Surround Sound Speaker Systems

Revel Performa F52 Tower Speakers, C52 Center Channel Speaker, S30 Surround Speakers, and Concerta B120 Subwoofer



This was one of those times I wished my theater weren't on the second floor of my house. Getting the 85-pound F52s up two flights of stairs from my basement was a chore. I must thank my surprisingly strong wife for her help. The smoothly-finished cabinets make friendly assistance a must. I placed the towers eight feet apart and toed them in just slightly. The C52 on its stand was too low for my projection screen so I built a little box out of MDF to raise it up. The stand has a set angle that fires the speaker directly at the listener. I mounted the S30s on the walls about two feet above and slightly forward of the listening position. The two Concerta subs were placed in the front right and rear left corners of my room facing directly forward, not angled. The B120 subs have a wireless feature that I found extremely useful. You simply plug them into the wall then install the small transmitter within reach of your subwoofer signal cable. One transmitter will run up to two subs. Everything turns itself on when a signal is detected and I never had it shut off during a listening session.

I am a firm believer in full-system room correction so for this review I used the excellent Anthem Room Correction built into their Statement D2v processor. I have auditioned several speaker systems using ARC and have settled on a measurement mic layout that works very well. After zeroing the channel trims and setting the test tone level to 75dB, I measured my usual five positions. Matching 75dB with dual subs meant setting their gain controls to around 30 percent. I have found level-matching the subs with the other speakers before taking measurements has a profoundly positive effect on the final results. I also let ARC determine the crossovers for me. After measurement, the targets ARC chose were 60Hz for mains and center and 75 Hz for the surrounds. The 75 Hz number for the surrounds astonished me. There are very few surround speakers on the market that do anything useful below 100 Hz.

Electronics included the aforementioned Anthem Statement D2v processor, Emotiva XPA-5 amplifier and an OPPO BDP-83 as the source. The signal path was purely digital over HDMI. All cables were Bluejeans.