Revel is the high point in Harman’s extensive range of loudspeaker brands; it has the luxury of sharing facilities with JBL, but doesn’t have to make mass market products in the way that behemoth does. The Northridge, California facility has the only automated loudspeaker blind listening machine I have ever come across, The facility physically moves single loudspeakers into the playing position and repeats this for other models so that theoretically a listener can audition different models without knowing which ones they are. But this is only a small part of the process that Kevin Voecks and his team go through when developing new products; the rest of it is a little bit more like real work.
The Performa range is now in its third incarnation and it has settled down to representing the midrange in Revel’s portfolio – shinier, and more advanced than the Concerta lines, but more affordable than the Ultima2 series. The M126Be is the smallest two channel models in the PerformaBe series, a two way with a six-and-a-half-inch main driver and a curvy box where there are fewer straight lines than usual. It’s one of those disconcerting loudspeakers that weighs more than it should, a bit like an ATC. In fact, the box is just over 38cm high but weighs nearly 10 kilos. It’s safe to say that it’s rather more solid than average and the drivers are well backed up on the motor system front.
The suffix in the M126Be’s name indicates the presence of beryllium, the fourth element on the periodic table, as Revel points out, and a material that seems to have everything going for it when it comes to radiating high frequencies. It’s four and a half times stiffer than aluminium, and yet has three times the internal damping. The fact that it weighs half as much is icing on a particularly well- endowed cake. No wonder Focal got so worked up when they introduced the first pure Be domes on their tweeters a few years ago. But like any other material, beryllium is only as good as what you do with it; application is everything. Revel have chosen to put it in an acoustic lens, essentially a carefully shaped waveguide that controls dispersion. On this occasion the lens is made of cast aluminium with a ceramic coating for added stiffness; it is also the fifth generation of the lens, so hopefully they’ve got it right by now! The magnet is unusually large behind the tweeter; they specify 85mm, which is more than three times the diameter of the dome, so it must provide plenty of control.