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Revel M80XC Review (Outdoor Speaker)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Revel M80XC outdoor/indoor Atmos height/surround speaker. It was kindly purchased by a member and drop shipped to me for testing. It costs US $900 a pair.

Note: our company, Madrona Digital is a custom integration company and is a dealer for Harman brands such as Revel. So feel free to read what you want into my subjective remarks (objective tests use the same protocol as any other speaker).

As outdoor speakers go, the M80XC is on the larger size but attractively finished:

Revel M80XC Review Outdoor Speaker.jpg


Owner wanted it tested without the grill and this is how it looks:


Revel M80XC Review Outdoor Teardown Speaker.jpg


As you see a waveguide is used to better control the directivity (how wide the beam is) as woofer transitions to tweeter. There are no ports as you see in the back:


Revel M80XC Review Outdoor Back Panel Speaker.jpg


Variable impedance is provided so you can drive it at much higher voltages (to compensate for long runs of speaker wire). And of course plenty of mounting options.

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. Using computational acoustics, far-field response is computed and that is what I present. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber.

I performed over 1000 measurement which resulted in error rate of about 1%. Clean high frequency response is responsible for ease of measurement in this regard.

Reference axis is approximately the center of the tweeter. Grill was not used.

Revel M80XC 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 M80XC Measurements Frequency Response Outdoor Speaker.png


On axis response is marred by drooping of the bass response and a couple of resonances. Directivity is good though as we will confirm later. We can see the cause of the resonances in driver response:

Revel M80XC Measurements driver Frequency Response Outdoor Speaker.png


Our off-axis response is actually better than on-axis:

Revel M80XC Measurements Early Window Frequency Response Outdoor Speaker.png


Overall though, there is insufficient bass for the amount of treble we have:

Revel M80XC Measurements Predicted Frequency Response Outdoor Speaker.png


Impedance and phase graph show one of the resonances:

Revel M80XC Measurements Impedance and phase Outdoor Speaker.png


As noted, directivity is excellent:

Revel M80XC Measurements horizontal beam width vs Frequency Response Outdoor Speaker.png


Revel M80XC Measurements horizontal beam directivity vs Frequency Response Outdoor Speaker.png
\

This is almost studio monitor class directivity control! This should make it produce wider response with similar frequency response and show less sensitivity to its environment. Here is our 3-D baloon during the crossover transition showing good response:

Revel M80XC Measurements horizontal 3-D vs Frequency Response Outdoor Speaker.png

Vertically we have the usual issue with 2-way non-coaxial response so aim the speaker to where people's heads are:

Revel M80XC Measurements vertical directivity vs Frequency Response Outdoor Speaker.png


I don't know how but I got talked into now taking 4 SPL and distortion measurements:

Revel M80XC Measurements THD Distortion 66 and 76 dBSPL Outdoor Speaker.png


At 66 dBSPL distortion is actually below noise floor of the room in low frequencies. And falls off the chart at higher frequencies. As we increase the level, we see mainly the woofer distortion sticking out:

Revel M80XC Measurements THD Distortion 76 and 86 dBSPL Outdoor Speaker.png


Without a port, woofer is staying in control and not going above 100% THD.

Here are the relative distortions for the last two levels:

Revel M80XC Measurements Distortion dBSPL Outdoor Speaker.png


Revel M80XC Listening Tests
I can't simulate outdoor listening indoor so I tested the M80 just like any other hifi speaker. Out of the box, the sound is clear with highs accentuated. Power handling is superb allowing me to get to ear bleeding levels with no hint of bottoming out.

To get rid of the brightness, I used some EQ:

Revel M80XC Equalization Outdoor Back Panel Speaker.png


The dialed in filters are quick and dirty but were enough to give the speaker more substantial bass and tamed the brightness. The narrow resonance fix had a very subtle effect. Once there, I could enjoy these speakers as if there were truly hi-fi speakers with no reservations. Indeed they would beat many bookshelf speakers out there!

