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History of Serie S

Follow 20 Years of Subwoofer Innovation That Created the S/812 & S/510

 

This is unequivocally the single largest improvement in medium chassis RELs in almost 30 years. They are extraordinarily good value, almost troublingly so. They’re really, really special.

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They’re capable of transforming very good $15,000 to $20,000 speakers into things that $100,000 speakers do not want to have to compete against. It’s not pretty.

To be able to deliver this level of verging on reference quality for half the price that we previously been able to do it. With high level, with everything that we do is a game changer.

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When we first started, we had just purchased REL from Richard, and we knew that the world was looking for us to do something that was new and fresh.

The now sort of legendary classic series three, which were really beautiful in their own way back in the late 90s and early 2000s, were seen as being sort of out of step with the times. They were big, they were clunky. Even though they had good performance that was clearly not on the cusp of what real people wanted.

I think I pulled together the R in five months from first picking up a pencil and sketching it to delivering the first units to dealers in five months. It was incredible.

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I’ll never forget going over to the factory the first time and they they were doing pre-production runs, PP.  I was struck by the fact I’m looking at these things coming down, we did a small run of 20 or 30 pieces, and they’re exactly what was in my mind’s eye five months before. For the second generation of R, I knew a lot more and we hugely upgraded the driver on that one. It was bigger, it was more robust. It was more powerful sounding. We improved the amplifiers.

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We were just beginning to get better at what we did you know. By then I was starting to do a little bit of design embellishment and people were really warming up to that as well.

When we did the S, which are broken into two sort of series. The original S came out in 2014. We were trying to get faster and faster. The original two R’s were relatively heavy paper cones, and one of the things I’d identified early on was we really have to have speed come into subwoofers.

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Everything else in audio had been blinding fast since the early nineties, and here we had this one category that was just lagging behind acting like it was still the late seventies. So we were on a mission to reduce mass. In the second generation of R we were able to take about 12 grams out of the cone structure alone.

So we’re already on this little path, but it wasn’t enough. When we did the S, we were able to reduce the cones mass by 70%. Over the previous generation. So suddenly it’s like bang.

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In that time by the way, we had done the G1, and we had done all of this filter theory work that cost us a gajillion dollars to research and actually document to figure out what is fast.

And on that journey of doing the G1, we realized that at eight milliseconds and down subwoofers can sound fast. But, the filter has to be that fast, the amp has to be that fast, and now the speaker’s got to be fast enough. The driver itself. The S were the first really truly modern RELs that have really started to take this gauntlet and run with it.

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So, we came out with the SHO version, which really basically cranked up the game and altered our limiter values, and we were able to get another, six or eight DB maximum output out of doing that, which was fantastic. When we went to do the current S, we, we really had taken lessons from our HT, which we just launched last year.

And the HT stuff was blowing our minds even internally because the, the amount of dynamics you could get out of those and the extended low bass for not crazy sums of money was really impressive.

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We took the lessons from HT and folded that into our 0.1 channel. So immediately half the performance, if you’re into movies, half the performance is three times better than it used to be instantly, boom, like that. No question. But being honest, I think at that point in time, six months, a year ago during development, the 0.1 was now actually ahead of the music, which is an odd position for REL to find itself in.

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We’re looking at the driver, looking for things we had to do. You know we’ve got those beautiful carbon fiber fan blades back there that are stiffening it. It’s quiet. I can hear more stiffness, more transient speed, why are we not getting this through?

And I realized that we use a very cool little secondary filter way up high to get rid of things that shouldn’t be coming through a subwoofer like violins. I looked at the architecture of that and realized, oh my gosh, we’ve got a huge opportunity here, which is where the perfect filter came in.

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What we did there, I’m not going to get into specifics, but we opened up that filter and all of a sudden magic happened. I’m talking about everything now. We’re going up beyond the air in a concert hall high frequency. It’s insane.


May 20, 2020 - Posted in: System Thinking