Subwoofer expert REL had a long-running hit in its R-Serie range. But, never one to rest on its laurels, the company announced at the beginning of the year that ‘R’ was out, and ‘S’ was in. The S/3 is the middle of three models in the new S-Serie range.
The ‘R’ and the ‘S’ models look ostensibly similar, until you remove the grille. The cabinet retains the gloss black or white cube shape with contrasting metal side-bars, top-plate and feet. The cabinet itself is slightly deeper, but unless you have like-for-like models facing one another, few would notice the difference. The depth of the cabinet helps explain one significant change in the REL design: it now uses 30mm thick MDF throughout and has better internal bracing, making the S/3 both considerably more rigid and heavier than the model it replaces.
However, the big change has been in the drive unit itself. Where previous REL models have relied on more traditional materials for large subwoofer cones, the new S-Serie uses long-throw drivers made from a tempered aluminium alloy called T-6063, which is alloyed primarily with magnesium and silicon. This alloy is considered to have good mechanical properties, very high tensile strength, and is produced with very smooth surfaces.
There is also a tweak to the electronics, which afforded REL a touch of ergonomic face-lifting to the rear panel for a very slightly better layout. More significantly, it allows the new range to use REL’s optional ‘Longbow’ wireless, compression-free transmission system. The Longbow transmitter is a small powered box that sits by the audio system, replicating the high and/or low level connections on the back of the REL and passing those signals at radio frequency to the subwoofer itself. It’s possible to run multiple subwoofers from the same transmitter within a 15m range, meaning those who use two or more strategically placed subwoofers in the room no longer need to trail wires around the living room. There is also an optional Baseline high-quality high-level subwoofer cable upgrade, launched around the same time as the new S/3.
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