Revel Performa F228 Be speaker... thoughts?


I am considering upgrading my main stereo speakers from my Epos M22’s, and I have been recommended Revel F228 Be’s. Reading about the brand, I am learning Revel is the high end speaker brand of Harman Industries. This retail for about $10,000 a pair but can be gotten at a nice discount. I have read reviews and they are described as great treble, smooth midrange, full range punchy bass, pretty much every $10,000 speaker should have that! They were also named The Absolute Sound speaker of the year in 2019. I am looking to spend about $5 to 6 thousand, roughly for the new speakers.

It would be very helpful if those who have heard these Revel’s would compare them against some of the well discussed and well respected speakers like Harbeths, Vandersteens, Focals, Dynaudios, Devores, ProAcs, Raidhos, Magicos that have similar models at this price. I am a listener of vocals, some pop (more old than new), soul, country, blues, jazz. Not hard rock, punk, electronica or rap. In the past I have been quite impressed by large Harbeths and Vandersteen 3’s in friend's homes, these have a full, strong vocals and bass, but not too sharp a sound in the highs. For domestic purposes, I need to stick to a speaker that fits our home decor, no giant panels or anything too outlandish looking for a multi purpose living area.
troidelover1499
For your tastes it sounds like Harbeth would be a very good choice.  Others from your list that fit well with your requirements would be DeVore, ProAc, Dynaudio, with Spendor and Sonus Faber as other potential possibilities.  If I’m you I’d tend to stay away from metal tweeters that, depending on what electronics you’re using, can exhibit characteristics that might not appeal to you — this would include the Revels that I wouldn’t tend to recommend for that reason.  Hope this helps, and best of luck. 
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There is not a better speaker then the 228be in its price range. Just have to listen to things and see what you like. They are a flat accurate speaker and that does not mean you will like them but they are near perfect. 
On my way travels to audition some of the brands you mentioned, I stopped one day at a random store and listened to the Revel F228 Be.  They were driven by a pair of PS Audio BHK monoblocks and pre.  Source was streaming, but I don't recall if it was the PS Audio DAC.  I didn't know how good they sounded at the time, but after auditioning quite a few loudspeakers, the Performa F228 Be are very high on my list.  In fact, they're just below a couple Wilson Audio offerings, the Yvette, and now the SabrinaX.  

My travels to hear loudspeakers taught me something.  Great speakers can sound very average when poorly set up or with a bad source, and the reverse is also true.  I didn't feel like the room was overly treated or anything special was done during the my audition of the Revel loudspeakers, but they sounded pretty amazing to my ears.  
Great speakers.  Something in a similar type (Flat response) you might consider is the Salk SS 9.5.  More personalized but a bit more than 5-6k.  The Song 3 Encore is similar but less spendy also.

Don’t be afraid of used in many cases.  

Vandersteen also quite good.
I like the revel line of speakers. The 228’s are very nice but I preferred the Salon and Studio 2’s. When auditioning speakers a few years back, I ended up buying the larger Usher speakers instead of the Salon 2’s. I prefer the DMD Diamond tweeter and the 11” Eaton woofer in the ushers over the revel. if you consider looks, Usher has all of the speakers you listed beat. The BE 10 ushers are around $6k used or higher. 
I had a pair of M106, great speaker.   To say "there is no better speaker"  around the 10k price point is a bold statement as there are many great speakers in that space.   If i was spending $10k I would do some serious first hand listening.   
Beware of the "BE" tweeter, ugh. Beryllium tweeter, yep i had to have one. turns out i did not like it at all.  had the revel 126 be bookshelf, to much of a good thing. turns out i like the soft dome sound of dynaudio . live and learn.
Thanks all for the input so far. I can get the F228 BE very deeply discounted. Still not sure it is worth it though, not sure it will be a major improvement.  Wish to hear from others comparisons of the Revels to others in that price range, if people have heard them compared.

I am not particularly worried about the Be tweeter in and of itself, as my Epos also has a metal tweeter, and in my system I have made the sound sweet and full sounding in how it is set up, not too sharp sounding. I have learned how the drivers are used and mated to each other that really matters.

Yes I don’t pay much mind to some of the comments just saying oh yes that is the best $10,000 speaker! Been around the block enough.


Well if you don’t want comments you will not get any…. Buy some and see if you like them…

 they have no real flaw and multiple measurements back that up. Does not mean you will like them if you like some coloration. 

 I like wilsons better even though they are a “worse” speaker in all factors other than I like the coloration in the mids and bass of the wilsons. the Sabrina is twice the price more or less and worse in absolute terms. 

