Revel Performa F228Be loudspeaker

I had a moment of revelation in 2000, when I first set up a pair of Revel's original Ultima Studio loudspeakers in my living room. It wasn't just my awareness that Revel's next-to-top-of-the-line loudspeaker was outstandingly good—it seemed to perfectly match my space and my ears. From the first day, I knew these would be keepers and I purchased the review samples.

Revel's Ultima Studio2 arrived in 2008, and though it performed even better than the original, the impression it made on me wasn't quite revelatory, and my praise was somewhat restrained—something for which Fred Kaplan justly chided me in his enthusiastic Follow-Up review in December 2009. To this day, the Ultima Studio2 and Revel's top model, the Salon2, remain Revel's standard bearers. Meanwhile, I wonder when there will be a Studio3.

Since 2000, rising costs of labor and materials have driven Revel to raise the prices of the Ultima models. Today, the price gap between the Performa3 F208 ($5000/pair) and the Ultima Studio2 ($15,998/pair) is $10,998. Apparently, Harman believed that this required attention. The solution, from a marketing point of view as well as the desire to implement technologies developed while creating the newer but less expensive Performa3 and Concerta2 lines, is the PerformaBe series, of which the F228Be ($10,000/pair) is the first floorstanding model.

The Performa F228Be is the third current Revel model of roughly the same configuration: a three-way floorstander with two 8" woofers. When I made a spreadsheet comparing the salient features of these models, a few things stood out. At 112 lb, the Studio2 is significantly heavier than the F208 (80 lb) or the F228Be (82 lb). It's also wider and deeper, with the largest volume: more than 7.5 cubic feet, compared with the F208's 4.7 and the F228Be's 4.2 cubic feet. Like the Studio2, the F228Be has a beryllium-dome tweeter (albeit of a different design), but unlike the plain aluminum midrange and woofer cones of the F208 or the titanium cones of the Studio2, the F228Be has diaphragms made of Revel's new Deep Ceramic Composite (DCC), in which aluminum also plays a role. The three models' crossovers are each tailored to their specific drivers and cabinets, but all are high-order, three-way designs with similar crossover frequencies.

119revel.250.jpgAnything but white
Although an audio component's color and finish are worth the potential buyer's careful consideration, they mean little to the reviewer. So when asked which of the Performa F228Be's four finishes I preferred, I knew only the one I didn't want: High Gloss White would not suit our room. Of course, that's precisely what I got, and not one of the other finishes available: Walnut, Metallic Silver, or High Gloss Black. But after removing the speakers from their shipping cartons and peeling off their protective film, I had to admire their fit and finish—from the subtle metallic flecks in the top trim to the seamless gloss of the cabinet and base, all was above reproach. So was the rear panel, which bears two pairs of sturdy, gold-plated, multiway binding posts with jumper plates. No adjustment controls are provided.

Of course, the F228Be has white cones, and the beryllium dome sits within a white acoustic lens, or waveguide. The drivers and the port at the bottom are all framed by a black border. This forms a striking motif, strangely reminiscent of the contours of my Bowers & Wilkins 802 D3 speakers, which sat a few feet behind the Revels. Fortunately, Revel includes lightweight plastic grille frames covered with black cloth, which snap into place over the drivers. But even in High Gloss White, the net effect is of a clean, slim tower.

Setup and Listening
My preferred positions for speakers are somewhere at the far end of the oriental rug that extends to the sofa on which I sit. Under the rug is a thick pad, but most heavy speakers have no trouble gaining a stable footing—I've never had to lower the spikes of the 200+ lb B&W 802 D3s into this valuable carpet. When I do have to use spikes, their points sit in protective cups, but that gives me no advantage. The 82-lb F228Be, however, is a bit top-heavy; I had to use the speakers' reversible spikes, rounded ends down.

The F228Be's were easy to maneuver. They ended up 8.5' apart—as far as my room permits—and about 12' from my listening position. The F228Be's tweeter is 43" above the floor, so I extended the rear spikes a few turns to aim the tweeter axes down to ear level, but there was no change in the sound. I could almost say the same about toe-in. While I ended up with the speakers aimed directly at the listening position, adjusting the toe-in within a small, reasonable range made for only elusive differences. In short, the F228Be's positions in my room seemed relatively noncritical.

I always note my first impressions of a component, even though those impressions may be revised over time, and even if there's such a thing as component break-in. Well before my trip to Harman (see "Blind Listening at Harman International"), it was apparent from the first sounds I heard through them that the F228Be's midrange was consistently clean, open, and balanced. Those first sounds were from a marvelous recording, Bye-Bye Berlin: Marion Rampal singing German lieder and popular songs of the 1920s with Quatuor Manfred, with important contributions from Raphaël Imbert on saxophone and bass clarinet (CD, Harmonia Mundi HMM 902295). The album begins with Imbert's gentle introduction and Rampal's soft, breathy voice in the habanera rhythm that characterizes Kurt Weill's "Youkali." That sets us up for the impact of her full voice and the entry of the strings as they launch into this tango's eager, longing refrain. It's clear that singer and instruments share a moderately dry acoustic whose subtle ambiance is just sufficient to let the music breathe. In a sense, these passionate souls are close and present, but isolated in the frame of Berlin between the two World Wars.

The other selections range from the familiar "Falling in Love Again" to Hindemith's rather startling arrangement of the overture to Wagner's The Flying Dutchman. Throughout, the Revels stood aside without comment, providing a clear, uncolored window on that distant time and space.

