Diminutive Yet Detailed and Mighty
REL's R-328 Delivers Massive Performance from a Small Box
The R-328 is a substantial upgrade not only from the mighty R-218, but also from the entire previous R-Series. The R-328 receives a more powerful bass driver, an innovative passive radiator, a firmed up cabinet, a brand new REL-designed amplifier and the new R-Series streamlined crossover circuitry delivering potent, powerful and very precise bass from a surprisingly compact cabinet. The level of detail this tiny box provides will stun you as it brings your home theater system to life.
"When set up properly, listening to a REL subwoofer can be a sublime musical experience...with the R-328 you not only feel the bass (as any subwoofer worth its binding posts should be able to do), but you feel and hear the subtle textures within the bass notes."
– Home Theater, "Top Picks"
R-328's Bass Engine
The main active driver is a potent Heavy 10™ - a driver capable of handling sixty percent greater power and offering superior dynamics and speed. To aid extension, punch and swell, REL developed a new downward firing, lightweight and very stiff carbon fiber 12" Acoustic Bass Radiator, pitched very low in frequency to avoid the slow and boomy quality of typical ABR designs.
"[With the R-328] the change is marked; it's like someone replaced your speakers with a far better pair. Turn it on, bigger, more natural sound. Turn if off, your speakers sound that bit smaller and less 'free.' It's not about deep bass, it's about in room bass control. A well-sorted sub like the R-328 can work wonders."
– Alan Sircom, HiFi+
VariCone™ Passive Radiator
REL's 12" ABR, known internally as the VariCone™, is different from traditional passives, at low volumes or with delicate material, the VariCone™ acts like a very fast 10” driver, allowing excellent integration and clarity. However, as the music swells or if there is a large transient, the VariCone™ transforms into the equivalent of a 15” driver delivering deep, powerful extension with excellent control. This gives the R-328 ultimate flexibility, high-end two channel complement during the day and home theater powerhouse by night. All from a compact, rigid and elegant cabinet.
REL is Different
REL has a unique perspective on low frequency reproduction. Unlike the booming, flatulant thunderboxes which have come to be called subwoofers, only REL Sub-Bass systems accurately reproduce the lowest frequencies and integrate seamlessly into any system. Inserting a REL enriches the tonal balance and resolution of the entire system. The soundstage moves back and opens up, voices become more human and real, instruments achieve proper power, timbre and weight, even the highest frequencies become smoother, richer and more defined. Inserting a REL into any system is a revelation; once you've heard a REL in your system, you'll never be satisfied with anything else.
You Need a REL
We've heard every excuse for not integrating a REL Sub-bass System over the years: "I've got full range speakers", "I have a small room", "I don't like subwoofers", "I'm only doing stereo", the list goes on and on. The real question is "Do you want to hear your system at its very best or not?" Regardless of the size of your main speakers, your room or even your budget, a REL will improve your system. Adding a REL allows your system to dig deeper, play cleaner at any volume and create a deep, virtually holographic soundstage.
Why Most People Don't Like Subs
The biggest obstacle to getting a REL into someone's home is the
erroneous perception of what a subwoofer is and what it's supposed to
do. Thanks to clever marketing, anything with the name subwoofer must be
a booming, thumping and thundering box. However, a sub-woofer, by
definition and as the name implies, supplements the frequency range
below the capability of the woofer in the main speakers. A quick look at
the frequency response of most subwoofers shows them to actually be...
simply a woofer. A REL on the other hand delivers true deep bass, far
below the range of the woofer in the speaker cabinet.
Richard E. Lord (REL)
REL was started in 1991 by a two-channel guy, Richard E. Lord, who couldn't find a sub to integrate into his two-channel system. He listened to every sub available to him, but every piece he put in destroyed or distorted the tonal balance of his system. What he found was that for proper integration, the subwoofer had to crossover very low in the frequency range, required a powerful amplifier, a low-distortion driver and the ability to accurately and consistently choose settings for the sub. Move forward to the present day and every REL still adheres to these core principles, no matter how advanced REL's manufacturing ability has become.
