With wireless capabilities, Dolby Digital & DTS 5.1 sound processing, ARC (Anthem Room Correction), an Ethernet input, and the ability to stream music over your network using DTS Play-Fi, Apple AirPlay, and Bluetooth, the Cadence is designed to fit nicely under a 50” or larger flat panel television. It can be wall-mounted (with a depth of less than 4”) or placed directly under the TV on a shelf. With ARC, it can deliver optimal sound no matter which way you chose to mount it. The subwoofer can be of any make or model, but MartinLogan’s Dynamo 700w is a great choice to mate with the Cadence.
MartinLogan Cadence Soundbar and Dynamo 700w Subwoofer
- Nine 2.5” drivers, each with its own amplifier
- AirPlay, DTS Play-Fi, and Bluetooth support
- Wireless connectivity to any subwoofer
- Anthem Room Correction (ARC) with included microphone, iOS app or Windows program
- Small footprint, less than 4” deep, with flexible placement options
- Produces dynamic sound with a broad soundstage
Just a few years ago, I got to review the MartinLogan Vision soundbar and was impressed with its build and sound quality. What it lacked was the ability to be the music hub in my home theater room. The new MartinLogan Cadence connects with streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, or a local NAS drive. Casting music from AirPlay, DTS Play-Fi, or Bluetooth makes this soundbar much more usable in a stream-centric world. And if you’re looking for more bass, the Dynamo 700w can deliver it. I’ll be looking at both components today.
MartinLogan Cadence Soundbar
Nine 2.5” high-excursion:
Composite cone drivers
135 watts (270 watts peak):
Combined total output across nine amplifiers
Anthem Room Correction:
DTS Digital Surround:
Processing up to DTS 5.1
Dolby Digital Surround:
Processing up to Dolby Digital 5.1
Digital optical inputs
Stereo analog RCA inputs
RCA subwoofer output
DTS® Play-Fi®, Apple AirPlay, and Bluetooth:
Wireless subwoofer receiver:
That works with any subwoofer
Second remote control:
Via 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz; 802.11 a/b/g/n
3 x HDMI inputs (HDMI 2.0a w/HDCP 2.2 up to 4K/60Hz):
1 x HDMI output with Audio Return Channel support
MartinLogan Cadence Soundbar MSRP:
MartinLogan Dynamo 700w Subwoofer
Built-in (SWT-2 transmitter included)
Low pass filter:
Low frequency transducer:
10” high excursion poly-cone driver, sealed non-resonant cabinet
300 watts (600 watts peak)
Line-level RCA – 20,000 Ohms
Stereo LFE, RCA line-level
Standby – 1 watt, Idle – 15 watts, Max – 400 watts
MartinLogan Dynamo Subwoofer MSRP:
MartinLogan Cadence Soundbar, Soundbar, Dynamo 700w Subwoofer, Subwoofer, Home Theater, Surround Sound, Soundbar Reviews 2017
If you are familiar with MartinLogan, you know they produce subwoofers and amazing electrostatic speaker systems. They also produce a growing line of soundbars with conventional drivers. The MartinLogan Cadence is the larger of the two newest entries into the family, the small version being the Verse. The MartinLogan Cadence in my review came with a Dynamo 700w 10” powered subwoofer with a wireless transceiver that afforded me the chance to hear the full range potential of the Cadence system.
The MartinLogan Cadence is about 46” wide and 3.9” deep. It is designed to be wall-mounted above or below a TV, or placed underneath the TV on a shelf (as in my review here). At just under 13 pounds, the Cadence was fairly easy to handle. The bracket and hardware needed to wall-mount this unit are included. Should you decide to jack the MartinLogan Cadence into your home network, you can do so wirelessly or hardwire via the Ethernet input.
The large blue LED display informs you of the volume level, input, ARC status, WiFi, and the current audio codec in use. Depending on the installation, the LED display may face toward you. It is very easy to see from 10 feet away and after a few seconds, it automatically shuts off so as not be a distraction while watching movies. On the right side are hard-button controls for input selection, volume, menu, and power/standby. As a nice touch, these buttons light up briefly when you press them.
A sturdy, aluminum remote with all the basic features is included as well. The nine drivers are covered by a black stretch cloth material that is not removable. In the back are three HDMI inputs and one output with ARC (in this case, Audio Return Channel). All of them can handle 4K/60p video. Two digital optical inputs, two RCA analog inputs, and a single RCA sub out are also included. Two IR outs are included should you want the Cadence to control another device. A LAN input lets you hardwire into your network, though I chose to go wireless for simplicity’s sake. With the added convenience of Bluetooth, AirPlay, and DTS Play-Fi, you can stream music to the MartinLogan Cadence from anywhere in the house.
Though the Cadence can play Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound, it does not decode DTS:X, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Atmos, or Dolby TrueHD. It can however, play music files up to 24/192 resolution using DTS Play-Fi. The nine drivers are forward-firing, up-firing, and the two on the ends point outward. This configuration gives the Cadence a wide soundstage that I’ll talk more about later. The Cadence also has a built-in transmitter that pairs it to a wireless receiver. MartinLogan gave me a Dynamo 700w that complements the Cadence perfectly, and after applying ARC, blended well into my listening environment. If you don’t have a wireless sub, a traditional single RCA cable will meet your needs. I liked the wireless route as it was quick and easy to set up and offered me more room placement options. Depending on your room size, you can go bigger or smaller with the sub, but the MartinLogan Dynamo 700w was a midsized 10-incher that was just about right for my space.
The MartinLogan Dynamo 700w can be forward-firing or down-firing depending on the location you choose. The feet are designed to be switched around quickly by the user. Its satin-black finish was seamless and clean-looking. You can of course, use another brand of sub, but the Dynamo 700w was a fine, muscular choice.
