MartinLogan Crescendo High Resolution Wireless Music System Arrives forReview

For many, a dedicated two-channel music system or multichannel home theater setup isn’t practical. Whether it’s aesthetics, room limitations, or something else, audiophiles haven’t had many options. The portable audio and streaming media revolution have served as a catalyst to a new category of audio equipment: wireless music systems.

Wireless music systems haven’t necessarily been known for their audiophile pedigree. However, just as some high end audio speaker brands have started developing their own headphones, they have also now started to venture into developing wireless music systems. MartinLogan is one such well-known audiophile speaker manufacturer who is aiming to bring audiophile sound to this category.

Their inaugural model is the bold and stylish Crescendo.

The Crescendo is a wired and wireless system with two .94″ x 1″ Folded Motion Transducers with a 2.8″ x 1.25″ diaphragm located on either side of the unit. A single 5″ x 7″ fiber cone with extended throw drive assembly rests in the center. The system is powered by a 100W (140W peak) Class D amplifier that delivers 50W to the woofer and 25W to each tweeter. The cabinet features two ported openings on the underside of the unit. The heart of the system lies in its 24-bit 48kHz DSP based preamplifier that also sports 802.11b/g/n wireless (2.4GHz) and wired ethernet connectivity 2.4GHz), Bluetooth v4.0, USB port for iPhone, iPad, iPod connectivity, and a combined analog/optical digital 3.5mm mini jack.

MartinLogan has sent us over a demo model of the Crescendo for a full review.  The Crescendo arrived a few weeks ago and here’s a preview with our unboxing.

The Crescendo comes in a beautifully branded box.

In the box are all the accessories you’d need.  The inclusion of a toslink cable and the 1/8 inch optical adapter are a real plus.  You can use the toslink cable to provide an all-digital connection from your TV or other source component directly to the Crescendo.

 

I rarely talk about remote controls but this little guy is beautiful.  The Crescendo remote comes in a black brushed aluminum finish with a slightly curved surface.  It’s not backlit, but buttons are cleanly and clearly laid out with a good tactile feel.  This is one remote you really enjoy holding.  It feels solid in your hands and conveys the sense that this is MartinLogan quality.

 

Accessing the battery is done via a philips head screw on the bottom of the battery.  Because of this design the entire remote has a beautiful, smooth feel to it.

The rear panel of the Crescendo has just about every imaginable input except for HDMI.  If there’s any initial complaint that I had about the Crescendo, it would be the absence of HDMI.  I’ll get into this more in the full review, but this isn’t a deal-breaker.  The unit features, wired Ethernet, USB, analog and digital 1/8 AUX input, Bluetooth, and Apple Airplay.  The Crescendo also has built-in WiFi and a super-easy way to connect it via your iPhone or iPad just by plugging it in.
A slick feature with the Crescendo is an optional subwoofer output.  You can therefore use the Crescendo with an external sub for incredible, full-range sound from this beautifully-styled package.
Our review sample came in the walnut finish although it’s also available in a gloss black.  The front grille is held on with magnets.  Pressing on the left and right side of the grille pops it off to expose the  folded motion tweeters and the midrange woofer.
For the nearly two months that I’ve had the Crescendo for testing, I can tell you that never—and I mean never, ever—have so many people complimented the looks and styling of any piece of audio gear as the Crescendo.  In fact, my wife, my mother, my nieces, and wives of my friends have all, without exception, complimented the looks of the Crescendo.  If the Crescendo sounds as good as it looks this just may be an audiophile’s dream come true: a real audiophile system with a WAF (wife-acceptance-factor) to die for.  Stay tuned for our full review.

 

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