u s e r ’ s
m a n u a l
Contents and Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
Installation in Brief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Low-Voltage (DC) Power Connection
Signal Connection
Turning the NAC On/Off . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Using Only One Power Supply
Placement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Listening Position
The Wall Behind the Listener
The Wall Behind the Speakers
The Side Walls
Final Placement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
The Extra “Tweak”
Enjoy Yourself
Room Acoustics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
Your Room
Rules of Thumb
Dipolar Speakers and Your Room . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
Solid Footing
Dispersion Interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
Controlled Horizontal Dispersion
Controlled Vertical Dispersion
NAC Dispersion
Three Major Types of Dispersion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
Home Theater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
Electrostatic Advantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Full Range Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
MartinLogan Exclusives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
Curvilinear Line Source
MicroPerf Stator
Plasma Bonded Diaphragm
Transducer Integrity
Low Voltage DC
Electrostatic Loudspeaker History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
Frequently Asked Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Troubleshooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
General Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Warranty and Registration
Serial Numbers
Glossary of Audio Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
Contents and Introduction
Congratulations! You have invested in one of the world’s
premier loudspeaker systems.
The MartinLogan Clarity represents the culmination of an
intensive, dedicated group research program directed
toward establishing a world class reference monitor
utilizing leading-edge technology, without compromising
durability, reliability, craftsmanship or aesthetic design.
The result of cumulative technology gleaned from previous
research and development projects, the Clarity represents
the latest developments in electrostatic and hybrid loudspeaker technology.
Combining our proprietary curvilinear electrostatic transducer with a compact, powerful woofer, we have designed
a product, in one package, that reproduces music with
uncompromised electrostatic clarity and extended bass,
yet takes up little more than one square foot of floor space.
Materials in your Clarity speakers are of the highest quality
and will provide years of enduring enjoyment and deepening respect. The cabinetry is constructed from the highest
quality sonically welded substrate for acoustical integrity.
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 coated with
a special polymer that is applied via a proprietary plasma
bonding process. This panel assembly houses a diaphragm
just 0.0005 of an inch thick. Ruggedly constructed and
insulated, as much as 200 watts of continuous power has
driven the Clarity’s energized diaphragm into massive
excursions with no deleterious effects.
This user’s manual will explain in detail the operation of
your Clarity 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.
Installation in Brief
We know you are eager to hear your new Clarity loudspeakers, 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 Clarity 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 local 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
•Do not operate if there is any visual
damage to the electrostatic panel element
•Do not drive speaker beyond its rated power
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.
Step 1: Unpacking
Remove your new Clarity speakers from their packing.
Step 2: Placement
Place each Clarity at least two feet from any wall and angle
them slightly toward your listening area. This is a good place
to start. Please see the Placement section (pages 6–7) of
this manual for more details.
Step 3: Power Connection (DC) (see warning)
The Clarity requires DC power to energize its electrostatic
panel. Plug the provided DC power supply first into the ‘DC
Power In’ power receptacle on the rear panel of the speaker,
making sure that you have made a firm connection, and
then to a convenient wall outlet. Please see the Operation
section (pages 4–5) 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.
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 Clarity. 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. Please see the Operation section
(pages 4–5) of this manual for more details.
Step 5: Listen and Enjoy
Now, you may turn on your system and enjoy!
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.
Installation in Brief
Low-Voltage (DC) Power Connection
Your Clarity speakers use external low-voltage power supplies to energize their electrostatic panels. For this reason the
proper low-voltage power supplies are provided. A power
supply should be firmly inserted into the ‘DC Power In’
receptacle on the rear connection panel of each speaker,
then to any convenient AC wall outlet. Your Clarity’s integrate a signal sensing circuit which will switch the Clarity
off after a few minutes of no music signal, and requires less
than two seconds to recharge the panels when a music
signal is present.
Your Clarity speakers are provided with a power supply 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
DC power supply.
If you remove your Clarity speakers from the country of
original sale, be certain that the AC power supplied in any
subsequent location is suitable before connecting the lowvoltage power supply. Substantially impaired performance
or severe damage may occur to a Clarity speaker if operation is attempted from an incorrect AC power source.
high quality long interconnect cables be used to connect the
preamplifier and power amplifier. This results in the power
amplifiers being close to the speakers, which may be practically or cosmetically difficult, but if the length of the speaker
cables can be reduced to a few meters, sonic advantages
may be obtained.
