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Revel W228Be In-Wall Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 5 4.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 9 8.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 50 49.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 38 37.3%

  • Total voters
    102
Agree on the pricey comment....

Also, in my house 37" x 14" grills are going to have zero WAF in any general living space (i.e., non-dedicated to audio/HT). Since I'm then relegated to a dedicated room (which I control), I might as well go for it and just get the free standing boxes. I understand why some might prefer the convenience of not having big towers in your room.....but, for me, the performance combined with the massive in-wall grills doesn't cut it.
 
Also, in my house 37" x 14" grills are going to have zero WAF in any general living space (i.e., non-dedicated to audio/HT). Since I'm then relegated to a dedicated room (which I control), I might as well go for it and just get the free standing boxes.
These would likely go behind acoustically transparent projection screen.
 
These would likely go behind acoustically transparent projection screen.
Understand, but then you are in a dedicated HT room (unless your lucky enough that your wife signs off on a projection screen in your family room). I get the desire for the clean look in your HT room, placing them behind the screen (or even to the side with grills).....neither is going to be worth the loss in performance to the free standing boxes for me.
 
Can anyone speculate on the rough 2pi wall 'bass boost' curve that would happen with these/other in-walls?
 
At the AVSForum 'Revel Owners Thread,' a dealer just posted a double-blind shoot-out between this speaker, 2 other in-walls, and the Revel F228Be. Here's a copy/pasta summary. See methodolgy at the AVSForum link. This guy does really nice shoot-outs with methodology discussed with Floyd Toole. The W228Be and F228Be were ~equally preferred, btw.

"In addition to the F228Be and W228Be, we also added the entry level JBL Synthesis SCL-6 in-wall speaker to the mix as well as the Triad Gold In-Wall LCR. On top of that, Mark Seaton brought his amazing new custom install subwoofers to the event, not only to show them off, but to blend with all four speakers for a truly level playing field event where bass response was no longer a variable." The results:
  • Revel F228Be Floorstanding Speaker, List Price $5500 each - Average Score 7.54
  • Revel W228Be In-Wall Speaker, List Price $3500 each ($4,500 with back box) Average Score 7.29
  • Triad Gold In-Wall LCR Speaker, List Price $3033 each - Average Score 6.72
  • JBL SCL-6 In-Wall Speaker, List Price $1650 each - 6.67
"In our opinion, this is some pretty strong validation that a good in-wall speaker can hang with the best floorstanding speakers. Of course, the operative word here is 'good.' Many in-wall speakers measure terrible, so will most likely sound terrible. They key is in picking speakers that measure well, whether in-wall or floorstanding.

As we think we demonstrated in our first shootout, the over 50 years of research that shows speakers that measure the best will also score the best in a blind shootout has been demonstrated once again.

NOTE that this is only an overview of the listening test. More detailed information on the various sessions and the scoring will be published in the near future. It was interesting, for example, that the Revel W228Be in-wall was actually preferred overall in the first listening session."

This thread at AVSForum is really helpful, btw. This dealer and experienced users give nice answers to posted questions/situations, and measurements are a key component of the discussion.

I would love to hear a complete system with the W228Be. The $1000 back-box is a bit of a gut-punch... :cool:
 
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The backbox that comes with it is way too small to provide the tuning for that port. Without it, I guess you could build your own box. Please note that you will get bass enhancement beyond what is shown in the measurements as you are directing the rear energy forward by wall mounting.
Regarding building your own backboxes - I'd love to get your opinion on something. we have a shared / multi-use family room in which I would love to construct some built-in cabinetry for my HT gear and other storage. I have long thought that with the right in-walls I could incorporate "built-in" backboxes for LCRs right into the cabinets / entertainment unit that would be surrounding the TV, providing a seamless look. (I don't have a lot of leeway to stick a pair of floor standers in the middle of the room).

