General Speaker Advice and Recommendations

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by shotgunshane, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    @Collusion, yeah I didn’t realize you were in Finland so that complicates things. Electronics on the Revels were McIntosh separates (don’t know the models) at one dealer, and an expensive Luxman integrated at the other dealer. I heard the Focal 1028 Be on that same Luxman and much preferred them.

    I think there’s an EU friends thread somewhere where a post might result in more helpful recommendations. Sorry mine were not!
     
  2. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Buying without hearing, unless there is a very good return policy in place, I just wouldn’t do it unless it’s a smokin deal.

    Personally I’ve found the Focals that I’ve heard be too bright / metallicy sounding for my tastes, but some people love them. I’ve not heard the 1008 Be though.

    What have you heard that you like? This might allow you to narrow in more on the best choice.

    Also, I would look on the used market to see what the Revels typically sell for and compare it to the new cost you’re considering. If the loss is minimal between your cost and flipping them on the used market, I can’t see the major harm in trying them. The Elex should be fine with them in your sized room/distance I think, and should bring a bit of excitement and dynamics to the table (which is something the Rega/Naim gear does well).
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
  3. Collusion

    Collusion Friend

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    Yes, it's indeed risky. Though I am willing to take a small financial blow this time... I've literally been without speakers for a some time and I feel a need to buy something just to fill the void... Plus it kind of fun the test new gear from time to time (not saying it has to be Revel this time).

    Very little experience on Focal's speakers outside trade shows. Last time I heard them something from Metallica was playing and the treble sounded quite hot (in a distorted/unnatural kind of way and it wasn't the recording either). I don't remember the exact model, but probably Kanta or Aria series. I had to evacuate the room. I do like Focal's headphones though (even owned Utopias for a while).

    I generally do like speakers that sound neutral (whatever that means) and don't have any discontinuations on the audible band (that means, crossovers must not be screwed up). Having a small amount of sweetness or warmness is not a sin in my books, but detail retrieval has still to be good.

    I've never heard a speaker that has got absolutely everything right, but here's a list of different makes and models and my impressions on them:

    Amphion:
    - Literally every Amphion I've owned has slightly harsh or unnatural lower treble (Argon2 Anniversary, Argon3, Xenon). Older models are worse, newer ones slightly better, but all of them have this effect. Upper treble is very clean, which in contrast makes the problem sound perhaps even worse. These get fatiguing over time. Impressive technicalities otherwise (imaging, clarity, details). Thin sounding in wrong environment or with wrong electronics.

    B&W:
    - I've owned the 804s floorstanders. Midrange had this natural feel to it, but overall the speaker didn't sound very cohesive (I felt it was like treble + midrange + bass). Also lacked the ultimate detail (especially in midrange) and were a little laid back. Might have gotten more out of them with better electronics (at the time: Audiolab 8000M monoblocks). The newer 804 Diamond models aren't that much better either (to my ears, that is). Diamond tweeter has very distinctive timbre, not perhaps completely neutral but fatigue free.

    Dali:
    - I've home demoed friends Dali Mentor Menuet's. Quite bright on lean sounding, but not harsh or unnatural. Adequate detail retrieval. I require more bass output though.

    Dynaudio:
    - I've owned Focus 110 and Audience 52Se. Focus had better/smoother midrange with better driver integration. 52SE being the bigger one had more oomph. Both are slightly dark or warm sounding, but this doesn't bother me much. Dynaudios seem to slightly magnify the vocal range or be perhards a tad forward, but they're still neutral enough for me. Dynamics are very acceptable. I'd hope a tad more of resolution though (maybe the higher end models would be better in this regard). But really, who designed the Contour and Confidence lines? Only a mother could love speakers looking like that...

    Epos:
    - I've owned the M22i floorstanders, twice in fact. Very natural and nimble sounding midrage. (Lower) treble can be slightly hot with some electronics (mine were Audiolab monoblocks + Audiolab 8200CDQ pre/dac at the time), but not unclean. Smallish soundstage and not detail monsters. Not excessively airy. Bass output was quite limited in the lower frequencies.

    Genelec:
    - I've heard some many different models, but the old school 1036's with Anthem Statement D2 as preamplifier were easily the most impressive ones (I've also heard the newer 1236 DSP versions in the same room and oh boy do they suck).
    - Overall very studio neutral sounding and perhaps a tad "dead" sounding in a sense and not in a good way (but depends also on the model, older non-DSP ones with wooden enclosures sounded slightly warmer/lively). Scoopeds mids on some models, especially the aluminium ones.

    KEF:
    - Friend owns Reference 3's and has also owned Blade's. Both of them has quite distinctive treble - to my ears these two "jingle" more than is necessary. Maybe also slightly unnatural? I think it's easy to get these to sound thin. Overall, both render dynamics very convincingly and are resolving, but also very expensive. Blade's had upper bass suck-out in two different apartments and let's be honest, they will never be able to deliver that chest thumping bass with those side firing woofers.
    - LS50's sound just unnatural and grainy to my ears.

    Mark&Daniel:
    - I've owned the Maximus Monitor standmounts. Very distinctive timbre ("feels"/sounds like woolen or cotton, dunno) and not exactly neutral, but in the right setup these can be a lot of fun. Slightly uneven treble. The speaker itself is quite resolving, but pairing it with resolving gear can make it sibilant or at least dry sounding. Can sound "massive" (sounding bigger than actually is) if played with a powerful amplifier (tried with an SPL s800).
    - Smaller Maximus Ruby and Maximus Mini have same kind of timbre, but are less resolving. Sound wet, warm and slightly sweet with the right electronics.