From there, I went on a romp of familiar recordings, all of them seeming somewhat new as I savored subtle details in the inner relationships of the music and the performers. Consistently, individual voices and instruments sounded more honestly natural and balanced with each other than I'd heard them before from these same recordings, and when they combined they made for more coherent and pleasing ensemble sounds. The Revels were able to do this at any scale, from solo performances and small groups to very large ensembles. As a result, I was able to listen through the F228Be's without concern for the usually inevitable effects of increasing speaker colorations at louder levels.

I focused on three of my favorite voices: Michael McDonald's in "I Heard It through the Grapevine," from his Motown (SACD/CD, Motown 038 652-2); Hugh Masekela's in "Stimela (The Coal Train)," from his Hope (SACD/CD, Triloka/Analogue Productions APJ 82020); and, surprise!, Robert Gordon's in the title track of his It's Now or Never (CD, Rykodisc RCD 10915). McDonald's voice is set in a complex, powerful studio mix, Masekela's in a huge concert venue with crowd contributions, and Gordon's in small studio, driven by Chris Spedding's guitar and backed by the voices of the Jordanaires. But all of these tracks demand to be played at high levels, to immerse me in the moment and allow me feel compelled by the beat. I obeyed, and at no humanly tolerable level was the sound ever compromised or the experience ever less than thrilling.

COMPANY INFO
Revel, Harman International Industries
8500 Balboa Boulevard
Northridge, CA 91329
(888) 691-4171
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
tonykaz's picture

Tony in Michigan

ps. it took a significant amount of digging to discover a well hidden secret.

Kal Rubinson's picture

Was that a strange place to find it?

tonykaz's picture

When a Manufacturer doesn't PROCLAIM "Made in USA", we know, don't we? Revel's address is Harmon's Headquarters which is not Zoned for Manufacturing.

Made in USA is immediately worth a 25% bump in what Customers are willing ( and even anxious ) to pay.

Tony in Michigan

ps. a consumer posted a photo from a Show Product. Harmon will probably have that Photo removed. It's the only one out there today.

beave's picture

*Harman, not Harmon.

Do you have supporting evidence that customers are willing (and even anxious) to pay a 25% premium when a speaker is made in the USA? Or did you pull that stat out of thin air?

tonykaz's picture

Made in USA relates to all Manufactured Items, including Cars. ( my area )

Made in USA, SWISS Made, Made in UK, France, Italy etc. is huge marketing value.

Put a Chinese Seiko Watch against a Japan Seiko, the Japan Seiko sells-thru at MSRP, the Chinese one will sell but at significantly lower Prices and will be worthless as a used timepiece.

Made in China is such a downer that China Export Designers go to great lengths to disguise it's origins, even obfuscating.

Having said all that, China can be super high quality, just don't expect factory based service from fast buck importers who operate without service Infrastructure. ( factory service is part of why a product has higher cost ).

From experience, I dare any importer to clearly identify the Chinese Manufacturer that built the items they import. I'll even bet $,$$$ because I have access to Sino manufacturing consultants.

Now-a-days, invisible Chinese ( Asians ) are buying and using Prestigious Brand Names to disguise their products, whilst undercutting ( product dumping ) established Local Manufacturing.

Shilling Chinese Manufacturing is Treasonous, those involved are Traitors no matter how good Name they've made for themselves, they've sold out.

Tony in Michigan

beave's picture

You wrote all of that instead of just admitting that you pulled the 25% number out of thin air?

tonykaz's picture

Hire a consultant or economist.

25% is conservative.

Do your own market tests.

Discussions like this require expansive data display capability.

Imagine Case Pocket Knives or Zippo Lighters being made in China, who the hell would cherish them? Am I pulling that concept out of the air?

Harley Davidson just announced a China Manufacturing future, will all those Harley riders buy em?, I wonder if they will wear the Red MAGA hats any longer, for gods sake. Harley is RedWhiteBlue or die. Thank-you Donny tinahands for those wonderful tariffs. Those Harley Riders will now be Riding Honda Gold Wings made in Ohio!

Tony in Michigan

ps. I accept China quality, I'm not a deny'er. I distrust Name Brands going Chinese whilst hiding the fact. China is part of the BRIC trading group ( Brazil-Russia-India-China), America's Competitor.
And, I'm Russian American, I am part of the American Team despite Washington's aggressive hobby-war behaviors.

beave's picture

Still a lot of unnecessary words to say that you made up the 25% number.

tonykaz's picture

Prove it.

Tony in Michigan

beave's picture

Prove it? That's not how logic works. You made the claim, not me. You're the one responsible for proving it. Sheesh.

tonykaz's picture

Im not needing to prove, or argue with defenders of unsupportable positions having no basis.

State your position or stand down.

Tony in Michigan

beave's picture

My position is clear: You made up the 25% figure in your previous post, and you've posted a bunch of gibberish and hand-waving since then instead of admitting so.

Ortofan's picture

... the country in which their products are produced is Hegel.

tonykaz's picture

Hegel goes to extraordinary lengths to deny China. Of course it's an extraordinary embarrassment if a person actually invests in Norway-Hegel gear only to discover it's actually Chinese and everyone hid the fact or goes to great lengths of hide the facts.

i'd be pisssed too,

Tony in Michigan

johnnythunder's picture

When I read about their amps, a little digging revealed that some if not all of their equipment is made there and not in the EU. At least be transparent about it and then a consumer can make a decision. PrimaLuna is made in China and designed in Europe. That's fine. As is Quad and many others. There's a ton of nice audio coming out of China - Line Magnetic, Cayin, etc. The issue here is simply transparency in where these products are actually manufactured. I agree with Tony in MI - Luxman had an almost identical Class A int. amp that was made in China. It's US list price was 25% lower than their made in Japan Class A w practically the same specs. I think 25% is an accepted figure for this.

tonykaz's picture

These Outfits need to be Called-Out for being "Tone-Deaf" to the needs of Consumers. Do they seem to care?

