Revel’s New Beryllium Flagship F328Be
by Jim Garrett
Senior Director, Product Strategy & Planning
It would be quite easy to look at the new F328Be floorstanding loudspeaker and assume that it is simply a larger version of the F228Be with a third woofer added. In fact, that would have been an easy path for us to take, certainly on the heels of the F228Be winning Stereophile’s coveted "Loudspeaker of the Year" and "Joint Component of the Year" awards in 2019. But the easy path is not what Revel is about. The goal with the F328Be was to advance the state-of-the-art even further. The result is a loudspeaker that shares only the midrange driver with the award-winning F228Be that sits below it in the range.
The heart and soul of the Performa Beryllium range is the incredibly competent dome tweeter from which the series derives its name. Due to its large scale as well as its dynamic and efficiency requirements, the F328Be was going to require as its foundation a tweeter even more capable than the one used in the F228Be. Revel’s Chief Engineer, Mark Glazer, worked with the development team to create a new transducer that incorporates details including a vented pole piece and distortion reduction ring along with massive ferrite motor structure as the motive force behind the 1-inch beryllium dome. This new design provided the F328Be with the high-frequency performance necessary to render incredibly accurate and detailed response even at very high listening levels.
The ceramic-coated, cast-aluminum Acoustic Lens waveguide used in the F228Be is a fifth-generation design that incorporated the most advanced geometry available at the time of its development. When crafting the waveguide for the F328Be, the team pushed the envelope even further with evolutionary changes designed to improve high-frequency coverage into the room along with acoustic integration with the midrange. The resulting footprint of the waveguide was increased which allowed space for a smoother transition section to the outer perimeter. This served to virtually eliminate the minute diffraction that was found on the edge of the fifth-generation design. A minor detail? Yes, but it is the type of improvement that has resulted in the most advanced waveguide ever used in a Revel loudspeaker.
The potent blend of the new vented ferrite motor 1-inch beryllium dome tweeter and sixth-generation Acoustic Lens waveguide defines a high-frequency section that stands up to the rigors of even the most demanding audio systems. The combination of components ensures seamless integration with the midrange driver delivering near point-source performance. The 5.25-inch Deep Ceramic Cone (DCC™) midrange driver used in the F228Be already represented a state-of-the-art design and as such, was used intact in the F328Be given that it met all of the requirements necessary. As with the F228Be, the F328Be midrange operates in a dedicated sub-enclosure to isolate it from the woofers. With the more efficient and powerful high- and mid-frequency sections now delivering effortless dynamics and incredible articulation at any sane listening levels, Mark and the team turned their focus towards the low-frequencies.
Starting with the 8-inch DCC cast frame woofer from the F228Be, the acoustic design team made evolutionary improvements by refining the motor magnetics structure to push dynamic capabilities even further. There is also the obvious addition of a third woofer in the enclosure. A third woofer won’t do much to improve things if it doesn’t have the internal volume to optimize its inclusion. To accommodate the roughly 50% increase in internal volume, the depth and height of the enclosure were increased significantly while retaining the original width of the dual 8-inch F228Be cabinet. The resultant stack-height of the five transducers in the F328Be configuration required a change of how the bass tuning would need to be done. Maintaining a front-firing port as on the smaller F228Be would have pushed the tweeter height beyond an acceptable level. To keep the tweeter at the correct height for the size of the loudspeaker, the change was made to a rear-ported design with dual custom tuned flared ports. The changes to the LF section resulted in greater low-end extension versus the F228Be along with improvements in dynamic capabilities at all volumes.
The F328Be features a three-way crossover design with traditional Revel high-order slopes, plus film capacitors and air core inductors in the midrange and tweeter circuits. Using these premium components allowed our engineers to extract all of the nuances and details that would otherwise be lost. Dual sets of binding posts provide a secure connection and the option of single-ended or bi-wire terminations with a variety of connectors.
The enclosure of the F328Be follows the attractive curved shape of the smaller F228Be and F226Be models with the included arched black metallic top panel and integrated gloss black plinth. Five window pane internal braces and a 1-inch thick baffle ensure maximum rigidity and a sonically inert cabinet providing a solid foundation for the transducers. As with all of the Performa Beryllium Series models, the F328Be is available in a choice of four premium finishes: Black Gloss, White Gloss, Walnut Gloss, and Silver Metallic.
The challenge given to the team was formidable: deliver a better speaker than the one that received "Loudspeaker of the Year" accolades from Stereophile. With the F328Be, the team delivered the goods. Listening to the F328Be, you are treated to a sonic delight with scale, details, dynamics, and subtleties found only in the world’s finest loudspeakers. It is perhaps the best loudspeaker you can buy for anywhere near its price. I’d encourage you to gather your favorite tracks and spend some time listening to the F328Be. I can assure you it will be time well spent.