The Kef reference 3 is 50% more and much worse to my ear even though it measures well it sounds hard in the highs and lacks dyamics. 
The Sonus Faber Olympica nova 3 is very good but again it is not better in anyway way just different. it lacks the bass authority (leading edge impact) of the Sabrina to my ear but very close in sound. 

So no one can help you. Buy what you like. 
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/revel-f328be-speaker-review.17443/

https://www.stereophile.com/content/revel-performa-f228be-loudspeaker-measurements
Revels are nice but can be a bit boring. They do nothing wrong, and most things right. But they lack any kind of character. I sold mine, my audio buddy had some big Revels and he did the same.
I have a pair of M106. I needed a woofer for it and can’t get parts. They are still selling them. I would steer away from Revel as their customer service needs help. 
Many thanks gents.  I will redouble my efforts to hear these in some retailer store.
Sometimes a great deal is a great deal and sometimes it's necessary to move a product that was optimistically priced originally. Revels typically needs lots of juice and usually sound light in the bass, but if they sound good in your room that's all that matters. 

The f228be was built to fill a gap in the revel lineup and their listening tests show almost no preference in the f208, f228be and salon 2 so smart money would be the f208 unless you're one of those crazy audiophiles that loves to throw money away.
Revels are nice but can be a bit boring. They do nothing wrong, and most things right. But they lack any kind of character.
Wonderful.  Exactly what I prefer.
I suppose it is a compliment to say a speaker is without character, so long as it is full range, and has really good clarity to play through what is sent to it.


troidelover1499 OP



F228 Be
Look to be a speaker that’s not too hard an impedance load in the bass, will even suit Class-D, and at 90db many >100w 8ohm tube amps with 4ohm taps, which will half to 50w when using those 4ohm taps.
https://www.stereophile.com/images/119Revelfig1.jpg

Cheers George
My problem with revel speakers is that while their wide dispersion design is great for HT they need more power than any avr is going to have and I just don't find their soundstage convincing for 2 channel. your results may vary. 
@troidelover, you have eclectic tastes in music. Bravo!

Generally speaking, speakers, like most other audio components, should be matched or appropriate for the components you'll be using them with, your sound room dimensions, acoustical properties of your sound room and speaker placement within that room. You'll never really know exactly what speakers will sound like until you get them home, broken-in and properly positioned. As such, when you buy, make certain whomever you buy from has a generous return policy (at least 30 to 60 days & preferably with no re-stocking fee). If you elect to schedule critical listening sessions in various shops, try to get them to use components as similar to yours, as possible and ask them to set up the speakers the way you would at home (e.g. x' apart; x" away from wall behind them; x' from listening position; etc.). I don't know if this applies to speakers with Beryllium tweeters but for those with AMT tweeters pay particular attention to the amount of space behind the listening position. If your listening position at home is, for example, a chair or couch with a wall right behind it, AMT tweeters, in my experience, have a propensity for becoming quickly fatiguing (i.e. harsh; bright; forward; headache provoking in brief listening sessions). They do better with plenty of unobstructed space behind the sweet spot (e.g. at least 9 or 10 feet but the more, the better).

More than most any other audio component, speakers are an intensely personal choice. Only your own two ears will know what's best for you. Good Luck! Happy Hunting!
Well I impulse bought a pair of these 228bes. They were a screaming deal, new in the box at used prices. 


I am still working through the setup with only about 5 hours on them but my opinion of them remains the same as my comments above. This is a very good even handed speaker. No real flaws but with no razzle dazzle either. 


On a personal note I find them lacking bass extension and intern weight without subs but I use duel subs in all my systems. Currently high-passing at 60hz using JL E112 subs, McIntosh MC462 amp and a wyred 4 sound DAC as a preamp (plan to replace the w4s soon).



The 228be seems a hair more forward in the highs than the 328be from memory (same amp). With my subs I am getting better bass than the 328be alone vs the 228be with subs (different room…). Room tuning the bass with subs is a nice option. 


Based on the amp meters (accurate/not???) I am getting 100db with 4.5 watts. Surprised how clean these sound at very loud volumes. I only really listen at 80-85 but I do have a duel home theater music room so nice to know they will not self destruct during a movie.
The persona 3f for a speaker that can be much better, but could also send you down the component matching path. the Dynaudio C60 for a larger room and if you like using subs kanta 2, or kef ref 1. 
I would certainly take a listen to Focal Kanta 2 and Kanta 3, although you'd likely pay more for the 3's than the Revel F228Be.  Yes, the Revels measure about as well as can be done, but you have to enjoy listening to your speakers.  I think that's where Kanta exels.  They have the IAL3 version of their beryllium tweeter and it exceedingly detailed yet not as "in your face" as some earlier Focal Be tweeters.  With the Kanta, you just want to listen to music. 
The Kanta is a fine speaker I am sure but it will need subs imo. 

