Big Speakers, BIGGER THRILLS Revival Audio Atalante 4 Review

Review
Revival Audio Atalante 4 speakers review 1

This is a review written by Terry Ellis February 2024.

For my video review please see my YouTube channel link here

New and exciting

This review is for a brand new speaker, they were officially released the week I am writing this review  but of course I had a set for a while before putting pen to paper. The speakers are the Revival Audio Atalante 4, this is the second Revival Audio speaker I have looked at in recent months.  Last year I reviewed the Atalante 5 and I thought they were a super cool speakers with a big 12 inch bass woofer, a big 3 inch soft dome mid range driver and a very cool look.

When I received the Atalante 4 I will admit I was a little disappointed that they were not the same kind of design as the 5, maybe just a bit smaller and more room friendly. I also was disappointed that there was no soft dome mid range driver because I always like them, for a reason I couldn’t even tell you, so its very silly of me really but true. Its worth noting the price and the difference between the Atalante 4 that cost £3890 and the Atalante 5 that cost £4744 if you also buy their stands so there is quite a difference there. The Atalante 4 are much closer in price to my own Mission 770 speakers.

I quickly realised the Atalante 4 are likely quite deliberately different to the 5 because not everyone wants the big wide speaker on a big stand setup in their home, some audiophiles prefer a traditional floor stander or tower speaker and I totally get it because aesthetically tower speakers just have a certain look about them. Especially bigger or taller tower speakers and the Atalante 4 are pretty tall and quite substantial being almost as tall as the KEF R11 Meta I have here too.

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A hard to categorise design

I think the aesthetics are going to be the first thing someone decides on with speakers this size because you cant easily hide them, the Atalante 4 is a hard design to categorise, it seems a real blend of traditional, contemporary and classic to some degree.  Its intended to be a Japanese French fusion look which I do get but the Atalante 4 feel a bit more traditional and less fusion to me.

The finish is walnut but there is a bit of red colour to it rather than just brown and I do like it, it grows on you. I also like the extra touches of detail, what I am going to call the trims around the baffle, on the sides with the laser etched logos all adding extra character. The finish is also mat so when you put your hands on the speakers they feel more like real wood and that is definitely different to gloss painted mdf cabinets that feel very mass manufactured and less special in some ways

And does that matter in the real world, not really, how often do you touch your speakers but its definitely a point of distinction.  Revival also design and build all the speakers in France which is likely another distinction from some of their competitors.

While we are talking about the cabinets, these are pretty heavy speakers at 38kg but the weight doesn’t seem to come so much from a heavy dense cabinet design. When you tap them, especially lower down there is a hollow sound rather than the dull thud of a dense cabinet, there is more of a dull thud higher up towards the top of cabinet.   I am guessing a big part of the speakers weight is from the drivers and their assembly and magnets which is interesting.

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Technicals

On the website you see that is definitely the case with the tweeter magnet assembly which is absolutely enormous in relation to the 28mm tweeter driver size.  This is partly because it uses a ferrite magnet system. Revival do have a patented technology they call ARID+ (Anti Resonance Inner Dome) technology to better control and absorb the rear sound wave of the tweeter to help get more extension, lower the resonant frequency and achieve more detail from a soft dome tweeter.  If you like the less splashy or less zingy more delicate treble of a soft dome but find them to be too soft or too rolled off sounding then straight away these are speakers that will be well suited to you because they are definitely not that.

For bass the Atalante 4 use dual 7 inch BSC or basalt sandwich construction woofers and I think they look like a cross between an old school Kevlar driver from Bowers and a carbon fibre driver from Acoustic Energy.  I think they probably sound like that combination too, there is a nice balance of bass authority, drive and nimbleness that you generally get from carbon fibre drivers but with some extra weightiness and bounciness to the bass that I like.  But at the same time they maybe don’t have quite the same impactful bass that you can get from other driver designs but that is a gross generalisation,  I am just trying to give you a tiny bit of extra totally subjective insight.

Then probably the most important driver to talk about will be the 5 inch mid range driver that is also BSC basalt sandwich construction. The reason why this is the most important is because it has to make me like it as much as the 3 inch soft dome of the Atalante 5 and that is not an easy task let me tell you.  I found the vocals from this new 5 inch driver to be very clear, fast and dynamic and probably the biggest strength of the speaker but there is a little but here that I will get to.

