|Revel Sub 30 Subwoofer|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Subwoofers|
|Written by Jerry Del Colliano|
|Tuesday, 01 June 2004|
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The Revel Sub 30 is the latest addition to Revel’s Ultima line of premium loudspeakers. Building on lessons learned with the groundbreaking Revel B15 subwoofer in the Performa line, the Sub 30 comes to the AV market in a whole new class in terms of both performance and aesthetics. Gone are the boring black box lines of a traditional subwoofer. The Revel Sub 30 rounds out the lines with the kind of industrial design that you might expect more from Apple than Harman; however, anyone who has seen the new Harman-Kardon receivers might say the U.S. electronics manufacturer has turned a new page in terms of their products’ physical appearance. The price for the Revel Sub 30 starts at $5,990 for a standard finish. It can also be ordered with aluminum side panels for a $500 premium.
The speaker complement includes a 15-inch driver and a secondary 15-inch dual-layer metal dome acoustic radiator. The sub is powered by an amp capable of 1000 watts, with peaks as high as 1400 watts. Revel claims that their magnet and speaker system eliminates the need for servo control of their woofer, resulting in the main theme of the Revel Sub 30: less distortion. Having owned two Revel B15s, I can personally state that it was hardly as though they shrieked with distortion, but with a higher budget and a few more years of R & D under their belts, the speaker design team at Revel was able to significantly improve on an already excellent design. I moved my professionally set-up B15 and tuned my listening space to make room for the Sub 30. I could immediately hear a difference, even without running Revel’s excellent set-up software.
In the old days, an audio enthusiast had very little chance of making his or her subwoofer truly perform to its potential in a room. Without a degree in acoustics and $30,000 in measuring tools, it was hard to know how to set your levels, EQ, phase and all of the other adjustments on the back of a sub. This is why audiophiles have long fought the addition of a subwoofer to their “purist” systems. Revel overcame this objection by creating a software system that comes with the B15 and the Sub 30 that allows you, using very simple tools, to measure the performance of a sub in your room. Revel’s software will suggest the proper EQ for a certain placement (the Sub 30 comes with EQ built in), along with phase and other settings. The consumer finally has a chance to get a personal music or theater system to live up to its potential without the help of a professional.
Many have argued that, on a lot of levels, I need professional help. One of the areas that I can’t dispute this is in terms of speaker set-up. As a professional reviewer, I need to know that my system not only sounds good in my room, but also measures fairly so I can evaluate other components in my system for years to come. I employ the services of studio tuner to the stars, Bob Hodas, who is famous for setting up and tuning recording studios, mastering labs and home theaters for clients like Abbey Road, Electric Lady, A&M, George Lucas, Sony Music Tokyo, and many others. I also brought in Kevin Voecks, who has been instrumental in the design of Revel speakers since the very beginning, for a day of tuning and fine-tuning of my room. While I catered the meals, Hodas and Voecks tweaked EQs and dorked with levels for hours, until my system pounded with tight, deep bass energy that is well-matched with the performance of my new Wilson WATT Puppy Version 7 loudspeakers. By the end of the day (and after a lot of effort), I took a drywall saw to the wall beside the permanent location of the Sub 30 and hacked a hole in the wall to make room to pull a Transparent Reference balanced interconnect from my Meridian 861 to the Sub 30. After this much set-up effort, I figured it was worth the investment in a badass cable. It is important to note that while a Bob Hodas set-up is the ultimate level of tuning, you don’t absolutely need to fly the master in to make a Sub 30 sound great in your room. The Revel set-up tools are very powerful and definitely capable of making your sub sound great in your room for just around $50 in tools and an hour or two of your time.