Marten’s Coltrane Quintet

I cannot recall a single instance where I was less than thoroughly satisfied—thrilled, usually—by the sound Marten loudspeakers made at shows. Given how tricky show set-up often is, Marten’s track record of stellar sound is no mean achievement.

For reasons beyond my control, Marten’s demo transported me to church, accompanied by the sounds of Franck’s “Panis Angelicus.” As gorgeous and open as the sound was— the soprano soloist’s voice was depicted perfectly, with an ideal amount of air and shine—the choice of music made me wince. Why? Because, back in the day, I sat through far too many whistling contests where a hand whistler who shall not be named labored painfully through “Panis Angelicus” with all the agility of a dead duck.

Nonetheless, I got a grip, banished thoughts of whistling presentations, and remained in the room. Which was a good thing, because the next track, the Hadouk Trio’s “Soft Landing,” transported me from flashback city to the extremely pleasant present. Even though volume was a bit too high, beauty and control reigned supreme.

Shown (and heard) was the Coltrane Quintet (€170,000/pair) with carbon-fiber laminate cabinet. The successor to the Coltrane 3, which came out nine years ago, the Quintet’s cabinet is 25% bigger.

“You don’t need a subwoofer,” I was told about a speaker that descends to 18Hz, ±2dB. No shit, Sherlock. The same speaker is said to ascend to 60kHz, same ±2dB. A 4-way bass reflex design, available in seven finishes, its new technology (also employed in the Mingus Septet) includes a diamond tweeter, beryllium high-midrange, carbon fiber high bass driver, and two aluminum sandwich bass drivers with a honeycomb in between intended to make them extra stiff. As big as the speaker may be—it’s more than 50" tall and 31" deep and weighs 255lb—Marten’s line includes two models that are bigger.

Other elements of the system included Halcro Eclipse Mono amplifiers (€78,000, presumably for the pair), MSB The Cascade DAC (€110,000), Antipodes Audio Oladra media player (€37,000), TechDas AF3PS turntable (€44,000) with Supratrac Firebird tonearm (€4500) and DS Audio Grand Master Extreme optical cartridge & phono equalizer (€70,000). Marten’s sister company, Jorma, produced the Paragon Power (€13,000), Power filter Reference (€20,000), and Statement cables (€94,000 total). SMT room acoustics (€70,000) also helped hold everything together.

This was one of many exhibits where, rather than disrupt other listeners with my questions, I headed to the hallway to chat with the founder of the 26-year old speaker company, Leif Mårten Olofsson. My thanks to Jan Sieveking who kindly sent the photo of us in conversation.

My strategy of sitting in the hallway to converse and take notes was not foolproof. Some exhibitors uncomfortable sitting on the floor or crouching down, and one discussion was disrupted by an MOC monitor who informed me that sitting in the hallway was verboten. We retreated to the stairwell.

remlab's picture

on the upper end. At least on the 75mm dome. Hard to tell with the tweeter.

James Romeyn's picture

I'm sure Jason has heard Marten at shows multiple times more than myself. I do recall though that at SoCal's 2014 or 2015 THE Show, the EAR/de Paravicini > Marten room was mesmerizing, possibly or likely "Best of Show." Didn't hurt that it was a much larger suite than the average display room, estimate 10' from the speakers to front wall and I suspect all HR program material...and obviously, Tim de Paravicini (RIP) had forgotten more than most ever learn about tube gear. At that show I walked the couple miles from my sleeping hotel to the show venue and got to sit and talk with Tim for 15-20 minutes while he finished a smoke. It was a simple, singular and memorable pleasure.

Jason, as a retired SFFD Captain, fire regs require halls be kept clear for reasons no readers need me to repeat. On this subject, in a 2024 AXPONA Youtube video, Borreson Speakers entirely covered their front wall with a graphic screen, apparently completely blocking an exit, a huge no-no in the fire and hotel biz, again, for obvious reason. I presume if CFD and/or hotel managers knew they would have cleared the room and locked the door till the exit was cleared and maybe have given Borreson a well-earned tongue lashing for their effort.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I wish shows gave us an alternative. Too often, the only place to talk is right outside the door, where I find it impossible to scribble notes. But if when there is a press room, as there was in Munich, it's too far from most exhibits to make it practical to use.

Glotz's picture

The entire Marten line is orgasmic, and that Coltrane Quintet is super gorgeous! And man, does that whole line sing!

And kudos to JVS for running around at all of the shows like a man on fire reporting on these awesome rooms. I hope you hook up some serious spa time after all of these shows!

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Lovely thought. If it ever warms up in Port Townsend, maybe I'll sweat during a dog walk.

Thank you,