The New Revel Performa 3s

Harman Specialty Audio introduced the new Revel Performa 3 series of loudspeakers at the 2012 CES. Kevin Voecks, lead audio engineer in the design, was delighted at the increased performance of Performa 3 series, including the $4500/pair, three-way, F208 full-range floorstander and the $1750/pair M106 two-way bookshelf. The F208 replaces the more expensive, $7500 F32 Performa in the previous series.

Both new Performa models employ a 1" aluminum dome tweeter with a waveguide. Without a waveguide, Voecks said, "this system sounds as if there is a tweeter." This is because of the discontinuity between the narrowed dispersion of the midrange driver at the top of its range, and the wide dispersion pattern of a tweeter at the bottom of its range. Even if the crossover results in a flat frequency response on-axis across the range of the two drivers, the ear-brain system can hear the characteristic tweeter sound. Voecks continued, "That discontinuity is the giveaway that you have a tweeter. The waveguide makes the music believable."

Furthermore, Voecks said the mathematics resulted in a physical ridge being placed near the center of the tweeter at the 12 o'clock position. From a distance, the tweeter looks as if there is a crease in the material, like a manufacturing defect. This can be seen in the photo of the bookshelf M106.

Listening to the F208 was a pleasure, for it had smooth extended highs, with no evidence of the spit or zing often heard on other systems.