The crossover Revival say is tuned by ear which is very interesting and its using the least amount of parts as possible which is also interesting and maybe a little telling too for how the speakers sound. I also need to mention the spikes and levelling system because they are pretty substantial and definitely different.  At first when you install them they seem odd but in practice they make levelling the speakers a cinch, it’s a very well thought out design but they do look unusual and definitely not understated .

Amplifiers

Before we talk about sound quality in detail I want to talk about amplifiers because I feel this is going to be very important for you if you are considering buying these speakers. I think you will want to use an amplifier that for starters delivers a good amount of current not necessarily lots of watts but good drive capability and there is a difference there. I also think an amplifier with a warmer slightly laid back sound character will match here based on testing 3 very good amplifiers at different price points.

I started with the Gryphon Essence stereo power which delievred 110 watts into the Atalante 4 ohms. That number dpoesnt matter as the Gryphon is monster of an amplifier in terms of current and drive capability and it has no negative feedback so its sounds very immediate with a lot of energy and musical density.  You can also use it in two different amplification modes,  I preferred to use it here in class A/B mode which sounds a little softer and warmer compared to using it in pure Class A mode which is more dynamic and crisp energetic sounding.

I also tested the NAD M23 which is a Purifi Class D amplifier and it did not sound good at all despite delivering 380 watts into the Atalante 4, 4 ohm load.  I don’t know what happened here or why but the M23 sounded really lacking, very thin and edgy so not good at all. This was a surprise because I have almost liked the M23 but its important to be honest. Lastly I tried the new Galion TS A75 which I much preferred to the NAD as its sound is bolder and warmer and overall and I found it to be a much better fit for the Atalante 4.  Again being honest it could not produce anything like the same sound as from the Gryphon which is to be expected given the huge price difference.

This is all interesting because on paper the Atalante 4 seem relatively easy speakers to 89db sensitivity with a minimum impedance of 3.2 ohms and a simple crossover, maybe that is why the amplifier you use seems to matter as much. This is nothing to be concerned about as much as mindful of if you go and demo them, test some different amplifiers with them its interesting the different results you might hear and how it might impact your perception of the speakers capabilities.

Sounds like 

What stood out me and what did I like most and like least about the Atalante 4 sound quality.  Starting at the top, I mentioned before that the treble was extended and I am going to use the words lively and present for a soft dome tweeter. What I liked was the subtlety of the treble information, highs are extended and obvious but still softer and more rounded rather than zingy or splashy so they have more information to them rather than more impact about them.

These are tall speakers which I am sure helped, but I know it’s the high frequencies that give a speaker system a sense of height and atmosphere and a sense of immersion of sound in the room with the right music.  This was all present from the Atalante 4, all very good, all very detailed with a nice mixture of subtlety and energy.  But I did find the overall treble energy to be slightly too hot for my taste especially at the loud volumes I listen at, which was fine because I could find the balance I liked by changing the Chord Hugo TT 2 DAC filter mode to mode 4 which softens the treble just a little bit.  For clarification I would normally use mode 3 with my Mission 770 as they are softer sounding in the treble and benefit from more treble presence coming through the system. This is why its great to be able to make that adjustment in the DAC, its exactly what the different filter modes are for.

Moving down to the mid range and vocals I was really surprised for the betterment in terms of how well resolved and detailed vocals were, they could be very fast and attacking with some Queen Omega Reggae I have been listening to a lot lately. It has aggressive fast vocals as the main element to the music, with some phat B too of course its what we love about Reggae. Then with some deep sultry and characterful Colter Wall country another favourite of mine, the Gryphon pre power was really able to bring out the vocals fullness and depth that’s locked away in the recording in a very special way. The Atalante 4 were able to show me this too which I found very impressive

They were also showing me again with the Gryphon pre power a wonderful sense of up close to a microphone vocal immediacy and authenticity but with a see through the speakers onto a big musical event happening in front of me with a tall and good scale of sound.  I really enjoyed this aspect about them and my smaller Mission 770 can do a lot of it but not with quite the same energy or same kind of scale. I think the size of the speaker of course has an impact on this too..

