MartinLogan | Montis | Specifications | MartinLogan Montis Specifications

Tested to Comply
with FCC Standards
Serial Numbers: ________________ / ________________
Record your serial numbers here for easy reference. You will need this
information when filling out your warranty registration. Ethos’s serial number is located near the bottom of the backplate and on the shipping container. Each individual unit has a unique serial number.
Bass Setting:
________________ / ________________
left channel
right channel
This device complies with part 15 of
the FCC Rules. Operation is subject
to the following two conditions: (1)
This device may not cause harmful
interference, and (2) this device must
accept any interference received,
including interference that may
cause undesired operation.
Thank you—to you the MartinLogan owner,
for loving what we do,
for making it possible for us to do what we love.
Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Installation in Brief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Controls and Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
AC Power Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Signal Connection
Placement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Listening Position
The Wall Behind the Listener
The Wall Behind the Speakers
The Side Walls
Final Placement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
The Extra “Tweak”
Enjoy Yourself . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Room Acoustics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Your Room
Rules of Thumb
Dipolar Speakers and Your Room . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Solid Footing
Dispersion Interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Controlled Horizontal Dispersion
Controlled Vertical Dispersion
Three Major Types of Dispersion
Home Theater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Electrostatic Advantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Full Range Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
MartinLogan Exclusives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
XStat™ Transducer
CLS™ (Curvilinear Line Source)
Generation 2 Diaphragm
The lightning bolt flash with arrowhead symbol, within
an equilateral triangle, is intended to alert the user to
the presence of uninsulated “dangerous voltage” within
the product’s enclosure that may be of sufficient magnitude to constitute a risk of electric shock.
MicroPerf Stator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Vacuum Bonding
AirFrame™ Technology
PoweredForce™ Bass Technology
Electrostatic Loudspeaker History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Frequently Asked Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Troubleshooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Dimensional Drawings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
General Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Warranty and Registration
Serial Number
Glossary of Audio Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
In accordance with the European Union WEEE (Waste
Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive effective
August 13, 2005, we would like to notify you that this
product may contain regulated materials which upon
disposal, according to the WEEE directive, require special reuse and recycling processing.
For this reason MartinLogan has arranged with our distributors in European Union member nations to collect and
recycle this product at no cost to you. To find your local
distributor please contact the dealer from whom you purchased this product, email or visit
the distributor locator at
Please note, only this product itself falls under the WEEE
directive. When disposing of packaging and other related
shipping materials we encourage you to recycle these
items through the normal channels.
The exclamation point within an equilateral triangle is
intended to alert the user to the presence of important
operating and maintenance (servicing) instructions in
the literature accompanying the appliance.
WARNING! Do not use your Ethos loudspeakers outside of the country of original sale—voltage requirements
vary by country. Improper voltage can cause damage that will be potentially expensive to repair. The Ethos is
shipped to authorized MartinLogan distributors with the correct power supply for use in the country of intended
sale. A list of authorized distributors can be accessed at or by emailing
We know you are eager to hear your Ethos speakers, so
this section is provided to allow fast and easy set up. Once
you have them operational, please take the time to read,
in depth, the rest of the information in this manual. It will
give you perspective on how to attain the greatest possible performance from this most exacting transducer.
If you should experience any difficulties in the setup or
operation of your Ethos speakers, please refer to the Room
Acoustics, Placement or Operation sections of this manual.
Should you encounter a persistent problem that cannot
be resolved, please contact your authorized MartinLogan
dealer. They will provide you with the appropriate technical
analysis to alleviate the situation.
• Hazardous voltages exist inside—do not remove cover.
• Refer servicing to a qualified technician.
• To prevent fire or shock hazard, do not expose this module to moisture.
• Turn amplifier off and unplug speaker should any abnormal conditions occur.
• Turn amplifier off before making or breaking any signal connections!
• Do not operate if there is any visual damage
to the electrostatic panel element.
• Do not drive speaker beyond its rated power.
• The power cord should not be installed, removed, or left detached from the speaker while the other end is connected to an AC power source.
• No candles or other sources of open flame should be placed on the speaker.
• No liquids either in glasses or vases should be placed on speaker.
• Speaker should not be exposed to dripping or splashing liquids.
• The terminals marked with the lightning bolt symbol should be connected by an instructed person or by way of ready made terminals.
• The power cord should remain readily operable should any abnormal conditions occur.
Step 1: Unpacking
Remove your new Ethos speakers from their packaging.
Step 2: Placement
Place each Ethos at least two feet from the back wall and
angle them slightly toward your listening area. This is a
good place to start. Please see the Placement section
(pages 9–11) of this manual for more details.
Step 3: Power Connection (AC) (see warning)
Your Ethos speakers require AC power to energize their
electrostatic cells. Using the AC power cords provided, plug
them in first to the AC power receptacle on the rear panel
of the speaker, making sure that you have made a firm
connection, and then to a wall outlet. Please see AC Power
Connection (pages 8) of this manual for more details.
Step 4: Signal Connection
Use the best speaker cables you can. Higher quality cables,
available from your specialty dealer, are recommended
and will give you superior performance. Spade connectors
are suggested for optimum contact and ease of installation.
Attach your speaker cables to the signal input section on the
rear panel. Be consistent when connecting speaker leads to
the terminals on the back of the Ethos. Take great care to
assign the same color to the (+) terminal on both the left
and right channels. If bass is nonexistent and you cannot
discern a tight, coherent image, you may need to reverse
the (+) and (–) leads on one side to bring the system into
proper polarity.
For detailed setup instructions, please turn to the Controls
and Connections section (Page 7–8) of this manual for
more details.
Step 5: Listen and Enjoy
Now, you may turn on your system and enjoy!
Installation in Brief
Congratulations! You have invested in one of the
world’s premier loudspeaker systems.
The MartinLogan Ethos represents an advanced combination of sonic technologies establishing an unprecedented
direction for audiophile design. The result of years of
research, the new Ethos™ hybrid electrostatic loudspeaker features XStat™ technology, dramatically reducing
cabinet size, yet establishing new standards for efficiency,
dynamics and precision in a floorstanding loudspeaker.
Housed within a radical, ultra-rigid extruded aluminum
AirFrame™, the Ethos’s™ new CLS XStat™ transducer
builds upon the legacy of MartinLogan’s electrostatic heritage with the incorporation of advanced vacuum bonding
and MicroPerf stat panels, providing even greater efficiency and precision. The integration electrical interface
technology developed by MartinLogan’s CLX™ engineering team extends effortless dynamics and purity, resulting
in even higher sonic standards of efficiency and precision.
Featuring an advanced crossover topology derived from
the CLX™ loudspeaker, each Ethos™ crossover utilizes
precision audiophile-grade polypropylene capacitors
and high-purity air-core coils. This advanced crossover
topology flawlessly preserves microscopic subtleties while
effortlessly handling the broadest range of dynamics contained within even the most demanding sonic source.
The materials in your new Ethos speakers are of the highest quality and will provide years of enduring enjoyment
and deepening respect. The cabinetry is constructed
from the highest quality composite material for acoustical
integrity and features real wood veneers.
Through rigorous testing, the curvilinear electrostatic
panel has proven itself to be one of the most durable and
reliable transducers available today. Fabricated from a
custom tool punched high-grade steel, the patented
panel is then coated with a special polymer that is applied
via a proprietary electrostatic bonding process. This panel
assembly houses a membrane just 0.0005 of an inch thick.
Ruggedly constructed and insulated, the panel is rated to
easily handle up to 250 watts of continuous power with
no deleterious effects.
