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Revel M105 Bookshelf Speaker Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Revel M105 Bookshelf/stand-mount speaker. A member was interested in it so I decided to buy it through our company. The retail cost is US $750 each for a total of $1,500 for a pair.

NOTE: my company, Madrona Digital is a dealer for Harman and hence the Revel speakers. So please read as much bias as you like into this review.

The Revel M105 fits in the family with solid feel and very nice finish:

Revel M105 bookshelf speaker Audio Review.jpg


Terminals are large and easy to manipulate which I appreciated. I also like that the whole unit comes in cling plastic so keep it protected.

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 used over 800 measurement point which was sufficient to compute the sound field of the speaker. Measurement axis is the tweeter and no grill was used.

Temperature was 78 degrees. Measurement location is at sea level so you compute the pressure.

Spinorama Audio 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 M105 bookshelf speaker Spinorama CTA-2034 Frequency Response Measurements.png


As noted, if you take away the one peak around 5000 Hz, measurement is essentially flat on axis. That hump actually goes away for the most part when you look at listening axis (dashed green).

Earl window response in blue is essentially flat with (proper) tilt down:
Revel M105 bookshelf speaker Spinorama CTA-2034 Early Window Frequency Response Measurements.png


This means the speaker "illluminates" your room with smooth response as good as the on-axis. When this gets mixed with the direct sound, tonality doesn't change and hence my comment that the M105 is very room friendly.

Put the two together and we get almost textbook perfect in our simulated room:

Revel M105 bookshelf speaker Spinorama CTA-2034 Predicted In-room Frequency Response Measureme...png


Horizontal dispersion is wide enough that you don't have to sit there with your head in a vise:

Revel M105 bookshelf speaker Beamwidth Audio Measurements.png


You can experiment with toe-in without tonality changing much.

Here is the same in 3-D:

Revel M105 bookshelf speaker Horizontal directivity Audio Measurements.png


And vertical:

Revel M105 bookshelf speaker Vertical directivity Audio Measurements.png


Impedance is on the low side so best to have good amplification that can handle low impedance loads:

Revel M105 bookshelf speaker Impedance and phase Audio Measurements.png


Here are the individual driver responses:
Revel M105 bookshelf speaker Tweeter Woofer Audio Measurements.png


Is our 5000 Hz hump created by the ringing/break up of the woofer as circled?

The Waterfall was exceptionally clean so I lowered the floor to show more:

Revel M105 bookshelf speaker CSD Waterfall Audio Measurements.png

Distortion and Non-Linearity Measurements
Let's start with our Klippel measurements, compensated to take out room effects:

Revel M105 bookshelf speaker Distortion THD Relative Measurements Audio Measurements.png


Wow, this is clean! Yes, we have low frequency distortion as displacement and motor non-linearity are not high fidelity items:

Revel M105 bookshelf speaker Distortion THD Measurements Audio Measurements.png


Chop down that low frequency response which is not much anyway but brings boatload of distortion as it does in every other speaker we have tested. And then you should enjoy very low distortion presentation, well below my self-imposed 50 dB threshold.

Let's switch analyzers and look at multitone response:

Revel M105 bookshelf speaker Multitone -10 dB Audio Measurements.png


We see that distortion is decidedly lower than Behringer B2030P which I recently reviewed. Here is the same but at the extremes of SPL:

Revel M105 bookshelf speaker Multitone +6 dB Audio Measurements.png


Once again we see that the distortion generator is the woofer with its larger displacement.

Here is our 100 Hz tone normalized distortion products:
Revel M105 bookshelf speaker Harmonic Order Audio Measurements.png


Comparison Against Revel M106
I ran a couple of tests against the M106 but frankly, I could not find a lot of differentiation:

Revel M105 bookshelf speaker THD at 106 dBSPL Audio Measurements.png


Looks like M105 has a bit more low frequency distortion.

Speaker Power Compression
I refined my speaker linearity test, reducing the output frequency to 80 Hz (from 200 Hz) and measured the speakers that are still sitting around my lab:

Speaker Compression Measurement.png


Notice that these levels don't mean the speaker is playing clean. The Pioneer for example was super unhappy well before it got to its maximum level. Yes, I am surprised the Revel F35 compressed earlier than bookshelves. I don't have an explanation for that.

