2020 may not have been a year to celebrate, but there were some housebound highlights. For example, after I had finished with the measurements to accompany Michael Fremer’s review of the Marten Oscar Duo in the November 2020 issue,1 I set up these Swedish two-way standmounts in my own listening room. Yes, the measured performance was excellent, but I was not expecting how much I would enjoy the sound of the Oscar Duos. At $6995/pair, this is not an inexpensive speaker, but it rivaled the stereo imaging produced by my reference KEF LS50, played louder than the diminutive KEF without strain, and offered another octave of low frequencies. As MF concluded in his review: “Designer Leif Olofsson has threaded the needle, producing a small speaker that can produce prodigious bass (or at least bass that sounds prodigious) with composure at relatively high SPLs, without muddying up the midrange.”
The Oscar Duos went back to the distributor last October, but as the new year dawned, Marten’s new Parker Trio tower loudspeakers ($19,990/pair) arrived chez Moi. I unpacked the Trios, set them up, experimented with positioning, listened a while, then packed them up again. It turned out that the stainless steel outrigger bases didn’t have the correct-sized holes tapped into them for the mandatory Marten Isolators. Rather than replace the outriggers, Marten decided instead to send me the “Diamond Edition” version of the Parker Trio. This considerably more expensive version—$36,990/ pair—replaces the regular Trio’s ceramic-dome tweeter with one that uses a dome formed from pure diamond—presumably vapor-deposited—higher-quality crossover components, improved cable terminals, and Jorma’s top-of-the-range Statement internal cabling.
On with the show.
Description 2.5-way, floor-standing loudspeaker. Drive-units: 1 (25.4mm) diamond-dome tweeter, two 7.5 (190.5mm) ceramic-cone woofers, two 9 (229mm) aluminum-diaphragm passive radiators. Crossover frequency: 2.2kHz. Frequency response: 26Hz–40kHz ±2dB. Nominal impedance: 6 ohms. Minimum impedance: 3.1 ohms. Sensitivity: 91dB/2.83V/m. Power handling: 300W. Terminals: single-wired WBT. Internal wiring: Jorma Statement. Supplied accessories: outrigger supports, Marten IsoPuck isolators, and a burn-in CD.
Dimensions 46 (1170mm) H × 11 (280mm) W × 14.2 (360mm) D. Weight: 89lb (40kg) each.
Finish Matte walnut, Piano walnut, or Piano black, with mirror-polished chrome inlays.
Serial numbers of units reviewed 20103001A & B. “Designed and manufactured in Sweden.”
Price $36,990/pair. Approximate number of dealers: 11. Warranty: Limited, transferrable.
Manufacturer Marten AB, Flöjelbergsgatan 18, 43137 Mölndal, Sweden. Tel: (46) 31-20-72-00 Web: marten.se. US distributor: VANA Ltd., Nesconset, New York. Tel: (631) 960-5242. Web: vanaltd.com.
The Parker Trio Diamond
Like all of Marten’s speaker lines, the Trio pays homage to a legendary jazz musician, in this case Charlie Parker. This is an elegant-looking tower, standing 45 high on its two chromed stainless steel outrigger bases with the Isolators installed. The enclosure tapers from its back to the front and is constructed from a proprietary, self-damped, laminated material that Marten calls “M-Board.” The review samples were hand-finished in a matte walnut veneer.
The Parker Trio is a “2.5-way” design, with the lower of the two 7.5 woofers rolling off earlier than the upper one. The latter crosses over to the 1 diamond-dome tweeter at 2.2kHz using Marten’s “Multi-Slope” crossover technology. The tweeter sits behind a mesh grille in a chromed stainless steel sub-baffle. Below it are the two woofers, mounted vertically inline and covered with metal-mesh grilles. Engineered by Marten’s Leif Olofsson, these use ceramic cones and substantial half-roll rubber surrounds. The woofers are modestly claimed by Marten to be “superior to any similar drivers currently available, at any price.” Reflex loading is provided by two 9 aluminum-diaphragm passive radiators mounted on the rear of the cabinet, these also covered with mesh grilles. Electrical connection is via a single pair of chromed binding posts at the base of the rear panel.
