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Revel W990 Review (in-wall speaker)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Revel W990 in-wall speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $1,750 each.

Note: our company Madrona Digital is a dealer with Harman and I suspect we have installed thousands of their in-wall products over the years. While I have no way of shaping the measurements to favor one product or another, feel free to read any bias you like in my subjective words.

As I had feared, I had to build yet another baffle to test the Revel as the last one I built for monoprice was a different size:

Revel W990 Review in-wall speaker.jpg


I was out of wider panels. Ideally there would be more of a gap above and below the speaker for measurements. Here is a back shot of it:

Revel W990 Review in-wall speaker crossover.jpg


The mounting studs are quite a bit more beefy than the ones monoprice used. I was surprised that the capacitors were Revel branded. They must have enough volume to justify getting custom caps like this.

EDIT: the measurements you see are using a special method called Klippel NFS Baffle that is designed to get rid of limitations of measuring a speaker mounted like above. It is able to get rid of diffraction caused by the edges of that baffle. Importantly, it also gets rid of both room reflections and sound coming from the back of the speaker. The result is a measurement that represents "infinite baffle" which you sort of get when you mount them in a large wall.

I had to measure the speaker three times. The challenge is that Klippel NFS in this type of measurement only allows one position to be specified which has to be the center of the radius encompassing the whole unit. This point is at the suspension of the woofer and not where the sound field is most complex (tweeter). As a result, the first scan produced mostly garbage above mid frequencies. I upped this on the second scan, not realizing the boundary scan switch was on which screwed up the bass. :( So a third scan had to be done. Due to reference point not being the tweeter, the response is not reliable above 10 kHz:

Revel W990 Computed Frequency Response Measurements in-wall speaker.png


If you look all the way to the right, you can see how the measured and computed responses differ. On the other hand, on the left we see the magic of Klippel NFS not only filtering out diffraction caused by the baffle edges, but also compensates for the back wave coming forward, causing cancellation. The computed bass response takes this into account and as you see, shows the more proper bass which you would get when you mount this speaker on a wall.

Revel W990 Measurements
Remembering the above limitation and the reference being the upper part of the woofer surround, we get this:
Revel W990 Frequency Response Measurements in-wall speaker.png


This is not the kind of response I expect to see from Revel and at this high price point. I don't know if we have some measurement error or not. Here is Revel's own spin graph:

Spin%2B-%2BRevel%2BW990.png


The dip around 150 Hz is there as well and so is the chewed up response of the tweeter. But the level matching is better there in their measurements than mine.

As noted, I also ran a test with the boundary compensation on (but at lower resolution):
Revel W990 Frequency Response Boundary Compensation Measurements in-wall speaker.png


Here are the individual driver responses:

Revel W990 driver Frequency Response Measurements in-wall speaker.png


Our early window and predicted in-room response is not designed for in-wall speaker but here they are anyway:

Revel W990 early window Frequency Response Measurements in-wall speaker.png


Revel W990 Predicted in-room Frequency Response Boundary Compensation Measurements in-wall spe...png


Horizontal beamwidth is broad up to a point but then narrows beyond the surface of the wall:

Revel W990 Horizontal Beam width Response Boundary Compensation Measurements in-wall speaker.png


Ignore the response above 10 kHz per earlier note.

I don't know why but Klippel software decided to switch to ±180 degrees for these two directivity plots:

Revel W990 Horizontal Directivity Response Boundary Compensation Measurements in-wall speaker.png


Revel W990 Vertical Directivity Response Boundary Compensation Measurements in-wall speaker.png


Some of you asked for this but I think it makes it harder to interpret the plots. Anyway, keep the listening angle within 30 degrees of vertical.

Here is our 3-D directivity plots:

Revel W990 3-D Directivity Baloon Response Boundary Compensation Measurements in-wall speaker.png


Note that you only get what is to the right of the vertical line as the rest is behind the wall. response is very good at 1000 and 2000 Hz. 3000 Hz may be screwed up due to baffle I built being too short vertically.

There was really good news on distortion front:

Revel W990 Relative Distortion vs Frequency Response Measurements in-wall speaker.png


Revel W990 Distortion vs Frequency Response Measurements in-wall speaker.png


Note that these are in-room measurements so the on-axis response shown has the errors I showed earlier. Then again, it does show the correct response for the > 10 kHz.

Finally, here is our impedance and phase:

Revel W990 impedance and phase vs Frequency Response Measurements in-wall speaker.png


The low impedance requires a good amplifier.

