The Aatma Loudspeaker by Reev Designs

by admin on December 3, 2011 · 3 comments

in Loudspeakers, Stars

by Anthony Kershaw

Reev Designs is a Canadian speaker company of recent lineage. For two years, the designers created and fine tuned their first speaker, the Aatma. Aatma is a Sanskrit word that means ‘soul’. The Aatma is a hand crafted monitor of exquisite workmanship and is a speaker debut of some distinction.

Chief designer is Jugveer Randhawa is a very personable gentleman and is passionately involved in all aspects of the company. His stylish demeanor is imbued in the speaker, the website design, the company’s ID, and the look and feel. And the look and feel of the Aatmas is something very special.

Randhawa delivered the speakers and suggested an initial setup. As the electronics warmed up, our discussions ranged from our very similar English heritage to the state of audiophilia. He gifted us with a wonderful bottle of Italian wine and we sipped it with a lovely dessert. It was a delightful afternoon.

Some initial listening led us to move the speakers a little further back, nearer the rear wall and firing straight out into the room. The speakers were moved several times over the month listening period. They sounded at their best eight feet apart, two feet from the back wall and shooting straight. In fact, the speakers are very easy to move and will sound very good in small to medium size rooms and in many different variations. The speakers also enjoyed a slight toe-in, but I preferred the wider soundstage of directly into the room.

Design

The design is 2-way reflex loaded studio monitor (you’ll need some good stands) with the bass reflex port on top of the rear plate. The tweeter is 26mm coated textile dome and the woofer is a 5′ wood-pulp cone woofer. The beautifully-designed website continues ‘…The enclosure employs an optimized geometry to cancel sonic reflections and remain as rigid and anti resonant as possible.

A single craftsman is responsible for the construction of the Aatma from start to finish. The enclosure is caressed in beautiful solid cherry wood ribs that add a unique architectural appeal as well as act as an exoskeleton that adds a significant amount of damping to the enclosure.

The finish on the main enclosure begins with a process of applying a material developed for the luxury furniture market called Yorkite. This synthetic material is applied to all surfaces of the enclosure and prepares a flawless surface for the polyester paints to be applied to. There are 5 coats of finish that are applied to the enclosure before it is buffed and polished to a brilliant high-gloss shine.

The crossover employed was constructed to optimize coherence and provide a path of least resistance for the signal to flow between the amplification components and the drivers. At is point-to-point wired using a layout that reduces interference and interaction between the components. After being assembled and tested it is encased in a proprietary resin that converts the many components into one solid mass that eliminates micro-phonic resonances. The speakers are packed in a custom built wooden crate and protected using a high-quality foam product.’

The port is beautifully finished and I asked Randhawa about his thinking behind his design. ‘The port design was a bit of a journey during our design of the Aatma. We were trying to achieve the most natural bass response from the system, while ensuring that the port did not make any sonic contributions of its own through resonances. We experimented with plastic of different thickness as well as brass and aluminium. The actual port dimensions are large for a speaker of this size, and that was a product of achieving a natural bass response. With a large diameter port (relative to the size of the woofer) the air velocity in the port at the tuning frequency remain very low and the speaker doesn’t “choke” or “chuff” during demanding music sequences. As an added extra, we felt that the polished ends on the ports added a quality pleasing aesthetic appeal.’

The beautifully crafted rear port.

The beautifully crafted rear port.

Sound

The better monitors’ commonest traits are alive and well within the Aatma. The midrange is exceptionally clear, the treble is bell like and the bass is well defined. The blend is wonderful — each tessitura is allowed its head but is blended musically into a satisfying whole. The beautiful ‘exoskeleton’, as described by Reev, really controls the speaker — no frequencies stick out, no bloat or beaming.

The midrange is one of the best I’ve heard from a monitor. As the meat in the sandwich, the Aatma’s midrange is highlighted by supremely accurate instrumental timbre. The new London Philharmonic CD release of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony on its own label demonstrated the strength of the speaker. The complexity of the orchestration can make things difficult for lesser speakers. The Reev unravelled the thorny textures easily — and the sound was like liquid, clear, and well balanced.

‘Well defined’ is one way of describing the treble. Some may call it slightly etched. Not me. I like the way it handles the upper levels and the bell-like clarity it imparts. Amplified by my lovely Audio Research tubes, it sat atop the midrange happily. No worries.

The bass frequency response is flat to ~54Hz with -3db @ 42Hz. For any speaker, my benchmark is a low C extension on an orchestral double bass — 32Hz. The Aatma just about gets there. A little help from room corner reflections helps in this regard, and the woofer is so well controlled, the corner loading does not add boom or bust.

