Revel Performa M105

Revel Performa M105
Revel Performa M105

Every so often you get a product come along that seems to embody every current design trend and hot new technology. It represents everything that is seen to be good in its particular category – and it normally sounds indifferent at best and more often that that, absolutely terrible. Jumping on bandwagons has seldom advanced the state-of-the-art; in fact, the result is often increased technology at the expense of absolute performance. On the face of it, Revel’s Performa M105 might be just such a product. It features a boat-backed cabinet, glossy finish and aesthetically pleasing plastic trim, a funky wave guide on the tweeter, and an aluminium coned bass-mid unit. As an exercise in ticking all the currently important boxes, that’s pretty complete. But throw in a price-tag that looks steep and it would be easy to take a quick look, conclude that it’s possible to get something superficially similar for a fraction of the price, and hit the ‘Next’ button. But that would be a mistake, because there’s a lot more to this speaker than the outside suggests – not least because it comes from Revel, a company with a reputation for combining sound engineering and superb material value. So, rather than judging this particular book by its cover, let’s look inside to see what it’s made of…

Having the huge resources of the Harman Group behind the design and manufacturing effort is no small advantage and Revel exploit it to the full, with every single component and part in the M105 built for purpose. The M105’s cabinet is another of those increasingly familiar boat back designs, the curved walls adding stiffness when compared to conventional flat panels. But that’s not all that Revel has done to create a stiff, non-resonant structure. Firstly, despite the diminutive dimensions of the cabinet, the walls are a full 25mm thick, the side-walls and rear having been laminated from single contiguous layers to ensure consistent resonant behaviour and long-term stability. Then they’re braced, to further suppress mechanical modes.

The drivers, so elegantly trimmed by that molded insert, are far from standard too. The 130mm aluminium cone on the bass unit is heavily ribbed to ensure pistonic behavior and coupled to a sophisticated motor that pays particular attention to the stability of its flux field, aiming to keep driver performance consistent even at high levels or under extreme dynamic demands. The acoustic lens fitted to the 25mm aluminium dome tweeter acts as a wave guide, controlling dispersion and matching it to the bass/mid driver through the crossover range, to improve integration and continuity as well as off-axis performance.

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