using 5-Way audiophile nextgen WBT Binding Posts. Their fine silver filigree is highly conductive and free from “eddy current” effects. These posts are fully insulated for shock protection and topped with an impressive palladium-plated metal cap. Exploit the versatility of the fully passive Neolith system with your choice of single-wire or bi-amp connections.
Neolith also gives you options to customize its sound for optimum performance in your listening space. Deep Bass Adjustment reduces output by -4dB or -8dB, and the Listening Distance Adjustment addresses electrostatic room/floor interaction by adjusting output relative to room dimensions. These adjustments are made quickly and easily with a unique set of dual gold-plated jumpers.
The goal of the entire Neolith electronics suite, from crossover components to custom-specified binding posts, is flat-out, unparalleled sound quality. Sound that’s life-sized, yet intimate; alive with detail and explosive impact. No expense was spared to achieve this. The results are obvious.
Now look at Neolith. It is a towering achievement of bold sculptural art; performance art. To house this kind of performance, MartinLogan designers crafted a chassis that is a work of art itself.
The bridge-like beams and arching buttresses of Neolith are carved from sheets of Phenolic Resin Polymer. This dense, non-resonant material exhibits incredible mechanical strength and superior dimensional stability. With oversized Energy Transfer Coupler footings, the frame is unshakeable on any flooring. You will never hear this cabinet; you will only hear your music, pure and simple.
The non-resonant woofer enclosure is acoustically ideal. Substantial interior bracing separates and isolates the electronics from the powerful driver system, ensuring no energy is lost to vibrations, even at peak performance levels. In an elegant touch, the cabinet is wrapped in soft black leather.
The Phenolic Resin Polymer frame is offered in several standard finishes, each extravagantly hand-buffed to an opulent automotive gloss. MartinLogan is proud to offer the bespoke Neolith in custom color options, as well.
A Journey of Audio Discovery ends with Neolith
It’s been over 15 years since we’ve attempted to engineer a loudspeaker of this size and performance level. For the Neolith development team at MartinLogan, it has been a three-year journey of discovery—revealing, challenging, and pushing the boundaries of the possible.
Now, Neolith stands alone, a singular audio achievement. It is the combination of technology and art in the service of astonishingly accurate and realistic audio performance. For those who demand the very best, there is simply nothing comparable.
Made-to-order, hand-delivered and professionally installed; in a world of same, Neolith proclaims different.