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JM Reynaud Evolution 3
For sale is a hard to come by speaker by Jean Marie Reynaud. These are from when Jean Marie was still building them. Fantastic, especially on vocals.
They sound wonderful but have some cosmetic flaws (still very presentable and nothing noticeable from listening position) and are thus bargain priced. They sold for $3795 when new.
The speakers are floor-standing with the upgraded solid wood butcher block finish cabinets with dimensions of 42 inches high, eight inches wide, and 12 inches deep. The tweeters are situated in their own bullet-shaped enclosures on top of the rectangular cabinet box and can be aimed left or right slightly to improve imaging.
The driver complement consists of a one-and-one-tenth-inch polyamide tweeter with a large anti-vortex phase plug. The woofer, which is normally hidden behind a removable black cloth grille at the top of the cabinet, is a six-and-three-quarter-inch aerogel, dual-coil, dual-surround, dual-magnet design. That, coupled with a unique transmission line, helps achieve the Evolution 3's frequency response of 35Hz to 20kHz.
This transmission line vents to the bottom front of the rigid enclosure. The port itself is a small rectangular opening that is progressively coupled to the air outside the cabinet to reduce the port's sonic signature. Another innovative feature of the Evolution 3 is its crossover system that makes this a two-driver, three-way speaker system, according to Jean Marie Reynaud. In fact, this system is similar in concept to what some manufacturers on this side of the pond call a two-way system, in that there is a high-frequency driver and two identical mid-woofers with one crossed-over lower than the other. In this specific instance, the two mid-woofers are the same six-and-three-quarter-inch drivers with two voice coil and magnet assemblies.
REVIEW: Jean-Marie Reynaud Evolution 3 Speakers Review by miffy at Audio Asylum
Two important things:
1. Break-in time is very long, let them play for a month or so before judging them. The tweeters sound very bright for a long time, after 200-300 hours they were still bright (put a towel over the tweeters) and dynamics were still lacking. For emotional, involving sound you need a lot of patience. (The long break-in time could be a problem for it's succes, I've read a negative review and a negative comment of a dealer, both describing the sound of a too young Evolution 3.)
2. They need to be filled with sand otherwise the bass will be muddly and will congest the rest of the sound (they have a build-in cavity in the base for this purpose).
When setup right the Evolution 3's don't sound like speakers at all, they make music, involving, emotional. No harshness, just fluidness like all the natural sounds around you. It reminds me of the difference between CD and SACD (or LP), fluidness.
They don't sound like a compromise at all, they are as subtle and detailed as a top bookshelf speaker and have a big dynamic soundstage with a deep bass like the best floorstanders (you won't need a subwoofer to feel the bass), the bass isn't superfast but it's fast and tight enough to be totally realistic. I guess this speaker is not suitable for small rooms, the bass can be too present, even in my fairly big room I need to position them far from the wall (4ft, 1.2m) otherwise I have a peek at 40 and 100Hz. The mids are fluid and natural and highs are clear but very delicate (after break-in).
They say that Evolution 3's are easy to setup, I don't agree, no speaker is easy to setup. I do agree that these speakers sound reasonable when the setup isn't perfect, but the magic isn't there yet until positioned perfectly. (Let's say you'll get 50% of max. quality when positioned ok but not perfectly, while a Virgo for instance gives only 10% of it's max. quality when not positioned perfectly.) To get maximum soundstage, focus, dynamics etc. you need to experiment a lot with their position (like any other speaker). Perfecly positioned $500 speakers can sound way better than the best speakers in this world. Don't expect a Stradivarius to sound good when you can't play violin, but a good violist can make beautiful music on a cheap violin. You can create a beautiful realisic soundstage with Evolutions, they will disappear when positioned right.
Compared to the JMR Trente's the Evo's sound very similar, but have deeper bass, a bit clearer, fresher highs, and are able to reproduce the natural character of instruments better, they sound less boxy especially with higher volumes. Compared with the JMR Offrandes the Evo's had more present bass, sounded clearer but maybe a bit less delicate, my impression was that the Evo's offered a better soundstage and were more dynamic (I'll have to compare them again to be sure), maybe the Offrandes are a better choice for classical music lovers? Compared to the Audio Physic Virgo 2 I guess they'll sound less spectacular at first, but more emotional, beautiful, but I haven't compared them A/B. Compared to a B&W Nautilus 803 the Evo's do everything better except if you prefer analyzing frequencies instead of listening to music.
I listen to them with very good (expensive) amplifiers (Plinius CD-LAD + 2* SA-50mkIII bi-amped), I guess they'll also sound reasonable with cheaper equipment, anyway you'll always have to audition with your own amp.
Rating: 5 stars (on a scale of 5)