We’re often asked, “What makes a REL a REL?” The answer is simple, but not easy. At REL We approach each music and theater reproduction issue afresh and always ask “What is the optimal way to effect the desired result?” A REL is a SYSTEM, hence the term Sub-Bass System. Many people mistakenly think that it is the simple addition of a high-level input, but there is so much more to it than that. We strive to build the most reliable subs in the industry – ask any industry-insider. RELs are built like no others because it is quite difficult and costly to execute to our standard. But it is imperative to us that we retain our good name and that begins with products destined to last for years of happy ownership.
It Helps to be Well Connected
As a pure high-end company, we believe in first doing no harm with our subs. So, we offer no high pass crossovers that interfere with the bass from the main speakers. This means we sell fewer subs, but the ones we do sell make their owner’s quite happy.
We connect via a special high-level connection whenever possible because doing so allows the voice of your main system to be built forward into every REL. We permit crossing over quite low because our designs produce truly deep bass, where many of our competitors focus on very loud middle bass.
Film, Glorious Film
We worked closely with one of the leading movie sound studios to create REL’s Shotgun™ Theater Reference Circuit, wherein the low bass directed to the main speakers is reinforced by the REL all-the-while reproducing the dedicated .1 LFE channel that is the heart of thrill in a movie soundtrack. And then we worked to integrate it into one very clever circuit that means even a single REL can accomplish this trick. We provide our owners with a dedicated single phono input for film’s .1/LFE channel with its own volume control. Crossover is fixed, per Dolby specification, at 120Hz.Simply dial-in the High Level using dynamic music, as usual, then switch over to a film soundtrack and, while playing the most bombastic LFE track you can find, bring up the gain on the dedicated LFE circuit until just below clipping and you’re all set.
We carefully design our drivers to reproduce low bass, with resonant frequencies that are exceptionally low, long travel suspensions to allow high output and ideal motor assemblies to energize the system. We refer to them as bass engines since this descriptive more closely defines their function. Our engines are carefully designed to start and stop quickly, since it is the quiet in between notes that defines the meaning of music.
Our drivers are a major aspect of REL’s performance. Where budget allows, on our Gibraltar range, we use expensive carbon fibre cones with substantial die cast frames for energy control. When we step back to Serie R, we retain the heavy duty die cast allow frames, but have designed a complex multi-layer hand thrown paper cone. Arriving at Serie T budget constraints require the use of stamped steel (rather than alloy) frames, and we again use paper, but less expensive to produce heat-pressed cones that retain excellent light weight properties while still yielding some of the structural integrity of their dearer peers.
Our engineers work hard to keep moving mass as low as practical in our drivers, thereby allowing the overall design to be more mechanically efficient. Greater efficiency means we obtain more output from fewer watts of electricity consumed, which is a good thing on this steadily warming planet of ours.
Speaking of green, we look beyond the obvious; even the cabinet damping material used in some of our best designs is made from recycled blue jeans. First, because it is the finest, best sounding stratified damping material for bass Driver/cabinet interaction we have ever tested. Second, because conventional wadding such as fiberglass takes about 100 million years to break down – give or take a million. Our recycled blue jeans will last for several decades by which time it is our firm belief we will have developed a superior replacement for Gibraltar.
Instrument Grade Cabinet Bracing
All current REL designs benefit from careful hand fitting of intricate internal bracing. Borrowed from acoustic instrument design, our bracing is vastly different from the normal hard-edged windowpane braces that produce audible and evident noise when driven as hard as our designs drive the cabinet.
As the careful observer can identify, we have taken great pains not only to locate and quiet significant modes, but each internal surface is carefully radiused to eliminate hard-edged surfaces that produce audible noise and distortion. Gibraltar uses marine-grade laminated bracing, while Serie R uses interior grade plywood bracing and Serie T uses HDF composite bracing.
Our cabinets are built from substantially massive, heavy medium density fibreboard (MDF) and in Gibraltar, we specify the highest-grade Australian-sourced MDF for its superior sonic and aesthetic qualities.
Gibraltar employs an advanced ï¬lter circuit which provides exceptional performance when coupled to the rest of the signal chain of the Sub-Bass System. A second-order variable low-pass ï¬lter utilizing a Bessel function was chosen for its linear phase response, which equates to ï¬‚at group delay. This means that, unlike other ï¬lter functions, the amount of delay the signal is subjected to during processing is constant through the entire pass-band, which improves the frequency response and allows for better integration of the sub with the main speakers. An additional ï¬xed second-order Bessel ï¬lter follows the variable ï¬lter, removing unwanted midrange signals that, if left unï¬ltered, might cause the midrange of the main speakers to become muddy or congested. All ï¬ltering is performed in the analog domain using high-quality components with tight tolerances to ensure the highest possible performance and consistency.
On Serie R and T, we employ a similar filter topology but use softer conventional butterworth filtering for primary and secondary filtering as they are better suited to the overall performance envelope of these designs.
The Path Less Taken
Frequently, industry types ask if we’re not worried that someone else will copy us? The answer is, to do what we do every day, takes relentless commitment to excellence. Every day, we are confronted with challenges. Every day, we are asked to build our products cheaper, or re-design them to be easier to build. We refuse to do so. No, we are not worried someone else will copy us – doing it properly ensures ours is a path few will follow.