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Floorstanding speakers

Price: 16 500 zł (para)

Distributor: Moje Audio

Powstańców Śląskich 118, 53-333 Wrocław

tel/fax: (71) 336 52 67
tel. kom.: 606 276 001, 790 425 142



Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Krzysztof Kalinkowski

This is one of the most peculiar construction, that you can currently find in an audio salon. But this is not just another “freak”, consisting of elements without any thought or vision behind it, but truly beautiful, and even better made loudspeaker. Their creator, the Dane Paul Schenkel, made something, that gave him absolute satisfaction, and he stated, that until he will not come up with something better, he will sell only this one model – Rithm. This is an extraordinary move, especially in our times, where a worked out line of loudspeakers, a wide area of available solutions is a must. But Paul claims, that he achieved something, that cannot be modified (at least now) – you have either to take it as it is or reject it.

While being a relative young company, this strategy seems to be working fine. The history of Davone started in 1999, when its owner lived in Sydney, Australia. This is the time, when he came up with the specific shape for his speakers. But only in 2005, in Denmark, the prototype of the model Rithm was shown. And in a special place! It happened on a furniture show in Copenhagen, where it was displayed in a section for new ideas. This gave such a strong impulse, that one year later, the company was registered. At the same year, a working prototype was presented at the Copenhagen audio show. In 2007 the first production series appears, also on the show, and another year later it debuts in the Las Vegas CES. The same year, the loudspeakers become awarded by the Japanese “Stereo” and the American “Mean’s Health Living”. This is not a coincidence – the Davone loudspeakers appeal both senses equally – the hearing and vision.


Discs used for the test:

  • Pink Floyd, Dark Side of The Moon, 30th Anniversary Edition, EMI, 5821362, SACD/CD.
  • Ame Domnérius, Antiphone Blues, Proprius/Lasting Impression Music, LIM K2HD 026, K2HD; recenzja here.
  • Kenny Burrell, Soul Call, Prestige/JVC, JVCXR-0210-2, XRCD2.
  • Chris Connor, Free Spirits, Atlantic, Warner Music Japan, WPCR-25171, CD.
  • Kazumi Watanabe, Jazz Impressions, Ewe Records, EWSA 0163, SACD/CD.
  • Peter Gabriel, IV, Virgin/EMI Music Japan, VJCP-68848, CD.
  • Jimmy Giuffre, Western Suite, Atlantic, Warner Music Japan, WPCR-25160, CD.
  • Muse, The Resistance, Warner Music Japan, WPZR-30355-6, CD+DVD.

Those are no “audiophile” loudspeakers, in the sense, that we don’t hear any competition with anything in their sound, or any urge of reproducing all elements of the sound, usually described by the reviewers. But you do not need much time to see more, than just a not so typical shape – something, that makes the loudspeakers a “cult” object in Japan (and not only in Japan). The Japanese are known for their specific taste, for their ability to search for, and find, “contrivances”, and Davone is something like that. But they are also know for building absolute top end amplifiers, CD and SACD players and cables, and CD and LP re-editions leave others… buried. And all this can’t be done if you have a distorted view of reality – and this is a label put on those, who search for something else than widely accepted throughout the world. This might be the reason, why Rithm is the master of musicality (regardless of the way we define it) and musical truth for many of the music lovers from Japan. And I am talking about music lovers on purpose, because the Japanese, differently to the people from the West, listen to music first, and to the audio gear later. And maybe this makes them be in the audio world in the place they are. And one of the most interesting characteristics, found in their choices, is the ability to turn a blind eye to the imperfections, or lesser parts of a given product, when it fulfills the basic requirement of audio equipment – when it is communicative. I mean, when it makes the communication between the artist and the listener, the absolutely basic thing in every artistic happening. I want also to direct your attention to – absolutely not accidentally – the relationship between this “communication” with “communion”. The relationship is formative, but it carries a deeper meaning. The latter, if we can extract it from its Christian meaning for a while – means just a community, first between God and people, and later between people themselves. So we can understand communion as a unity, something we deal with often on religious grounds, but also during listening to music. And in that latter case, the unity is between the musical transmission and us, the listeners. And this is how I understand communication the Japanese way.

