MartinLogan Co-Founder Launches New Speaker Company

Gayle Sanders, renowned speaker designer and cofounder of MartinLogan, today announced the launch of a new speaker company, Gayle Sanders Eikon.

The company’s first product, the $24,500 Image1 digital active loudspeaker system featuring the “latest-generation amplifier technology, directly coupled to extremely low-distortion drivers,” will be unveiled at Audio Expo North America (AXPONA), which opens Friday in Schaumburg, Illinois.

The striking system is designed to “achieve excellent precision and coherence without the need and expense of big stacks of gear,” Sanders said. The angular Image1 cabinet was designed using a proprietary, constrained-layer cabinet system that “dramatically damps spurious chassis activity while significantly eliminating sympathetic resonances, ultimately contributing to effortless reproduction of dynamic range and dimensionality in space throughout the audio band.”

The heart of the system is the DSP-based Eikontrol preamp/control center, which accepts any digital or analog input and can be accessed and controlled via any smartphone or computer. In addition to basic preamp functions, the controller has multiple contour mapping settings, fine adjustments, and environmental settings.

Thanks to the use of greatly improved DSP algorithms, the Eikontrol is capable of acoustic wave-shaping in the room, minimizing sidewall interactions and “helping to achieve energetic bass lines as well as phase-perfect mids and highs,” Sanders said, adding that he has perfected customized bass performance using advanced wavelet signal processing for room control. The process is said to dramatically expand the system’s ability to recognize and analyze energy buildup in the amplitude and time domains, resulting in “far more consistent control of destructive energy, dramatically improving uniform frequency response in-room.”

The system is available in black piano gloss with other finishes expected later.

The Eikon Story
Sometime after Gayle Sanders entered “retirement,” he began tinkering with ideas. “I found myself missing our industry — the people, the excitement, the creative process of designing — it pulled me back,” Sanders said. “I still love learning about new technologies, diving into research, and exploring the possibilities of putting it all together.”

After examining several evolving digital technologies, Sanders saw an opportunity to return to the market with a new approach that would be a complete departure from the MartinLogan electrostatic loudspeaker designs he is known for. He began to explore the improvements in digital signal processing (DSP) and new amplifier technology with an eye toward building a complete package for discerning customers who “desire a simple approach to high performance.”

Ultimately, Sanders began designing and building prototypes in his garage. Working through several prototypes over four years, he refined the Eikon’s industrial design and improved its performance. Today, the company occupies a dedicated workshop in Norwalk, Connecticut, where the Image1 speakers are hand-built, tested, and refined.

“I’m a bit of a curator,” Sanders said. “I’m utilizing some of the new DSP technology, which has vastly improved over the last few years, and putting it together with my own engineering. It’s a perfect solution designed to work together in perfect harmony in any environment, and it wasn’t ready for prime time until recently.”

“I’ve always been obsessed with the purity of sound, and passionately explore new opportunities to create a true musical experience,” Sanders said. “I want to make this technology accessible to everyone.”

For more information, visit

Watch this video for a closer look at the Image1 system.

Billy's picture

Just cashing in on his name. Now, the ML stats were amazing, but for what I see here, not so much. I built some speaker boxes myself with simple Parts Express drivers that I can not hear a difference from some 10K speakers I heard displayed. I feel there is only so much you can do with speaker cones and a box, no matter what weird shape you make it. Speakers are a lot like turntable cartridges, mostly profit and a little engineering...lots of hype. Of course, solid construction and decent parts do make a difference, but the prices I see for some of these speakers makes me want to fall down laughing.

jnemesh's picture

You MUST be an engineer. Can tell em a mile off...cant tell them shit up close! I am SURE your expertise is superior to a man who successfully founded and ran a multimillion dollar speaker company. I am SURE your expertise is higher than that which this man cultivated over a lifetime in the industry. Your post gave me cancer. Do us a favor and keep comments like this to yourself next time.

pirroplato's picture

Some people just don't get luxury buying. You don't buy a Jaeger LeCoultre watch just because it tells you the time. You're buying the fit, finish, engineering, and pride of ownership. High end speakers are the same way. They sound better but that's not the reason they're so much more expensive. Gotta love the people that can't afford the speakers, so they just do the "I can't hear the difference" song and dance. Admittedly, having a tin ear would sure save a ton of money. Enjoy your cheap, chinese made speakers, some of us will work hard to buy nice things.

