Likewise, the numbers look less than impressive compared to the rest of the field (-3dB at 60 Hz and 86dB sensitivity aren’t exactly inspiring), but then I suspect that that is because they have rather more to do with reality than some, and if there are lies, damned lies and statistics, there’s a special corner in arithmetical hell reserved just for loudspeaker specs.
So the Revel Performa M105 isn’t exactly hiding its light under a bushel, but more behind a rather pretty face and high gloss finish (including the currently obligatory white, naturally). But don’t be fooled by that slightly bland exterior; this is a far more capable performer (ouch) than it seems. Designed for free-space mounting, Revel supplied a set of matching stands for the M105, although I opted to stick with my tried and trusted 24” Track Audio stands. You do get a set of foam bungs to stuff the rear ports should you be book-shelf or near-wall mounting the speakers, but in the UK at least these are going to be used as a high-quality mini-monitors rather stuffed in the ‘den’. So, I figured that compromising their performance with less than ideal siting made no sense at all. Instead, positioned about 40cm out from the rear wall with a slightly wide stance and moderate toe-in, the M105s quickly demonstrated just how right I was. This is really rather a special little speaker. I can (and will) break down its musical character, but let’s start by establishing what it is that makes it so special – and that’s its unfailing sense of coherence and integration. It’s not just that the tweeter and mid-base meet so seamlessly that you don’t ever hear the join, the whole speaker is so well behaved, so devoid of attention grabbing or intrusive anomalies, that it simply disappears into the soundstage, leaving behind music, just music.
With so many exotic tweeter types and materials around these days, the apparently simple aluminium dome used in the M105 might look a little low rent, but its contribution demonstrates just how far you can take established materials and technology if you know what you are doing. The top-end here is sweet, open, and unusually solid: no wispy, ethereal thinness here. Play really wide-ranging vocals from a singer like Ruth Moody, who effortlessly combines a clear soprano with the earthier tones of a contralto, and there are no discontinuities in her voice, no doubt helped by the material consistency between the two drivers. Her vocals on These Wilder Things [Red House CD] stay put, both in terms of position and substance, so as they soar – and soar they do – you never lose the sense of the flesh-and-blood person behind the voice.