I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect bookshelf speaker. This month my journey sent me down the rabbit hole with Harman’s Patrick Gaffney. He sent me a pair of their M126Be loudspeakers to try out. He told me very simply, “It’s all about the Beryllium.”
Revel’s product page for the M126Be loudspeakers reinforced Patrick’s exhortation with passages like this: “Beryllium – Element 4 on the Periodic Table – is a rare earth metal that is renowned for its remarkable physical properties that make it the ideal material for a high-frequency transducer.”
I’ve been working in the custom installation world for a long time, and gimmicks are a dime a dozen. However, the Beryllium claims are backed up by solid science, and I couldn’t wait to start listening!
Setting Up the Revel M126Be Bookshelf Speakers
The speakers themselves arrive in the same bulky cardboard and Styrofoam two-man lift box as all its brethren. After opening the box and hefting them out, I unpacked the grilles and aligned them over the front of each speaker. I love the feeling of those rare earth magnets grabbing hold of the grille.
The rear binding posts are chunky and easy to loosen/tighten. I soon had some high copper count 12AWG speaker wire secured snugly and connected to our audio system. I used an NAD M10 for our demo with TIDAL MQA files as reference material.
I fired up Tool’s “Pneuma” to kick things off. There are so many different instruments at the beginning of this track, making it a great place for a fantastic speaker to shine since mediocre products won’t reveal all the subtleties of this song.
The M126Be loudspeakers showed well here, highlighting the goblet drum and guitar synthesized to sound like a sitar. The low end did well as it kicked in toward the middle of the song. Bookshelf speakers tend to be hit or miss in this category due to size constraints, but the M126Be is spot on thanks to its huge rear-facing bass port. I could feel the low frequencies loading on the wall behind each speaker and radiating out evenly.
I continued through more great tunes like Elbow’s “K2” and “Morning Dew” by the Grateful Dead. Each song sounded amazing as I focused on the mid- and high-frequency ranges coming from the Beryllium tweeters. Revel claims the transductive capabilities of the Beryllium make it a superior material for a loudspeaker. Since a true transducer turns whatever it’s touching into the speaker itself, I loved that Revel is turning the entire assembly into a sound machine. I could feel that energy as the speakers continued playing, and I walked around the room. The channel separation and fullness of sound easily enveloped me wherever I went in my 10- x 24-foot office.
At $2,000 per pair, the Revel M126Be 2-way Bookshelf Loudspeakers aren’t cheap, but life is too short to listen to lousy sound. They hold up well against their competition at this price point, and I’m a fan. We’ll continue to watch for more great products from Revel to audition.