Surround Sound Speaker Systems
- Written by Jim Milton
- Published on 14 September 2009
Let me tell you up front that Revel has a first-rate reputation for building speakers that are sonically accurate. The treble is sweet and not harsh as long as your source is well recorded. The mid range drivers blend beautifully with the tweeters and are about as accurate a mid range as I have heard on any speaker. You wonâ€™t mistake these for the Ultimas, but the heritage is undeniable. Revel puts a lot of time and effort into their speaker designs and does a lot of research and testing before they put their name on a speaker. It shows.
The F12s are very neutral and can play as delicately or as dynamically as you can tolerate. When really pushed, the sound never became compressed or strident. No matter how hard I pushed, they just seemed to ask for more, well beyond my sonic tolerance. I did not notice any burping or huffing from the port in the rear of the towers. I might also point out that the F12s can play pretty low on their own accord.
If you are in the market for a full range 2 channel speaker (like a purist type that refuses to use a sub while listening to stereo), these speakers will fit the bill nicely. With their black grilles on, they look almost monolithic and plain. They may not be the most visually aesthetic speakers on the market, but their real beauty is in the sonics, which is where I prefer to spend my money. The C12 reproduced vocals, both male and female, with remarkable accuracy. Due to the cabinet size and driver compliment of the C12, I was tempted to drop the crossover down to 60Hz, but that made male voices sound too chesty and thick for my taste. I left them at 80Hz and they sounded much more natural and open. Even my wife commented on how clear the dialog sounded with the C12. And as good as these sounded, I was even more surprised with the sound quality and dynamic range of the S12s.
The seamless envelopment of sound, whether music or movies, was impressive. Much better than what I was used to hearing (my old Cambridge Soundworks surrounds are almost 15 years old after all). I preferred dipole mode, but tried the other modes for fun. One caveat I have is the fact that the toggle switch can only be accessed if you remove the grilles from the speakers. Perhaps if the toggle was on top or on the bottom, it would make selecting a mode easier. Probably not a big issue since youâ€™ll eventually select a mode you like and leave them alone from then on. For music, I played a lot of various SACDs and CDs. The Cincinnati Pops not only sounded natural, but you could feel the spaciousness of the hall. Tympani and brass sounded smooth and natural without glare our muddiness. Fanfare for the Common Man, by Copland(Telarc), was broad and produced very deep bass, even without the subs, and simmer of cymbals without a problem. Dire Straights: On Every Street sounded wonderfully as well. Deep bass chords rolled out of the F12s and Mark Knoppflerâ€™s voice, a good test for mid range accuracy, was smooth (in a gravelly way, if you know his voice) and present in the room. Iron Fist has some acoustic guitar work combined with some sub sonic bass foundations that the F12s played with aplomb. The bass had punch and impact. Tight is a good descriptor.
For movies, Serenity has a lot of dialog and some nice action scenes to break up that dialog. The Concertas were having as much fun as I was watching the movie. Perhaps it is the 3-way design of the C12, but dialog was very clear from any of my 3 seating positions in my room. The surrounds provided a nice diffuse rear sound field and I seriously do not think I ever came close to making the B120s do more than shrug during the entire movie.