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Quad Revela 1 – An Audiophile Revelation

Quad Revela 1 (single).jpg

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The Revela 1s, with its Quad True Ribbon tweeter, are a testament to exceptional build quality and sound at a surprisingly affordable price of €2,199. Hificlube highly recommends them.

The Revela 1s, the new 2-way stand-mount monitor from Quad, surprised me with a solid and well-dampened cabinet construction, elegant design, and luxurious finish, all made possible at an affordable price due to its manufacturing in China. Still, the perceived value might support a significantly higher price—possibly even twice as high.

The sides and back of the Quad Revela 1s are finished with high gloss lacquered walnut veneer inserts, while the top, bottom, trims, and baffle are finished in piano black. Asian luxury fashion showcases here the finest of British heritage. And they look amazing, by the way. Note: Remove the dark grey magnetic fabric grilles; they deserve to be seen naked.

While Quad offers them as bookshelf speakers, the Revela 1s sound much better on stands and away from the front wall to maximise their superb bass performance. However, you should keep them also away from TV monitors, as they are not AV shielded.

Asian luxury fashion showcases here the finest of British heritage.
The Quad Revela 1 on its dedicated stand.

The Quad Revela 1 on its dedicated stand.

Technical prowess

The Revela 1s also impressed me with the high quality of the speaker terminals that accept bare wires, spade connectors, or banana plugs, and especially the driver units, developed by Peter Comeau, including a 27x60 mm 'Quad True Ribbon' and the 'Reveal'—hence the name of the speaker—a 165 mm bass-midrange driver whose cone is made of a special aramid pulp fibre composite, crossing over to the ribbon tweeter at 2,9 kHz (Butterworth filter).

Best buy status

Although I hesitate to use the term ‘best buy’—as it implies that I’ve heard every speaker in this price range, which, of course, is not the case—I can confidently say that it’s one of the best affordable monitor speakers I’ve heard, rivalling speakers in much higher price ranges.

The Revela 1s also stand out for their sound quality. I recently reviewed the stunning Franco Serblin Accordo Goldberg and was blown away by its sound. I must admit, the Revela 1s do not offer the same level of transparency, clarity and neutrality (for which you have to pay a lot). In fact, they sound a little rounder and less airy. But they never get harsh or lose their composure. Even at high volumes, they do not exhibit any glare, maintaining their clarity even when operating at full throttle.

Admittedly, the Goldbergs+stands cost six times as much as the Quad Revela 1s. While the latter may have a slight colouration in the lower midrange and some may find it overly composed, it’s uncommon for a two-thousand-euro speaker to sound so enthralling, appealing, and powerful.

I can confidently say that it’s one of the best monitor speakers I’ve heard in this price range.
The reflex port at the back is judiciously tuned to 40 Hz

The reflex port at the back is judiciously tuned to 40 Hz

Quad True Ribbon: A game changer

The midrange exudes a full-bodied richness, almost akin to a creamy texture. The bass, balanced and articulate, boasts excellent power and extension, devoid of any boominess. This is due to the reflex port at the back, which is judiciously tuned to 40 Hz, thereby preventing undue excitation of room resonance modes. The ribbon's rendition of the treble is informative but unobtrusive. It subtly performs its function without drawing attention to itself, handling impressive volumes without any visible audible distortion, compression, or overload.

With my experience in building speakers with ribbon units, I can confidently say that the Quad True Ribbon tweeter in the Revela 1s is a game changer and one of the best ribbon tweeters I ever heard.

The Quad True Ribbon is one of the best ribbon tweeters I ever heard.
The excellent horizontal (if not vertical) dispersion of the ribbon tweeter allows for a wide and deep soundstage.

The excellent horizontal (if not vertical) dispersion of the ribbon tweeter allows for a wide and deep soundstage.

The Sound Journey Begins

I connected the Revela 1s to a HiFi Rose RS 520 Streamer/amplifier, which I supplied exclusively with music from Roon/Tidal. My listening experience began with ‘Baltimore’ by Nina Simone, a song with a reggae-style rhythm. The bass and kick drum delivered a powerful and low resonance, yet they did not interfere with the dry impact of the sharp percussive transients from the other rhythm section. The Revela 1s allowed me to discern clearly that the symphonic classical arrangements by David Mathews, unfolding in the background, were recorded separately from Nina’s commanding voice and the punctuated guitar notes and were later overdubbed. 

