I have a soft spot for Rethm
. I appreciate owner Jacob George's industrial design skills. I appreciate his ongoing obsession with perfecting his widebander plus active bass system approach to speaker building, all from his shop in India's water state of Kerala. So it was with fondness that I opened the following email and admired the attached pix. "As you know, I have wanted to work at the bottom end, price wise, of the high-end. I have always had 'philosophical difficulties' with the notion of paying prices equalling that of cars for a pair of speakers, however good they may be. Catering to just the top 1% of the population is becoming increasingly unjustifiable (yes I was a Bernie Sanders supporter and my Indian socialist roots leavened with a fair amount of guilt are probably just poking through). But we still need good music - and good sound. This is Rethm's attempt to do it at slightly more realistic prices. We still use a widebander, powered bass with level control. It is immensely musical whilst not having the ultimate resolution of our higher-up models. So I thought I would send you some photographs of our latest baby at just US$2'900/par. This is just for your information and to let you know that I am alive and well."

That arithmetic was more than alive and well. It had real teeth. Needless to say, I chomped down hard for more. Model name? Driver Ø? Efficiency? Bandwidth? Overall dimensions and weight? All the usual stuff prospective buyers want for their amusement. I marveled at Jacob's cleverness, on how to keep his trademark overall cabinet geometry intact whilst migrating from the costly curves of the more expensive models to a boxier rendering more cost-effective to produce. To me it seemed a lovely demonstration of the age-old question about how to have your cake and eat it, too; with nothing essential lost in the translation. If a floating loaner ever made it to Ireland long enough to clap ears on, I'd be first in line. "I shall be happy to send you a pair. Since you are in Ireland, I will ask my UK dealer to arrange forwarding it to him when you are done. We are about to start making a few pairs. I'll send relevant specs in a day or two. Hopefully I'll have come up with a name for this model by then." It only took Jacob a day. "Here are the essentials on the Rethm Bhava: 8" full-range driver made by Boston Acoustics, in a horn-loaded enclosure; 2 x 7" custom woofers in isobaric configuration in a sealed chamber; 75wpc custom bass amplifier module in each enclosure, with level control; system sensitivity 94dB; dimensions H = 970mm, W= 240mm, D = 520mm; weight = 30kg per unit. We have now also perfected a modular system of doing the bass electronics such that if ever there was an electronics failure, we'd simply ship out an entire module to the customer who can swap out the unit very easily, making service a virtual non-issue."
Rethm website