Connections are done at the signal input section on the
rear electronics panel of the Clarity. Use spade connectors
for optimum contact and ease of installation. Make certain
that all of your connections are tight. 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 (see figure 1).
WARNING! Turn your amplifier off before you
make or break any signal connections!
WARNING! The DC power supply should not be
installed, removed, or left detached from the speaker while 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 speaker cables are now 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. Effects of cables
may be masked if equipment is not of the highest quality.
We also recommend, if possible, that short runs of speaker
cable connect the power amplifier(s) and speakers and that
Figure 1. Single-wire and power connection. One channel shown.
Turning the NACTM On/Off
Your Clarity loudspeakers are equipped with a NAC (natural
ambience compensation) driver located on top of Clarity’s
cabinet. To turn the NAC on or off gently insert a narrow
object such as a pen or pencil into the small hole located
above the NAC’s perforated screen (see figure 2). For more
information on the NAC see the ‘MartinLogan Exclusives’
section (page 15) and the ‘Dispersion Interactions’ section
of this manual (page 10).
When you first begin to play your Clarity 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 woofers
requires 30 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.
Using Only One Power Supply
You may have noticed a connection on the back of your
Clarity’s labeled ‘DC Power Out’. The use of this connection will allow you to daisy-chain up to seven low-voltage
MartinLogan products and eliminate the need for multiple
low-voltage power supplies.
To use this connection option choose a primary speaker
(whichever speaker is most convenient) and connect it as
instructed in the ‘Low-Voltage (DC) Power Connection’
section on the previous page. To attach additional speakers,
run a low-voltage interconnect cable from the ‘DC Power
Out’ to the next speakers ‘DC Power In’ (see figure 3).
Figure 2. Turning the NAC on/off.
Figure 3. Connecting power to multiple speakers using one power supply.
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 at least one to two feet from
the side walls. Your sitting distance should be farther than
the distance between the speakers themselves. What you
are trying to attain is 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
some 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
40 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 of those refinements.
The Wall Behind the Listener
Near-field reflections can 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 the quality of imaging. Actually it is better for
the wall behind you to be soft than to be bright. If you
have a hard back wall and your listening position is close
to it, experiment with devices that will soften and absorb
information (i.e., wall hangings and possibly even sound
absorbing panels).
The Wall Behind the Speakers
The front surface, the wall behind your speakers, should not
be extremely hard or soft. For instance, 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 soften a hard 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.
Sometimes walls can be too soft. If the entire front wall
consists of only heavy drapery, your system can sound too
soft or dull. You may hear dull, muted music with little
ambience. Harder room surfaces will actually help in this case.
The front surface should, optimally, be one long wall
without any doors or openings. If you have openings, the
reflection and bass characteristics from one channel to the
other can be different.
The Side Walls
The same requirements exist for side walls. Additionally, a
good rule of thumb is to have the side walls as far away
from the speaker sides as possible, minimizing near-field
side wall reflections. 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.
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 that the tonal balance
changes slightly. You will also notice the imaging changing.
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.
Experimenting with the toe-in will help in terms of tonal
balance. 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.
Tilting the Speakers Backwards and Forwards
As the diagrams show in the Dispersion Interactions section
of this manual (pages 10–11), 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.
In their final location, the Clarity’s should have a stage width
somewhat wider than the speakers themselves. On wellrecorded music, the instruments should extend beyond
the edges of each speaker to the left and to the right, yet a
vocalist should appear directly in the middle. The size of
the instruments should be neither too large nor too small.
Additionally, you should find good clues as to stage depth.
Make sure the vertical alignment, distance from the front
wall, and toe-in, is exactly the same from one speaker to the
other. This will greatly enhance the quality of your imaging.
Bass Response
Your bass response should neither be one note nor too
heavy. It should extend to even the deepest organ passages, yet it should 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 any booming or thudding.
Tonal Balance
Voices should be natural and full, cymbals should be
detailed and articulate yet not bright and piercing, pianos
should have a nice transient characteristic and deep tonal
registers as well. If you cannot attain these virtues, read the
section on Room Acoustics (pages 8–9). This will give
you clues on how to get closer to those ideal virtues.
Final Placement
After obtaining good wall treatments and the proper 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:
•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”
A major cable company developed the following procedure
for speaker placement. As a final test of exact placement,
use these measurements for your speakers placement, and
see what can happen to the ultimate enhancement of
your system’s performance. These two basic formulas will
determine optimum placement of your speakers to minimize
standing waves.
