Rel Strata III versus Rel Britannia B3

Hi all,

I am looking to match a pair of Spendor S5e's (powered with Simaudio I5.3) with a subwoofer and was trying to figure out if anyone has experience with the Strata III and its new "replacement" the Britannia B3. I believe that the B3 is a ported design from a structural perspective versus non-ported for the strata. (sidenote: I have heard good things about the B1 comparable or even better to the Storm in the ST series).

Anyone have any experience out there with both?

I can't answer about either one of those subs, but I would like to suggest that you listen to a Von Schweikert VR/S-1. I have used this sub with the Spendor S5e's, and it is a killer. Very fast, and when set up right it will blend in with that speaker as if it was made for it.
I now have the Spendor S8e's, and guess what... I am still using it with these beautiful music makers that go down clean to about 30Hz. I use the lowest crossover point and it adds just the right stuff to complete these very musical full range speakers.
I love this sub! When you take the time, as you should with any sub, and you don't crank it up too loud... blend it with the main speakers... this sub will hide out and add depth and a very solid bottom end.
I use the Audio Research VSi55 integrated tube amp. It has a sub RCA output, and nicely controls the sub output. Use a good interconnect, and a good power cable... that puts the whip cream on the cake!
Try it... you might like it!
I have heard of the B1 (500watts) at a dealer showroom. I cant describe the magnificent bass that box can produce. It really locks into the music, very fast , seamless, very solid. I cant describe it in words but I definitely want to have one!
Thanks for the recommendation on the Von Schweikert VR/S-1! I will see if I can find one to listen to. I juct picked up a B-3 on ebay for $1200 and will let you guys know how it sounds. It might be too much sub for the room, but we'll see.

Anyone out there with Strata experience?

I've had a Strata III for about 3-4 years and have been able to successfully blend it with 5 different speakers. I most recently bought a pair of Dynaudio Focus 110s for fun and was able to blend in 4 adjustments. Since the REL takes a small signal from your amp, the tonal blend is superb.
I have used a Strata III for a couple years. It blended well with a pair of Paradigm Studio 40 v.3's. The Paradigm's are now gone, replaced with a pair of Dynaudio Focus 140's. I continue to use the Strata III. Sounds great.
Valinar, how do you like the Dynaudios? As good as the S'phile review says they are?
I like the 140's very much. As the Sterophile article stated they take a long time to break in. I am using a Musical Fidelity a3.2 integrated and am thinking of another integrated with more power. I'll see.
I think there is an even newer line after the Britannia. Still I'm happy with my Strata III. The most important thing is to GET a sub. It seems to add color to the entire spectrum of music, I don't know how to explain it.
Well - I had to ship my Spendors back to fedex for damage inspection. Super long story, but am now essentially on hold for sub set-up with the B-3. For the 10 hours I had to play with them both in the system I could tell an immediate difference, but it will take some fine tuning as the listening in the room was very location specific.

When you say "color" do you mean unfaithful reproduction (as the term is often used here) or do you mean more vivid and textured?

I'm not trying to be an arse - I'm doing lots of research on RELs and the Velodyne DD series, and one of the things the Brits tell me on their boards is the REL subs measure horribly, suggesting they may color the sound (negatively) a bit, so the meaning of "color" in your post is very important to me.


I would be curious as to what you find out regarding your concept of color...

Froody, I haven't found much out so far. I'm seeing some appealing prices on the Britannia series right now, so I'm actively researching the issue now. I'll let you know what I find.

I know Artmaltman and when he says "color," he is not referring to coloration. I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I believe he is talking about tonal color or saturation. He and I have had conversations about the sonic equivalent of the color dial on your TV. Turn it down too far and approach black & white. I think he's saying tha his REL sub seems to add to the saturation (in a good way) across the board in his system, including perceived tonality in the treble.
I've tried the DD from Velo and just recently bit the bullet on a the B3.

