Home  |  Audio Reviews  Audiophile Shows Partner Mags  News     

 

 

 

November 2022

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

Superior Audio Equipment Review

Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition Floorstanding Speaker Review
An amazing ability to separate each of the instruments and vocals in the soundscape.
Review By Tom Lyle

 

Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition Floorstanding Speaker Review

 

  Marten speakers are designed and built in Sweden. Leif Marten Olofsson founded the company in 1998. Marten is now run by Leif Marten and his brothers, Jorgen and Lars Olofsson. Marten designs and manufactures five lines of speakers, all named to earn points from me; that is, they are named after American jazz musicians - Coltrane, Mingus, Parker, and Oscar. The fifth series is the Heritage Series, which has the sub-series Bird, Getz, Miles, and Duke.

The Marten Parker Trio is a floor-standing speaker situated in the middle of the Parker series offerings. On its front baffle, it has two 7.5-inch ceramic bass/midrange drivers and a 1-inch "pure" ceramic tweeter, which in this model has been upgraded to diamond. Besides having a diamond tweeter, the upgrade to Marten's Parker Trio Diamond Edition floorstander also has upgraded crossover components, improved speaker terminals, and Marten's Jorma Statement internal wiring.

 

 

On the Parker Trio Diamond's rear panel are two large aluminum passive radiators measuring 9-inches each. When I first set up the speakers in my listening room, I mistakenly thought these were active drivers, which I thought was a crazy idea, as this would likely make the bass frequencies dominate the speaker's sound. Passive radiators, on the other hand, seemed like a great idea. Of course, Marten agrees and writes on their website, "Passive radiators give the control and dynamics needed for the Parker Trio. A speaker of this class demands the ultimate in bass response."

These are rather large speakers, standing more than 3.5-feet tall and weighing about 90 pounds each. The front baffle is only about 9" wide, but the speaker gets wider as it gets deeper, and at their 14" depth, they are about 11" wide. Looking at one of the speakers from the side, they are a parallelogram, tilting the speaker back for time alignment. The tapered cabinet is made from what Marten calls M-board, explaining that this provides a resonance-free enclosure.

 

Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition Floorstanding Speaker Review

 

Leif Olofsson designed the speaker's ceramic drivers, which are said to have a long linear excursion and utilize a Neodynium magnet system. Jorma Design copper internal wiring is made by hand in Sweden. The Parker Trio's Diamond Edition's upgraded crossover was developed using a "multi-diverse crossover technique."

After unboxing, I attached to the bottom of the speakers the outrigger system Marten designed to further reduce resonance by completely isolating the speaker's cabinet from the floor. In collaboration with the Canadian company IsoAcoustics, they developed Marten Isolators. Besides looking good, these high-gloss silver cylindrical footers lift the speakers another couple of inches off the floor. On their website, Marten says when the cabinet is wholly isolated, it reduces both resonance and distortion, "leaving the soundstage free." More sonic benefits, according to Marten, are "a more dynamic bass with increased power and control, a natural openness and clarity."

 

 

System
I auditioned the Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition speakers in my main system. This two-channel audio system is in a dedicated, acoustically treated listening room with acoustic panels on all four walls surrounding my listening seat. Two dedicated power lines run to the circuit box in our basement, and there are two Virtual Dynamics cryogenically treated duplex 20-Ampere outlets on the wall behind the equipment racks.

I connected the speakers to my reference Pass Laboratories X250.8 power amplifier using Kimber's Carbon 18 XL speaker cable. It was a rather long 4-meter run because the equipment racks were not located between the speakers but to the side of the left speaker. I used a two-chassis Pass Labs XP-22 linestage or a tube-powered Nagra Classic Preamp connected to the power amp with a Kimber Carbon 8 interconnect with balanced XLR terminations.

