Mis à jour le 10 March 2023.
The first connected speaker from the French hi-fi specialist, the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé combines a luxurious design with comprehensive and modern connectivity. It allows AirPlay and Bluetooth streaming, DLNA music playback up to 2-bit/192kHz, as well as access to web radios and streaming services like Deezer, Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music and Qobuz. The wide range of connectors includes a 3.5mm mini-jack input, an optical input and a USB-B port to connect a computer. The band’s heritage is visible in the sophisticated acoustic design that uses five drivers in a 3-way configuration and an amplification of 255W. These elements should make all the difference and qualify the JMR Agape connected speaker as a real hi-fi model.
Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé: packaging & accessories
The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé connected speaker comes in a large cardboard box inside of which it is securely held in place by polystyrene blocks. It is also protected by a synthetic fabric cover. It comes with a mains adapter, a user manual and two antennas: one for the WiFi connection and the second for Bluetooth. However, there isn’t a remote control. The speaker can only be controlled using the buttons, mobile app or web interface.
Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé: presentation
At 48cm long, 23cm high and 28cm deep, the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé is one of the largest connected speakers on the market. Its rectangular shape and straight lines make it look like a center speaker, notably the Jean-Marie Reynaud Atlas and Agora. This large size allows the manufacturer to increase the load volume to ensure excellent bass reproduction. Despite its size, the JMR Agapé manages to blend into the decor once placed on a piece of furniture thanks to its real wood finish, identical to that of the brand’s passive models.
The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé’s cabinet is worthy of that of the best hi-fi speakers. It is 19mm thick and made of MDF to reduce resonance and vibrations. The speaker’s ABS damping feet also help effectively reduce unwanted vibrations. The JMR Agapé’s cabinet features a bass-reflex enclosure with a front-firing laminar port for the woofer. The internal structure consists of six separate cavities and a specific space dedicated to the tweeters so that each driver can work in optimal conditions. The electronics are also placed in their own chamber to isolate them from the drivers and avoid any electromagnetic disturbance.
The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker comes in two different colors with either a satin black finish or an oak veneer. Depending on the finish, the speaker comes with a heather gray or black acoustic fabric grille. A design that is usually seen on hi-fi speakers. This grille has a magnetic fixing system that allows it to be easily removed to reveal the various drivers. This is pretty rare for a connected speaker! The use of a magnetic system reinforces the finesse of this French speaker’s build quality by eliminating any notches from the front panel. The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker is therefore just as pleasant to look at without this cover. Moreover, black felt (a characteristic of the French manufacturer’s speakers) has been used around the midrange drivers and tweeters. It reinforces the elegance of the Agapé while recalling its origins. It also reduces the baffle effect.
In both finishes, the upper panel of the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker is black. The latter features a button control panel that allows you to turn the speaker on, start playback, adjust the volume and change tracks (next or previous). There is also a source selection button. An LED then indicates the current source (white for WiFi, white/green for Spotify Connect, blue for Bluetooth, green for the mini-jack input, green/blue for the optical input and red for the USB input). Lastly, it is possible to select various presets by pressing and holding the Next button for 1.5 seconds. These presets adapt the speaker’s reproduction depending on its placement in the room. Similarly, the user can activate the D-Bass feature for a reproduction with richer infrabass by pressing and holding the Source button for 1.5 seconds. The PREV button lets you return to the default settings.
The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker’s interface features all of the essential controls. However, the buttons are more or less sensitive and are quite noisy. The quality and robustness don’t seem as good as the rest of the speaker. It isn’t a huge problem seeing as the JMR Agapé is meant to be controlled remotely using a smartphone, tablet or computer.
As a high-end passive speaker specialist, the French manufacturer has naturally designed the JMR Agapé speaker like a genuine hi-fi model. It is equipped with five drivers in a 3-way layout. At the center of the front panel is a 5.5” woofer that is identical to the model found on the Jean-Marie Reynaud Abscisse Jubilé floorstanding speakers. The woofer has a sandwich cone made of pressed carbon and liquid crystal fibers. It is paired with a 38mm voice coil with a vented aluminum support to ensure distortion-free excursion and great power handling. The rubber and foam long-throw surround contributes to the reproduction of deep, responsive lows. Lastly, the bass-reflex enclosure with its front-firing liminar port ensures a particularly low tuning frequency and eliminates delay.
To reproduce stereo effects, the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé connected speaker features a mid/high group on either side of the woofer. Each midrange driver has a 4” paper fiber cone. Their 25mm voice coil and aluminum support is powered by a double ferrite magnet to maximize the magnetic field. Lastly, the tweeters are 1” synthetic silk fabric dome models. They are coupled to neodymium magnets and have a sealed rear chamber to avoid any interference with the other drivers. The eccentric position of these tweeters coupled with their large diameter allows the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé to produce a wide soundstage, for a better stereo perception.