Ideally one would have an infinite baffle solution with a bare wall, but if there is to be storage against the wall beneath the TV, then his approach seems to make more sense than putting the speakers in the wall above the cabinets, where diffraction would be introduced by the cabinet top. I understand that this is not ideal and that there would be diffraction / distortion either way, but putting the speakers at the front edge of the cabinets as opposed to behind the cabinets in the wall would seem to be the lesser of two evils. In this scenario, these speakers seem like they'd be a good candidate.
 
As all Revel offerings it shows fine technical performance and tuning with main competition coming from KEF, for example measured in a lower price range https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/kef_ci3160rl-thx/ or in a similar price class https://us.kef.com/products/ci5160rlm


Yes, for the 3160 the slightly narrower dispersion and slightly higher compression lean in favor of the much more expensive Revel. But at 1/3 the price, the KEF are no slouch.

Screenshot 2024-06-08 at 8.43.08 PM.png



index.php


But for the 5160, I cannot find compression data......and there, this is an interesting comparison, I suspect.
 
Thanks to MoreWatts for providing the info about our recent speaker shootout. These things are really time-consuming and expensive to put on; it's nice to see some acknowledgement of our efforts. :)

As a follow-on to this discussion of the W228BE,I'd like to add a few pieces of info:

  • The F226Be - the smaller brother of the F228Be / W228Be, rather definitively won the "under $10K per pair" double blind speaker shootout we did last year. Dr. Sean Olive was there for that shootout, as was Jon Herron of Trinnov and Erik Weiderholz of Perlisten. I can provide a link to the write-up but since it's on our company webpage I didn't know if that was appropriate here.
  • The in-wall version of the F226Be - the W226Be - lists out at $2250 each (vs. $3500 each for the W228Be). Even the optional back-box for the W226Be is considerably less: $550 each (vs. $1000 each). It should be more comparable to the KEF discussed above (6"woofers vs. 8", etc.).
  • We invited KEF to participate in last year's "box speaker" shootout event; they declined. I was interested in hearing some of the new Meta lineup compared to Revel and Perlisten. I've been to several previous blind shootouts with KEF models; they are the one brand that often has textbook measurements but doesn't seem to do as well as the measurements would suggest. I've discussed this at length with Floyd Toole and others - they feel the dispersion limitations of having the tweeter at the bottom of the woofer is a factor in these results, along with the fact that the woofer ends up being the waveguide for the tweeter (which means it's always in motion). Still, I'd love to have a newer KEF at our next double blind should someone wish to provide us with one. Obviously they are terrifically well-engineered speakers.

Here is the Harman provided Spin of the W226Be:
W226Be Spin.jpg


And here is a pic of the Harman measurement chamber with what looks like the W226Be in place:

Anechoic chamber.png


Anyhow, hope this context is helpful. :)
 
Ingenious how Harman devised a way to use their anechoic chamber to measure in-wall and in-ceiling speakers by putting them in the floor.
 
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Regarding building your own backboxes - I'd love to get your opinion on something. we have a shared / multi-use family room in which I would love to construct some built-in cabinetry for my HT gear and other storage. I have long thought that with the right in-walls I could incorporate "built-in" backboxes for LCRs right into the cabinets / entertainment unit that would be surrounding the TV, providing a seamless look. (I don't have a lot of leeway to stick a pair of floor standers in the middle of the room).

Ideally one would have an infinite baffle solution with a bare wall, but if there is to be storage against the wall beneath the TV, then his approach seems to make more sense than putting the speakers in the wall above the cabinets, where diffraction would be introduced by the cabinet top. I understand that this is not ideal and that there would be diffraction / distortion either way, but putting the speakers at the front edge of the cabinets as opposed to behind the cabinets in the wall would seem to be the lesser of two evils. In this scenario, these speakers seem like they'd be a good candidate.
Harman has not given us minimum volume information re: backboxes for the Revel Be architectural speakers, but they have for the JBL Synthesis SCL series. If you build an in-wall speaker in a "cubbyhole", I would line it with Dynamat and/or use some insulation (like Owens Corning 703) to dampen the internal cavity resonance. Most cabinet/box speakers do that, you are essentially building a cabinet for an in-wall speaker.
 
