Quad Revela 1 Loudspeaker Page 2

For those interested in how this reviewer makes his life easier, I also used the same recordings for both auditions, though I am not normally in 'assembly line' mode. This is not to say the Revela 1s are comparable to the Accordo Goldbergs, which at nearly six times the cost, operate on a different plane, but it made me even more aware of the Law of Diminishing Returns. The added refinement of the dearer speaker, as well its undeniably luxurious presence, comes at a cost.

Following the same regimen, like a mini version of the old Hi-Fi Choice round-ups, allowed me to streamline the proceedings. I started with The Who's live rendition of 'Baba O'Riley' from Who's Next/Life House [Polydor 3585826 CD]. This was a shortcut to hear what the Revela 1 could do with recreating a concert experience, and the size and scale of the performance were so imposing that I was yet again assured that sometimes size doesn't matter at all.

Of course, live Who means bombast, but it wasn't the way the Revela 1 went loud so much as how the speakers opened up spatially, even if they never quite disappeared completely from the audio picture. On some recordings, especially studio-assembled works where there is heightened, almost exaggerated instrument positioning, closing one's eyes doesn't make their location undetectable. This isn't a deal-breaker, so much as an exhortation that they should be sited with the same care as you might apply to more esoteric and demanding loudspeakers.

Listen Up
What Quad's Revela 1 begs from the outset (and I wonder if this is simply inherent in moderately hungry/moderately sensitive designs) was a need to be worked hard. They sound of their best when you crank up the levels, which immediately precludes them from being used for background music. The Revela 1 is a speaker for music lovers of the old school, who actually sit and listen. This trait applies even to minimalist or quiet pieces, such as 'Dirty Work' from Steely Dan's Can't Buy A Thrill [Analogue Productions CAPP134SA SACD].


The Revela 1's two-way 'phase-compensated Acoustic Butterworth' crossover does not support bi-amping or bi-wiring – hence the single 4mm cable binding posts. The large reflex port includes longitudinal splines to smooth the airflow at low bass frequencies

For those of you unfamiliar with the track, it features a Jerome Richardson sax solo so vivid, so spotlighted, that it has been a demo favourite for a half-century. Here the tweeter reminded me of why I still mourn the departure of the Apogee Scintilla full-range ribbon [HFN Sep '85 & Jan '11]. Detail was such that one could hear the sax reed, but that level of forensic insight was secondary when compared to the presence of the entire instrument in three dimensions. And that needed a turn of the volume control.

Grace And Impact
There was no hint of break-up, clipping or compression, and yet the excessive playback levels did not belie the fact that the song is gentle, sorrowful and demanding of refinement. If an excess of decibels suggests a dearth of finesse, the Revela 1 dismisses that notion with aplomb. It's telling you that even with a budget just above entry-level, you can savour grace and impact at the same time. It's a heady combination, and not one I anticipate of a loudspeaker costing half the price of a bottle of Petrus.

But this isn't all about the ribbon. The Revela 1's woofer is a game-changer. The opening bongo patterns on Steely Dan's 'Do It Again' were as rich and real as one could require if veracity matters. And once more these speakers were able to present an instrument in the listening space with convincing dimensions, the right amount of attack and decay, and freedom of artifice – no aggravating dryness, in this case.

As my ultimate arbiter, I always listen to something from outside my usual diet and comfort zone. So gripping is the performance of Quad's Revela 1 – bang for the buck aside – that I actually sat through the whole of Disturbed's (very) heavy metal Immortalized [Reprise 936249262-6 CD] before track 11, the American band's astounding take on 'The Sound Of Silence'. Yes, I immersed myself in an entire disc's worth of sandpaper vocals and ferocious instrumental ammunition, but I still left it awestruck.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
If there are any issues with Quad's Revela 1, it's that it is too good. The past couple of years have shown the market is awash with amazing speakers at all price points, but the Revela 1 doesn't just excel at £1799: if I hadn't known the price, the sound and build would have had me guessing £5000. Grab a pair before Quad figures out they're underpriced. Even with nine months to go, this is my product of 2024.

International Audio Group
Supplied by: Quad Hifi, IAG House, UK
01480 452561