Revolver Music 3 Series Loudspeaker
|Revolver Music 3 Series Loudspeaker
|Finally, an Affordable Reference!
I was not able to attend CES this year but found the well-written coverage by everyone here at ST had a common and troubling theme: the rising cost of ownership. I told Clement Perry, that those price-gouging importers will eventually disappear as a matter of course. High-end engineers will be forced to either make their products more affordable or they will vanish as our current economy continues to worsen and affect the bottom line: our wallets. Moreover, there’s too many smart and savvy audiophiles I’ve met along the way, most of whom know a good deal when they see one, who also expressed their disdain for the current spike.
Well, here’s one of the best deals I have heard.
While in attendance at the Munich High End 2008, I was privileged to check out the Revolver room and setup that featured their insanely musical (and super affordable at $1300.00) Music Series 3 mini-monitors. Based on what I heard and saw, I thought the price was going to be somewhere in the vicinity of $5k. A formal request was made to get a pair in for review. I couldn’t wait to get the chance to review these superb sounding loudspeakers in my home. At last, that day has arrived!
Revolver Ltd., is an English high-end audio manufacturer founded in 1979, by Colin and Wynn Higham. The company first began developing a series of affordable turntables which were well received worldwide for about 13 years. The company failed after Colin became ill and was unable continue his work. In 1994, Peter Ratchford and Ray Hugent, both of Revolver UK Ltd bought sole trading rights to the brand and launched a small range of affordable high quality loudspeakers, manufactured by JPW Loudspeakers. Under their leadership, the company had regained the respect of the trade; which ultimately led to distribution in over 20 countries worldwide. The Revolver name had become dormant after 1998 and the business was subsequently bought by an electronics company. Soon after that, the company discontinued production of their loudspeaker line.
In early 2002, Mike Jewitt, formerly of Heybrook Hi Fi and Charles Greenlees, formerly of JPW Loudspeakers formed The Acoustic Partnership and bought the sole trading rights to the Revolver brand. With Jewitt’s electronics expertise and Greenlees’ purchasing and production experience, the two revitalized Revolver as a brand. Focusing mainly on two-channel audio, Revolver firmly re-established themselves in the high-end genre still based in the UK.
Upon opening the box of these smallish 2-way bookshelf monitors, which stand only 15″ tall, I was immediately impressed by their stunning high-gloss (piano black) finish. Equally attractive is their matching piano-black stands that gives Music Series 3 its elegance and visual appeal. The Music Series 3s, based on their size served for a quick and easy setup. My listening space is relatively small, so when everything was finally in perfect proportions, I found my best listening seat with the Music 3s approximately 8 ½ feet away and 7 feet apart. Their dual sets of binding posts allowed me to bi-wire just as I had hoped having received great dividends bi-wiring a pair of Audes Credo Adagio loudspeakers I recently reviewed.
The Revolver Music Series 3 loudspeaker is a simple 2-way sporting a single 1″ metal dome tweeter supported by a 6 1/2″ mid-bass driver using a rear reflex type tuned port (to 50Hz). In addition, the Music Series 3 sports an easy 8 Ohm load coupled with an 89 dB sensitivity making this 2-way design a relatively easy loudspeaker to drive if you’re using low powered solid-state or tubes amplifiers. The Music Series 3 houses has a substantial feel, thanks in part to it being built around unusually dense MDF. This physical substance, considering the Music Series 3 size and price ($1300.00USD), offers a certain peace of mind that whosoever purchases this product knows their money was well spent. Unfortunately, I found this the exception rather than the rule at this price point.
What A Difference An Upgrade Makes!
Since my last review, I have been fortunate enough to institute a couple of sonically noteworthy upgrades. The NuForce P-9 preamplifier is now a part of my rig replacing the Musical Fidelity HTP preamp/surround processor used in my previous review. I knew – the moment I powered that baby up – I stepped it up another sonic level. Incorporating Acoustic Revive’s remarkable interconnects, speaker cables RTP AC conditioner and power cords also upped my sonic stocks considerably. Obviously, the venerable Audio Mecca Mephisto IIX still serves as my CD source until I one day get my mittens on that Nova Physics Memory Player.
The first song I heard on the Music Series 3s, after about 150 hours of relentless burn-in, was Leon Huff’s No Greater Love from his wonderfully arranged “Here To Create Music” CD. Leon Huff, is the counterpart of the sensational and legendary Gamble and Huff duo that bought you all those soulful R&B hits from the ’70s and 80s that featured his TSOP orchestra, (The Sound Of Philadelphia). I’ve always used No Greater Love as a longstanding reference on a wide variety of audio setups. For the record, the Revolver Music 3 Series loudspeaker blew me away within the first 30 seconds into this Leon Huff classic.
Not only was I able to hear further into the many layers of musicians but each individual instrument was more evident, thus more coherent. That’s saying a lot considering the Audes Credo Adagio loudspeakers are almost twice the price but never afforded quite the same sense of visibility into the music. As I sat and listened, it became even more apparent that Stevie Wonder, who was the featured musician on harmonica, would kind of get lost amidst the orchestra via the Audes. Not on the Music Series 3s. Two-way monitors have a storied history in the area of coherency and having now heard the Music Series 3s, I would add them to that long list of exceptional performers in this area. The added coherency gives the Music Series 3 loudspeakers a more precise and layered soundstage with a more even or linear sense of balance in the frequency domain. No they do not go as deep as the Audes floor-standers for example but they’re far more coherent and perhaps a better sonic fit in my city-dweller confines. In fact, I like the faster, tighter and more taut type bass the Music Series 3s offers up.
Excited, I only wanted to hear more and more music. I started pulling out all of my reference discs. It was important for me to get a greater understanding of what was actually taking place here with these remarkably affordable loudspeakers. Immediately, I grabbed Al Jarreau’s She’s Leaving Home, from his “Tenderness” CD, which never fails to captivate me. I mean, the Music Series 3s seem to have the uncanny ability to turn up the quiet in their ability to quell noise and artifacts.
My next aural experience was with Lalah Hathaway, daughter of late R&B hero Donny Hathaway. Her newest CD titled “Self Portrait” leaves me spellbound no matter how often I listen to her. Lalah’s sultry contralto is non-paralleled in its tone and texture. The Revolver Music Series 3 makes this observation that much more evident by imparting such a small sonic signature based on their relatively small size. In essence, they easily get out of the way and disappear. Listening to track 2 entitled Breathe, literally took my breath away. Her warm and sinuous flow is apparent here as well on What Goes Around and Tragic Inevitability.
The delight I get when listening to the Music Series 3s rich and coherent sound-field, coupled to a very respectable low-end and a velvety smooth top end, is non-stop. I’m really surprised at how these reasonably small, and insanely priced loudspeakers reproduce bass fundamentals. Yes, dear readers, this remarkable 2-way, English transducer allows the music to breath in a way that might keep you up late into the night.
I’m eternally grateful to be on this audio journey and to have had the opportunity to hear excellent and affordable products such as the Revolver Music Series 3 loudspeaker: a loudspeaker that I have seen, but never heard. Until now. At only $1300.00 retail, I wonder how long a loudspeaker this good will remain on our audio periphery. My hope is, if this failing economy doesn’t force us to make more affordable purchase considerations then perhaps this review might pique your interest to finally seek an affordable and highly musical alternative. Highly recommended!
Frequency Response 45 Hz – 38 kHz
Sensitivity: 89 dB
Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
Drivers: Tweeter 1″ metal dome, 6 1/2″ glass fiber cone
Price: $1,300.00 US
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