Audio Asylum Thread Printer
Get a view of an entire thread on one page
|For Sale Ads|
I see JMR has released "Jubilee" versions of the Cantabile and the Abcissa. I almost bought a pair of Cantabile speakers a few years back, but on auditioning them, found them a bit light and over-refined, and passed. Has anyone heard these two? Comments?
Though I haven't heard the Jubilee, I do own Abscissa's and once owned Cantabile Supreme's. It's difficult to talk in absolutes but in this case I can say that the Cantabile's were inferior by nearly any objective measure. While Jean Marie continued to refine his Offrande's and Bliss's it seems Jean Claude was determined to make a mark of his own with the Abscissa's. They sound more complete, if lacking some of the romanticism, than Offrande's and faster than Orfeo's. As it is I think the standard Abscissa is on par with the Offrande, the Jubilee may potentially surpass it, depending on your priorities of course. Bob may be the only one in the country that can expand on that for now. It's a crime these speakers don't receive more press in the U.S.
If Bob were a younger dude and could scurry around the country to shows and send out demos for review, Reynauds would get the press they deserve. As it is, they flourish in their modest way by word of mouth, including occasional threads like this one. I volunteered to become their USA sales agent when they cut their last US importer with the understanding they would find someone younger and better capitalized to take over as soon as they could. I didn't want the distribution of Reynauds to the US to lapse. That was around ten years ago!
No one is the U.S. has heard them yet, as the first two pairs just arrived here. To my ears, two weeks in, they're very good news. Jean Claude (son of the late Jean Marie) has definitely turned a corner as a designer. As some of you know, a former recording engineer (in S.F.), he went home a few years ago to take over the company for his dying father. They worked alongside each other for a couple of years and then JC pretty much took over. Since then he's been working his way steadily toward what he considers a 'truer,' less romantic, sound than the one his father was famous for, but one which nevertheless retains the emotional core of the JMR sound. As you noted, the Cantabile was a decent but unremarkable speaker; the Abscissa, JC's first design entirely on his own, was better but still not quite "there." These new Jubilee editions are a whole other ballgame. If you want a more forthcoming report, you know where to look!
One of the keys seems to be the use of small (5.5") woofers mounted in smallish cabinets, though JC credits the new ("considerably more expensive") tweeters as well. Both of these speakers are faster, go deeper, and image better than their predecessors. I love them both.
In other news, as long as I'm here, JC is dropping both the Bliss and Bliss Silver around the end of June. Apparently the Euterpe, the floor-standing version of the Silver, which I've not heard yet, is driving the Blisses off the market in Europe and JC concedes they're better in every way. We'll see. I'm sort of sorry to see the Blisses go -- just as everyone else was sorry to see the Trente go. But the Bliss Silver is better than the Trente was, so...
For the record, Jean Claude has said he is unlikely to change the Offrandes, which he considers his father's signature piece. To my ears they have their own unique virtues and I'm happy to hear that JC is going to leave them alone. The Orféo may be a different matter, though their large cabinets and larger drivers (6.5") don't appear to fit the design innovations of the smaller speakers. We'll see.
This is probably more than you wanted to know, but there's really no where else to hear it, so apologies for the length of this.
Thanks, Bob. Would you elaborate on the "'truer,' less romantic, sound than the one his father was famous for" that JCR is doing..i.e., what are the specific sonic differences that you've noticed between JCR's and JMR's creations?
This is the first time I've ever used the word "romantic" to describe JMR speakers, so that should give you a clue. The Reynaud sound has been my norm for so long now that I have come to consider it realistic, true to life. A customer of mine has often called his Offrande Supreme V2's "romantic" and I knew what he meant because he was contrasting them with Tocaros! It only occurred to me to use this word when I heard the new Abscissas.
What it comes down to is that Jean Marie's idea of real and true had to do with how speakers made him feel. Am I getting the essence of the music? Do I sense a composer and a musician present? Does this music engage, move, or even excite me. He wrote me once that he didn't want people to be cooking food when listening to his speakers. He was used to having chamber musicians in his home, playing more or less for him, and THAT was the clear, intimate, 'naturally warm' sound he sought. And found. Nothing in the room but music and its power to rule our thoughts and feelings. Jean Claude comes from the recording studio and has spent time in all manner of musical venues. He knows what rock, country, and classical music sound like: all of its drive, impact, surface frisson, and energy. And how, even in a studio, it behaves in space. He also loves the sound his father's speakers make, the Offrande in particular, but he wants more. He wants everything!