Sourcing in China is strictly 4-Profit, short term/fast buck, screw the people that built the Company & their family marketing strategy.

Concealing China sourcing will rapidly destroy Brand Loyalty, which will happen anyway because the Company is now Chan Wong who will never appear at any Show.

China makes Audio decisions easier, it eliminates all the product that has questionable DNA and forces us into the Loving Arms of outfits like LINN, CHORD, SCHIIT, PS AUDIO, etc....Audiophiles have a personal Relationship with their gear and the Outfits that build it.

Gear Reviewing now needs to include Service Infrastructure descriptions and insights because ALL gear needs Manufacture Support for successful ownership experiences but not all gear has it built in as a Given.

For Example, pick up the phone and call PS Audio for help, even if you don't own any PS Audio, you will feel powerful comfort from realizing that a REAL person answers your call, knows stuff, stands with YOU and is accessible )

So, from now on, I expect Reviewers to explain the behind the scenes support for the Product they're presenting.

Tony in Michigan

funambulistic's picture

To your points about products "Made in the USA": https://www.head-fi.org/threads/schiit-happened-the-story-of-the-worlds-most-improbable-start-up.701900/page-2884

Scroll down to Post #43291. That's what I would call... Schiity.

tonykaz's picture

It's the Manufacturer's Responsibility to keep their Customer Base Informed.

Our Federal Trade Commission is owned by our Corporations who won't be regulated, leaving our Tiny Outfits vulnerable to competitive scrutinies from punitive zealotry.

My various Manufacturing Outfits still use "Made in USA" & Made from Recycled Materials as part of our Marketing.

Fingers Crossed.

Tony in Michigan

ps. Schiit maintains a close relationship with their Customer Base, their "accurate" source information should be a Beacon example to all manufacturing.

Bertie Bucket's picture

Tony is opening his mouth and letting his tongue flap in the wind.

His rant against Chinese produced gear smacks of elitist racism rather than fact. It's irrelevant where Hegel are made. I knew where mine was made before I bought it and two years down the line it's still going strong and I don't regret the purchase.

These things are not handmade. They're made by robots. Mobo's are made by robots.
Cars are made by robots. Bikes are made by robots. Electronics are made by robots. Guess what? A robot doesn't care what nationality it is or where it's located. It just does what it's program tells it to do.

My iPads were also made in China, no problem with them either.
As was my Eizo monitor. My grpahics card is made in China as is my sound card. Likely my Logitech mouse and keyboard were too. No problems with any of them.

Your blind antipathy towards Chinese made gear and your blind belief 'Made In America' equals gold standard quality across the board is naive at best.

Harley's have been junk for decades and where have they been made? Death wobbles galore. Crap brakes. Rubbish handling. Engines unable to meet emissions standards.

Then look at US cars, most of them were junk and light years behind European and Japanese handling, efficiency and build quality.

No country has a monopoly on quality manufacture. Every country produces good and bad, China and America included.

If you're an American, British, German company who wants something manufactured in China and if China wants the work, you set the standards for the goods they produce, not the other way around.

So these particular speakers, they're not 100% crafted by craftsmen and women. They're mainly manufactured and built by machines and machines just do what machines do, it doesn't matter where you bolt them down on planet earth.

tonykaz's picture

Toyota & Tesla & Honda are Cars made by people, not robotics annnnnd they're made in the USA. for gods sake, of course, a person would have to actually be inside manufacturing plants to know.

Plenty of problems with Apple stuff, like short life spans. All computer stuff has short life and planned obsolescence not to mention persistent Battery Problems.

I agree, Harleys are rather horrible, especially compared to the Honda Motorcycles we make here in the USA. Honda being the largest Exporter of Motorcycles.

You do set the Standards for your Chinese Manufacturing to work to BUT they deliver what they deliver and Customer has to accept. ( experience talking ).

All people can product outstanding quality!!! ( and will if allowed )

Chinese Loudspeakers are worthless on the Used Market, Reviewers have the obligation to explain this fact. ( I represented JVC for a time, including their Loudspeaker Lines )

Overall, I accept your Anger and redirect it to the Outfits racing to the Bottom.

Tony in Michigan

ps. I'm a China Fanboy, I import and use their Magnets. I don't like USA Personalities Off-Shoring our Legacy Brand Manufacturing to China for their personal leveraged Profit whilst leaving us with their low resale value gear and unemployed staff.

Bertie Bucket's picture

The Hondas are made to Japanese spec using Japanese techniques and Japanese engineering standards just like the do here in the UK and wherever else they manufacture.

What I'm saying is the same operates in reverse. If Revel set up manufacturing operations anywhere in the world, it will be to their standards in manufacturing and not to whatever standards some local guy decides therefore a Chinese made Revel should be the same quality as an American made Revel just as an American made Honda should be the same quality as a Japanese or British built Honda.

tonykaz's picture

Of course, they "should" be the same quality but you don't know that, you are not there to make these promises.

If you were a Manufacturing Person with measurable experience you'd know that all Manufacturing differs in quality.

Revel isn't doing any explaining about how & why their Off-Shoring is such high quality or why it's critical to success that they build in Asia. ( which, of course, is rubbish )

Revel is in Asia for the $1.50 Labor.

Revel is racing to the bottom.

Tony in Michigan

Bertie Bucket's picture

It's not racing to the bottom. You could have said the same about Honda locating in the USA given the Japanese built better engineered, better quality, more reliable cars than the Americans.