Experiencing the Soul and Bluesy Style

In ‘Here but I Am Gone’ from Vanessa Fernandez’s album ‘Use Me’, the drums resonated with an even tighter sound, exuding a more soulful and bluesy style. The snare and kick drum underscored the slow rhythm with distinct, dynamic strokes. Over this rhythmic foundation, Vanessa’s husky, breathy voice surfaced, imbued with remarkable presence and emotion, and was adorned with harmonic guitar tones. The fact that I consistently increased the volume without feeling the need to decrease it again is a testament to the speaker’s quality. As the song concluded, the guitar strings faded away ever so gradually. Wow, well done, Quad!

Revela 1 Takes on Beyoncé

Can the Revela 1s withstand the depth charges of the synthesiser in 'Partition' by Beyoncé? Buuum, the bass exploded in my studio without any turbulence or chuffing sound from the reflex port, even when the windows started to rattle. I've heard other monitors of this size and price fly the white flag here.

Delicate Sounds

And now for something more refined: the Sonatina for Solo Clarinet Op.27 'Vivo e Giocoso' by Miklós Rózsa, played by Alexander Filterstein, which showcased the full versatility and expressiveness of the instrument.

Hungarian Rhapsody

What about the piano playing of Valentina Lisitsa in Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody, a piece of high technical difficulty, which she mastered with perfect articulation and dynamic control, emphasising all the emotional charge and complexity of the music? Lord, how good it sounded with the Revela 1.

Classic Pleasure

I played next Haydn's Violin Concerto No. 1, masterfully performed by Isabelle Faust with her Stradivarius 'Sleeping Beauty' and the Munich Chamber Orchestra (we'll be at Highend 2024 in May) under the direction of Christoph Poppen and indulged in the pleasure of classical music with the Revela 1s. The strings sounded ever so delightful. The Quad ribbon tweeter is a technical marvel! And Revela 1 could also transport the acoustics of the concert hall at Schloss Elmau with its wooden beamed ceiling, Faust's virtuosity and the orchestra's impeccable technique into my studio.

Exploring the Female Voice

I also listened to Joyce DiDonato in 'Stella di Napoli', Part I: 'Ove t'aggiri o barbaro'. The Revela 1s easily reproduced both Joyce's trills and the powerful effect of the orchestra bass drum right at the beginning of the piece. The subtleties of Joyce DiDonato's vocal style enchanted me. It was difficult to stop listening to the entire album. And once again, the Quad True Ribbon passed with flying colours the acid test of reproducing the incredible dynamic range of this extraordinary mezzo-soprano voice.

The Power of the Male Voice

I then listened to Jonas Kaufmann sing 'Nessun Dorma' from the third act of Turandot, accompanied by the Academy of St Cecilia. Unlike the better-known Pavarotti, Kaufmann is a rare Wagnerian heldentenor, whose timbre is a mixture of tenor and baritone. Nevertheless, his power never frightened the Revela 1.

Tonality and timbre

How about the “Infernal Dance” from Stravinsky's Firebird by the Orchestre de Paris under the direction of Klaus Makela? The woodwinds never crackled, the brass was thrilling without hurting my ears, and the percussion sounded explosive. I've heard other loudspeakers start to 'rattle' when I turn up the volume. But not the Quad Revela 1sthey always sounded confident and in control.

Stereo image and depth of field

Lastly, I indulged in what I consider the finest rendition of “Pini di Roma: IV. I pini dela Via Appia”, masterfully conducted by Antonio Pappano and performed by the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. The sound of the Roman army, marching triumphantly along the Via Appia, felt as if they were approaching. If the Revela 1s can handle the Roman troops, they can handle anything.

I must admit, I never envisioned myself praising a Quad loudspeaker that costs merely two thousand euros. Yet, here I am, doing precisely that. Moreover, let me share a little secret with you: The Quad Revela 1s have emerged as the first formidable contender for the title of ‘Standmount Speakers of 2024'

Quad Revela 1 specifications:

For further information, please contact: Sarte Audio Elite

Quad Revela 1 (single)

The Quad Revela 1 on its dedicated stand.

The reflex port at the back is judiciously tuned to 40 Hz

The excellent horizontal (if not vertical) dispersion of the ribbon tweeter allows for a wide and deep soundstage.