Revel PerformaBe F226Be and C426Be Loudspeaker Review

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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
PerformaBe set3.jpg
We were mightily impressed last year by Revel’s PerformaBe M126Be bookshelf speaker in our review which showed outstanding sound quality married with a high-end luxury styling. It wasn’t the most inexpensive bookshelf speaker we have come across, but we found it to be worth the $4k/pair asking price. In light of our experience with the M126Be, we were excited to see that Revel added more members to the PerformaBe family, a new flagship tower in theF328Be, a more affordable tower in the F226Be, and a center speaker in the C426Be. In for review today we have the F226Be and C426Be towers and center channel speakers, respectively.

READ: Revel PerformaBe F226Be and C426Be Loudspeaker Review
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic General
Speaking of Revel... look who found their way back home a few days ago...

IMG_20201129_1331529_copy_1216x1622.jpg
 
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Medieval80

Audiophyte
Great review! I'd love to know how these compare to the famous F208's and C208 for half the price. Revel definitely makes some amazing speakers. I can't wait to hear them in person one day. Ps. Thanks for all your hard work, James!
 
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mtrot

Full Audioholic
It's tempting to buy a C426 Be, just to get to that level of center channel performance!.:cool: The heck with timbre matching!
 
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Beave

Senior Audioholic
Nice review. Those are probably my current dream speakers.

That center is the same width as my 42" TV, including the frame around the screen. Does that make it a perfect match? ;)
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic Field Marshall
Nice review. Those are probably my current dream speakers.

That center is the same width as my 42" TV, including the frame around the screen. Does that make it a perfect match? ;)
It was meant to be!
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
Another good one, Shady. (Sometimes, I want your job!) :D
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic General
The driver positioning/layout reminds me of the Salk Song 3 speakers - or maybe I should say the Salk Song 3 positioning/layout reminds me of these, since these Revels came out well before the Salks did.
I sold them to my best friend after I bought the T+A’s (it’s been 2 years already?), but he’s downsizing to a soundbar because he’s never home anymore. :confused: I promised to sell them for him. It’s great hearing the F30’s again though. A good speaker never stops being good!
 
ErinH

ErinH

Audioholic General
Good job, James.

Do you have spin data for these? I've already got my spin from the F226Be so not concerned about that one as much. But I am interested to see how the center channel looks... just for educational purposes.

I am hoping you forgot them. But I don't see any mention of vertical polars so I am *assuming* you said "to hell with that". If so, I can't blame you. I nearly killed myself measuring the F226Be verticals. But, just want to make sure it wasn't simply an oversight in leaving it out.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Good job, James.

Do you have spin data for these? I've already got my spin from the F226Be so not concerned about that one as much. But I am interested to see how the center channel looks... just for educational purposes.

I am hoping you forgot them. But I don't see any mention of vertical polars so I am *assuming* you said "to hell with that". If so, I can't blame you. I nearly killed myself measuring the F226Be verticals. But, just want to make sure it wasn't simply an oversight in leaving it out.
I don't have spin data for these because I don't normally do vertical measurements with tower speakers. The center is as big as a tower, so I couldn't do verticals on it either; it doesn't have a side that I would be able to place it on for that kind of measurement set.
 
ErinH

ErinH

Audioholic General
I don't have spin data for these because I don't normally do vertical measurements with tower speakers. The center is as big as a tower, so I couldn't do verticals on it either; it doesn't have a side that I would be able to place it on for that kind of measurement set.
Ah, bummer. But I get it. Vertical polars are a pain.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
That is another nice review James. Obviously they have all the attributes to be good sounding speakers. Although I have to say the bass response is more limited than I would expect for a speakers of that size. The 2.1 KHz crossover is nicely managed but there is discontinuity visible as is to be expected from the timing issue of filters of that order.

But it really does highlight the confounding factors of center channel speakers.

I don't think it can be emphasized enough that a center speaker really does need to have power handling comparable to the right and left main speakers. However it most situations it is just not practical to have it as large as many towers. Usually the center is in an adverse position, near a rear boundary and close to a large reflecting TV screen. Yet it has to have superb voice clarity for dialog. As I have said here many times, center speakers present by far the biggest challenge to speaker designers of all other speakers. The challenges are many fold greater.

Lobing issues of the standard and ubiquitous horizontal MTM designs really make them non starters.

I have found boundary issues are a serious problem, which makes some frequency tailoring below the 400 Hz range mandatory in my view. Reinforcement of the rear boundary is a highly significant issue from my investigations, especially below 100 Hz.

The next issue is time delay. The standard crossover topologies employed in the speech discrimination band with spaced drivers do definitely impair speech intelligibility.

So as I have said before a full range speaker works well, but with the drawback of limiting power output.

A well done coaxial design is a very good solution. I use two SEAS coaxial drivers, which gives a speaker with 400 watt power handling capacity or close. It is also a low Qts driver (0.24) which gives it a good leg up in the speech department. Two drivers allows for tailoring of proximity effects. So that has proved a really good solution. With TL loading F3 is specked and measured at 44 Hz. Size remains a problem though. It is however smaller than the speaker under review.

The other solution is the three way center with a vertical mid/tweeter arrangement. As you point out this requires that the spacing of the either side woofers be placed within a wavelength of crossover frequency. This really does require a mid that can cover the whole of the speech discrimination band. This means the driver needs to be physically small and powerful. That leaves precious few candidates, but they are out there. The Morel unit I selected is small and powerful. It also allows for the selection of a 3/4" dome rather then a 1" dome, which does help with HF dispersion.

My last observation is the I really think the usual common QB4 ported box arrangement is not ideal for center speakers. A sealed alignment I think is preferable. This by itself tends to ameliorate the boundary issues, by having a falling LF response from a higher frequency but at a gentler slope.

The real test of a center speaker is whether it has excellent speech intelligibility without having to have its level increased which destroys program balance. In addition to intelligible the speech must sound like natural human speech.

This relatively small center is capable of very high spl. without distress. Crossover points 400 Hz and 4 KHz. So it fulfills my criteria for center speaker design.



This really is the area were a lot more work is required. The development of active speakers with DSP to better handle boundary effects and above all, allow for perfect time alignment, I believe would be a huge step forward and solve a lot of outstanding problems.
 
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JDragon

Audiophyte
As with the M126Be speakers, the F226Be and C426Be are very attractive speakers. The only people who would think they are ugly are those who just hate the appearance of speakers, period.
I think they're pretty ugly. There's got to be some way to hide the screws on the drivers and not have that lumpy looking surround for the drivers. It's too bad because the cabinet itself looks great.

State of the art science and performance, but a quite dated presentation.
 
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JDM

Audiophyte
James that’s for the in-depth review! You just sealed the deal for a Revel system in my living room. One question about the C426be, Revel doesn’t list a stand for it did use a different model speaker stand for your test??


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
James that’s for the in-depth review! You just sealed the deal for a Revel system in my living room. One question about the C426be, Revel doesn’t list a stand for it did use a different model speaker stand for your test??


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
You can use whatever stand works for it. I have a stand that sits much lower to the ground since my screen is low. Whatever stand you use, make sure it is wide since this is a wide center speaker. It has feet, and the feet can be used to adjust the angle that it is facing too.
 
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Genso

Audiophyte
@shadyJ Can you elaborate more on why the score for dynamic range was 4 out of 5 stars? This concerns me for the home theater application.
 

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