But the Japanese brought their knowhow with them and taught the American workers the way the Japanese did it and guess what? The cars would be just as good.

Revel will have done the same in reverse, taken it's expertise in manufacturing it's speakers and shown the workers at it's Indonesian or Chinese plants how to do it. Indonesian and Chinese workers are every bit as skilled as anyone else.

Just admit it, it's all about the bigotry for you.

RoryB's picture

You spilled a lot of ink about China, only to forget that Indonesia isn't China. There is a different ethos in their manufacturing, similar to the difference between Taiwan and China. The quality of the finished cabinetry is excellent.

tonykaz's picture

For our purposes, Indonesia counts as just another Off-Schore/ Out Sourcing by an essentially USA outfit.

Indonesia does beautiful Work, as does Viet Nam, Bangladesh, and every other Country we care to mention.

The Larger Issue remains: Customer Support and Owner's problem solving. How long will parts & service be available?

How long doesn't matter much if we're talking about a $2 Dollar plastic item from Walmart but it means quite a bit for an older
pair of REVELs needing a failed driver, doesn't it? ( especially on a $50,000 Amplifier )

Can we put the reporting burden on reviewers?, on Stereophile?, on the Manufacturing?, on all of em?

Yes we can, dammit! And we Should!, unless we're discussing throw-away product with short Half-Life. ( $15 Toaster )

Stereophile people already OWN the highest level of professionalism and credibility...

... I'm asking for them to report on Product Support as part of their evaluation.

Tony in Michigan

Bertie Bucket's picture

Customer support is a red herring. Support will be via Revel who are based in the US. They wont wash their hands of any speakers manufactured in their plants elsewhere. Therefore the support will be exactly the same for Revel products no matter where they are manufactured.

tonykaz's picture

Especially for a product having a Customer Cost equivalent to a Kia SOUL. KIA is Superb Asian Quality that has Superb Customer Service, they even Manufacture in the USA at Manufacturing Plants that exceed Asian Standards of excellence.

Revel has plenty of explaining to do. We shall see if Samsung steps-up to address these problems. ( I'd be worried if I'm Revel )

Tony in Michigan

Bertie Bucket's picture

Worried about bigots, there's nothing else to be worried about.

If their speakers built in countries x,y,z pass their own quality tests and measure the same there is no difference.

You've waltzed around conjuring up different angles to attack this from and all have been easily swept away. All that's left is your personal bigotry and that wont be swept away by rational arguments. You're stuck with it until you enlighten yourself.

tonykaz's picture

Your resorting to Bigotry charges says-it-all about you.

Tony in Michigan

Bertie Bucket's picture

Sweeping generalism. Did you know there's at least 70,000 Taiwanese companies based in China? Manufacturing all sorts of goods. Then there's the Japanese companies based there, the South Koreans, the European companies and the North American companies.

Hundreds of thousands of foreign companies based in China.

It's simply not the case to suggest that companies in America/Europe/Far East abrigates all responsisbilty onto some third party Chinese outfit.

These companies moving into China bring their own leadership and experts. Their manufacturing techniques and the machinery they use back home in Berlin, California, Taipei.

Jason P Jackson's picture

Former Scan Speak engineers started a factory in Indonesia in the early 2000's -SB Acoustics. The result are drive units such as the sb17nbac35 which has the lowest distortion I have seen for a midwoofer save the diamond drivers from Accuton/Thiel and Partner. SB Acoustics are one of the OEM's for several loudspeaker manufacturers including, but not limited to Harman International, AudioSolutions and Wilson Audio.

tonykaz's picture

Are you an Authority on these matters? or a humble DIYer?

Business wise, former Danesian engineering migrating to Indonesia is a Cheap Labor solution.

You seem to believe and claim to know where Wilson sources their drivers, do you have the accurate knowledge to speak with such Authority? It's not at all unusual for OEMs to claim relationships with Prestigious Companies. ( they are not OEM to General Motors )

Is lowest Distortion the defining quality of a Loudspeaker System?

Danesian Audio ( Denmark) designers joined with Sinar Baja to create "affordable" alternatives to hi-end transducers . SB has cramped workplaces & ambient air quality issues.

Sinar Baja is a price point OEM.

Tony in Michigan

Kevin Voecks's picture

[When a Manufacturer doesn't PROCLAIM "Made in USA", we know, don't we? Revel's address is Harmon's Headquarters which is not Zoned for Manufacturing.

Made in USA is immediately worth a 25% bump in what Customers are willing ( and even anxious ) to pay.

Tony in Michigan]

Tony,

We kept our loudspeaker production in the USA longer than most. Since our acoustics-related work is based in Northridge, which is a part of Los Angeles, there are very restrictive pollution requirements (as well there should be). We always met or exceeded these requirements. For example, all the air in the spray booths was pulled through waterfalls, after which the water was cleaned to the point it could theoretically be ingested before entering the sewer system. We formulated finishes using the most environmentally-friendly constituent components, but as pollution regulations tightened, it was no longer possible to meet them while producing the quality of finish required.

It is no secret that the enclosure is the most expensive single component of any loudspeaker. That is due largely to the extensive handwork required. Nine coats of primer, paint and clear coat are applied, with hand and machine sanding between each. It is not hard to see that the labor component is very significant.

Revel demands that each production speaker is an extremely close match to the engineering reference for that model. That kind of precision production and testing is also time-consuming. Neither the enclosure fabrication and finishing or the production work itself can be done by entry-level employees.

As the pieces fall into place, one can see that the cost of production in the USA adds dramatically to the overall cost. It would result in more than a 25% bump in consumer prices. Unfortunately, that is simply not tolerated by the market. While many people will pay more for contents that do not actually contribute positively to sound quality, they will not do so, and are most certainly not anxious to pay more to have the speaker say "Assembled in the USA."

