This week-end, I have been invited by an old friend to come to Obernai, in Alsace, for a couple of days. I could not refuse as I had not seen him since we last met in Turkey, and Obernai is actually the place where I was born.
I had no idea that I would live such an incredible experience…
My friend Daniel, is an acoustic engineer that I met while working as Sales Manager for Focal.
Back in the days, Jacques Mahul and Gerard Chrétien were both leading the boat, and the Utopia 3 line saw the day. Daniel was strongly involved in this line, and most of the audiophiles know the quality and expertise behind the Utopia 3 line.
After leaving Focal for new adventures, I never lost contact with Daniel.
Last week-end, he invited me to his place, and I was totally surprised by the purpose of his invitation; He was creating a new brand of loudspeaker, and wanted to have my point of view, my expertise in listening to his new “babies”.
I was honored by his request, and I felt more and more excited when I finally saw his work. One pair of bookshelf speakers, Atalante 3 and another, more impressive, Atalante 5.
Real wood speakers always give you an immediate impression of a vintage and warm sound. It looked very simple, classic but also luxurious.
The room was full of vinyls (Daniel and I are vinyl freaks), drivers and crossovers. Daniel hasn’t changed 😉
The Atalante 3 has a 7” woofer and a large dome tweeter.
Asking Daniel, he designed the drivers himself, and actually everything from scratch.
The Atalante 5 has a 12” driver, a 75mm soft-dome medium and the same tweeter as Atalante 3.
a new technology with a Basalt woofer. Never heard of this before.
While I had not planned to bring any music with me (I only brought Burgundy wine at least) I asked Daniel if he still had my compilation of chosen tracks, and he did! There are tracks that are deeply anchored in your memory. I had the chance to listen to some of the best systems in my life, throughout the world, and these tracks do really reveal the true abilities of a system for me.
Time to sit back, but not really relax…I love this exercise, while I felt a bit stressed I have to admit.
We have started to play tracks that I know for ages. From rock to jazz, soul to classical, blues to electronic music, all styles, voices, instruments, mono and stereo recording, from vinyl to non-compressed formats.
The instant impression first came from my body. Goose bumps…And not just a wave, a real tsunami.
I really got instantly impressed by the precision of the reproduction of the music. A very balanced sound, with depth, control in the bass which is also tight. Midrange and highs are extremely well controlled, coherent and not aggressive.
I patiently wait for the end of the track to jump to another one, and another one…
I could not talk nor ask any questions. I kept listening, and I think I did for almost an hour, without any fatigue, just pleasure.
At some point, Daniel took the remote control, and it was time to share my thoughts. While I focused on listening to the Atalante 3, I did not forget that the 5 was next. But before that, Daniel suggested that I listen to some Dynaudio speakers to compare; the Special Forty, and the Heritage Special.
Daniel also worked as an engineer for Dynaudio. I trusted that it would be a good comparison.
I have never been a Dynaudio fan, but I do respect the legacy of the brand, as any audiophile would.
Sorry to say that, both were coloured, not as realistic as the Atalante 3. I had no idea of the price point of the Dynaudio speakers. But when he gave me the price point of the Atalante 3, I was really surprised, way cheaper, and in my opinion, way better than Dynaudio’s.
It really grew my interest for the Atalante 5. Enough comparisons, Daniel plugs what he calls the “A5”.
Same selection of tracks. I cannot remain seated. It’s magical, it has almost an holographic reproduction of these records. The sound stage is almost touchable for live records, the tonal balance is so perfect and the bass is so well controlled again…Depth, balance all is here.
I spent the whole afternoon and night listening to Atalante 5. I went to my Airbnb for the night and came back with fresh croissants at 8am sharp. Could not wait any longer to keep listening…
From low to high volume of listening, all details are here, all instruments keep their place and all kinds of music seem just easy to reproduce at perfection for this pair of speakers.
These speakers are the beginning of a new era to me. They will be manufactured in Alsace, and will be available to the world soon. Daniel has designed all the drivers, worked with a design agency for the cabinet and the stands, has done the whole tuning and the final assembly will be Made in France. The price point is also incredibly affordable, in my experience.
Revival Audio is the name of the brand. You should definitely check them out. Hours of pleasure, without fatigue, and years of expertise behind these loudspeakers.