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Revel F206 Tower Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 3 1.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 11 3.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 88 28.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 207 67.0%

  • Total voters
    309

Sean Olive

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If the comparison is the F226be, I understand the BE version also has a different design in the midwoofer (outlined in Erin's review of the 226be) giving a larger diameter diaphram relative to the surround which increases efficiency, etc...

Or perhaps I'm just trying to justify my purchase (226be owner here). Truthfully, had I been able to find a decent used set of F206 at the right price I'd probably still have them but my current 226be used set came at a price I could justify.....these + subs is potentially end game material for me (yah right).
It’s been awhile since I have done an A-B comparison but talking to Revel staff last night at AXPONA I’m told the 226be are a significant audible improvement. Maybe Im trying to convince myself not to spend the extra money ( a bias). If I change my mind I will have A pair of F206 and center channel for sale.
 

jcarys

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At double the price, there better be a big improvement. Of course, at the price level you're at with them, there are a lot of speakers to sample at Axpona. I think I'm driving over tonight to do the same.
 

CapMan

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I’m listening to Betty Lavette - the Thankful and Thoughtful album. She has a wonderful voice that could cut through plate steel - it’s pretty edgy!

It is sounding detailed, clean, in balance, even a little warm. I have two subs that help fill in some bass nulls and Dirac to sort out the lumpy mid bass due to my room. I’ve certainly experienced overly bright tonality in speakers when the bass was absent or out of whack….

Horses for courses I guess !
 

Mauro

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This is a review, listening tests, EQ, and detailed measurements of the Revel F206 Floor-standing speaker. It is on kind loan from a member (new) and costs US $1347.50 each.
View attachment 362815
Please excuse the mobile phone picture quality and plastics that are still on the speaker. I try to keep products as fresh as possible. The port is in front and not much in the back other than binding posts.

NOTE: Our company, Madrona Digital which is in the business of custom system integration is not in retail business but we are a dealer for Harman products including Revel. If I am not mistaken, the owner actually purchased this speaker from us. My measurements are standardized and no changes where made for testing of this speaker but feel free to read whatever level of bias you like in my subjective comments.

If you are not familiar with my speaker tests, please watch this video first:

Reference axis was that of the tweeter.

Revel F206 Speaker Measurements
As usual, we start with our suite of speaker frequency response measurements:
View attachment 362817
On axis response is (by speaker standards) essentially flat with a small peak around 4.5 kHz and minor dip around 200 Hz. There is also a bit of directivity error. For a non-DSP speaker, this is quite good. The port tuning is a bit low which I am starting to appreciate as it avoids room modes making the speaker too bass heavy:
View attachment 362819

You get extension into deep bass, going as low as 30 Hz.

Early window response is smooth:
View attachment 362820

I was very impressed in the way it all sums up to such a perfect predicted in-room response:
View attachment 362821

Directivity is not fully controlled but is wide which should give the kind of spatial effects I like:
View attachment 362824
View attachment 362825

The inclusion of mid-range gives more freedom as far as vertical listening axis is:
View attachment 362827

You buy a tower speaker with multiple drivers to get extra power handling/lower distortion doing it. And that is exactly what you get from F206 (and then some):
View attachment 362828

View attachment 362829

Notice the superbly low distortion in 1 to 2 kHz. We are talking distortion that is at least 65 dB lower than the response itself!

EDIT: Please don't run with the frequency responses shown in these graphs. They are near-field and not representative. But are fine for showing levels of distortions since the protocol is always the same.

Output gets a bit reduced at 102 dBSPL:
View attachment 362831

The reduction in the upper band is unlikely to be an issue as your ears would be ringing by then. :) And drop below 90 Hz is to be expected.

Edit: forgot the impedance plot:
View attachment 362921

I left the step response floor low to show more resonances:
View attachment 362833
I probably shouldn't have as I can't see that in the frequency response itself at 900 Hz.

Finally, here is the step response:
View attachment 362834


Revel F206 Listening Tests
As you see from the review picture above, speaker was too heavy to lug upstairs to listen in my 2-channel room. So it had to fill a very large space with a lot of harsh surfaces. First impression was, "man this thing sounds good and familiar!" I know, being a Revel speaker owner myself, that is to be expected but still, it was there. :) I don't put a lot of weight on this part of the test though. I like to EQ (usually on-axis response) and then do an AB so I did:
View attachment 362836
The bass fill is tricky as the room modes are still active there and for all we know, there may already be a boost there. Still, I adjusted that by ear. Same for the 4.5 kHz. Before and after was subtle but the signature with EQ was warmer bass and overall response. Without it, bass was tighter but highs a bit more forward. I suspect in any kind of controlled testing, it would be a draw as to whether EQ or stock sound is better.

