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Revel M16 Speaker Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Revel M16 stand-mount/bookshelf speaker. I purchased this through my company and it arrived a few days ago. Can't tell you my cost :), but retail price is US $900 (sold $450 each).

As you can expect, when you pay more, you do get more as far as overall look and finish of the speaker:

Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker Audio Review.jpg

No fasteners, finish that let you read your smartphone against, etc. Curved sides lead to the back panel:

Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker Bck Panel Audio Review.jpg

Large curved port and quality binding posts.

Disclaimer: Before I get into this review, and at the risk of stating the obvious, I have a million conflicts of interest here. I am a long time friend and professional colleague with a number of Harman employees (parent company of Revel). I have praised their design and research philosophy countless times. And our company, Madrona Digital is a Harman dealer (although we hardly sell any stereo gear). So read all the bias you want into the review but please don't go posting to complain. Just read the measurements if you are worried and if you don't trust that, just move along.

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 anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

All measurements are reference to tweeter axis with the grill removed. Frequency resolution is 0.7 Hz (yes, less than 1 Hz) and plots are at 20 points/octave. Spatial 3-D resolution is 1 degree.

Over 1000 points around the speaker were measured (from 20 to 20 kHz) which resulted in well under 1% error in identification of the sound field across full frequency response of 20 to 20 kHz. Final database of measurements and data is 1.4 Gigabytes in size. As you see below, I also made a scan using 500 points and results were identical, pointing to a well behaved soundfield that is easily to synthesize.

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

Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker CEA-20324 Spinorama Audio Measurements.png


At first blush it seems that the response is not flat but if you ignore the hump at 100 Hz and roll off above 10 kHz, the rest is actually pretty close to flat. So tonality should be neutral but with some boosted bass. The high frequency roll off was puzzling as it doesn't match Harman's measurement:

Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker Harman Spin Measurements.jpg


As I have circled, the Harman measurements seems to be some evaluation version? Perhaps there has been changes since? Regardless, the rest of the measurement matches mine quite well so confidence is high in the data you see here.

Above data is for a reflection-free room. We can however simulated what happens in a typical room using Predicted in-room response which is right on the money with some bass boost:
Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker CEA-20324 Spinorama Predicted In-room Audio Me...png


Given the bit of roll off in high frequencies, don't go putting absorbers everywhere, especially the thin ones.

We are done here. Speaker nerds can read on though.

Basic Speaker Measurements
Speaker phase and impedance shows one resonance which shows up in other measurements including our spinorama shown above:

Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker Impedance Audio Measurements.png


You can see it here as well:

Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker Distortion Audio Measurements.png


The crossover is at 2.1 kHz and we see rising distortion prior to that. Seems like the woofer is breaking up before its shift is over.

Everybody get ready to say "oooh" as I post the pretty waterfall graph:

Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker Waterfall Measurements.png


I know, not as exciting in person.....

Advanced Speaker Measurements

You can tell someone was making sure that the sound you hear reflected horizontally is just as perfect as the on-axis direct sound:
Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker CEA-20324 Spinorama Horizontal Audio Measureme...png


You paid for it, might as well use it so don't cover the sidewalls. Let the speaker use them to present a larger image.

We have our vertical dip at extreme angles so floor and ceiling should be covered if the room is not too dead already:

Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker CEA-20324 Spinorama Early Window Audio Measure...png


That would reduce the dip in vertical axis around crossover region as marked.

Sitting a bit to the side (not as much toe-in) fixes that little hump around 5 kHz:
Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker CEA-20324 Spinorama Full Horizontal Audio Meas...png



Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker CEA-20324 Spinorama Full Vertical Audio Measur...png


Eye-candy Speaker Measurements
Our horizontal directivity plot shows that this speaker has similar tonality to +- 60 degrees and rolls of very smoothly:
Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker Horizontal Contour Audio Measurements.png


Note that the above has 1 degree spatial resolution so much, much more detailed image than what you see even coming out of anechoic chamnbers.

Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker Vertical Contour Audio Measurements.png


Speaker Listening Tests
I first started testing the M16 on my desktop in near-field listening, comparing it to cheap Pioneer SB-22 speaker (levels matched, one speaker at a time). The Pioneer just wasn't in the same class. It sounded tinny and small compared to Revel. Pushing the M16 hard, I could get the small woofer to distort. Since this is not a near field monitor, I decided to test it in my 2-channel system as I have tested other hi-fi speakers. Here is what that looks like:

Revel M16 Standmount Bookshelf High-end Speaker Audio Review 1.jpg


Sitting next to its much bigger brother, the Revel Salon 2, it seems that the M16 won't have a chance. Boy, is that the wrong conclusion. Vocal fidelity in both male and female tracks was excellent. Such balance and what I focused on when I took the blind test at Harman. And then these delightful highs would come with such clarity and freedom of distortion/coloration that would melt me in my chair.

I sat there going through my reference tracks, one by one, and almost all sounded superb. Despite only one speaker playing, if you closed your eyes, you absolutely heard a "soundstage" as if there were two speakers playing and creating a large phantom image. Yes, the bass at times was a bit much. And max SPL was not there. But boy, was it close to my much larger speakers for general enjoyment. I usually play half a dozen tracks and I am done testing speakers but not here. I could not stop.

Conclusions
If you want to have a taste of what all of Harman research and engineering is about, get a pair of M16s and listen. They are delightful "bookshelf" speakers showing what can be done when you combine serious research with a decent budget for pats and manufacturing.

Truth to be told, I tried, I really tried to give the M16s the middle of the road award so that I would not be accused of bias. But at the end, I just could not. These are wonderful sounding speakers. It is what "high-end" sound reproduction is about in smaller budget. The combination of measurements and subjective listening impressions left me to no room but to give them my highest award (in the context of a small, lower cost speaker).

Needless to say, I am happy to recommend the Revel M16 speakers.

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

Had to ask my guy who does yard work to come and do what I should be doing there, instead of testing audio products. Feels good to not kill my back doing what he is about to do. Then again I look at my bank account and get depressed. Make me feel better by donating what you can using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

digicidal

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#3
Certainly in comparison to the Salon 2's - they'd only have to be ~5% as good to be a compelling value... though if you went in the other direction, I'm not as confident they would be ~200% better than some budget monitors in the $150/ea level.

They look great and I'm not surprised they sound and measure well also. Despite not caring all that much about your numerous conflicts of interest regarding the brand... I would expect a boost in subjective impressions based on familiarity as well. Since you have the same brand (with similarly excellent measurements and sound) in your theater and stereo setup... I'm sure these felt very "comfortable" to your ears/brain.

Not that I think they wouldn't sound great to someone familiar with substantially different speakers (maybe even more "wow!" effect in that case) but there would possibly be a bit more internal discussion over which was actually the more "accurate" sound?
 

Bhh

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#5
Glad we’re starting to see more well-known speakers at this price point! This one was on my short list to replace a 15-year old pair of B&W 600s. The bass boost looks easy enough to eq out if we only had a sub to pair them with ... ;)
 
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direstraitsfan98

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#6
No reason to suspect that you’re lying about thr measurements, but please just measure more quality speakers for comparison sake. At this point it just seems like there’s no thought process with the way you choose which bookshelf speaker to measure.

Anyway glad to see Harmans massive r&d worked out. It shouldn’t be a surprise this measures so well.

What needs to be measure is the new JBL HDI line. In fact I’d argue that it is the most important speaker in 2020 to measure.
 

napilopez

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#7
Other than the top octave, those measurements track super well. Actually kind of interesting that your DI curves are smoother than Harman's own!

Edit: also, in anyone skipped the off-axis charts, the 5K peak is all gone by 10degrees off axis. So don't toe them in all the way and you should be fine.
 
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lszomb

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#8
No reason to suspect that you’re lying about thr measurements, but please just measure more quality speakers for comparison sake. At this point it just seems like there’s no thought process with the way you choose which bookshelf speaker to measure.

Anyway glad to see Harmans massive r&d worked out. It shouldn’t be a surprise this measures so well.

What needs to be measure is the new JBL HDI line. In fact I’d argue that it is the most important speaker in 2020 to measure.
But looking at the current tested speakers. Genelec 8341A is the high-end compact three ways. If we look at high-end bookshelf monitor speaker category, I have a few candidates:
1) ATC SCM20ASL Pro
2) PSI 14/17/21/23/25M
3) Neumann KH80DSP, KH310
4) PMC Loudspeakers IB1S-AIII
5) Kii Three
6) Dutch & Dutch 8C
 

spacevector

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#9
Thanks for the great review. Please post the usual zoom of DI curves. Also wish you could compare Ascend Sierra 2 in the same room.
 
