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Revel F328Be Speaker Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Revel F328Be floor standing speaker. I purchased a single unit through our company (Madrona) with kind discount from Harman Sales (I asked for a review sample from the PR group but was told "don't call us, we will call you."). The retail cost of F328Be is US $8000 each or $16,000 for a pair. This makes it the most expensive speaker we have tested to date.

I chose the color black and I must say, this is one gorgeous speaker:

Revel F328Be Review.jpg


It comes in an exquisite finish with sparkles in it in the top panel:
Revel F328Be Review Top Finish.jpg


Even the Beryllium tweeter exudes beautify (in the eye of an audiophile of course):

Revel F328Be Review Tweeter Waveguide.jpg


Here is a closer shot of the speaker itself:
Revel F328Be Review Zoomed.jpg


As you see, there are three 8 inch woofers backed by two large ports in the back. There is then a mid-range and tweeter.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

I performed over 2000 measurement which resulted in error rate of less than 1% throughout the range. This took over 4 hours to capture all the data which resulted in a 1.5 gigabyte file (imagine doing this work manually!).

Temperature was 60 degrees F. Measurement location is at sea level so you compute the pressure.

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.

Reference axis was between the midrange and tweeter (a guess).

Revel F328Be Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Revel F328Be CEA-2034 Spinorama Frequency Response Measurements.png


This speaker was very difficult to measure in low frequencies. The combination of two ports and three woofers created an overly complex low frequency sound field. The initial runs produced clearly incorrect measurements below 200 Hz. After five sets of measurements and optimization, I dialed out almost all the error. The results show that little step between 100 and 200 Hz which Harman data does not. I suspect with a bit more optimization that could have been filled in a bit more. This aside, for a passive speaker we have excellent flatness of response especially considering how many sound producing elements there are here.

Efficiency is superb for a Revel speaker but do keep in mind that we need power in low frequencies the most and there, we don't have nearly the 91 dB that we have in the upper range. This of course applies to all speakers.

Look at how the dashed blue line (early window) nicely parallels the black dashed green line indicating excellent directivity (direct and indirect sounds match). This makes the speaker room friendly as the reflections don't change the tonality of the speaker much. And also allows easy equalization. Let's look at the sum of important early reflections:

Revel F328Be CEA-2034 Spinorama Early Reflections Frequency Response Measurements.png


Amazing that all the varying reflections sum to such a smooth response. Putting everything together, we get a prefect predicted in-room frequency response:

Revel F328Be CEA-2034 Spinorama Predicted In-room Frequency Response Measurements.png


It took me forever to measure all the drivers and ports in near-field. Turns out most of them were duplicating each other's response so here is a sample set:

Revel F328Be  Driver and Port frequency response Measurements.png


Notice the port tuning down to 30 Hz! This speaker should produce very deep bass. And clean too when you look at these incredible distortion measurements:
Revel F328Be Relative THD Distortion Speaker Measurements.png


Are you seeing what I am seeing? Even at 96 dB SPL, you hardly have any bass distortion. Indeed during measurements, I could hear the most perfect sweep ever of any speaker I have tested. Most of the time I hear the pitch change/distort during the range. Not here. The sweep was so buttery smooth. Yes, that is an objective technical term!

Here is the distortion in absolute level:

Revel F328Be THD Distortion Speaker Measurements.png


I picked 50 dB as a rather arbitrary limit long time ago with speaker after speaker missing that mark in low frequencies. Not the Revel F328Be. With the exception of one frequency, it stays well below that.

Horizontal beam width is very smooth:

Revel F328Be  Horizontal Beamwidth Speaker Measurements.png


Notice how the line in pink is also smooth (-12 dB).

Shown as a contour map, we see the same nice response:

Revel F328Be  Horizontal Directivity Speaker Measurements.png


Due to inclusion of a mid-range, the vertical response is also good compared to our typical 2-way speakers:

Revel F328Be Vertical Directivity Speaker Measurements.png


Since this is a tall speaker, you may want to tilt it down a bit if you are sitting too close to it.

Finally, here is our impedance measurement:

Revel F328Be impedance and phase Measurements.png


That is a pretty low impedance so make sure you have a good, high-current amplifier to go with this speaker.

There is a small resonance visible but I don't see a sign of it in the frequency response so it must be quite minor.

Revel F328Be Listening Tests
Truth to be told, I measured this speaker weeks back. But then it sat in the garage because I could not figure out how to carry it to our loft to listen to it. I almost post just the measurements but then I thought questions of sound and comparison against my Revel Salon 2 would come from every angle. Asked my wife if should could help me drag it upstairs and she said no way as did my back. Didn't know what to do for a while until I realized there was another option: create a setup in our living room which is at the same level as the garage. So I built a quick system out of Matrix Element i streamer and DAC plus Purifi Amplifier. The picture you saw at the start of the review was the setup except I had the speaker further into the room.

First impression was: "this is the sound I am always looking in a speaker." It sounded very familiar to me as it should. What surprised me though was the deep bass. I had not heard such clean and deep bass out of any speaker I have tested so far. My own Salon 2 speakers produce them of course but nothing I had tested would come close. The F328Be was there. It is a wonderful kind of bass you don't get out of a sub in how clean and integrated it is. It doesn't jump out to slap you in the face. At the same you wonder why you had never heard these notes with smaller speakers.

I ran through my "speaker killer" tracks which are full of these sub bass frequencies and the F328Be produced them like it was an everyday affair. Even at super elevated levels, the sound was exceptionally clean. No hint of bass distortion let alone bottoming out. I could see the triple woofers moving but no deep excursion to make them distort.

