Marten Django XL (Part 2)

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Djialing in the Djangos

Setting up and positioning the Django XLs was easier than with any other speaker Ihad I first attached the outrigger and cone feet to each speaker using a supplied Allen wrench surprisingly similar to the one included with every piece of IKEA furniture Iassembled —Swedenstreets must be choked with these things. I placed the Djangos in die spots

normally occupied by my Revel Pcrfomia F30s, toed in so that their drivers were aimed directly at my ears. Then I hooked them up to my Rogue M-180 monoblocks (with KT120 tubes) with Kimbcr Kablc BiFocal X speaker cables doubled up at the speakerterminals, and had a listen. From what I heard from the Djangos straight out of the box, it was clear we were in for some good times together.

However, in ensuing weeks I experimented with placement and toe-in. Typically, I prefer speakers not to be toed in directly to the listening position but arranged so that their tweeter axes converge at a point some distance behind my head That way, I hear greater stereo separation and better front-to-back layering.

As I adjust the speakers’angles, I listen for a few specific things. First,

I want to make sure that a gentler toe-in actually does improve the stereo image: Does the image widen, deepen, and give more separation between images, or docs it diffuse and confuse the soundstage? Second, does it deleteriously affect the speakers’voicing and balance? The dispersion pattern of each speaker is different at every frequency, and adjustments of toe-in angle can dramatically change the voicing of the speaker, especially at and around the crossover frcqucncy(ics). Third, I weigh the benefits and costs: balancing the possible greater immersion in the soundstage that less toe-in can provide, while maintaining precise imaging and ensuring that thereno hole in the middle of the stereo image.

As I played with their toe-in, the Django XLs proved to be textbook examples ot why I do all tliis. As I reduced their toe-in angle, the Djangos’stereo image did indeed seem to widen, with more separation, to provide a more immersive soundstage than when the drivers were pointed straight at my ears. However, there were tiny losses of inner detail, immediacy, and transient snap, which I had to balance with the improvements in stereo imaging. I ended up with the Djangos toed out about 10° past pointing straight at my head —I could just sec the inner sidewall of each cabinet. The results were a very wide, deep, precisely defined soundstage, stable center imaging (as confirmed by playing the Mono Pink Noise”track on JAEditorChoice CD, Stcrcophilc STPH016-2), and excellent tonal balance from the midrange up. Throughout this process the tonal balance remained very constant, indicating that Django had nice, wide, even dispersion.

Finding the best spots in my room for the Django XLs was also relatively easy. As I settled on spots only an inch or so from where my Revel F30s give me the best bass, the

Audio Research Reference 150 stereo amplifier arrived. This amp took the performance of the Martens to levels I hadnthought possible.

Rereading my rave review of die Rcfl50 in the July 2012 issue, Inow not sure I gushed quite hard enough for how good this game-changing amplifier is. Yneed to own one, or at least hear one! With the ARC and the Rogues, the Djangos exliibited a wonderfully full, textured midbass and great low-bass extension, but also sounded slightly loose in the 50-60Hz range. Part of tliis sound can be attributed to my room, part to the Refl50, and part to the Djangos —I donthink any single clement of die combination was at fault for this minor problem, but together they added up to a sound just shy of neutral that no amount of repositioning could make entirely neutral.

However, setting the Djangobass level control to did a very goodjob of taming tliis bass bump without robbing the rest of the bass ot its weight and fullness. Widi most speakers diat have bass-level controls, I find die choices a bit too extreme —diey rob too much bass at die “”setting and add too much at “+”. The Djangocontrol proved tastefully useful, and helped me get die speakers sounding just right. Interestingly, when I listened to die Djangos via Simaudiomassive Moon Evolution M880 monoblocks, I switched the bass selectors to the “+”position, to help die Martens compensate for tliis amplean sound.

Continue... (Part 3)

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