Product Review

Revel Performa F52 Floor-Standing Speakers, C52 Center Channel Speaker, S30 Bookshelf Speakers, and B15a Subwoofer

Part II

June, 2006

Sumit Chawla


New is a low-frequency compensation control that can be used to compensate the low-frequency gain that will result from a near boundary placement. Three options are provided: Normal, Contour, and Boundary.

The F52 is capable of being bi-wired or bi-amped. Plastic inserts in the binding posts prevent the use of banana plugs. Removing the inserts, however, is very easy, and once they are removed, the banana plugs will plug right into the binding posts. Each speaker has four such inserts. Of the review samples that I received, one of the F52's had two inserts missing.

The cabinet is made from 1" thick MDF, with a rounded front baffle to reduce diffraction. There is extensive internal bracing. Supplied spikes thread into the base of the speaker. The spikes have a pointed end and a rounded end. The pointed end is to be used when the F52 is to sit on a carpet. The round end is to be used if the F52 is to be placed on a hardwood or tile floor. A protective cap can be attached to the round end of the spikes. The speakers come with the spikes attached, with the rounded end pointing out. When I unpacked the speakers, I found that two of the spikes had their protective cap split (photo below). I did not use the protective caps in my installation, so I cannot say whether they are sturdy enough. Unfortunately, I did not keep track of which speaker had the plastic inserts missing, so I don't know if the speaker with the damaged protective caps was the same one or not. It was probably just a speaker that had been to a convention or two before being sent to me. The reason I point this out is that, perhaps, the plastic protective cap on the rounded end should be made a bit more durable.

Revel has always advocated the use of a three-way design for center-channel speakers where the tweeter and midrange are aligned vertically, and the woofers are situated on either side. Delegating midrange reproduction to a single driver can yield smoother off-axis response compared to two-way designs that use a symmetric woofer-tweeter-woofer (WTW) horizontal configuration. Such designs typically have off-axis response irregularities which result from one driver being closer than the other at an off-axis location. The unequal distance results in a natural phase shift which will give rise to frequency response irregularities. I should point out that not all WTW designs suffer from this problem. Designers can utilize an asymmetric crossover arrangement to circumvent this problem. Also, a three-way design does not guarantee a smooth off-axis response. This will be limited by how well behaved the driver is off-axis.

The C52 is a three-way horizontally configured center channel speaker. It utilizes a pair of 8" woofers, a 5 " midrange driver (same as F52), and a 1" aluminum dome tweeter (same as F52); all drivers are housed in a sealed enclosure. The C52 and F52 are both magnetically shielded. The crossover frequencies are specified at 235 Hz and 2 kHz. The C52 retains the "High Frequency Level" control that the F52 has, but it replaces the "Low Frequency Compensation" control with a "Placement Compensation" control that corrects the response for the three different placement options that are offered: "Flush Mounted", "On Top of the Monitor", and "Stand Mounted". Like the F52, the C52 can be bi-amped or bi-wired by removing the shorting straps. Revel does offer an optional "Pedestal" stand for the C52. I elected to use the stand mounted option. The stand is more compact compared to the stand that was offered with the C50, but it is heavy and does provide a firm footing to the C52. It comes disassembled, but assembling it is relatively straightforward.

Below is a close-up of the F52 speaker binding posts, Low Frequency Compensation Control, and Tweeter Level Control.

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Copyright 2006 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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