The analog front-end of this system consists of a Tri-Planar 6 tonearm mounted on the armboard of a Basis Audio V. The power cord of the turntable's AC synchronous motor is connected to an AC regenerator power supply capable of producing a clean 60 Hz sine wave. This 60 Hz wave rotates the turntable's platter at a precise 33.3 rpm. When listening to 45 rpm records, I must switch the power supply's output to 81 Hz. A Top Wing Suzaku Red Sparrow low-output moving coil phono cartridge is attached to the headshell of the Tri-Planar arm, which is hardwired with silver cable and is terminated with Cardas unbalanced RCAs. It is connected to a Pass Labs XP-27 two-chassis phono preamplifier, and its balanced XLR output is connected to the linestage with a Kimber Carbon 8 interconnect terminated with XLRs.

An EMM Labs DA2 digital-to-analog converter is at the heart of the system's digital front-end. The primary source is a computer-based music server, with its USB output connected to the USB input of the EMM DA2 converter with a Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 USB cable. I use the open-source Foobar 2000 or JRiver Media Center software to play files stored on hard drives connected to the computer. I also have subscriptions to TIDAL and Qobuz streaming services. I use an OPPO UDP-203 Blu-ray/universal disc player to spin the occasional 5" silver disc, its digital output connected to the coax input of the EMM Labs DAC with an Accusound Digital Link cable. The OPPO's analog outputs are connected to the linestage using Kimber Carbon 8 interconnects terminated with RCAs.

 

 

Substantial
The Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition floorstanding loudspeaker is a very substantial five-driver, 90-pound high-end audio speaker. I could play these speakers as loudly as I wanted, and I never heard a hint of strain, as my ears would have given out long before the speakers. Even though 250 Wpc is plenty of power, I often felt the Martens could handle much more.

Locating the "perfect" spot in my listening room to position the Parker Trio Diamond Edition was not difficult at all. Because my room is acoustically treated and used for no other purpose than listening to music, I could get away with having a space that most would consider small for a speaker of this size. The review pair of the Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition speakers ended up about three feet from the room's front wall. Because of the setup of my non-rectangular listening space, the right speaker was closer to the side wall than ideal, but judicious toe-in resulted in a very well-defined center image.

 

 

Beloved
When listening to my beloved 1988 LP pressing of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds Tender Prey album, the speakers projected into the room a lifelike image of Nick Cave's lead vocals on most of the tracks. I said "on most of the tracks" because this album was recorded at more than a few studios worldwide. Despite this, it is a fine recording, but hardly one that could be considered "audiophile." Despite this, the Martens reproduced the vocals in what I could imagine the producers and engineers intended: The sound of a man singing into a microphone!

 

 

The Martens also made it clear that the sound quality of Nick Cave's vocals on Tender Prey varied from track to track. On some of the tracks, Cave's vocals sounded wonderful. On "Slowly Goes The Night" on the LP's second side, Nick Cave's vocals sounded as if they were meant to replicate the sound of a nightclub singer. They were somewhat bass-heavy and breathy, as if he was singing with his mouth pressed against a hand-held microphone (but without any extraneous sounds because it is doubtful he was singing into a hand-held mic). Regardless, I could close my eyes and could easily imagine him singing in front of his band. The Marten Parker Trio Diamond Editions were able to separate each of the instruments and vocals in their places in a soundstage drawn to scale, Nick Cave in front and the five musicians spread out behind him on the club's dimly lit stage. At one point, I thought that I smelled cigarette smoke.

 

Famed
Later in the review period, I listened to Shostakovich's Violin Concerto with Hugo Wolf conducting the Oslo Philharmonic with famed violinist Hilary Hahn as the soloist, released in 2002 from a DSD file from an SACD. I don't remember who ripped the disc for me to enable me to play it on my music server, but I don't go long between listening sessions of this masterpiece of 20th-century music. The SACD was originally paired with Mendelssohn's violin concerto, and although I respect the composer's abilities, I'm not much of a fan of this much older composer.