To power these drivers, the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker is equipped with three class D amplifiers: two 65-watt modules for the mids and highs and a third 125-watt module for the woofer. This system allows the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé connected speaker to cumulate a very comfortable output of 255 watts. Thanks to the use of class D modules, this power is instantly available, guaranteeing a dynamic and energetic reproduction. At the output of the amplifiers, the JMR Agapé speaker uses a hybrid crossover. Consequently, there is a passive crossover between the tweeters and the midrange drivers at 2,800Hz. Like the bookshelf and floorstanding speakers of the French manufacturer, this crossover is entirely assembled by hand using audiophile-quality components. The transition between the midrange/highs and the woofer is done by a digital crossover with DSP at 200Hz to ensure an optimal crossover frequency without intermodulation.
Mainly designed for wireless use, the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker can be easily connected to the network via WiFi or Ethernet. It is then possible to stream music through AirPlay from any Apple device: iPhone, iPod, iPad, Mac or Apple TV. For more options, the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker relies on the 4stream mobile app for iOS and Android. The latter provides access to music shared over the local network from a computer or NAS (DLNA playback). The speaker supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, APE, WAV and FLAC formats up to 24-bit/192kHz. It is also possible to access webradios via iHeartRadio and TuneIn, as well as many streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon Music and Napster, along with music saved on a smartphone or tablet.
The 4stream application also lets you control all of the JMR Agapé speaker’s features and create a multi-room group. It is possible to connect two Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speakers to create a pair of wireless stereo speakers. The app then allows you to select the channel to be assigned to each Agapé (left or right). In this configuration, we would have preferred to have been able to use the Agapé vertically to install it on dedicated feet like a pair of bookshelf speakers. An option that the manufacturer probably chose not to offer in order to maintain perfect phasing. To enjoy music throughout the entire house, it is also possible to associate up to 8 JMR Agapé speakers.
In addition to the many streaming options, the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé connected speaker also features a wide range of connectors. There is a 3.5mm mini-jack auxiliary input to connect a DAP or an analog source such as a pre-amplified turntable. In this case, you can use an RCA to mini-jack cable like the Audioquest Tower mini-jack RCA. The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker also has an optical input to connect a CD player or a CD transport, for example. This input can also be used to connect a television, even though the JMR Agapé speaker is a bit too big to be used as a soundbar, unless the TV is wall-mounted. Lastly, a USB-B port lets you use the Agapé as a DAC with a Windows or Mac computer. The speaker then supports tracks up to 24-bit/192kHz. However, it is a shame that there is no subwoofer output.
Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé: key specifications
- 3-way design
- 5 drivers
- Stereo reproduction
- Total amplifier power of 255W
- AirPlay and Bluetooth
- Streaming services
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 480 x 230 x 280mm
- Weight: 18kg
Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé: configuration
The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé connected speaker is very easy to set up. Once connected to the mains, it can immediately stream music via Bluetooth. To connect it to the Internet for more options, simply go into the WiFi settings of your smartphone and select the “JMR Agape” network. Once connected to the network, simply go into the 4stream app to associate the speaker to the WiFi network, enter its name and indicate the room in which the JMR Agape is located. From then on, the speaker is fully functional.
From the 4stream app, you can access music shared over the local network, webradios and many streaming services. It is also possible to select the source, set an alarm, configure multi-room groups and adjust the bass and treble levels. You can also create up to 10 shortcuts for quick access to your favorite playlists or radios.
The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker can also be controlled and configured from its web interface. The latter can be accessed from any web browser on a smartphone, tablet or computer. To do so, simply enter the speaker’s IP address, which can be found in the 4stream app, into the search bar. The web interface includes source selection, volume control and some webradios. A more advanced equalizer allows you to adjust the midrange, in addition to the bass and treble. You can also adjust the balance, the maximum volume and activate the Deep Bass mode to enjoy even more powerful bass. Finally, you can select one of the four presets provided by the manufacturer to adjust the sound depending on how the speaker is installed:
- Preset 1 “EQ FLAT”: best setting when the speaker is placed on a piece of furniture, not too close to a wall and when the front panel is flush with the edge of the furniture.
- Preset 2 “BASS -2 dB from 200Hz”: best setting when the speaker is placed at the center of a table or on a shelf close to a wall.
- Preset 3 “BASS -4 dB from 200Hz”: best setting when the speaker is flush with the wall.
