REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY Revelation MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers

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Freejazz

As a preface, I have owned nearly 40 pairs of speakers over the past 32 years, ranging from Bose 901s in my freshman year of college (OK, I know … but they enabled me to make quite a bit of money doing DJ gigs!?), to Spendors, Levinson HQDs, Avalon, Hales, Quad ESL 57 and 63s, Merlin VSMs, Edgarhorns, a pair of Gallo Ref 3s (and many more!)   I actually liked the size and looks of the Gallos, but there were just a couple things that were not quite right with them.  I could never get over that bit of discontinuity between the woofer and lower-mids … and the tweeter always seemed to be the best thing about the speaker.

I had read a great deal about the SP Tech speaker line and as I was looking for a true FINAL pair of loudspeakers, had decided that it would be either the Continuum ADs or the Revelation MR1 MKIIs.  It took a couple lengthy e-mail discussions and an analysis of floor plan and listening position with Mike Garner at Tweekgeek.com to decide that our 29’ x 22’, 17th floor, alcove studio in the Chelsea section of Manhattan would be just large enough to support the move to the Revelations.  I placed an order in June 2006.

After nearly six months of riding the NuForce wave with Bob, I received my pair of studio finish (*hey, what do you mean by obsolete Bob?!) :duh: Revelation MR-1 MkIIs in early December.  I have been awaiting break-in and resolution of a few final details of my system before writing any sort of formal comments.  It was, however, Bob and Karsten’s new discovery (and some prodding by Lonewolf) that encouraged me to provide an initial assessment of the speakers.

As always, the following comments are in the context of my system, in my room, with my preferences and via my ears.  That said, a few notes:

MUSIC - I listen to all types of music, but in order, predominately Acoustic Jazz, World, Folk, alt.country/Americana, Great American Songbook and Broadway, Blues and Classical.  I do have some classic rock, but usually prefer the singer-songwriter or Alternative genres.  This is actually my joy as in my past, I have produced/promoted live concerts and have a much-too-large collection of cds!?   :oops:

SOUND - I prefer a natural acoustic, but also enjoy all the audiophile goodies - example - I never hear a tremendous portrayal of soundstage at live events, yet it sure is fun to (re-)create that illusion in a system.  I always thought I was a mid-range freak ... until I purchased the Revs and again realized how important was bass reproduction.

First, it would be silly not to mention the exceptional packaging that Bob executes to ensure that the speakers will arrive safely.  I received four very large cardboard boxes, each lined on all sides with two-inch foam board (apparently hand-cut by Bob) with a similar layer of MDF cut to size.  There was then and inner lining of foam wrap and a moisture layer of plastic wrap (as well as an inner build-up of foam board to match the contour of the slope in the box containing the bottom of the Revelations.)  Again, simply exceptional packing that should withstand the worst handling by any carrier.

From the above you will note that the speakers actually consist of a “bottom” and a “top” portion.  In fact, the difference between the Continuum AD and the Revelation actually lies in the bottom ½ of the speaker, as the tops, containing the MTM configured drivers, are identical.

Although quite heavy at nearly 100 pounds per piece, I found assembly of the speaker to be quite easy and straightforward.  The unique seating and locking mechanism that Bob created enable the two sections to readily mate and with only lining up a bracket and tightening several screws, the speakers are together.

I positioned them on the long wall, only about 18” from the front wall of floor-to-ceiling windows and about seven and one-half feet apart.  They are about four feet from the “corner” window  (the window is actually placed on a diagonal rather than creating a true 90 degree corner.)  The listening position would be defined as “near-field” as we sit in a sofa just about 7.5 feet from the speakers and we have the alcove bedroom opening immediately behind the sofa – the rear wall is about 11 feet from one’s listening position.  *My only caveat with positioning is that I believe we would be ideal if we were between nine and ten feet from the speakers. 

The only caveat about the construction of the speakers had to do with the supplied spikes.  Hefty as they are, I ultimately replaced them with the combination of Stillpoints/Risers on the wood floor, mated with the larger Stillpoints Inverse Risers coupled to the speakers.  This was a better set up sonically (deeper, tighter, and more articulate bass w/ greater clarity across the spectrum) and provided the unique combination of stability and freedom to slightly move the speakers for final positioning.

I connected a shotgun run of Nordost Valhalla to the tweeter’s Cardas posts and then using a Valhalla jumper between the tweeter and mids posts, completed the wiring.  This has seemed to offer excellent sound, but I will soon be trying a true bi-wire for the sake of comparison.

