Revel
Revel
Revel

Revel

In America, large companies most often do not crush their small but nimble competitors. They simply buy them wholeheartedly, becoming owners of both the brand and the technology. That’s exactly what Harman Specialty Group did for many years, the largest conglomerate of companies in the field of consumer electronics, led by the steady hand of founder, director Sidney Harman. It acquired only those companies that were the best in their field, and thanks to this, it has remained a leader in many areas for a long time. With brands such as Mark Levinson, Proceed, Lexicon, the Harman group has easily achieved leading positions in many sectors of professional audio, consumer electronics, and high-end electronics.

revel-by-harman-logo.png

In 1996, at one of the regular meetings of directors, Sidney Harman raised the issue of purchasing a high-end acoustics manufacturer, since it was in this area that there was a gap. It was necessary to find a small company – with its own philosophy, its own technologies and absolutely outstanding speakers, occupying one of the first places in the High End hierarchy. However, the planned takeover never took place – the search for a suitable candidate led nowhere. Then in 1996, Dr. Harman uttered one single phrase: “Make the world’s best loudspeakers,” marking the beginning of the Revel brand. Unheard-of prospects opened up for the founders of the new company – the opportunity to lure the best specialists from other companies for higher salaries, as well as take advantage of the entire engineering and research base of the powerful Harman Specialty Group (not forgetting financial support). For talent bought from outside, this time was truly golden: they were used to creating their masterpieces “on their knees”, in conditions of a constant shortage of funds, and here there are such dizzying spaces for creativity. The goal that was initially set for Revel was to create only the highest quality speaker systems. From the start, significant funds were invested in the project, and this allowed Revel Corporation to immediately become a leader not only in terms of sound level, but also in extensive distribution in many countries around the world, which is unthinkable for small independent newcomers. From the very beginning, Revel’s laboratories have brought together leading scientists in the field of audio/video to conduct scientific research. And the appearance of the future speakers was created by artists from the sister company Madrigal Audio Labs, to whom electronic components under the Mark Levinson and Proceed brands also owe their memorable appearance.

Revel F30.jpg
Revel Performa F30

The engineering department received freedom to choose components and the opportunity to develop completely new speakers and other elements of acoustic systems. For the production lines, without saving, the most advanced equipment and high technologies were purchased. The creators of the new speakers first tried to answer the question of which factors most influence sound quality, and determine their relative importance, taking into account the knowledge accumulated in psychoacoustics. Their research showed that timbral indicators are the most important in the formation of sound. In second place were the spatial characteristics of the speaker radiation, in third place was the minimization of resonances and box overtones, and only then was the width of the dynamic range. Each speaker has its own timbre, determined by the ratio of mid, low and high frequencies. But whatever the nature of the sound of the acoustics themselves, the overall impression is greatly influenced by the acoustic characteristics of the listening room. Because of their properties, there are three main types of sound waves. First of all, of course, it is direct sound from the loudspeaker, which reaches the listener fastest. Then follow the so-called early reflections – sound waves that “ricochet” from the walls, floor and ceiling. And finally, less significant, but still important, are late reflections, or reverberation, a signal reflected many times. The stronger the interactions between direct and reflected waves, the more distorted the picture created during recording is.

performa f32.jpg
Revel Performa M32

It’s no secret that there are many speakers that have excellent objective characteristics, but at the same time sound bad. The problem is that measurements are often taken directly on the acoustic axis of the speaker. But if you move the microphone literally a few centimeters, the frequency response will be completely different. Therefore, to get a more accurate picture, Revel engineers decided to take measurements at seven points and average the results. But this was not enough: many speakers of the same class from other manufacturers had a frequency response no worse than that of the first top-end model they created, Revel Ultima Salon, but their sound, nevertheless, was very different. To understand how reflected and direct sound waves interact with each other, measurements had to be taken at 35 additional points. On the graphs obtained by the company’s specialists, you can see that the average frequency response of Ultima Salon is smoother than that of competitors’ products. Research into speaker-to-listening room compatibility has been compiled into a single measurement technology that guides all Revel loudspeakers. According to the designers themselves, they can predict how their speakers will sound in certain acoustic conditions. In their work, engineers and designers also actively use the most advanced design methods, such as laser interferometry technology. A stereolithography machine is used to produce working prototypes for testing, analysis and measurement, allowing the required data to be available within 24 hours. The measuring equipment is mounted in several very large anechoic chambers, in which the characteristics of the speakers in the low frequency region can be reliably measured. For example, in the largest chamber the frequency response is measured down to 20 Hz and with an accuracy of only 0.5 dB. Note that in 1998, according to the Academy of High End Audio & Video, this acoustic measurement system developed by Revel Corp. was recognized as the best technical achievement. It should be especially noted that all speakers are developed from scratch and optimized for each specific application. For them, Harman Group engineers created a fundamentally new material – organic ceramic composite (Organic Ceramic Composite, OGG). All bass and midrange drivers in the Ultima, Performa and Concerta series are equipped with O.GG diffusers, which provide a truly piston-like movement.

Revel-Ultima salon.jpg
Revel Ultima Salon 

For dome tweeters on the front panel of the speakers, the designers installed a special waveguide with constant acoustic impedance (Constant Acoustic Impedance). This provides a number of benefits: precise control of dispersion (radiation pattern) both on and off-axis, improved alignment of the tweeter with the rest of the speakers, clearly audible expansion of the dynamic range and a significant reduction in dynamic sound compression. Unlike most speaker manufacturers, who prefer the simplest 1st order crossovers, Revel engineers use only high order filters. According to them, this improves off-axis response and timbral accuracy, significantly reduces distortion and dynamic compression of the sound, optimizes the distribution of signals between the midrange and tweeters, dramatically increases the speaker’s driving capabilities and allows for a wider and more uniform listening area. There are currently four series of Revel speakers available. The Ultima is the company’s highest achievement in sound and speaker design, the Performa is an acoustic that has the sound quality and technical solutions used in the Ultima family, but has a classic cabinet, and the Concerta uses most of the technologies and features of the Performa series, but at a more affordable price . In addition, the company has a line of built-in acoustics In-Wall – this is a High End acoustic for hidden installation.

Rotel
Previous
Rotel