Also, how steep the compression was differed from speaker to speaker. The Pioneer for example looses linearity almost from the start. Others do well then fall off a cliff.

Anyway, work in progress...

Speaker Listening Tests
You might think I go into these tests with a Revel speaker thinking it is going to ace the listening test. Maybe that is so but i can tell you that I still get shocked when I start playing and I am immediately impressed by how good the tonality and level of distortion is. Maybe because I test other speakers in between and get acclimated to them. Either way, the sound from the Revel M105 was very good. Track after track in my playlist sounded great.

As good as the sound was, I thought I apply my usual tricks with EQ and see if it could be improved:

Revel M105 bookshelf speaker EQ Correction.png


As you see, I only have two minor adjustments beside the room correction at 102 Hz. First is one I apply to just about every bookshelf now which is a steep low frequency roll off. At the frequency chosen, it did not at all lower the bass level or change tonality. Yet there is a distinct improvement in detail, air around instruments, etc. I highly recommend that you try this with your speaker.

The second fix was to bring that hump down. By setting the filter to be narrow the tonality again remained the same. Yet there was even more detail and cleaner notes.

Yes, I am almost convinced that distortion is what is being reduced and it is absolutely audible to my ears.

Once there, I could not stop listening. Every track in my reference list sounded beautiful. I am talking guitar strings that melt your audiophile heart:

Nils.jpg


If tracks like this don't blow you away, you have the wrong speaker:

King.jpg


Samuel.jpg


I have not post any classic tracks because frankly, none have sounded good making me wonder why I curated them. Then last night I played this one on the Revel and realized what an excellent, low distortion speaker it takes to make it sound good:
Ars Antiqua Austria; Graupner - Concerto a 2 Chalumeaux, 2 violis Viola e Cembalo C-Dur GWV 303

(high-res download from Challenge Classics)

Classical.jpg


Can't find "Vivace" track online but here is another from the same album:

Conclusions
Folks, if you are looking for a bookshelf speaker that is a neutral canvas that doesn't color everything you play and produces sublime fidelity that blows you away, the Revel M105 is your speaker. The sound is clean, balanced, room friendly, and just delightful.

As is, the sound is excellent but apply the little EQ fixes I provided and you are in absolute reference quality level of performance.

Now please excuse me as I go to listen to it some more. :)

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

The Pink Panthers are demanding a summer vacation. I keep telling them there is a pandemic but they don't care. So I thought I reserve and entire island some place to be safe from the virus. There are a number available but naturally cost a lot of money. So please donate generously using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #10
Does this mean that using multiple smaller woofers would require less displacement and hence produce lower distortion?
A theory to be proven. I will see if I can measure the F35.
 

MZKM

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#13
Wow, scored higher than the M106 which had 5.8 / 8.0? What is the delta factor?
You can compare the Spins of both.

The preference rating has an average accuracy range of less than +/- a full point (so 2 that score both a 6 could in reality be rated a ~5 for one and ~7 for the other).
 

aarons915

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#14
This is a great spin as expected, the only potential problem is the early reflections are flat which should lead to a more flat in room response. I brought these home a few years ago to compare with the LS50 and the Revel highs were a bit too strong in my smaller room and did measure more flat where the LS50 started falling off after 1-2k. I think in a larger room, further away from sidewalls the Revels would be about perfect.
 

richard12511

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#15
You can compare the Spins of both.

The preference rating has an average accuracy range of less than +/- a full point (so 2 that score both a 6 could in reality be rated a ~5 for one and ~7 for the other).
M105 definitely looks more neutral. That's the main reason I purchased it over the M106. M106 is a better loudspeaker, though(imo), due to its greater output capability.
 

restorer-john

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#16
Great review @amirm

I find it strange that most every picture I see of Revel products, their badges and stickers are not straight. (I think the person who applies the badges in the Chinese factory needs their eyes checking)

1594943814941.png
 

ROOSKIE

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#17
M105 definitely looks more neutral. That's the main reason I purchased it over the M106. M106 is a better loudspeaker, though(imo), due to its greater output capability.
I'd have to agree that the M105 isn't a loud one.
I loved it yet prefered both the JBL 530 (as another choice with a small woofer) and a DIY 6.5" when I did a weekend of comparison in a larger room.

