This year at CEDIA Expo 2018, Martin Logan had a demo sound room that looked like every other colorful box decorating the backend of the San Diego Convention Center. The outside aesthetic draped the booth in a signature dark red glow, with the word "Remember the Future" published across the front of the sound room.
Unlike last year, Martin Logan had decided to do something a little different. First and foremost, they had switched from an open floor plan (that only backfired because of how popular the booth ended up being) to a two-door room with timed demos. However, inside the booth wasn't the usual array of seats, speakers, screens, and projectors. Instead, Martin Logan had set up a dozen or so stools facing three white, acoustically transparent screens that took over the majority of the walls.
And that's it. Imagine telling your boss that you want to impress upon the thought-leaders of the custom integration industry that you are the leader in sound with a booth that has just a few stools and three blank walls. That's exactly what the masterminds at Martin Logan took that gamble and it paid off big time.
The demo was conducted, and the small group that shuffled in were politely asked not to ask any questions because they simply wouldn't be answered. We were told to embrace the music and spend just a few minutes away from our phone, apart from our beliefs, gone from thoughts - just totally immersed in music. The product, as the representative described it, was just too raw to show but this medium helped unburden our expectations with how the product looked. Meaning that the product, whenever it is released, should be judged for raising the bar and not for how it looks. Which is saying a lot as Martin Logan has been the gold standard of the iconic electrostatic loudspeakers market and their six-foot Neolith is a case study in form meeting function.
So the demo kicks off, a quick intro video had a handful of Martin Logan members pining over the days of music past. They spoke of how music is about emotional connections and adrenalin rushes when the beat kicks in. They painted a picture of the music from yesteryear and how great sounding speakers can revitalize our culture to care about how we listen to music again. In most cases, this would be a little melodramatic, but it was well executed and showed just how passionate the staff is to make a sincerely wonderful product.
The projector lights dimmed, and a live version of Chandelier by Sia oozed from out the walls. The demo then transitioned into a variety of genres and melodies to show the full range of capabilities. And in a word, it was truly amazing. The clarity was nothing like I had experienced yet on the show floor. I could paint a picture of how beat shifts pulled me in and Phil Collins drum crash on In The Air Tonight felt like it was being experienced for the first time.
For whatever it's worth, they nailed this experience that gave me only the music to focus on. No visuals to deter my opinions being formed and a mix of familiar and new music to really show off the full soundstage of whatever it is they have behind the walls.
After ten minutes, the demo ended. The polite representative then said that he would like to flip the script and ask us what we thought of the demo. We collected a few answers and he calmly explained that he appreciated our time and didn't have a smooth transition for the next part, but it was our time to respectfully get up and leave his demo.
Overall, it was an astonishing demo and professionally executed. It carefully constructed a sense of wonder and anticipation for what Martin Logan was cooking up and they were tightlipped about every single detail. Hats off to Martin Logan for building, executing, and otherwise capturing a hands down, one of a kind experience at CEDIA Expo 2018.