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post #1 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 06:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Have been auditioning the above 3 brand for an upgrade. Would like to do a system within a system and bring in a new pair of full range floor standees for 2 channel listening with an integrated amp and have integrated as power to mains in HT setup with A/V receiver handling processing. Will also get matching center and upgrade surrounds a little later. Currently have Def Tech.

Started out by auditioning B&W CM9's at Magnolia and was not too impressed but obviously there not an ideal setup. So went to local dealer and listened to them there and was more impressed - well balanced throughout for the most part but then did a comparison to the 804D and the difference was quite stunning. Of course for an extra $4500 I would expect it to be. Thought about trying to pick up used 800 series but figured to audition quite a bit more for that kind of money.

Went to a different shop that carries Revel and listened to the F206 and F208. The F206 sounded nice and almost felt as if I was in a live performance but I thought they were kind of bright to the point where female vocals hurt my ears a bit. The F208 were much more balanced but to me still a bit forward if you will. More low end and more balanced than the 206 - but a lot of "bite" to the percussion for example. Then I listened to the KEF R900 for comparison to the F208 at the same price point and was quite impressed. Well balanced across the board and seemed the best of both worlds in the sense that you could hear all the detail without any one thing jumping out too much. I bright my wife along for all of the auditions and she preferred the KEF as well though she was also impressed with the 804s! With the R900 though I can add the R600 center as well for the same and the integrated and be under 10K which is the top end of the budget. Didn't think the B&W CM9's sounded nearly as good as the KEF or Revels.

I have a pair of PSB Image B25 bookshelves in an office room which I like as well and was thinking of auditioning the Synchonty Ones which are also in the same price range. That dealer also carries Revel so can do that comparison but not KEF or B&W.

Just curious to get some thoughts as well as choice of integrated? Leaning towards NAD 375.
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post #2 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 06:34 AM
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What audio shop did you go to to listen to the Revel and Kef speakers?
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post #3 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rob from NJ View Post

What audio shop did you go to to listen to the Revel and Kef speakers?

Woodbridge Stereo (I live in Colonia)....went to Stuart's in Westfield to hear the B&W's. Audio Nexus in Summit carries Revel and PSB. Do you have any recommendations for others in the area (I see you are only a couple of towns away in Scotch Plains)?
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post #4 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 07:11 AM
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I used to own and liked DefTech a lot.

Revel, KEF, and B&W are my 3 favorite brands.

PSB is probably just as good, especially Synchrony One.

The sound quality at dealers and stores usually do not sound as good as in your home IMO.

I would not buy any integrated amps; I would just get a 7-9Ch AVR from Denon, Marantz, Pioneer Elite, Yamaha, etc.

When you only use 2Ch, the power output from these AVRs is usually more than similar priced integrated amps. They also have more features. They measure (power, SNR, Crosstalk, THD) at least as well if not better than many integrated amps. And they sound at least as good as any integrated amp.
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post #5 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by RC1991 View Post

Woodbridge Stereo (I live in Colonia)....went to Stuart's in Westfield to hear the B&W's. Audio Nexus in Summit carries Revel and PSB. Do you have any recommendations for others in the area (I see you are only a couple of towns away in Scotch Plains)?

You hit all the usuals. I was in Stuarts a few weeks ago. For Kef, may want to check out House of Audio in Summit. I was in Woodbridge Stereo about a year ago looking at the Goldenear Tritons, which wasn't for me. Woodbridge Stereo usually sets up a movies room with a 5.1 system going and dbox chairs. Understanding that you're looking for 2 channel system and you probably listened in their demo room (with other 2 channels setup), did you see what they had set up in their movies room? Good to know that Woodbridge has the Performa 3 F206/208 setup. The Revel website solely lists them as an Ultima dealer. I was going to take a trip to Fairless Hills, Pa. to listen to the F208. Now I don't need to take a road trip. Thanks.
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post #6 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

I used to own and liked DefTech a lot.

Revel, KEF, and B&W are my 3 favorite brands.

