“Truth in Sound" is much more than a catchphrase, it’s their philosophy: MartinLogan speakers are designed to render the most complex musical passages as faithfully as a crystal prism disperses the color spectrum.

The MartinLogan Story

People often assume that MartinLogan was founded by a couple of guys named Martin and Logan, which is sort of true …

Gayle Martin Sanders and Ron Logan Sutherland: “MartinLogan just sounded better than SandersSutherland,” Sanders explains (apparently they never considered GayleRon). In the late 1970s, the two met at a high-end audio store Sanders managed in Lawrence, Kansas. Despite very different backgrounds—Sanders trained in architecture and advertising, Sutherland in electrical engineering—they shared a passion for music and electrostatic loudspeakers. For listeners seeking the ultimate in sonic purity and clarity, electrostatic speakers held enormous appeal.

Prior to 1980, only a handful of electrostatic speakers had appeared on the market. They were finicky and all suffered the classic limitations of the breed. They lacked bass and had limited volume. They required specialized or powerful amplifiers. They were prone to failure. They were only good for one listener at a time. They were sublime for acoustic jazz and chamber music, but fell short with loud rock and powerful symphonic music. Gayle and Ron surmised that the theory of electrostats was solid—the application of materials and technology was lacking. Overcoming these limitations was the making of MartinLogan.

Magnolia + MartinLogan

MartinLogan Speakers
A Passion for World Class Sound

There’s no mistaking a MartinLogan speaker. That unique shape of the electrostat that rises from the base like a perfectly designed sculpture, immaculately shaped for the ultimate in audio performance. One look, one listen, and you realize a MartinLogan speaker is like none other on the market, and when you meet the people behind these one of a kind speakers, you realize they’re different, too.

There are very few companies that build an electrostatic speaker, and there’s a simple reason why – they’re hard to make. They require a special level of knowledge to design and a special level of craftsmanship to build. “They’re akin to producing a fine musical instrument,” says Dean Tassio, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, “Meaning you just can’t bolt drivers into boxes and produce these types of speakers. You’ve got to understand how to stretch the film and give it the right tension, in the way you might tune the top of a violin. It requires a lot of patience, learning, apprenticeship and craftsmanship to build these speakers. They’re all hand built, and the people that learn how to build these things have to spend a lot of time understanding how to make them sound right, and to make sure they’re going to last a long time.”

This apprenticeship ideal runs deep at MartinLogan, where most employees have worked for 10, 15 even 20+ years, many having started in the workshop building these speakers by hand. Everyone I spoke with had a passion for the brand and the product that I can only equate with how a mother or father might beam about their first-born child. And knowledge runs deep, from the head engineer to the person working in the shop – they all know these speakers inside and out – and treat each one as if it were their own, because every person in the design and building process is part of the quality control process. Every person can pull a speaker from production, whether it’s for the tiniest mark on the wood or a mechanical problem. Everyone is hell bent on perfection and nothing goes out the door until it goes through the Sonic Testing Room one last time to ensure it meets MartinLogan’s rigorous sound quality standards.

Maybe it’s a Midwestern thing, maybe it’s a MartinLogan thing – either way, you can hear the passion and the love of every employee in every speaker. It’s this level of ownership that has MartinLogan producing some of the world’s best sounding loudspeakers.

What’s up with that electrostatic loudspeaker?
There’s no getting past it – when you buy a MartinLogan electrostatic speaker, you get this unique black screen that juts up from the base, and whether you like the look or not – there’s no mistaking the incredible sound it produces. A single electrostatic driver is capable of reproducing the entire frequency range where human hearing is most sensitive to the delicacy and richness of sound. This unique technology assures that what you hear is faithful to the original recording by eliminating the need for complex crossovers and multiple driver arrays, which cause distortion. This all gives you an incredibly rich soundstage that puts you right in the center of whatever you are listening to. Furthermore, these speakers use controlled dispersion, meaning they eliminate the room from the equation of the speakers’ sound. The room you’re in has a lot to do with how most speakers sound. MartinLogans don’t send sound to the walls – instead they send it to where you sit. The sound doesn’t come out at 180 degrees, it uses a 30-degree dispersion pattern so they can guarantee that their product is going to sound good in any room you put it in. For MartinLogan, it’s all about delivering great sound, and it only takes one listen to understand that the electrostat is a big key in achieving this goal.

Customizing the look of great audio
With a hand-made, high-end product, MartinLogan quickly recognized that some of their best customers might want to give their electrostats an even more unique look. That’s why MartinLogan allows customers to customize their speakers according to their own unique desires or room décor. As they say at MartinLogan, “If it grows on trees, we can make it into a speaker.” But wood isn’t the only option; aluminum, metal and leather are also available on certain speakers, for a completely customized look that says, “that’s my speaker.”

MartinLogan has taken this customization into the commercial market as well. Harley Davidson Motorcycles had MartinLogan build them a speaker with a leather base, Harley logo and metal electrostat frame – one badass speaker for a badass bike company. They also built a speaker for Magnolia in red to match the brand’s colors for a charity auction. “This allows the customer to access these products in a way that they can listen to them and enjoy the music, but also look at them and share an identity with them,” says Dean Tassio, “They’re all hand built – so there’s no reason we can’t do it. So when someone asks us to do something, as long as it’s within reason, we’ll do it. We’re almost the Orange County Choppers of loudspeakers.”

The business of entertainment
The people of MartinLogan are fun people; they enjoy the ideals of the small town life, but also enjoy having a good time. It’s this passion for entertainment that makes MartinLogan and Magnolia such a good pair. Both companies strive to bring good entertainment to their customers. As Dean Tassio put it, “we’re in the entertainment business, and you have to like that, and you have to be able to show your customers that that’s what you’re able to give them. You can see the enthusiasm that’s generating through the people that work at Magnolia, and how they are able to communicate to their customers that this is fun, this isn’t a trip to the dentist. You’re coming into a wonderland where you can get some of the best entertainment experiences money can buy.” Dean went on to say, “Through good times, bad times, even in the worst of times, this business is still a lot of fun, because at the end of the day you can put on your favorite music or your favorite movie and you can pour yourself a glass of wine, sit down, relax, and get away from it all. So what better business is there to be in?”

When you’re ready to sit back and enjoy some really amazing speakers made by some really amazing people, visit a Magnolia showroom and ask for a demo – you’ll be glad you did.

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