Martion Audiosysteme – Universal Energy of Life, Unicorns and Bullfrogs
Horns with humorous undertones. A global product made in Berlin
On first meeting Heiner Basil Martion, he gives the impression of someone who might decide to travel to Goa or Ibiza and never come back – only sending a message in a bottle to inform his friends at home. Born in Fulda in 1948, and now a Berliner by choice, Heiner Basil Martion is at an age where most people are thinking of taking things a little easier. But, despite his age, it’s not easy to imagine him relaxing with slippers and a pipe. You’re more likely to run into him at 3 a.m. on the dance floor of a trendy club, one that he’s equipped with his own loudspeakers. Gray-haired, but colorfully clothed and with a real sense of humor, the creative light still shines in this aging hippie’s eyes, and he continues to be driven by an ambition to build the most efficient loudspeakers possible. When he’s in charge of presentations, you never know what to expect: sometimes you’re bombarded by electronic beats, sometimes you’re blown away by a crescendo of violins, and occasionally you may be privileged to hear him eloquently ad-libbing until he finally finds the right jack for his plug. But his presentations are definitely never boring.
They’re also rarely quiet! Sometimes he really lets rip, and his active Einhorns produce hundreds of milliwatts of music power that make the walls shake like jelly. Martion’s Einhorn (the German word for unicorn) is as fantastic as its mythical namesake: a spherical wave horn with only one driver, featuring almost 120 dB sensitivity right down to below 400 Hz. Compared to Martion’s horns, other speakers appear to be energy-wasting anachronisms. For Heiner Basil Martion, the Einhorn is the final link in a conceptual chain that began as far back as the 1970s, shortly after he founded Arcus (1973) and Martion Audiosysteme (1974) and began to take an intensive interest in spherical wave horns. The first horn speaker to carry his name was presented at the IFA in 1977, marking the birth of the Exodus. Although this speaker is no longer at the pinnacle of the product hierarchy, it is still being manufactured as a 3-way spherical wave horn and has undergone numerous development enhancements. Its previous position is now occupied by the top-of-the range Orgon 4-way spherical wave horn system (the name Orgon stems from the hypothetical universal life force originally proposed by Wilhelm Reich). This system was presented at the High End in 2000 and won the coveted “Best Sound of the Show” award. Heiner Basil Martion builds these speakers to order, installs them at the desired customer location, and calibrates them for the individual listening position. For those with smaller rooms and shallower pockets, the developer recommends his legendary compact 2-way monitor with the wonderful name of Bullfrog. Don’t worry, it doesn’t croak!
Heiner Basil Martion even remembers when the initial spark for his horn passion was lit. It was in 1964, also at the IFA, when a drum solo on a JBL Paragon speaker system really opened his eyes (and his ears) to the dynamics of live music. Marion was keenly interested in the work of Oskar Heil, and after studying studio technology he worked as a sound engineer and helped out in hi-fi stores, even managing to shake hands with Paul W. Klipsch. He was constantly searching for a method of playing back music that was comparable to the live experience. It was Ralf Franke, a pioneer in non-suspended turntables, who finally convinced Martion of the natural supremacy of spherical wave horns. While Martion can imagine living without hi-fi, at least in theory, he can’t actually remember such a time in his own life, and doesn’t really think such an existence would really be worthwhile.
He’s convinced that his Einhorn made an important contribution to the point source’s revolutionary breakthrough, but he’s equally certain that he has a lot of creativity still left inside. He claims that “three fat arrows” still remain in his “quiver”. No more details are forthcoming, probably because his plans are not yet concrete. After all, Heiner Basil Martion’s life has always been in a constant state of flux: nothing is fixed, everything is in motion – especially when you’re in the same room as one of Martion’s horns! So it will be interesting to see what new creation from Berlin will soon be conquering the hi-fi world, and what colorful name it will be sold under. Who knows, before long we may be kicked by a “horse” of hit by a “ball of lightning”.
Johannisberger Straße 6