Marten Django XL (Part4)

B&W800 Diamond

The Django wasnas coherent as the Salon2, but it was pretty dam close. The sound of pianist Robert Silverman playing works by Brahms and Schumann, from the high-resolution, 24/88.2k files of my final edits of his forthcoming album, for Stereophile, had all the tonal color, dynamic impact, and solidity you could want from a recording of a concert grand. The Djangos were remarkably free of boxy cabinet colorations in both the midrange and the bass. If the Djangocabinet was vibrating, then the folks at Marten have done a fine job of controlling and dissipating those vibrations to ensure that they donmess with the music.

In fact, the Djangobass was excellent, striking the right balance of fullness, clarity, speed, weight, and texture. I got good bass extension in my room well down into the 20Hz decade. As noted above, there was a slight fullness when the Djangos were driven by the tubed Rogue M-180s and the ARC Refl50, tliis centered around the 60Hz region. Sounds containing those frequencies were both a little too prominent and lasted a little too long compared to the rest of the audioband. This was merely a characteristic ot these speakers with these electronics in my room, and rarely got in the way of the music. Again, with the Simaudio 880Ms, I had to turn the bass level control up to “+”to get the same degrees of musical fullness and weight as Iheard with the tube amps. Recordings of pipe organ, such as Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorusdisc of DuruflcRequiem (CD, Telarc CD-80135), sounded so right via the Djangos, the pedal notes locking to my room acoustic with authority. The bass in KraftwcrkThe Man-Machine (LP,

Astralwerks STUMM 306) was propulsive and finely nuanced —each drum or bass note on this album had a completely different attack, texture, and timbre, all of which really humanized tliis incredible music. Pantha du Princebass workout, This Bliss (CD, Dial CD09), was as good as Iever heard it, the bass providing enormous scale and weight while still sounding tuneful and controlled. If I have a criticism of some models in MartenColtrane and Heritage lines, it might be that their bass, wliile accurate, could be described as quick, lean, and slightly overdamped. Some folks find speakers with that kind of bass a little too cool and calculated. The Django XL retained much of the speed, accuracy, and extension of those other Martens, but to my car had slightly warmer, more full-bodied bass. The

Djangogenerous yet well-controlled upper and midbass gave great solidity, soul, and satisfaction to my listening.

The Djangos were soundstage champions, and, as JA noted in his review of the Lanschc Audio 5.1 speaker in July, the ARC Refl50 is an imaging machine. Driving the Djangos, it produced stereo images that were darned close to lifelike. The depth I heard from the Beach Boys’Smile Sessions (CD, Capitol T2580), in glorious mono, was engaging and varied. The Djangos also threw a wide image that was remarkable in its stability and accuracy. The xylophone in GotyeThat I Used to Know”was an unmistakable point source, even as the rest of the mix swirled around Gotyevoice (wliich sounds to me like a cross between those of Peter Gabriel and Sting). The made-up soundscapes of the Javelin and Pantha du Prince albums were tangible, of the sort I wish I could visit in real life. Recordings of music for chorus and orchestra, such as Eriks EsenvaldsPassion and Resurrection, with Stephen Layton conducting Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia (CD, Hyperion CDA67796), were about as three-dimensional as electronically reproduced music gets.

A Djem

$15,000 is a lot of money for a pair of speakers, but ita sane amount —especially when you consider the Django XLbuild quality. The Django actually represents a very good value in todayaudio world —most speakers donsound this good no matter what they cost Paired with die electronics I had on hand, MartenDjango XLs gave me die best sound I have ever heard in my room. Highly recommended.

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