1 Distance from the front wall (the wall in front of the listening
position) to the center of the curvilinear transducer. To
determine distance from the front wall, measure the height
of your ceiling (inches) and multiply the figure by 0.618
(i.e., ceiling height in 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 (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).
Enjoy Yourself
The Clarity 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.
You are now armed with the fundamental knowledge of
room acoustics and the specific fundamentals of the Clarity
loudspeaker. Happy listening!
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. The purpose of your room,
ideally, is to not contribute to that information. However,
every room does contribute to the sound, and the better
speaker manufacturers have designed their systems to
accommodate this phenomenon.
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 “tubby bass”. For instance, 100Hz represents a 10 foot
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 second.
Solid Footing
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, this page, for spike information and installation instructions).
Dipolar Speakers and Your Room
MartinLogan electrostatic loudspeakers are 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.
The low frequencies can either be enhanced or nulled by
the position from the front wall. Your Clarity’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.
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 can be effective if these negative conditions
occur (your dealer can give you good information here).
After living and experimenting with your Clarity’s, you may
want to use Clarity ETC (energy transfer coupler) Spikes (see
figure 4), which are available from your local MartinLogan
dealer or from the Xtatic shop at
With the use of these spikes, the Clarity will become more
firmly planted on 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. MartinLogan Clarity ETC
spikes will fit any common 1/4” x 20 thread insert that may
be found on your other audio equipment (racks, etc.)
Spike Installation Instructions:
1 Carefully lay your speaker on its side to gain access to
the bottom.
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.
3 Tighten the jam nut snugly by hand. Do not over tighten
the nut.
4 Right the speaker.
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.
Figure 4. The ETC Spike.
Room Acoustics
Controlled Horizontal Dispersion
Your Clarity launches a 30 degree dispersion pattern when
viewed from above. This horizontal dispersion field gives a
choice of good seats for the performance while minimizing
interactions with side walls (see figure 5). 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 Clarity speakers
project a controlled dispersion pattern. Each Clarity is a
26” inch line source beginning 25" inches above the base.
This vertical dispersion profile minimizes interactions with
the floor and the ceiling (see figure 6).
NACTM Dispersion
Due to dispersion limitations of small electrostatic panels,
your Clarity loudspeakers are equipped with NAC (natural
ambience compensation) drivers to fill in off-axis high-frequencies. When the NAC is active, listeners sitting on-axis in
the listening window will find the effects of the NAC virtually
unnoticeable. Listeners sitting off-axis outside of the listening
window will find that high frequencies are accurately rendered and comparable to those provided on-axis by the
Clarity’s ultra-precise electrostatic driver (see figures 7 & 8).
Figure5. MartinLogan Clarity’s deliver a 30 degree wave launch dispersion
pattern distributed horizontally.
Figure 6. Your Clarity speaker system is a 26” inch line source when viewed
vertically. Actual height above the base is from 25” inches to 51” inches.
Figure 7. Horizontal dispersion effects of the NAC driver.
Figure 8. Vertical dispersion effects of the NAC driver.
Dispersion Interactions
Three Major Types of Dispersion
In the field of loudspeaker design, 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 flatpanel speakers exhibit venetian blind effects due to this
phenomenon. This is why most 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 these different solution attempts,
we found an elegantly simple, yet very difficult to execute
solution. 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. That is why you see the gentle
curve on our products.
Figure 9– 10. 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 11–12. 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 13–14. A controlled 30-degree cylindrical
wave-front, which is a MartinLogan exclusive,
offers optimal sound distribution with minimal
room interaction. The result is solid imaging with
a wide listening area.
Dispersion Interactions
Home Theater
It had long been the practice of stereo buffs to connect their
television to the 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.
Surround Speakers
We recommend that the surround speakers play down
to 80 Hz or below. The 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 six-channel digital encoding becomes available
and the demands on the surround speakers increase.
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.
With any good surround system you will need a high-quality
subwoofer (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.
Fortunately, Dolby and DTS-encoded movies (which include
almost all movies) have the same surround sound information encoded on home releases as the theater films. All that
is required to retrieve this information is a decoder and
additional speakers and amps to reproduce it.
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 video 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 designed by
the same manufacturer as the front speakers, and that it is
recommended for use as a center speaker. This is not the
place to cut corners.
Home Theater
Figure 15. Clarity speakers as front channels, the Cinema i as the center
channel, Clarity speakers as side surround (effects) channels and Depth
subwoofers as the .1 (LFE) channel.