 

 

Although it is a violin concerto, it is not only structured like a four-movement symphony; it also is scored for a relatively large orchestra. Besides the solo violin, it features three flutes and a piccolo, two oboes, cor anglais, three clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, tuba, timpani, tambourine, tam-tam, xylophone, celesta, two harps, and the usual violin, viola, cello, and bass sections. Phew.

Yes, Hillary Hahn's violin was very likely spot mic'd and was upfront sounding, but the sound quality of this high-resolution recording kicked butt. The Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition reproduced this concerto as if this pair of speakers was custom-built for the job.

The concerto's first movement begins as a dark, gloomy sea of instruments, occasionally echoing the theme that the solo violin would eventually pick up on. When Shostakovich composed this concerto, I wonder if he was still aggravated about being censored by the government since he wrote this rather bleak-sounding section about the same time as that event.

 

 

This movement of the concerto starts very quietly. Still, by the time it reached its climax, the Marten once again displayed its ability to play loudly, as these muscular-sounding speakers had a low-frequency response that was exceptionally convincing and well-integrated into the speaker's sound.

The Marten speakers let me hear all the instruments in the decently sized orchestra with an exact amount of lifelike detail, with an extraordinary ability to separate the instruments and the orchestra's sections into discrete areas of a large, drawn-to-scale soundstage. Of course, many of the positive traits I heard were due to the good musical signals the speakers were being fed. The Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition's ability to transparently interpret this signal made it easy for me to imagine that my system had become a sonic time machine.

Hillary Hahn's violin was mic'ed closely, which allowed me to revel in her perfect intonation and emotional reading of this concerto. I could picture a cloud of rosin rising from her station, her sound opening like a blooming flower. The sound of her playing this very Shostakovich-like score enveloped me. The orchestra supporting her was spread wall-to-wall, with horns and percussion positioned behind the speakers.

Probably the most well-known section of this concerto is its third movement, the Passacaglia. In this upbeat, bass-heavy section, Hillary gets to swagger and again prove why she is such a well-known violinist. It reinstates the melody of the concerto and lets her show off a bit, and demonstrates her ability in the following cadenza. It led into the last movement without pause and should remind some of the faster portions of Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony. Like many other of his compositions, this concerto has a triumphant feel, but it's been said that it is also reflective of the composer's mood, so he didn't want it to end too festively.

No speakers I know of can realistically replicate a lifelike sound of a full orchestra with a soloist playing at a concert hall with a 50-foot proscenium. But some speakers can sonically reproduce the gestalt of a full orchestra playing in a concert hall, and the Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition is one of them.

Kudos must go to this speaker's glistening Diamond tweeter. It contributed mightily to the crispest, tightest trebles I've ever heard. It contributed mightily to the exemplary sound of the speaker's highest frequencies. The Violin Concerto gave me the impression that the high frequencies reached an infinite level.

 

 

Assessment
If I had to, I could separately assess the quality of a speaker's bass, midrange, treble, etc., as if it was a checklist of its various attributes, such as soundstage, imaging, etc., just as if I were using the "Ratings" portion of this review as a checklist. But when enjoying music through these speakers, especially when I wasn't wearing my reviewer's ears, the sound of these speakers were as one. Sure, I was blown away by the speakers' tight, pitch-specific, gut-shaking bass response when spinning Kraftwerk's latest studio release, Remixes.

I was impressed like never before when listening to this Marten speaker's ultra-transparency to the source, and a you-are-there lifelike midrange. It happened once again when listening to the Vienna Philharmonic's string section during my late-night listening session to the 1961 Decca recording of Dvorak's symphony From The New World conducted by István Kertész (often called his Ninth Symphony). There were many times during my listening sessions when I was convinced the soundstage and imaging prowess of the Parker Trio Diamond Edition was unmatched by any speaker anywhere near its price.

I was also blown away when listening to the 2014 release by the Swedish progressive-rock band Opeth, Pale Communion. The Martens left me breathless with their effects and keyboards, and of course, Mellotron as they swirled around the speakers and me as this band weaved their complex rock hymns consisting of jazz and classical influences, metal, and Swedish pop and folk.