The other sections of your User’s Manual explain in
detail the operation of your Ethos speakers and the philosophy applied to their design. A clear understanding of
your speakers will insure that you obtain maximum performance and pleasure from this most exacting transducer. It
has been designed and constructed to give you years of
trouble-free listening enjoyment.
Bass Control Knob
The Bass Control knob significantly adjusts the level under
100Hz by ±10dB. This is an area where peaks and dips of
different amplitudes often manifest in real environments.
This setting is dependent on room size and construction,
system configuration and personal preference.
ESL Signal Input
These binding posts provides a place to connect the
signal that drives the XStat™ ESL transducer and the
PoweredForce™ woofer.
Status Light
The Ethos is equipped with a multi-color LED to indicate
the current status of the PoweredForce™ woofer. The following list explains the meaning of the different colors:
No color: No power. The Ethos is not plugged in.
Blue: Play mode. This indicates the Ethos detects an audio
signal and has automatically switched into play mode.
Red: Standby mode. This indicates the Ethos has detected no audio signal for approximately 15 minutes and has
automatically switched into standby mode.
Flashing Red: Initializing or Safe mode. This indicates that
the Ethos is initializing. This also indicates if the Ethos’
temperature has exceeded nominal operating range. If
the Ethos overheats, please allow the Ethos to cool and
automatically reset.
Figure 1. Ethos connection and control panel.
AC Power Connection
Because your MartinLogan Ethos speakers use an internal power supply to energize their electrostatic cells and
PoweredForce™ woofer, they must be connected to an
AC power source.
Coontrols and Connections
AC Power Connection
Because your MartinLogan Ethos speakers use an internal power supply to energize their electrostatic cells and
PoweredForce™ woofer, they must be connected to
an AC power source. For this reason they are provided
with the proper IEC standard power cords. These cords
should be firmly inserted into the AC power receptacles
on the rear connection panel of the speakers, then to any
convenient AC wall outlet. The Ethos’s integrate a signal
sensing power supply which will switch off after five minutes of no music signal, and requires less than two seconds
to recharge the panels when a music signal is present.
Your Ethos speakers are wired for the power service supplied in the country of original consumer sale. The AC
power rating applicable to a particular unit is specified
both on the packing carton and on the serial number
plate attached to the speaker. If you remove your Ethos
speakers from the country of original sale, be certain that
the AC power supplied in any subsequent location is
suitable before connecting and operating the speakers.
Substantially impaired performance or severe damage
may occur to an Ethos speaker if operation is attempted
from an incorrect AC power source.
WARNING! The power cord should not be
installed, removed, or left detached from the
speaker while the other end is connected to an
AC power source.
Signal Connection
Use the best speaker cables you can. The length and type
of speaker cable used in your system will have an audible
effect. Under no circumstance should a wire of gauge
higher (thinner) than #16 be used. In general, the longer the length used, the greater the necessity of a lower
gauge, and the lower the gauge, the better the sound,
with diminishing returns setting in around #8 to #12.
A variety of cables are available whose manufacturers claim
better performance than standard heavy gauge wire. We
have verified this in many cases, and the improvements
available are often more noticeable than the differences
between wires of different gauge. The effects of cables may
be masked if equipment is not of the highest quality.
Coontrols and Connections
Connections are done at the signal input section on the
rear electronics panel of the Ethos. Use spade connectors
for optimum contact and ease of installation. Hand tighten the binding posts, but do not overtighten—do not use
a tool to tighten the binding posts.
Be consistent when connecting the speaker cables to the
signal input terminals. Take care to assign the same color
cable lead to the (+) terminal on both the left and right
channel speakers. If bass is nonexistent and you cannot
discern a tight, coherent image, you may need to reverse
the (+) and (–) leads on one speaker to bring the system
into proper polarity.
WARNING! Turn your amplifier off before
making or breaking any signal connections!
When you first begin to play your Ethos speakers, they
will sound a bit bass shy. This is due to the high quality,
long-life components used in our woofer. Our custom
made, butyl surround woofer requires approximately
72 hours of break-in at 90 dB (moderate listening levels)
before any critical listening. The break-in requirements
of the crossover components (and, to a lesser degree, the
stator) are equivalent.
Listening Position
By now your speakers should be placed approximately
two to three feet from the front wall, the wall in front of the
listening position, and about two feet from the side walls.
Your sitting distance should be further than the distance
between the speakers themselves. You are trying to attain
the impression of good center imaging and stage width.
There is no exact distance between speakers and listener,
but there is a relationship. In long rooms, naturally, that
relationship changes. The distance between the speakers
will be far less than the distance from you to the speaker
system. However, in a wide room, you will still find that
if the distance from the listener to the speakers becomes
smaller than the distance between the speakers themselves, the image will no longer focus in the center.
Now that you have positioned your speaker system,
spend time listening. Wait to make any major changes in
your initial setup for the next few days as the speaker system itself will change subtly in its sound. Over the first 72
hours of play the actual tonal quality will change slightly
with deeper bass and more spacious highs resulting. After
a few days of listening you can begin to make refinements
and hear the differences.
The Wall Behind the Listener
Near-field reflections can also occur from your back wall (the
wall behind the listening position). If your listening position
is close to the back wall, these reflections can cause problems and confuse imaging quality. It is better for the wall
behind you to be absorptive than to be reflective. If you
have a hard back wall and your listening position is close to
it, experiment with devices that will absorb information (i.e.
wall hangings and possibly even sound absorbing panels).
The Wall Behind the Speakers
The front surface, the wall behind the speakers, should
not be extremely hard or soft. A pane of glass will cause
reflections, brightness and confused imaging. Curtains,
drapery and objects such as bookshelves can be placed
along the wall to diffuse an overly reflective surface. A
standard sheet rock or textured wall is generally an adequate surface if the rest of the room is not too bright and
hard. Walls can also be too soft. If the entire front wall
consists of heavy drapery, your system can sound dull.
You may hear muted music with little ambience. Harder
surfaces will actually help in this case.
The front surface ideally should be one long wall without
any doors or openings. If you have openings, the reflection
and bass characteristics from each channel can be different.
The Side Walls
A good rule of thumb is to have the side walls as far
away from the speaker sides as possible. However,
MartinLogan’s unique controlled dispersion electrostatic
transducer inherently minimizes side wall reflections—
a position as little as two feet from the side walls often
proves adequate. Sometimes, if the system is bright or the
imaging is not to your liking, and the side walls are very
near, try putting curtains or softening material directly to
the edge of each speaker. An ideal side wall, however, is
no side wall at all.
Toe-in—Now you can begin to experiment. First begin
by toeing your speakers in towards the listening area and
then facing them straight into the room. You will notice
the tonal balance and imaging changing. You will notice
that as the speakers are toed-out, the system becomes
slightly brighter than when toed-in. This design gives you
the flexibility to compensate for a soft or bright room.
Generally it is found that the ideal listening position is
with the speakers slightly toed-in so that you are listening
to the inner third of the curved transducer section. A simple, yet effective method to achieve proper toe involves
sitting at the listening position, holding a flashlight under
your chin and pointing it at each speaker. The reflection
of the flashlight should be within the inner third of the
panel (see figure 3).
Tilting the Speakers Backwards and Forwards—As the
diagrams show in the Dispersion Interactions section of
this manual (page 14), the vertical dispersion is directional
above and below the stator panel itself. In some instances,
if you are sitting close to the floor, slight forward tilting of
the speakers can enhance clarity and precision.
Imaging—In their final location, your Ethos’s can have
a stage width somewhat wider than the speakers themselves. On well recorded music, the instruments can
extend beyond the edges of each speaker (left and right),
yet a vocalist should appear directly in the middle. The
size of the instruments should be neither too large nor
too small, subject to the intent and results of each unique
audio recording.
