QUAD has released its first new speakers in seven years, the Revela 1 standmount and Revela 2 floorstander.
The Revela 1 and Revela 2 harness evolved versions of classic QUAD technologies that can be traced back to 1949 and QUAD’s first speaker system, the Corner Ribbon. These technologies have been elevated using modern materials and advanced contemporary design.
The Revela 1 is a standmount speaker with a two-way driver configuration and dimensions of 395x246x386mm (HxWxD). The Revela 2 is a three-way floorstander with the same cabinet width and depth (although the plinth is a little wider/deeper) and a height of 965mm. Both models are available in lacquered black or walnut finish options, the latter featuring a combination of wood veneer interlinked with piano black.
A critical component of both Revela models is the new QUAD True Ribbon high-frequency driver. With its origin stretching back more than 70 years, QUAD’s ribbon driver has evolved over many product generations. This new version took four years to develop and the manufacturer says is “unquestionably the finest iteration yet”.
According to QUAD, the Revela’s True Ribbon driver delivers extended high frequencies that are audibly superior not only to those supplied by typical dome tweeters, but also other planar driver types that are not ‘true ribbons’. It works by positioning a ribbon of thin aluminium foil in a high-strength magnetic field, through which the audio signal flows from the amplifier.
The QUAD True Ribbon treble driver used in the Revela speakers is an evolved version of the first ribbon driver, introduced by QUAD more than 70 years ago. The advantage of this ‘true ribbon’ design is that the diaphragm is fully energised by the audio signal and does not suffer from the breakup modes and resonances encountered in domes and other planar types.
Being driven evenly over the whole radiating surface and having a mass that is typically one-tenth that of a dome means that the precision and transient response of the ribbon to the audio signal from the amplifier yields a clean, detailed and pure output.
QUAD’s original ribbon treble unit, as used in the Corner Ribbon speaker of the 1950s, was relatively fragile, only handling up to 15W of power. The latest QUAD pure ribbon has a reinforced, sandwich diaphragm capable of handling 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 a realistic sense of space, depth and air.
QUAD’s engineers have developed a new material for the Revela speakers’ mid/bass diaphragms – a unique formulation of wood pulp and artificial fibres named ‘Reveal’ because of its natural, transparent and detailed output. Paper cones have long been regarded as yielding impressive midrange performance and by adding artificial fibres – like para-aramids – to the pulp, the Reveal diaphragm is further damped and strengthened, providing 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 to achieve high sensitivity. The Revela 1 features a single 165mm mid/bass driver, whereas the Revela 2 dedicates two 165mm drivers to bass frequencies with a 150mm unit handling the midrange.
The mid/bass cones have been carefully matched to custom rubber surrounds that incorporate a damping layer at the junction with the diaphragm to absorb reflections that would otherwise cause resonances in the upper part of the frequency range. This allows the crossover slopes to be accurately matched for optimal integration with the ribbon treble unit, as well as providing a smoother and more open sound quality. Both the Revela 1 and Revela 2 incorporate main drivers with cones made from an advanced fibre composite called Reveal
The drivers’ output is combined via an Acoustic Butterworth crossover network, fine-tuned over hundreds of hours of listening tests to ensure a seamless blend between the drive units.
The Revela speakers’ cabinets utilise optimally stressed and braced panels with generously radiused edges to reduce unwanted diffraction effects. Around the back, bass reflex ports (the Revela 1 has one port, the Revela 2 has two) include longitudinal splines that help smooth airflow and increase the efficiency of the reflex system for powerful bass performance.
Internal damping is formed from a mixture of acoustic foam and long-hair fibre, strategically placed to absorb internal reflections and standing waves without obstructing the action of the bass reflex ports. In Revela 2, the midrange unit is housed in its own sealed chamber with foam and long-hair fibre damping arranged to optimise its wide frequency bandwidth.
For the all-black finish option, multiple layers of lacquer are applied over deep black veneer to provide a lustrous finish, while protecting the cabinet and helping damp unwanted acoustic radiation. The walnut finish option maintains the piano black front baffle, top and base and adds interlocked wood veneer on the sides and rear.
A pair of optional speaker stands has been specifically designed to position the Revela 1 at the ideal listening height and manage the unwanted effects of vibrations and sound reflections.
The stand’s main structure is formed from laminated wood, selected for its combination of torsional rigidity and superior self-damping properties. This is 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). The Revela 2 floorstanding speakers come with a pair of carbon steel plinths, stainless-steel spikes and spike seats.
Commenting on the Revela speakers’ design, QUAD’s Director of Acoustic Design, Peter Comeau, says: “QUAD has been responsible for many audio innovations since the mid-twentieth century. The ribbon tweeter is one such creation, and we are delighted to have developed a new version of QUAD’s ‘true ribbon’ driver as a centrepiece of the Revela design.
“Our Reveal cone material is another breakthrough, engineered to match seamlessly with the ribbon treble unit and ensure the listener revels in effortless drama and detail as music fills the room. These are QUAD’s first new speakers for seven years and we have worked tirelessly to ensure they embody the natural sonic realism that is the hallmark of QUAD, in line with the company’s traditional dictum: ‘The closest approach to the original sound’.”
The QUAD Revela 1 and Revela 2 loudspeakers are available from September at RRPs of £1,799 and £3,499 per pair, respectively.
The Revela 1 can be purchased with its purpose-made floor stands at an RRP of £2,499 (the stands are £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.