This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click
Source: 27" iMac with 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 16GB 1.333MHz RAM, 2TB hard disc, 256GB SSD drive, ADM Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, PureMusic 1.82 in hybrid memory play with pre-allocated RAM and AIFF files up to 24/192; Antelope Audio Zodiac Gold/Voltikus, April Music Eximus DP1, Esoteric/APL Hifi UX1/NWO-M
Preamp/Integrated: ModWright LS-100 with Synergy Hifi tubes, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X, Red Wine Audio Signature 15 [on review]
Amplifier: FirstWatt S2 [on loan], Yamamoto A-09S, Woo Audio Model 5, Trafomatic Audio Kaivalya
Speakers: Voxativ Ampeggio, Zu Essence, Audiomanufacture Boenicke B10
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Audio Event, Entreq USB cables
Stands: 2 x ASI HeartSong 3-tier, 2 x ASI HeartSong amp stand
Powerline conditioning: 1 x GigaWatt PF2, 1 x Furutech RTP-6
Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: 5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review component retail: $8.450/pr

Early October 2010. The email was from Cochin, Southern India. Rethm owner Jacob George had interesting news: "As you can see, we've been hard at work. Here's the new baby in the Rethm family [right]. For a sense of scale, the width is only 170mm, i.e. a little under 7 inches. Here we're not using a Lowther. Instead this driver is custom-made just for us. It took quite a bit of work to get it to sound the way we wanted, with all the life, dynamics and transparency of the Lowthers but not their shout. We finally did it. A lot of people do not like Lowthers and as you know, I've worked for 10 years modifying them to overcome their flaws. And no, my supplier is neither Peerless India nor Tangband in China since my numbers for them would be far too limited. Besides, development work across international border takes forever. We had to go back and forth with prototypes far too often. I would listen to one, send it back, they would make changes, return it and so forth. Milind Patel was head of R&D at Peerless but quit about a year ago. With a financial partner he launched his own company Hermit Audio. He does the drivers for us and is one of those truly exceptional human beings. Nobody else would have entertained my demands for continuous little changes in our quest for the best. And, he works with us on small quantities."

Jacob checked in again after the Rocky Mountain Audio Show 2010 where the Trishna debuted. "Here are a few reactions to the new Trishna. Neil Gader of The Absolute Sound called it 'one of the brightest surprises of the show. Designed for smaller rooms it retains the beautiful eccentricity of the larger models yet also the designer’s vision with its paper-coned full-range driver in a narrow horn-loaded cabinet. The active bass is handled by twin 5" woofers in a sealed isobaric enclosure powered by an internal 75W FET amp. And the sound? Detailed and open with surprising extension given the speaker’s small footprint.' "Stereomojo awarded it best new speaker under $5.000. Computer Audiophile said that '...another favorite of mine was Still Audio showing off his brand new 45-driven amps pushing a huge 1.5wpc into some baby Rethm speakers. These little guys with their oddball shape and Lowther drivers sounded fantastic. Great bass, effortless everything else. Very surprising.'

"We've been busy making changes to the Trishna after I got back. Despite the good feedback I personally wasn't entirely happy with the bass response. We therefore decided on two 6.5-inch woofers with a bigger isobaric chamber. We had to do quite a bit of reworking to make this possible. We are also reworking the Maarga and making cosmetic changes to the Saadhana so that all of them will follow the aesthetic lead set by the new Trishna. And, Milind is working on two new drivers - one 6" unit for the Maarga, one 7-incher for the Saadhana."

January 19, 2011: "I got a message today that the first batch of Trishna drivers have shipped. Milind is also sending me the prototype of the new Maarga driver. The new Saadhana prototype driver should be ready in two weeks. Milind had a very hard time sourcing the parts especially for the Saadhana driver because I told him that under no circumstances would we compromise on parts quality. One of the things both of us wanted was this really great bamboo fiber-pulp cone. Finally we've got it. Again remember that very few people are willing to entertain us because of our low numbers."

I'd followed Jacob's decade in the Lowther trenches closely whilst owning a pair of his top Saadhana model. I knew all about how he'd given up his stubborn attempt to coax true full-range performance from Lowthers despite a high degree of cleverness applied to various back-loaded schemes. To banish for good persistent criticisms about insufficient bass he'd instead developed an isobaric woofer loading scheme powered from his own built-in amps. Given Rethm's low production in the already niche market of widebander speakers, custom drivers to stop fixing Lowther flaws had seemed utterly elusive. Jacob's carefully cultivated association with the ex head of Peerless/India's R&D now proved to be a true windfall. On basic concept it actually puts Rethm on equal footing with Berlin newcomer Voxativ. They too design and build their own exotic drivers with matching enclosures. I'd reviewed their Ampeggio exactly one year ago when it still sold for an already stiff €16.900/pr.

By August 2011 Stereophile's Art Dudley found himself equally smitten. The Ampeggio's US price had been set to $29.500/pr and Voxativ gained formal importer Gideon Schwartz of Audioarts who incidentally also became Jacob's. By September my friend Dan's top-line Voxativ Ampeggio Dué [right] had netted him two pairs of standard Ampeggios in trade. One of those he generously earmarked for me. When Jacob subsequently contacted me with a review inquiry for his new Maarga, I thus had Ampeggio and Zu Essence widebanders for context. I could observe a broad financial progression—in Europe the Ampeggio with our new drivers will sell for €21.900/pr (€4.000/pr upgrade for existing owners)—and three different implementations: widebander solo (Voxativ), widebander + tweeter (Zu), widebander + woofers (Rethm). For final synchronicity, 6moons reviewer Frederic Beudot's sabbatical from a work-related move to Canada was over. With Essence speakers and FirstWatt F5 and Yamamoto A-08s amplifiers in a room smaller than mine, his genre sympathies were curious about the Trishna. Catching up with Rethm's relaunch of three completely reworked models with drivers exclusive to Rethm seemed positively predestined. "We're on!" read my email to Jacob George on behalf of Frederic and yours truly.