    Very little of Revels currently sale second hand, but the cheaper M16's going rate is about 50% off of retail price.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
  4. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    Please don't get Focal over Revel.
     
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  5. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    You could give XTZ a try since they're pretty local. Neutral with good drivers from Seas and a not shitty ribbon tweeter and a lot of adjustments. 30 days home trial and factory direct. I like the 99 series.
     
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  6. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    This has been my experience demo-ing Focal speakers as well. Spitty treble with nasally mids.

    Edit: a little "down market" from what you're looking at, but what about Buchardt S400 plus a couple REL subs?
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
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  7. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    You have to be a smart man to get a Focal and tame down their treble, just like their cans. ;)
     
  8. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Honestly, I bet you're likely very ok with Revel performa monitors. Checking return policy, preparing the worst case scenario, and adjusting expectations are always helpful though..

    My ears are in line with your impression with Kef, Genelec (recent ones), and B&W. And to me revel's 'be' performa pretty much fall into "neutral" group. It's not as dead sounding as genelec monitors, but kinda JBL-3 on a steroid (still boring). I don't take anything like these things for preferential reasons though. Performa with livelier rooms might be less boring.

    And extrapolating from focal experience, be and non-be (al-mg in focal case) didn't change like night and day (be is a little more refined and has coloration a bit different from al though). So I believe my preference will almost remain more or less the same.
     
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  9. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Agree with Vtory on this. Yota’s recco of Buchardt S400 is also a good one if you’re looking for alternatives.

    I have to say I’ve been very curious about the Revels for quite a while and almost pulled the trigger myself a few times, but had too many speakers at the time.

    Will be very interested to read your impressions, especially since you seem to have heard a fair number of speakers - please post your impressions here if you move forward:

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ookshelf-standmount-speaker-impressions.8941/
     
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  10. dark_energy

    dark_energy Friend

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    Going to post my recant listening impressions here.

    3-way speaker with all-around high-end components. 12" inch woofer. Paper cones. Ported speaker. Good source, powerful "pro amp". It Will be bi-amped later, so might have improvements in some detail.

    Pros. 1. Bass dynamics are insanely good, extends low.
    2. Nothing even comes close this far for me. The sub experiment I tried was good, but not as dynamic.
    3. Mids and highs pop out well, dynamic sound. Good detail. Other speakers have had similar or not so much worse microdetail I would say. Macro dynamics, high-hats, percussion. Yeah, no, this is way ahead of my other experiences.
    4. Coloration? System is neutral, sounds harsh when the track calls for it, extremely soft on other tracks meaning that it is not colored/distorted as I see it. Does subtle sounds well. Strange but makes stuff sound simple and easy to listen yet detailed. Think about summer wind blowing softly through your hair. Is it harsh or "uber detailed"? No.

    5. Mids, bass - big speaker sound. Hard to explain. Big things sound big I guess. The tone is more realistic.

    Cons. 1. No one wants to hear their TOTL system is 20-30% less dynamic than some other speakers. (meh) Actually this kind of messes with my perception of what "I know".


    I am probably going to build DIY stuff myself if I don't find some stuff used. Why I am generalizing this stuff or not being specific? I have been told that it is probably not That important to get certain brand speakers rather check the parameters and try to get as good ones as you can get. Do you need "high-end" 3 way system? It is up to you I guess. Like everything in audio upgrades, your tracklist will probably change slightly for the x-th time with this setup.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
  11. SineDave

    SineDave Friend

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    I'm using 99.26MKII's in my office. They're fantastic for the money.
     
  12. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    yeah, if your only used to small 5, 6 or 8 inch based 2 way, going with a 12 inch real 3 way or even better, a 15 inch makes everything else sound broken in comparison. They re toys, plain and simple. unless you use a gigantic line array of sort

    I dont care if you use 10 subs, you need at least 12 inch woofers doing bass duties from 60hz to 160hz otherwise you dont know what dynamics, real bass and impact is, you basically do not know what is actually high fidelity.

    audiophile obsession over cable, power cable or even source should really start looking at their speakers and go listen to real paper, 15 inch woofers in good cabs and finally understand what they have been missing all along
     
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  13. dark_energy

    dark_energy Friend

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    Yes , basically thats it... Bookself speakers and small monitors are great but the bigger 3 way speakers give you more sound and more stuff to discover.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
  14. ampguy

    ampguy Rando

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    I have a spare room I want to setup some speakers in. The amp will be a 10-15W Class A Hood 1969 type amp, and the inputs will likely be just a DAP player, CD, and a TV (no surround), and low to moderate levels (no party levels).

    In other rooms I have LS-50s w sub, Jamo S807 towers, Q150s, Infinity R162s on stands, and am looking for a different sound. The Tektons seem to be a few hundred less, and available now, while the Dirty Weekends seem like they will be available at the end of July or so.

    Anyone compare the two?
     
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  15. ampguy

    ampguy Rando

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    I ended up getting Mini Lores, and am happy with them. Took a few days to break in, but I'm really enjoying them. They are sensitive to both L/R axis and vertical axis. I've found that ideal height is where tweeter is 6 inches or so below listening earl level, and toeing in really gives a sweet soundstage. Vocals, and mids get imaged very well, and easy to get lost in the music. I have a couple of subs in the house, but I feel these don't need them, unless they were your primary speakers, or used for HT or hip/hop/electronica.

     
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