Munich High-End 2024

The Marten Coltrane Quintet loudspeaker

The weeks before Munich are littered with Press Releases and invites to launch events or product introductions. Amongst the blizzard of incoming mail there’s always at least one product that stands out and catches the eye. This year, that products was Marten’s Coltrane Quintet loudspeaker…

It’s fair to say that I’ve had an up and down relationship with Marten’s speaker designs, including the massive Coltrane Supremes and various other models. But the ones I’ve always held in fondest regard were the original Coltrane floorstander that started the whole ball rolling some 20-years ago and the Coltrane 2, a squatter, broader and more muscular version of that speaker. In between times there’s been a Coltrane 3 (which I never got to spend time with) but now, we have the Coltrane Quintet.

The name might be out of strict numerical sequence, but refers to the fact that the new speaker has grown an extra (lower-mid/upper bass) driver, when compared to its four driver predecessors. But there’s more to the changes than just that and this is definitely an all-new speaker. The familiar diamond tweeter is paired with a beryllium dome midrange unit. Then comes the Marten-designed, resin-polymer-coated, carbon coned upper-mid driver, followed by a pair of 10” bass drivers, complete with totally redesigned and far more powerful motors. Another familiar aspect of the Coltrane Quintet is its general shape and proportions, very reminiscent of the Coltrane 2 – which just goes to show how variable a commodity memory can be. This speaker has a 25% increase in enclosure volume. While the solid hardwood baffle is paired with a curved, boat shaped carbon monocoque as before, for the first time, that rear element has a naked carbon (rather than painted) finish. The outriggers are teamed with Marten’s Isolators, product specific designs from Iso-Acoustics – just about the only part of the entire speaker carried over from the previous model.

The Quintet made typically clean, clear and uncluttered music in both the Marten and Engstrom rooms. The lack of slurred rhythms or lag in the bottom-end along with the wide-open midrange was pure Marten, suggesting that this is very much a chip off the old block, building on the strengths and low frequency authority and transparency that made the Coltrane 2 so listenable and musically informative. Available from June, the Coltrane Quintet will cost €170,000 in standard form, with a Statement version also available, featuring Jorma Statement internal cabling and upgraded cross-over components.



Montaudio – racks and cables from a land downunder…

One room at the show that punched well above its weight (of which more later) was the large, end of Atrium space occupied by Vienna Acoustics. Last year they won plaudits for the amazing performance of the Mozart Infinity network connected speaker. This year, they teamed their latest Liszt Reference speakers with a full set of CH Precision 1 Series electronics and a Grand Prix Audio Parabolica/Supatrac Night Hawk/Kuzma CAR-40 turntable. Holding it all up and holding it all together were racks and cables from Montaudio, shipped in all the way from New Zealand. The heavy-duty wiring was from their new Reference Series and, judging from the system’s performance, it was clearly doing the business. But I want to draw your attention to their beautifully finished, utterly practical and incredibly elegant Manuka MR racks.