The DD from Velo is nice because of the remote. But it stops there. No matter what the dealer did, the sub just called attention to the sound therefore it colors the sound. The salesman may not know what he is doing but I sure didnt like the way it gave bass. It was a bit hard for my taste. Too much. It could be break in issues but it wasnt for me. Powerful yes! but still, not for me.

Next stop I went to the store who carried Rel. It only took a good 5 min to convince me that this sub was for me. It integrated well with whatever speakers it was hooked up to. It seems the bass was coming from the main speakers rather than from the sub itself.Its terribly expensive but at the end of a two week period of thinking. I bit the bullet and got the Rel B3 in cherry.

I suggest that you listen to the Rels before giving up on them.
Oops, I just noticed this request for a response. (Thanks for filling in Dan!). What I expected is to hear and/or feel more bass. Sure, I get that in spades, but it also seems to me that the sounds top to bottom, even the treble, seem to have more of a foundation when the sub is on. The note coming from a violin seems a tad more solid, more real, with more texture. This is the furthest thing from my expectation of what I'd get from a sub that I can imagine. I don't know a lot about the structure of music - is it possible that there are "overtones", or some content of the bass response that really does reinforce higher frequencies? (legitimately, not in terms of artificial coloration).

I dont mean to take this thread off the track...Since so many REL users are posting on this thread...Are you guys running your front speakers with full range signal and sending the same full range signal to REL B3 (or) B1 (or) Strata III using Neutrik Speakon cable ?

For music, yes, that's the way REL is designed to work. For HT, you send the LFE signal.
The DD series subs from velodyne leaves the REL subs in the dust. The onboard EQ shows you what the sub is doing in the room. I have mine set at 6 out of 100.
Addressing the B series vs. ST series question of your post, when I bought my B1 the dealer told me that REL says the B3 actually falls performance-wise between the Storm and the Stadium. Hard to believe, but that's what he said.
Second, since I have owned both Velodynes and RELs (and now have the REL), Flemke is not wrong. The EQ function is a tremendous advantage. However posts like Nolitan's above get to the heart of the matter, which I believe is attributed to the idea that (based on my own observations -caveat - not backed on science but listening) the Velodyne 'shoots" the bass at you (and it is nice in its own way) the REL loads the room and the bass seems more natural and musical. That said, I could live with either. If you have an SPL meter and are willing to work with the set up of the REL you can mitigate the Velo's EQ advantage a lot.
Hi all, figured I would provide a few remarks as an after action report. I ended up with the B3 and have been listening to it in my primary system over the last 5-6 months. While I have not been able to directly compare it to other subs in this system, there are a few definite things that I have noticed. First, as others have mentioned (and when properly set-up) the B3 simply "disappears" in the room. Aside from the borderline small appliance size, you would never know it was on unless you actually turned it off. However, when it is off, you immediately notice the difference. Lack of depth, dynamics, and sound stage. Don't get me wrong, the S5e's can sing on their own, and are well known for their disproportionate "bigness". The B3 simply takes this to another level. After 6 months, I still simply sit here and listen to the music and marvel. For someone as OCD as me, this is a small miracle. Setting it up took sometime, but if you follow the excellent REL guidelines and are not afraid to experiment with various locations in your listening room, you will not be disappointed.

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts - definitely appreciated!
That's real HOOPY!
I have had the same experience with the REL q150e,  t3 & t2 I own.
Maybe one day I'll get a B3 ;-)
Ive owned both and currently run a T7 Rel...IMO the Strata3 is easier to setup and run.The B3 seemed to me to be slower in responce.I ran both with Dynaudio,Focal.Having said that the new series is much better,much better IMO
I love REL sub(s). They are the best in the business, IMO.
I just saw your thread regarding the B3 vs the Strata3. Thought you should know that I just listed my B3 in Audiogon classified.
I don't have direct experience with the Strata 3 but I do know that the B3 is a great sub