So I would call JC's designs, the new ones especially, more complete, more comprehensive in capturing and presenting music. He would call it more modern and likes enclosures that are finished in white, black, and pearly grey! I find the Abscissas exciting, impressive, interesting (!), and yes, in his sense of sound reproduction, complete. I find Jean Marie's speakers, beginning with the early Offrandes and Trentes, even the Bliss Silver, and now the Offrande Supreme, V2's, more sensuous. In my website comparison of the Offrandes and Abscissas, I use an Iris Dement recording as a vehicle for trying to make that difference clearer. On the Abscissas, I have the sense that I'm getting all of Iris, on the Offrandes she's easier to love. Why? Because the Offies are more...romantic!
I do not mean to exaggerate this difference. Remember, I considered Offrandes realistic: they are full of detail and all of the rest. And there is plenty of emotion in Abscissas: you would never mistake an Abscissa for anything but a Reynaud. Jean Marie is in there along with everything else. The Abscissas are not in the least analytic, lean, or heartless speakers. But their first order of business is to get, in Jean Claude's words, "as close as possible to a realistic presentation of the recording sound." In his view, if you don't get that, you can't get all of the other things we want, including a true rendering of the sensuous.
I could not live without my Offrandes but I will keep these Abscissas around because there are simply things they can do that the Offies can't. The Offies can make Mahler appealing, the Abscissas can make the room (and sometimes the human spirit) move. The Abscissas can find things in recordings, exciting little things, that now that I've heard them I'm loath to do without.
I am a (strictly) amateur photographer. My normal lens is a portrait lens, a 100 mm. If Jean Marie were a photographer, I think he'd also favor a portrait lens. Jean Claude's normal lens would more likely be a 35 mm. Not a 28 or 24, a 35.
As a photographer myself, your metaphor is appreciated. For decades, when not using a 4X5 camera, my world was seen through a superb 50mm lens on a Leica M3 which I replaced a few years ago with a digital camera (rsd.leicaimages.com). There is that loss of the "romantic" when replacing the analogue with the digital (I don't know if replacing a JMR with say a Triangle speaker would be a fair analogy) and I wanted to understand what JC had in mind and his ears in revamping his father's creations. You've explained it wonderfully as always as no other reviewer does. I always enjoy your skill at using language to transduce transducers.
Silly Me Here I thought the day of the too small for purpose drivers was waning.
Still.. some shill them and obscure makers still try .
IMO IF in North America a Tannoy DC is the best of breed speaker whilst in Europe the 604 holds the same revered place.
Human nature where grass is greener on the other side basically.
Great Plains even mfg's..new.. 604's at affordable pricings.
Why?? would one even bother with lesser.
NO substitutes for Large cones, Compression drivers and Huge Magnet motors.. Period
Strange world we've cobbled together.
Never make judgments based on audio theories, even if they seem obvious. I owned a huge Altec Voice of Theatre rig when I was a college kid. Impressive but now that I've been to a good many live concerts, I know that the real sound of a live orchestra is made up of detail, speed, and a sense of articulated space, not just avoirdupois. My roommate's Janzen/AR1W got a lot of stuff my Altec missed, albeit not the scale.
I owned a huge Altec Voice of Theatre rig when I was a college kid. Impressive but now that I've been to a good many live concerts,
Yeah, I never heard "midrange honk" while at the symphony. :)
Yeah, but I have had no one describe my speakers as honky. I actually get real, dynamic, relaxed and musical. Go figure?
But serious though, old VOTTs are not exactly the pinnacle of the 15" + CD paradigm; they can't be used to characterise the genre.
I tend to agree with Bare's point in principle. Still, there are many roads.
"Confusion of goals and perfection of means seems to characterise our age." Albert Einstein
I think the "problem " with horns is that most horn lovers (including me) are using domesticated versions of PA speakers or DIY designs, and they are per se incredibly difficult to work with and integrate, especially in a small living room like mine ^^. I know that I still spend more time fine tuning the system - like a sound engineer without diploma - than actually listening to music. But it's my passion and I think I would be quickly bored with turnkey speakers.
JMR speakers are ah the other end of things. Heard a pair of their cheaper offerings and found them incredibly dull and boring, but classical music is about 5% of my total music consumption and my system isn't the best with it. To each its own...
Post a Message!
This post is made possible by the generous support of people like you and our sponsors: