Many subwoofers set out to create total and complete bass destruction, mainly for home theater applications. The lower and louder, the better, most engineers think. Revel's engineers respectfully disagree. While low and loud are clearly a goal, control and room placement help get a sound that goes beyond just "boom" and gets into the deep subtleties of musical content and soundtrack effects. The Revel Performa B15a is a subwoofer designed to woo the audiophile to use this all-important tool to extend the audible (and subsonic) range of music, as well as tempt the home theater enthusiast to buy at least two Revel B15as to evenly power the LFE of the dedicated home theater system.
Revel's $2,999.95 Performa B15a uses a long excursion 15-inch driver with an inverted metal dome. It is powered with a 1000-watt class AB amplifier, unlike the trend in subwoofers today to use digital amplifiers which boast big power ratings, but don't always sound quite as good.
Where Revel separates itself from the competition is with their three-band EQ and room correction software. Their argument, and it's a very strong one, is that you can give the average user (or the average dealer, for that matter) all of the knobs on the back of a subwoofer and they still have no clue what to do with them, let alone how to change them based on woofer placement or the number of woofers in a room. Revel's software, with the use of a computer and an SPL meter, allows you to quickly test the performance of your Revel Performa B15s in various locations and see the performance of the woofer relative to others. Imagine trying to convince your wife why the woofer needs to be placed right in sight when you show her the graph. Of course, she is a logical woman who will want you to get the most from your subwoofer investment, right? A better idea is to measure the more acceptable locations and/or the effect of two woofers to get the most from your room. For $3,000, you get just that from Revel.
• This sub needs to be heard, not studied on a spec sheet. It has a musicality that you simply can not get from the "small" sub category subwoofers, with their EQ tricks and digital amplifiers. This is a real sub. This is a man's sub and, if you are real man, you get two of them because the performance is so much more even in nearly any room - even small ones.
• The room correction software is as good as it gets and, simply put, you need room correction software or in this case EQ to get the most from your system.
• The fit and finish of this sub stinks compared to the Revel Sub 30, which was from the more expensive Ultma line and is now discontinued. There are wood finishes, but this woofer is best in black and hidden behind speakers or a fabric wall. You buy it for sound, not looks.
This woofer is designed to get you to the apex of musical heaven and has convinced movie scoring stages and recording studios alike that the Revel B15a is the path to low-frequency musical bliss. If you are looking for something more than a boom-box for a subwoofer, you may have found your solution. One or two Revel Performa B15as are about as good as it gets for audiophile music systems or the subs connected to your LFE output in a top-of-the-line theater.