Revel Concerta2 M16
FOR Dynamics and bass; good integration; punchy; fine build AGAINST You‘ll need to take care with partnering kit
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.
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