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Revel Speakers The Science of Sound

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Old 05-12-2016, 11:39 AM
Pampero Pampero is online now
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Default F208 first impressions

Rather than repeat myself endlessly here, I'll simply say that I ordered some Salon2s well over a month ago but haven't received them yet although the rest of my basic system has been in place for weeks. Growing increasingly desperate I ordered up a pair of F208s to fill in until my Salon2s get here. They arrived yesterday (the Performas, that is). My wife and I humped the pair to our second floor listening room and I have only stopped listening since then to collect coffee, MREs and attend to the most minimal requirements of the human body.

My impressions:

As my room is dedicated, there are no constraints beyond dimensions regarding where I put stuff. I'd previously decided to use the short wall for a display flanked by the speakers and that's how I set up yesterday. It hasn't taken long to position the Revels in the room, and in my case they seem a bit more sensitive (in respect to placement) to low frequencies than they do to imaging considerations, but I have given them ample room to breath and they seem to like that. At this time they are symmetrically placed (toed in to the listener) 40" from the rear wall (to rear of cabinet) and 38" from the side walls to the nearest cabinet boundary. In this position they give satisfying low end and a wide, fairly deep and well balanced soundstage with a truly excellent phantom center image for solo voices and instruments.

Since moving here and assessing the room, I came to the conclusion that it was a bit on the dead side. That has not fully played out for these Revels and I have ended up using the F208's HF cut (the full -1dB for now, very useful and non-intrusive) to achieve a balance I like. I find no need for the foam plugs. The balance top to bottom is sweet with no bothersome resonant peaks in the mid and high end (I like it painless) and a refined balance between bass, treble and the sumptuous, detailed and revealing mid-band these speakers are capable of. I am ready to install the spikes, which I'll do today.

The rest of the system (redundant data if you've read me here before) cnsists of MC stuff: C52 and MC452, an Oppo 105 (transport only) and Blue Jeans cables. I'm using the C52s DAC connected by a BJ coax as it sounds better to us than the (same) ESS chip (run as a balanced connection to the C52) in the Oppo that has nonetheless gotten rave reviews.

When I first fired up my new rig last night using my calculated speaker locations my initial sense was utter disappointment. A few minutes spent playing with the Oppo's settings (and switching to the McDAC) resolved a lot of that. Within an hour or so we had a better balance of tones. I soent the rest of the night listening and incrementally nudging the speakers closer to the rear and side walls to optimize bass response (MORE!).

So what do I think? Well, the McIntosh stuff makes a delicious mating with Revels. The end product is plenty of suds, all the resolution of fine detail you could want. There's the hoped for "I never heard that before" in my "I thought I knew you" library, the balance between detail, sound staging, frequency extension and imaging is true high end stuff and I could live with these speakers for a long, long time. Music pours out of them under the firm control of the MC452's silky background It's such a treat!

I do have Ultima 2s on the way so I'm curious just how much better they might do in my room, but I could be happy with these Performa 2s and never feel deprived. They're really excellent. A bravura performance and first impression that has justified my decisions. At least to me

Again, thanks to this this forum that was one of the instrumental data points in
my selection of the Mc equipment. With so many superb options on the market, even an experienced consumer can be understandably bewildered.
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Old 05-12-2016, 12:16 PM
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Thank you Lew for your first impression of MC452 and F208 speakers. Will be looking forward to Salon2 review as well. Should be researching and testing speakers soon.
AJ
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:03 PM
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Glad you are up and running Lew. I have read good reviews of the F208. I have an older model, the F52s which I use for front channel theater duty and know they fight above their weight.

I look forward to reading about your pleasure with the Salons. They will be a step (or two) up.

Craig
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Main room - Sonus Faber Stradivari, JLAudio F113v2, McIntosh MC2301, McIntosh C2300, Esoteric K-03X, Esoteric G-02, SilenZio - Audio by -E- Media Server (running ROON), Other - GIK kit, Vicoustics Waveguide panels, WW Gold Eclipse 7 SCs, WW Platinum Starlight 7 USB, WW Silver Electra 7 PCs, WW Silver Eclipse ICs; 3 X 20 Amp Power lines, PS Audio P10 & Dectet, 3 Sound Anchor stands, Powerports and numerous Noise Harvesters. Furutech Flex 50, Cable risers, HRS dampeners

TV Room Audio - Panasonic TC-P60GT50, {McIntosh MX-121 - in for Repairs}, Lexicon MC1 out of retirement, MC7106, Revel F52 & C32, B&W LM1, Sonos Connect\W4S Remedy\iFI 9V Power, WW & Kimber cables, PS Audio Dectet

Homeless Vintage system - Infinity RSIIa, 2 X Threshold S/200, McIntosh C35, TEAC UD503, Sonos Connect w\W4S Remedy, HP Laptop/portable HD running JRMC21, PS Audio Dectet, Supra, WireWorld wires.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:20 PM
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U guys giving me the mc452 upgrade bug. Been thinking about it.

The salon 2s are very coherent and have zero listener fatigue. Heard them at the akg store in Manhattan.
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Old 05-12-2016, 05:24 PM
Pampero Pampero is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usbyte View Post
U guys giving me the mc452 upgrade bug. Been thinking about it.