Additionally, you should find good clues as to stage
depth. Make sure that the vertical alignment, distance from
the front wall, and toe-in is exactly the same for both
speakers. This will greatly enhance the quality of your
Bass Response—Your bass response should neither be
one note nor should it be too heavy. It should extend
to the deepest organ passages and yet be tight and
well defined. Kick-drums should be tight and percussive—string bass notes should be uniform and consistent
throughout the entirety of the run without booming or
•Tightness and extension of bass response
•Width of the stage
•Pinpoint focusing of imaging
Once you have determined the best of all three of these
considerations, you will have your best speaker location.
The Extra “Tweak”
This extra “tweak” may be useful when your speakers
are placed in a dedicated listening room. Use the following procedure and measurements for your speakers
placement to see what can happen to your system’s performance. These formulas will help determine optimum
placement of your speakers to minimize standing waves.
1 Distance from the front wall (in front of the listening
position) to the center of the curvilinear transducer: To
determine distance from the front wall, measure the
Tonal Balance—Voices should be natural and full and
cymbals should be detailed and articulate yet not bright
and piercing, pianos should have a nice transient characteristic and deep tonal registers. If you cannot attain
these virtues, read the section on Room Acoustics (pages
12–13). This will give you clues on how to get closer to
these ideal virtues.
Final Placement
After the full break in period, obtaining good wall treatments, and the proper toe-in angle, begin to experiment
with the distance from the wall behind the speakers.
Move your speaker slightly forward into the room. What
happened to the bass response? What happened to the
imaging? If the imaging is more open and spacious and
the bass response is tightened, that is a superior position. Move the speakers back six inches from the initial
setup position and again listen to the imaging and bass
response. There will be a position where you will have
pinpoint imaging and good bass response. That position
is the point of the optimal placement from the front wall.
Now experiment with placing the speakers farther apart.
As the speakers are positioned farther apart, listen again,
not so much for bass response but for stage width and
good pinpoint focusing. Your ideal listening position
and speaker position will be determined by:
2. Finalheight
and multiply the figure by 0.618
Enjoy Yourself
(i.e. ceiling height (inches) x 0.618 = the distance from
the front wall to the center of the curvilinear transducer).
2 Distance from the side-walls to the center of the curvilinear transducer: To determine distance from the
side walls, measure the width of your room in inches
and divide by 18. Next, multiply the quotient by 5 (i.e.
room width in inches / 18 x 5 = the distance from the
side-walls to the center of the curvilinear transducer)
The Ethos is a very refined speaker and benefits from care
in setup. With these tips in mind you will find, over your
months of listening, that small changes can result in measurable differences. As you live with your speakers, do
not be afraid to experiment with their positioning until
you find the optimal relationship between your room
and speaker system that gives to you the best results. Your
efforts will be rewarded.
Figure 3. Flashlight
toe-in technique.
Room Acoustics
Your Room
This is one of those areas that requires both a little background to understand and some time and experimentation
to obtain the best performance from your system.
Your room is actually a component and an important part
of your system. This component is a very large variable
and can dramatically add to, or subtract from, a great
musical experience.
All sound is composed of waves. Each note has its own
wave size, with the lower bass notes literally encompassing
from 10’ feet to as much as 40’ feet. Your room participates in this wave experience like a three dimensional pool
with waves reflecting and becoming enhanced depending
on the size of the room and the types of surfaces in the room.
Remember, your audio system can literally generate all of
the information required to recreate a musical event in
time, space, and tonal balance. Ideally, your room should
not contribute to that information. However, every room
does contribute to the sound to some degree. Fortunately
MartinLogan had designed the Ethos to minimize these
Let’s talk about a few important terms before we begin.
Standing Waves
The parallel walls in your room will reinforce certain notes
to the point that they will sound louder than the rest of
the audio spectrum and cause “one note bass”, “boomy
bass” or “bloated bass”. For instance, 100Hz represents a
10 feet wavelength. Your room will reinforce that specific
frequency if one of the dominant dimensions is 10 feet.
Large objects in the room such as cabinetry or furniture
can help to minimize this potential problem. Some serious “audiophiles” will literally build a special room with
no parallel walls just to help eliminate this phenomenon.
Reflective Surfaces (near-field reflections)
The hard surfaces of your room, particularly if close to your
speaker system, will reflect some waves back into the room
over and over again, confusing the clarity and imaging of
your system. The smaller sound waves are mostly affected
here, and occur in the mid and high frequencies. This is
where voice and frequencies as high as the cymbals occur.
Room Acoustics
Resonant Surfaces and Objects
All of the surfaces and objects in your room are subject to
the frequencies generated by your system. Much like an
instrument, they will vibrate and “carry on” in syncopation
with the music, and contribute in a negative way to the
music. Ringing, boominess, and even brightness can occur
simply because they are “singing along” with your music.
Resonant Cavities
Small alcoves or closet type areas in your room can be
chambers that create their own “standing waves” and can
drum their own “one note” sounds.
Clap your hands. Can you hear an instant echo respond
back? You have near-field reflections. Stomp your foot
on the floor. Can you hear a “boom”? You have standing
waves or large panel resonances such as a poorly supported wall. Put your head in a small cavity area and talk
loudly. Can you hear a booming? You’ve just experienced
a cavity resonance.
Rules of Thumb
Hard vs. Soft Surfaces
If the front or back wall of your listening room is soft, it
might benefit you to have a hard or reflective wall in
opposition. The ceiling and floor should follow the same
basic guideline as well. However, the side walls should be
roughly the same in order to deliver a focused image.
This rule suggests that a little reflection is good. As a matter
of fact, some rooms can be so “over damped” with carpeting, drapes and sound absorbers that the music system
can sound dull and lifeless. On the other hand, rooms can
be so hard that the system can sound like a gymnasium
with too much reflection and brightness. The point is that
balance is the optimum environment.
Breakup Objects
Objects with complex shapes, such as bookshelves, cabinetry
and multiple shaped walls can help break up those sonic
gremlins and diffuse any dominant frequencies.
Solid Coupling
Your loudspeaker system generates frequency vibrations or
waves into the room. This is how it creates sound. These
vibrations vary from 20 per second to 20,000 per sec-
ond. If your speaker system is not securely planted on the
floor or solid surface, it can shake as it produces sound
and, consequently, the sound can be compromised. If
your speaker is sitting on the carpet and only foot gliders
are used, the bass can be ill defined and even boomy. The
use of spikes is recommended to insure secured footing for
your speakers. (See ‘Solid Footing’ for spike information
and installation instructions).
Dipolar Speakers and Your Room
the floor and, consequently, bass will tighten and imaging will become more coherent and detailed. It is best not
to implement the spikes, however, until you are secure in
the positioning, as the spikes can damage the floor if the
speaker is moved. The feet that attach to the bottom of
the Ethos use a common 3/8- 16 thread.
Spike Installation Instructions:
1 Carefully lay your speaker on its side to gain access to
the bottom.­
MartinLogan electrostatic loudspeakers are known as dipolar radiators. This means that they produce sound from
both their fronts and their backs. Consequently, musical
information is reflected by the wall behind them and may
arrive, either in or out of step, with the information produced by the front of the speaker.
2 Remove existing feet or spikes. Thread new spikes into
holes and screw them in all of the way. If the speaker
does not sit level loosen one spike until level is achieved.
The low frequencies can either be enhanced or nulled by
the position from the front wall. Your Ethos’s have been
designed to be placed two to three feet from the front
wall (the wall in front of the listening position) to obtain
the best results; however, your room may see things differently. So listening to the difference of the bass response
as a result of the changes in distance from the front wall
can allow you to get the best combination of depth of
bass and tonal balance.