PSB is probably just as good, especially Synchrony One.

The sound quality at dealers and stores usually do not sound as good as in your home IMO.

I would not buy any integrated amps; I would just get a 7-9Ch AVR from Denon, Marantz, Pioneer Elite, Yamaha, etc.

When you only use 2Ch, the power output from these AVRs is usually more than similar priced integrated amps. They also have more features. They measure (power, SNR, Crosstalk, THD) at least as well if not better than many integrated amps. And they sound at least as good as any integrated amp.

Thanks for the advice! As I've researched a bit more I'm seeing that with an integrated I would be losing some flexibility - especially with regard to digital inputs so have been rethinking that a bit. As far as those 3 speaker brands I think any would be a good choice (which seems to be the consensus in reading through reviews/threads) but as always comes down to personal preference and of course budget! smile.gif

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You hit all the usuals. I was in Stuarts a few weeks ago. For Kef, may want to check out House of Audio in Summit. I was in Woodbridge Stereo about a year ago looking at the Goldenear Tritons, which wasn't for me. Woodbridge Stereo usually sets up a movies room with a 5.1 system going and dbox chairs. Understanding that you're looking for 2 channel system and you probably listened in their demo room (with other 2 channels setup), did you see what they had set up in their movies room? Good to know that Woodbridge has the Performa 3 F206/208 setup. The Revel website solely lists them as an Ultima dealer. I was going to take a trip to Fairless Hills, Pa. to listen to the F208. Now I don't need to take a road trip. Thanks.

I'll check out House of Audio as well - hadn't heard that name so appreciate the info! Yes, the F206 were in a smaller demo room and then the F208 and R900 were in another. I think they had the R500 in the same room with the 206's. Worked with Don who was a nice guy, knowledgeable, and basically let us listen for as long as we wanted. He did let us have a listen in the theater room that was set up with a JBL Synchrony system. Listed to (and watched) a bit of David Gilmour live....I was very impressed with that system....was like being at the concert.
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post #7 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 08:17 AM
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I am also a fan of Kef, Revel and B&W and would expect on mid level, R Series and Performa3 would be the choices over the CM. Diamond vs Ultima vs Reference then? Speakers are subjective so it is what you like, and from what I gleaned the R Series are more laid back then prior Kef series. I would be interested in your take on the PSB Synchrony Ones compared to R900 and F208s. If you have or plan on good subs, the R700 would be a good choice. Enjoy the journey!

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Ayre K-5xeMP, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650.
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post #8 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 08:33 AM
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I have been researching higher end bookshelf speakers and KEF, B&W and Revel are on this list. In particular I have been focused on KEF 201/2 vs B&W 805D. I am guessing that the traits of these two speakers are similar to their slightly larger floorstanding siblings. Some of you have both KEF and B&W in your speaker portfiolio. What are your impressesions of the two brands and in particular these product lines?
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post #9 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 08:56 AM
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201/2 vs 805D I would guess the 201/2 as it is a three way and so highly regarded. For towers I would have to compare as from my experience with Studio2s, the B&W tweeters may best the Kefs but it would depend on the integration of the rest of the drivers. Certainly no wrong choice.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Ayre K-5xeMP, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650.
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post #10 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RC1991 View Post

Have been auditioning the above 3 brand for an upgrade. Would like to do a system within a system and bring in a new pair of full range floor standees for 2 channel listening with an integrated amp and have integrated as power to mains in HT setup with A/V receiver handling processing.

Free up some of the budget by simplifying and improving the setup: skip the integrated and just use the AVR for everything. The integrated will add nothing, and cost a fair bit additional. As for AVRs, I highly recommend the Anthem MRX line, because they have by far the best room correction system available within 10x their price.

An audio dealer will howl at that suggestion, but that's not because the end result will be different. It'll just be because fewer parts are sold.