Electrostatic Advantages
How can sound be reproduced by something that you are
able to see through? Electrostatic energy makes this possible.
purity of the electrostatic concept due to its exceptional
linearity and low distortion.
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.
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 are 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 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: the
stators, the diaphragm and the spacers (see figure 16). 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
push-pull operation and is a major contributor to the sonic
Figure 16. Cut away view of an electrostatic transducer. Notice the simplicity due to minimal parts usage.
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 17). 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 17. Cut away view of a typical moving coil driver. Notice the complexity due to the high number of parts.
Electrostatic Advantages
Full Range Operation
The most significant advantage of MartinLogan’s exclusive
transducer technology reveals itself when you look at examples of other loudspeaker products on the market today.
The Clarity uses no crossover networks above 450 Hz
because they are not needed. The Clarity consists of a single,
seamless electrostatic membrane reproducing all frequencies
above 450 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 Clarity 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 Clarity’s electrostatic transducer transforms
electrical energy from your amplifier 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 narrow, 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 18).
The Clarity’s electrostatic transducer can single-handedly
reproduce all frequencies above 450 Hz simultaneously.
You have in one transducer the ability to handle in elegant
simplicity the critical frequencies above 450 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.
Conventional Loudspeaker
MartinLogan Clarity
crossover point (2–5kHz)
Critical Zone: 500Hz–20kHz
crossover point (100–500Hz)
crossover point (450Hz)
Figure 18. This diagram illustrates how a conventional
speaker system must use multiple crossover networks
that have negative effects on the musical performance.
Electrostatic Advantages
Curvilinear Line Source (CLSTM)
Since the beginning of audio, achieving smooth dispersion
has been a problem for all loudspeaker designers. Large
panel transducers present even more of a challenge because
the larger the panel, the more directional the dispersion
pattern becomes.
Full 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 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 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 all MartinLogan products.
MicroPerfTM Stator
The MicroPerf stator design reduces the size of individual
holes in a stator, allowing more openings per square inch
than a standard MartinLogan stator. This maximizes efficiency and dispersion of small stat panels and also increases
optical clarity. In addition, the tighter grid of holes permits
the MicroPerf stator to drive the diaphragm very uniformly.
Plasma Bonded Diaphragm
The diaphragm in the Clarity employs an extremely sophisticated conductive coating that has been applied to the
polymer surface at an atomic level using a plasma bonding
process involving an oxygen free argon chamber. This process
allows extremely uniform surface resistivity characteristics,
an optically transparent surface and adds no mass to the
diaphragm. This uniform surface resistivity controls the
electrostatic charge on the diaphragm surface and regulates
its migration. As a result, no discharging or “arcing” occurs.
Transducer Integrity
All MartinLogan transducers begin with two pieces of highgrade, cold rolled steel. These steel pieces are then custom
perforated and insulated with a unique composite coating.
This proprietary coating insulates the stator to three times
its actual needed working voltage and gives the Clarity a
wide margin of safe operation. In addition to the electrical
insulation properties, this coating also provides the Clarity
with a durable, attractive finish that dampens the steel to
prevent ringing. These pieces then sandwich a proprietary
diaphragm and spacers into a curved geometry, and bond
together with aerospace adhesives whose strength exceeds
that of welding.The result of these advanced technologies
is a transducer that is attractive, durable, highly rigid, well
dampened, and neutral.
Low Voltage DC
To eliminate the need for a traditional IEC power cord and
broaden ease of installation, especially for custom installers,
the Clarity features a low-voltage DC power supply.
NAC (natural ambience compensation) reveals larger-thanlife sound by eliminating dispersion problems inherent to
small electrostatic transducers. By expanding off-axis highfrequency dispersion, Clarity assures listeners of a perfect
performance no matter where they’re seated or standing.
A true audiophile solution, the NAC is parallel to the signal path
and features an on/off switch to adjust for listener preference.
MartinLogan Exclusives
ESL History
In the late 1800s, any loudspeaker was considered exotic.
Today, most of us take the wonders of sound reproduction
for granted.
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 Lodge
invented a cone loudspeaker, which he referred to
as a “bellowing telephone”, that was very similar to the
conventional cone loudspeaker drivers that we know
today. However, Lodge had no intention for his device to
reproduce music because in 1898 there was no way to
amplify an electrical signal! As a result, his speaker had
nothing to offer over the acoustical gramophones of the
period. It was not until 1906 that Dr. Lee DeForrest invented the triode vacuum tube. Before this, an electrical signal
could not be amplified. The loudspeaker, as we know it
today, should have ensued then, but it did not. Amazingly,
it was almost twenty years before this would occur.
would refer to loudspeakers as being either “conventional”
or “exotic”.
