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When the Revel Ultima Series premiered in 1997, it was immediately lauded by the most discriminating reviewers and audiophiles as one of the world's best. Ultima has since been honored as a reference standard of uncompromising musicality, dynamism, and fidelity to the recorded event. Eight years later, the Revel world-class engineering and design team faced an even greater challenge, how to surpass Ultima. The answer came two years later after the most intensive R&D effort possible: Ultima2. Ultima2 represents the most exhaustively researched and developed, critically evaluated and rigorously crafted products in the ten year history of Revel.
The new Ultima2 line consists of four models, the 4-way, floor-standing Salon2 at $21,998, the 3-way, floor standing Studio2 at $15,998, the bookshelf or stand-mount Gem2 at $9998, and the Voice2 center channel at $7999. All models are available in either a shimmering, high-gloss mahogany or high-gloss piano black. The curved and sculptured surfaces are not only aesthetically pleasing, they also serve the sound by eliminating diffracting corners, improving dispersion, smoothing frequency response, and improving structural rigidity. Even the speaker grilles have been attended to. They are easily removable for the most critical listening because they are magnetically attached, leaving no unsightly hardware fittings to mar the exquisite finish.
The Ultima2 engineering team addressed every element of loudspeaker design for this project. Revel rejected the kind of "off-the-shelf" transducers often used by other loudspeaker manufacturers. Rather, all new transducers were designed from scratch with the assistance of powerful Computer Aided Design software and Finite Element Analysis. Working prototypes were exhaustively tested and retested by engineering equipment that was custom-built to reveal the smallest flaws. Advanced manufacturing processes were subsequently developed to narrow unit-to-unit tolerances to ever finer gradations. The Revel mandate of unparalleled unit-to-unit consistency was enforced with a combination of high-technology and old-school, sophisticated test measurements coupled with rigorous hand tuning for every loudspeaker produced.
Ultima2's exotic new 1-inch tweeter is a sonic wonder and a technological tour-de-force. It sports a pure beryllium dome and the Revel third-generation waveguide for astounding dispersion. Used in the entire family of Ultima2 loudspeakers, it outperforms its predecessor with even higher output capability and lower dynamic compression, setting new Revel standards for breathtaking transparency and low coloration. Then there is the all-new collection of Ultima2 woofer and midrange transducers which feature inverted-dome designs and titanium diaphragms. Titanium is used because it is a material noted for its very high tensile strength. The unique geometry of Ultima2's inverted domes delivers superb, non-flexing behavior even at maximum sound levels. Oversized voice coils wound with flat, copper wire assure remarkable high output capability and the lowest possible dynamic compression. The ribbon-type wire voice coils also exhibit superior heat transfer and improved efficiency. An inverted, dual neodymium magnet motor configuration combines sheer power with excellent magnetic shielding and efficient packaging.
There's a whole lot more to tell, not just about the drivers but about the crossovers, cabinets, and construction as a whole. There's just not enough room here for a complete discussion. We do want to mention, however, that a rigorous process is used to performance match each and every Ultima2 series loudspeaker within a fraction of a decibel to the original laboratory prototype. All tuning adjustments and specifications are recorded, referenced to the speaker's serial number and retained for archive purposes. Owners can rest assured that their Revel Ultima2 loudspeakers sound as great as the lab reference and the reviewer samples.
The entire Revel Ultima2 Series has received critical praise from magazines around the world. Most recently, one of North America's foremost audio magazines, Stereophile, raved about the Salon2 in their June 2008 issue. This review said, "The Revel Ultima Salon2 is the best-performing, most natural-sounding full-range loudspeaker I have auditioned in my listening room since I started writing for Stereophile in 1984." The Absolute Sound proclaimed the Salon2 "Cost-No-Object" Loudspeaker of the Year and called it "A Tour-de-Force in Contemporary Loudspeaker Design." The Studio2 was reviewed in the March, 2008 issue of Stereophile where they said, "…the Ultima Studio2s imposed less of a fingerprint on the sound than any speaker I have used. Urgently recommended, both to those in the market and to those who simply want to hear how good a loudspeaker can be."
When two such formidable sources heap such effusive praise on a product line, there must be some fire in with the smoke. Congratulations to Revel for such a formidable achievement!
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