Aretai Contra 100S. Monitor Horn loaded Beloved by Reviewers Worldwide
Now at True Audiophile
The Aretai horn loaded monitors speakers are stunning. That is an adjective used worldwide by reviewers. These special speakers go down lower than many petite floor standing speakers. Extremely unique and rare in a world of pretenders. Red Dot winner for Industrial Design so they look as good as they sound. An eyeful as well as an ear full : True Audiophile mini review
A highly detailed and revealing soundstage with a surprisingly low yet impactful bass character that's entirely unique in this size category.
Part Time Audiophile 2023 Concludes:
This is starting to happen on a yearly basis – I see a monitor from a small, previously unknown company, I predict it’s something I will really like, and I find out my intuition is the real deal when they finally arrive for a review. ... this year it’s the Aretai Contra 100s.
The Contra is the perfect small monitor for those with fairly small rooms who still want an extra helping of fire and visceral joy in their musical delivery system. A compact 2.5 way speaker that can hit 30 Hz with some ease? Count me in. Despite the fact that the Aretais might have been the ideal loudspeaker back when I was in an apartment, offering the best of both worlds, I have to admit that they performed well in my new, much larger room, and they quit sounding like a bookshelf speaker once the Chocolate Chip Trip train left the station.
Are you ready to take a chance with a new brand of loudspeakers from halfway around the world? That’s your business, of course. But I can also tell the difference between a new company that seems to be on shaky ground, and a mature endeavor such as Aretai that offers a confident vision that will last well into the future. Highly recommended.
AudioKey Axpona 2023 writes:
The stream was Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” and the system with the Contra 100S playing back the music, provided fine, well detailed, and articulate treble information on Joe Morello’s Hi-Hats, that actually topped a number of much more expensive speakers and this in and of itself was quite amazing. The petite Contra 100S speakers were also very dynamic, coherent, and fun! I definitely look forward to a review of the Contra 100S and the ARETAI speaker line
HiFi+ Magazine Issue 206 writes
"Comparing the Aretai with an admittedly more affordable pair of speakers was a bit like contrasting an oil painting with a cartoon." -- Jason Kennedy
Part Time Audiophile 2023 writes
If I haven’t made myself clear yet, I do like this little monitor from Latvia, the Aretai Contra 100S ($9,000/pr USD). I’ve heard them several times now, starting with Munich last May, and I think they’ve been at every show since then. Janis Irbe of Aretai is focused on getting proper distribution in the United States for his line of speakers, and ten years ago I would have told him, “I’ll do it!” They’re my kind of two-way monitor.
The Aretai had to sacrifice some of the inherently investigative full-range aroma and say nay to low power amps to nail that task, but it was a fair trade. Its compact brilliantly executed dress code and gearing for sonic elegance as much as readiness to rock hard make it a highly accomplished fully domesticated widebander type for the masses. It truly does far more than its small footprint suggests and I’ve found it as unique as the sound|kaos, just for different reasons. The price below accurately reflects all that. My tip of the hat to Jānis and Edgars for landing such a stunner!
June 2023 Update:
Many speaker sets with strong well-developed bass as the foundational driving force are often perceived as anchored earthy texturally ripe types. Aretai Contra 100S groomed for highly atmospheric meaty sound fits that profile to a tee. The thing is, such voicing also means lesser emphasis on radiance, luminosity and air, while my stationary sound|kaos Vox 3afw monitors reverse this order. One exposed trait group means lesser bias elsewhere and that’s just the way it is. Anyway, Jānis utmost happy about the outcome of the above story (originally published in late 2022) was particularly fond of how it encapsulates what their most compact performer does and why. Shortly after going live with this review, the Aretai loaner was returned to the manufacturer.
Fast forward to late May 2023 and Munich’s High End event, where Aretai teamed up with Moonriver Audio, Pachanko Labs, ViaBlue and Takumi. Their rather small room located on the ground floor of the M.O.C. center accommodated three Contra models; 100S monitors plus 200F and 350F floorstanders. Jānis was on duty when I stopped by. He encouraged me to take a seat and have a listen, so I did also interested in learning how his Contra 100S performed there. It didn’t take long to register spatially more liberated, illuminated, outlined and all in all quicker sunnier sound, albeit as brimming with the well-pronounced full-range aroma, thunderous and sorted on bass as I’ve remembered it. This meta shift in comparison to the experience from my listening space several months back was very clear, so I had to ask. Jānis only smiled and explained that the feedback from the review above got him inspired to alter Aretai Contra 100S and make it even better. It took a while to rework its crossover, but the change that followed turned the already very good product into a noticeably more accomplished version of itself. That’s the gist. Aretai will rework its unmodified versions free of charge, so if you happen to own one, please drop these Latvians a mail. More importantly, I applaud Jānis for being this open-minded, upfront and forward-thinking. In this business it truly takes balls to have such a mindset. It’s as appreciated as it is rare.