Bell Laboratory’s electrostat was something to behold.
This enormous bipolar speaker was as big as a door. The
diaphragm, which was beginning to rot, was made of a
pig intestine that was covered with fine gold leaf to conduct the audio signal.
When Rice and Kellogg began playing the new electrically
cut records through the electrostat, they were shocked
and impressed. The electrostat performed splendidly.
They had never heard instrumental timbres reproduced
with such realism. This system sounded like real music
rather than the honking, squawking rendition of the
acoustic gramophone. Immediately, they knew they were
on to something big. The acoustic gramophone was destined to become obsolete.
Due to Rice and Kellogg’s enthusiasm, they devoted a
considerable amount of time researching the electrostatic
In 1921, the electrically cut phonograph record became a
design. However, they soon encountered the same diffireality. This method of recording was far superior to the
culties that even present designers face; planar speakers
mechanically cut record and possessed almost 30 dB of
require a very large surface area to
dynamic range. The acoustical gramoreproduce the lower frequencies of
phone couldn’t begin to reproduce all
Rice and Kellogg had
the audio spectrum. Because the
of the information on this new disc. As
narrowed the field of
management at Bell Labs considered
a result, further developments in loudspeakers were needed to cope with “contestants” down to the large speakers unacceptable, Rice
and Kellogg’s work on electrostatics
this amazing new recording medium.
cone and the electrostat.
would never be put to use for a commercial product. Reluctantly, they advised the Bell
By 1923, Bell Telephone Laboratories made the decision to
management to go with the cone. For the next 30 years,
develop a complete musical playback system consisting of an
the electrostatic design lay dormant.
electronic phonograph and a loudspeaker to take advantage
of the new recording medium. Bell Labs assigned the project to two young engineers, C.W. Rice and E.W. Kellogg.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, 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 use
disposal. This lab possessed a vacuum tube amplifier with
their old Victrola-style acoustic gramophones. Prior to the
an unheard of 200 watts, a large selection of the new
end of World War II, consumer audio saw little, if any,
electrically cut phonograph records and a variety of
progress. However, during the late 1940s, audio experiloudspeaker prototypes that Bell Labs had been collecting
enced 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
for improved audio components. No sooner had the cone
speaker that used compressed air, a corona discharge
(plasma) speaker, and an electrostatic speaker.
become established than it was challenged by products
developed during this new rebirth.
After a short time, Rice and Kellogg had narrowed the field
of “contestants” down to the cone and the electrostat. The
In 1947, Arthur Janszen, a young Naval engineer, took part in
outcome would dictate the way that future generations
a research project for the Navy. The Navy was interested in
Electrostatic Loudspeaker History
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.
In the early 1960s 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 limitations as the Quad. The KLH 9 could
play markedly louder and lower in frequency than the
Quad ESL. Thus a rivalry was born.
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
would. The limitations and problems experienced in the
past were not inherent to the electrostatic concept. They
were related to the applications of these concepts.
Janszen continued to develop electrostatic designs. He
was instrumental in the design of the Koss Model One, the
Acoustech and the Dennesen speakJanszen was so excited with the results
ers. Roger West, the chief designer
These developments allow
that he continued research on the elecof the JansZen Corporation, became
the consumer to own the
trostatic speaker on his own time. He
the president of Sound Lab. When
soon thought of insulating the stators to
JansZen Corporation was sold, the
highest performance loudprevent the destructive effects of arcing.
RTR loudspeaker company bought
By 1952, he had an electrostatic tweeter speaker products ever built. half of the production tooling. This
element ready for commercial productooling was used to make the election. This new tweeter soon created a sensation among
trostatic panels for the Servostatic, a hybrid electrostatic
American audio hobbyists. Since Janszen’s tweeter element
system that was Infinity’s first speaker product. Other
was limited to high frequency reproduction, it often found
companies soon followed; each with their own unique
itself used in conjunction with woofers—most notably,
applications of the technology. These include Acoustat,
those from Acoustic Research. These systems were highly
Audiostatic, Beverage, Dayton Wright, Sound Lab and Stax,
regarded by all audio enthusiasts.
to name a few.
