This lapsed fan of electrostatic speakers finds it curious that, while MartinLogan is the predominant representative of this technology in the US, I had never auditioned an ML design in my home. I’ve enjoyed many Janszen tweeters, a KLH 9, an AcousTech X, Stax ELS-F81s, and I’ve dallied with Quad ESL-63s. But as dumb luck would have it, the first MartinLogan speaker to reach me, the new Montage, is a hybrid model.
Instead of a electrostatic driver, the Montage mates a pair of aluminum-cone electrodynamic drivers with a magnetically driven planar tweeter. The latter, which MartinLogan calls an ATF Transducer, measures 1.5″ by 2.25″ and consists of a lightweight film of polyethylene naphthalate film with an etched aluminum voice-coil, which is sandwiched between sets of neodymium-iron-boron magnets in a rigid steel housing. This fully push-pull arrangement is operationally comparable to ML’s push-pull electrostatic drivers in its dipolar radiation pattern and in being driven over its entire surface. No external power source is required, but the tweeter’s size means that it’s crossed over to the midrange-woofers at 2.5kHz rather than operating over close to full range, as in ML’s larger electrostatic drivers. On the other hand, the Montage’s size, configuration, and finish will make more than a pair of them domestically acceptable in a wider range of homes, as required by multichannel systems.