Could This Be Billy Idol's Favorite Speaker?

With a Revel Yell

Cry More, More More

Revel SpeakersRevel offers one of the great entry-level deals you have not even considered. Until now.

Dr. Sean Olive is a senior fellow of acoustic research at Harman. He has written over 50 research papers on the "science of sound," and his work in audio perception and testing (including developing the famed Harman Target Curve) drives the development of major audio products across the world.

Dr. Olive's home system is built around Mark Levinson and Revel. When he designs products or builds systems, he draws on what he calls "psychoacoustic knowledge," a wealth of material built from his years of experimentation combining subjective and objective methods.

And so, after the laser measurements and anechoic chambers, the product is always listened to. Many companies have one person: one set of "golden ears" who has been there a long time and whose listening quirks inhabit every product. Harman, under Dr. Olive, uses groups of trained listeners, people who can separate mood, brand impressions, and other variables from the process. (Dr. Sean showed us the results of several studies that proved that while naive listeners and trained listeners often come to the same conclusions, trained listeners offer far more statistically useful and repeatable results.)

Revel Performa 3

The Result

We won't lie. When you have a neutral sound, the result in a busy demo room can be underwhelming. For example, if you hear it after a big-woofered vintage box that has giant, tactile bass notes, a balanced sound would seem too lean. Or, if you listen to a BBC-style monitor with the upper bass bump that makes the music seem to race along, a neutral sound can seem slow.

After all, our senses are "difference engines," always comparing to what came before. Think about how the water from your faucet feels cold, but after you come back from a walk in the cold, the same stream feels hot. Though a flat frequency response can suffer from comparison in the demo room, it is a sound that most of us would choose to live with in the long run.

After all, even when we choose products with coloration, we are often "flattening" our systems: adding a bass-heavy speaker to lean-sounding electronics or picking a bright tweeter for warm, syrupy amps.

But what if you have a clean, balanced sound you adore and don't want to mess with it in any way? Speakers are, by far, the most inaccurate part of your system and, therefore, the most likely to "tune" your sound. This is when neutrality truly shines, giving you insight into the electronics so carefully designed to reproduce music in the true sense of the term "high-fidelity", i.e. bearing remarkable resemblance to the original music signal.

The Revel-ation

The Performa3 range from Revel is a great example of just how much small-company passion and big-company R&D Harman has packed into an entry-level speaker. With esoteric distortion-reduction mechanisms to stabilize the flux field, ribbed aluminum cones to eliminate resonance, high-dispersion waveguides, and fluid-model port designs, Revel is one of the best-kept hi-fi secrets on our warehouse floor.

The F206 speaker retails for $3,850 a pair and is now on sale for $2,695, saving you $1,155. The F208 is $5,500 a pair and is now $3,850, saving you $1,650. You essentially get a big fat bonus for owning one of the greatest sound signatures in audio: one that graciously steps aside and lets the music do all the talking... singing... playing... ah, you know what we mean.

Revel Performa 3 F206 Revel Performa 3 F208
Revel Performa3 F206 (each) Revel Performa3 F208 (each)
$1,347.50 $1,925.00

Warehouse Treasures: Mark Levinson, I Presume?

Mark Levinson No585.5 Integrated Amp - InteriorIf you like what you read in the above story about Revel and want to move higher up the line (say, to the reference Salon2 on deep discount), here are a couple of fantastic integrated amp choices to pair with it. This is a continuation of our series covering warehouse treasures in the above $10,000 price range.

Mark Levinson offers a sophisticated sound with lots of detail but with a rich smoothness that comes from big-budget design. Notice how the above photo of the inside of the No585.5 is the poster child for Kevin's mantra of "parts and engineering."

The No5805

Sitting at the $10,000 mark is the No5805, a 125 Wpc (250 W at 4 ohms) integrated amp with a phonostage and a high-res DAC that also offers Bluetooth. As we discuss the technology, you'll encounter the phrase "fully discrete" a lot, where designers choose to build custom, dedicated circuits rather than use readymade microchips.

The No5805 combines a fully discrete (see?), direct-coupled, dual-mono preamp with a fully discrete (ahem), direct-coupled, class AB power amp that gets its fuel from an oversized (500+ VA) toroidal transformer with individual secondary windings for the left and right channels.

The No585.5

Going up a level in the Mark Levinson line means a jump to 200 Wpc and a truly massive 900 VA transformer. Think of a ballerina who can instantly transform into a heavyweight MMA champion and back again at will.

As mentioned earlier, the photo shows just how seriously Mark Levinson takes "parts and engineering," with the internal heatsinks beautiful enough to be external and all of them massive in scale. Don't miss the component heatsinks on the board behind the transformer and the generous shielding and spacing between circuits.

Both products have Ethernet ports but are not streamers. The No585.5 offers control via RS232 or Ethernet, and the No5805 adds a setup page you can access on a browser. Both offer many settings for you to best integrate them into your system and needs, including power management, DAC filters, and volume settings such as rate and max volume.

We've talked here before about "factory-fitted synergy," and Mark Levinson and Revel bring you that same peace of mind. Call us to get the party started!

Mark Levinson No5805 Integrated Amp Mark Levinson Mo585.5 Integrated Amp
Mark Levinson No5805 Integrated Amplifier Mark Levinson No585.5 Integrated Amplifier
$10,500.00 $19,500.00

Save These Hot Dates with Us in March

CanJam 2024March 9-10. CanJam NYC

Upscale Audio will be exhibiting at CanJam NYC this year, so hop over to Times Square and see us at the New York Marriott Marquis. Audition amps by Pathos Acoustics, PrimaLuna, and Feliks Audio, and headphones by Focal, HiFiMAN, Meze Audio, ABYSS, and T+A Elektroakustik.

March 28, 5 pm. Upscale Audio, La Verne, CA

The most sought-after ticket in La Verne, California! Another in-store event, this time to showcase and show off our newest speaker line, Fyne Audio. More details as we get closer to the date.

New Video: Upscale Audio Visits AudioQuest

A few of us from Upscale Audio went down to Irvine, CA, to spend a day with our friends at AudioQuest. We got a tour of the high-end manufacturing room, the giant warehouse, the cable burn-in station, and the high-end lunch buffet! We also had a great time catching up with AudioQuest team members, immersing ourselves in the passion and innovation they bring to the cable and power-conditioning game.

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