The one sensation you should know about is that these are tall speakers. When placed too close to you, the voices sound like they are way above you. In a way this is a natural presentation of the size of a singer. But at the same time, you don't want it to keep reminding you so. Push them out and this effect reduces.

I actually listened to the F328Be out in the open first before pushing it into the corner. The latter did cause a bit of boominess due to room mode. I don't have current measurements for our living room so I did not try to dial them out. It is the nature of speakers that play low that they excite room modes more, requiring DSP correction for best sound.

So do the F328Be speakers outperform my Salon 2? With no ability to listen to them in the same spot, I can't say for sure. I can say that at no time I wished I had the F328Be instead of my Salon 2. Its sound simply asymptote up the level of Salon 2 but didn't exceed it. You are spending $6,000 less with 328Be so coming this close is impressive.

In some sense I am the wrong guy to review this speaker, coming from Salon 2. It was impossible to impress me with a speaker with similar tonality and performance.

Conclusions
It was great to test the premier speaker in Harman's newest line. The F328Be is in entirely different class than any other speaker we have tested. The difference comes in impressive bass performance that is essentially distortion-free. This brings a level of clarity and dynamics that is addictive. You can play as loud as you possibly want and the speaker comes along happily. No sign of any change in speaker response. It is just at home playing audiophile tracks and rock and roll.

Needless to say, I am happy to recommend the Revel F328Be. If you want to buy a set of speakers and be done with it, you know what to get now!

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

This was our 100th speaker review and measurements!!! Hooray!



Hard to imagine testing so many speakers since January. When I bought the Klippel NFS measurement system, I was wondering how it would ever pay for itself. I figured if I tested 100 speakers, it would still cost $1000 per so we could have just asked a service to do the work. But here we are in less than a year and we are already passing that benchmark. Here is to another 100 speaker reviews!

Appreciate any donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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MZKM

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#2
Preference Rating
SCORE: 5.5
SCORE w/sub: 7.7

Sensitivity: 91.2dB
Frequency response: +/-11dB 26Hz-20kHz ; +/-2.7dB 80Hz-20kHz


All graphs/data
_________________________________
So yep, worse scores than the F208, the bass is a factor I am assuming.
Below are comparisons, though the F208 has lower resolution, so adjusted (Left:F208 , Right:F328Be):
Screen Shot 2020-11-10 at 6.37.31 PM.png


Screen Shot 2020-11-10 at 5.37.44 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-11-10 at 6.10.38 PM.png


I am guessing the lower distortion and higher sensitivity is what mainly sets it apart (It does have less of a dip @2kHz in the PIR though).
 
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LDKTA

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#6
Yes! I found the F328Be to just as phenomenal as the F226Be and F228Be. As far as sound quality compared to the Salon2s, I’d say you’d be splitting hairs.
 

Beave

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#7
Interestingly, the measurements show little ripples in frequency response throughout the midrange and low-to-mid treble, just like Stereophile's measurements of the F228Be. here

They're probably far too small to be audible. But they're puzzling nonetheless. Anybody have any explanations for them?
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #8
Interestingly, the measurements show little ripples in frequency response throughout the midrange and low-to-mid treble, just like Stereophile's measurements of the F228Be. here

They're probably far too small to be audible. But they're puzzling nonetheless. Anybody have any explanations for them?
It may be due to ports and woofers:

 

spacevector

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#9
I am curious about the bass performance of this unit. Amirm says this speaker has phenomenal bass yet eyeballing the measurements, it looks like the -3dB point is 60Hz when being generous.

Congrats on the speaker review century @amirm. I became a member and donated back in Dec 2019 when I learned you were going to be measuring speakers. This review gave me a warm and fuzzy knowing you reached an incredible milestone. Hope you make many more centuries and that you bought an extended warranty on the NFS which you are so joyfully abusing.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #11
I am curious about the bass performance of this unit. Amirm says this speaker has phenomenal bass yet eyeballing the measurements, it looks like the -3dB point is 60Hz when being generous.
As I explained in the review, it was challenging to correctly measure the lowest frequency response. I think that flat line should be a curve and which would pull the F3 down fair bit.

I have the setup to get better bass measurement now but this speaker was just too heavy to go and measure it again.
 

andreasmaaan

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#13
Interesting that all the Revel speakers seem to begin their bass roll-off quite high in frequency. I realise @amirm that you say the bass might be off by up to 1dB, but even adding that, we still get our -3dB point at 65Hz, -6dB at 50Hz, and -10dB at just under 40Hz. More typical for a standmount than a 3x8” woofer floorstander. Not necessarily a bad thing, just interesting that they’ve obviously favoured sensitivity over bass extension.

Very impressive bass distortion, though, and solid if not game-changing performance otherwise.
 

LTig

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#15
Unbelievable! 100 speaker reviews in less than a year, despite throwing out lots of other reviews as well! This is heroic (bowing low).
Did you count the two KH80 remeasures to the 100? ;)
You've earned a vacation, but this is not a good idea right now. Maybe measure the KH310 in the meanwhile?:)
 

richard12511

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#18
Have to say, the measurements look better than the Olive score says they are, at least to my eye. Also, taking into account that distortion and near perfect 70 degree beam width, this speaker is in the conversation for best measured to date. 8341 is definitely smoother, and has better vertical dispersion, but it also lacks in other ways, like output, and a narrower beam width(for those who prefer wider).
 

MZKM

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#19
The one sensation you should know about is that these are tall speakers. When placed too close to you, the voices sound like they are way above you. In a way this is a natural presentation of the size of a singer. But at the same time, you don't want it to keep reminding you so. Push them out and this effect reduces.
Always bugged me:

All towers have different heights.

Here is the Reference line from KEF:


Across some lineups:
 
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