4 Right the speaker.
Now that you know about reflective surfaces and resonant objects, you can see how the midrange and high
frequencies can be affected. The timing of the initial wave
as it radiates to your ears, and then the reflected information as it arrives at your ears later in time, can result in
confusion of the precious timing information that carries
the clues to imaging. Consequently the result is blurred
imaging and excessive brightness. Soft walls, curtains, wall
hangings, or sound dampeners (your dealer can give you
good information here) can be effective if these negative
conditions occur.
3 Tighten the jam nut snugly by hand. Do not over tighten
the nut.
Caution: Make sure your hands and any cabling are
clear of the spikes. Do not slide speaker as spikes are
sharp and can damage your floor or carpet.
5 Adjust to level by rotating spikes. Tighten the jam nut
securely when satisfied that speaker is level.
Caution: Walking the speaker may result in a broken spike.
Solid Footing
After living and experimenting with your Ethos’s, you may
want to use ETC (energy transfer coupler) spikes supplied with the Ethos (see figure 4). With the use of these
spikes, the Ethos will become more firmly planted on
Figure 4. The ETC™ Spike.
Room Acoustics
Dispersion Interactions
Controlled Horizontal Dispersion
Your Ethos’s launch a 30 degree horizontal dispersion pattern. This horizontal dispersion field gives a choice of good
seats for the performance while minimizing interactions
with side walls (see figure 9). Make sure both speakers
stand exactly at the same vertical angle, otherwise the
image can be skewed or poorly defined. The wave launch
of both speakers is extremely accurate in both the time
and spectral domain. Consequently, small refined adjustments can result in noticeable sonic improvements.
Controlled Vertical Dispersion
As you can see from the illustrations, your Ethos speakers
project a controlled dispersion pattern (see figure 10). Each
Ethos is a 44 inch line source beginning 15 inches above
the base. This vertical dispersion profile minimizes interactions with the floor and the ceiling.
Figure 5– 6. As can be seen here, point source
concepts invite a great deal of room interaction.
While delivering good frequency response to a
large listening audience, imaging is consequently confused and blurred.
Figure 7–8. Even though they suffer from
“venetian blind” effect, angled multiple panel
speakers can deliver good imaging, but only
to specific spots in the listening area.
Figure 9–10. A controlled 30 degree cylindrical wave-front, a MartinLogan exclusive, offers
optimal sound distribution with minimal room
interaction. The result is solid imaging with a
wide listening area.
Dispersion Interactions
Three Major Types of Dispersion
It is a known fact that as the sound wave becomes progressively smaller than the transducer producing it,
the dispersion of that wave becomes more and more
narrow, or directional. This fact occurs as long as the
transducer is a flat surface. Large flat panel speakers
exhibit venetian blind effects due to this phenomenon.
This is one reason why many manufacturers opt for small
drivers (i.e. tweeters and midrange) to approximate
what is known as a point source wave launch.
Historically, most attempts to achieve smooth dispersion
from large flat panel transducers resulted in trade-offs.
After exhaustive testing of many different methods, we
conceived an elegantly simple, yet intensely hand crafted process. By curving the radiating surface, we create
the effect of a horizontal arc. This allows the engineers at
MartinLogan to control the high frequency dispersion pattern of our transducers.
Home Theater
It had long been the practice of stereo buffs to connect their
television to a stereo system. The advantage was the use of
the larger speakers and more powerful amplifier of the
stereo system. Even though the sound was greatly improved,
it was still mono and limited by the broadcast signal.
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s two new home movie
formats became widely available to the public: VCR and
laser disc.
By 1985, both formats had developed into very high quality
audio/video sources. In fact, the sonic performance of some
video formats exceeded audio-only formats. Now, with
theater-quality sound available at home, the only element
missing was the "surround sound" presentation found in
movie houses.
Fortunately, Dolby and DTS encoded movies (including
almost all films) have the same surround sound information encoded on home releases as the theatrical release.
All that is required to retrieve this information is a decoder
and additional speakers and amps to reproduce it.
Surround Speakers
We recommend (along with the film industry) that the surround speakers play down to at least 80 Hz. Surround
speakers contain the information that makes it appear
that planes are flying over your head. Some may suggest
that this is the place to save money and purchase a small,
inexpensive speaker. If you choose to do so, be prepared
to upgrade in the future as discrete multi-channel digital
encoding is proliferating rapidly and the demands on surround speakers have increased.
With any good surround system you will need one or
more high-quality subwoofers (the .1 in a 5.1 channel
surround system). Most movie soundtracks contain large
amounts of bass information as part of the special effects.
Good subwoofers will provide a foundation for the rest of
the system.
Home theater is a complex purchase and we recommend
that you consult your local MartinLogan dealer, as they
are well versed in this subject.
Each piece of a surround system can be purchased separately. Take your time and buy quality. No one has ever
complained that the movie was too real. The following list
and descriptions will give you only a brief outline of the
responsibilities and demands placed on each speaker.
Front Left and Front Right
If these speakers will be the same two used for your stereo
playback, they should be of very high quality and able to
play loudly (over 102 dB) and reproduce bass below 80 Hz.
Center Channel
This is the most important speaker in a home theater
system, as almost all of the dialogue and a large portion of
the front speaker information is reproduced by the center channel. It is important that the center speaker be
extremely accurate and mate well the front speakers,
and that it is recommended for use as a center speaker.
This is not the place to cut corners.
Figure 11. Ethos speakers as front channels, the Stage as the center channel, Script i speakers as side surround (effects) channels, and Descent
subwoofers as 0.1 (effects) channel.
Home Theater
Electrostatic Advantages
How can sound be reproduced by something that you are
able to see through? Electrostatic energy makes this possible.
Where the world of traditional loudspeaker technology
deals with cones, domes, diaphragms and ribbons that
are moved with magnetism, the world of electrostatic
loudspeakers deals with charged electrons attracting and
repelling each other.
To fully understand the electrostatic concept, some background information will be helpful. Remember when you
learned in a science or physics class that like charges repel
each other and opposite charges attract each other? Well,
this principle is the foundation of the electrostatic concept.
An electrostatic transducer consists of three pieces: stators, the diaphragm and spacers (see figure 12). The
diaphragm is what actually moves to excite the air and
create music. The stator’s job is to remain stationary,
hence the word stator, and to provide a reference point
for the moving diaphragm. The spacers provide the diaphragm with a fixed distance in which to move between
the stators.
As your amplifier sends music signals to an electrostatic
speaker, these signals are changed into two high-voltage
signals that are equal in strength but opposite in polarity.
These high voltage signals are then applied to the stators.
The resulting electrostatic field, created by the opposing
high voltage on the stators, works simultaneously with
and against the diaphragm, consequently moving it back
and forth, producing music. This technique is known as
Figure 12. Cut away view of an XStat™ electrostatic transducer. Notice
the simplicity due to minimal parts usage.
Electrostatic Advantages
push-pull operation and is a major contributor to the sonic
purity of the electrostatic concept due to its exceptional
linearity and low distortion.
Since the diaphragm of an electrostatic speaker is uniformly driven over its entire area, it can be extremely light and
flexible. This allows it to be very responsive to transients,
thus perfectly tracing the music signal. As a result, great
delicacy, nuance and clarity is possible. When you look
at the problems of traditional electromagnetic drivers,
you can easily see why this is so beneficial. The cones and
domes which are used in traditional electromagnetic drivers cannot be driven uniformly because of their design.
Cones are driven only at the apex. Domes are driven at
their perimeter. As a result, the rest of the cone or dome
is just “along for the ride”. The very concept of these
drivers requires that the cone or dome be perfectly rigid,
damped and massless. Unfortunately, these conditions are
not available in our world today.
