Q&A: The Marten Coltrane Momento speakers (versus Kharma speakers)

[These Marten versus Kharma questions are very popular. I try to answer each one of these a little differently, to hopefully allow people, over the course of all these answers, to paste together a more accurate picture of the two ‘house sounds’.]


I’m curious to know how the Coltrane Momento’s have worked out? I have only seen one review of them (which was very positive), but they seem to have been brought to market rather quietly – as compared to the hoopla of the Supreme several years earlier. Have you had any in your shop for audition? If so, how do you like them? Anything glaringly right or wrong?

Finally, in general terms what kind of soundstage do Marten speakers tend/aspire to create? Small focused or expansive?? (for lack of any better descriptors at this moment…)

I like the look of these speakers – simple to hook up, simple footprint….but apparently with some great components and considerable thought all on board.


Yeah, I guess statement products [the Supremes] do receive a lot more hoopla than the penultimate [the Momentos] – and perhaps because the Momentos are comparably priced to so many other speakers these days, they just don’t stand out like the Coltrane Supreme speakers do? All just speculation on my part – but I do agree the buzz has been rather muted (undeservedly so, IMHO).

No, unfortunately we have not had the Momentos in the shop. We heard them extensively at CES last year, loved them [sounded just like we expected them to], and we were actually interested in purchasing that particular pair, but another line [no, I’m not telling which one :-)] we carry had a hiccup and we decided we just could not swing it at that time. And, now, of course, we are planning on moving the shop, so getting another big speaker just does not seem like the prudent thing to do at this time. [We periodically try to actively sell the Coltrane Supreme speakers so that we can get a pair of Coltrane Momento speakers for awhile – as you may have seen on this blog – only to later think this would be nuts and we can’t live without the Supremes. Kind of an emotional issue here at Audio Federation.]

The Momentos sound similar to the Coltrane Supreme speakers – which we love – and in some instances may be more convenient [2 speakers instead of 4, no external crossover box, and like if, say, you wanted to use an integrated amp like the Audio Note Ongaku to drive them – the absence of an outboard amp (which the Supremes have and the Momentos do not) simplifies things a bit]. Let’s get to your next question, which allows us to talk about these speakers in context, the context being another great set of speakers 🙂

>> Hello again – I also wanted to ask about the Marten’s: generally speaking how are they voiced relative to Kharma (a brand that I’ve some experience with)??

* The Marten sound is more determined by upstream equipment and setup than is the Kharma sound. (i.e. the Marten is capable of having more different kinds of sounds than the Kharma)
* The Kharma sound typically creates a larger soundstage and bigger sound, all else being equal [although this is changing with the new Coltrane 2 and maybe the Momento as well]
* The Kharma sound is typically more overtly detailed in the midrange and lower treble [though I think this is changing with the newer Kharma black label drivers] than the Marten sound
* The Marten sound has a blacker background and is more revealing of subtleties than the Kharma sound

One way to look at them is that the Kharma is a party speaker, exuberant, exciting, invigorating, … and the Marten is a truth speaker, beautiful, mind-mucking, deeply insightful…

Please understand I am somewhat exaggerating the differences to help you understand their intrinsic character …. They are both capable of doing all these things quite well.

Hope this helps!