Engstrom, Jorma, Marten, MSB Technology, TechDAS, Antipodes, Acoustical Systems, Solid Tech Furniture

With the daring, midcentury modern–influenced designs of their amplifiers, Sweden’s Engstrom paired with Marten’s new Coltrane Quintet loudspeaker for a big, bold, yet surprisingly intimate sound.

Timo Engstrom streamed John Scofield and Pat Metheny’s serpentine “The Red One,” Metheny’s acoustic guitar exploration of “And I Love Her,” and Tribal Tech’s “Face First,” a bludgeoning 90s jazz fusion piece.

The system played these streams with solid fidelity to the source while revealing the good (“The Red One”) and bad (“Face First”) of the recordings.

Equipment included the new TechDAS Air Force V Premium turntable (€20,000) and Acoustical Systems Aquilar Anniversary Tonearm (€21,000) mated with a TechDAS TDC01 Ti cartridge (€9900).

An Antipodes Oladra Streamer (€37,000) worked with an MSB Technology The Reference Digital Director (€28,000) and an MSB Technology The Reference DAC (€61,000). Engstrom amplification included the M-Phono phono stage (€25,000), Monica mk3 Preamplifier (€60,000), Eric Encore mono power blocks (€160,000/pair), Lars mk3 Integrated Stereo Amplifier (€70,000), and Arne mk2 Integrated Amplifier (€35,000).

Everything fed the new, four-way bass-reflex Marten Coltrane Quintet loudspeaker (€170,000/pair) with its custom diamond tweeter, custom beryllium midrange, and custom convex carbon-fiber mid-bass. A full loom of Jorma cabling conducted signal. Solid Tech Furniture supported the works.

After I had my turn, Timo Engstrom played crowd favorites including Cat Power’s take on Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man” and cellist Vincent Belanger “Ave Maria.” No matter the music, the Engstrom/Marten system played music with balanced tone, transparency to the recorded source, and forceful energy, yet it also sounded intimate and personal.