I am proud that Revel produces what we believe is the best value in speakers throughout our price range. Indeed, we have routinely outperformed speakers that cost four to five times the price of our models in controlled listening tests. This allows more people to enjoy music that sounds great--clearly adding to the emotional satisfaction that music can provide.

tonykaz's picture

It's the Standard set of justifications for offshoring. I'm not Sorry and not buying it for manufacturing reasons.

Seven Coats of Primer ? The Close-up photo of Revel finish reveals waviness and high gloss. It's glitzy but not Steinway Piano levels. ( is it ? )

I'm disappointed that you're subjecting your workers to toxic product that California would never allow. Does that make Revel a better or worse employer? or a typical off-shore / resort to inhumane conditions, cost cutting, decision making outfit?

We go to FUJI FILM for lenses because they are the finest Lens outfit in the World, Hasselblad use FUJI Glass. FUJI Glass isn't more expensive.

I'm Engineering, marketing language describing decisions isn't useful.

I do agree that Harmon's Lab is superb, ( still in California ? ) aren't they trying to off-shore it for Cost Savings ? , could save a bundle in Taiwan ( I have contacts and phone numbers if you need ) Taiwan can Hydra-Form Alum. speaker baskets and Magnet Housing for cheap.

Go ahead, do what "they" need you to do.

I'm looking for Manufacturing that will remain committed to Service and upgrading existing product without choking their staff. Maybe even Harmon's Klipsch.

Tony in Michigan

Bogolu Haranath's picture

They have robots painting automobiles ......... Why can't they have robots painting loudspeakers? :-) .....

tonykaz's picture

The Human painter creates a better result.

We Auto Industry folks are trying to paint 85,000 Cars & Truck per day. We're striving for a uniform orange-peel result that is nice enough so that Showroom Customers accept, yet durable enough to survive 5 years of Ambient Sunlight in Arizona without visible fade or wind-born dirt abrasians .

Indonesia supplies labor at the $1.50 per hour rate, they can and should provide skilled human hands yielding Piano finish, yet they don't seem to know what Piano finish actually is or have the necessary tools & skill levels to achieve it. ( who can blame them? )

Still, building these "passive" loudspeakers in Asia should result in USA Market Prices much lower than the MSRP of $10,000 US, considering the Retail Price of a KIA Soul is $15,000.

Is there more Engineering in a loudspeaker than a modern CAR?

Tony in Michigan

Bertie Bucket's picture

You talk a lot of rot and confuse words coming out of your mouth with facts.

Piano's manufactured in Indonesia -

Yamaha, they manufacture their smallest grands in Indonesia.

Seiler

Seiler is one of europe's oldest surviving piano builders. Established in 1849, in Germany, they still operate today producing a wide variety of high quality pianos. The SE series of grand and vertical pianos is produced in Germany while the ED series is a duplication of the SE series produced in their ultra high-tech factory in Indonesia. The GS line fills out the line with unique grand and vertical pianos also produced at the Indonesian factory.

Wm. Knabe & Co., Pramberger, Samick

All of these brands are owned by Samick Music Corporation. Samick operates piano factories in Korea, Indonesia, and the United States. All factories are owned and controlled by SMC. Most brands feature pianos that come from any of the three factories. Samick has been been producing instruments in their Indonesian factory for more years than any other Indonesian piano factory. They were once the largest shareholder in Steinway and Sons and currently have a large investment in Kawai.

Samick in certain years has earned the title of largest grand piano manufacturer and largest guitar manufacturer with most of these instruments coming from their Indonesian factories.

Baldwin

One of the most well known U.S. piano manufacturer has recently, under direction of parent company Gibson, ceased building pianos in the United States and has moved production to China. Baldwin has manufactured pianos with many brand names over time. Names such as Chickering, Howard, Hamilton, Wurlitzer, and D.H. Baldwin. Depending on model and vintage the piano may have been built in a Baldwin factory in the United States or China, or may have been built for Baldwin by other manufacturers in Japan, Indonesia, or China. Some of these manufacturers include Samick, Yamaha, and Kawai.

Kawai

Kawai operates piano factories in Japan and Indonesia. Founded in 1927, the company has focused much of its efforts into developing ABS-Carbon actions for its pianos moving away from traditional wooden parts.

Upper end grand pianos are built in Japan.

Lower end grands are made in Indonesia.

Vertical pianos 48” and taller are manufactured in Japan.

Vertical pianos 48” and under are made in Indonesia.

tonykaz's picture

Thank you for your comments about Piano Manufacturing today in Indonesia. I'll accept them to be accurate.

Of course they do not include the traditional Manufacturing Locations for various Piano models but does show Attention to Servicing Asian Markets with Asian Piano Manufacturing.

I am CERTAIN that these Asian Manufacturing Plants can create outstanding quality, I've seen some of it.

However, I am not at all certain that Asian Loudspeakers are finished to the wonderfully high levels of Upper-End Grand Piano or even Lower End models, pianos have to endure heavy uses and travel. Our Local Orchestra Steinway endures rough treatment while performing to Virtuoso levels of performance. Pianos are wonderful and very expensive, Loudspeakers are cheap by comparison.

A large scratch across a Beautifully finished loudspeaker destroys it's appeal. Oiled Walnut is the practical answer.

Tony in Michigan

Baconguy's picture

Took me here to the Revel site:

https://revelspeakers.com/newsdetail/~/item/revel-f208.html

Not exactly secret. Seems it would be common sense to assume a newer iteration of the same line would be manufactured in the same place it was 2 years ago.

