The Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande speaker is the flagship in the French manufacturer’s speaker range. This two-way bass-reflex model is equipped with a 5” long AST (aero striction tweeter) mid/high frequency driver and a 7” woofer. This speaker has the particularity of being indissociable from its stand which integrates the connectors as well as the passive filter. Sold for €7800 a pair, this bookshelf speaker benefits from JMR’s best technologies and promises outstanding musical performance.
Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande: the brand
Jean-Marie Reynaud founded his eponymous company in 1967. Trained as a pianist, the music enthusiast aspired to design acoustic speakers capable of reproducing the “ultimate sound”, that of live music, which is extremely hard to recreate with simple speakers in a domestic setting.
Initially small-scale, Jean-Marie Reynaud’s loudspeaker design process was gradually able to benefit from increasingly efficient production and research methods. Constantly searching for technical solutions and always innovating, Jean-Marie Reynaud became an iconic figure in the exclusive circle of French loudspeaker manufacturers. The company made a name for itself in 1971 with the legendary Jean-Marie Reynaud Barcolle, a compact speaker that was popular with audiophiles for its ability to bring presence and vitality to music.
Each of Jean-Marie Reynaud’s speakers surprised and captivated listeners with their musical qualities: energy, faithfully reproduced tones, and spectral balance. With the constant determination to reproduce music as faithfully as possible, Jean-Marie Reynaud speakers continue to seduce audiophiles and the specialized press year after year. The French craftsman also paid great attention to the design of his speakers. He always knew how to be innovative and step outside the box, like in 1982 with the JMR Opéra speaker. The speaker was a three-way model with an entirely decoupled woofer and midrange driver. A previously unheard of design whose primary purpose was to meet the strictest technical requirements. These criteria allowed the speaker to be qualified as exceptional by all specialist press journalists.
Today, the traditional aspect of the French brand is maintained, with Jean-Claude Reynaud perpetuating the spirit of research and innovation established by his father. Based in Barbezieux in Charente, the family business continues to attract music lovers from around the world with speakers designed to ensure remarkable acoustic qualities. The brand’s latest creations include the 50th anniversary Jubilé speaker range, which is comprised of the Jean-Marie Reynaud Folia Jubilé compact speaker, the Jean-Marie Reynaud Euterpe Jubilé, the Jean-Marie Reynaud Cantabile Jubilé, Jean-Marie Reynaud Abscisse Jubilé and Jean-Marie Reynaud Orfeo Jubilé floorstanding speakers. More recently, Jean-Marie Reynaud has released the JMR Voce Grande, a compact two-way speaker that perfectly illustrates all the manufacturer’s expertise.
Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande: packaging & accessories
The Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande speaker comes mounted on its stand, as the latter cannot be removed. Each JMR Voce Grande speaker is placed inside a large cardboard box and is securely held in place and protected by sheets of polystyrene. They are also wrapped in a synthetic fabric to prevent damage during handling.
Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande: presentation
Continuing a long line of exceptional speakers, the JMR Voce Grande features a double cabinet that subtly combines wood and metal. The first cabinet is made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF), visible on the front, rear and bottom of the speaker. The front and side panels of the JMR Voce Grande are covered with a second cabinet made of aluminum. It is attached to the speaker using a specific polymer and a polyurethane glue that remains somewhat elastic after drying, which helps to control the cabinet’s vibrations. Moreover, using cabinets made of materials with different densities allows the Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande loudspeaker to reduce vibrational energy transmission, in addition to giving it a very elegant design.
At 39cm deep, 28cm wide and 46cm high, the JMR Voce Grande speaker’s cabinet is ideally proportioned to allow the drivers to express themselves freely. As with the Jubilé speakers, the rear horizontal and front vertical edges are rounded to minimize cabinet edge diffraction.
The Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande speaker features a bass-reflex enclosure that uses a proprietary system. This system consists of no less than 4 progressively damped cavities which lead to a frontal laminar port. This enclosure does not use any absorbent material, only certain panels are coated with viscoelastic material or bitumen. This unique loading principle ensures that the airflow is uniform and smooth, guaranteeing perfectly articulated lows. In addition, the frontal port allows the speaker to be placed closer to a rear wall, making it easier to position in the room.