The salon 2s are very coherent and have zero listener fatigue. Heard them at the akg store in Manhattan.
I'd say that's true for the 208s as well. Easy to sit and listen for hours, even to technically lesser recordings. Not to say I wouldn't have been overjoyed with any of a dozen other options...this was a confusing "shop" for me because it took me away from my pro audio roots, but in the end, they served me to the extent that I knew what I didn't want and to a somewhat lesser extent, what I did.

The Mc calls little attention to itself although one thing you get right away is how big the sound is relative to the speaker size. Bass is not as fully extended as it would be with a bigger speaker, but it's all there in good balance and however tight and defined as they recorded it. Differences in recording qualities/equipment selections and useages are immediately obvious if you know what to listen for. On multitracked studio recordings you hear the reverb quality, microphone variations (especially on solo voices) and that sort of thing. Rosin on bows is nice (), or if it's a heavily/near field mic'd (or maybe an electric violin like a Zeta) you hear that too. I can't tell exactly if it's a Zeta or just has some sort of pickup that alters the way a violin sounds, but you can make out the fact that the fiddle has been processed or treated in some way.
Massed voices (try the Glory soundtrack for instance) sound luscious and orchestral works sound like the real thing.

On certain recordings, the thing produces an effect they used to call "presence." It's not a word I see used much anymore in reviews, but it's a real enough feeling. You know....a wavefront of sound that feels immediate and "here." I love that.

It's the kind of thing that's satisfying to my audiophile side, but like most of us, I prefer just to get lost in the music. My system does that for me so I'm ecstatic.

Gotta go spin some more tunes!

Again, it's really nice that all of you take pleasure in my pleasure. My feminine side wants to say it's sweet. My masculine side says......let's have a beer!
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Old 05-12-2016, 05:32 PM
Pampero Pampero is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crwilli View Post
Glad you are up and running Lew. I have read good reviews of the F208. I have an older model, the F52s which I use for front channel theater duty and know they fight above their weight.

I look forward to reading about your pleasure with the Salons. They will be a step (or two) up.

Craig
Thanks, Craig! It's required patience.

We did well, AJ!
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Old 05-13-2016, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pampero View Post
....I have ended up using the F208's HF cut (the full -1dB for now, very useful and non-intrusive) to achieve a balance I like. I find no need for the foam plugs. The balance top to bottom is sweet with no bothersome resonant peaks in the mid and high end (I like it painless) and a refined balance between bass, treble and the sumptuous, detailed and revealing mid-band these speakers are capable of. I am ready to install the spikes, which I'll do today.
I thought they were too bright at first, during break in, I also had to run the tweeters at -1, but after break in, the tweeters became as sweet as anything I have heard. But, it does take constant running for at least 2 weeks.

I fell in love with the 208's (after break in) and they replaced the B&W802D2 in my music listening area. 802s are now the HT speakers, still amazing speakers, but I prefer the 208's for music. That the $5k Revels sound better to my ear than $15K 802D2's might sound crazy, but as you can hear for yourself - they are truly fantastic.

Can't wait to hear your impressions if you A/B the 208's with the Salons. Would be interesting to blind test them like I did with the 802s.
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Old 05-13-2016, 11:12 PM
Pampero Pampero is online now
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Originally Posted by Pio View Post
I thought they were too bright at first, during break in, I also had to run the tweeters at -1, but after break in, the tweeters became as sweet as anything I have heard. But, it does take constant running for at least 2 weeks.

I fell in love with the 208's (after break in) and they replaced the B&W802D2 in my music listening area. 802s are now the HT speakers, still amazing speakers, but I prefer the 208's for music. That the $5k Revels sound better to my ear than $15K 802D2's might sound crazy, but as you can hear for yourself - they are truly fantastic.

Can't wait to hear your impressions if you A/B the 208's with the Salons. Would be interesting to blind test them like I did with the 802s.
Good to know that there's more to look forward to. It's probably my imagination but every time I listen, it seems to sound better.
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Old 05-15-2016, 12:05 PM
Pampero Pampero is online now
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Originally Posted by usbyte View Post
U guys giving me the mc452 upgrade bug. Been thinking about it. .
Do it! Life's short.

In the case of the bigger Revels, it's pretty clear you need an amp with cojones. After just a few days, I've already speculated that anything with less current/power than the C452 would have left me wanting.

These speakers can absorb a lot of clean power.
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Old 05-18-2016, 04:23 AM
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Quote:
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I thought they were too bright at first, during break in, I also had to run the tweeters at -1, but after break in, the tweeters became as sweet as anything I have heard. But, it does take constant running for at least 2 weeks.

I fell in love with the 208's (after break in)
Ditto for me as well...break-in and falling in love! I had planned on using the F208's as a bridge to SF Olympica's and love these so much that I have no desire to do that now.

Congrats Pampero!
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Sources: Linn Akurate DS, Oppo BDP-95 Amps: MC452, MC301, MC152 Speakers/Subs: Revel F208/C208/M106, JL Fathom 112's w/ Sound Anchor stands Pre/Pro: C2500, MX121 Power: PS Audio P10 w/SR Red Fuse, Transparent PowerBank 2's (for subs) Cables: All Kimber: Center/Surrounds-8TC, L/R-Monacle XL (for high), BiFocal XL full range (for low), PK-10 Ascent and Palladian power cables, Hero balanced IC's for HT and KS1126 IC's for 2 Ch
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