HIFI TEST 01-2023
The double R
How often does it happen that in the really crowded speaker market, a new brand pops up that seems to do everything right out of the box? Welcome Revival Audio. First of all, let me put it this way: only when real professionals are at work do products like Revival Audio come out. You probably cannot imagine how often we are approached by (pseudo) manufacturers who allegedly want to revolutionize the loudspeaker world with their product – often it is just one thing. But since the distributors we like to work with filter this “offer” for us, we could trust that Stefan Becker from bt Hifi would deliver something really fine for us.Revival AudioThe company Revival Audio is new and essentially consists of two makers.
One is responsible for the loudspeaker development and this personel alone is a small sensation. Alsatian Daniel Emonts built his first amplifier at the age of 14 and a year later his first loudspeaker before he turned his passion into a profession. However, music always came first for him and not technology, as he told me with a wink: “For me, my passion for loudspeakers naturally starts with music and not the other way around. At home, our father “annoyed” us with music from his “4B” favorite musicians (Bizet, Beethoven, Jaques Brel and Georges Brassens). We teenagers were more into the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Deep Purple. When my father was on vacation, I just took apart his Braun Snow White coffin to “see” what was in there and how it works. I never got it back together, my father was angry of course, but he now had a reason to persuade my mother to buy a Bang & Olufsen system.” I love stories like this because they also appear in our audio and hi-fi lives and make products human.Daniel Emonts and Jacky LeeAfter a winding and exciting life, the decisive stations finally come, which is why Daniel Emonts is known: Focal and Dynaudio. Among other things, he developed the Electra Be2 and the Utopia EM series for Focal. From January 2016 to September 2021 he worked at Dynaudio as the head acoustician. Chassis series such as Esotar or Evoke or the Contour loudspeakers can be attributed to him. His partner Jacky Lee is the marketing guy and I can’t applaud enough that the two of them have such a perfect and ideal division of labor, which can be seen at every point in communication and production. The logo with the double R alone, which was created in cooperation with the A+A COOREN DESIGN STUDIO in Paris, speaks volumes. Lee was Dynaudio’s COO for years, which is how he and Daniel know each other. However, Dynaudio hasn’t been the company of previous decades since its 2014 acquisition either, but that’s another story. Revival Audio has officially existed since the beginning of 2022, but of course the two started earlier. Lee was Dynaudio’s COO for years, which is how he and Daniel know each other. However, Dynaudio hasn’t been the company of previous decades since its 2014 acquisition either, but that’s another story. Revival Audio has officially existed since the beginning of 2022, but of course the two started earlier. Lee was Dynaudio’s COO for years, which is how he and Daniel know each other. However, Dynaudio hasn’t been the company of previous decades since its 2014 acquisition either, but that’s another story. Revival Audio has officially existed since the beginning of 2022, but of course the two started earlier.
Technologies The revival idea with this timeless, classic look is one thing, modern technologies are another and make something very special out of this company. The mid-bass driver of the Atalante 3 can be representative of this. Emonts chose a very unusual material for its membrane, which I am not immediately familiar with from chassis construction: basalt. Basalt or basalt lava is formed from cooled lava, is considered sustainable and recyclable and does not consist of petroleum products like other membrane materials. It is light, stiff and has a large surface area due to its porous structure. But you can’t build a membrane with basalt alone. So Emonts developed the so-called BSC sandwich (Basalt Sandwich Construction) with basalt fiber fabric as the top layer, which of course also dominates visually. An insulating layer made of a polymer adhesive and felt is then placed in the middle. And at the bottom a specially adapted foam-based cone. The massive, asymmetrical die-cast aluminum basket with its really gigantic ferrite magnet reminds me of Goodmans or Electro Voice models from the 60s and 70s. The suspension is also very special and elaborately simulated on the computer, the spider is made of aramid fibers. In some details and principles, the tweeter reminds me of the Dynaudio models that Daniel Emonts developed. It was also given an unusually powerful ferrite magnet and a final resonance chamber on the back, which ensures quiet. Emonts simulated their dimensions in such a way that they needed as little insulation as possible. Kurt Müller produces the dome in Krefeld. The crossover is equipped with the best parts in terms of hearing. Emonts, for example, pays attention to high dielectric strength and thus low losses in the capacitors, which benefits the sound. The attenuation resistor is bifilar wound and non-inductive. All capacitors in the signal path are foil types, the circuit board is epoxy with 70u copper plating. The housing, which is only 16 mm thin, is excellently processed and very specifically insulated with polyester wadding. The surrounding veneer strip made of a different wood with the Revival Audio logo sets a beautiful visual accent and the two-part, magnetically held covers are also very chic. Decoupling discs are screwed between the housing and the footprint. Of course, you can also place the Atalante 3 on a surface of your choice with just the decoupling elements. The height of the stand is unusual, Emonts wants to use it to compensate for runtime differences. The loudspeakers are developed and finalized in Alsace.
Even if the Revival Audio Atalante 3 loudspeakers have been developed with a high level of expertise, are excellently manufactured and look really great, that does not mean that they also sound good or even great. But do and how. Actually from a standing start, the sound turned out to be extremely effortless, friendly, detailed and inviting for long-term listening. Above all, the effortless, natural reproduction was in the foreground. I know BonIver’s debut album inside out and experience a kind of surround sound with this intimate music, which is due to the crazy good omnidirectional behavior of the Atalante 3. I seriously hear a new vocal track on “The Wolves”: where has it been before? I can enjoy Fleetwood Mac’s early blues rock at amazing levels as if I were there live. The Atalante 3 does not allow itself to be aggressive in any way, it sounds smooth and, above all, honest, i.e. it does not seem to be omitting anything, but it also reveals bad recordings. Its small size makes it completely playful, just like a good LS3/5a can. Her bass has a beautifully colored, rich quality and goes amazingly deep, which I notice in Lady Blackbird, whose hauntingly beautiful voice also comes to life in an almost spooky room.
Conclusion: If only all newcomers were like that. The Revival Audio Atalante 3 create the perfect balancing act between history and the present, both visually and sonically. A big movie theater.