Last weekend I auditioned the Marten Duke 2’s having been completely bowled over during a brief listening session whilst buying my Nova. There isn’t much about these speakers online, considering they are 5 or 6 years old, with most reviews/comments being positive – but then at nearly £7k, they bloody well ought to be. With my recently prepared auditioning playlist which includes some of my favourite tracks alongside some that sound compromised, some that sound utterly brilliant and a selection I’ve “borrowed” from reviewers that each have a specific challenge to the music producing chain.
This extended listening session simply confirmed to me what I’d experienced before, these are outstanding speakers. Across all types of music I threw at them they performed admirably. Playing one of my favourite tracks, Lay Your Hands on Me by Peter Gabriel, demonstrated the capability, breadth and depth of these speakers. The hushed beginnings of the song building to a crescendo of Jerry Marotta on drums and Gabriel’s unique voice demonstrate perfectly the detailed dynamic sound, the lush midrange and sweet treble, together with a soundstage the size of, well, a sound stage. The bass is full and plentiful and the midrange particularly strong. Playing tracks from John Garcia and the Band of Gold showed these speakers can rock too. Played loud the sound remained balanced and the individual instruments held their own, nothing ever being swamped by another. Playing this album alone has nearly convinced me the entry price is worth it.
No speaker is perfect but within the constraints of a relatively small stand mount, this one seems to come close. I had a quick listen to the Dali Epicon 2 and they are also fine sounding speakers I could live with easily. But I fear I would always be thinking about the Duke 2’s. Now I somehow have to find a way to get them into my life.