It's not uncommon for a consumer electronics giant to have various product offerings tailored to a variety of different consumers and budget ranges. Harman International is one such company, offering not one but three speaker brands for consumers to choose from. At the top of the list rests Revel. Within the Revel brand, there are three tiers of loudspeakers, beginning with the Concerta series and the M12 reviewed here. The M12 is a compact, two-way bookshelf or stand-mounted loudspeaker designed to bring consumers into the Revel family. At $648 per pair, the M12s are among the most affordable Revel loudspeakers ever.
Utilizing a six-and-a-half-inch mid/bass driver and a one-inch dome tweeter, the M12 has a classic design, with discerning budget conscious audiophiles in mind. The M12 is made of super-thick MDF and is braced to the nines, making it one inert little loudspeaker. The M12 can be had in two finishes, black ash and cherry, and is best mounted on its matching, albeit optional, speaker stand. The M12 has a reported in-room frequency response of 65Hz to 15kHz, so if you're looking for full-range sound you're going to want to mate it to a subwoofer. The M12 isn't the most efficient speaker of its kind, with a reported sensitivity of 87dB into an eight-ohm load. A solid integrated or higher-powered receiver will suit you just fine. However, mate the M12 to some mid-fi and even high-end components and its level of performance will astound you.
• For a sub-$1,000 monitor speaker, the M12 competes well and even bests monitors costing twice as much.
• The M12 possesses a full-bodied, rich sound that has a delectable midrange and a very sweet and detailed high-frequency response that doesn't become harsh or fatiguing when pushed to the limits.
• The M12 is a soundstaging and imaging champ and can convey even large ensemble or rock music truthfully and convincingly, though you're going to need a sub for that bottom end to achieve a truly full-range performance.
• For late night or ambient music listening, I'm not sure it gets better than the M12 for the money.
• Though not full-range, the M12 will be more than adequate in a den, office or bedroom setting and, with its first-rate fit and finish, it matches nicely to just about any décor.
• The M12s represent a wonderful introduction to the Revel family of products. They can serve duty as L/R mains for a time, then be moved to rear speakers as tastes and budget allow.
• While the M12's asking price is very appealing, you have to consider the price of a capable sub to round out the M12's sonics, making it not quite as inexpensive as it may seem.
• The optional stands that are designed to go with the M12s are almost essential to get the most out of your investment, which again adds to the overall cost. However, if you're putting the M12s in a small to even medium-sized room and aren't much of a bass-head, you may be okay without a sub for a little while.
With a retail price south of $650 for the pair, the Revel M12s are phenomenal if not class-defining speakers. They deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as their costlier rivals. With a wide open soundstage and imaging to die for, coupled with a warm midrange and sweet upper end, the M12s are solid all-around monitor speakers for a wide variety of musical and movie tastes. While they're not as sexy as other Revel speakers, their fit and finish is still better than most and, when you consider the asking price, you know every dollar went towards the M12s' outrageous performance.