No.32 enjoys the rarefied position of elevating our Reference range to an even higher orbit. No.32 retains the exquisite beauty of our curvilinear reference cabinets, an updated 15″ ( 380 mm ) true carbon fibre driver that boasts 4″ ( 100 mm ) of total stroke and our ultra-reliable 1,000 watt amp outfitted with thin film capacitors, higher gain and superior limiting.
The net result is a flagship model that stretched the edge of the art further with superior dynamics, richer tonal color, and a freer, more expressive character that opens up the midranges and highs in an unprecedented manner.
When Nothing but the Finest Will Do
Edge of the Art Design
No.32 represents the sum of our efforts, research, and knowledge gained over the past three decades as a leader in audio and subwoofers. Nothing we have built competes with the speed, agility, absence of texture, and vivid dynamic contrasts delivered by No.32. It represents the pinnacle of REL’s considerable experience and is our standard for future innovation. A remarkable sonic achievement, it transcends its illustrious forebear, which was named Product of the Decade just a few years ago. It is 1,000 watts, has a 15”( 380 mm ) pure carbon fibre driver, and has exquisite cabinetry requiring three weeks of labour to complete. However, each of these features only hints at what it takes to reside at the top of REL’s offerings, and No.32 is poised to be a design for the ages.
Beautiful Form Follows Functional Perfection
It is often said that form follows function. If that is true, what a lovely function we are following. The cabinet traces a curvilinear path established over a decade ago on the original Gibraltar. Here, the top surface tumbles down at the rear corners – a difficult treatment to execute, but one that produces a uniquely beautiful effect.
Triple-plated steel handles are inset into ellipses that allow for a secure grip, which is necessary when lifting an object over 200 pounds. Inside, the rear backing plate is well over half an inch thick and contoured to follow the inner surface, yielding a massively strong structure.
No.32’s new badge treatment combines the materials that appear most frequently within its design; the carbon fibre used throughout the driver is inset within a polished, cast alloy basket that is finished in 3 layers of plating to achieve a jewel-like sparkle. The overall design speaks to the remarkable efforts that went into ensuring No.32 is as striking visually as it is technically.
Arrayed For Battle
No.32 permits the same vertically stacked line array as the ultimate No.31. It delivers transformative performance that no competitor has been able to. For those who have been seeking the ultimate musical and theatre experience, Line Arrays unlock the final dimension of system reproduction. Audiophiles have chased three-dimensional sound for years, yet they have missed the simple fact that the height—not the depth—of image is the missing link. By creating products that are designed to be stacked 3 ( or in exceptionally tall rooms, 5 ) units high while retaining individual crossover and gain control of each subwoofer in the array, REL has created a masterpiece that finally delivers what the most experienced audiophiles have been chasing for the past 40 years.
The Utterly Reliable Beast
No.32’s 1,000-watt amplifier was also used in its predecessor for over seven years. Thousands of these amplifiers are in use all over the world; they are a paragon of reliability. Its implementation in No.32 combines a new limiter with a much wider envelope to permit the widest dynamic swings possible. Also, No.32’s dual parametric EQs allow for robust and flat response in the lowest ranges, extending below 20 Hz. When its second EQ is set to frequencies above the crossover point, No.32 meshes perfectly with the main speakers while simultaneously reducing room-based resonances.
As with all RELs, No. 32’s heart and soul is its 15” ( 380 mm ) driver. The driver’s cone is constructed entirely of carbon fibre. Additionally, a carbon fibre centre cap is overlaid on the primary cone surface. This cone design results in a far stiffer driver that possesses superior self-damping qualities, removing even minor resonances that can obscure detail retrieval whilst keeping moving mass to an absolute minimum. No.32’s driver suspension permits a full 4” ( 100 mm ) of travel fore and aft, an enormous amount of travel for such a large driver. These are some of the secrets to its performance. Transparency, allied to tremendous dynamics, is the result.
A Remote Like No Other
Take control of your No.32 by grasping the REL Reference Remote Control. Immediately, you will be struck by the perfect fit in your palm, the result of careful thought and numerous generations of trial-and-error fittings during prototype development. The second reaction to it is the awareness of its mass, which conveys its quality, permanence, and immutability. It tells you, “I am a thing of substance, of quality. Pay attention, what you do next matters.” If you have owned a REL in the past ( and fully 90% of Rel Reference owners are ), all the familiar controls are right at hand, exactly where you’d want them. High ( or low if using active speakers ) level gain sits comfortably to the right side, the crossover rests in the middle, and .1/LFE gain is off to the left.
Below are three lovely metal toggle switches handle the critical setup functions. The remote’s on/off switch is at the bottom. It is both as out of the way as possible and remains on once turned on and in use during setup without being accidentally turned off. In the middle sits the phase control. This is used only initially to determine the correct 0 or 180 degrees of phase. Additionally, the top access to the Dual Parametric EQ-marked with A and B—permits the flattest, deepest bass and, at the other end of the bass frequencies, the fine-tuning of crossover behavior. This gives you the perfect blending of subwoofer to main speakers and any vestiges of room-generated boom and resonance can be gently trimmed away.
REL’s Reference Remote reminds you of the perfect butler—always immaculate, indispensable when called upon, then quietly set aside until a future time when perhaps additions or further improvements to one’s system further require its services.
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No.32 Reference Subwoofer, Piano Black