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Revel M20 Performa Loudspeakers Print E-mail
Friday, 01 August 2003
Article Index
Revel M20 Performa Loudspeakers
Page 2
Page 3

The Downside
There were moments where I found myself discovering for the first time subtle nuances in music I’ve heard a thousand times. Unfortunately, this also included bad patches and poorly produced sections on some of my favorite older recordings. While a negative for some, perhaps this is a compliment to the Revel’s strikingly clean and neutral sound.

If you are looking for speakers that deliver powerful and deep bass, the Revel M20s may not be for you. I’m not suggesting the Revels are thin in the lower octaves. In fact, quite the contrary – in the lower octaves, the M20s are tight, full and smooth. There are many lower-priced compact speakers with deeper and more forceful bass, but to complain or fault the Revels here is to miss what these speakers are about: high-quality sound and accurate presentation of exactly what the artist and producer intended to be heard. The Revel camp would suggest a B15 subwoofer as a match for the small speaker.

The industrial design of the speaker, while compelling to me with its white drivers, can be overly modern for some. Its rounded look isn’t for everyone and in comparison to the latest speakers from B&W and MartinLogan, the Revels don’t quite keep up in the looks department.

While the M20’s are not cheap, they easily rival some of their more expensive competition. Shoppers looking for a pair of compact loudspeakers in this price range will likely (and should) also listen to the touted B&W 805s, which are nearly the same size and price as the M20s. Each of these speakers have their pros and cons. If you are looking for a very lively speaker and listen to a lot of hard rock, the 805s may be the better speaker for you.

Many listeners, after deciding on the M20s, may feel that they want to add a small subwoofer to compensate for the very lowest frequencies (below 45 Hz), which are absent from the M20s and most other compact speakers of this size. Of course, adding a subwoofer to match the M20’s superb sound would definitely require spending another $1,000-$1,500. This could lead one to possibly scrap a M20/subwoofer combination and opt instead for a pair of Performa F30s at $3,500. That is a decision you have to make depending on your wallet, sound space and listening preferences. The matching Revel B15 subwoofer is a killer speaker, but it is priced around $3,000.

All I can say is that for my modestly-sized apartment in New York City, mating two pairs of M20s and a C30 with a high-quality subwoofer from Sunfire was too alluring to resist. I cannot imagine anyone being disappointed with a similar loudspeaker setup. When my listening was complete, I paid the Revel Performa speaker system used in this evaluation the very highest compliment a reviewer can give: I bought them. And I can’t imagine being any happier….that is, until I end up with a bigger listening room.

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