And please do not treat this introduction, as a way to – more or less successful – throw dust in your eyes, and cover up the flaws of this design, I am far from that. But I do not want, that during our analysis, we would lose the most important thing, the Rithm have - that they play MUSIC fantastically. Like I mentioned, those are not “even”, because they do not try represent each aspect of the sound as good as it is only possible, taking into account the given budget, preferences, accompanying equipment, etc. So we can say, that their lower bass is rather weak, and the lowest is not there at all. In that aspect, the loudspeakers sound just like bookshelf speakers, and rather small ones too. I think, that we can get more attractive bass from loudspeakers like ProAc Response D1 or Spendor SP1. And while in those two bookshelves the “attractiveness” relayed upon slight boost of the upper bass, here, while the frequency response is comparable, the sound is much clearer, the response curve falls off much less steep. This is also one of the elements, that determine the way we perceive the Rithm. Although those are bas-reflex speakers, it is hard to notice that, as there is no boost anywhere, or the characteristic whirr of air in the port. The only sign, that would have us think, it is not a closed cabinet, is on the lowest frequencies, where there is no mass, but only a hint, that there might be something more, than we think there is.

This seamless transition between the speaker and port is important, because the transition between the mid-woofer and tweeter is equally well done. This is helped by its construction, but this is only a starting point to that, what needs to be done in the cross-over. And in the Davone speakers this two-way system performs as a single unit. I mean it sounds better than one driver, it has a much flatter frequency response, and reaches far higher on the scale. This could be heard well first with the Dark Side of The Moon Pink Floyd, then with Antiphone Blues Ame Domnérius. The first disc – you know that I am talking about the clocks in the piece Time. Their sound was incredibly refined and true. Because they had a true weight, those were no sheet metal hits, but something, what generates a big amount of harmonics. The Rithm reproduced that with incredible smoothness and engagement. There was depth, saturation and power. And with the other disc, the aspects splendid with Pink Floyd became even better. You know in what environment the Dark Side… was created, and that – actually – this is not an ultra-pure, tonally neutral and dynamic recording. It is still surprising, but there are better recordings. And the Domnérius sax with the Sjökvist organ is one of them. The big space of the church and outstanding recording quality make us believe, that we are there with the musicians. The Davone do not reach far down, so the interior was not as big as with the Dobermann, or the Hansen Audio Price, but the instruments were reproduced very well – buried in reverb, but at the same time palpable and strong.

The Rithm have an incredible ease of catching attention. Just after Pink Floyd I listened to the full disc – and this is not so common during a test – of the Peter Gabriel disc IV (also known as Security). This is a recording very difficult to reproduce, recorded digitally in the dawn of that technology, when the A/D converters were fairly primitive, and the signal was recorded and processed in the 16/44.1 format. But sometimes, in appropriate environment, we can feel the genius of the recording engineer, who managed to catch an incredible amount of information, while working within those technological boundaries. And the Rithm show that very well – the sound was vivid, there was not a trace of mechanical sound, the emission was multidimensional and it had a very nice timbre. Vividness is another thing, that calls attention. Regardless of the recording, the disc, the accompanying system, etc, this will always be an element, which will call our attention. This is like weaving a thick, soft carpet, which has a clear motive. But the Rithm are absolutely not kings of dynamics. Rhythm – yes, absolutely! But dynamics – not. The instruments shown by them have a slightly lower volume, because the whole is slightly sedated, the jumps are homogenized. This was audible well with Pink Floyd, but it was also clear with the newest (just arrived from Japan, CD Japan, I recommend the CD+DVD, in LP replica cover!) disc Muse The Resistance. This is not annoying, and even less tiring, but this is an aspect, where bigger loudspeakers are better. Interesting and informative was listening to older recordings like Free Spirit Chris Connor and Western Suite Jimmy Giufree. The music from those two discs just exploded from the loudspeakers! The fantastic timbre and vividness became visible once again, and those discs just enabled that. There was depth and breath, there was also no “box” around the performers. After longer listening I could confirm, that what I heard with rock, but it was no “condemnation”, but just stating the fact – understanding it calmly. This is just how those speakers are…

I did not mention midrange until now. On purpose. I would not like to have the Rithm classified through it, because it would be so easy to place them in a box labeled “loudspeakers for vocals”, as this would not be true. And I noticed already with Pink Floyd and Muse, how easy that could happen. But it was Connor, who dotted the “i” – her voice was beautiful in its presence, palpability and a kind of completeness. Here the strong points of coaxial speakers came to shine. Everything had coherence we usually perceive only from single wide range drivers, or expensive multi-way systems. I confirmed that listening to jazz guitars – from the newest disc of Kazumi Watanabe Jazz Impression and older recordings, from Soul Call Kenny Burrell. It was splendid! While the ability to differentiate dynamics, details is not so special, it is not the priority here, but the ability to reproduce the spirit of the music, differentiation of intentions and techniques of the musicians was fantastic. Finalizing the test, I need to discuss, how the Davone show the sound stage. Their construction translates directly in the way we perceive it. On one hand, the stage is incredibly coherent, fluent, all sounds in counter-phase were shown splendidly – without straining and hardening. On the other hand, the stage is lower than usual, it is not worked out to the top, even with recordings like the mentioned Antiphone Blues. There is not a trace of disorder, fogging, etc, but we also do not have insight in how the recording room looked like. For the loudspeakers it was most important to show, what is happening with the instrument, and not how it interacts with the surrounding. So we need to think that over.

