April
2019

Country of Origin

India

Aarka

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, Fore Audio DAISy1, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref,  AURALiC Vega 
Preamplifier: Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL3000 and Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands 
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: $3'250/pr

VTF am I looking at? With your vertical tracking force firmly aligned, you see Rethm. You see some monitors. Add it up. Voilà: Rethm monitors. That makes the man in the cloud not son of Steve Jobs but Jacob George, head of the Southern India speaker house.

"We've been rather busy over the last four months. Major redesign of the Maarga and Saadhana — both the enclosure/labyrinths and drivers with substantial improvements all around. But that's for later. I noticed with some fascination that you just finished the review of one bookshelf speaker, with 5 more on your to-do list. Coincidence? Or does it really signify a shift in what music lovers ask about and look for today? You see, I too was finally talked into designing a bookshelf speaker. If you ask me, honestly… I don't know what advantage a bookshelf speaker has over a compact floorstander if one was going to use it on stands in the middle of the room like any other floorstander, not as a real 'bookshelf' speaker. But if that's what customers want, that's what they shall get."

"The challenge for me of course was to design one that would keep all the principles and philosophies of Rethm intact. That meant a high-efficiency horn-loaded widebander coupled to a powered bass module all packaged into a unit small enough to qualify as a bookshelf monitor which would look good to boot. We added one more feature to it. We made it active in the wideband section as well. I think you know my 'suspicions' when it comes to solid state. But doing valve amplifiers in this small a package was simply not practical. So I opted for the only kind of transistors I would accept, a 10wpc pure class A hybrid amp driving the full-range driver. So in effect each cabinet has two amps, one class AB 75-watt unit for the bass plus that 10-watt unit. But the speakers also come with a bypass switch so that you can defeat the internal 10wpc amp and connect your own if so desired.

Rethm come from the land of karimeen fish curries and coconut toddy, i.e. India's water state of Kerala. Insert speaker is an older-gen Saadhana.

"All one needs now is something like the ifi DSD Pro and a Tidal subscription and it's high-quality music all the way. Would you be interested in reviewing a pair? We are going to show it for the first time at Axpona Chicago but will not play it to instead demo the new Maarga. No hurry. I am happy to get in the queue. No photographs yet as we only have a prototype done for testing. The show pair is being built as we speak." For a good background on Jacob the speaker designer and the evolution of the Rethm brand until 2014, read this interview with Laurence Borden.