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#10
Nice!

Okay, well, seeing you can get these on the cheap, if the M126Be come into your possession at any point I'd be very interested to see how they measure. I'm planning to buy myself some nice bookshelf speakers for my 40th (so I have a couple of years to save), and it's either the Revels, or Krix Esoterix Altum (which use a Scanspeak Revelator tweeter with a big waveguide).
 

Vovgan

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#11
Great review, Chief, and since you say that you're pals with Revel people let's ask them to show us what their much hyped Performa Beryllium speakers can deliver!

Also bookshelf speakers are nice, but we're all geared up here to start seeing reviews of tower speakers!
 

Haint

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#12
No reason to suspect that you’re lying about thr measurements, but please just measure more quality speakers for comparison sake. At this point it just seems like there’s no thought process with the way you choose which bookshelf speaker to measure.

Anyway glad to see Harmans massive r&d worked out. It shouldn’t be a surprise this measures so well.

What needs to be measure is the new JBL HDI line. In fact I’d argue that it is the most important speaker in 2020 to measure.
Yeah an HDI review would be great. I think Napi has one planned, but Klippel corroboration is always welcome.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #13
Great review, Chief, and since you say that you're pals with Revel people let's ask them to show us what their much hyped Performa Beryllium speakers can deliver!

Also bookshelf speakers are nice, but we're all geared up here to start seeing reviews of tower speakers!
With Samsung ownership, it is not easy to get evaluation units anymore so I will have to buy them to test.
 

YSC

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#14
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Revel M16 stand-mount/bookshelf speaker. I purchased this through my company and it arrived a few days ago. Can't tell you my cost :), but retail price is US $900 (sold $450 each).

As you can expect, when you pay more, you do get more as far as overall look and finish of the speaker:


No fasteners, finish that let you read your smartphone against, etc. Curved sides lead to the back panel:


Large curved port and quality binding posts.

Disclaimer: Before I get into this review, and at the risk of stating the obvious, I have a million conflicts of interest here. I am a long time friend and professional colleague with a number of Harman employees (parent company of Revel). I have praised their design and research philosophy countless times. And our company, Madrona Digital is a Harman dealer (although we hardly sell any stereo gear). So read all the bias you want into the review but please don't go posting to complain. Just read the measurements if you are worried and if you don't trust that, just move along.

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 anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

All measurements are reference to tweeter axis with the grill removed. Frequency resolution is 0.7 Hz (yes, less than 1 Hz) and plots are at 20 points/octave. Spatial 3-D resolution is 1 degree.

Over 1000 points around the speaker were measured (from 20 to 20 kHz) which resulted in well under 1% error in identification of the sound field across full frequency response of 20 to 20 kHz. Final database of measurements and data is 1.4 Gigabytes in size. As you see below, I also made a scan using 500 points and results were identical, pointing to a well behaved soundfield that is easily to synthesize.

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

View attachment 52899

At first blush it seems that the response is not flat but if you ignore the hump at 100 Hz and roll off above 10 kHz, the rest is actually pretty close to flat. So tonality should be neutral but with some boosted bass. The high frequency roll off was puzzling as it doesn't match Harman's measurement:

View attachment 52902

As I have circled, the Harman measurements seems to be some evaluation version? Perhaps there has been changes since? Regardless, the rest of the measurement matches mine quite well so confidence is high in the data you see here.

Above data is for a reflection-free room. We can however simulated what happens in a typical room using Predicted in-room response which is right on the money with some bass boost:
View attachment 52903

Given the bit of roll off in high frequencies, don't go putting absorbers everywhere, especially the thin ones.

We are done here. Speaker nerds can read on though.

Basic Speaker Measurements
Speaker phase and impedance shows one resonance which shows up in other measurements including our spinorama shown above:

View attachment 52904

You can see it here as well:

View attachment 52905

The crossover is at 2.1 kHz and we see rising distortion prior to that. Seems like the woofer is breaking up before its shift is over.