Your writing suggests that you and your wife have a preference for the R900. That's a smart choice. HOWEVER, within the same budget (if you can fit them relatively unobtrusively around the room) it may be smarter to look at the R500 and add three smallish small subs. You'll want to use the subwoofers for music and movies, because the point of multiple subwoofers is to clean up the system's performance in the upper bass. Music needs that arguably more than movies do.

If you're happy with your current PSBs, you should certainly listen to their model in that price-range, too. One thing you may wish to do is bring your current speakers along (if they're not too big) to see how they fare against the brand's bigger/(presumably) better models.

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post #11 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 11:06 AM
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I recently pulled the trigger on the Revel F208. They are truly stunning aesthetically and audibly. I have them paired with a Parasound Halo A21 amp. Extremely badass.

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post #12 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 01:35 PM
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I highly recommend the Anthem MRX line, because they have by far the best room correction system available within 10x their price.

That's equivocal or arguable. Highly debatable. Like most things audio.

Some people who have used both RC may prefer one over the other. Some people think all room corrections suck and don't even put RC into their products - like the $10K Bryston pre-pro or $25K Mark Levinson preamp.

I, for one, have heard both ARC and Audyssey, as well as other RC systems. I think they all suck. And I'm not the only one.

That's why I say it's highly debatable. It's not invariably black-and-white. It's predicated on preference. Like most things audio. biggrin.gif
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post #13 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

I highly recommend the Anthem MRX line, because they have by far the best room correction system available within 10x their price.

That's equivocal or arguable. Highly debatable. Like most things audio.

If you look at what they actually do, you'll see that ARC is the most intelligently executed room correction at this price point in a current production box. Dr. David Rich did an excellent 2-part piece on it at Secrets recently that nicely confirms what I've been saying I've heard for the past year and change.

(But you're right, in a way. There are Sherwood Newcastle pieces employing Trinnov RC still available new, though they're old stock on clearance and do have their bugs. Trinnov is highly comparable to ARC, with pluses and minuses compared to ARC. A more advanced version of Trinnov is available in an ADA part that I think costs $45k.)
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Some people who have used both RC may prefer one over the other. Some people think all room corrections suck and don't even put RC into their products - like the $10K Bryston pre-pro or $25K Mark Levinson preamp.

Yes, there is a Luddite market. That proves not very much. Neither does the fact that "high end" boutique brands can't really afford to develop this stuff. (Note though that the best installations of that Bryston piece pair rebadge it "JBL Synthesis" and pair it with a five-figure room correction processor.) Anthem only has it because a lot of the legwork was done at the NRC.

A more nuanced and intelligent point you could have made is that there is a debate about the maximum frequency at which RC should be employed in a room, due to the effects of diffraction and early reflections that may be more apparent to a mono mike than to a pair of human ears. (Everyone with any sense agrees that good EQ should be used at least through the modal region.) ARC's the only system available in a reasonably-priced (sub-$10k) processor that allows one to pick the maximum frequency (up to 5kHz). So if, like Bob Stuart at Meridian, Earl Geddes, and others, you don't want to apply EQ above the modal region, ARC can be set to do nothing above 200Hz or 500Hz or whatever, but the competing systems can't.
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I, for one, have heard both ARC and Audyssey, as well as other RC systems. I think they all suck. And I'm not the only one.

Yes, competent execution is required.

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post #14 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 06:45 PM
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If you look at what they actually do, you'll see that ARC is the most intelligently executed room correction at this price point in a current production box. Dr. David Rich did an excellent 2-part piece on it at Secrets recently that nicely confirms what I've been saying I've heard for the past year and change.

(But you're right, in a way. There are Sherwood Newcastle pieces employing Trinnov RC still available new, though they're old stock on clearance and do have their bugs. Trinnov is highly comparable to ARC, with pluses and minuses compared to ARC. A more advanced version of Trinnov is available in an ADA part that I think costs $45k.)
Yes, there is a Luddite market. That proves not very much. Neither does the fact that "high end" boutique brands can't really afford to develop this stuff. (Note though that the best installations of that Bryston piece pair rebadge it "JBL Synthesis" and pair it with a five-figure room correction processor.) Anthem only has it because a lot of the legwork was done at the NRC.

