Floorstanding loudspeakers

The electrostatic panel that sticks up on a bulky subwoofer module is translucent thanks to a high degree of perforation. Thus the speakers virtually disappear from a listener's view and despite their size can fit into all but the smallest rooms. On top of that Martin Logan helps taming the small room bass modes with an optional (100€ extra) DSP Anthem ARC Kit.

Function and form

Ease of use

Martin Logan electrostats use micro-perforation to expand the effective surface of the diaphragm that is gently curved and framed. The subwoofer is powered by dual 300-watt Class-D amplifiers controlled by a 24-Bit DSP Engine. It uses two 10” aluminum cone woofers housed in two separate closed chambers. The ESL 13A Expression loudspeakers are specified rather standard 24–23,000 Hz (±3dB), 4 ohms impedance and 91dB sensitivity. It is important to realize that these speakers are powered and thus they require proximity of a wall outlet – using good power cords may thus come as an extra cost.

Bass management


The Martin Logan ESL 13A Expression's performance is enirely woven around the excellent electrostatic panel. The bottom octaves are glued to the spellbinding mids and I could hear it. Theoretically the bass should not exhibit any directionality and I can only confirm it - I could not detect any better/worse focus of the subwoofer unit vs the better/worse focus of the top panel. Yet I could detect an audible difference between lighter and airy presence of the mids and highs, and the thundering bottom end that was pushy rather than inviting. If you own planar speakers and match them to a subwoofer (or two) then you have the freedom to place the subwoofer anywhere you want and thus perfectly blend its frequency and temporal performance with the main speakers. The Martin Logans' bass cabinets are inseparably tied to the electrostatic panels which turns the placement into a compromise. Then you the owner has two options - to spend extra money for the DSP, or use controls on the subwoofer unit that make attenuation of the bass possible (+/-10dB under 75Hz, or +/-2dB in the midbass). I recommend giving a listen to the ESL 13A in your room before you buy to exclude not manageable interactions between the speakers and the room.

Clarity & delicacy


Provided that their bass is correctly tuned in the Martin Logan ESL 13As are relaxing speakers. They do not color the sound and convey it in its purity and efortlessness. Depending on my preference I could enjoy the audiophile style fo listening, digging for nuancees in sound, or just lean back and relax or work with music in the background. The Logans did not try to rape my ears like the recenly reviewed Raidho D-3.1, that were designed for audiophile maniacs.

I liked how Martin Logan ESL 13As tackled the 'air' in recordings. Unlike otherwise excellent AirMotion ribbons the planar stators do not enhance prominency of studio tape hiss for the sake of recreating the 'be there' sense. Still I could hear the instruments playing in a very natural ambient field that was especially lifelike with one-mike recordings.

Tonal accuracy

Temporal resolution

As mentioned, I loved the ESL 13A Expression's midrange that exhibited fantastic coherence and eveness with no coloration. Shelby Lynne (Just a Little Lovin', Lost Highway) came alive in my listening room including the shimmering ambience and soft pressure that her voice developed on a mic's membrane. True that the best diamond and beryllium tweeters provide a bit more spark and air, yet the ESL 13A provided something else: non fatiguing sound that was open, pure and not pushy, album by album.

Spatial resolution

Soundstage width
Soundstage depth

I felt that the ESL 13A Expressions favored the width of soundstage to its depth. The lateral imaging precision was clearly supported by minimized side reflections - with good recordings, like those from Chesky Records, the Martin Logan threw wall-to-wall sonic pictures. The depth remained confined to a relatively narrow sweet spot, however. When I moved few inches to either side the imaging magic was partially lost. The producer acknowledges ca 30° radiation angle and this was what I heard. Also I wrestled a bit with vertical imaging which was due to conceptual differences of dynamic low end unit and electrostatic top end panel. Instruments and vocalists were split into two parts - bodies, mass, chests and size were floating over floor, whereas voices, strings, resonances and higher harmonics were coming from the eye level. The louder I played the more this split personality was prominent. I believe that ESL 13A are not easy speakers to place without the Anthem ARC equalization system that helps balance the sound in a listening room.

The Anthem ARC is a proprietary digital signal processing software that works with a special calibration microphone and a PC or iOS device. The development of the DSP system was conducted in conjunction with the National Research Council of Canada (this institution is used by Soundstage! for equipment lab analysis, for example). Each ARC Kit consists of a calibrated microphone with a stand and a cable, plus a downloadable ARC software pack. Plug the kit’s microphone into your computer and into the Martin Logan ESL 13A (RJ45 ethernet or mini-USB socket for smartphone control), place the microphone at each of the listening positions in your room (a minimum of five, maximum of ten), and allow ARC to take a sound sample from each location. The proprietary ARC software measures the difference between the speaker’s ideal lab-standard response, and their real-world performance in your room. After that the ARC equalizes crossover curves so that the performance of the speakers in your room was close to the ideal lab standard.

Price as reviewed:525 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Audioego s.r.o., Praha, +420 222 722 425

Associated components

  • Sources: EMM Labs TSD1/DAC2
  • Amplifiers: Pass Labs INT250
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Shunyata Research Delta, EMM Labs
  • Power conditioning: Shunyata Research Denali D6000/T, Shunyata Research Delta NRPC



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