On the front panel, part of the Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande speaker’s aluminum cabinet is cut out to reveal the drivers, the latter being mounted on the wooden cabinet. Paying particular attention to the smallest details, JMR has covered the wooden cabinet with an elegant black fabric around the drivers.
The lows and mids are reproduced by a large 7” driver. Its cone consists of seven layers of carbon and PEEK (Polyether ether ketone), one of the most efficient thermoplastic polymers on the market. This design provides the ideal combination of lightness and high rigidity for excellent mechanical resistance. The cone is driven by a motor with a double slow-moving ferrite magnet. This structure provides very linear excursion and also benefits from a very high power handling. As we previously encountered with the JMR Bliss Jubilee speaker, the Voce Grande’s midbass driver is mounted onto the back of the enclosure. This procedure greatly improves the driver’s impulse response.
To reproduce the highs, the JMR Voce Grande compact speaker uses an AST (Aero Striction Tweeter) driver. Frequently yet wrongly likened to ribbon tweeters, AST drivers have a significantly different design and way of working. While the diaphragm of a ribbon tweeter is perfectly flat, that of an AST driver has multiple folds along its entire length to increase the contact area with the air it moves. Consequently, while a conventional ribbon tweeter expels air frontally, the AST driver in the JMR Voce Grande speaker pinches the air in between its folds, resulting in more responsive high frequencies.
The Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande speaker’s AST diaphragm is made from a pleated silicone support coated with extremely lightweight aerospace-grade lamination. A conductive film resembling a Greek key pattern runs through the diaphragm, which is surrounded by two magnetized neodymium bars that exert a powerful magnetic field. This isn’t the first time that the French manufacturer has used an AST driver, as its high-end compact and floorstanding speakers are all equipped with this type of driver. However, the AST tweeter used in the Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande speaker is 5” long, making it twice as big as the one used by the JMR Abscisse Jubilé and JMR Orfeo Jubilé speakers. It also has the particularity of being able to go quite low, as it is cut off at 1.2kHz, but also all the way up to 30kHz. As a result, it is capable of reproducing a frequency range that covers the entire midrange and high frequency range, therefore eliminating the need for filtering with these frequencies to which the human ear is particularly sensitive. It is also perfectly adapted for reproducing Hi-Res music.
Stand and filters
One of the Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande’s distinctive features is that it is permanently attached to its stand. The manufacturer previously implemented this design on the JMR Offrande Suprême speaker. This 635mm-tall stand cannot be removed as it houses the passive filter system.
The JMR Voce Grande speaker’s filter features high-quality components that are carefully sorted and paired with a tolerance of 1% before being soldered together. Among these components are capacitors with silver and copper electrodes, air-core self-inductance coils made of wide, pure deoxygenated copper strips, and special coiled resistors covered with a copper tube that acts as a heat sink and Faraday cage. The latter are grounded. Lastly, this filter is assembled entirely by hand and is mounted on an anti-vibration base and is installed away from electromagnetic fields to avoid any interference in the audio signal.
The Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande speaker’s stand is made of 2cm-thick medium-density fiberboard (MDF). The edges of the stand’s MDF base are covered with aluminum. In addition, the cabinet of the JMR Voce Grande speaker is decoupled from the base, allowing the French manufacturer to use Teflon pads instead of decoupling spikes. However, the height of these Teflon feet cannot be adjusted and therefore cannot compensate for any unevenness in the floor.
The stands of the Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande speakers also house the speaker terminals. These high-quality speaker terminals are compatible with thick gauge cables, banana plugs and spade connectors. They are connected to the passive filter using Jean-Marie Reynaud HP1132 speaker wire, the diameter of which is doubled. The same wire is used to connect the filter to the drivers. Lastly, a third connector positioned above the speaker terminals allows you to ground the JMR Voce Grande’s filter. To do so, simply connect the dedicated terminal on each speaker to the ground of a mains socket. When this system was connected, we noticed that the soundstage was slightly wider and more spacious.
Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande: listening conditions
For our review, we connected the Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande speakers to a Rega Aethos amplifier, a transistor model delivering 2 x 125 watts into 8 ohms over a very wide bandwidth, using Jean-Marie Reynaud HP1132 speaker cables. Afterwards, we paired them with the McIntosh MA252 hybrid amplifier, which delivers 2 x 100 watts into 8 ohms. For our source we used the Zappiti One SE 4K HDR network media player, which we connected using Viard Audio Premium HD RCA cables. We used the network media player to play 24-bit/192kHz FLAC files shared over the local network and Pure Audio Blu-rays. We also used a Hi-Res compatible network player to stream music from Spotify and Qobuz. The latter was connected with Audioquest Yukon RCA cables.
Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande: listening impressions
We began our Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande listening session with Stan Getz and Luiz Bonfa’s album Jazz Samba Encore. With each track, the JMR Voce Grandes never ceased to impress us. The overall balance was flawless, regardless of the music’s complexity and various frequencies. Dynamic shifts, note decay, complex chords… everything was perfectly handled. The acoustic image was vibrant and full of details and nuance. The saxophone was at the center of the soundstage, offering intensity, naturalness and warmth.
We continued our review of the Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande speakers with Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon. This album’s omnipresent stereo effect was beautifully reproduced. On the track “Money”, the falling coins and cash register seemed to materialize before us. These characteristics were also displayed with the various instruments on the album. The guitar was flawlessly reproduced and unfolded freely. The Jean-Marie Reynaud speaker handled even the most distorted chords perfectly. David Gilmour’s voice was well centered and very natural. The lows were dynamic, fast and deep. In this frequency range, the JMR Voce Grande speakers can easily compete with small floorstanding models. They really did this album justice.
We then ended our listening session with a completely different genre by listening to Davis Watkin’s cello interpretations of Johann Sebastian Bach (Cello Suites album). On these iconic pieces, the JMR Voce Grande speakers impressed us with their ability to restitute the acoustics of the recording room. We really felt as if we were in the auditorium and that the artist was in front of us. The cello had room to breathe, the notes were spacious and incredibly clear across all frequencies.
Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande: compared to…
Focal Sopra N°1: sold for €7500 a pair, the Focal Sopra N°1 provides a harmonious, energetic and dynamic soundstage as well as excellently layered sound levels. The JMR Voce Grande speakers do even better, with a broader and more spacious soundstage. The lows are deeper, the highs more detailed and smooth, and the overall sound more lively.
Sonus Faber Electra Amator III: sold for €8500 per pair, this Sonus Faber compact speaker is a 2-way model equipped with a 1” fabric dome tweeter and a 7½” cellulose cone midbass driver. The Sonus Faber Electra Amator III speaker provides a balanced and natural sound. However, the JMR Voce Grande speaker offers a wider soundstage and clearer highs. Despite this, the Electra Amator III has the edge regarding compactness and easy placement. Its cabinet is smaller and it isn’t permanently mounted on a stand, which means it can be placed on a piece of furniture.
Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande: conclusion
Elegant and undeniably musical, the Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande speaker fully upholds the traditions of the iconic French brand. Comfortable with all musical styles, it displays softness, but also energy and authority when the music needs it. The soundstage unfolds with unparalleled ease and magnitude, allowing instruments to be perfectly positioned. Each frequency range is reproduced with precision and realism. The lows are deep, dynamic and full. While many compact speakers need to be paired with a subwoofer to balance the sound, this is in no way the case with the JMR Voce Grandes. Lastly, the overall image is always rich, textured and full of vitality. These qualities make the Jean-Marie Reynaud Voce Grande one of the best compact speakers we’ve had the opportunity to listen to.
To power the JMR Voce Grande speakers, we recommend using a vacuum-tube or hybrid model such as the McIntosh MA252 and McIntosh MA352 to enjoy a warm and soft sound, suited to jazz, folk and acoustic recordings. Transistor amplifiers like the Rega Aethos and Hegel H190 are also ideal for enjoying all the JMR Voce Grande speaker’s dynamics.
What we liked:
- The design
- The tonal balance
- The accuracy of the timbres
- The spatialization of the soundstage
- The dynamism
- The depth of the lows
- The clear and realistic vocals
What we would have liked:
- Adjustable decoupling spike to compensate for uneven floors