To make these cones and domes move, all electromagnetic drivers must use voice coils wound on formers,
spider assemblies, and surrounds to keep the cone or
dome in position (see figure 13). These pieces, when
combined with the high mass of the cone or dome materials used, make it an extremely complex unit with many
weaknesses and potential for failure. These faults contribute to the high distortion products found in these drivers
and is a tremendous disadvantage when you are trying
to change motion as quickly and as accurately as a loudspeaker must (40,000 times per second!).
Figure 13. Cut away view of a typical moving coil driver. Notice the complexity due to the high number of parts.
Full Range Operation
Another significant advantage of MartinLogan’s exclusive
transducer technology reveals itself when you look at examples of other loudspeaker products on the market today.
The Ethos uses no crossover networks above 375 Hz
because they are not needed. The Ethos consists of a single,
seamless electrostatic membrane reproducing all frequencies above 375 Hz simultaneously. How is this possible?
First we must understand that music is not composed
of separate high, mid and low frequency pieces. In fact,
music is comprised of a single complex waveform with all
frequencies interacting simultaneously.
The electrostatic transducer of the Ethos essentially acts
as an exact opposite of the microphones used to record
the original event. A microphone, which is a single working element, transforms acoustic energy into an electrical
signal that can be amplified or preserved by some type
of storage media. The Ethos’s electrostatic transducer
transforms electrical energy from your amplifier back into
acoustical energy.
Due to the limitations of electromagnetic drivers, no single
unit can reproduce the full range of frequencies. Instead,
these drivers must be designed to operate within a nar-
row, fixed bandwidth of the frequency range, and then
combined electrically so that the sum of the parts equals
the total signal. While nice in theory, we must deal with
real-world conditions.
In order to use multiple drivers, a crossover network
is enlisted to attempt a division of the complex musical
signal into the separate pieces (usually highs, mids, and
lows) that each specific driver was designed to handle.
Unfortunately, due to the phase relationships that occur
within all crossover networks and during the acoustical
recombination process, nonlinearities and severe degradation of the music signal take place in the ear’s most
critical zone (see figure 14).
The Ethos’s electrostatic transducer can single-handedly
reproduce all frequencies above 375 Hz simultaneously.
You have in one transducer the ability to handle in elegant simplicity the critical frequencies above 375 Hz.
The crossover phase aberrations that are associated with
traditional tweeter, midrange, and woofer systems are
eliminated. The result is a dramatic improvement in imaging and staging performance due to the minutely accurate
phase relationship of the full-range panel wave launch.
Figure 14. This diagram illustrates how a conventional
speaker system must use multiple crossover networks
that have negative effects on the musical performance.
Electrostatic Advantages
MartinLogan Exclusives
XStat™ Transducer
XStat™ transducers incorporate a myriad of technology and
design innovations including CLS™, MicroPerf, Generation
2 Diaphragms, ClearSpars™, and Vacuum Bonding.
CLS™ (Curvilinear Line Source)
Since the beginning of audio, achieving smooth dispersion
has been a problem for all designers. Large panel transducers present unique challenge because the larger the panel,
the more directional the dispersion pattern becomes.
Wide range electrostats have long been one of the most
problematic transducers because they attain their full
range capabilities via a large surface area. It looked as if
they were in direct conflict to smooth dispersion and
almost every attempt to correct this resulted in either poor
dispersion or a serious compromise in sound quality.
After extensive research, MartinLogan engineers discovered
an elegantly simple solution to achieve a smooth pattern of
dispersion without degrading sound quality. By curving the
horizontal plane of the electrostatic transducer, a controlled
horizontal dispersion pattern could be achieved, yet the
MartinLogan Exclusives
purity of the almost massless electrostatic diaphragm
remained uncompromised. After creating this technology,
MartinLogan developed the production capability to bring
it out of the laboratory and into the market place. You will
find this proprietary MartinLogan technology used in all
of our electrostatic products. It is one of the many reasons
behind our reputation for high quality sound with practical usability. This is also why you see the unique “see
through” cylindrical shape of MartinLogan products.
Generation 2 Diaphragm
Ethos’s diaphragm employs an extremely sophisticated
conductive coating applied to the polymer surface at an
atomic level using a plasma bonding process. A proprietary
compound is driven into the surface of the polymer film
in an oxygen free argon chamber. This process allows
extremely uniform surface resistivity characteristics, an
optically transparent surface, and a nearly massless diaphragm. This uniform surface resistivity controls the
electrostatic charge on the diaphragm surface and regulates
its migration. As a result, no discharging or “arcing” can occur.
MicroPerf Stator
Sleek. Compact. MicroPerf stator technology, featured in
all XStat™ transducers, reveals more open playable area
in each panel, offering increased performance from even
more compact stat panels. It is significant to note that the
XStat™ transducer in the radical new Ethos loudspeaker
supports the bandwidth and dynamics associated with
traditional electrostatic panels nearly twice its size.
Vacuum Bonding
To achieve the power, precision, and strength of the
XStat™ transducer, two insulated high-purity carbon steel
stators along with a proprietary plasma bonded diaphragm
and ClearSpar™ spacers are fused into a curved geometry
with an aerospace adhesive whose strength exceeds that
of welding. Our proprietary Vacuum Bonding process
guarantees uniform diaphragm tensioning and extremely
precise construction tolerances, resulting in unequivocal
precision, linearity and efficiency.
AirFrame™ Technology
Ultra-rigid extruded aerospace grade aluminum alloy
AirFrame™ technology rigidifies and secures the
XStat™ electrostatic panel to the woofer cabinet while
at the same time providing sonic and electrical isolation. Advanced AirFrame™ technology maximizes the
electrostatic panels playable surface area and dipole dispersion pattern while minimizing potentially acoustically
destructive intermodulated distortion caused by spurious
vibrations and resonance. The result? Ultimate imaging
capability, low-level detail resolution, improved efficiency
and overall accuracy.
PoweredForce™ Bass Technology
Through integrated engineering of advanced amplification
and transducer designs, PoweredForce™ bass technology results in usable bass extension down to 34Hz,
immense bass dynamics and precision beyond the reach
of traditional massive box systems—all from an enclosure not much larger than a case of wine! Additionally,
low-frequency equalization capabilities, integrated into
PoweredForce™ technology, allow precision calibration
for optimal room integration.
MartinLogan Exclusives
In the late 1800’s, any loudspeaker was considered exotic.
Today, most of us take the wonders of sound reproduction
for granted.
After a short time, Rice and Kellogg had narrowed the field
of “contestants” down to the cone and the electrostat. The
outcome would dictate the way that future generations
would refer to loudspeakers as being either “conventional”
or “exotic”.
It was 1880 before Thomas Edison had invented the
first phonograph. This was a horn-loaded diaphragm
that was excited by a playback stylus. In 1898, Sir Oliver
Bell Laboratory’s electrostat was something to behold. This
Lodge invented a cone loudspeaker, which he referred to
enormous bipolar speaker was as big as a door. The diaas a “bellowing telephone”, that was very similar to the
phragm, which was beginning to rot, was made of a pig
conventional cone loudspeaker drivers that we know today.
intestine that was covered with fine gold leaf to conduct
However, Lodge had no intention for his device to reprothe audio signal.
duce music because in 1898 there was no way to amplify
When Rice and Kellogg began playing the new electrically
an electrical signal! As a result, his speaker had nothing to
cut records through the electrostat,
offer over the acoustical gramophones
Rice and Kellogg had
they were stunned and impressed. The
of the period. It was not until 1906
that Dr. Lee DeForrest invented the
electrostat performed splendidly. They
narrowed the field of
had never heard instrumental timbres
triode vacuum tube. Before this, an
reproduced with such realism. This syselectrical signal could not be amplified. The loudspeaker, as we know it “contestants down” to the tem sounded like real music rather than
the honking, squawking rendition of the
today, should have ensued then, but
cone and the electrostat.
acoustic gramophone. Immediately, they
it did not. Amazingly, it was almost
knew they were on to something big.
twenty years before this would occur.
