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This review first appeared in the August 2013 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read it in its original Polish version here. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own articles, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or Revel. - Ed

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacula
CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air V-edition
Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory Shilabe & Kansui
Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III Signature with Regenerator power supply
Power amplifier: Soulution 710
Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom
Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic + Acoustic Revive custom speaker stand
Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 600Ω vintage, HifiMan HE6
Interconnects: CD/preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp/power amp Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo
Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cables (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
Power strip: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate
Stand: Base IV custom under all components
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under CD player, Audio Revive RAF-48 platform under CD player and preamplifier, Pro Audio Bono PAB SE platform under Leben CS300 XS
Review component retail in Poland: 13.980zł/pair

It’s a revelation, truly a revelation! That's what one of my friends says whenever he is so deeply touched by a particular sonic aspect that he can’t sit still. Revelation in this context means something surprising and distinctive at the same time to fill us with admiration and awe. The word is also used for a "striking disclosure of something previously unknown or unrealized". It just so happens that the American company Revel evokes both meanings.

Founded in the 1990s, Revel Loudspeakers was created with one goal – to complement the product lineup of the high-end giant across the pond, Mark Levinson. At its helm stood a pair of talented designers, Floyd Toole and Kevin Voecks. For starters they launched the Gem monitor gaining instant approval for its appearance. The unique design was recognized by Hollywood and the speakers featured alongside Mark Levinson electronics and a Rega turntable in Nancy Meyers' 2000 film What Women Want starring Mel Gibson. The American market however wasn’t captured until Revel launched its next Ultima line including Salon and Studio models. These very expensive speakers were followed by the more affordable Concentra and Performa lines. A third generation of the latter just launched comprising the M20 and bigger M30.
These engineers didn’t come out of nowhere by the way. They already had impressive resumes each. Better known of the two was Voecks who had previously worked for Mirage and Snell with many highly regarded speakers. He is also known as an engineer who relies in equal parts on auditions and measurements. It was no wonder that he'd make a great match with Dr. Floyd Toole involved in research at the National Research Council of Canada, the largest such institution in the world. Voecks and Tool pioneered research methods which today are used by most speaker manufacturers.

Their goal was to correlate double-blind ABX tests with measurements both on and off axis. An interview with Kevin Voecks explains their special ABX test methodology as developed by Sean Olive. Speakers under comparison are moved into identical positions by a computer-controlled belt drive behind an acoustically transparent screen to avoid visual recognition. Controlled auditions are carried out by seven specially trained listeners in an acoustically treated room. The people who spend the most time in this listening room are Voecks and Mark Glasier. Today Revel is part of Harman International along with Mark Levinson, JBL-I, Infinity and AKG.

The Performa3 line was showcased at the 2012 Las Vegas CES and began selling by mid 2012. It includes a full home-theater system with the M105 and M106 monitors and F208 and F206 floorstanders. The F206 as the smaller tower actually isn't that small. Placed on the Acoustic Revive RST-38H isolation boards and Acoustic Revive SPU 8 receptacles under the tightly mounted spikes, they stood nearly as tall as my massive Harbeth M40.1. Standing next to each other, both speakers’ tweeters and midrange drivers approximated equal height. The F206 is a beautifully assembled 4-driver three-way in a slim front-ported cabinet with curved sides and rear. The cabinet features strategic internal bracing and its thick walls are finished in great-looking veneers though high-gloss black or white are available too. Kevin Voecks claims the cabinet was designed by one of the best Italian companies but wouldn't reveal their identity. All drive units from the 25mm dome tweeter and 133mm midrange to these paralleled 165mm woofers were designed and manufactured by Revel for full control over the project. The speakers then are manufactured in Indonesia.