Billy's picture

Ahh, you buy that watch to get laid by the prettiest girl in the room. A few like the fit and finish and build quality, but most want to show it off to hint at "see what I have and you don't?" The pretty girls see that watch as security in life attached to you, it is brain chemistry, goes back to caveman days. (Not to mention the potential of snagging you and an easy life) We of course, are screwing up natural selection. In the old days, a big, somewhat smart goofus like me would be an Alpha Male, not any more, it is the guy with the biggest wallet. If that watch came from a smart hard working brain, the natural selective Darwinism works, but if it came from a trust fund, or dumb luck, not so much. Just sayin.

pirroplato's picture

No need to get butthurt.

davidrmoran's picture

... because he does not know what he's talking about. You can do all you need to do w dynamic drivers in a cabinet, if you are smart and savvy and creative. Anyone who doubts this should take a listen to the BL90, among other designs. 'I put some PE drivers in a box, so I know thus and such' --- bwahahaha.

Billy's picture

Parts Express rocks, no other way to put it. I might be getting old (maybe) and my hearing is shot but I have taken more then one person (young, good hearing people) to high end listening rooms, the same people who have heard the boxes I put together for like 400 bucks, and not one of them can tell a difference, some say mine are better. makes me feel pretty smug, esp. when a snooty salesman comes over and they rave on and on about my sheer genius. No wonder our young people have moved away from high end electronics, it isn't just the smart phone BS, it is the sheer elitism displayed by us Baby Boomers about this stuff. We need the kids to hear what real sound it, but if we keep up this crap, we will lose the whole industry. I myself have set up more then one young person with garage sale 1970s equipment and modest speakers, and that has changed their lives. Would you rather watch our hobby go extinct because of pie in the sky idealism or save it with common sense and the love of great music? If we can get 80-90% of the performance with affordable gear, why bother with the price of a new Honda just for speakers that most people will never be able to tell the difference of in a double blind test?

davidrmoran's picture

sorry, unwarranted, they sell Dayton and other things, and their diy competition had judges like Roy Allison, so I take back that shot

Billy's picture

Must have touched a nerve, did the wife leave you due to your HiFi addiction? The gentleman is not stupid, but Einstein he is not, just business savvy. A multimillion dollar company? Good for him, but why the need to make stuff for the 1%? If he was truly interested in changing the game, how about making a killer set of speakers for 500 bucks instead of 24K? He fully understands the reality of why people pay 300K for a Ferrari when a 40K Mustang does all the same things, it is about the bragging rights...that's why they buy. Childish playground behavior and the sooner you accept that life fact my young son, the sooner you become self actualized.

pirroplato's picture

If you think a mustang does the same thing as a Ferrari, that just says that you've never been in a Ferrari.

Billy's picture

Used to work at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, plenty of doctors took me out in theirs, a few even let me drive. They all admitted that they were bought for status, esp. when going back to their home towns to show off in front of the ex high school kings whose lives ended with the last touchdown senior year and who used to make fun of them. Then there was the "lady factor" Doctors in general have little trouble in acquiring top female companionship, but a red Ferrari seals the deal My question to you Mr Elitist, have YOU driven a Mustang recently? Like 10% of the price, easy to repair almost anywhere in North American, and reliable. Plus, they handle incredibly, and have more power then anyone is truly able to use. One thing you learn after hearing about Ferrari ownership from real owners, is how easily they break and once they do, what it costs to fix them.

