Review: Reimer Wind River GS Speaker

Category: Speakers

I recently took delivery of a pair of Reimer Wind River GS speakers, manufactured to order by Rick Reimer in Wyoming via Neil Solina of Clearsound, NY. Let me firstly say that both Neil and Rick (to whom I spoke at length prior to construction) are consumate professionals and true aficionados of high quality sound. My experience with these people was beyond reproach.
Straight out of the box the speakers themselves are immediately and obviously a labour of love for Rick Reimer, and the quality of the workmanship is simply stunning. They are heavy. Very heavy. But they come shipped in indestructible containers braced to a shipping pallette and arrived in perfect condition.
The speakers themselves are a three-way design, with both the midrange and woofers doubled. The tweeter is a ribbon design, and thus there are five drivers per speaker. I believe the drivers are all made by HiVi in China (anyone interested in these drivers should look up the Swanns range of speakers, only the cheapest of which are available in the US). As with many high-end audio products these days, these Chinese-made drivers are seemingly as good as any made anywhere.
Rick uses his own custom-made crossover system (which I frankly admit to knowing little about), but the results are truly impressive. The speakers are fitted with three sprung 'feet' which are designed to sit in contoured aluminium plates, negating the need for spikes. The grill-cloth is in a seperate wood-enclosed panel and attaches to the speaker via magnets at the four corners (which quite amazingly manage to align the panel square to the speakers every time!).
OK. Enough of the pre-amble. These are serious speakers. Straight out of the box I knew they were going to be special, and they improved sublty as they ran in. They also showed up various problems - problems I have been vaguely aware of before with my Celestion SL5000 ribbon-hybrids - in the accoustics of my room. In the final analysis, the Reimers are probably a fraction too big for my room (so those of you who feel you might want the Tetons, maybe you don't really need them!), but I have persevered with placement and now believe I have them sounding very well.
These are extremely dynamic speakers. They will go plenty loud no matter what your tastes run to. They are pretty efficient as well, so your amplifier will sound as if it has more power than it would with virtually all comparable designs.
Try, for example, the opening 5 minutes or so of Szymanowsky's opera King Roger (EMI Rattle). If this is not THE most impressive and overpowering opening to any opera ever I don't know what is, and the chorus, orchestra, organ and massive percussion of the opening climax explode into the room effortlessly and without hardness or distortion even at levels approaching the ridiculous.
Instrumental and vocal timbres are also beautifully rendered on the Wind Rivers. Listen to any part of the wonderful new recording of The Marriage of Figaro (Harmonia Mundi- Savall) and the original instrument plangency is beautifully captured, as is the immediacy of the closely (but compellingly) recorded vocal parts.
There is a lovely sense of space and air in the soundstage too, as evidenced by great modern orchestral recordings like either Bruckner 4 or 8 with the Berlin Philharmonic under Wand (RCA).
Choral recordings are also nicely captured on these speakers. One of my test recordings for speakers for the last few years has been 'The Cry' by the Canadian choir that I conduct, Ensemble de la Rue (, and the extreme overtone information here, which can send even good systems into distortion, is clean and clear on the Reimers.
Accoustic Jazz is also lovely on these speakers, as evidenced by such excellent recordings as 'Blue Moon Daughter' by Cassandra Wilson (try the instrumental pallette in 'Solomon Sang').
One of the options Rick suggested I might be interested in was the slight offsetting of the treble (ribbon) driver to aid imaging. While I clearly have not had the opportunity to compare to the conventional in-line array, I have a feeling this was a good idea, as the speakers image very nicely, although room placement is pretty important here.

So, for around $4,000 - including shipping - what do you get? Well, I would say you get about what you might ordinarily expect to be paying around double that for if you were to go with a more commercial brand (I looked at, for example, some Dalis about double the price, trying to pick up a pair second hand. They are no better than these).
If you wanted to go with one of the outragious high-end designs consistently sponsored by Stereophile you would most likely spend 5 - 10 times this without better results.
In short, if you are interested in a beautifully made and lovingly thought out pair of speakers that are going to last you the rest of your life you would be nuts to not consider these exceptionally fine and beautifully executed speakers from Rick Reimer.
Rick and Neil are a pleasure to deal with and you won't be dissappointed; indeed, you will feel you have scored an amazing bargain!
Happy Listening!!