A more nuanced and intelligent point you could have made is that there is a debate about the maximum frequency at which RC should be employed in a room, due to the effects of diffraction and early reflections that may be more apparent to a mono mike than to a pair of human ears. (Everyone with any sense agrees that good EQ should be used at least through the modal region.) ARC's the only system available in a reasonably-priced (sub-$10k) processor that allows one to pick the maximum frequency (up to 5kHz). So if, like Bob Stuart at Meridian, Earl Geddes, and others, you don't want to apply EQ above the modal region, ARC can be set to do nothing above 200Hz or 500Hz or whatever, but the competing systems can't.
Yes, competent execution is required.

Man, sometimes it's just personal preference. Nothing to do with intelligence or sense.

It is just an audio hobby we're talking about here. Not some life lessons, bridge building, or medical mediation.

If you like it, then you like it. If you don't, then you don't.

I am sure all the researchers and PhDs at the USC College of Engineering who developed Audyssey have intelligence, sage, and sense.
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post #15 of 24 Old 06-15-2013, 07:26 PM
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I have an engineering degree but not electrical so this is just observations and preferences. I do not like Audyssey for music and yes I have XT32. Based on what I've read there may be value in 500 Hz or lower with reductions, not adds. Give me an 8801 with XT32 or SP3 with no RC and I'd take the SP3, not just for cost. I think the real answer on RC lies in the middle and depends on your room. Kal's main room needs no room correction but his weekend place it is very important.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Ayre K-5xeMP, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650.
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post #16 of 24 Old 06-16-2013, 05:07 AM
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I have an engineering degree but not electrical so this is just observations and preferences. I do not like Audyssey for music and yes I have XT32. Based on what I've read there may be value in 500 Hz or lower with reductions, not adds. Give me an 8801 with XT32 or SP3 with no RC and I'd take the SP3, not just for cost. I think the real answer on RC lies in the middle and depends on your room. Kal's main room needs no room correction but his weekend place it is very important.

Exactly. It's not black-and-white like some people think. Every situation and everyone is different.

Our brains don't have the same interpretation of sound or sight or any other senses. Why do some people insist we are all the same like robots? biggrin.gif

And hells yeah, I would take the SP3 over any Anthem w/ ARC or Marantz w/ Audyssey. biggrin.gif
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post #17 of 24 Old 06-16-2013, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to everyone for their comments and the discussion! A lot to think about and a lot of options re: amplification! I'm a real novice as far as room correction but one thing I did notice and one of the reasons I wanted to upgrade my speakers for 2 channel listening was the vast difference in sound with my Pioneer AVR when listening in "stereo" with MCACC applied (the Pioneer RC) vs. pure direct with no RC applied...definitely something missi with the RC applied....low end was OK given the sub was active (had my mains set to small) but way more mid/high material came through with pure direct.
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post #18 of 24 Old 06-16-2013, 06:55 AM
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Thanks to everyone for their comments and the discussion! A lot to think about and a lot of options re: amplification! I'm a real novice as far as room correction but one thing I did notice and one of the reasons I wanted to upgrade my speakers for 2 channel listening was the vast difference in sound with my Pioneer AVR when listening in "stereo" with MCACC applied (the Pioneer RC) vs. pure direct with no RC applied...definitely something missi with the RC applied....low end was OK given the sub was active (had my mains set to small) but way more mid/high material came through with pure direct.

It doesn't hurt to try new things out.

Go to a dealer that has Anthem and compare ARC vs Pure Direct and see for yourself. If you are like me and some others, you will prefer Pure Direct. And it certainly does not reflect your intelligence or sense if you do not like ARC or any other RC. biggrin.gif

Or maybe you will like ARC. Try it out and let us know. Just don't tell the dealer he is incompetent if you simply prefer Pure Direct. biggrin.gif
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post #19 of 24 Old 06-16-2013, 03:43 PM
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FWIW, in my dedicated room I use ARC but only to just below the x-over point between the mid & tweeter.
Also FWIW, I would never go above 5khz w\ ARC I got really weird anomalies when I tried going to 20khz.