The Davone Rithm have a unique ability of enchanting the listener. They do not strain anything, but rather softly and with some hesitation. Those are splendid “communicators”, showing what the artist meant. But they will not show exactly that, what is “on the disc”. They do not have lowest bass. They are not especially dynamic. But when we combine them with a tasty amplifier, like Musica int1000s (solid state), Heed Obelisk Si (solid state), or Leben CS300XS (tube), and we will be surprised, how many discs we will listen to, and those will include ones, that we thought, they never sounded well. Pairing them with the Leben can be interesting, because the amplifier has a built in switch increasing the amount of the bass (+3/+5 dB). Did I tell you, that the Japanese prefer truth to fidelity – musical truth? If not, then it would be enough to listen to this combination, to know, that they never do anything just for doing it – this switch, never used by me before, turned out to be the bull’s-eye! It was just waiting for the Davone. The loudspeakers do not require it, it is not a must, but when such an opportunity exists, why not use it? Finally it is all about music. And with the Rithm we have plenty of it around.


Davone Rithm are two-way, floor standing loudspeakers in a bass-refex enclosure. But their construction is different to that, what we see on the market. The cabinet resembles a boomerang standing on tips of its wings. Their surface is made from plywood, and the side walls from double laminated MDF. The bottom of the first “leg”, with the bass-reflex port, is also made from MDF. The loudspeakers are quite small, but very deep. The drivers are mounted on the oblique front baffle – this is a coaxial system from the Norwegian SEAS, the T 18 RX/XFC V2. It is known, albeit in a different version, from the Finnish Gradient, and the Japanese Bravo!, here it has a polypropylene (and not glass fiber) mid-woofer diaphragm (ϕ 180mm) and a soft, textile tweeter dome (ϕ 25mm), placed exactly in the acoustic center of the first. The spider is very solid, cast, and the large magnet has a magnetic shield. This shield has also a second function – it serves as a chamber for the tweeter. The internal wires are the In-Akustik Bingo. The connection with the driver is soldered. The cables are pretty short – they run from the back plate behind the speaker, where the cross-over was placed. It is full of celebrities: splendid, air coils from Mundorf, equally good, polypropylene capacitors from the same company, and in the high frequency section their oil capacitor with silver plates. Also the resistors are good. This is not a simple cross-over circuit, it should be 1st order, but there is some kind of impedance correction employed – the nominal impedance of the Rithm is 8Ω. The signal to the cross-over comes from a single, splendid WBT loudspeaker terminals, placed on a rigid, aluminum plate. Inside the enclosures are covered with loose artificial wool – placed only on the plywood. The sides are not damped. The loudspeakers are supported by four spikes, and we should care for good spike supports – I used the Harmonix RF-909X mk2. We can also place a grille on the speaker. However the spikes cannot be mounted in a way, they are perfectly still – I think, that this element should be improved. Except for this one thing, the loudspeakers are perfectly crafted, and look just beautifully. Just form and function hand in hand…

Technical data (according to manufacturer):
Frequency response: 50-20 000Hz
Impedance: 8Ω
Effectiveness: 85dB/2.83V/m
Maximum power: 80W
Dimensions (SxWxG): 214x699x579mm

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  • CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Prime (tested HERE)
  • Phono preamp: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC (tested HERE)
  • Preamp: Leben RS-28CX (tested HERE; soon to be changed to Polaris II, tested HERE)
  • Power amp: Luxman M-800A (tested HERE)
  • Integrated amp: Leben CS300 (reviewed HERE)
  • Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann (tested HERE)
  • headphones: AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, 600 Ω version (reviewed HERE, HERE, and HERE)
  • interconnects: CD-preamp: Wireworld Gold Eclipse 52 (tested HERE; soon to be changed to Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, article HERE), preamp-power amp: Velum NF-G SE (tested HERE)
  • speaker cable: Velum LS-G (tested HERE)
  • power cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9100 (CD; reviewed HERE) and 2 x Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC7100 (preamp, power amp (reviewed HERE)
  • power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip (reviewed HERE)
  • audio stand Base
  • resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD (article HERE ) Turntables change continuously, as do cartridges. My dream setup: SME 30 with Series V tone-arm and Air Tight PC-1 cartridge (also in the PC-1 Mono version).