The MartinLogan Cadence comes with everything you need to mount it onto a wall. A template and bracket come in the box and because the Cadence is fairly lightweight, wall mounting is a snap. I choose to place mine on the low equipment rack that sits under my 55” UHDTV. The Cadence had no trouble blending into the background. If you wall-mount the unit, the LED display will face you, but on a shelf, it faces up and you must stand over it to see it. Either way, the orientation did not affect the IR remote in the least. I connected one HDMI out to the TV using the ARC channel and plugged my OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray player into HDMI 1. My Xbox1S was plugged into the Cadence’s optical 1 input for music streaming, while the video out went directly to my display. Connecting the Cadence into my home network only took a minute and it allowed me to stream more music that I had stored on my NAS. Many of my music files are of higher resolution than Redbook CDs and the MartinLogan Cadence had no trouble playing them.
Pairing the included subwoofer was a matter of pushing the pairing button on the back of the Cadence and syncing it to the included receiver. Just for fun, I also later connected it via cable to my Earthquake CP8 sub that hides behind my seat and it worked well too. I really like the idea of having a wireless sub, because it offers more placement options within the room than a cable connection. It also looks cleaner with one less cable on the floor.
The last thing I did was run ARC (Anthem Room Correction) after auditioning the MartinLogan Cadence for a few days. To me, this is a major upgrade feature that other companies do not offer. MartinLogan includes a fully calibrated microphone, but requires you to hook up a laptop and download the ARC software. The really superlative feature is that you can download the free ARC app onto your smart device and run it from there (as long as it is on the same network). It is very intuitive and only took a few minutes to run. The sound improvement was not subtle. It made voices clearer, music more spacious and open, and bass became tighter and more punchy. With that done, I was ready to put the Cadence through its paces.
Before I wax eloquent about the Cadence and Dynamo 700w, I want to give you my general first impressions about the sound quality. I was really impressed with the MartinLogan Vision that I had reviewed a few years earlier and frankly was not expecting this seemingly lesser model to perform as well. I was wrong. The Cadence had a very clear and spacious sound quality. It performed pretty well on its own, but the subwoofer helps fill in the low end better and I do recommend pairing the Cadence with one.
In my darkened theater, with the Cadence sitting between my Revel F36s, there were many times I could have sworn I was listening to the towers rather than the soundbar. It totally tricked my wife. I could easily hear front soundstage dialog and sound effects that were quite convincing. Better than my setup? No, but close enough that if I had to live in a soundbar world, I could be pretty satisfied with the MartinLogan Cadence. Once the sub was dialed in, it exceeded my expectations even further. The sound quality boded well with movies and music. Add to this the fact that I could use the DTS Play-Fi app to access my NAS and stream from Spotify, it was icing on the cake!
For movies, I started with my go-to favorite Prometheus. Not only is the picture quality excellent, but the sound is demo quality as well. The rumble of the spaceship’s engines and its subsequent landing on LV-223 as it kicked up stones and debris was well presented by the Cadence. The Dynamo 700w gave ample heft to the low-end while the sounds of flying dirt and gravel ricocheted off the walls in my room.
Dialog sounded natural, without mid-bass chestiness. Voices from off to the sides were well located, meaning you could easily place the sounds coming from the screen. The overall soundscape was natural and open-sounding. I really was buying into the illusion that the Cadence was a three speaker system.
Mad Max: Fury Road also displayed similar results. What this movie lacks in dialog, it more than compensates with explosive sounds (literally), and a blazing rock-n-roll soundtrack that enhances the frenzied action on the screen. More than once during this movie, I feared that the Cadence was going to burst forth in flames… but of course, it did not. The Dynamo 700w took the brunt of the explosions and never complained once.
Amadeus gave me an opportunity to listen to dialog and Baroque music all in one sitting, and the MartinLogan Cadence played the music convincingly. The soundtrack is spacious and had some nice depth to it. Audible details showed up, like a giggle from Wolfgang or a sigh from Salieri. You could clearly hear the details above the fracas. So, I asked myself, “Would I be willing to settle for the Cadence if I had to downsize my current system?” I’m thinking I could.
Music, as I have mentioned, sounded very good too. I listen to a lot of classical selections and found the soundstage to be quite acceptable from my centered seat. Moving around the room still provided an enjoyable experience, but you do lose the effect of depth.
Listening to The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” still gave the impression of rain coming down in the middle of the room and also let you hear Morrison’s whispered voice as he sings along with himself. I’ve heard many lesser speakers that could not let you hear into the music like the Cadence can.
At $1299, THE CADENCE Offers Good Flexibility And Great Sound Quality. The Addition Of The Arc App Helps It Stand Apart From The Competition
- Open, dynamic sound quality
- Unique ARC App really works well
- Flexible use, with streaming and networking
- Offers a good value for complete home entertainment
- Perhaps an included wireless slim-line sub
- Pop up display for us “shelf mounters”
Everything I liked about the MartinLogan Vision applies to the Cadence. It sounds great with movies and music. The streaming features allow you to listen to music all day and watch movies all night. I also consider the MartinLogan Cadence to be a good value. Why? If you think about it, with only a MartinLogan Cadence in your system, you wouldn’t have to buy five cabinet-style speakers and an expensive receiver or amplifier. There’s no need for costly speaker cables or interconnects and you’d save a ton of floor space. Surrounds could be added later when you have more coin to drop and you’d still have a sound system that wouldn’t make you hang your head in shame. For the vast majority of our readers, I suspect their home theater also doubles as a family room or living room. Just because you have to make some compromises in buying separate components doesn’t mean you have to compromise in sound quality. The MartinLogan Cadence and Dynamo 700w subwoofer will make your home entertainment system something everyone can enjoy.