Conclusions
Measuring speakers this way is challenging. Assuming we trust our measurements, the frequency response plots are not great. I expect far better from Revel. Maybe they know something about how these get used resulting in different tuning. Sadly because I don't have a wall to mount them in, I can't tell you anything about the subjective results either. Given what we have, and the high cost, I would not be buying these.

----------
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/
 

Attachments

  • Revel W990 Frequency Response.zip
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Helicopter

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Thanks Amir. I am very interested in this category and would love to discover eventually where are the best values are in the Revel and Focal lines. It is unfortunate this didn't have the results we would hope from Revel, but the data is definitely valuable.
 

respice finem

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Revel W990 in-wall speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $1,750 each.

Note: our company Madrona Digital is a dealer with Harman and I suspect we have installed thousands of their in-wall products over the years. While I have no way of shaping the measurements to favor one product or another, feel free to read any bias you like in my subjective words.

As I had feared, I had to build yet another baffle to test the Revel as the last one I built for monoprice was a different size:

View attachment 148726

I was out of wider panels. Ideally there would be more of a gap above and below the speaker for measurements. Here is a back shot of it:

View attachment 148727

The mounting studs are quite a bit more beefy than the ones monoprice used. I was surprised that the capacitors were Revel branded. They must have enough volume to justify getting custom caps like this.

I had to measure the speaker three times. The challenge is that Klippel NFS in this type of measurement only allows one position to be specified which has to be the center of the radius encompassing the whole unit. This point is at the suspension of the woofer and not where the sound field is most complex (tweeter). As a result, the first scan produced mostly garbage above mid frequencies. I upped this on the second scan, not realizing the boundary scan switch was on which screwed up the bass. :( So a third scan had to be done. Due to reference point not being the tweeter, the response is not reliable above 10 kHz:

View attachment 148728

If you look all the way to the right, you can see how the measured and computed responses differ. On the other hand, on the left we see the magic of Klippel NFS not only filtering out diffraction caused by the baffle edges, but also compensates for the back wave coming forward, causing cancellation. The computed bass response takes this into account and as you see, shows the more proper bass which you would get when you mount this speaker on a wall.

Revel W990 Measurements
Remembering the above limitation and the reference being the upper part of the woofer surround, we get this:
View attachment 148729

This is not the kind of response I expect to see from Revel and at this high price point. I don't know if we have some measurement error or not. Here is Revel's own spin graph:

Spin%2B-%2BRevel%2BW990.png


The dip around 150 Hz is there as well and so is the chewed up response of the tweeter. But the level matching is better there in their measurements than mine.

As noted, I also ran a test with the boundary compensation on (but at lower resolution):
View attachment 148730

Here are the individual driver responses:

View attachment 148731

Our early window and predicted in-room response is not designed for in-wall speaker but here they are anyway:

View attachment 148732

View attachment 148733

Horizontal beamwidth is broad up to a point but then narrows beyond the surface of the wall:

View attachment 148734

Ignore the response above 10 kHz per earlier note.

I don't know why but Klippel software decided to switch to ±180 degrees for these two directivity plots:

View attachment 148735

View attachment 148736

Some of you asked for this but I think it makes it harder to interpret the plots. Anyway, keep the listening angle within 30 degrees of vertical.

Here is our 3-D directivity plots:

View attachment 148739

Note that you only get what is to the right of the vertical line as the rest is behind the wall. response is very good at 1000 and 2000 Hz. 3000 Hz may be screwed up due to baffle I built being too short vertically.

There was really good news on distortion front:

View attachment 148737

View attachment 148738

Note that these are in-room measurements so the on-axis response shown has the errors I showed earlier. Then again, it does show the correct response for the > 10 kHz.

Finally, here is our impedance and phase:

View attachment 148740

The low impedance requires a good amplifier.

Conclusions
Measuring speakers this way is challenging. Assuming we trust our measurements, the frequency response plots are not great. I expect far better from Revel. Maybe they know something about how these get used resulting in different tuning. Sadly because I don't have a wall to mount them in, I can't tell you anything about the subjective results either. Given what we have, and the high cost, I would not be buying these.

----------
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/
Just a thought: Assuming (at least for the sweet spot) that you never listen on axis, seems reasonable for in-wall speakers.
Toeing them in is hard after mounting. :) I suppose they can sound quite good in a real room.
 

Chromatischism

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I don't know why but Klippel software decided to switch to ±180 degrees for these two directivity plots:
Some of you asked for this but I think it makes it harder to interpret the plots.
Indeed, here is a better way to look at it, I think. It was odd at first but I'm coming around to it.

