Event - A Visit to Martin Logan in Lawrence, Kansas
Steve Ekblad
1 February 2000

Martin Logan wants all of their dealers to be as aware of the ins and outs of Martin Logan's offerings as possible. One of the ways that they assure their dealers are in the know is to offer the opportunity to visit the factory. Recently I was invited on just such a visit (I am following many who have taken this trekbefore me from United Audio) to the mecca of electrostatic speakers. I will try to give you an overview of how special this product really is!

The FactoryThis is our group arriving at Martin Logan's plant.

The main building extends much further to the right and left and there is an additional facility that is located at the other end of town that houses the woodshop. Gayle Sanders (founder of Martin Logan), Brent Hefley (National Sales Manager), and Dennis Chern (sales and product trainer extraordinary) welcomed us and gave us a general tour of the plant.

ListromFirst stop was the state of the art Martin Logan listening room. In this double-doored, tube trapped, fine-tuned room, products are evaluated for their sonic merits. The ancient ESL's you see on either sideof the reQuest ESL are there for training sessions also held in this room as well as around the facility. The room was built to reveal the slightest flaws and gains in performance of their products. They are true fanatics about the quality of their products from finish to function to final output!

WooferAs we were shown around the factory, Brent and Dennis took the time to point out some of the things that make a Martin Logan special. Here Brent shows us the woofer from the reQuest. As you see the small details that they are concerned about, you begin to have an even greater respect for their products!

LogosA dedicated worker is hand assembling a Logos center channel speaker. This is a time consuming work of art. Because of the unwillingness to compromise the sound or construction of this product, many hours of handwork are invested in these ESL's.

 

Power Supplypwrsp2_e.jpg (27793 bytes)In this photo, Martin Logan artisans are assembling crossovers and power supplies.

Two fellow visitors get a close look at the subassembly.


Stat Panel HellHere is something you would never see anywhere else. This is affectionately called "Stat Panel Hell". In this box, up to 6 panels are loaded at once. Their life cycle can be accelerated from 10 years to a few short months. Wear characteristics and reliability can be closely examined. Foreign particles, temperature,humidity, and more can be completely controlled and monitored. I suspect if I were an ESL panel, I could think of a few more adjectives!

We also visited the room in which the actual ESL panels are made but it is a closely guarded technique so I will not reveal it here. Suffice it to say that the technique provides the end result, stunning sound and excellent reliability!

reQuestHere is a view from within the second facility where this worker is carefully assembling a reQuest cabinet. They use very high quality northern Canadian MDF and the finest gluing techniques. This cabinet is rock solid and will remain a pleasure to look at and listen to for years.

 

 

SanderHere the cabinetwork continues with a brisk first coat sealer sanding. From here, special finish paints are applied. A proprietary water base technique is used. Good for the eyes as well as the environment!

 

Design 1 Design 2 design3-2_k.jpg (30613 bytes)

These three shots are of the design team and their haunts. As you might guess, most design teams are fairly limited in what they can do with a speaker cabinet or components. Not so at Martin Logan! Between Gayle and the design team, they are constantly looking for ways to improve their products. New ideas are fully explored and prototypes are constructed to evaluate these ideas. Users also suggest product refinements and improvements and visitors like me. In these photos, we are being polled for ideas, feedback, and impressions. All of this will go to help build a better Martin Logan!

PrototypeOn to the prototype listening room. Here, a set of statements are on hand for us to listen to. Wow! That is a wonderful product. Some of my fellow travelers marvel at a component or two before taking a seat to listen. Many of the employees at Martin Logan are musicians. I bought a CD from the shop manager who is a stellar mandolinist!

 

SteveI will end this visit by saying thanks to all the artisans at Martin Logan for enriching our lives with product offerings like these superb ESL's! They made us feel right at home!

By the way, I do enjoy Martin Logan speakers myself. I recently bought a pair of CLSIIz speakers and I am enjoying every moment I get to listen!