Even without any additional break-in, I knew I had found MY speakers.  First, they are exceedingly natural sounding.  They do not sound like so many typically “audiophile” speakers in that they seem to go over the top to remind you that you are hearing a “great” pair of speakers.  They are very balanced across the spectrum, however in saying that, I must echo that which has been said by others, the Revelations do bass better than any speaker I have ever heard.  It is tight, deep articulate, nuanced, but more amazing it is both heard and felt.

A total surprise to me is the soundstaging - an incredible 3D portrayal from speakers that are nearly five and one-half feet tall, 21” deep at the base and about 15” wide.  It is there in all dimensions - height, width, and depth of stage.  (The position slightly raises the relative height of the presentation … as noted, back another 1.5 to 2.0 feet and things are nearly perfect.)

One would anticipate that macrodynamics (yes, they can be scary) would be exceptional, but microdynamics are also excellent and in part (along with the amazing bass), why I believe the Revelations portray soundstage so well.  This may also suggest why they sound good at lower volumes (and oh yes, do they sound amazing at higher volumes!)  We use the speakers in an all-in-one configuration for audio, TV/Movies and Squeezebox.  It is funny to hear things in the background on one’s favorite TV show and be so startled as to where it originated … from the street ... or in the hall perhaps?  aa

It is very interesting to me that several others have commented on the way the speaker “feels” as well as how it sounds.  Intriguing, in fact to me, as in mid-January I came down with an infection in my right ear.  About two days before I began feeling the pain from the infection in the ear, when I listened to music, I was actually feeling a very uncomfortable pressure in that ear.  In no way scientific, but it seemed that my ear was responding to the way the room was being pressurized by the bass reproduction??

As noted, I found the posts by Bob and Karsten relative the Mundorf inductor very interesting.  I am exceptionally happy with the performance of the speakers, but I am now very curious about this change and improvement.  If what Karsten has experienced is correct, (and I have no reason to doubt it) it would be an improvement to a speaker I feel is already quite exceptional … the best I have ever heard.  As an aside, my wife, the classically-trained musician, helped me here integrate her thoughts on the speakers

*A note on the studio finish – although it is now mostly a moot point, as for future pairs, I undertand the front baffle will be wood and the studio finish will now be only on the sides and back of the speakers, it is actually quite nice and well fits into our contemporary environment.  Again, my wife concurs.


System is below:

RAM-modded Esoteric DV-50 Universal
Dream State Audio Veridical - Oyaide Gold
/
Stealth Indra RCA
/
Tube Distinctions Soul Mate preamp or Audio Consulting Silver Rock
Dream State Audio Lucid Dream - Oyaide Gold on TD SM -  none on AC Silver Rock
/
Stealth Indra RCA
/
RAM-modded Bel Canto e.One Reference 1000 mono amps
Nordost Valhalla terminated with Acrolink Carbon Fiber Palladium over Gold
/
Nordost Valhalla speaker cables 1.5 meter w/ Valhalla jumpers / SP Technology
/
Revelation MR-1 MKII loudspeakers
 
Running Springs Audi JACO Conditioner
Dream State Audio Dream Catcher – Oyaide Palladium over Gold
 
Oyaide SWO-GX wall plug w/ carbon fiber plate
 
Stillpoints with Risers, including inverse risers under the
Revelations
 
*also have a Slim Devices Squeezebox 3 for internet streaming (replacement for FM tuner) / Steath MetaCarbon RCA
« Last Edit: 20 Apr 2007, 12:33 pm by SP Pres »

Aether Audio

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Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #1 on: 1 Mar 2007, 07:31 pm »
 :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
Scott:notworthy: :green: :thumb:

-Bob

Double Ugly

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #2 on: 1 Mar 2007, 09:05 pm »

Congrats, Scott.  I knew you'd enjoy them, and hope they've proved worthy given the reason you purchased them.

As noted, I found the posts by Bob and Karsten relative the Mundorf inductor very interesting.  I am exceptionally happy with the performance of the speakers, but I am now very curious about this change and improvement.  If what Karsten has experienced is correct, (and I have no reason to doubt it) it would be an improvement to a speaker I feel is already quite exceptional … the best I have ever heard. 
That's pretty much what crossed my mind when I saw Karsten's post.  How much better can the best I've ever heard be?


