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We’ve spent quite a bit of time beating the Atmos drum this year, especially Atmos deployed using in-ceiling speakers. But, there’s a tiny little Atmos issue called “reality” and the fact that many of us simply don’t have the ability – or desire – to install speakers in the sky. If you read my review of Yamaha’s RX-A3050 receiver, then you probably caught a whiff of my sarcastic exuberance over running wires through the ceiling. Quite honestly, spending hours with my arms extended over my head isn’t something I’d jump to do again anytime soon. That being said, the end product was worth the pain.

Over the last year to year-and-a-half, quite a few companies have released Atmos module speakers that remove ceiling installations from the equation. Instead, they sit on top of existing left, right, and surround channels and project sound upward. What’s interesting has been the lack of higher-end options in this market segment. That makes today’s product preview particularly interesting.

MartinLogan, undisputed maker of phenomenal speakers, has announced the release of its Motion AFX Dolby Atmos enabled speaker modules. Designed to sit on top of the company’s Motion 15, 20, 35XT, 40 and 60XT floorstanding and bookshelf speakers, MartinLogan says the new AFX can also work in-concert with other brands of speakers. However, because Atmos soundtracks typically bleed musical scores and effects simultaneously with other channels within a multi-channel system, it’s advisable to tweeter match across all channels wherever possible. This will help to keep sound pans the Atmos dome of sound even and seamless from channel to channel.

Using a 0.75-inch aluminum dome tweeter and a 5.25-inch polypropylene cone bass/midrange driver with a stamped steel basket, the AFX’s angled enclosure throws sound upward to add a sense of height and immersion. Of course, this means they require the use of an Atmos enabled receiver or receiver/amplifier combination. Speaking of enclosures, the AFX have a squared-off exterior design element that we’ve not seen on other Atmos enabled module models It's looks sharp and robust.

If you’re a MartinLogan owner and want to go the in-ceiling route, the company does offer several different in-ceiling options that can be used in place of its new AFX modules.

The Motion AFX is slatted to sell for $599.95 per pair (MSRP) and is due to be released next month (November 2015). For more information about MartinLogan and its new Motion AFX speaker, visit their website at www.martinlogan.com.

Image Credit: MartinLogan
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