|Revel Concerta F12 Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Tim Hart|
|Sunday, 01 January 2006|
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Those of us who find ourselves enthralled by all things audio and video typically have a wish list of gear that would fulfill that ultimate goal of the no-holds–barred system. For most of us it is just that: a wish list. But to dream is human and we must have goals to shoot for. When it comes to the ultimate in loudspeakers, you can narrow the wish list down fairly quickly to a handful of the top contenders. One of those revered names is Revel, and their reputation for producing some of the finest loudspeakers in the world is unquestionable. The industrial design of the Ultima series demanded attention when I first saw them, and when I was finally able to hear a pair of Salons at AVRev.com editor Bryan Southard’s house, I was completely floored by their sound, so floored that I managed to get a pair of Studios for my very own.
The Revel designs have a unique sound that is articulate and detailed, but never fatiguing. The resources that Revel engineers have to work with in Southern California to produce their sonic masterpieces are very impressive, all backed by the Harman Specialty Group, so it is easy to understand, once you know the capabilities of the facility and how they go about qualifying their designs, how they are able to produce such high-caliber products as the Ultima and Performa lines of loudspeakers.
So how about a speaker that can turn a wish into reality from a company known for supreme execution in loudspeaker design? Revel has something that they feel can get some of their reputation into your living room or home theater at a fraction of the cost of their more expensive products. New to the Revel line is the Concerta series and part of that series is the F12 ($1298.00 per pair), which is Revel’s foray into this segment of the market. The F12 is a floor-standing, single-ported design that is 42.3 inches high, nine-and-three-quarters inches wide and 14.3 inches deep. Weighing 63 pounds, the braced MDF cabinet comes in Black Ash, Natural Cherry or, as the review sample, in Maple. All finishes have a very well-executed vinyl-clad veneer. The cabinet is simply stated and looks slightly contemporary with the black grille.
Using Revel's Organic Ceramic Composite (OCC) diaphragm technology, the four-driver, three-way design of the F12 utilizes two eight-inch cone woofers, a five-and-one-quarter-inch mid-range driver, and a one-inch dome tweeter housed in a proprietary waveguide assembly that optimizes dispersion to match the midrange in the crossover region. This driver complement has a frequency range of 33 Hz -18 kHz ±1 dB with excursions down to 28Hz -10 dB, with a sensitivity of 90.5dB SPL with 2.83V @ 1m. These are covered by black grille cloth over a plastic frame that fits well into rubber isolated holes in the cabinet. It appears that the F12 is much easier to drive than the Performa or Ultima lines, whose sensitivity is around 87dB.
The cabinet stands on four rubber feet that will also allow for thin threaded metal spikes to be installed in the middle of the foot. A little bit better execution here would save some frustration, as the spikes are difficult to adjust due to their small diameter, and are difficult to adjust on thicker carpets. However, once set, they do provide quite a stable stance.
On the back of the speaker below the single port are the recessed speaker terminals that will allow for bi-amping. These come with stamped plated metal jumpers. The speaker terminals are mounted to a molded plastic recess that places the terminals a little too close to one another. I had trouble getting my fingers around the knurled nuts for tightening.
I mention the plastics used in the design because this is the obvious area to cut costs on materials that have the least effect on the sound. Other speakers at this price range use copious amounts of plastic in areas that may not be the best application for that material, and I applaud Revel for making some smart choices in this regard. The other cost-cutting effort is off-shoring the manufacture of the Concerta Line. Well, not off-shoring, but across the border in a Harman Consumer Group-owned and operated facility in Mexico. This gives Revel complete control over quality yet allows them to be competitive at this price point.