In 1955, Peter Walker published three articles on electrostatic loudspeaker design in Wireless World, a British electronics
magazine. In these articles, Walker demonstrated the benefits
of the electrostatic loudspeaker. He explained that electrostatics permit the use of diaphragms that are low in mass,
large in area and uniformly driven over their surfaces by
electrostatic forces. Due to these characteristics, electrostats
have the inherent ability to produce a wide bandwidth,
flat frequency response with distortion products being no
greater than the electronics driving them.
By 1956, Walker backed up his articles by introducing a
consumer product, the now famous Quad ESL. This
speaker immediately set a standard of performance for the
audio industry due to its incredible accuracy. However, in
actual use, the Quad had a few problems. It could not be
played very loud, it had poor bass performance, it presented a difficult load that some amplifiers did not like, its
dispersion 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.
Today, these limitations have been addressed. Advancements
in materials due to the U.S. space program give designers
the ability to harness the superiority of the electrostatic
principle. Today’s electrostats use advanced insulation
techniques or provide protection circuitry. The poor dispersion properties of early models have been addressed by
using delay lines, acoustical lenses, multiple panel arrays
or, as in our own products, by curving the diaphragm.
Power handling and sensitivity have also been increased.
These developments allow the consumer the opportunity
to own the highest performance loudspeaker products ever
built. It’s too bad Rice and Kellogg were never able to see
just how far the technology would be taken.
Electrostatic Loudspeaker History
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I clean my speakers?
Just use a dust free cloth or a soft brush to remove the dust
from your speakers. We recommend a specialty cloth
(available at the XStatic shop at
that cleans your speakers better than anything else we
have tried. Do not spray any kind of cleaning agent
on or in close proximity to the electrostatic element.
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: a stable amplifier
will be able to deliver twice its rated wattage into 4 Ohms
and should again double 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 MartinLogans will draw about 5 watts maximum. 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 once or twice 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 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. .
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.
Weak 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.
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. Are both woofers working?
• Check your speaker wires if bi-wiring.
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?
The Clarity hybrid speaker system consists of a broad-range
single element electrostatic transducer integrated with a quickresponse woofer. This approach takes advantage of the
benefits that both technologies have to offer. Dispersion is a
controlled 30 degrees. This was achieved by curving the electrostatic transducer element itself, an elegantly simple solution.
System Frequency Response
46–22,000 Hz ± 3 dB
Horizontal: 30 Degrees
Vertical: 26” (66cm) line source
NAC™ enhanced sound field
89 dB/2.83 volts/meter
Nominal: 6 ohms,
Minimum: 1.1 ohms @ 20 kHz
Crossover Frequency
450 Hz
Custom-wound audio transformer, air core coils
NAC Driver
1” (2.5cm) soft dome
Woofer Type
8” (20.3cm) aluminum high excursion aluminum cone
with extended throw driver assembly, non-resonance
asymmetrical chamber format; bass reflex
Power Handling
200 watts per channel
Recommended Amplifier Power
80–200 watts per channel
31 lbs. each (14.1 kg)
10.2” W x 12.25” D x 53” H
(25.9 cm W × 31.1 cm D × 134.6 cm H)
Warranty and Registration
Your Clarity 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.
MartinLogan may not honor warranty service claims unless
we have a completed Warranty Registration card on file!
For your convenience MartinLogan also offers online warranty
registration at If you did not receive
a Certificate of Registration with your new Clarity speakers
you cannot be assured of having received new units. If this is
the case, please contact your authorized MartinLogan dealer.
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.
Serial Numbers
The serial number for each of your Clarity loudspeakers is
located behind the grille cloth and above the woofer. Each
individual speaker has a unique serial number.
General Information
Glossary of Audio Terms
AC. Abbreviation for alternating current.
DC. Abbreviation for direct current.
Active crossover. Uses active devices (transistors, ICs, tubes)
and some form of power supply to operate.
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.
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
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.
Glossary of 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 (dB/w/m).
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 value.
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.
Inductor. A device designed primarily to introduce inductance
into an electrical circuit. Sometimes called a choke or coil.
Linearity. The extent to which any signal handling process
is accomplished without amplitude distortion.
Midrange. The middle frequencies where the ear is the
most sensitive.
NAC. The abbreviation for natural ambience compensation.
Passive crossover. Uses no active components (transistors,
ICs, 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.
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 pressure.
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 reinforcing
vibrations at the same or nearly the same frequency from
another body.
Sensitivity. The volume of sound delivered for a given electrical input.
Stator. The fixed part forming the reference for the moving
diaphragm in a planar speaker.
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 drivers.
Glossary of Audio Terms
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