Revel’s new Rhythm 2
Revel’s new Rhythm 2 subwoofer ($10,000) contains a pair of 2000W class-D amplifiers (said to offer 4kW on peaks); an 18" driver with a 4” voice-coil; over 114dB maximum acoustic output; high-resolution DSP room equalization; fully configurable electronic crossover; and PC or Mac setup via USB. Kevin Voecks, its designer, described how the subwoofer's highly sophisticated DSP engine can equalize both the subwoofer and the satellite speakers. The DSP-driven room equalization generates adjustments from one set of room measurements, correcting for as many as 10 modes in the frequency range of 20400Hz.
Most subwoofers have busy rear panels devoted to myriad connection options and many set-and-forget controls, including RCA, XLR, speaker binding posts, AC mains input, phase, polarity, level, crossover settings, among others. In stark contrast, the new Revel Rhythm 2 Subwoofer's rear panel is almost void of controls, most of these handled by its new advanced installation and room optimization software. Even so, one can find high-pass outputs for driving the audio system's main amplifier and satellite speakers. This shows how the Revel Design team kept two channel audiophiles in mind, as most aftermarket subwoofers are designed mainly for the home-theater market where low- and high-pass filtration is carried out by the home-theater processor.
Voecks recommends using the Apple iPad-based “Audio Tools” application from Studio Six for set-up, which has very high resolution, and includes a mike and preamp/power supply. One then sends the data from the Audio Tools software via WiFi to the owner's PC running the Rhythm 2's software. By selecting a target curve, and manually adjusting parameters for the subwoofer and main speaker, one can achieve optimal balance between sub and satellites, set the delay for the subwoofer, and equalize not just for one specific spot in the room but for a wider area using 10 virtual parametric equalization sliders in software. The proof of this concept was the hugely powerful bass output that was solid, dense, and exhibit tremendous room lock, vibrating everything that was not tied down. He played Yim Hok-Man's recording of "Poetry of the Chinese Drum" which features explosive drum beats. The organ from Rutter's Requiem ("A Gaelic Blessing") was balanced and powerful.