You can these the bass drops off hard after 100hz and relies on room gain which can be hard to optimize both soundstage and bass or if you have an odd room. Below 100hz you are listening to the port which might not be as clean. 
https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2090:nrc-meas...


you can also see there is too much energy in the off axis around 5k. Could make toe in/out tricky depending on how narrow your room is.

I like focal as a brand and having owned both Revel and Focal they are somewhat  similar in house sound. What I can say is that in the US the 228be is both much cheaper and measures better. The tweeter is cleaner to my ears too. Keep in mind the comparable Focal is the Sopra 3 not the Kanta. 
@james633 Thanks, great post.  But your link appears to be for the Kanta 1.  And I'm not sure I agree that the comparable Focal is Sopra 3.  But if that is true, the 228Be is a screaming value! 
Mtrot,

thanks for catching my mistake. Try this link below for the Kanta 2. Similar tuning as the drivers drop off around 100hz and a strong port tuning picks up. I have personally found this type (strong port output) of tuning a little hard to place. I bet if you dig you will find people that say the Kanta has lots of bass and others that say it has no bass. Both probably true and room dependent with that type of tuning. 
https://www.stereophile.com/content/focal-kanta-no2-loudspeaker-measurements


The 228be is much larger (volume wise) than the Sopra 2 and closer to the Sopra 3 in both size abs driver layout. The crossover points are almost the same too. I think a lot of the extra weight of the Sopra 3 comes from the glass base. 

The only real negative of the 228be is that it gives up bass extension for efficiency. I run subs with everything but if someone was agents subs they might want to pass on the Revels. But the light bass tuning gives them the ability to play crazy loud with little distortion. I imagine this was done for the home theater crowd. 
Anyway I really like the current Focal line. I just think they are over priced in the US with their recent price increases and I feel that Revel is on the lower end of the price scale making them a good buy if you are not worried about having something fancy and exotic looking. 
@james633 Yeah, I mostly agree with your points, especially that Revel does seem to be biasing their tuning toward the home theater crowd.  I do have an all-around family room setup that is for movies and music.  But my bias would be toward music listening enjoyment more so than home theater prowess. Besides, the Kanta has pretty good dynamics as well, as I understand it.

Also, my family room has a pronounced bass null at the listening position, but I can't really arrange the room any differently.  So, I'm not sure that either the 228 or one of the Kantas is going to be much superior to the other in bass performance in my room.

Another thing I don't care for with the tall F228 is the high tweeter position.  My seated ear height on my sofa is around 33 inches, so I really like how the Kanta tweeter, being below the mid range driver, is right about at my ear height.  Also, my seated distance from the front L/R speakers is only 10 feet, so my ears would be maybe 10-15 degrees below the F228 tweeter.  And I can't back the sofa up any more.

Yeah, Focal ticked me off with their ~25% price increase, but nice used sets of Kanta 2 are popping up in the $6500 range.  Used Kanta 3 seem much more rare and much higher in price.  Incidentally, used F226Be are also showing as low as $5000, but that is a fairly small speaker.

And also, with respect to aesthetics, I do think the Kantas will have a better WAF for me, as my room is our family room.


Yes the high tweeter on the 228be could be an issue at 33”, which is pretty low. My ear is about 38” and I sit 9’ away and have not had any problems. 
I got the Revel 228be for $6300 from Music Direct “new”. They were marked as demos but showed up unopened with the frisk still on them. They had 3 pairs marked as 60 day returns or demos but looks like they are all sold now. 
I demoed the Sonus Faber Olympica III, Wilson Sabrina, Revel 328be, Kef Reference 3, Klipsch Cornwall IV, Klipsch La Scala, B&W 803D3, and 804D3 before buying tue Revel. I liked the 328be the best and figured the 228be with subs I owned would work well and save some cash. It was an impulse buy due to bring so cheap but worked out well. Interestingly I inquired about ordering a pair through another dealer and was quoted an 8 month lead time (crazy) then started looking around online. 
Hmm, it appears that Music Direct has a scratch and dent set of Ultima Studio 2 for $9K, which is $1000 less than their price for F228Be.  Some feel the Studio 2 is still a better speaker than the F228Be.  I wonder how bad the scratch and dent is on them?!
That's quite an extensive list of speakers you auditioned.  I've recently been considering B&W 804D3 since they are now showing up used for as low as ~$6k, but that tweeter scares me after hearing it sound so hot at a couple of audio shows. It was after that that I started leaning toward the Focal Kanta sound. 