Associated gear
Monarchy Audio 22C DAC/Line stage, Monarchy Audio 48/96 DIP Upsampler, Marantz SA 8260 SACD player, Forte 55 Power Amplifier, various fancy cables

Similar products
Auditioned a wide variety of speakers in the $3K - $7K range
What are the dimensions (and weight) of these speakers? You mention that they may be too large for your listening room -- how big is this room? Do you have them set up well out into the room, or are they close to the side/rear walls? I am always interested in new designs and have been impressed with some of the ribbons I have heard over the past ten years or so...but I have also heard applications of this technology that have been, ummm, less than satisfying, to keep things polite. Did you get to audition them before you bought? Or did you get some kind of return privileges and buy "blind"? New gear that hasn't been tested in the marketplace can be very exciting, but what kind of support system is in place (dealer? mfg guarantee?) in case there are problems? I, too, am a Bruckner nut (and Szymanowski, as well as ANYTHING that Savall has a hand in...) so I am interested in neutral, dynamic speakers that capture both the sweep of the big modern pieces and the detail of smaller Baroque and Classical era ensembles. Tell us more about the dealership chain, or where we might hear the Reimer designs. Thanks -- I enjoyed the review.
Thanks for mentioning the relatively esoteric recordings that you use for speaker evaluation. The rest of your system seems very capable, even though less adventurous than your venture into the world of excellent, virtually bespoke, loudspeakers. Since you probably have been listening to your other components for a significantly long time, your opinion about the speaker's relative value may be judged more reliable.
Question for you. How long did it take for your speakers to arrive from date of order. Five weeks ago this friday I ordered a pair of high gloss maple McCullough GS from Rick through Neil. I am growing very weary of listening to my back up Polk Audio speakers and am hopeful they will ship later this week. Nice review and I hope to get some of the magic you hear. I will be using a sub with the McCulloughs and since they go down into the mid 30s on their own, I hope to be ok.

In response to Gkcc: the speakers are 45" by 12" and 14" deep. My room is 21' by 12' but the problem is the 7'3" ceiling, which is too low I believe. I have them set up slightly off-line down the room, and about 3' from the back wall. They seem to sound better in my room out from walls (either behind or side). I think each speaker weighs in at close to 100 lbs. As far as the dealer support is concerned, I don't frankly know, although I believe these are trustworthy people. Shipping would be expensive to properly protect these, so I am hoping and assuming that will never be necessary. The ribbon driver is only the tweeter, but having been used to a fuller range ribbon speaker (everything over 800 khz) I like ribbon sound anyway, and this was a significant factor in my choice of these. I admit is was pretty risky to buy these speakers unauditioned, but I did a lot of research beforehand, and talking to Rick helped convince me that we are looking for similar things in terms of sound. Hope this helps!

In response to Listener57: Thanks for the note on recordings. One of the most depressing aspects of being interested in audio and being someone virtually exclusively into classical music is the tokenism we have to put up with from reviewers in magazines etc. They really only mention classical recordings out of some sense of duty, and mostly know absolutely nothing about the genre. Even worse is the regularity of trotting out these ridiculous and horrible old recordings as exemplars of the classical recording art. If I ever read about 'Fiedler' or 'Mercury Living Presence' in a review I immediately stop reading it and discount all impressions gained as a matter of principle! All the more the shame when there are so many excellent modern classical recordings around!
Can you tell me how long it took to receive the speakers from the time you placed the order. I am awaiting delivery of my McCullough GS speakers, this is my 5th week. I can't wait, and am definitely growing weary of listening to my back-up pair of Polk Monitor 5s.

Oz - I was initially given a 6-8 week window. They took about 9, as it seems Rick is pretty busy with orders. It seems likely to me that your patience will be somewhat further tested, but it will be worth it!
Sorry about the double post. Agon sat on the first one, so I thought it got lost.