RELs for Theater
We often emphasize how important a REL is for two-channel listening, but a REL will also transform a surround system into a theater. Connecting the LFE signal to a REL provides a thrilling experience unlike anything you've experienced at home. Bass is taut, deep, powerful and has surprising slam. Nothing else sounds as natural or as real. The best part is that the way a REL is designed, there is no compromise for stereo performance and setup is extremely easy. There are separate inputs for stereo and the LFE input, simply adjust the volume on the separate LFE input and no matter what you play, the REL will make your system even better.
REL takes great pride in building powerful, reliable and musical Sub-Bass systems and a critical element of every REL Sub-Bass unit is the amplifier. Serie-R employs a REL designed and built Class D amplifier with exceptional power delivery characteristics, large high-quality power supplies and excellent overload protection. These amplifiers are purpose built for driving Serie-R Bass Engines which give this series virtually unlimited power to play louder, deeper and cleaner with extremely low distortion.
On a “green” note, Serie-R amplifiers have a unique power saving feature called “power starvation”. Whenever there’s no signal present, the amplifier goes instantly to maximum power saving efficiency, consuming a mere 5W of power (less than an LCD TV in standby), yet the amplifier remains at maximum readiness to immediately respond to a sudden transient signal, even after a long quiet period and regardless of level. This innovative feature eliminates the need to switch off an Serie-R woofer when not in use.
The crossover in the REL Serie-R is a 12dB/Octave hand-built crossover manufactured by highly skilled Welsh technicians. The precision and testing that goes into these crossovers are consistent with the highest manufacturing practices to ensure long life, reliability and rock-solid performance. This does not mean added complexity! To adjust the crossover point upwards, simply rotate the crossover knob clockwise, to lower the crossover point downwards, rotate counter-clockwise. In adjusting the crossover, please notice that REL has chosen to use a “stepped” switch instead of the more conventional smooth rotating crossover adjustment. This allows the user to precisely define the exact crossover point with confidence and the ability to achieve 100% repeatable results. This also makes integrating a REL extremely easy, simply move the crossover point one click at a time until a proper blend has been achieved. Want to double check the results? Simply adjust the crossover by one click up or down; does the entire system sound better? If not, simply reverse the change and the REL is exactly where it needs to be. This precision and attention to detail are hallmarks of REL products and engineering. There’s are great tips for setting the crossover point in the owners manual.
Design & Cabinetry
Serie-R has a gorgeous finish with polished aluminum side inserts & top-plate and a thick aluminum amplifier panel in the rear. The solid construction and contrasting finish gives Serie-R a slim elegant and unobtrusive look. 1" thick MDF cabinets reduce resonance and the crossover/amp section are built into a separate internal box, away from the stresses of high internal pressure.
REL has a different approach to low frequency reproduction and also a different perspective on how to achieve this goal. All REL Sub-Bass systems offer two types of connection, a unique High-Level (Speaker Level) connection and a .1/LFE connection (RCA), each with their own volume controls. Serie-R has an additional input, a Low level input (RCA).
The High-Level connection is highly preferred as it connects the REL directly to the system’s amplifier, allowing the REL, chameleon-like, to take on the sonic character of the entire system. The very high input impedance (100kΩ) of the High-Level connection ensures that the system’s amplifier doesn’t even see (electrically speaking) the REL, yet this connection enables the REL to very accurately reproduce both the timbre and timing of the system.
The .1/LFE RCA connection is a separate connection designed to be used in tandem with the High-Level connection to provide unparalleled flexibility in a home theater environment. The High-Level connection provides low-frequency reinforcement to the main speakers while the .1/LFE connection provides reproduction of the exclamation point bass the LFE channel is intended for. Simply connect an RCA cable from the LFE output on the surround processor to the .1/LFE input on the REL. This input has its own volume control, but all crossover adjustments for this input are done at the surround processor.
If for some reason the High-Level connection cannot be used, (e.g. a system with powered speakers) then the Low-Level input should be used, allowing Serie-R to be connected via an RCA cable. This is a mono input, so if stereo output is available from the preamp or processor, a y-adaptor should be used to combine the signals. The Low-Level input shares the crossover and volume control of the High-Level input. The Low-Level input is not the preferred connection, only use if High-Level connection is simply not possible.