Marten Parker Trio Review
Recently arrived on our shores are the new Parker series of speakers from Marten in Sweden. Marten are well known for producing good sounding speakers so any new product is of immediate interest. For the Parker series the development story is described on the Marten web site, but in summary the development started as an update of the well-established Heritage series but as the number of changes increased the evolution became a new series entirely. I’ve had the opportunity to try the Parker Trio Diamond Edition recently, the following shares a few observations and thoughts as they’ve become run in. I also had the opportunity a short while ago to try the non-diamond version of the Parker Trio’s. They sounded good and I was keen to know what the Diamond Edition might add. Unfortunately I couldn’t do an a/b comparison so comments are from memory.
The Parkers come in three forms, the Duo, Trio and Quintet with the names reflecting the number of active drivers (two, three and five respectively). The Duo is stand mounted, Trio and Quintet floor standing. There is also the option of an upgrade to any of these variants to the Diamond Edition, the main changes introduced being a diamond tweeter and the internal Jorma cabling upgraded to Statement level. So there you have it, six variations within the Parker range.
There are a couple of further features worth mentioning. Firstly the use of passive drivers instead of ports, and secondly Marten have introduced isolation pucks for the speaker feet through a partnership with IsoAcoustics. These pucks are Marten specific and certainly look the part to match the speakers. Matching carpet platforms are also available should they be needed.
I’ve been using the Trio’s for about three weeks now and there has been some change in them as they’ve become run in. The Marten documentation suggests it could be as long as 200 hours before they become full bedded in, I haven’t got that far yet, but they have settled down.
Out of the box the first impression is of a well-made and solidly built pair of speakers, as you would expect in this class and price range. As with other Marten speakers they are not vertical but lean back slightly, this was new for me in a home environment and the aesthetics of this took a little getting used to, but with the mesh covered drive units and tweeter (no add-on grills here), they make a statement in the polished piano black finish.
So what about the sound? Well, out of the box harsh and an impression of lack of bass. There was no surprise here as any speakers fresh out of their packaging sound like this. I just wanted to leave the room, so I did, leaving them running at a relatively low volume.
After about 20 hours I sat to listen for the first time. The sound was still tight, but sweeter and bass was becoming more prominent. The change was fairly obvious. If I move on a few days by which time they had maybe 70+ hours including one session of a couple of hours when I turned the volume up to a level that I wouldn’t stay in the room to listen to but nowhere near ear damaging, the Trio’s had changed more. Bass was there now, well defined and clear. The upper end had sweetened even more and there was now a very noticeable image even though I hadn’t tried optimising the position of the speakers in the room. This I could definitely listen to.
Finding the best position is where the fun started. I should point out this is in a rectangular family living room, no equilateral listening triangles or such for the “perfect sound” here. The speakers were at one end of the room with the listening position close to the other. The supplied Marten documentation doesn’t give much of a guide, more or less saying “trust your ears”. Very sensible advice! In some ways I found the Trio’s to be very flexible. Moving them closer to and further from the front wall made some difference, but not much, I settled on about 1m which balanced the sound with the aesthetics in the room and keeping my better half happy. It was similar with the side walls. The more interesting thing was toe-in. With most speakers I’ve invariably found that a toe-in where they point somewhere just over my shoulders works best, it has varied from speaker to speaker but that’s what I’ve found. Not so the Trio’s, maybe the effect of the diamond tweeter here but having the speakers pointing directly at me hit a sweet spot. Recently I’ve listened a few times to Road to Hell by Chris Rea. The title track is one of those foot tapping tracks that moves along with Chris Rea’s slightly gruff voice. When pointing directly at me the voice developed an additional warmth (and gruffness), and the image became magically stronger. This was repeated with other favourite music – rock, pop and orchestral.
One thing about my room is that it’s carpeted. This presents a bit of a challenge when moving the Trio’s as the isolation feet have a flat base and are not conducive to sliding on a carpet. The Trio’s are 40kg each, so not lightweight to lift. The workaround for trialling positioning was simple – put some paper under each foot. Not ideal, but it worked. Having found the final position I added the carpet platforms. This had the added benefits of stabilising the Trio’s a little which in turn tightened the sound and image, not a huge amount but just enough to notice.
It’s been an interesting time introducing the Trio’s. As they’ve settled in I’ve appreciated more and more the sweetness and transparency of the sound allied with a solid image. The bass had noticeably improved and now sounding deeper, more detailed and controlled. The other general impression of the Trio’s is that they are fast, again perhaps a facet of the diamond tweeter. This makes music more interesting and believable and is something I personally appreciate. I tap my feet more regularly. I mentioned earlier that I had heard a non-diamond pair of Trio’s a while ago. They were good, but personally I feel the speed of the Diamond Edition and the additional clarity at the top end makes a noticeable addition.
We must all assess speakers according to our individual tastes, and the detail of the top end with the diamond tweeter may not appeal to everyone, but if you’re in the market for speakers at this price and level I’d recommend giving the Marten Trio Diamond Edition a listen.
One last thought. The price of the Parker Trio Diamond Edition is above that of the Parker Quintet standard non-diamond version. That would be an interesting comparison. The Quintet Diamonds as well…….. I must have a word with Roger.