Rich67's picture

I think what Billy might have been alluding to, though inelegantly phrased was, the law of diminishing returns. Another take on inordinately expensive designs with all sorts of special stuff probably can make a difference but at an exorbitant increase in cost for very tiny actual improvement in the reproduction of sound. I'm not saying the improvements aren't there but not many people have the environment to hear all of these little improvements. If you do have a dedicated, soundproof listening room with all sorts of acoustical treatments and a boatload of extra cash, go for it. I ain't mad at you!

Billy's picture

The law of diminishing return might explain a 1K speaker vs a 3 or4K speaker, a 24K set is two different words (in my opinion) pure greed. Or put in a 1% friendly form, what the market will bear. And that is a pretty small market my friends. There are two ways to make money selling stuff, sell a few at a big price, or sell a bunch at an affordable price. Henry Ford figured that out and made a lot of people happy. Why can't this fella figure that out? Why is he even bothering? If I were retired I would be by the fireplace with a cup of coffee and a good book, or maybe listening to some fine tunes. As I recall, he had a nifty little set up years ago in his basement with some ML Statements, why not enjoy music until the undertaker closes the lid? I understand the mindset her, the need to gauge your self esteem on worth in monetary terms, but isn't that really self defeating? Why not like I said earlier, make some great sounding affordable speakers that would revitalize the industry (maybe in Kansas, make some good jobs the in Lawrence!) It isn't like he needs the money and has to put cat food on his toast or something, so maybe try to do something good for humanity? Besides, who really buys this wildly priced stuff? Okay, spoiled trust fund babies, hedge fund guys who make vulgar money draining the system who want "the best" without really understanding it (Like Justin Beaver with a Lambo and a stick shift he can't drive) AND, the nerds. I years back was BSing with a salesman at HiFi Heaven in Green Bay, Wisconsin about who bought the high end stuff. I assumed it was the Packer player and he said, "Not at all, they all just want some low end stuff with big subs to go Boom Boom Boom! No, the crazy wicked expensive stuff goes to guys without girl friends who live in Moms basement and drive Pintos to afford it. No very wise, but heck, I make lots of cash from it!" I heard a similar story from a friend who sold gear at The Sound of Music stores in the Twin Cities (What became Best Buy) back in the 70s. He laughed at the crazy mark up and profits with certain turntable cartridges and speakers. I was lucky, he steered me into the better value stuff, when the boss was out of ear shot. I have to believe that the high price here, is at least a little of this.

Long Time Audio Guy's picture

Every audio store has a guy or two that is a better audio designer than the engineers at the audio companies. They can take off the shelf speakers, a couple caps and build the most amazing speakers for a fraction of the cost that the ones in the store cost. I have heard those speakers and some are better than others, but none of them were ever amazing, not even close. Did I ever tell the builder that, no. I didn't want to make him feel bad, there was no point in calling their baby ugly. So maybe all those guys that loved your speakers were kinder souls than you thought they were.

Sound of Music in Minneapolis was a low-end store. Yes they had grossly over priced cartridges and speakers, how do you think they were able to give you "great deals." The serious audio guys at those stores didn't buy their equipment there.

Be happy with your gear, but don't lecture what represents value or at what point diminishing returns are too high priced. That is for me, my ears and my wallet to decide. Take your judgement and condescension back to your land of awesome sound and enjoy your bliss.

auntslappy's picture

One guy who is bringing high-end quality to the masses is Andrew Jones. While he'll design $25,000 speakers for those who want them, he'll spend just as much time for a sub-1k set of speakers. I always enjoyed seeing his interviews on how he designed value-conscious speakers - it was obvious he was not trying to skimp on sound quality to protect his high-end sales.

PQ's picture

When Gayle says he "wants to make this technology available to everyone" and then introduces a $24500 loudspeaker, I have to conclude that he means everyone who is very rich, not your average music lover on an average income.

pirroplato's picture

Not necessarily. Plenty of speaker companies start with a flagship, then trickle down the technology and engineering into lower-priced models. Helps pay back the initial startup investment. We'll probably see progressively lower priced speakers. After all, the company he founded before only has one model more expensive than this one.