But as a contrast I did notice that with vocal sibilance that’s in some music the Atalante 4 resolved it a little too well for me.  I am very sensitive to it, the sss was never excessively harsh or distorted sounding like it can be with some speakers but it was a little too clear or emphasised for me. The Mission disguise that aspect of music better. The DAC filter mode change helped with this as did using slightly less toe in than I would normally set for speakers in this room and look it didn’t stop me enjoying hours and hours of music it just stood out to me, again as a point of difference.

The bass from the Atalante 4 impressed me for its energy again mixed with subtlety mixed with smoothness. There was a very good amount of bass, very room filling, with good bass extension providing a great foundation to the music. I liked the ebb and flow of the bass it was smooth and rounded and pleasing. That is how I think the Atalante 4 have been tuned to deliver smooth bass transitions up and down the notes rather than an elevated bass that can sound more punchy in the bass but also thicker in the middle regions of the sound stage.

Listening to some Christine and the Queens the track, Tilted I was particularly impressed with how the Atalante 4 delivered the bass samples coming down the room out to me with this big and smooth and very detailed delivery, kind of like the bass samples danced their way down the room to me – very cool stuff.

I was also satisfied by their bass with no subwoofer in use, however that is also due to the Gryphon really driving them well and again for a difference to my Mission 770 in the same system, the Mission bass didn’t have the same scale and doesn’t sound quite as big overall. But I did find the Mission bass to be more punchy dynamic in the mid bass region which is a little more fun with some music like Queen Omega Reggae but less good in others like Christine and the Queens.

Lastly to talk about is sound stage and I was more impressed here than I was expecting to be after I tapped the cabinet as that made me expect a bloomy sound that’s large but lacking clarity and three dimensionality. The Atalante 4 do sound very large, they produce large sound images with very good scale right across the sound stage, going beyond them and coming out into the room too. But more imporantly they also completely disappear so your always listening to just music in the sound field and never the speakers, the sound is never tied to the cabinet its always free of them which is not how a bloomy cabinet sounds from my experience, normally a bloomy cabinet you hear the cabinet at least in some ways in some music and I have listened to a lot of music very loud so would have heard it if it was there for sure.

To complete the comparison

While I am on this subject, I also listened at lower volumes and thought the Atalante 4 sounded good at lower volumes and I think best at not crazy loud volumes either, so from low to loud enough was best. They could lose some composure if your too greedy with the volume which I always am at times. Again that is where the warmer sounding amplifier and or system seemed to balance best if your in a party mode.

To complete the comparison to my Mission 770, these are very different speakers which is obvious when you look at them of course. The Atalante have more going on at the musics extremes treble and bass, however its in the middle regions where the comaparison is most important as thats the bulk of the music.  I think there are more details  in the music presented from the Atalante as they have a more upfront energy about them but they are also fussier than the Mission are endlessly easy  and on the end of a system like the Gryphon they sound shockingly good, energetic and bold with great bass too. I think in a larger room the Atalante would be a  better pick as they are the bigger speaker but in a small room like I have it’s a tough one to choose a preference, both make me happy I would probably choose the one I preferred the looks of.

I was hoping to also do a comparison with the KEF R11 Meta but the KEFs were delayed in getting to me and they are brand new so not run in and it wouldn’t have been right to compare them. However the Revival made a very strong imprint memory on me so of course I will be thinking about them when I listen to the KEF to see how they stack up.

In summary then

To conclude this review, the Atalante 4 are an interesting speaker because I think they look different to how they sound, they look like a classic speaker so you might expect a soft laid back sound as a result and do not expect that. Maybe the bass could be classed as a classic bass big and full, its the mids and highs modern lively energy which is the bit we need to manage with our system choice. I think these could be great speakers for adding some tube beauty to the sound, adding some romance to the vocals from some nice tubes could be a great thing especially with the imaging the Atalante can deliver.

For me its all about the looks, if you love this look of speaker and think it will look great in your home I am confident you could put a system together to achieve fantastic sounding music at home and that is what its all about at the end of the day.  These are different sounding speakers to Sonus Faber and different to Bowers and Wilkins two opposing ends of the sound spectrum and the Atalante 4 I think sit somewhere in the middle of them again I am  generalising but hopefully it might help you to short list them or not to, you probably should.

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For the full specification of the Revival Audio Atalante 4 speakers please see their website linked here