Marten’s IsoPuck feet are designed by IsoAcoustics and incorporate a compliant layer that, in combination with the speaker’s mass, acts as a low-pass filter to absorb higher-frequency noise in the enclosure and prevent it from being transmitted to the floor. Jim Austin discussed how the IsoAcoustics feet work in October 2020 and was impressed by the improvement they gave with a pair of Revel Ultima Salon2 speakers.2
Setup & system
Marten includes a CD with a sweep tone to break in the Parker Trios. The hardbound manual says to play this track on repeat for at least 24 hours before experimenting with placement and warns that the loudspeakers won’t sound their best for another 200 hours of playing music! Fortunately, and unlike the first pair of Parker Trios, the Diamond Edition speakers had been fully broken in before I received them. Nevertheless, there was a slightly lean quality to the lower midrange that gradually dissipated over the first week of using the Martens for noncritical listening.
I used DRA Labs’ MLSSA system and a calibrated DPA 4006 microphone to measure the Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition’s frequency response in the farfield, and an Earthworks QTC-40 mike for the nearfield and in-room responses. I measured the speaker’s impedance with Dayton Audio’s DATS V2 system.
Usually, I measure loudspeakers in our backyard, weather permitting, or in our living room with the furniture pushed to the sides. This eliminates or moves back in time the reflections of the speaker’s output. However, as this loudspeaker was too heavy for me to move outside or upstairs to the living room, I performed the quasi-anechoic measurements in my basement listening room. I managed to maneuver one of the speakers, standing on its IsoPuck bases, onto a small, wheeled dolly and rolled it forward so that it was aimed across the room’s diagonal and was as distant as possible from the nearest sidewall. However, the proximity of room boundaries, the floor in particular, meant that I had to window the time-domain data a little more aggressively than I usually do. This reduces the measurements’ resolution in the midrange. The geometry of my listening room also meant that I could only measure the horizontal dispersion over a ±45° angle rather than my usual ±90°.
While Marten specifies the Trio Diamond’s sensitivity as a high 91dB/2.83V/m, my estimate was significantly lower, at 86dB(B)/2.83V/m. (I noticed I had to set the volume control about 3dB lower than when I listened to the 83dB-sensitive Falcon Gold Badge LS3/5a’s Herb Reichert reviewed in the April issue for the same perceived volume, which subjectively corroborates the measurement.) The Trio Diamond’s impedance is specified as 6 ohms with a minimum magnitude of 3.1 ohms. According to my measurements, the impedance magnitude (fig.1, solid trace) remains above 4 ohms over most of the audioband, with minimum values of 3.3 ohms between 110Hz and 120Hz and at 2.9kHz. The electrical phase angle (dashed trace) is occasionally high, which means that the EPDR1 drops to 2 ohms between 64 and 111Hz and between 1.7kHz and 2.8kHz, with a minimum value of 1.5 ohms at 83Hz and 2.2kHz. The Trio Diamond Edition should be used with amplifiers that don’t have problems driving 4 ohms.
1 EPDR is the resistive load that gives rise to the same peak dissipation in an amplifier’s output devices as the loudspeaker. See “Audio Power Amplifiers for Loudspeaker Loads,” JAES, Vol.42 No.9, September 1994, and stereophile.com/ reference/707heavy/index.html.
Fig.1 Marten Parker Trio Diamond, electrical impedance (solid) and phase (dashed) (2 ohms/ vertical div.).
Fig.2 Marten Parker Trio Diamond, cumulative spectral-decay plot calculated from output of accelerometer fastened to center of side panel level with upper woofer (MLS driving voltage to speaker, 7.55V; measurement bandwidth, 2kHz).
Fig.3 Marten Parker Trio Diamond, anechoic response on tweeter axis at 50”, averaged across 30° horizontal window and corrected for microphone response, with the summed nearfield responses of the woofers (red) and passive radiators (blue), and the complex sum of their nearfield responses, respectively plotted below 300Hz, 500Hz, and 300Hz.
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