Once there, going through my reference tracks delighted me across the board. So much so that I kept listening while the dogs looked at the speaker with annoying emotions! :) I closed my eye and the impression/halo of the sound was quite large which I like.

I was pleasantly surprised by the sub-bass response. Not only the F206 played them, but almost kept them 90% clean. There was just the slightest hint of distortion. More than acceptable. No 2-way bookshelf comes remotely close to this level of performance.

I ran out of amplification power before the speaker had any audible limit/distortion that I could detect. By then, I could barely hear my wife trying to tell me something. :D

Conclusions
We expect excellence from Revel and that is exactly what we get from F206 speaker. It is near perfect in all measurements despite its reasonable cost for such a stylish speaker. Subjective performance was better than I was expecting, truly giving me a "mini Revel Salon 2" experience. It has captured a special place in my heart for combining so many factors together so successfully.

I am going to highly recommend the Revel F206 speaker. But again consider potential sources of bias in my impressions per preface note.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Happy owner here. All true: neutral, wide stage, bass extension, luxurious finish, reasonably priced. I love it. The only problem is that I stopped searching better speakers. I had to go back spending money in headphones..as I am never happy enough!!
 

PeterNL

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I'm curious how F206 compares to Wharfedale Linton. What is the main difference, cons and pros...
In Europe Lintons can be easily found for 600-800€ second hand with stands, F206 for 1500-2000.
 

Robbo99999

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You might be interested in a pretty 3-way black bookshelf speaker review that's coming up in few weeks ;)
Active or passive?
 

Robbo99999

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Well, my son and I have just come back from the shop in question, Nintronics, which is a great place. Lots of really luscious HiFi, I was like a kid in a sweet shop.
We listened to the F206 in the acoustically treated demo room, expecting to be impressed and to enjoy the experience, but it didn't really happen like that. We listen to a variety of tracks, but often found them slightly pinched, sharp, grating and uncomfortable. When we turned the Michi amplifier up it made me cringe slightly, and we were discouraged from more listening and more volume. I fully expected to get my credit card out there and then, but it was disappointing and I didn't get the much anticipated feeling of wanting to own them. And this was an isolated test without any other comparisons at all. I saw a pair of Kef R11 meta a few feet away and asked to hear those (mindful of the similarly positive test here a few days ago). They're obviously bigger and more expensive, but I didn't expect there to be that much difference. It was quite the opposite, the Kef's were wonderful, more of everything, pleasurable to listen to, and we wanted to keep listening. Strings sounded like strings, and it felt like listening to music instead of listening to speakers. I really wasn't expecting this. My son thought just the same, even on the youngsters stuff that he chose to listen to. Much to my surprise, we left empty handed.

Nick
Possibly the speakers both weren't setup optimally re RoomEQ, etc, was my first thought.
 

Gatordaddy

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It’s been awhile since I have done an A-B comparison but talking to Revel staff last night at AXPONA I’m told the 226be are a significant audible improvement. Maybe Im trying to convince myself not to spend the extra money ( a bias). If I change my mind I will have A pair of F206 and center channel for sale.

Moving from the M106 the F226be the improvement was roughly akin to the improvement between the M16 and M106, presumably due to the smoother set of spin and in room curves, lower distortion, and greater headroom. However it was less satisfying since the M106 were very near or at the realm of "good enough" for my needs but the cost differential was higher. I imagine between the F206 and F226 the differences would be more subtle.

The upside is I don't see myself ever needing to upgrade speakers. Besides for the lack of bass response in the bottom octave I can't pick out any audible flaws.
 

rynberg

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the Wharfedale Linton comes to mind at ~$1500/pair, although they are perhaps better described as "stand mounts" instead of "bookshelves".
I should have clarified with 2-way bookshelves...but even then, the Lintons have substantially higher distortion between 100 and 300 Hz than the F206...roughly 10 dB. :)
 
OP
amirm

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Thank you…
Maybe Another Genelec 8361 killer with regards to value….???

Small question …when you say in your reviews “just kept listening “are you using both speakers at that point?
No, just one speaker. Shows you how great some speakers are that even in mono, they are quite enjoyable.
 