Listening to the seminal Thomas Newman main theme from American Beauty tested the extremities of the Aatma. It passed easily, with only the lowest synthesized bass missing. The payoff, however, was the tuned and untuned percussion replicated lightning quick, including the reverberating tabla, the woodenness of the marimbas, and the antique cymbals and bells. A truly awesome track and enjoyed as much by this listener as ever.

Lifestyle and checkmarks for audiophiles wants and needs.

Lifestyle and checkmarks for audiophiles' wants and needs.

Listening to the seminal Thomas Newman main theme from American Beauty tested the extremities of the Aatma. It passed easily, with only the lowest synthesized bass missing. The payoff, however, was the tuned and untuned percussion replicated lightning quick, including the reverberating tabla, the woodenness of the marimbas, and the antique cymbals and bells. A truly awesome track and enjoyed as much by this listener as ever.

The midrange of the Reev caressed vocals as only a fine monitor can. My recent trip to RMAF in Denver introduced me to one of my favorite (and an audiophiles’ favourite) singers — Lori Lieberman. Lori was the live musical talent. She was gracious after a sound check to grant a lengthy interview — I had to miss her set as I was already booked to review the Colorado Symphony. She gave me her two latest CDs, Gun Metal Sky and Bend Like Steel. Her rich, ultra expressive voice sounded just wonderful when listening at length reviewing both CDs. The Aatmas gave me a knockout representation of her live voice. They make a reviewer’s job a lot easier.

Conclusion

The Reev Designs Aatma Loudspeaker makes me pine for my monitor days — ProAc Tablette Signatures and 1SCs, Totem Model 1s, etc. The BMWs of monitors. A recent Aussie masterpiece, too — Mike Lenehan’s little beauties, Holden-like, if you know Aussie cars. The Aatmas surpass all these speakers in both sound and design. They should, at 7K, more than twice the price of those listed. But, you get a lot of hidden value for your dollars. Superb sound, exquisite design and workmanship, available customer service and follow up, a speaker that can work in many audiophile situations, and pride of ownership in a musical work of art. Highly recommended.

[We are proud to award the Reev Designs' Aaatma Loudspeaker an Audiophilia Star Component Award. Congratulations! - Ed]

website
email
@reevdesigns

Price: USD$7000
Source: Manufacturer loan

Technical Specifications

Type: 2-way reflex loaded studio monitor
Tweeter: 26mm Coated textile Dome
Woofer: 5′ Wood-Pulp Cone Woofer
Sensitivity: 86dB 1w-1m
Frequency Response (+/-3dB): 42hz to 22000hz
Nominal Impedance: 8ohm
Minimum Impedance: 4ohm
Minimum Power Requirement: 20w
Maximum Power Handling: 150w
Dimensions (H x W x D): 354mm x 227mm x 302mm

Manufacturer’s Comment

Anthony, Thank you for conducting a very insightful review of the Aatma Loudspeaker. This review marks the first industry review of the Aatma and really brings to light many of the elements that we strove to achieve in the design.

Our design philosophy is based on two core principles; beautiful design and great musicality. Creating a loudspeaker design that measures flat is a baseline, not the end goal, taking that flat measurement and bring it to life and making it ‘musical’ is where we strive to be. Creating an instrument that can bring forward the passion and love that lives in a musical masterpiece is always our goal, for this is why we all love music. Your choice of music during the review evaluates loudspeakers based on music, not audiophile disks, not test tracks, just very well composed and recorded music, to the point of using music that you conducted and played really puts to the test the ability of the Aatma to elicit emotion within the music. This is a review principle that is less used by many of audio reviewers out there in the market.

Further to all the great  feedback about the Aatma, we are very humbled to have the Aatma receive the “AUDIOPHILIA STAR COMPONENT AWARD”.

Kindest Regards,

Jugveer Randhawa
President & Chief Designer
Reev Designs Inc.

{ 1 trackback }

Audiophilia has reviewed our Aatma! | Reev Designs
11.27.11 at 1:28 pm

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Todd Sherman 12.19.11 at 3:10 pm

Can you tell me who makes the woofer and tweeter?

Jugveer 12.25.11 at 6:15 pm

Hi Todd;

The drivers that we use are scan-speak based, the woofer however has a proprietary motor structure that we designed specifically for the Aatma.

Regards;
Jugveer
Chief Designer - Reev Designs Inc.

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