Moving to the other end of the range, you’ll soon discover one of the challenges that the M105 presents – resisting the temptation to maximize bass weight in exchange for articulation. Given the small bass driver and modest on-paper performance specs, it’s easy to get carried away with just how effective the Revel’s bottom end is in practice. But overdo it and you’ll slow the pace of tracks like Moody’s infectious ‘Trouble And Woe’, blunt the rhythmic hook that underpins her fabulous cover of ‘Dancing In The Dark’, and thicken that gorgeous voice. Pull the speakers forward a little at a time and you’ll hear speed and dynamics that more than compensate for the lost weight. Get it spot on and the M105 will shock you with the scale and impact it can recreate. Even something as bombastically OTT as the opening of Reiner’s Scheherezade [RCA Living Stereo] is given convincing scale and substance – and that directly after hearing the RPO delivering it live.
It’s this ability to convince – and convince across a wide range of music – that makes the M105 worth seeking out. There are plenty of small speakers out there – and plenty of them sound pretty impressive. But there’s a world of difference (and wasted money) between a speaker that’s impressive and one that’s capable of truly convincing and that’s where the M105 scores. Don’t be fooled if it doesn’t stand out at first; the more you listen the more you’ll recognise and come to values its easy, open, and unforced balance of virtues-its warm, natural yet not overly rich or think balance, and the self-effacing qualities that let it stand behind rather than in front of the recording. In fact, it’s a good thing its so pretty, ‘cos otherwise you might never notice it.
It’s also rare to find a speaker this compact that can carry off the conflicting demands of small-scale acoustic folk, all natural timbre and attack, that’s still comfortable with the broader band dynamic demands and massive scale of full orchestral music. Really well-recorded rock or pop will show up the dynamic limitations of the M105 – you can only get so much out of such a small system – but that’s why there’s the M106. Very slightly larger in the cabinet (they’d need to be side by side before you noticed) its 165mm bass/mid driver affords a 36% increase in swept area – an increase you are going to hear in terms of dynamic range and heft rather than bass extension. But short of coming up against its (slightly) bigger brother I seriously doubt you’ll find the M105 wanting. There are speakers that sound quicker and more agile, but they lack the Revel’s natural weight and sense of body – and the sense of musical satisfaction that goes with it. A natural partner for moderately powerful integrated amps and perfectly at home with tubes, the M105 is fast becoming a firm favourite in these parts. Versatile, adaptable, and unfailingly musical it’s yet another reminder of just how underrated the Revel loudspeakers are. Beautifully finished and intelligently engineered, there really are very few small speakers as musically satisfying as these – at any price, which makes them well worth seeking out if you are a small speaker kind of guy…
Type: Two-way reflex loudspeaker
Driver Complement: 1x 25mm aluminium dome HF, 1x 133mm aluminium cone B/M
Bandwidth: -3dB at 60Hz
Impedance: 8 Ohms
Crossover: 2.3kHz – single-wired
Dimensions (WxHxD): 200 x 356 x 248mm
Finishes: High gloss black, white or walnut
Price: £1,400 per pair
Manufactured by: Revel
UK Distributor: Karma AV
Tel: +44(0)1423 358846