Today sees some genuinely exciting news from one of the most revered British audio brands. It’s been seven years since the distinguished QUAD launched any new speaker. The brand has just unveiled two new pairs of speakers, The Revela 1 and Revela 2.
In a press release issued today, the Cambridge-based company claims to have produced two new pairs of highly evolved speakers that draw on classic QUAD technologies that can be traced back to 1949 and the company’s first loudspeaker system: the Corner Ribbon. Thanks to modern materials and a dash of contemporary design, the new speakers are ready for audition.
The QUAD Revela 1 is a standmount design with a two-way driver, while its larger sibling, The Revela 2, is a three-way floorstander. Both cabinets have the same dimensions and are available in lacquered black or walnut finish.
QUAD says the new True Ribbon high-frequency driver is a critical component of both Revela speakers. With its origin stretching back more than 70 years, QUAD’s ribbon driver has evolved and this latest version took four years to develop.
It’s claimed the True Ribbon driver can deliver extended high frequencies that are “audibly superior to typical dome tweeters as well as planar drivers.” The True Ribbon driver positions a ribbon of thin aluminum foil in a high-strength magnetic field through which the audio signal flows from the amplifier.
According to QUAD, the advantage of this ‘true ribbon’ design is that the amplifier’s audio signal fully energizes the diaphragm and doesn’t suffer from the breakup modes and resonances produced by other types of tweeters. Because it is driven evenly over the whole radiating surface and has a mass of around 10% of a dome, the precision and transient response of the ribbon to the audio signal produces clean, detailed and pure output. I’ve not heard the speakers yet, so I can’t vouch for that bold claim.
The original ribbon treble unit from QUAD was used in the company’s innovative Corner Ribbon speaker from the 1950s. Unfortunately, it was relatively fragile and only capable of handling up to 15W of power. The latest QUAD pure ribbon has a reinforced sandwich diaphragm that’s robust enough to cope with the demands of modern music and the higher power output of contemporary solid-state amplifiers without mechanical failure.
The ribbon responds to the most subtle waveforms and correctly relays the harmonics of instruments and vocals in recordings to provide what QUAD calls “a realistic sense of space, depth and air.” The original ribbon treble unit was one of QUAD’s many innovations and other manufacturers followed and developed their own versions. The latest QUAD True Ribbon unit used in the Revelas has all the sonic strengths of ribbon drivers but with modern construction and is incorporated into speakers at a more affordable price.
QUAD’s engineers developed a new material for the mid/bass diaphragms used in the Revelas. The material is a blend of wood pulp and artificial fibers called ‘Reveal’ because of its natural, transparent and detailed output. Paper cones have long been regarded for producing excellent midrange performance. However, by adding artificial fibers – like para-aramids – to the pulp, the Reveal diaphragm is further damped and strengthened, which QUAD says provides superior bass control and smoothing upper-midrange resonances.
The Reveal diaphragm is incorporated into a driver built on a cast chassis and fitted with a high-power magnet and voice coils for high sensitivity. The Revela 1 has a single 165mm mid/bass driver, whereas the Revela 2 uses two 165mm drivers to bass frequencies, with a 150mm unit handling the midrange.
The mid/bass cones have been matched to custom rubber surrounds with a damping layer at the junction with the diaphragm to absorb reflections that might otherwise cause resonances in the upper-frequency range. This enables the crossover slopes to be matched for optimal integration with the ribbon treble unit and serves up a smoother and more open sound quality. The drivers’ output is blended using an Acoustic Butterworth crossover network that QUAD claims to have fine-tuned over hundreds of hours of listening tests to ensure a seamless crossover.
The Revela cabinets are made from optimally stressed and braced panels with radiused edges to reduce unwanted diffraction effects. At the back, the bass reflex ports (the Revela 1 has one port, the Revela 2 has two) have longitudinal splines to help smooth airflow and increase the efficiency for deeper and more powerful bass performance.
Internal damping in the cabinets is formed from a mixture of acoustic foam and long-hair fiber, placed to absorb internal reflections and standing waves without getting in the way of the bass reflex ports. In Revela 2, the midrange unit is housed in its own sealed chamber with foam and long-hair fiber damping to optimize its wide frequency bandwidth.
For the all-black finish option, QUAD has applied multiple layers of lacquer over a deep black veneer. The walnut finish option keeps the piano black front baffle, top and base but adds interlocked wood veneer on the sides and rear of the cabinet.
A pair of optional speaker stands have been designed to position the Revela 1 at the perfect listening height and to manage the unwanted effects of vibrations and sound reflections. The stand’s main structure is made from laminated wood, chosen for its combination of torsional rigidity and self-damping properties. The stands are lacquered to match the speakers and attached to a carbon steel base supported by four large stainless-steel spikes (spike seats are also provided for hard floors).
Pricing & Availability: The QUAD Revela 1 and Revela 2 loudspeakers are available from September and priced at £1,799 and £3,499 per pair, respectively. The Revela 1 can be purchased with its purpose-made floor stands for £2,499 (the stands cost £799 per pair if purchased separately). A new range of QUAD audio electronics is set to follow the launch of the Revela speakers later this year.
More info: quad-hifi.co.uk
- REVELA 1
- Configuration: Two-way standmount.
- Enclosure type: Bass reflex (rear-firing port).
- Treble driver: 27x60mm QUAD True Ribbon.
- Bass driver: 165mm advanced fiber composite cone 86dB
- Sensitivity (2.83v @ 1m): 86dB.
- Recommended amp power: 30-120W.
- Nominal impedance: 6Ω (minimum 4.1Ω).
- Frequency response (+/-3dB): 54Hz-24kHz.
- Bass extension (-6dB): 40Hz.
- Crossover frequency: 2.9kHz.
- Cabinet volume: 17.6L.
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 395x246x280mm (stand 590x350x325mm).
- Configuration: 3-way floorstander.
- Enclosure type: Bass reflex (2x rear-firing ports).
- Treble driver: 27x60mm QUAD True Ribbon.
- Midrange driver: 150mm advanced fibre composite cone.
- Bass driver: 165mm advanced fibre composite cone (x2).
- Sensitivity (2.83v @ 1m): 89dB.
- Recommended amp power: 20-200W.
- Nominal impedance: 6Ω (minimum 3.9Ω).
- Frequency response (+/-3dB): 40Hz-24kHz.
- Bass extension (-6dB): 35Hz
- Crossover frequency: 650Hz; 3.8kHz.
- Cabinet volume: 14.8L; 28.5L.
- Dimensions: (HxWxD): 965x246x280mm (plinth W350xD325mm)