Here is how Princeton displays theirs:

KEF LS50 H Contour Plot.png


To those not interpreting this right away, the top half is the back of the speaker, and the bottom half is the front of the speaker, with the frequency on the horizontal axis. This intuitively shows that there is sound emanating from the back and sides of this speaker up until about 2 kHz.

In the polar plot below, left = rear, right = front:

KEF LS50 H Polar Plot.png


The polar is more intuitive but gives less resolution in frequency and level. You only get so many frequencies to overlay before it becomes too crowded, and it doesn't say anything about level. The contour plot shows which areas are loud enough to be audible by way of color coding.
 
Last edited:

Chromatischism

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Horizontal beamwidth is broad up to a point but then narrows beyond the surface of the wall:

index.php
I wonder if this is the source of the common belief that in-wall speakers won't image as well? As we know, ER (Early Reflections) and VER (Very Early Reflections) can diminish imaging which is why people pull speakers away from walls. Such a broad response up until 2 kHz would cause a lot of reflections. Thoughts from anyone with experience?
 

dshreter

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I wonder if this is the source of the common belief that in-wall speakers won't image as well? As we know, ER (Early Reflections) and VER (Very Early Reflections) can diminish imaging which is why people pull speakers away from walls. Such a broad response up until 2 kHz would cause a lot of reflections. Thoughts from anyone with experience?
I know there are different perspectives on which reflections are desirable. But putting that aside for a moment, the wall right behind a speaker has the strongest early reflection because it is closest. This is a big reason why many studios use soffit mounted monitors.

Having these in my wall would be a dream
https://www.genelec.com/1238df
 

Tangband

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Amirm : I can see the very low grade crossover components used in this Revel loudspeaker . This would maybe be ok in a cheap loudspeaker for 200 dollars . This is an expensive loudspeaker and the ironcoils used have very high distortion , probably even more than the driveunits !

It would be really interesting if you do a test with different crossover components to show what happens if one uses ironcoils ,- very high distortion numbers appear, increasing with higher soundlevels. In this pricerange there’s simply no excuse not using better quality components . Im sure the 96 dB distortion measurement would look even better with aircoils in the crossover. Comments on that ?
D6B58140-2C8E-4DBE-A152-AF9663679C64.jpeg
 
Last edited:

GWolfman

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Thanks. Hopefully the short baffle is the only issue and Revel's #'s can be trusted. Their other measurements seem to be honest.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Amirm : I can see the very low grade crossover components used in this Revel loudspeaker . This would maybe be ok in a cheap loudspeaker for 200 dollars . This is an expensive loudspeaker and the ironcoils used have very high distortion , probably even more than the driveunits !

It would be really interesting if you do a test with different crossover components to show what happens if one uses ironcoils ,- very high distortion numbers appear, increasing with higher soundlevels. In this pricerange there’s simply no excuse not using better quality components . Im sure the 96 dB distortion measurement would look even better with aircoils in the crossover. Comments on that ?
This is not my speaker so I can't modify it. But yes I too was surprised at the quality of the components.
 

respice finem

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While we are at it, we have A.D. 2021, why not active? Would eradicate the crossover woes, among others.
 

TabCam

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Amirm : I can see the very low grade crossover components used in this Revel loudspeaker . This would maybe be ok in a cheap loudspeaker for 200 dollars . This is an expensive loudspeaker and the ironcoils used have very high distortion , probably even more than the driveunits !

It would be really interesting if you do a test with different crossover components to show what happens if one uses ironcoils ,- very high distortion numbers appear, increasing with higher soundlevels. In this pricerange there’s simply no excuse not using better quality components . Im sure the 96 dB distortion measurement would look even better with aircoils in the crossover. Comments on that ?
View attachment 148746
That could well be a size limitation consideration as they also want to keep the unit small in depth. Air coils are quite big for higher power levels. They could have used C-core coils which can handle much higher power levels before they saturate.
 

thewas

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Captain Obvious :D says that wall-mount / in-wall speakers are of course usually not listened on-axis except of the centre channel and unless you have curved or angles walls which is very rare except in purpose build studios which usually would use though mid/far field monitors.
 
Last edited:

Chromatischism

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Captain Obvious :D says that wall-mount / in-wall speakers are of course usually not listened on-axis except of the centre channel and unless you have curved or angles walls which is very rare except in purpose build studios which usually would use though mid/far field monitors.
I guess this begs the question – is the early reflections an average of the reflections with the on-axis, or the reflections with the listening window?
 