The acoustic gramophone was destined to become obsolete.
In 1921, the electrically cut phonograph record became
Due to Rice and Kellogg’s enthusiasm, they devoted a
a reality. This method of recording was far superior to the
considerable amount of time researching the electrostatic
mechanically cut record and possessed almost 30 dB of
design. However, they soon encountered the same difdynamic range. The acoustical gramophone couldn’t begin
ficulties that even present designers face; planar speakers
to reproduce all of the information on this new disc. As a
require a very large surface area to reproduce the lower freresult, further developments in loudspeakers were needed
quencies of the audio spectrum. Because the management
to cope with this amazing new recording medium.
at Bell Labs considered large speakers unacceptable, Rice
and Kellogg’s work on electrostatics would never be put to
By 1923, Bell Telephone Laboratories made the decision
use for a commercial product. Reluctantly, they advised the
to develop a complete musical playback system consisting
Bell management to go with the cone. For the next 30 years,
of an electronic phonograph and a loudspeaker to take
advantage of the new recording medium. Bell Labs
the electrostatic design lay dormant.
assigned the project to two young engineers, C. W. Rice
and E. W. Kellogg.
During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, consumer audio
almost died. The new electrically amplified loudspeaker
Rice and Kellogg had a well equipped laboratory at their
never gained acceptance, as most people continued to
disposal. This lab possessed a vacuum tube amplifier
use their old Victrola-style acoustic gramophones. Prior to
with an unheard of 200 watts, a large selection of the
the end of World War II, consumer audio saw little, if any,
new electrically cut phonograph records and a variety of
progress. However, during the late 1940’s, audio expeloudspeaker prototypes that Bell Labs had been collecting
rienced a great rebirth. Suddenly there was tremendous
over the past decade. Among these were Lodge’s cone, a
interest in audio products, and with that, a great demand
speaker that used compressed air, a corona discharge (plasfor improved audio components. No sooner had the cone
ma) speaker, and an electrostatic speaker.
become established than it was challenged by products
developed during this new rebirth.
Electrostatic History
In 1947, Arthur Janszen, a young Naval engineer, took part
in a research project for the Navy. The Navy was interested
in developing a better instrument for testing microphone
arrays. The test instrument needed an extremely accurate
speaker, but Janszen found that the cone speakers of the
period were too nonlinear in phase and amplitude response
to meet his criteria. Janszen believed that electrostats were
inherently more linear than cones, so he built a model using
a thin plastic diaphragm treated with a conductive coating.
This model confirmed Janszen’s beliefs, for it exhibited
remarkable phase and amplitude linearity.
was very directional and its power handling was limited to
around 70 watts. As a result, many people continued to use
box speakers with cones.
In the early 1960’s Arthur Janszen joined forces with the
KLH loudspeaker company, and together they introduced
the KLH 9. Due to the large size of the KLH 9, it did not
have as many sonic limitations as the Quad. The KLH 9
could play markedly louder and lower in frequency than
the Quad ESL. Thus a rivalry was born.
Janszen continued to develop electrostatic designs. He
Janszen was so excited with the results that he continued
was instrumental in the design of the Koss Model One,
research on the electrostatic speaker on his own time. He
the Acoustech and the Dennesen speakers. Roger West,
soon thought of insulating the stators to
the chief designer of the Janszen
prevent the destructive effects of arcing.
These developments allow
Corporation, became the presiBy 1952, he had an electrostatic
dent of Sound Lab. When Janszen
tweeter element ready for commercial
the consumer to own the
Corporation was sold, the RTR
production. This new tweeter soon
loudspeaker company bought
created a sensation among American
highest performance loud- half of the production tooling. This
audio hobbyists. Since Janszen’s
tooling was used to make the electweeter element was limited to high speaker products ever built. trostatic panels for the Servostatic, a
frequency reproduction, it often found
hybrid electrostatic system that was
itself used in conjunction with woofers—most notably,
Infinity’s first speaker product. Other companies soon
those from Acoustic Research. These systems were highly
followed; each with their own unique applications of
regarded by all audio enthusiasts.
the technology. These include Acoustat, Audiostatic,
Beverage, Dayton Wright, Sound Lab and Stax, to name a few.
As good as these systems were, they would soon be surpassed
by another electrostatic speaker.
Electrostatic speakers have progressed and prospered
because they actually do what Peter Walker claimed they
In 1955, Peter Walker published three articles regarding
would. The limitations and problems experienced in the
electrostatic loudspeaker design in Wireless World, a British
past were not inherent to the electrostatic concept. They
magazine. In these articles, Walker demonstrated the benefits
were related to the applications of these concepts.
of the electrostatic loudspeaker. He explained that electrostatics permit the use of diaphragms that are low in mass,
Today, these limitations have been resolved. Advancements
large in area and uniformly driven over their surfaces by
in materials due to the U.S. space program give designers
electrostatic forces. Due to these characteristics, electrostats
the ability to harness the superiority of the electrostatic
have the inherent ability to produce a wide bandwidth,
principle. Today’s electrostats use advanced insulation
flat frequency response with distortion products being no
techniques or provide protection circuitry. The poor disgreater than the electronics driving them.
persion properties of early models have been addressed by
using delay lines, acoustical lenses, multiple panel arrays or,
By 1956, Walker backed up his articles by introducing a
as in our own products, by curving the diaphragm. Power
consumer product, the now famous Quad ESL. This speaker
handling and sensitivity have also been increased.
immediately set a standard of performance for the audio
These developments allow the consumer the opportunity
industry due to its incredible accuracy. However, in actual
to own the highest performance loudspeaker products ever
use, the Quad had a few problems. It could not be played
built. It’s too bad Rice and Kellogg were never able to see
very loud, it had poor bass performance, it presented a difjust how far the technology would be taken.
ficult load that some amplifiers did not like, its dispersion
Electrostatic History
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I clean my speakers?
Use a dust free cloth or a soft brush to remove the dust
from your speakers. We also recommend a specialty
cloth (available at the Xtatic shop at www.martinlogan.
com) that cleans your speakers better than anything
else we have tried. For the wood surfaces it is acceptable to slightly dampen the cloth. Do not spray any
kind of cleaning agent on or in close proximity to
the electrostatic element. Avoid the use of ammonia
based products or silicone oil on the wood parts.
What is the advantage of ESL?
Since the diaphragm is uniformly driven over its entire
surface—unlike a tweeter that is only driven at its
edges— it is the only technology that can be made
large enough to play bass, yet is still light enough for
high frequencies. This unique property allows for the
elimination of high frequency crossover points and
their associated distortions.
What size amplifier should I use?
We recommend an amplifier with 100 to 200 watts
per channel for most applications. Probably less would
be adequate for our smaller hybrids or when used in
home theater where a subwoofer is employed. Our
hybrid designs will perform well with either a tube or
transistorized amplifier, and will reveal the sonic character of either type. However, it is important that the
amplifier be stable operating into varying impedance
loads: an ideally stable amplifier will typically be able
to deliver nearly twice its rated wattage into 4 Ohms
and should again increase into 2 Ohms.
Could you suggest a list of suitable electronics and
cables that would be ideal for MartinLogan speakers?