I didn’t even go to internet school to be able to do this.

tonykaz's picture

you'd read that Revel claims "Italian Coachmaking" outfit makes their enclosures.

Tony in Michigan

Baconguy's picture

...Italian cabinet makers helped developed the finishing process. Also, there are plenty of Italian cabinet designers in the USA and elsewhere. It’s the style, not the ethnicity of the designers.

Don’t confuse reading with interpolating, especially to suit your bias.

tonykaz's picture

My Bias is Supporting Domestic Manufacturing.

Revel is rationalizing their Off-Shoring while attempting to Gas Light the Consumer into thinking it's all for their benefit.

Everyone knows that Off-Shoriing is for Corporate Benefit not Consumer Benefit. ( I'm a Manufacturer )

Your comment reads like Hubris except that I'm far higher in Industry rankings and not susceptible to you're accusational aggressiveness .

Tony in Michigan

Baconguy's picture

There is no apparent subterfuge in Revel’s marketing. You are making groundless accusations against them in a public forum.

I have already pointed out that the information regarding the manufacturing location was previously made public. If you had done your research you would have already known that before you made these claims against them.

Revel can manufacture wherever they want. If you are against off-shore manufacturing write your congressman. However, your original posts focused on making false claims against Revel’s disengenuine and deliberately misleading marketing (which you apparently have trouble comprehending given your couchmaker comment). Now you are trying to turn this into some flag waving national pride thing.

You made bogus claims. You got called out. It happens.

BTW we’re all some guy behind a screen. It doesn’t really matter if you’re in manufacturing or sales or whatever. Your disorganized, spurious and apparently racist and nationalist comments in this thread nullify any authority I might have thought you had regarding hifi.

Also, after allegedly handling thousands of packing slips and labels during your career as a Harman dealer (stocker?) you still aren’t spelling it right. It is Harman with an A.

tonykaz's picture

It's Samsung with an A

Tony in Michigan

blang11's picture

Thanks for the wonderful review! JA, am I correct in thinking there is a typo here? "There is also a demanding combination of 5 ohms magnitude and 39.5° electrical phase angle at 290Hz." Should that be 29Hz?

beave's picture

I think you're correct that there is a typo there.

But I don't see that impedance at 29Hz either. The worst phase angle occurs even lower than 29Hz. The combination he mentions appears to occur around 400Hz. The impedance at around 20Hz seems more difficult, though it would be ameliorated by a lack of content there (except in movies, but in that case use of subwoofers would make it moot).

John Atkinson's picture
blang11 wrote:
JA, am I correct in thinking there is a typo here? "There is also a demanding combination of 5 ohms magnitude and 39.5° electrical phase angle at 290Hz." Should that be 29Hz?

Yes, it should read 390Hz. I have corrected the text.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Probably, this loudspeaker should work well with the new Mark Levinson No. 5805 or 5802 :-) ..........

tonykaz's picture

Mr.KR should get an Award and an "Oscar Like Statue" for this one.

It's one hell of a piece of work ( actually pieces of work ). Phew.

Who gets welcomed into Olive's Laboratory? Tyll was the only one I'm aware of.

There is no way on this Earth that a Glossy Writer would ever gain admission to GM's Tech Center or GM's Milford Proving Grounds. But Mr.KR is telling a Story from Inside Harmon's Secret Laboratory Blind Testing Facility?. Get outta here !!!

And,

It's one hell of a Story, revealing significant truths, things that Manufacturers & Manufacturer's Reps don't want anyone to understand, know or realize: Kerpow, a $10,000 loudspeaker is SUPERB !!

Well, that kinda shows all those glitzy high priced loudspeakers to be of dubious Sonic Advantage, doesn't it? I happen to know that Olive & Co. actually evaluate those $50,000 Loudspeakers with their Spin-o-rama Blind Testing System, which is for Hire by other Manufacturers.

Back in the Day, I was a Harmon Kardon Stocking Dealer, I don't recall them offering any sort of loudspeaker product, I certainly would've had a close look at their Revel Line, given the chance. But, I've kinda felt that Revel was a Secret outfit, Bob Katz is the only person using Revel. ( he sold his to his intern, darn it ).

Now, today, I realize that Revel makes a LARGE number of Loudspeakers, far too many for any one Dealer to Carry or demonstrate. What gives with that ? and, Indonesia puts me off.

Mr.KR's work is greatness.

Thank you,

Tony in Michigan

Kevin Voecks's picture

[Mr.KR should get an Award and an "Oscar Like Statue" for this one.

It's one hell of a piece of work ( actually pieces of work ). Phew.

Who gets welcomed into Olive's Laboratory? Tyll was the only one I'm aware of.

There is no way on this Earth that a Glossy Writer would ever gain admission to GM's Tech Center or GM's Milford Proving Grounds. But Mr.KR is telling a Story from Inside Harmon's Secret Laboratory Blind Testing Facility?. Get outta here !!!

And,

It's one hell of a Story, revealing significant truths, things that Manufacturers & Manufacturer's Reps don't want anyone to understand, know or realize: Kerpow, a $10,000 loudspeaker is SUPERB !!

Well, that kinda shows all those glitzy high priced loudspeakers to be of dubious Sonic Advantage, doesn't it? I happen to know that Olive & Co. actually evaluate those $50,000 Loudspeakers with their Spin-o-rama Blind Testing System, which is for Hire by other Manufacturers.

Back in the Day, I was a Harmon Kardon Stocking Dealer, I don't recall them offering any sort of loudspeaker product, I certainly would've had a close look at their Revel Line, given the chance. But, I've kinda felt that Revel was a Secret outfit, Bob Katz is the only person using Revel. ( he sold his to his intern, darn it ).

