Marten speakers run like a red thread woven through much of the magazine’s history, so it’s fitting to celebrate our century with a review of one of the magazine’s best-loved brands. Most loudspeaker companies would love to be judged by the best they can do. Sometimes though, that ‘best’ is so lofty as to be from another world. Such is the case with Marten; its top Coltrane range of loudspeakers runs from the ‘reassuringly expensive’ Soprano to the ‘how many oil fields do you own?’ Coltrane Supreme and all of them set a powerful standard to beat. But few realise the dynamic range of Marten; yes, you can buy a pair of speakers for more than the price of a new S-Class Mercedes, but the Django L costs not much more than a Dacia Sandero.
Perhaps obviously, the Django L is the smaller brother of the Django XL, the currently two-model Django series having more curved lines than either the more up-scale Heritage range or the cinema-chummy and angular Form models. This is a two-way, three driver design; the tweeter retains the inverted ceramic Accuton unit common to many models in the Marten range, but the ceramic-only domes and cones found elsewhere are replaced by two custom 200mm SEAS aluminium-ceramic sandwich.
A backswept reflex design (with a downward firing port) finished in piano black or silver grey and no sign of a grille in sight, this is not a shrinking violet of a loudspeaker. It doesn’t need to sit too far out into the room compared to other products in the range, and is as such the Marten for those ‘lucky’ owners of small rooms. That being said, the depth of the loudspeaker does give it a physical presence that makes it seem larger than it actually is in a smaller room, and some might find that somewhat imposing. But perhaps it’s time not to try to apologise for good audio and enjoy the physicality of the speaker design. Besides, the speaker has a bluff charm to its looks.
Besides, the speaker has a bluff charm to its looks. Take the ‘plinth’ for example; two black metal outriggers with large cone feet that bolt to the underside of the loudspeaker. Simple and elegant, albeit in a fairly functional manner. Armed with a spare pair of hands to set up the speakers, you can go from box to positioning inside of a quarter of an hour, which is a rare joy. A single wire set of terminals at the back panel later and you are into the positioning part of the whole equation. This is possibly the most drawn out part of the whole Marten process, in that the longer you spend positioning the loudspeakers, the better the overall performance. But even here, the stuff of Marten legend remains mostly just legend.