As an aside, my wife, the classically-trained musician, helped me integrate here her thoughts on the speakers
:lol:  I do the same thing with *my* classically-trained wife.  It's nice to have an expert handy, isn't it?


*A note on the studio finish – although it is now mostly a moot point, as the front baffle will be wood and the studio finish will now be only on the sides and back of the speakers, it is actually quite nice and well fits into our contemporary environment.  Again, my wife concurs.
Yeah, I've had a lot of questions about the studio finish.  Like me, I guess it's hard for a lot of folks to look at a picture and realize what a nice, understated finish it is.  I like it better in my room than the burled-oak Timepiece 2.0s that came before.   :o

BTW, the Indra are pretty special, eh?  :wink:

Best regards,

-Jim

Freejazz

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #3 on: 1 Mar 2007, 09:36 pm »
 

Congrats, Scott.  I knew you'd enjoy them, and hope they've proved worthy given the reason you purchased them.

Thanks Jim.  They have been all for which I had hoped ... and more.  Listening to music or watching/listening movies has never been more enjoyable!

As noted, I found the posts by Bob and Karsten relative the Mundorf inductor very interesting.  I am exceptionally happy with the performance of the speakers, but I am now very curious about this change and improvement.  If what Karsten has experienced is correct, (and I have no reason to doubt it) it would be an improvement to a speaker I feel is already quite exceptional … the best I have ever heard. 
That's pretty much what crossed my mind when I saw Karsten's post.  How much better can the best I've ever heard be?

Seriously, I thought Karsten must have "rounded the bend,"  :lol: Yet, if they are really improved (and all that has been written certainly does make sense) ... WOW!


As an aside, my wife, the classically-trained musician, helped me integrate here her thoughts on the speakers
:lol:  I do the same thing with *my* classically-trained wife.  It's nice to have an expert handy, isn't it?

She is always there to bring me back to earth, er ... keep me grounded.   :wink:  In the past it was "it didn't sound like that when we played it" ... yet now, more often it is, "wow, that really sounds realistic."


*A note on the studio finish – although it is now mostly a moot point, as the front baffle will be wood and the studio finish will now be only on the sides and back of the speakers, it is actually quite nice and well fits into our contemporary environment.  Again, my wife concurs.
Yeah, I've had a lot of questions about the studio finish.  Like me, I guess it's hard for a lot of folks to look at a picture and realize what a nice, understated finish it is.  I like it better in my room than the burled-oak Timepiece 2.0s that came before.   :o

I know we all have different tastes and others may disagree, but for us, it really works in our environment.  One question, how do you clean yours?

BTW, the Indra are pretty special, eh?  :wink:

Yes, most unfortunately, as I keep looking for something that would allow me to get a bit more cash out of the system.  :wink:  To-date, I have found nothing.  In fact, as good as they are, the Valhallas are more likely to be replaced.  BTW - the MetaCarbon is pretty nice too.  Had I not heard the Indras, I do not think I would have been in any way dissatisfied with the MetaCarbons.

Best regards,

-Jim

... as well, to you Jim

Scott

Karsten

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #4 on: 1 Mar 2007, 10:19 pm »
Scott,
Hehe....... Just wait......You have one awesome treat coming your way.... They may be tight now, but that tightness will extend to the subsonic area which is a quite stunning feeling  8) A bit of a challenge to the room however, I just finished tearing down a couple of plasterboard walls which were making me nuts  :scratch:

Karsten
« Last Edit: 1 Mar 2007, 10:21 pm by SP Pres »

Aether Audio

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Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #5 on: 1 Mar 2007, 10:26 pm »
Scott,

Dust them off with a fine bristle brush and then use ArmorAll - works like a charm. :D

-Bob

Freejazz

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #6 on: 1 Mar 2007, 11:42 pm »
Thanks Karsten ... I believe you, but it still should be amazing!   :o

Thanks Bob ... that makes sense.

Scott

Double Ugly

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #7 on: 1 Mar 2007, 11:43 pm »
One question, how do you clean yours?
Bob beat me to it, but unless you need a brush for the nooks and crannies, you might try a Swifter.  Works for me.

As for the ArmorAll, I actually haven't tried it yet, but I trust Bob knows what he's talking about.  Personally, I sort of like the matte finish, and as long as they're clean, I leave 'em alone.


