Marten's Coltrane Soprano
The original Coltrane speaker from Swedish company Mrten Design got the thumbs-up from Michael Fremer when he reviewed it three years ago, so I was not surprised to hear good sound in importer EAR USA's room from the new Coltrane Soprano ($45,000/pair). The Soprano combines a diamond tweeter from Jantzen Audio said to have a 55kHz bandwidth, with two 7" ceramic-cone woofers from Accuton. Other than the 56mm-thick front baffle, the stylin' gracefully curved enclosure is fabricated from carbon-fiber laminate.
The rest of the system comprised an EAR 912 preamp ($11,000) and 70Wpc EAR 890 power amp ($7295), with AC regenerated and conditioned by a PS Audio Power Plant Premier but EAR's Dan Meinwald eschewed the English company's Discmaster turntable in favor of a Tim de Paravicini-modified Technics 1500 open-reel recorder to playback a sampler tape from the Tape Project. "You know," mused Dan, "listening to analog tape makes you feel the industry took a wrong turn when it abandoned the format." The sound in his room from one of Keith Johnson's orchestral recordings for Reference Recordings made a strong argument that Dan wasn't wrong!