The Special Sauce - The Secret To Serie S
Closer in performance to our Reference products, yet nearer in price to our value kings–the affordable T/i range–explains only part of the appeal of Serie S.
Yet, there’s much more than that to love about S. For starters, the look is classic, understated REL design with expensive touches like the polished stainless steel (genuine T-304 grade) adjustment handles on the sidewalls of the cabinets. And they have a certain rightness to their proportions, fooling the eye into thinking it is looking at a perfectly balanced cube, when the reality is it stretches into a rough facsimile of a golden mean rectangle to better break up common mode resonances within the cabinet.
Heading into its fifth year, Serie S represents REL’s first serious effort at bringing the benefits of weight reduction in the moving parts of our drivers to a broader audience. Removing weight allows our subwoofers to more accurately trace the large-scale dynamics, the loudest sounds, along with the quietest passages responsible for intimacy and delicacy in music. Together, the ability to stretch the dynamic limits of most systems gives modern RELs one of their greatest advantages over competitors, many of whom can play loud but struggle to sound natural precisely because they cannot show the differences between loud and soft. Music, it has been said is less about the notes, more it is the space between the notes that gives music its meaning, its depth and emotion. And so, we work to make our designs start and STOP! suddenly (when necessary), and with great fluidity when called upon to quickly release a note and move onto the next.
While we begin with massive improvements to our lightweight aircraft alloy cones and drivers, it is upgrades to our input filters and limiters that allowed the most from those updates to take flight. The Super High Output (SHO) versions available since late 2015 are responsible for coaxing the limits out of the S designs. Our new 3-stage electronic limiter was the breakthrough that allowed us to “catch” the driver gently before bottoming out, much like a bungee cord does for a thrill-seeking bridge jumper.
Meanwhile, the NextGen2 amplifier producing anywhere from 450–550 watts depending on driver size. These Class D designs represent a significant performance step up from legendary amps used in our own reference products of a decade ago. It’s far more than the power and reliability they deliver, it’s their textural qualities and the grip and extension these amps deliver that sets them apart. The S/3 and S/5 amps are wickedly fast, with immense power reserves that allow fantastically deep bass to be explored with ease and confidence.
Turning back one last time to the lovely cabinets, I have come to understand that cabinets play a role similar to a concert hall. Done poorly, with resonances improperly or incompletely tuned out, they can become buzzy, annoying distractions from the quality of a performance. Executed properly, they elevate the performance allowing music and, in the case of theater, special effects. It is the clarity and quietness that result from our execution of cabinet design that allows music to deliver the full range of emotion and dynamics and movies to span the full gamut; from quiet and intimate dialogue all the way to delivering the loudest ranges of special effects bonanzas. The Serie S is done properly. With wall thicknesses a full inch-and-an-eighth thick (30mm) and hardwood bracing that shares more in common with a musical instrument than a common subwoofer’s windowpane brace. Serie S cabinets are works of modern industrial art, wherein each aspect of construction serves a function.
Revel in Serie S, they represent the purest intersection of performance, power and grace for which REL is known.