The area of electronics and cable choice is probably
the most common type of question that we receive. It
is also the most subjective. We have repeatedly found
that brands that work well in one setup will drive
someone else nuts in another. We use many brands
with great success. Again, we have no favorites; we
use electronics and cables quite interchangeably. We
would suggest listening to a number of brands—and
above all else— trust your ears. Dealers are always the
best source for information when purchasing additional
audio equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there likely to be any interaction between my speakers
and the television in my Audio/Video system?
Actually, there is less interaction between a television
and an electrostatic speaker than between a television
and a conventional system. However, we do recommend
that you keep your speakers at least one foot away
from the television because of the dynamic woofer they
employ. In the case of our center channel speakers,
however, they are fully shielded and can go anywhere.
Will my electric bill go ‘sky high’ by leaving my speakers plugged in all the time?
No. A pair of MartinLogan’s will draw about 8 watts
maximum (idle). There is circuitry to turn off the static
charge when not in use; however, actual consumption
will remain close to the same. The primary purpose of
the sensing circuitry is to prevent dust collection on the
electrostatic element.
If the diaphragm is punctured with a pencil or similar
item, how extensive would the damage to the speaker be?
Our research department has literally punctured hundreds
of holes in a diaphragm, neither affecting the quality of
the sound nor causing the diaphragm to rip. However,
you will be able to see the actual puncture and it can
be a physical nuisance. If this is the case, replacing the
electrostatic transducer will be the only solution.
Will exposure to sunlight affect the life or performance
of my speakers?
We recommend that you not place any loudspeaker
in direct sunlight. The ultraviolet (UV) rays from the
sun can cause deterioration of grill cloth, speaker cones,
etc. Small exposures to UV will not cause a problem.
In general, the filtering of UV rays through glass will
greatly reduce the negative effects on the electrostatic
membrane itself.
Will excessive smoke or dust cause any problems with
my electrostatic speakers?
Exposure to excessive contaminants such as smoke
or dust may potentially affect the performance of the
electrostatic membrane, and may cause discoloration
of the diaphragm membrane. When not in use for
extended periods, you should unplug the speakers and
cover them with the plastic bags in which the speakers
were originally packed. It is a good idea to vacuum the
electrostatic portion of each speaker three or four times
a year. See the vacuuming FAQ.
A problem has recently developed with my MartinLogan
speakers. The right speaker seems to be hissing even
when the amplifier and such are not connected. I was
wondering if this sounds like any problem you have
encountered previously and have a simple solution for
or might it be something which will need to be looked
into more carefully. Your speakers are dusty. See the vacuuming FAQ. The
electrostatic charge on the element has attracted airborne
dust or pollen. Since 1993, all of our speakers have been
built with a charging circuit board that only charges the
electrostatic element when music plays. At other times
they are not charged and cannot collect dust. You can
get the same benefit by simply unplugging them whenever they are not in use. A power strip is an easy way to
do that.
Could my children, pets, or myself be shocked by the
high-voltage present in the electrostatic panel?
No. High voltage with low current is not dangerous. As
a matter of fact, the voltage in our speakers is 10 times
less than the static electricity that builds up on the surface
of your television screen.
How do MartinLogan speakers hold up over a long term
in the humidity of tropical climates?
We should tell you that MartinLogan indeed has a very
substantial number of customers in tropical regions of
the world. Our speakers have been serving them nicely
for many years. This concern may have come from our
earlier design of speakers, which were charged continuously. Since 1993, all of our speakers have been designed
so that they only charge the panel while music is being
played. This improvement has made a tremendous difference in the consistent performance of our product.
There may be a little more maintenance involved in
humid regions when not in an air conditioned environment. Simply enough, the concern is to keep the
electrostatic panels dust free. Humidity will combine
with any dust on the panel to make it slightly conductive. This will result in a slight pathway for the charge
to leave the membrane of the speaker. The solution is
simple. They only require occasional vacuuming with a
strong vacuum hose.
How do I vacuum my MartinLogan speakers?
Vacuuming will be most effective if the speakers have
been unplugged for six hours to twelve hours (or overnight). You need not worry about the vacuum pressure
damaging the "delicate" membrane. It is extraordinarily durable. Dirt and dust may be vacuumed off with
a brush attachment connected to your vacuum cleaner,
or you may blow them off with compressed air. When
vacuuming or blowing off your panels do so to both
sides, but focus the majority of your attention on the
front of the panels.
Should I unplug my speakers during a thunderstorm?
Yes, or before. It’s a good idea to disconnect all of your
audio/video components during stormy weather.
Frequently Asked Questions
No Output
• Check that all your system components are turned on.
• Check your speaker wires and connections.
• Check all interconnecting cables.
• Try hooking up a different set of speakers. The lack of
output could point to a problem with other equipment
in your system (amp, pre-amp, processor, etc.)
Weak or no Output from Electrostatic Panel, Loss of Highs
• Check the power cord. Is it properly connected to the
speaker and to the wall?
• Is the power cord connected to a switched outlet?
• Dirt and dust may need to be vacuumed off. Please see
the FAQ regarding vacuuming.
• If using a single-wire connection, check to make sure
that the jumper clips are in place and that the binding
posts are firmly hand-tightened.
• Check the binding posts. Are the dirty? If so clean them
with rubbing alcohol.
• Check the binding posts. Are the loose? Make sure they
are firmly hand-tightened.
• Has a foreign substance (such as a household cleaning
chemical or soap) been applied to the panel? If so the
speaker will require servicing.
Popping and Ticking Sounds, Funny Noises
• These occasional noises are harmless and will not hurt
your audio system or your speakers. All electrostatic
speakers are guilty of making odd noises at one time or
another. It is the result of airborne contaminates (most
notably dust). Vacuuming is recommended.
• These noises may be caused by dirt and dust particles
collecting on the speaker, by high humidity.
• Dirt and dust may need to be vacuumed off. Please see
the FAQ regarding vacuuming.
Exaggerated Highs, Brightness
• Check the toe-in of the speakers. Read the Placement
section of this manual for more information.
Muddy Bass
• Check placement. Try moving the speakers closer to the
front and sidewalls.
• Check the type of feet that are being used. Try attaching
the coupling spikes.
• Possibly means low electrostatic panel output. See
'Weak Output from Electrostatic Panel, Loss of Highs’.
Lack of Bass, No Bass
• Check your speaker wires. Is the polarity correct?
• Check your speaker wires if bi-wiring.
• If using a single-wire connection, check to make sure
that the jumper clips are in place and that the binding
posts are firmly hand-tightened.
• Check the binding posts. Are the dirty? If so clean them
with rubbing alcohol.
• Check the binding posts. Are the loose? Make sure they
are firmly hand-tightened.
Poor Imaging
• Check placement. Are both speakers the same distance
from the walls? Do they have the same amount of toein? Try moving the speakers away from the back and
• Check the polarity of the speaker wires. Are they connected properly?
• Try switching the left speaker with the right.
• Are your speakers set up in an L-shaped room? If so,
you may experience off-center imaging. Talk to your
dealer about acoustical room treatment options.
Dimensional Drawings
Dimensional Drawings
General Information
System Frequency Response:
34–23,000 Hz ± 3db
Horizontal: 30 Degrees
Vertical: 44” (112 cm) line source
92 dB/2.83 volts/meter
Nominal: 4 ohms, 0.8 ohms @ 20 kHz
Crossover Frequency
375 Hz
Custom-wound audio transformer, air core coils,
polypropylene capacitors. DSP based pre-amplifier (used
with woofer amplifier).