Now, today, I realize that Revel makes a LARGE number of Loudspeakers, far too many for any one Dealer to Carry or demonstrate. What gives with that ? and, Indonesia puts me off.

Mr.KR's work is greatness.

Thank you,

Tony in Michigan]

Tony,

Our labs are not secret! In fact, one of the ways that we are able to have the world's leading research scientists is that they are able to freely publish everything. A review of the Audio Engineering Society's Journal and Proceedings will reveal a treasure trove of information regarding their research, how it was done, and the results. It is all quite public.

I am unsure why our making a wide range of loudspeakers is an issue? To my thinking, making the best of any category is a good thing, and doing so while offering great value is even better. We perform double-blind listening tests on entry-level in-ceiling loudspeakers, for example. Why wouldn't you want to buy speakers for any application knowing that they had been shown to outperform competitors before they were produced?

I am sorry that Indonesia puts you off. I was shocked on my first visit there. I personally inspected and recommended the facility to our sourcing department. Working in Revel production is the aspiration of everyone in the facility that we use. Everyone goes home at night. Excellent food is provided during the workday. The Revel production area is exceedingly clean and neat and is fully air-conditioned. Our extraordinarily tight tolerances are met or exceeded, and production is overseen by Harman personnel.

tonykaz's picture

Hello Mr.Voecks

Thanks for writing back.

I've been attached to General Motors Research for a few Decades, I'm probably thinking of your Inner workings the way we think of ours. I was surprised to learn of Harmon Loaning-out of various parts. What's been revealed is insightful to me. Thank you.

The Revel Product Range would stagger me if I were Retailer. Back when I owned Esoteric Audio ( mid 1980s ) we had "Pet" Speakers that survived scrutiny from our staff & Customer Review Jurists : Pro-Ac Tablette, Thiel CS3, and a few more specialized Loudspeakers. We also carried Brand Name/Reviewer Loved Loudspeakers : Celestian SL6, SL600 Quad 63s Spica TC50, etc...
We carried & Sold all 4 of Thiel's Product Range. So I'm curious, how could a Dealer carry ( one to Show, 2 to Go ) the Enormous Revel Product Range? Is there a Revel Full Line Stocking Dealer somewhere? As a Manufacturer myself, Revel appears to be a designer and builder of a Vast Array of Product hoping some part of the Range triggers an Avalanche of Sales Success. I suppose that my point of view is from the narrow interest of the Audiophile not the Design Group attempting to supply all Market Place demands. Phew, an enormous task.

Relating Asia and Indonesia.

In my Old Age, I'm becoming mindful of various Products that seem to keep performing despite their Birth Date being long ago. And, I'm becoming mindful that outfits like Sony are no longer serviceable or maintain service infrastructure. So, I'm becoming distrustful of Asian products having any sort of useful lifespan relating to their significant Dollar Investment Level. The Revel Story needs to include a competent Service Dept. and commitment. All the Asian Automakers are a Wonderful Model to emulate.

Overall, Harmon has a continuing Story to tell, now is a darn good time to start telling it.

Tony in Michigan

ps. do you lads have a "sealed" or Mint T-60 Harmon Kardon Turntable I might buy? ( for old time sake )

ps. 2.) I've been a Strong Admirer of Asian Skills for a very long time. My Minister Wife owns a KIA Soul 2011 that we consider the finest Car we've ever owned, we've owned well over 50 Cars ( most GM Cars ). My position on Korea remains : German Engineering Levels, Japanese Build Quality, China price. ( am I wrong ? )

tonykaz's picture

Cheap Labor, $3,000 per year, $1.50 per hour.

A Manufacturer can endure endless flak and criticisms when they're only paying poverty wages.

Tony in Michigan

Bertie Bucket's picture

It's not poverty wages in the country the workers are located in. The wage reflects the cost of living in that country. If the costs rise, so do the wages.

American factory wages are probably poverty wages to Norwegian, Danish or German manufacturers. It costs a lot of money to employ someone in those countries.

Long-time listener's picture

"The peak in the upper bass will be almost entirely due to the nearfield measurement technique..." In almost all cases--not so much here, but in almost all bookshelf speakers you measure--there is also a pronounced dip in the frequencies just above this peak, which is to say, in the upper bass or lower midrange.

Is that dip also an artifact of the measurement technique?

One exception was the Aeriel 5T, which had no such dip, but which John Atkinson also found to have too much upper bass. So is the dip we typically see a good thing then?

Thanks

Long-time listener's picture

Uh, it's really tiring when otherwise good writers call attention to bad puns by putting "sorry," or especially by putting "no pun intended," in parentheses. If it's a good pun, we'll get it. If it's a bad pun, we'd rather not have it pointed out, thanks.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Almost all of the 'full range' audiophile grade loudspeakers built in USA and EU cost twice or many more times than $10k ....... I think the Revel Ultima Studio2 (Stereophile Class-A, full range) is built in US and costs $16,000 ..........

Bixby's picture

I wonder why Revel left out the controls that are included on the F208 as well as the Salon2. Detrimental to signal quality? Maybe people just aren't using them?

Also interesting the 228 has more panel resonances than the 208.

tonykaz's picture

The entire Product is missing useful explanations.

Revel is Confusing, Why is that ?

Having Mr.KR explore Revel to learn, so that he can then write some comprehensive product Line ( Range ) understandings is exactly what I hoped for. As it stands, this Review is the closest I've come to any sort of Revel understanding.

And.....

I wonder why Revel people aren't adding important details to all our little Comments? Are they not interested in making useful contributions to Revel Product knowledge ? Do they have a vested interest thats at least as committed as we curious readers?