Yes, most unfortunately, as I keep looking for something that would allow me to get a bit more cash out of the system.  :wink:  To-date, I have found nothing.  In fact, as good as they are, the Valhallas are more likely to be replaced.  BTW - the MetaCarbon is pretty nice too.  Had I not heard the Indras, I do not think I would have been in any way dissatisfied with the MetaCarbons.
I haven't heard the MetaCarbons, but the Indra are far and away the best I've heard.  That said, I'm currently auditioning a pair of very reasonably-priced ICs that have surprised me.  If they prove legitimate long-term, I'll drop you a line.


... as well, to you Jim
Thank you, my friend.  Take care, and keep in touch.

-Jim

Karsten

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #8 on: 2 Mar 2007, 12:04 am »
Scott,

If you are testing cables, give the Audience au24 a try. I don't know your preamp(s) but if you have the possibility, you should audition the Belles 28A in your system. It is very fast with a good clean deep bass.

If you want to "benchmark" your system, the album Erik & Leon Bibb "A family affair" is pretty good. The track "Look over yonder" should sound spectacular with a feeling that the singer is virtually in the room, when he claps his hands it should make you blink with your eyes, although you know the transient is coming.

Karsten

Freejazz

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #9 on: 2 Mar 2007, 12:49 am »
Scott,

If you are testing cables, give the Audience au24 a try. I don't know your preamp(s) but if you have the possibility, you should audition the Belles 28A in your system. It is very fast with a good clean deep bass.

If you want to "benchmark" your system, the album Erik & Leon Bibb "A family affair" is pretty good. The track "Look over yonder" should sound spectacular with a feeling that the singer is virtually in the room, when he claps his hands it should make you blink with your eyes, although you know the transient is coming.

Karsten

Thanks Karsten ... I have auditioned both the Audience au24 cables and the Belles 28A.  The Audiences were excellent and the Belles even better! 

The Tube Distinctions Soul Mate was the best active pre to which I listened (second to only the Lyra Connoisseur) and the Audio Consulting Silver Rock the best passive (although mine is the +6 db battery version.)

I do know and own that recording and what you say is SO true.

Again, thanks Karsten
« Last Edit: 2 Mar 2007, 01:13 am by Freejazz »

Aether Audio

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Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #10 on: 2 Mar 2007, 12:54 am »
Scott,

Quote
Congrats, Scott.  I knew you'd enjoy them, and hope they've proved worthy given the reason you purchased them.

As Jim stated, I must concur.  In fact, having knowledge of the same all the more humbles me.  If the Revelations have added even on more moment of joy or happiness to your life, my purpose has been all the more fulfilled.  Were it not a necessity, I'd say "money be damned."  I'd build these things for folks like you and not ask a penny.  Being a servant in the celebration of life is it's own reward.  From the bottom of my heart I thank you for giving us that opportunity.

May God truly bless you and yours Scott.

-Bob

Freejazz

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #11 on: 2 Mar 2007, 02:14 am »
Bob,

Thank you.  it is odd that it takes such a life-changing event to create the impetus for such a positive happening!  I would not say it was totally worth it, but coming out the other side made it all OK.  :wink:
 

lonewolfny42

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Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #12 on: 2 Mar 2007, 03:34 am »
Scott....

Are you nuts !! :scratch:

You bought those crummy SP Tech Revelation speakers...I can't believe it.. :shake:







Just kidding.... :jester: ....having a little fun with my friend Scott..... :thumb:

Congratulations !!!!! You now own a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY.....REALLY fine pair of speakers....happy I got to hear a pair out in Denver in '05. (thanks Steve)
Having heard many speakers.....they impressed me a lot !!! :notworthy: And I'm glad your enjoying yours. 8)

Sometimes its a "leap of faith" when you purchase the unknown.You read the reviews, speak to people who own them and hope you make a good decision.Its not easy to get a listen to the SP Tech's, and many have not heard them. But when it works out....and your happy, you feel great. :dance:

So happy listening.....I know you have plenty of music to listen to.....enjoy !!! :beer:

                                              Chris

PS.......So when will your Rave be ???? :hyper:

Karsten

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #13 on: 2 Mar 2007, 12:37 pm »

Thanks Karsten ... I have auditioned both the Audience au24 cables and the Belles 28A.  The Audiences were excellent and the Belles even better! 

The Tube Distinctions Soul Mate was the best active pre to which I listened (second to only the Lyra Connoisseur) and the Audio Consulting Silver Rock the best passive (although mine is the +6 db battery version.)

I do know and own that recording and what you say is SO true.

Again, thanks Karsten

Scott,

Okay so you have been there and done that, interesting  :thumb: Now you got me really curious about that preamp.....

