Revel Con­certa2 M16

FOR Dy­nam­ics and bass; good in­te­gra­tion; punchy; fine build AGAINST You‘ll need to take care with part­ner­ing kit

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

We’re sur­prised a brand such as Revel hasn’t made a big­ger im­pact on the UK speaker mar­ket. All the in­gre­di­ents for suc­cess seem to be in place: the prod­ucts are well made, solidly en­gi­neered and, in our ex­pe­ri­ence, tend to sound good.

The brand even has the might of par­ent com­pany Har­man be­hind it to pro­vide ex­tra re­as­sur­ance. We hope the new Con­certa2 se­ries will kick start things, par­tic­u­larly as the stand­mounter of the range, the M16, is a ter­rific prod­uct.

Con­ven­tional yet cus­tomised

A quick scan through the spec­i­fi­ca­tions won’t re­veal any­thing spe­cial. It all looks pretty stan­dard for the price. These are medium-sized, sin­gle-wired boxes pack­ing a 25mm dome tweeter and a 16cm mid/bass driver sup­ported by a rear-fir­ing re­flex port. Both driv­ers use alu­minium di­aphragms.

Take a closer look at the de­tails and it’s clear the com­pany’s en­gi­neers have worked hard to op­ti­mise per­for­mance. That wooden cabi­net is a curved, strongly braced af­fair that not only gives a solid, rel­a­tively in­ert plat­form for the drive units to work from, but looks smart too.

The un­usual dished wave­guide in which the tweeter sits isn’t there just to make things look in­ter­est­ing. It con­trols the di­rec­tiv­ity of the tweeter, bring­ing it closer to that of the mid/bass unit at cross­over fre­quen­cies. This im­proves in­te­gra­tion in this all-im­por­tant re­gion. The acous­tic lens – the thing that looks like a grille in front of the dome – also helps.

Cone treat­ment

An alu­minium cone in a mid/bass unit is fairly con­ven­tional, but in this case the cone is coated on both sides with a ce­ramic com­pos­ite which adds both stiff­ness and damp­ing – es­sen­tial for good per­for­mance. The rear-fir­ing port is curved in­ter­nally to de­liver a high out­put with­out adding noise.

Po­si­tion­ing is easy. Place the speak­ers at least 30cm from a rear wall, and well away from cor­ners, and off you go. All that work to con­trol the tweeter’s dis­per­sion re­ally seems to pay off, be­cause these speak­ers de­liver a wide, open sound stage with­out fuss­ing too much about the amount they’re an­gled in to­wards the lis­ten­ing po­si­tion.

Lis­ten to a de­mand­ing piece of mu­sic such as Tchaikovsky’s Marché Slave Op.31 and the M16s will ren­der an im­pres­sively ex­pan­sive stereo im­age and pop­u­late it with pre­cisely fo­cused sounds. It’s all nicely lay­ered and re­mains sta­ble when the mu­sic gets busy. Per­haps even more im­pres­sive is the en­thu­si­as­tic way these stand­moun­ters de­liver large-scale dy­nam­ics. They pound out crescen­dos with rel­ish, re­fus­ing to har­den up or com­press the mu­sic.

Then there’s the author­ity of the pre­sen­ta­tion, helped by the Revel’s abil­ity to dig deep in the bass. These speak­ers may be just 37cm tall, but close your eyes and you’d swear you were lis­ten­ing to de­cently sized floor­standers. Those lows are not only pow­er­ful but ag­ile and tune­ful too.

But don’t go think­ing these speak­ers lack subtlety. Such doubts will van­ish once you hear how these cope with the likes of Óla­fur Ar­nalds or Dusty Spring­field. That su­perbly in­te­grated midrange com­mu­ni­cates Dusty’s voice with all the fi­nesse and pas­sion it de­serves, while the speak­ers’ abil­ity to or­gan­ise with­out sound­ing con­trol­ling works won­ders with the Broad­church OST.

Just take care in sys­tem match­ing; the M16’s clar­ity is ad­mirable, but they have a ruth­less edge that can eas­ily be pro­voked if the part­ner­ing kit is on the ag­gres­sive side. Com­par­i­son to a class leader such as the (pricier) ATC SCM 11s shows up a short­fall of sweet­ness in that tweeter too.

The M16s are a bun­dle of fun. They may not be the most re­fined choice around, but they en­ter­tain in a way few ri­vals can. We think that’s worth £950 of any­one’s money.

Key de­tails – such as the el­e­gant curved cabi­net and wave­guide tweeter de­sign – dis­tin­guish the M16s

The rear-fir­ing bass port is curved in­ter­nally to max­imise its ef­fec­tive­ness

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