CES 2013: E.A.R. and Marten

Disappointment. Despair. Abandonment and loss. Forlorn-i-tude. I imagine that these were the thoughts Dan Meinwald and Tim de Paravicini of E.A.R. when then realized that Tim’s newest toy, the Acute 4, would not be successfully making its way out of shadowy recesses of UPS, who was entrusted with bringing the prototype unit to the Venetian Hotel at CES this year.

While I’m not sure that last “thought” is actually a word … it could be. So. There.

Anyway, the Acute 4 is and will be a SACD transport with DAC that will support native file-based DSD playback over USB. Priced at $12,000, the Acute 4 will have a tube output stage — actually, it’ll use four tubes total, and will have significantly lower distortion than the outgoing model. It’ll also be clad in pure Sterling silver and have a giant Superman “S” on the front panel. Okay, I made that last bit up. But it’d be cooler that way.

The new Marten Django L loudspeakers did make it, so that’s something. The $9,000 model complements the upscale $15,000 Django XL, though the styling is pretty much identical — as are the choices in color: grey or black. The three aluminum drivers in the XL have been swapped for a pair of large 8″ aluminum/ceramic drivers, creating a 2-way loudspeaker with a 6ohm nominal impedance, 88dB sensitivity, and a -3dB point at 27Hz and 30kHz. Internal wiring is all Jorma Designs, and the cabinets weighs a robust, but not backbreaking, 75lbs each.

Sound in the E.A.R. room has, as I’m finding usual for this pairing, a relaxed and magical feel to it. It’s just lovely on the ears, and something I’d be very happy to explore in the future. Perhaps starting with the Acute 4!


  1. For gorgeous Marten cabinetry at earthbound prices and sizes, see the Heritage Series Duke 2 monitor and Miles 5 tower. It doesn’t get much better than this. Yes, I’m a proud owner.

  2. I’m glad to see Marten exploring more affordable options, but for some reason the design of the cabinets of the Django series bugs me. The sharp edges and slab sides makes them look kind of appliance like compared to a comparable Joseph or Living Voice speaker, particularly in the gray finish. You almost expect them to be air conditioners instead of speakers.

    • I think that the curved form of the Coltrane’s is simply harder to make, or, that’d be the argument. Honestly, unless you’re talking cabinet construction like what Surreal Sound or what Magico used to do, cabinets simply won’t cost more than $1k per, like, ever.

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