Hales Revelation Three loudspeaker Page 4

Getting real
Many HI-FI '97 showgoers admired the sound of the Revelation Threes, but some raised eyebrows at the choice of associated equipment: Convergent Audio Technology SL-1 Signature Mk.II preamp and JL-1 power amps, Resolution Audio transport and D/A processor, Cardas Golden Cross cables. How reasonable is it to combine a $2195 pair of speakers with cables and electronics costing about $40k? While expensive electronics allow us to explore the speakers' optimal performance, the fact remains that most people buying speakers in this price range use much more modestly priced electronics. And if a $2k speaker needs $40k worth of equipment to make it sound good, the manufacturer has a serious marketing problem.

To check out the Revelation Three's performance in a "real-world" context, I set up a system consisting of a Sony DVP-S7000 DVD/CD player, Classé CAP-100 integrated amp, AudioQuest Emerald interconnects, and AudioQuest 6+ speaker cables. The total cost of this system, including speakers, is less than $6000.

How did it sound? Very good indeed. The sound was big, bold, exciting. Robert Harley's review of the Classé CAP-100 (Stereophile, September 1997) suggested that its treble could sound a tad bright; although I could hear some of that character, through the Revelation Threes it translated into a kind of liveliness rather than hardness or excessive brightness. Some of the fine detail and three-dimensionality of the reference system was missing, but the tonal balance was very similar, and the low bass was actually more extended than with the Sonic Frontiers Power 2. Harmonics were nearly as natural-sounding, dynamics were right up there, and soundstage depth was only slightly curtailed. I've heard plenty of systems with a total cost in the five-figure range that didn't sound nearly as good. Other integrated amps that would likely be a good match with the Revelation Three include the YBA Integré and the Bryston B-60.

So, what about the Hales Design Group's claim that "what we made will forever change the world of dynamic loudspeakers"? Well, much as I admire the Revelation Three, I'd file this statement under "Manufacturer's Hyperbole." However, I would not want to dispute the claim that the speaker will become "an instant classic, a benchmark against which others of its type are measured." I know of no speaker in the $2000-$3000 price range that is capable of providing a better, more musically satisfying performance than the Revelation Three. In fact, I'd recommend to anyone considering speakers in the $5000 (and even higher) price range that they listen to the Revelation Three. They might find it...well, a revelation.

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Huntington Beach, CA 92647
(714) 841-6884