Now, one thing about the Studio 2 that is a factor to me is the low sensitivity, compared to the Kantas.  I do have a powerful amp, but I still like the idea of a higher efficiency speaker.
I have a pair of F228Be that compare very well to the salons I just acquired. 
I feel the midrange is slightly better on the Be and they require less power to drive them. The salons really require a beefy amp. 
If you can get that last octave with a quality sub, it’s a great choice for both music and movies. 
I have heard the Salon 2 and 328be in the same room back to back but on different electronics. McIntosh C49/MC462 on the 328be and Mark Levinson on the Salon. salons on the inside and 328be on the outside. 

So not a true direct comparison but they are very similar. As a whole the 328be system seemed to have cleaner more even highs (to my ear) and the Salon system had deeper bass. They would be hard to tell apart if they were not in the same room. room/toe in/ and general setup will probably make a bigger difference than the speakers then selves. I felt like the equipment was making a bigger difference. I could hear the Mac sound through the 328be. I own Mac so no hate just an observation. The sound was a bit more in front of the 328be and a bit more behind the Solon. Again just a demo room so not super tweaked out.

I would be iffy on buying the Salon/studio as they are more or less discontinued. They have been out forever and I question part support going forward. Maybe if you don’t have kids running around to worry about breaking them. 

I have owned older B&W and Focals. I would take the Focals every time. B&W’s only good speaker imo is the 803/802/800 and even they have some midrange and treble oddities. Amazing speakers messed up with questionable tuning.  

Most impressive thing of the 228be has been the mids (well and how stupid loud they play) So transparent but natural sounding. The mids are a little forward for a revel but just a hair forward in reality. Really great speaker but I don’t think it impresses during the demo. When I demoed the 328be I thought it had the least issues of everything I demoed but I was not wowed. Even having them at home it took me almost a week to appreciate them but they were good right away. Not sure if it was positioning, sub integration tuning (I use two high-passed at 60hz), break in or psychoacoustics (I am going with the last one lol!) but I really like them now and have finally had a few wow moments. 

I have a hometheater music room so now the decisions is do I get another pair and center… or just live with a mix and match home theater. I am 90% music 10% home theater.  

 As a side note I have never had a speaker that can play this loud. I don’t understand what is going on. Maybe it is the 24db crossovers and some what limited bass extension. But even at 100db the sound seems to never compress or change. The highs are still clean, no midrange break up and the room gives up and rattles long before the bass drivers. From 70db to 100bd they frequency balance seems to stay the same. 
@james633

"The Kanta is a fine speaker I am sure but it will need subs imo.

You can these the bass drops off hard after 100hz and relies on room gain which can be hard to optimize both soundstage and bass or if you have an odd room. Below 100hz you are listening to the port which might not be as clean."
So, can you suggest some speakers that don't rely on the port for below 100Hz and don't drop off hard below 100Hz? 

mtrot,

all ported speakers work that way but speakers with larger boxes get lowers before dropping off. The subject of this thread the 228be is on example and it goes down to 60hz before heavy roll off starts. 


The Sophia 3 is another example. Even though the 228be’s two 8” drivers have 20% more surface area than the 10” of the Sophia 3, due to the large box of the Sophia 3 it goes down to 50hz before dropping off (resistance and other things at play here but box size is #1)
At each point the port picks up where the drivers leave off. Room gain most likely adds 6 db of bass in the low 30/40hz and you can see that the Sophia is down about 5db at the port and the 228be is down at 6db. 


In listening to both the Sophia 3 has stronger deeper bass than the 228be. The 228be sounds rolled off to me. But with subs crossed in at 60hz all of this goes away. The 228be has much cleaner highs and the mids are more transparent and natural imo. I believe the 228be with subs (picture of my setup in my profile) is better than the Sophia 3 with or without subs.


  
This more or less is how all ported speakers work. Larger boxes are always better. The issue with the Kanta IMO on paper…. Is that the box is pretty small and the port is tuned pretty hot. At high volume it will be limited and chuffing could appear. I think at normal volume they will be 100% fine in every way but next to a large speaker in a large room they will come up short when played loud.
Another approach active speaker when the power is increased in the low bass to get flat down to 20hz. This is effetely what is burnt done when you high-pass in subs. It turns the speaker into a 4 way with active bass. The kicker is you as the user then kind of become the speaker designer which is not for everyone.
Since we are on a harman thread so to speak harman claims that in their subjective data bass extension attributed to 30% of the total positive opinion of their blind test. Interesting for sure abs it show how important it is to get the bass right.



