Thursday, May 23, 2019

Revel C263 6.5 Inch 2-Way Aluminum In-Ceiling Speaker Review

We all like some form of entertainment. Movies are a great way to get away and get lost in a story. If you like movies, you probably have a home theater system at home, or are working on one. A critical part of it are the speakers.

There are multiple types of speakers. The most popular types are bookshelf, tower, and in-wall and in-ceiling. When you are designing your speaker system, a big part to consider is the WAF, or Wife Acceptance Factor. You typically get the best sound from bookshelf or tower speakers. But if you are married, your wife may not like all of those speakers hanging on the walls, or just being visible. Hence, the WAF. This is where in-wall or in-ceiling speakers come in. You don’t notice them.

In-wall or in-ceiling speakers are great for the WAF factor. But with the newer Dolby Atmos or DTS:X surround sound formats, there is now height channels to consider in your surround sound design. There are multiple speaker designs for this new height channel speakers. But the best one is adding a set of in-ceiling speakers. So whether you are looking because of the WAF factor, or you are upgrading an existing system for the new surround sound format, you could be in the market for some in-ceiling speakers. Enter the Revel C263 6.5 inch 2-way in-ceiling speaker.

Features and specs:


6 ½” In-Ceiling Loudspeaker

High-frequency Driver Components

1” Aluminum-Dome Tweeter with Waveguide

Recommended Amplifier Power

10 - 100 Watts RMS

Low Frequency Extension

6-1/2” Aluminum Cone, Cast-Polymer Frame Woofer


C-2 fastening mechanism • Compatible with wall material thickness range: 0.5” – 2.0” (1.3 cm – 5.0 cm)


Cutout dimensions (dia.) 8” (20.3 cm) Square grille finished Height: 9.1” (23.1 cm)


Square grille finished Width: 9.1” (23.1 cm)


Mounting Depth 4.8” (120mm)


3.1 lb (1.4 kg) / Shipping weight: 4.6 lb (2.1 kg)

The Revel C263 came in a standard brown box. Opening the box revealed a very well protected speaker held in place by custom molded cardboard. Materials used in the construction was metal and plastic. Quality of materials used was excellent, as was the fit and finish. It is a very well made speaker. As an in-ceiling speaker, it also includes the crossover network, which is built-into the housing. The crossover network components: The coils, caps, etc are metal with some plastic. The speaker housing is plastic. The speaker itself is a 2-way design, with a tweeter and woofer. The tweeter is 1 inch and woofer is 6.5 inch and both are aluminum. And everything was put together very well and was of excellent quality.

In designing a speaker system, there is voicing to consider. If you are adding to an existing speaker system, such as adding height speakers to upgrade to a Dolby Atmos system, you will want to keep voicing in mind. This means you will want to get new speakers that will sound similar to your existing speakers. That way, when you are watching a movie and you hear the surround sound effects moving from speaker to speaker, it isn’t audibly noticeable when sound goes from one speaker to another. Revel offers models where the drivers are aluminum and micro-ceramic composite, so when given the opportunity to review Revel’s in-ceiling speakers, we went with the Revel C263. Having an aluminum wooer, it would voice more similar to the NHT Classic Three speakers in our reference room, which uses aluminum drivers.

Also included in the box was the owner’s manual, speaker cut –out, and magnetically held in place metal speaker grill. The instructions were very easy to follow. This made for a very simple installation. There were four extremely long screws that went from the front to the back of the speaker housing. At the back of the housing were four legs that these screws went into. As you tightened the screws, it moved the legs, or anchors, towards the front of the speakers housing until it hit the drywall. Tightening the screw tightened the anchor up against the drywall and held the speaker firmly in place. And magnets built into the housing held the speaker grill in place on the front. Speaker wire connections were simple spring loaded terminals which held the speaker wires in place. Now that they are installed and wired, let’s hear how they sound.

To test how they sound I first turned to movies. I went to a couple of my favorite movies: R.E.D. and Ready Player One. Explosions and mayhem are great for testing speakers, but so is a lot of surround sound activity, to test speaker integration with the rest of the system. And then music is also a great way to test sound quality and resolution.  So for music I turned to: Christina Perri: 1000 Years, and Adele: Rolling in the Deep. In the listening tests I was looking for speaker integration as well as sound quality.

I was very impressed with the speaker integration. Voicing was actually very good. The Revel C263’s using aluminum with both drivers was a good match for my reference NHT Classic Three’s. The voicing was not perfect, but it was as good as I was hoping. And the difference was not very noticeable, unless you stopped and really listened for it. They also did not have the dynamics, resolution, or low end extension and output as the NHT Classic Three’s. But for in-ceiling speakers at their price point, they sounded much better than I was expecting! With this kind of sound, Revel has a welcoming home in my theater room.

Listening to music, I first turned to Christina Perri: 1000 Years. Piano sounded very natural with very good harmonics. Owning a baby grand, and being around piano my whole life, I tend to be extremely critical of piano. The Revels did a very good job. Guitar sounded really crisp and clean with better than expected resolution of the strings and pitch definition. The same was true of the violin. Vocals were also very good with a smooth texture that provided very good resolution of the timbre and harmonics. Drums also had good impact and played with good extension and authority.

Next up was Adele: Rolling in the Deep. Guitar was crisp and clean with very good resolution of the strings. Kick drum had good impact, low end extension, and played with sufficient authority and dynamics. High hat and cymbals were also really crisp and detailed. Piano was also very natural sounding with nice harmonics. And Adele’s vocals came out with excellent texture and timbre.

For movies, I first turned to one of my favorite: Ready Player One. The race scene at the beginning of the movie is one of the best. There’s a lot of mayhem as cars are racing, whizzing and crashing all around you. And then there are all of the coins from the crashed cars as they get collected. King Kong running around the screen and across the speakers is also really cool.  The Revel C263’s did a great job in turning all of that mayhem into realistic sound that gets you caught up in the movie.

The next movie I turned to was R.E.D. One of my favorite scenes is the stand-off scene between the old man Marvin played by John Malkovich and the lady CIA Agent, with his 460 S&W Magnum vs. her RPG. On that action scene, there’s great surround sound effects as there are bullets flying all around you. There’s explosions from grenades. And then the awesome scene with the great shot of his bullet exploding the RPG in mid air. The speakers were dynamic and did a great job!

I was more impressed with the Revel C263’s, as Revel’s entry level in-ceiling speaker for only $175 MSRP. They provided great sound, especially for their price point. Even when really pushed at high volumes they sounded great without strain. If you are in the market for some in-ceiling speakers, the Revel C263 should be on your short list. Based on their design, features, quality and performance, the Revel C263 has earned our Highly Recommended Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at Reference gear used: Onkyo TX-RZ920 receiver, Emotiva BasX A-500 5 channel amplifier, Oppo Digital BDP-103D transport, NHT Classic Three and Classic Three C speaker system, and SVS PC Plus 16-46 subwoofer.