About Us - The history of Marton
Our story begins somewhere in the early seventies…
Mark Knaga – a teenager crazy about electronics starts to create his first tube amps. At first only for himself, then for the expanding group of friends – also quite harsh in their feedbacks professional musicians. Already then, Mark’s amplifiers could boldly compete, with factory equipment. Music has always been present in his family home – meaning the music in its best form – the live music. His grandpa – a violinist, as well as his brothers, were active musicians.
This music experience combined with the great passion for electronics and also his natural precision resulted in making Mark Knaga’s whole life closely connected to the sound and electronics.
At first there were music installations for bands, equipment repairs and amplifiers modifications. Then for 12 years Mark has worked as a sound specialist in dubbing. For next 20 years he has been cooperating with famous Łódź Movie Film School where as a sound engineer he worked on hundreds of movies.
Next to his achievements in Film School his passion for constructing was developing, which resulted in funding the Marton company and creating the first serial device – power amp Opus. The main aim was to build the best possible amplifier, comparable to the world’s top constructions. It was exhaustive, long-term work. After building six prototypes the final version was ready. Thousands hours of work and huge cost didn’t matter – only the final effect did!
The first feedback confirmed the meaning of this creation: one of Mark’s friends – a musician – claimed that the amplifier is so transparent, so selective and so fast that while listening a symphonic orchestra from it, it is possible to write down the score.
Is it possible to make the perfect amplifier any better? Why not? An amplifier consists of a few segments (power supply, preamp section and power amp are the most important ones) and each of the segments is made from hundreds of elements. Replacing even the smallest resistor could make a positive change. Of course it doesn’t have to, so there is an endless possibility of new sound experiences. That’s why versions MkII and MkIII were created in following years. We can say that, next constructions were constantly ‘perfecting the perfect’.
In 1999, work on integrated amplifier Opusculum 0.1, whose inner construction was based on perfect symmetry, were finished. Actually that were two mono amps, with a preamp section. The power section consisting of twenty bipolar power transistors and a capacitors battery of ‘long life’ power supply with 440 mF capacity, ensured 2x30W in class A, or 2x200W in class AB.
Traditionally for Marton, modified versions MkII, MkIII and MkIV were also created. Thanks to the changes it was also possible to adjust the character of the sound to the requirements of a particular customer, and the rest of a system.
About that time Mark Knaga’s path has crossed with Adam Schubert’s, the owner and the main constructor of Power Audio Laboratories, which specializes in the production of power filtering devices, feeding audio systems. In a few years Power Audio Laboratories will have transformed into P.A.LABS and created a world -wide appreciated brand, GigaWatt.
Frequent meetings including attempts on different equipment configurations and listenings show the great reserves in the power area.
Coorganized presentations of systems on Warsaw Audio Show were an effect of this friendship. There were also first plans to cooperate between Adam Schubert and Mark Knaga, not only in the power area. During the presentation in 2004 and 2005 next versions of Opusculum were powered by P.A.L. conditioners, which in difficult conditions of a hotel room proved their value to lots of visitors.
Then, during joint shows, an idea of a new construction has appeared. It was a reference amplifier, with a new developed, separate power supply section. Marton’s aim was to create a fully neutral amplifier, so that the amplifier itself wouldn’t add anything to the amplified signal, but only return its power and tone variety. Such philosophy comes straight from the word ‘to amplify’, which means an action not interferencing in the supplied signal. That’s why Marton’s amplifiers always have the natural tone and unlimited dynamics.
This time designing, prototype building and testing took nearly 8 years. The project was finished in 2013 and OPUSCULUM REFERENCE 2 could finally reach the first, impatiently waiting clients. According to the original idea it was a double segmented construction, ensuring the maximal electronical - mechanical symmetry. Power supply system, consisting of 3 exclusively manufactured troidal transformators, was placed in a separate housing.
The presentation for a wide circle of audiophiles took place at Warsaw Audio Show in November 2013 and made a very positive impression. Growing attention led to tests and reviews proceeded by editorial offices of Audiolife, Audiostereo and Soundrebels. For a few years Opusculum Reference has been a flagship model of Marton, but in such a brilliant constructor’s mind there is no place for stagnation. Endless new ideas and constant improvement require more and more advanced technology and bigger financial outlays.
A new chapter
Over the past few years, plans for close cooperation between Mark Knaga and Adam Schubert have been consistently crystallized. The final decision and all strategic arrangements were made in 2015, and in 2018 the joint path of MARTON and P.A.LABS - GigaWatt was began.
During those 3 years of hard work, endless tests and constant improvements OPUSCULUM REFERENCE 3 has been created. It’s an uncompromising construction which is a brilliant demonstration of P.A.LABS’ technological possibilities.
The OPUSCULUM REFERENCE 3 prototype was ready for the next edition of the Audio Video Show exhibition in November 2018. After three days of presentation, the system, whose main element was this uncompromising amplifier, received the title "Best Sound of Audio Video Show 2018" awarded by the highfidelity.pl