Everybody get ready to say "oooh" as I post the pretty waterfall graph:

View attachment 52906

I know, not as exciting in person.....

Advanced Speaker Measurements

You can tell someone was making sure that the sound you hear reflected horizontally is just as perfect as the on-axis direct sound:
View attachment 52907

You paid for it, might as well use it so don't cover the sidewalls. Let the speaker use them to present a larger image.

We have our vertical dip at extreme angles so floor and ceiling should be covered if the room is not too dead already:

View attachment 52908

That would reduce the dip in vertical axis around crossover region as marked.

Sitting a bit to the side (not as much toe-in) fixes that little hump around 5 kHz:
View attachment 52909


View attachment 52910

Eye-candy Speaker Measurements
Our horizontal directivity plot shows that this speaker has similar tonality to +- 60 degrees and rolls of very smoothly:
View attachment 52911

Note that the above has 1 degree spatial resolution so much, much more detailed image than what you see even coming out of anechoic chamnbers.

View attachment 52912

Speaker Listening Tests
I first started testing the M16 on my desktop in near-field listening, comparing it to cheap Pioneer SB-22 speaker (levels matched, one speaker at a time). The Pioneer just wasn't in the same class. It sounded tinny and small compared to Revel. Pushing the M16 hard, I could get the small woofer to distort. Since this is not a near field monitor, I decided to test it in my 2-channel system as I have tested other hi-fi speakers. Here is what that looks like:

View attachment 52913

Sitting next to its much bigger brother, the Revel Salon 2, it seems that the M16 won't have a chance. Boy, is that the wrong conclusion. Vocal fidelity in both male and female tracks was excellent. Such balance and what I focused on when I took the blind test at Harman. And then these delightful highs would come with such clarity and freedom of distortion/coloration that would melt me in my chair.

I sat there going through my reference tracks, one by one, and almost all sounded superb. Despite only one speaker playing, if you closed your eyes, you absolutely heard a "soundstage" as if there were two speakers playing and creating a large phantom image. Yes, the bass at times was a bit much. And max SPL was not there. But boy, was it close to my much larger speakers for general enjoyment. I usually play half a dozen tracks and I am done testing speakers but not here. I could not stop.

Conclusions
If you want to have a taste of what all of Harman research and engineering is about, get a pair of M16s and listen. They are delightful "bookshelf" speakers showing what can be done when you combine serious research with a decent budget for pats and manufacturing.

Truth to be told, I tried, I really tried to give the M16s the middle of the road award so that I would not be accused of bias. But at the end, I just could not. These are wonderful sounding speakers. It is what "high-end" sound reproduction is about in smaller budget. The combination of measurements and subjective listening impressions left me to no room but to give them my highest award (in the context of a small, lower cost speaker).

Needless to say, I am happy to recommend the Revel M16 speakers.

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

Had to ask my guy who does yard work to come and do what I should be doing there, instead of testing audio products. Feels good to not kill my back doing what he is about to do. Then again I look at my bank account and get depressed. Make me feel better by donating what you can using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Nice review as always, and the measurements with the slight bass boost sounded will suit a lot of people.

sidetrack a bit are there any plan to measure the new Adam audio T5V or T7Vs? Their website quoted a very flat response and priced really sexy, like $550 usd for the T5V even ship to HK including all cost!
 

QMuse

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#15
No surprises here - this is a fine measuring speaker which gives you what you paid for.
 

BillG

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#16
Nice!

Okay, well, seeing you can get these on the cheap, if the M126Be come into your possession at any point I'd be very interested to see how they measure. I'm planning to buy myself some nice bookshelf speakers for my 40th (so I have a couple of years to save), and it's either the Revels, or Krix Esoterix Altum (which use a Scanspeak Revelator tweeter with a big waveguide).
https://www.audioholics.com/bookshelf-speaker-reviews/revel-performa-m126be/conclusion
 

BillG

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#17
I'm somewhat curious as to how their less expensive cousin, the Infinity Reference 162, will fare. However, I've seen enough measurement data, and have experience with them since I actually own them, to be confident with my purchase... :cool:
 

BillG

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#19

Webninja

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#20
I wonder what compromises the S16’s shallower cabinet creates. I have these penciled in for my rear and sides since they are wall mount. I believe they have the same drivers as the M16.
 
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