 

 

Conclusions
The price of the Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition floorstanding speakers demands that they be treated as an investment just as much as an intelligent decision for anyone who can afford these $38,995 speakers. If one does decide to purchase these Marten speakers, I hope one also donates to their favorite charity that helps others who aren't as well-off. If one doesn't have a favorite charity, please let me know, and I will suggest one. That said, I would not attempt to talk anyone out of purchasing these speakers.

No speakers are perfect, but it is evident that Marten has made some brilliant decisions when designing and building their Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition speakers. I also think they made design decisions that I can only describe as mystical since I can't objectively explain why these speakers made me feel so good when listening to them. The music from these speakers expanded my mind and seemed to benefit my mental health. I highly recommend the Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition Speakers.

 

 

 

Tonality

Sub-bass (10Hz - 60Hz)

Mid-bass (80Hz - 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz - 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)

Attack

Decay

Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear
Soundscape Depth Behind Speakers

Soundscape Extension Into Room

Imaging

Fit And Finish

Self Noise
Emotionally Engaging

Value For The Money

 

 

 

Specifications
Type: 2.5-way floorstanding loudspeaker 
Frequency Response: 26 Hz to 40 kHz(+/-2dB) 
Power Handling: 300 Watts 
Sensitivity: 91 dB/2.83 V 
Impedance: 6 Ohms (3.1 Ohms minimum) 
Drive units: 1" pure diamond tweeter, two 7.5" ceramic bass/midrange, and two 9" aluminum passive radiators 
Crossover Frequency: Multi diverse order, 2200 Hz 
Terminals: WBT Nextgen single-wire 
Internal Wiring: Jorma Statement 
Cabinet: 35mm M-board 
Finishes: Piano Walnut, Matte Walnut, Piano Black, and Piano White 
Stands: Mirror polished stainless steel with Marten Isolators 
Dimensions: 8.7" to 11" x 46" x 14.2" (WxHxD) 
Weight: 89 lbs.
Price: $38,995

 

 

 

Company Information
Marten
Flojelbergsgatan 18
431 37 Molndal
Gothenburg
Sweden

Voice: +46 31 20 72 00
E-mail: info@marten.se 
Website: Marten.se

 

 

 

United States of America Distributor
Vana Ltd.
66 Southern Blvd, Suite C
Nesconset, NY 11767

Voice: (631) 272-1250
E-mail: sales@vanaltd.com 
Website: VanaLtd.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

Quick Links


Audiophile Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews

 

Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Preamplifiers
Amplifiers
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Ultra High-End Audio Reviews

 

Videos
Enjoy the Music.TV

 

Columns
Editorials By Tom Lyle
Viewpoint By Roger Skoff
Viewpoint By Steven R. Rochlin
Various Think Pieces
Manufacturer Articles


Show Reports
Florida Intl. Audio Expo 2023
Capital Audiofest Show 2022
KL International AV Show 2022
Toronto Audiofest Show 2022
CanJam SoCal 2022 Show Report
Pacific Audio Fest 2022 Report
T.H.E. Show 2022 Report
HIGH END Munich 2022
AXPONA 2022 Show Report
CanJam Singapore 2022 Report
Salon Audio Montréal Audiofest 2022
Click here for previous shows.

 

Other
Audiophile Contests
Cool Free Stuff For You
Tweaks For Your System
Vinyl Logos For LP Lovers
Lust Pages Visual Beauty

 

Resources & Information
Music Definitions
Hi-Fi Definitions

 


Daily Industry News

High-End Audio News & Information

 

Partner Print Magazines
audioXpress
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
HIFICRITIC
HiFi Media
Sound Practices
The Absolute Sound
VALVE Magazine

 

For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics

 

Contests & Our Mailing List

Our free newsletter for monthly updates & enter our contests!

 

 

    

Home   |   Industry News   |   Equipment Reviews   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us

 

All contents copyright©  1995 - 2023  HighEndAudio.com and Enjoy the Music.com®
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.