So nothing wrong with the Kanta just point out as a smaller speaker it will be more limited in shear output. Rear wall placement could be more critical too.


https://www.stereophile.com/content/revel-performa-f228be-loudspeaker-measurements



https://www.stereophile.com/content/wilson-audio-sophia-series-3-loudspeaker-measurements



Video of audioholics talking about how good the bass is on the Kanta. Notice how close they are to the wall. 24” maybe and this is probably where they need to be for strong low flat bass.
https://youtu.be/KVNoiBOf96o
@james633

Thanks much for the extensive explanation.  Hmm, considering that in my family room, the front L/R speakers have to be close to the front wall, perhaps the Kanta 2 will work great.  The back of the speakers will need to be about 18" from that wall.  I was about to rule them out, based on your comment about Focal rolling off the bass hard below 100Hz. 

One nice thing about the Kanta 2 is that nice used sets are showing up at around $6500 lately.  Similarly, used sets of F226Be are showing up around that price or even lower.  So, Kanta 2 vs F226Be.....  They will be used probably around 50% for movies/50% music, so they also need to work well when playing movies fairly loud. 

mtrot,


No problem, just one armchair hero’s opinion lol. 

Yes either speaker, the Kanta 2 or the Revel 226be should work fine close to the wall. Typically measurements are taken from the driver face. I pushed my Revel 228be back to 24” and 39” and turned the subs off just see if I could get some more punch out of them. I did and surprisingly it sounded fine with no major bass boom (ran a quick measurement and was pretty flat). I later moved them back out from the wall and turned the subs back on. 

I think I would take the Kanta 2 over the revel 226be in this case. Being that they are both “smaller” speakers they both appear to be tuned (low bass roll off) to sit closer to the wall. If you are going to be doing home theater I think there is some leverage for the Revel as their matching center channel is pretty awesome. But I think there is more pride of owner ship with focal (they look great and are “fancy” lol). 

Between those two I think the Kanta looks more interesting. I have never heard the or the 226be (or Kanta) but based on owning the 228be I would imagine the 226be is pretty bass light as the 228be is tuned lean also. 
Another really good speaker is the older Focal 1038be. A pair on here for $6000. I almost bought the 1037be when I demoed them. 
Here is a good review of the 226be with measurements below. 

https://youtu.be/r1JjCVVgIdc
Revels sound nothing like Harberths, having a modern, analytical house sound that I find cold/clinical. Be domes can also be generalized to be on the unforgiving side compared to fabric, but then again Harbeth uses metal domes, too. You should really go audition and judge for yourself. .
Revel home audio outsources everything and because of it seems like a money grab. How can a company with the backing of HK not invest in their own tooling? I respect their chief engineer, but can’t help to think companies that can make some of their own products would be able to pass some savings to their customers 
Steve59,

That is just the way of the world these days. Happens less in highend audio I guess. I own an $8,000 mountain bike and not a single part is made by the company I bought it from. They design it and outsource everything, even assembly. 

As for Revel I think it shows in their fit and finish. It is not bad but they showed up with little things that would not happen with Wilson, Magico or B&W. Minor glue marks and some very small paint issues etc. 

But I still feel you can’t get a better speaker for the money sound wise. There might be one someone likes better but objectively it will not be better. The 228be is neutral, very detailed and seem to have limitless volume output in a domestic listening room anyway. As I get used to them the mids are very natural and effortless. In my demos the mids did not standout but now they have my attention. 

At the $6300 I paid for the 228be they are going to be hard to replace. I will have to spend a lot more (multiples of their cost) for something maybe just different. Like many people I am always looking for my next speaker. I would love to try some big JBL horns or own big Wilsons but not sure it is worth it at this point. 

I think I will just start playing with more room treatment. I have my entire ceiling treated now. I put 6” of dens mineral wool behind an acoustic drop tile. That made a huge different is the sound of the room. With the Thiels I had the tweeter was low and shot straight into my theater seats (big wide soft cloth seats), this kept the rear wall reflections to a minimum but the revels tweeter is above the seats and wow does it excite the room, so i need to do something with the rear wall now and will try some wide band bass traps at the first reflection points while I am at it. 
You have invested in the 228 be so I apologize if I suggested they were cheap. I have more against revels marketing strategy than their speakers and sometimes it leaks out. 
Steve59,


No, offense taken, Revels don’t fall in the pride of ownership category. They look too plain and the fit and finish is just not three. Not bad but clumsy/plastic looking next to Sonus Faber or Focal. 
They do however sound good in absolute terms and excellent for the money. cost no object most of use would own Rockports or similar brands with extreme attention to detail.