Country of Origin


Parker Duo

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref as USB bridge/SD transport, JAVS X7-DAC MQA & Clean Power [on loan]
Preamplifier: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature w. Elrog ER50, Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, COS Engineering D1, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, SIT3, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos; Bakoon AMP-13R; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Simon Audio i5 & AIO
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Acelec Model One; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V, VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence; Fram Midi 150 & 120
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL 3000 & 5000; Zu Event; KingRex uArt double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: €9'000/pr for ceramic edition

Mårten Design. Like their Danish colleagues at Børresen Acoustics, our Swedish team sport in their name a letter which for Brits and Americans isn't on the keyboard. Like the Danes, it's become a stylized part of their logo. Another mark of distinction goes to a long-standing collaboration with German driver supplier Thiele & Partners aka Accuton. Like Tidal in Germany and Albedo in Italy, Mårten champion their ceramic and diamond transducers over all others. So it's no surprise that in their newly introduced middle range replacing the prior Heritage models, the three-deep Parker series goes all ceramic again, even offers an upgrade path to a diamond tweeter.

But there it doesn't stop. Where the equivalent Heritage Duke 2 monitor was a ported design [insert above], the Parker Duo successor grew a 9" aluminium passive radiator in the back. The 2.5-way Parker Trio adds another 7.5" midrange on its front and a second radiator on the rear. The 2.5-way Parker Quintet adds two more of each beyond the Trio. The nomenclature thus reflects only the front-firing artillery.

Be it Fram, Sehring, Kaiser, Tidal/Vimberg or now Mårten, passive radiators are making quite the illustrious comeback by appearing of late in very ambitious speakers, no longer just midfield models from Amphion to Burchardt. In a passive radiator, the moving mass of a driver sans motor or electrical connection—the weight of its diaphragm, surround and spider—replaces the air volume inside a port tube. That works on a similar principle. Yet it avoids the air turbulence colloquially known as port chuff or pumping and the time-domain errors of vent tubes. After all, the other term for a bass reflex port is Helmholtz resonator. It rings by design.

Due to its tuning, the passive 9" membrane of the Duo adds itself in just the bass to the active 7.5" diaphragm of the mid/woofer. Now both combine into the surface area of an 11.7" woofer. That explains the speaker's claimed 36Hz bass reach at -2dB yet fits into a box just 22-28x42x36cm WxHxD. The varying width reflects a narrower face and broader back, hence flared side walls. The front and rear baffle rake back too so this isn't your usual squared-off box. There's internal Jorma Design wiring and a 2'200Hz filter hinge. There's a net weight of 18kg and an optional matte black stand with polished Mårten-branded IsoAcoustics decouplers. Those mirror renewed attention speaker houses like Magico and Wilson have leveled at their own vibration-attenuation footers. Finally there are gloss/matte walnut plus piano black finish options now over 35mm thick proprietary M-board laminate, no longer the 23mm MDF of the Duke 2.

The ceramic edition gets polypropylene capacitors and copper-foil inductors. Besides its ultra-hard tweeter which pushes first break-up to beyond 70'000Hz, the diamond edition also upgrades to copper-foil capacitors and even swankier Jorma Statement hookup wiring and terminals. And, these Accuton drivers reflect Mårten Design's own specs, thus are customized to their well-informed needs after having working with Accuton since the beginning.

In short, the new Mårten Design Parker Two adds itself to a short list of flagship stand mounts that should flag the interest of those whose room is best served by nothing bigger yet who still want top-shelf drivers, inert cabinets, advanced crossovers and perfectionist build and cosmetics.