Karsten

Freejazz

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #14 on: 2 Mar 2007, 03:43 pm »
Scott....

Are you nuts !! :scratch:

You bought those crummy SP Tech Revelation speakers...I can't believe it.. :shake:

So happy listening.....I know you have plenty of music to listen to.....enjoy !!! :beer:

                                              Chris

PS.......So when will your Rave be ???? :hyper:

Hi Chris,

Again, thanks ...

Somehow I have not yet been persuasive enough with my wife to convince her to share the precious little time we seem to have together!    :wink:

Actually, to-date, Levi has been the only one who has had even a preview of the system (when he came over to pick up some platforms and an Oyaide IEC.)

... so when will you next be on the Island of Manhattan?

Scott

Freejazz

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #15 on: 2 Mar 2007, 04:02 pm »

[/quote]

Scott,

Okay so you have been there and done that, interesting  :thumb: Now you got me really curious about that preamp.....

Karsten
[/quote]

Karsten,

It is pretty darn special.  A small company, like SP Tech, it is run by Anthony Matthews who was originally partners with Tom Evans in TEAD.  It is fully dual mono, uses the custom hyper reg regulators that were a joint development from the former relationship.  I know there are only a couple dealers in the US - Rick Brown at HiFi One in MN and Jeff Catalano at High Water Sound in NY.

The unit is exceedingly natural, very fast and offers all the goodies - great soundstaging, extension at the frequency extremes and a lovely mid-range. 

Here is the link to their site:
http://www.tubedistinctions.co.uk/main.htm

The photo does not do the unit justice.

Also, the passive is a custom birdseye maple Audio Consulting Signature, but with the +6db battery option.  I had heard this unit before, but without the all-birdseye construction and battery option. 

It is very minimalist (one in and one out) and may even sound a bit more natural than the Soul Mate (and that is saying A LOT!) and certainly more so than the Bel Canto preamp I also have on hand.  It is a bit like the Revelations, as it almost makes other preamps sound electronic and artificial ... others have gone further and used the term "broken."   There is such a see-through quality - akin to what the Stealth Indras sounded like when replacing very good ICs.  If I can do without the remote, it may be the keeper.


Double Ugly

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #16 on: 2 Mar 2007, 05:25 pm »
Do you have any pictures of the room/system you can share, Scott?

It sounds like an interesting room, and I'd love to see it.

-Jim

Freejazz

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #17 on: 2 Mar 2007, 05:44 pm »
Do you have any pictures of the room/system you can share, Scott?

It sounds like an interesting room, and I'd love to see it.

-Jim

Hi Jim,

I will try to get some photos in the next couple days.

Here is the floorplan with dimensions.  Like most NYC floorplans, the actual dimensions are off, but in a rare occurrence, this time they are in our favor.  There is about two additional feet from front window wall to back wall of the alcove.  The length measurement is also a bit off ... and does not include the kitchen. 

You will note that there are two sides with floor to ceiling windows - only broken by two small mechanical columns (the dark jut-outs) and two wall/window heat and AC units (and yes, we fell fortunate that we have the power over our own climate controls.)

*A funny note when they calculate square footage here - they typically look at the "outside of the box", so in our particular case, they are including 1/2 the common hallway and the small trash shoot room!?  :o 

Even funnier, they have just about completed a new building right across the street from us ... a unit with about only 2/3rds the footage is nearly $900 more per month.  There is so much enjoyment to be had in this City, but yes, it is oh so crazy!  "Funny Money" is the only way I can describe it.

http://www.chelseatower.com/floor3.html

Double Ugly

Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #18 on: 2 Mar 2007, 06:00 pm »
Thanks, Scott.  I look forward to the pics.

In the meantime, I'll have to give you a call sometime to discuss pre-amps.  I'm in the hunt, but have yet to find one that doesn't somehow detract from my source --> amp connection.  Perhaps you have - or have heard - the solution.

Warmest regards,

-Jim
« Last Edit: 2 Mar 2007, 09:39 pm by Double Ugly »

alotaklipsch

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Re: REVIEW of SP TECHNOLOGY Revelation MR-1 MKII Loudspeakers
« Reply #19 on: 2 Mar 2007, 08:09 pm »
Scott, congrat's on the new TOY's :drool:enjoy in good health, nice to read HAPPY audiophile reports :wink:

Bob, email me when your ready for me too visit, I will bring my new source, to hear the music NWO 2.5T.

Smilin