It helps. Thanks for the response. I liked very much the "ribbon" sound in all the Genesis models I have heard. For some reason, I never warmed up to the various Maggies I heard during the '90's -- I confess to not having heard the latest models, which keep getting raves from those who ought to know. Your comments on recordings are spot on. I am an old timer: I still have over 1000 LP's I bought during the '50's and on into the '70's, and they were all "classical," mostly on Columbia, DGG, Phillips, London/Decca, and RCA. The only area that modern CD's have improved on is an increased catalog of Late Modern/Contemporary, and what I feel is an absolutely stunning opening up in the availability of ancient (pre-Baroque) performances on (quasi) original instruments. I think I have purchased everything Alia Vox has recently put on the shelves, most of which features Jordi Savall in some way (performing or conducting). I currently have the Triangle Volantes in one system and the Dynaudio Evidence "Master" in another, large space, and, as I noted in my comments on the former here on Audiogon, the Triangle actually sounds better on a wider variety of software than the big Dynaudio. I think the "sweet spot" now has been lowered to the $4,000 - $8,000 range, for speakers capable of simulating something close to "live" (even though we'll never climb THAT mountain, it is nice to see prices for the best quality sound descend into the 5-figure range). I want to hear the Reimers, although I am very happy with what I have, because you can't go wrong with a conductor's recommendation: you guys spend your time standing in front of live music, the best seat in the house, and I would always take a musician's word for a test drive. Finally, I wonder if I will have any trouble finding "King Roger" -- Szymanowsky is new to me (I just have the Ballet Pantomimes, a Violin Concerto, and an Orchestral Suite, all of which fascinate me), so I don't really know what's out there. I hope I don't have to drive all the way to Wyoming to hear your speakers...but, since I'm in Los Angeles, it's closer than NY, and maybe I can get in some trout fishing! Cheers and happy listening. Gerald Clifton (gkcc3).
Gerald - Good luck in the search for nirvana. It could be a long one. On the Szymanowsky front, this recording is readily available, and although I don't like all the singers all the time, frankly the recording is worth buying for the first 5 minutes alone (sorry if that sounds over-the-top!). The 4th symphony is also great (not as good as the 3rd, however), and the recording is good. Recommended:
Thanks for the details -- I'll pick it up next week. This was a good month for concert-goers in LA. 2 conductors (guests with the LA Phil) I hadn't heard gave absolutely stunning performances. Jonathan Nott's Mahler 4th was the best I had ever heard in a live performance, and Marin Alsop (the gal who has created such a stir, both negative and positive, in Baltimore)led the orchestra Friday in Rodrigo's "Aranjuez" concerto (Eliot Fisk on the git-box) and the Tchaikovsky 5th -- 2 war horses, admittedly, but I was stunned at Alsop's dynamics, control, phrasing, and unity of approach with each piece. She is REALLY, REALLY good. So I picked up the Naxos SACD version of her and the London Phil doing the Brahms 1st Symphony and a couple of overtures. No disappointment there, even though I'm not particularly excited by anything Brahms wrote, save some of the Intermezzi and the 2nd Piano Concerto. But if you like these pieces, Alsop's versions are as good as anybody's, and the sound quality of the recording is very good. Cheers,
Gerald. Thanks. Will look up some of her stuff. Sounds interesting. I concurr on bRams, btw!
Oh - pardon my typing: "Brahms"!
Kempster, I kind of liked "bRams": brings the old fart into the hip-hop era. I wonder what rap would sound like in German...???

Merry Christmas,

Received my McCullough GSes Thursday and I must say I am VERY impressed. After about 30+ hours they are coming around very nicely. Paired with a Rocket UFW-10, this is some of the best sound I have had in my room. And this is compared to large, pretty expensive floor standing speakers that have been through here. And Rick's handiwork has to be seen to be appreciated, these things are gorgeous.

Heaven forbid!
Merry Xmas to ypu too!