Conclusions
There is definitely care in design of the Revel M80XC for a market that usually doesn't consider such. Cost, looks and dealer margins rule there. If the tuning had more bass and/or less highs, this would be a fantastic speaker regardless of application. As is, it needs a bit of EQ to make it less bright and bring the bass more forward. Once there, it is a very competent design, one that I would be happy to use in a hifi system.

I am going to recommend the Revel M80XC.

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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/
 

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  • Revel M80XC Frequency Response.zip
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Sancus

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I don't know how but I got talked into now taking 4 SPL and distortion measurements:
...
At 66 dBSPL distortion is actually below noise floor of the room in low frequencies.

No but seriously... what is the point of a distortion measurement this low in level???? Lol.
 

tmtomh

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Another informative review - thanks @amirm !

Revel must know that these speakers are bright, and it's certainly in their ability to have made them more balanced frequency response-wise. So I'm wondering if the brightness might be intentional, given that these are outdoor speakers. In other words, do you think they made them bright - or at least made them smoother off-axis - because outdoor speakers are so often heard off-axis, and often a lot more off-axis than indoor speakers?
 
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amirm

amirm

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It is probably only useful for speakers that can't get very loud, e.g. low end powered monitors. So I like to delete it for passive designs like these...
 
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amirm

amirm

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Another informative review - thanks @amirm !

Revel must know that these speakers are bright, and it's certainly in their ability to have made them more balanced frequency response-wise. So I'm wondering if the brightness might be intentional, given that these are outdoor speakers. In other words, do you think they made them bright - or at least made them smoother off-axis - because outdoor speakers are so often heard off-axis, and often a lot more off-axis than indoor speakers?
Could be and the grill can have an impact.
 

Dj7675

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I was trying to figure out what this notch was for ...

View attachment 155630


Turns out it's a rubber cover hiding a clamp for Revel's "Invisiball" mounting system. (See step #4 in this diagram from the user manual.)

View attachment 155631
The integrated invisibility mounting works fantastic. They should be able to be used with some of the other JBL Invisiball hardware as well such as ceiling adapters etc.
 

CedarX

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I can’t make sense of the near-field response of the woofer & tweeter vs. spinorama FR: what “fills” the 300-1000Hz band to make the measured FR flat? The woofer appears to constantly slope down, and the tweeter response se appears way low.
Or is it a mistake to try relate the two?
 
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enricoclaudio

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Thanks @amirm for another great review. To be honest, I’m kinda in shock with these results as its little sibling, the M55XC got a Golfer Panther and both measurements look very similar. Do you think the M55XC is a better performing speaker? BTW, I have 4 x M55XCs on each of my two HT Systems doing ATMOS duties and they sound amazing with my Revel Performa3 speakers in the bedroom system and with Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers w/RAAL in my living room system. I know a LOT of Revel owners running M80XCs as ATMOS speakers and they love the results.
 

jurop

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Another informative review - thanks @amirm !

Revel must know that these speakers are bright, and it's certainly in their ability to have made them more balanced frequency response-wise. So I'm wondering if the brightness might be intentional, given that these are outdoor speakers. In other words, do you think they made them bright - or at least made them smoother off-axis - because outdoor speakers are so often heard off-axis, and often a lot more off-axis than indoor speakers?
@tmtomh @amirm
I think it's by design, too. An outdoor speaker is usually heard at a higher distance than an indoor one, so air absorption needs to be considered. Of course, out of axis is an issue as well.
 
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napilopez

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I can’t make sense of the near-field response of the woofer & tweeter vs. spinorama FR: what “fills” the 300-1000Hz band to make the measured FR flat? The woofer appears to constantly slope down, and the tweeter response se appears way low.
Or is it a mistake to try relate the two?

When you take such a nearfield measurement by default it doesn't account for baffle step. the region around 1khz be roughly 6 db lower than it really is relative to the sub bass. This image shows a bass response (summed port+woofer, but works for this purpose) before and after baffle step correction. No need to do that here as the NFS already gives you the true bass response, but sometimes it's useful to see how the drivers measure individually.