- Preset 4 “OUTDOOR +3 dB over 2kHz”: as the name suggests, this is the best setting when listening to the speaker outside (a power outlet is still required).
Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé: listening impressions
The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé connected speaker offered a genuine hi-fi experience. It displayed an incredible sense of detail and perfect balance. The Agapé was particularly rich in the mids, delivering voices with remarkable ease and dexterity. On various tracks by London Grammar, the texture of the singer’s voice was delivered with softness and perfect accuracy. It was beautifully articulated and was effectively positioned at the front of the stage. It was always clear and audible, no matter the volume.
The woofer situated in the center of the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker gave rhythm to the sound and contributed to the balance of the soundstage. It had a nice energy and was impactful. Without being abyssal, the lows were of an intensity rarely found with a connected speaker. They were tight, clean and without any delay. At low volume they lacked a little texture, but the activation of the Deep Bass mode remedied this shortcoming.
The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé offered a nice spaciousness for a single speaker. The soundstage was quite extensive and revealed effectively structured frequency ranges. The stereo effect was pronounced. On Pink Floyd’s Money, the sound of the cash register, the coins and the bill counter moved smoothly from one channel to the other. The vocals were embodied with conviction at the center of the soundstage. They were once again very natural and correctly structured. The saxophone benefited from a beautiful clarity which effectively underlined each chord. The percussion instruments that accompanied the track were always audible and clear. We could hear the different intensities of the drumming. The electric guitar was also nicely highlighted and smoothly reproduced.
When sitting close to the Jean-Marie Agapé speaker, we could hear a slight hiss at low volume and during the release of the notes. It wasn’t quite as noticeable further away. Overall, it didn’t bother us that much and it was hidden by the plethora of information delivered by the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker.
Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé: compared to…
Sonus Faber Omnia: released early this year, the €1,799 Sonus Faber Omnia is the JMR Agapé’s biggest rival. It stands out with its luxurious and refined design, with a real wood finish. Slightly smaller, it is easier to install on a desk, in small spaces or on a TV cabinet. An HDMI ARC port allows it to be easily connected to a TV. The Sonus Faber Omnia uses 7 drivers in a 4-way configuration. Thanks to lateral drivers, it can create an even more enveloping sound over almost 180°. However, the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé offers a more pronounced emphasis of voices, allowing each pronunciation to be clearly heard. The midrange is also richer on this French speaker and the highs a bit softer. Finally, the Jean-Marie Renaud Agapé gains in versatility thanks to the support of numerous streaming services, DLNA compatibility, as well as access to web radios. The Sonus Faber Omnia is content with AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Bluetooth streaming only.
Naim Mu-so 2: available for €1,699, the Naim Mu-so 2 speaker is Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth and Roon Ready compatible and can access both Spotify Connect and Tidal. It has a very similar range of connectors, but adds an HDMI ARC input that allows it to be used as a soundbar with a television. Its lower profile also makes it easier to place in front of a TV. The Naim Mu-so 2 has a 3-way design with 6 drivers designed and developed in collaboration with Focal. It offers a more powerful character in the bass, but is less rich and accurate overall. The stereo is also a little more timid than with the Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé.
Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé: who is it for?
The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker is designed for music lovers who want to enjoy the user-friendliness and the many options offered by connected speakers without compromising on sound quality. Balanced, rich in all frequency ranges and offering a nice emphasis on vocals, it accommodates any musical genre and manages to reproduce them all naturally and with a great sense of detail. The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker will also appeal to lovers of beautiful objects thanks to its very elegant real wood finish. However, its rather imposing size means that it will have to be placed on a piece of furniture.
Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé: conclusion
For its first connected speaker, the French manufacturer offers a very efficient and versatile model while maintaining the acoustic DNA and the aesthetics that have characterized its hi-fi speakers for over 50 years. The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé is a gorgeous speaker with a high quality cabinet and a real wood finish usually reserved for the most prestigious passive speakers. One can criticize its rather imposing size, but this characteristic ensures an efficient and natural reproduction of low frequencies. The Jean-Marie Reynaud Agapé speaker offers wonderful musical sensations that honor the previous designs of the brand. The sound is always balanced, natural and detailed. We regret the presence of a slight hiss, audible only at low volume, which can affect the transparency of the message. Last but not least, we can also deplore the absence of a remote control, but the JMR Agape is still very easy to control, especially from the mobile app.
- The luxurious design and wood finish
- The proprietary drivers
- The balanced and natural sound
- The pleasant emphasis of vocals
We would have liked:
- A remote control
- A subwoofer output
- No hiss at low volume