Tangband

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That could well be a size limitation consideration as they also want to keep the unit small in depth. Air coils are quite big for higher power levels. They could have used C-core coils which can handle much higher power levels before they saturate.
Yes - but they didnt do that . It seems like cost-cuts, wich is sad for such an expensive loudspeaker .
Edit : this is easily fixed with an inductance measurement device and aircoils that you buy and optimize. Cost is about 100 dollars.
 
Last edited:

YSC

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Revel W990 in-wall speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $1,750 each.

Note: our company Madrona Digital is a dealer with Harman and I suspect we have installed thousands of their in-wall products over the years. While I have no way of shaping the measurements to favor one product or another, feel free to read any bias you like in my subjective words.

As I had feared, I had to build yet another baffle to test the Revel as the last one I built for monoprice was a different size:

View attachment 148726

I was out of wider panels. Ideally there would be more of a gap above and below the speaker for measurements. Here is a back shot of it:

View attachment 148727

The mounting studs are quite a bit more beefy than the ones monoprice used. I was surprised that the capacitors were Revel branded. They must have enough volume to justify getting custom caps like this.

I had to measure the speaker three times. The challenge is that Klippel NFS in this type of measurement only allows one position to be specified which has to be the center of the radius encompassing the whole unit. This point is at the suspension of the woofer and not where the sound field is most complex (tweeter). As a result, the first scan produced mostly garbage above mid frequencies. I upped this on the second scan, not realizing the boundary scan switch was on which screwed up the bass. :( So a third scan had to be done. Due to reference point not being the tweeter, the response is not reliable above 10 kHz:

View attachment 148728

If you look all the way to the right, you can see how the measured and computed responses differ. On the other hand, on the left we see the magic of Klippel NFS not only filtering out diffraction caused by the baffle edges, but also compensates for the back wave coming forward, causing cancellation. The computed bass response takes this into account and as you see, shows the more proper bass which you would get when you mount this speaker on a wall.

Revel W990 Measurements
Remembering the above limitation and the reference being the upper part of the woofer surround, we get this:
View attachment 148729

This is not the kind of response I expect to see from Revel and at this high price point. I don't know if we have some measurement error or not. Here is Revel's own spin graph:

Spin%2B-%2BRevel%2BW990.png


The dip around 150 Hz is there as well and so is the chewed up response of the tweeter. But the level matching is better there in their measurements than mine.

As noted, I also ran a test with the boundary compensation on (but at lower resolution):
View attachment 148730

Here are the individual driver responses:

View attachment 148731

Our early window and predicted in-room response is not designed for in-wall speaker but here they are anyway:

View attachment 148732

View attachment 148733

Horizontal beamwidth is broad up to a point but then narrows beyond the surface of the wall:

View attachment 148734

Ignore the response above 10 kHz per earlier note.

I don't know why but Klippel software decided to switch to ±180 degrees for these two directivity plots:

View attachment 148735

View attachment 148736

Some of you asked for this but I think it makes it harder to interpret the plots. Anyway, keep the listening angle within 30 degrees of vertical.

Here is our 3-D directivity plots:

View attachment 148739

Note that you only get what is to the right of the vertical line as the rest is behind the wall. response is very good at 1000 and 2000 Hz. 3000 Hz may be screwed up due to baffle I built being too short vertically.

There was really good news on distortion front:

View attachment 148737

View attachment 148738

Note that these are in-room measurements so the on-axis response shown has the errors I showed earlier. Then again, it does show the correct response for the > 10 kHz.

Finally, here is our impedance and phase:

View attachment 148740

The low impedance requires a good amplifier.

Conclusions
Measuring speakers this way is challenging. Assuming we trust our measurements, the frequency response plots are not great. I expect far better from Revel. Maybe they know something about how these get used resulting in different tuning. Sadly because I don't have a wall to mount them in, I can't tell you anything about the subjective results either. Given what we have, and the high cost, I would not be buying these.

----------
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/
Still decent but as you said I expect more for revel especially at this price range.

btw somehow I think revel and just, genelec etc. Should reward you with free products for these honest reviews which brought the some extra promotions!
 

respice finem

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probably until someone makes them, maybe with a metal front panel as a radiator?
 

Bear123

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I always thought the W893 looks to have the best spin of their in walls, despite being significantly cheaper than the 990:
Spin%2B-%2BRevel%2BW890%2B%2528W893%2529.png
 
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