Bass correction.png
 

CedarX

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When you take such a nearfield measurement by default it doesn't account for baffle step. the region around 1khz be roughly 6 db lower than it really is relative to the sub bass. This image shows a bass response (summed port+woofer, but works for this purpose) before and after baffle step correction. No need to do that here as the NFS already gives you the true bass response, but sometimes it's useful to see how the drivers measure individually.

View attachment 155643
Thanks for the explanation! :):cool::cool::cool:
 

f1shb0n3

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Enjoying the Revel M80XC a lot on my patio. They are indeed bright, but I was able to boost the low end and tame the brightness with PEQ / Dirac Live using MiniDSP DDRC-24 and found they took it well. Stuffing a leftover sub in an outdoor cabinet I relieved them from low bass duty and the patio system is great now. When sitting at the listening position the imaging is good with a great phantom center and I would say it's true patio HiFi (if you ignore the high noise floor of the nearby freeway :))
 

pierre

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Score is 3.6 and jump to 5.6 with an EQ that make the PIR steeper (and that would be good indoor).

filters_eq.png

The EQ is good for the PIR, but less so for on-axis and lw which are going a bit too much downward but that's still reasonable.
filters_spin.png

PIR is of course flatter:
filters_pir.png


and here is the EQ in APO format:
EQ for Revel M80XC computed from ASR data Preference Score 3.6 with EQ 5.6 Generated from http://github.com/pierreaubert/spinorama/generate_peqs.py v0.12 Dated: 2021-09-26-06:02:39 Preamp: -0.9 dB Filter 1: ON PK Fc 6162 Hz Gain -4.03 dB Q 0.24 Filter 2: ON PK Fc 1255 Hz Gain +1.68 dB Q 6.00 Filter 3: ON PK Fc 518 Hz Gain -1.18 dB Q 3.20 Filter 4: ON PK Fc 123 Hz Gain -0.77 dB Q 5.77 Filter 5: ON PK Fc 2104 Hz Gain -1.51 dB Q 6.00 Filter 6: ON PK Fc 3148 Hz Gain +0.93 dB Q 3.97 Filter 7: ON PK Fc 297 Hz Gain +1.42 dB Q 4.81 Filter 8: ON PK Fc 945 Hz Gain -1.02 dB Q 6.00 Filter 9: ON PK Fc 375 Hz Gain -0.75 dB Q 6.00

You get almost the same result if you limit the Q to 4:
EQ for Revel M80XC computed from ASR data Preference Score 3.6 with EQ 5.5 Generated from http://github.com/pierreaubert/spinorama/generate_peqs.py v0.12 Dated: 2021-09-26-06:07:08 Preamp: -0.8 dB Filter 1: ON PK Fc 6339 Hz Gain -4.03 dB Q 0.24 Filter 2: ON PK Fc 1280 Hz Gain +1.25 dB Q 4.00 Filter 3: ON PK Fc 520 Hz Gain -1.19 dB Q 3.07 Filter 4: ON PK Fc 122 Hz Gain -0.64 dB Q 4.00 Filter 5: ON PK Fc 2060 Hz Gain -1.28 dB Q 4.00 Filter 6: ON PK Fc 3136 Hz Gain +0.94 dB Q 4.00 Filter 7: ON PK Fc 294 Hz Gain +1.30 dB Q 4.00 Filter 8: ON PK Fc 947 Hz Gain -0.71 dB Q 4.00 Filter 9: ON PK Fc 380 Hz Gain -0.52 dB Q 4.00
 
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Ellebob

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Unlike bookshelf and tower speakers where placement is variable. These will get some bass boost as they are likely to be mounted against a wall and get some boundary reinforcement. I wonder if that is accounted for in design and can we simulate that with measurements without having to mount them to la arge piece of plywood or the like to best represent their response in their likely placement.
 

restorer-john

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Looks like a very decent outdoor speaker to me. Not worried about the bass for outdoors.

Just out of interest, is the grille epoxy coated steel, plastic or aluminium? (test with a magnet). I wonder how it will stand up near the ocean. The sheer number of rusty outdoor speaker grilles I see at people's homes and restaurants along our Gold Coast is insane.
 
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