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Listening session with John Hunter and a six-pack at REL Acoustics Ltd.

A High-end HiFi system as well as a surround sound system reinforced with an impressive REL Reference Line Array consisting of six REL S/812 was the focus of an exclusive presentation with John Hunter, to which | Der HiFi Blog - Das HiFi Magazin editor-in-chief Michael Holzinger was invited by subwoofer specialist REL Acoustics, Ltd. around the High End 2024 in Munich.

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  • Subwoofer specialist REL Acoustics Ltd. hosted a very special listening session with John Hunter at the High-end 2024 in Munich.

In addition to various solutions for HiFi and home cinema, many speaker manufacturers also have subwoofers in their range, whereby these are usually used to round off the various product lines at the bottom in the truest sense of the word. It must be clearly stated that the developers’ focus here is not so much on the subwoofers as on the normal speaker systems. In this respect, it is definitely exciting to look around for a subwoofer from proven specialists, because these also exist.

The US company REL Acoustics Ltd., for example, is one of the few specialists that specialises exclusively in subwoofers and can offer a very wide range of products for a wide variety of applications.

REL Acoucstics Ltd – A subwoofer specialist with a very special philosophy

First of all, it should be said that REL Acoustics Ltd. has a very unique approach to subwoofers and follows a very special philosophy. It should also be noted that the US company from Berkeley in the state of California does not place subwoofers solely in the home cinema sector, as is often the case with consumers. Rather, REL Acoustics Ltd. sees itself as a specialist in subwoofers, which are essential tools in the home cinema sector, but above all in HiFi, and which can add a whole new dimension to the presentation of film in surround as well as music in stereo.

The company wanted to prove this once again with an impressive presentation at the High-end 2024 in Munich, in a suite at the Marriott Hotel Munich.

Perfect timing, powerful performance, maximum precision

For REL Acoustics Ltd., two things are of paramount importance: perfect timing at all times and a performance with the corresponding sovereignty required for subwoofers that are both precise and powerful.

To achieve this, the company relies on subwoofers that do without a feature found in many solutions from other companies, namely DSP-based signal processing or even room correction based on this.

Perfect timing is crucial, says REL Acoustics Ltd, and even the slightest delay in the signal caused by DSP-based signal processing is an obstacle to this goal.

In order to achieve a particularly powerful performance, in addition to very compact and yet usually astonishingly powerful solutions, the company also relies on powerful systems, but above all on the combination of several subwoofers in so-called line arrays.

This is especially true when it comes to realising a classic High-end HiFi system, even when a powerful speaker system is at the centre of the system.

An impressive setup for surround and stereo

You can get an idea of what REL Acoustics Ltd. means by looking at the system used in Munich in detail.

It was a combined setup that was designed for both surround and stereo, with electronics primarily from Musical Fidelity being used. The crowning glory was the RA Acoustics loudspeaker systems for both surround and stereo.

The subwoofers were, of course, used to the full, with the most striking part of the configuration being a so-called six-pack, i.e. a REL Reference Line Array 2*3 S/812, consisting of two arrays of three REL S/812 subwoofers each. Each of these is a potent little chap in its own right, but here they are also connected in series and operated in parallel with the actual loudspeaker systems for the left and right channels.

Numerous other subwoofers were available for surround, namely a REL S/510 subwoofer to support the centre channel, a REL HT/1205 at the rear and a REL HT/1510 at the front for the LFE, and a REL Classic 98 to support the surround high level.

Presentation by John Hunter

The exclusive, personal presentation by John Hunter, owner of REL Acoustics Ltd, began with him carrying out a final fine-tuning of the system, which was quite impressive given the attention to detail and the remarkable meticulousness with which this was done.

However, we were truly speechless when the music performance began, as we had never heard such a captivating, accurate performance in the acoustically unsuitable surroundings of a hotel suite.

The decisive factor was not the enormous volume level that could certainly be achieved, it was actually the power from below, the sovereignty and radiance. To break it down to simple physics, this is achieved simply because immense amounts of air are moved through the huge membrane surface. There is no need for brute force levels to achieve a gripping effect.

It goes without saying that the configuration presented here is also at its best with surround sound and, above all, film.

Without wishing to offend anyone – after all, we were dealing with the finest speakers – it was downright sobering when John Hunter deactivated the phalanx of subwoofers and played the previously played music tracks again. It was then that you realised what REL Acoustics Ltd. means when they say that a subwoofer is always a very good choice to make something even better…

Getting to the point

It was an extremely impressive presentation by REL Acoustics Ltd. to which Kirill Nenarokomov, International Sales Director of the US specialist for subwoofers, kindly invited us around the High-end 2024 in Munich. During this exclusive presentation, John Hunt, owner of REL Acoustics Ltd., was once again able to prove in a remarkable way that subwoofers, when used correctly, are not only indispensable in the home cinema sector, but can also be a great tool for significantly enhancing even the finest stereo chain.

THEMEListening session with John Hunter and a six-pack at REL Acoustics Ltd.
REL Acoustics Ltd.
BrandREL Acoustics Ltd.
ManufacturerREL Acoustics Ltd.
DistributionAudio Tuning Vertriebs GmbH
More about this manufacturer at HIFI BLOG
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