The addition of a rear-firing midrange unit in a loudspeaker that stands a little over 123cm tall means this is a loudspeaker for medium-large to large listening room, with the R8 and R11 best used for ‘very large’ rooms and ‘aircraft hangers’ respectively. However, the narrow front baffle and the relatively small overall footprint means that – unlike many high-end loudspeakers capable of delivering the same level of result, the R6 Arreté doesn’t dominate the room. In fact, it’s surprisingly room friendly. Granted it needs air to the side and rear of the design, and demands careful installation that might not sit comfortably in decor-intensive living rooms, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the sort of product design that looks like brutalist Cold War architecture, or the kind of furniture that gets turned away from Antiques Roadshow. Better yet, Audiovector has not only resisted the temptation to ‘go big’ but it’s also avoided the pitfall of ‘... or go Bling!’ The understated elegance of the product is free from glitz, gold flashes and acres of chrome. Yes, if you choose one of the wood finishes, the veneer is deep (and if you don’t the gloss black or white is more like a piano and less like an Ikea bookshelf). The one thing that might catch out the unwary is there are two not quite contrasting inlays along the side panels; they are easy to miss at first, and then easy to see as someone scraped the side of your beloved new loudspeaker; closer investigation shows this to be a feature and it actually breaks up the metre and a quarter of tree quite well.
The R6 Arreté is the kind of crossover point between conventional audio and high-end aspirations. By that, I mean where some of the smaller models are less system dependent and relatively unconcerned about positioning, the R6 Arreté demands and deserves more care and attention. In electronics terms, this is mostly more about ‘quality’ than ‘quantity’, although I think a good jumping off point is at least 100W of good solid-state audio (just because the Ethos is on my mind, Gryphon’s Diablo 120 integrated amplifier is a fine choice, despite the fact the price differential makes this something of a ‘mullet’ system).
As to positioning, the rear-firing midrange needs some breathing space, and it requires some precision in rear-baffle to rear-wall line-up to ensure the rear reflection is precise. This makes the difference between a stereo soundstage that is good, and one that is remarkably holographic. That aside, you should ensure the loudspeakers are at the same height as one another, with slight toe-in (and in slightly smaller spaces, a small amount of tilt, raising the rear by a few degrees) and at least a metre from the side walls. The AMT tweeter is quite tightly focused (both in height and width), so it’s worth making sure the loudspeaker is at ear height and ensure there is good side wall reflection control in room, if possible. However, the R6 Arreté does have that Audiovector property of never sounding bad no matter how slapdash the installation, but when you are working with a loudspeaker with this much scope, spend time making it move from ‘good’ to ‘blimey!’