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They key is in picking speakers that measure well, whether in-wall or floorstanding.
Seems like In-Wall speakers should be inherently better than Box speakers with 2Pi volume increase, added efficiency and wide dispersion, with lack of baffle step and lack of back wall reflection. Anyway here is Erin's take on a number of In-Walls.
 
Revel discontinued the W893 and W990 recently, too many speakers in the architectural line. The new Performa Be series measure and sound better.
 
Seems like In-Wall speakers should be inherently better than Box speakers with 2Pi volume increase, added efficiency and wide dispersion, with lack of baffle step and lack of back wall reflection. Anyway here is Erin's take on a number of In-Walls.
Agreed. Several variables are removed from the situation, so the engineering doesn't have to try to "guess" about where the speaker will be placed in relation to room boundaries, toe in, and so on.

That said, Harman's lack of a backer box (it shouldn't be an extra, but a part of the product) like with the JBL models has been frustrating because it re-introduces variables that would otherwise be something engineering could account for.
 
Agreed. Several variables are removed from the situation, so the engineering doesn't have to try to "guess" about where the speaker will be placed in relation to room boundaries, toe in, and so on.

That said, Harman's lack of a backer box (it shouldn't be an extra, but a part of the product) like with the JBL models has been frustrating because it re-introduces variables that would otherwise be something engineering could account for.
I hope they give the volume as then because then one could then craft one's own from the studs to save some$$.
 
I hope they give the volume as then because then one could then craft one's own from the studs to save some$$.
Seems like Revel does (or, rather, they will tell you what the volume of their optional backer boxes are).

My concern isn't so much with the added cost (though I agree it seems like a impolite level of markup).

My concern is that the engineers have to accommodate BOTH the backer box size, AND all the other volumes of backer boxes people might use. This could include a full empty stud bay, a half size stud bay, everything in between those, or an American one versus other countries's sized stud bays, bays filled with insulation and those that are empty....not to mention different types of drywall with differing rigidity, stud bays with multiple penetrations for wires coming through the studs, outlet boxes, etc etc.

Basically, by not including a built in backer box, engineering is left with more unknown variables to account for....and one of the big advantages of the in wall speaker (known variables to optimize for) is reduced.
 
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One thing to keep in mind - JBL Synthesis is not considered to even remotely be a "DIY" speaker brand. When we did our shootout JBL asked us to make sure to mention that install and calibration of Synthesis speakers is supposed to be handled by dealers *as part of a system*, not a la carte. So they provide info on installation procedures (including guidelines for backboxes) for that dealer network. And we were also asked to point out that the SCL6 is meant to be EQ'd to the Harman Target Curve as part of the calibration process. All of that will be in our full write-up. The SCL6 in our shootout did very well especially considering that it reflects raw, un-eq'd performance. We built our own back box for it.

When it comes to the Synthesis product, the SCL 2, 3, and 4 all come with back boxes. That's part of why they sell for north of $3K and the SCL6 sells for $1650. On high end Synthesis systems anechoic data can be loaded into the SDP75 surround processor (Trinnov Altitude32 rebadge) to assist in calibration and increase performance even more. Even though the SDP75 was used as our head unit, we did NOT use the anechoic data nor any target EQ during the shootout.

The Revel W228Be backbox is huge and nicely finished. Of course, one could build their own. Note also that the backbox for the W226Be is $550, so clearly part of the higher price for the W228Be backbox is the pure size (and the shipping considerations that go with that). In a home theater setup, 90% of the time they are going to be bass-managed so other than for sound mitigation factors, the backbox isn't 100% necessary provided they are installed correctly.

Note in Erin's review that several of the speakers that came with integrated backboxes did quite poorly, so there's that.
 
I hope they give the volume as then because then one could then craft one's own from the studs to save some$$.
Dimensions for each backbox here:




FYI, those are some nice looking back boxes. Not your basic plywood box.
 
Note we reached out to Harman and received a response that the CEA2034 spins they supplied are WITHOUT the backbox in place.
 
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