Bass Control
±10dB under 100 Hz
Woofer Type
8” (20.3cm) cast basket, high excursion, aluminum cone
with extended throw drive assembly. 8” (20.3cm) cast basket, high excursion, polypropylene cone passive radiator.
Woofer Amp Power
200 watts/channel (4 ohms)
Maximum Power Handling
250 watts per channel
Signal Inputs
Custom binding posts
Mains Power Draw
Standby: 0.5W each
Idle: 12W each
Max: 200W each
42 lbs. each (19 kg)
59.33” h × 10.73” w × 18.23” d (150.7 h × 27.3 w × 46.3 d cm)
General Information
Warranty and Registration
Your Ethos speakers are provided with an automatic Limited 90 Day Warranty coverage. You have the
option, at no additional charge, to receive a Limited
5 Year Warranty coverage. To obtain the Limited
5 Year Warranty coverage you need to complete and
return the Certificate of Registration, included with your
speakers, and provide a copy of your dealer receipt, to
MartinLogan within 30 days of purchase. For your convenience MartinLogan also offers online warranty registration at
MartinLogan may not honor warranty service claims unless
we have a completed Warranty Registration card on file!
If you did not receive a Certificate of Registration with
your new Ethos, speakers you cannot be assured of having
received new units. If this is the case, please contact your
authorized MartinLogan dealer.
Serial Number
Ethos’s serial number is located near the binding posts. Each
individual unit has a unique serial number.
Should you be using your MartinLogan product in a country
other than the one in which it was originally purchased,
we ask that you note the following:
1 The appointed MartinLogan distributor for any given
country is responsible for warranty servicing only on
units distributed by or through it in that country in
accordance with its applicable warranty.
2 Should a MartinLogan product require servicing in
a country other than the one in which it was originally purchased, the end user may seek to have repairs
performed by the nearest MartinLogan distributor, subject to that distributor’s local servicing policies, but all
cost of repairs (parts, labor, transportation) must be
born by the owner of the MartinLogan product.
3 If, after owning your speakers for six months, you
relocate to a country other than the one in which
you purchased your speakers, your warranty may be
transferable. Contact MartinLogan for details.
*Specifications are subject to change without notice.
AC. Abbreviation for alternating current.
Active crossover. Uses active devices (transistors, IC’s,
tubes) and some form of power supply to operate.
Amplitude. The extreme range of a signal. Usually measured from the average to the extreme.
Arc. The visible sparks generated by an electrical discharge.
Bass. The lowest frequencies of sound.
Bi-Amplification. Uses an electronic crossover, or line-level passive crossover, and separate power amplifiers for the
high and low frequency loudspeaker drivers.
Capacitance. That property of a capacitor which determines
how much charge can be stored in it for a given potential
difference between its terminals, measured in farads, by
the ratio of the charge stored to the potential difference.
Capacitor. A device consisting of two or more conducting
plates separated from one another by an insulating material and used for storing an electrical charge. Sometimes
called a condenser.
Clipping. Distortion of a signal by its being chopped off. An
overload problem caused by pushing an amplifier beyond
its capabilities. The flat-topped signal has high levels of
harmonic distortion which creates heat in a loudspeaker
and is the major cause of loudspeaker component failure.
CLS. The abbreviation for curvilinear linesource.
Crossover. An electrical circuit that divides a full bandwidth signal into the desired frequency bands for the
loudspeaker components.
dB (decibel). A numerical expression of the relative loudness of a sound. The difference in decibels between two
sounds is ten times the Base 10 logarithm of the ratio of
their power levels.
Audio Terms
Diaphragm. A thin flexible membrane or cone that vibrates
in response to electrical signals to produce sound waves.
Distortion. Usually referred to in terms of total harmonic
distortion (THD) which is the percentage of unwanted
harmonics of the drive signal present with the wanted
signal. Generally used to mean any unwanted change
introduced by the device under question.
Driver. See transducer.
Dynamic Range. The range between the quietest and the
loudest sounds a device can handle (often quoted in dB).
Efficiency. The acoustic power delivered for a given electrical input. Often expressed as decibels/watt/meter
ESL. The abbreviation for electrostatic loudspeaker.
Headroom. The difference, in decibels, between the peak
and RMS levels in program material.
Hybrid. A product created by the marriage of two different
technologies. Meant here as the combination of a dynamic woofer with an electrostatic transducer.
Hz (Hertz). Unit of frequency equivalent to the number of
cycles per second.
Imaging. To make a representation or imitation of the original sonic event.
Impedance. The total opposition offered by an electric
circuit to the flow of an alternating current of a single frequency. It is a combination of resistance and reactance
and is measured in ohms. Remember that a speaker’s
impedance changes with frequency, it is not a constant
DC. Abbreviation for direct current.
Inductance. The property of an electrical circuit by which
a varying current in it produces a varying magnetic field
that introduces voltages in the same circuit or in a nearby
circuit. It is measured in henrys.
Diffraction. The breaking up of a sound wave caused by
some type of mechanical interference such as a cabinet
edge, grill frame or other similar object.
Inductor. A device designed primarily to introduce inductance into an electrical circuit. Sometimes called a choke
or coil.
Glossary of Audio Terms
WARNING! Do not use your Ethos loudspeakers outside of the country of original sale—voltage requirements
vary by country. Improper voltage can cause damage that will be potentially expensive to repair. The Ethos is
shipped to authorized MartinLogan distributors with the correct power supply for use in the country of intended
sale. A list of authorized distributors can be accessed at or by emailing
Linearity. The extent to which any signal handling process
is accomplished without amplitude distortion.
reinforcing vibrations at the same or nearly the same frequency from another body.
Midrange. The middle frequencies where the ear is the
most sensitive.
Sensitivity. The volume of sound delivered for a given
electrical input.
Passive crossover. Uses no active components (transistors,
IC’s, tubes) and needs no power supply (AC, DC, battery)
to operate. The crossover in a typical loudspeaker is of the
passive variety. Passive crossovers consist of capacitors,
inductors and resistors.
Stator. The fixed part forming the reference for the moving
diaphragm in a planar speaker.
Phase. The amount by which one sine wave leads or lags
a second wave of the same frequency. The difference is
described by the term phase angle. Sine waves in phase
reinforce each other; those out of phase cancel.
Pink noise. A random noise used in measurements, as it
has the same amount of energy in each octave.
Polarity. The condition of being positive or negative with
respect to some reference point or object.
RMS. Abbreviation for root mean square. The effective
value of a given waveform is its RMS value. Acoustic
power is proportional to the square of the RMS sound
Resistance. That property of a conductor by which it
opposes the flow of electric current, resulting in the
generation of heat in the conducting material, usually
expressed in ohms.
Resistor. A device used in a circuit to provide resistance.
Resonance. The effect produced when the natural
vibration frequency of a body is greatly amplified by
THD. The abbreviation for total harmonic distortion. (See
TIM. The abbreviation for transient intermodulation distortion.
Transducer. Any of various devices that transmit energy
from one system to another, sometimes one that converts the energy in form. Loudspeaker transducers convert
electrical energy into mechanical motion.
Transient. Applies to that which lasts or stays but a short
time. A change from one steady-state condition to another.
Tweeter. A small drive unit designed to reproduce only
high frequencies.
Wavelength. The distance measured in the direction of
progression of a wave, from any given point characterized
by the same phase.
White noise. A random noise used in measurements, as it
has the same amount of energy at each frequency.
Woofer. A drive unit operating in the bass frequencies
only. Drive units in two-way systems are not true woofers but are more accurately described as being mid/bass
Lawrence, Kansas, USA
P.N. MAN0017 rev 2
tel 785.749.0133
fax 785.749.5320
©2011 MartinLogan. All rights reserved.
Rev. #081511
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