Of course, the likely thing is that Revel is ignoring N.America while focusing their efforts on Selling to Asians.

Guys like a prestigious NorthAmerican Reviewer can have a close look because their written review will be read and admired by the upwardly mobile Asian Industrialists. ( what price point do they buy at? )

Bottom line might be that $10,000 buys a fulfilling Loudspeaker Pair for Rooms of certain cubic volume.
or...
this Loudspeaker proves that returns diminish significantly for loudspeakers costing over $10,000.
or...
Any doubtfully better Loudspeaker is gonna add zeros to the Price.
or...
This is just about as good as Loudspeakers can get, no matter the price. ( which is just about how the "between the lines" reads, doesn't it ? )

I still think that this is on hell of a review for all the sundry background it presents.

Tony in Michigan

Bogolu Haranath's picture

After reading the review and looking at the measurements, including the Spinorama graphs, I do not think all those over $100k and over $200k loudspeakers sound 10 times or 20 times better :-) ...........

tonykaz's picture

Well then, why are people spending $100,000 to $200,000 ?, what justifies the expense?

Is it:

Quality of exterior Finishing?
Fine Crisp Detail ?
Striking Contrast ?

or

Is it part of the Maslow hierarchy of Human Needs?

Money Income
Income Security,
Social reasons,
Status Reason,
Ego Reasons ?

Mr.KR appears to have logically discovered and revealed that Transducers achieve a realistic Peak Performance around the $10,000 Price level, which he used Harmon Labs, Toole, Olive and Revel to establish. ( intentionally or unintentionally )

I think that Mr. KR pegs the Achievable Benchmark Performance Level for Loudspeakers, Today!!

They probably don't get much better than this!

I'll fly out to PS Audio to audition the 3 Product Range of Neudell Loudspeakers for $5k, $10k and $20k if I'm still on the Waiting List for Oakwood Cemetery. I wonder if the smallest will fit into the cargo hold of a Cessna? Wanna join in that Fun?

Fingers Crossed

Tony in Michigan

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Top of the pyramid of 'Maslow's hierarchy' is 'Self-actualization' ........ Same reason why some billionaire recently bought an over 250 million dollar condo in a Manhattan sky-scraper :-) ..........

tonykaz's picture

No way,

Was the guy an Audiophile?, betcha he owns those $750,000 Wilsons.

Tony in Michigan

ps. and I'm about to Sell my House and become homeless, I'll have to sleep in my Cessna Hanger and eat take-out Taco Bell. poor me

Bogolu Haranath's picture

The guy is a Wall Street trader/investor, who is worth several billion dollars ......... He also owns several homes and condos all-around the world, each worth multi-million dollars ........ I don't know whether he is an audiophile or not :-) .........

Kal Rubinson's picture

That's why they are "only" $10k. :-)

Juhazi's picture

https://www.harman.com/samsung

Samsung from South Korea bought Harman - JBL, Revel, Mark Levinson, AKG etc.in 2018. Samsung has design and manufacturing world wide. Indonesia is growing fast and also my Nikon cameras have been built there.

Kevin Voecks's picture

[https://www.harman.com/samsung

Samsung from South Korea bought Harman - JBL, Revel, Mark Levinson, AKG etc.in 2018. Samsung has design and manufacturing world wide. Indonesia is growing fast and also my Nikon cameras have been built there.]

Juhazi,
Indeed, Harman is a division of Samsung. We were building Revel loudspeakers in Indonesia well before there was any hint of a deal between the companies. I am pleased to also let you know that, as promised, the acquisition has had no material effect on Revel or our other Luxury Brands-- Mark Levinson, JBL Synthesis, Lexicon, and ARCAM.

tonykaz's picture

Change of Ownership is a Gigantic Effect and Affect for all things relating to Brands.

One year from now Revel's Engineering Staff is thinned and replaced for inefficiency or what ever reason. ( probably with much lower paid Contract Engineering from India, if they haven't already done so )

All manner of things can and will happen because NEW Owners rework the Brand calculus and restructure to better fit THEIR needs.

Better update that Resume, especially if you're making California Income. You might try some of those Asian Companies re-locating to USA for lower cost Manufacturing. ( like Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Honda, etc... ) or Tesla the third largest Car Company.

Tony in Michigan

ps. participating in the Race to the Bottom is always a losing proposition.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

It would be interesting to see/hear active, self-powered speakers from Revel ........ Active, Gem2 and/or Salon2 with built-in Class-D amps, and with overall gain and LF/MF/HF trim/output controls would be interesting :-) ........

... and may be name them 'ultimate Ultima' speakers :-) .........

RobertSlavin's picture

I believe figure 3 has an incorrect description. I suspect it is like figure 3 of the review of the Audio Physic speaker on page 101 in that it also the result of averaging across a 30 degree window. Otherwise, the tweeter response wouldn't look very much like the tweeter response in figure 4 of the Revel measurements.

John Atkinson's picture
RobertSlavin wrote:
I believe figure 3 has an incorrect description. I suspect it is like figure 3 of the review of the Audio Physic speaker on page 101 in that it also the result of averaging across a 30 degree window.

The green trace in fig.3 has not been averaged across a window. It is the output of the midrange unit and tweeter on the tweeter axis. That it is similar to the trace in fig.4 is due to the Revel's even horizontal dispersion.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Jason P Jackson's picture

Perfectly designed speakers. However, the black skirted plinth at the base looks cheap.

Theodor's picture

JA and KR - could you please provide comparison of these speakers vs GoldenEar Triton Reference speaking of music clarity in mid and low levels?
Highly appreciated!

dcolak's picture

Am I reading right the measurements?

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