That distortion in the M105 can be seen to be quite high in the bass. I know there is controversy around that (including controversy that I have discussed) but that really came accross in my loud listening. Subjectively, the speaker sounded very warm and rich in the bass and lower mids, however not detailed there. Both the 530 and my DIY 6.5" using a Dayton Reference RS180 Aluminum where obviously cleaner there.
What I really liked in the M105 was that tweeter. Ultra smooth and yet very detailed. Very impressive tweet.

I never measured the M105 and was originally biased to prefer it but honestly preferred the JBL 530. Just my 2 cents for anyone who has a tight budget and does well with the unusual look of the 530's. If your budget is not tight, buy the M105's and two stereo woofers that can cross with the M105's at like 250hrz. Then i'd bet they will play very clean in that region at loud levels. (or maybe you like that warm more euphonic bass/midbass)

Heck again buy those two subs even with the 530's. They could use some help at loud levels as well.

All in all, great times!
 

ROOSKIE

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#18
As you see, I only have two minor adjustments beside the room correction at 102 Hz. First is one I apply to just about every bookshelf now which is a steep low frequency roll off. At the frequency chosen, it did not at all lower the bass level or change tonality. Yet there is a distinct improvement in detail, air around instruments, etc. I highly recommend that you try this with your speaker.

The second fix was to bring that hump down. By setting the filter to be narrow the tonality again remained the same. Yet there was even more detail and cleaner notes.

Yes, I am almost convinced that distortion is what is being reduced and it is absolutely audible to my ears.

Once there, I could not stop listening. Every track in my reference list sounded beautiful. I am talking guitar strings that melt your audiophile heart:
I can vouch for the "sub sonic" filter, or low frequency bass high pass. Whatever you want to call it. At least subjectively vouch for it. I used to use that method all the time when listening loudly.
Funny I forgot about it for quite some time when playing around with other things. I need to return to that as I also noticed an improvement. It really keep that woofer from flopping around needlessly below the tuning frequency where it is essentially naked.

What would be really interesting is to apply that filter and measure distortion with the Kipple. I know I can do this at home but if you ever feel like trying it on just one special review that could be really cool to see as part of the main review.

That high level HD at 100-250 hrz is interesting. Along with seeing how the port tuning at 65ish hrz controlls the woofer so well and HD is very low there.
The M105 could play louder before compression than the 106?
My guess is this is due to choosing 80hrz which is close to the tuning frequency of the M105 and thus the port is starting to relieve the woofer. I'd guess the M106 is tuned lower and not yet as relieved.
Still interesting.
Total educated guess from my end though.
Plus compression and harmonic distortion are obviously different, though I submit compression would increase HD.

EDIT, looks like the M106 is tunned for 55hrz. HD is higher at 80 in the M106 likely due to that.
I'd bet at 100 hrz the M106 beats the M105 in compression SPL but not by much.

And all of this Revel M105,M106 HD is 2nd order which many folks find very, very pleasing = rich and robust and less detailed but warm.
 
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#19
I'd have to agree that the M105 isn't a loud one.
I loved it yet prefered both the JBL 530 (as another choice with a small woofer) and a DIY 6.5" when I did a weekend of comparison in a larger room.

That distortion in the M105 can be seen to be quite high in the bass. I know there is controversy around that (including controversy that I have discussed) but that really came accross in my loud listening. Subjectively, the speaker sounded very warm and rich in the bass and lower mids, however not detailed there. Both the 530 and my DIY 6.5" using a Dayton Reference RS180 Aluminum where obviously cleaner there.
What I really liked in the M105 was that tweeter. Ultra smooth and yet very detailed. Very impressive tweet.

I never measured the M105 and was originally biased to prefer it but honestly preferred the JBL 530. Just my 2 cents for anyone who has a tight budget and does well with the unusual look of the 530's. If your budget is not tight, buy the M105's and two stereo woofers that can cross with the M105's at like 250hrz. Then i'd bet they will play very clean in that region at loud levels. (or maybe you like that warm more euphonic bass/midbass)

Heck again buy those two subs even with the 530's. They could use some help at loud levels as well.

All in all, great times!
Crossing at 250 is a disaster.
 
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