Stereophile states :
The Aretai 100S stand-mounts ($7500/pair) look cool and sleek in their matte-black enclosures but are apparently filled with serious science from decades of studying published AES papers and their own R&D. The 100S 2.5-way's sealed box is made of MDF and "a special sandwiched plywood," Irbe told me.
In dramatic white, the horn-loaded tweeter atop the enclosure stands out. Encased in its CNC-milled housing with its own waveguide is a doped-silk ring radiator. Janis explained that this keeps the center fixed to maintain correct phase. The waveguide widens the sweet spot in width and height (above and below)—so your pets can also enjoy the music, Zvirgzdiņš told me with a grin. A pair of 6" woofers, one on front, the other offset on back, pumped out pretty impressive bass. Their diaphragms are made of polypropylene. A unique filter design and bipole radiation pattern also help extend the low end-reportedly down to 30Hz. I heard plenty of punch and energy from those small speakers, too.In dramatic white, the horn-loaded tweeter atop the enclosure stands out. Encased in its CNC-milled housing with its own waveguide is a doped-silk ring radiator. Janis explained that this keeps the center fixed to maintain correct phase. The waveguide widens the sweet spot in width and height (above and below)—so your pets can also enjoy the music, Zvirgzdiņš told me with a grin. A pair of 6" woofers, one on front, the other offset on back, pumped out pretty impressive bass. Their diaphragms are made of polypropylene. A unique filter design and bipole radiation pattern also help extend the low end-reportedly down to 30Hz. I heard plenty of punch and energy from those small speakers, too.
We have been following this young Latvian loudspeaker brand since we first heard their speakers at the HiFi Deluxe show in Munich in 2019. Since then, they have gained Red Dot design awards for their speakers and, although the pandemic caused a global break in the HiFi Show calendar, Aretai have maintained their momentum and showed their standmount speakers at AXPONA 2022
The Aretai Contra 100S is the perfect speaker if you are serious about clarity and convincing soundstage experience despite its small size.
All speakers in the Aretai Contra collection — the 350F and 200F floorstanders, and the 100S standmounts emphasize very low distortion. This results in exceptional clarity made possible utilizing advanced contemporary drivers and tight tolerance crossover design. In addition to that Contra collection speakers feature qualites rarely found combined in one speaker. These include a high efficiency, lower than typical bass extension, balanced room interaction, wide soundstage and amplifier-friendly impedance.
A Precision Full-range Performer
Designed for smaller and medium-sized rooms, the compact Contra 100S are quite unusual speakers, allowing you to “see” each instrument located right where the recording engineer intended it to be.
The unique and innovative filter design, bi-pole radiation pattern and the closed type enclosure enables Contra 100S two 6” drivers to deliver a surprisingly deep and well-textured bass combined with a coherent midbass and treble balance.
The bass response of this 2.5-way speaker extends down to 30Hz. To eliminate shifted phase summation typical for ported systems of similar size we deliberately designed a sealed enclosure to keep the bass perfectly tight.
Our custom-designed waveguide delivers a soundstage of impressive depth and width. The neodymium tweeter delivers pristine, undistorted clarity up to 25kHz even at higher volume levels.
To give your experience that extra edge, our bi-amping terminal option allows you to use two amplifiers for separate HF/LF amplification paths.
Finishes & OptionsStandard:
Black semi-matt enclosure with
Painted glossy (polished) finish
Veneered semi-matt finish
Veneered glossy (polished) finish
Bespoke custom finish
Closed passive 2.5-way passive stand / desktop speaker
Frequency range, Hz: 32 –30 000
Nominal power, Watts: 100
Sensitivity, dB/1m/2.83V: 85
Nominal impedance, Ohms: 4
Dimensions, cm: H40/W21/D25
Net weight single speaker, kg: 15
24 carat gold plated speaker terminals
Vibration decoupling pad
Optional Bi-wiring /Bi-amping connectors (2 terminal pairs)
Warranty (parts & labour): 3 Years
Optional: 2 Years warranty extension