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amirm

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Amir talks of distortion levels being why he dislikes bookshelf speakers, which makes me wanna ask, isn't the fact that the designer can control the positioning of the mid and bass drivers, their distance from the floor, some significant benefit of tower speakers?
No, it is not that. Larger encloser gives more (bass) sensitivity. And the larger box allows the speaker to have more woofers/mid-woofers. All of this helps to reduce bass distortion in tower speakers. Center speakers with dual mid-woofers also do this although they create other problems.
 

cavedriver

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I should have clarified with 2-way bookshelves...but even then, the Lintons have substantially higher distortion between 100 and 300 Hz than the F206...roughly 10 dB. :)
Oh, yes, I see now you were responding to a comment about 2-way bookshelves, my bad. In that case and from a quick review case I can come up with two active speakers but no passives. Those would be the Neumann KH120 mk II and Genelec 8030c. There might be some passive examples but some of Amir's older reviews don't include distortion data at 96 dB and Erin's site is a little slower to pick through.
 

Confused_by_tech

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Did I miss the Panther on the Kef Ref 11 Meta's review?

Or is the Panther on speaker reviews in general kind of a +/- optional thing which isn't needed given the directness of the review with the summation of the reviewer at the end?
 

Acerun

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Moving from the M106 the F226be the improvement was roughly akin to the improvement between the M16 and M106, presumably due to the smoother set of spin and in room curves, lower distortion, and greater headroom. However it was less satisfying since the M106 were very near or at the realm of "good enough" for my needs but the cost differential was higher. I imagine between the F206 and F226 the differences would be more subtle.

The upside is I don't see myself ever needing to upgrade speakers. Besides for the lack of bass response in the bottom octave I can't pick out any audible flaws.
I also moved from the M106 to the M126be. I love them. I've got them paired with two matching 15 inch Rythmik subs with 1000w Hypex amps, crossed at 100. I kind of envy the f226be's, but I rarely listen to anything over 85db but can't help but wonder if they would take things to another level. I do also have the c426be center, and that kind of gives me a peek into the f226be maybe. I buy used or during the deep sales, I won't buy the be series rate card.
 
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welwynnick

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Possibly the speakers both weren't setup optimally re RoomEQ, etc, was my first thought.
It was a stereo demonstration with no room EQ.
The staff went to considerable effort to get the speakers in the best position.
The dedicated listening room had reflection absorbing panels on the walls and the ceiling.
The speakers and the listening position (just as important) were all well away from the walls.
The KEFs sounded good in the same position, and both have very good off-axis response.
It was a clear and conclusive demonstration that didn't need any comparison whatsoever.
I'm just going to have to dig a bit deeper.....
 

IamJF

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It was a stereo demonstration with no room EQ.
The staff went to considerable effort to get the speakers in the best position.
The dedicated listening room had reflection absorbing panels on the walls and the ceiling.
The speakers and the listening position (just as important) were all well away from the walls.
The KEFs sounded good in the same position, and both have very good off-axis response.
It was a clear and conclusive demonstration that didn't need any comparison whatsoever.
I'm just going to have to dig a bit deeper.....
These speakers need walls to get the low frequencies boosted. Free standing that would not be enough lf for me. While a falling ported tuning is nice for precision it is not made for standing free in a room.

Many KEFs are tuned for pretty warm sound - too much for my liking. This will work well when standing freely - what they often don't do at homes and then there is not enough detail and too much mudd for my liking. But the speakers themself are great - give them some EQ and they shine in most rooms.
 
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That lack of power in like our ears' most sensitive region of the bass, the upper bass, is a real problem for me, things are sounding considerably more natural now that I have added some boost there. (...Currently I have numerous sharp dips attenuating things in the midbass frequencies, I'm wondering if I would be better served to first cut out the broad elevation in this region before I by ear attack each channel's peaks at my listening position?)

It's sorta interesting, years ago, with the f208 Amir gave us a "3d-plot" and speculated that the mid could be "still going" at 4khz, here the driver components graph has the mid output at a minimum at this frequency. Both models' decay graphs seem free of problems at 4khz and at 5.5khz.
 

welwynnick

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The bass wasn't the problem. Most modern Revel and KEF floor standers have shelved bass. The staff thought the KEF R7 would make a fairer comparison, and the result would have been the same. I don't want to bang on about this, as I hope this review will help the shop sell the speakers.
The problem was that the upper mid was too grating, and I just didn't want to listen to them any longer than I had to. It could be my hearing, as I seem to have developed a susceptibility and intolerance of screechy sounds, and the Revels set it off, and KEFs didn't. Having said that, my son was of the same opinion. I did ask to come back and listen to the Revel Ultima Studio 2 in the entrance that I was drooling over, which another customer had traded in.
 
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