REVEL Performa F328Be

MJ14.09.2020

Floorstanding loudspeakers

Should I write just one word about the new Revel Performa F328Be it would be´Complete´. To my ears their designers have achieved a unique blend of effortlessness, drive, tonal honesty, and superb imaging, something that is very hard to find. The only catch is how they look – they are way too understated to be an eye-grabber at a show. Don´t miss them and shortlist them with confidence if you have the budget.

100% reference

Function and form

80%
Ease of use
73%
Sound
95%
Appearance

The new Performa F328Be are serious speakers and come in sizable flight cases – no way that they can be pushed in a car. They are conceived as 3-way system that features – in each cabinet – a 25mm beryllium tweeter which sits in a shallow ceramic-coated cast-aluminum waveguide for better integration with the 130mm midrange driver and three (!) 200mm woofers, all utilizing what Revel calls Deep Ceramic Composite (DCC). The DCC process uses a plasma discharge to coat both sides of a aluminum cone core with a coarse ceramic coating. This provides damping and pushes the cone break-up modes outside the cone’s working range. The bottom end is further supported by dual rear-firing bassreflex ports that are of a large diameter and ended with waveguides to prevent parasitic sounds. Revel paid a lot of attention to how all the five drivers are integrated to deliver as seamless sound as possible. I can only attest that they succeeded and the F328Be are exceptional in this respect and you can hear it.
The F328Be are available in glossy black and white, as well as in rather generic walnut and rather sexy looking silver. They facilitate bi-wiring but remove the crossover roll-off adjustment options that the Revel Ultima series provided. On paper the F328Be have friendly parameters - impedance of 8 ohms and 91dB sensitivity should not be difficult to drive. The lowest frequency extension point is specified as 26Hz (-6dB) and 35Hz (-3dB) so these Revels can be easily called “full range speakers”.

Bass management

Weight
85
Slam
77
Articulation
82

I loved the sound and solid ringing of piano, delicate shimmer of brushed cymbals and overall realistic feel of The Gods of Jazz (Airto Moreira, Stereophile Test CD3), but let me start with low frequencies. The bass chromatics, played back through the Revel F328Be, had the penetration power of a .44 Magnum. At the same time the bass fundaments were right and their harmonics were fully developed. I listened with the volume really up and still I could sense how big reserve the speakers had. As if Revels were challenging me what I will be able to put up with, not vice versa. It was the limiting factor of room acoustics – not Revels – that prevented me from going to and over concert volume levels. The acoustic double bass and the drum kit from Chesky Record´s test disc generated some serious sound pressure in the room, the F328Be remained unshaken however – the sound was articulated and beautifully unstressed.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
94
Air
70
Transparency
76

The Revel F328Be are as clear as winter air. Mark Levinson´s electronics were a natural match for the speakers and the resulting level of resolution was stunning. The sound that I heard was neither forward nor recessed, it just was. It was one of those rare moment when you think there are no speakers in the room and the sound comes from a virtual space, maybe through a wide open window from a different room where a pianist performs. I found the sweet spot with my usual pink noise tracks and after shuffling with the speakers a bit I arrived to a monitor-like sound with the scale of full-range speakers.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
78
Dynamics
80
Temporal resolution
70

I loved what I was hearing when I was listening to Dead Can Dance's Towards The Within. Brendana Perry's vocal in Desert Song accompanied by simple instrumentation was gorgeous and complete. Also the Lisa Gerrard's Yulunga that follows was tonally accomplished. Both voices were nicely textured and great in timbre, as I was used with Revel's Ultima Studio/Salon models. Here I would say that the coherence of the F328Be is a step up from the flagship range, with my eyes closed I had no chance to guess where the speakers were, how tall they were, or how many drivers played the music. There were no seams or discontinuities, no phase issues, I only heard music coming from a space-time continuum. If this is not an example of marvellous speaker engineering then what is?
Rodrigo y Gabriella's 11:11 acoustic guitars malestrom is rich in fast transients and they were superquick through the Revel F328Be. The strings had a lot of 'beryllium' details, great microdynamics (though the record is quite compressed) and highs left the tweeters with wonderfull openness and ease, as if the sound was weightless.
It is fair to say that I was auditioning a pair that had only few days of burn-in. From my own experience with beryllium domes they need several hundred hours to fully develop. No matter how fresh the F328Be they sounded already fabulous. So expect further improvements in microresolution and tonal shading after the proper burn-in.

Spatial resolution

Holography
82
Soundstage width
82
Soundstage depth
82

I don't need to say that the Performa F328Be's imaging is very natural. In fact it is so natural that I did not realized it during the music playback. It was when one part was ending and the audience applauded - then I looked up. Usually audience sounds come from the plane of speakers and from behind them, sometimes also projected slightly closer to the listener. I could heard hands clapping next to me with the F328Be. This makes the listening a very authentic experience and I could validate it with All by My Lord psalm from Crystal Cable sampler. The children choir was recorded in reverberant chapel acoustics and sounded very pure and very resolved, the singers were individualized within the choir.
The Performa F328Be were great in playing well-recorded music, but what about something different, like Fear Factory, Slayer, Overkill, and other stuff? The Revels are not built to favor acoustic genres, they are built to be true to source. Some 'audiophile' speakers excel with audiophile recordings and terribly fail with lesser program material. Not the Revels – they can deliver a tornado of metal sound that does not lack the entertainment factor.

Getting back to the first paragraph of this review: don't miss the Revel Performa F328Be just because they don't look high-end enough. On the contrary, they could be easily a benchmark against which many high -end speakers should be judged. A real reference.

Price as reviewed:500 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

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Associated components

  • Sources: Mark Levinson No.519, NAS
  • Amplifiers: Mark Levinson No.585.5
  • Interconnects an speaker cables: Cardas Audio Clear Beyond interconnects, Cardas Audio Cygnus speaker cables
  • Power conditioning: Trigon Volt

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