 

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post #20 of 24 Old 06-17-2013, 06:13 PM
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Thanks to everyone for their comments and the discussion! A lot to think about and a lot of options re: amplification! I'm a real novice as far as room correction but one thing I did notice and one of the reasons I wanted to upgrade my speakers for 2 channel listening was the vast difference in sound with my Pioneer AVR when listening in "stereo" with MCACC applied (the Pioneer RC) vs. pure direct with no RC applied...definitely something missi with the RC applied....low end was OK given the sub was active (had my mains set to small) but way more mid/high material came through with pure direct.

I don't have that high an opinion of MCACC (though at least unlike Audyssey it doesn't start with the assumption that one's running incompetently-designed loudspeakers), but given your description is sounds like something was off in calibration. There are many things that can make auto-calibration systems go wonky, including but not limited to leather furniture, high-back chairs, and close distance to the back-wall. Perhaps there is a thread here on AVS that can help you optimize whatever implementation of MCACC you currently have.
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Go to a dealer that has Anthem and compare ARC vs Pure Direct and see for yourself. If you are like me and some others, you will prefer Pure Direct. And it certainly does not reflect your intelligence or sense if you do not like ARC or any other RC. biggrin.gif

That's a recipe for disaster. Audio dealers, sadly, are far more interested in selling a lemming a hunk of damn wire with a giant markup than setting up a complex system properly. Most dealers recommend "pure direct" or other obsolete appendages ("pure direct" has no meaning in modern AVRs except, because there's basically no analog circuitry after the DSP that can be bypassed!) simply because they don't know how to use the auto-cal stuff they sell.

(The abject lack of technical competence in audio dealers is one thing really damping overall interest in the hobby, but that's another rant for another time. I will say that there are some who clearly do know what they're doing. In the $20k+ forum here, the "Dirac vs. Trinnov" thread is very worth reading.)

I've only once heard a competently set-up dealer demo that included room correction. It was a JBL Synthesis system. JBL is pretty strict about certification.
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FWIW, in my dedicated room I use ARC but only to just below the x-over point between the mid & tweeter.
Also FWIW, I would never go above 5khz w\ ARC I got really weird anomalies when I tried going to 20khz.

I think there's a very good argument for not using any RC in the treble, unless it's a closed system where the direct-field response of the speakers is known (a la JBL Synthesis) or the system takes nearfield measurements of the loudspeakers.

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post #21 of 24 Old 06-23-2013, 05:52 AM - Thread Starter
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So a brief update and again thanks for all the comments! Have on order a pair of KEF R900's in Rosewood as well as an R600c center channel. Went the AVR route and will replace my Pioneer Elite VSX-92 with an NAD T777. As far as the AVR I had as my final choices the NAD, Cambridge 751, and Marantz separates (7701 and 7005). In talking with my dealer he suggested the NAD and Marantz but went with the NAD as I didn't quite need all of the streaming bells and whistles with the Marantz since I have an Apple TV and Sonos. I was listening to the KEFs and Revels through the NAD equipment and liked the sound. In fact I auditioned the Revel 206 though the lower model NAD in the lineup which was the T757. I also listened to the R500 which for their size sounded amazing as well but as someone suggested above I don't have the room for 3 small subs...my wife kinda drew the line at that suggestion :-) also ordered a proper entertainment cabinet from BDI which I think will look nice and picked up a refurb Oppo BDP-95 from the Oppo site to replace an older Panasonic blu-ray player and an ancient Pioneer Elite DV-45 that I still used occasionally for SACD and DVD-A....will be nice to do it all with one player.
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post #22 of 24 Old 06-23-2013, 06:59 AM
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Congrats! We look forward to hearing your impressions once you get it set up.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Ayre K-5xeMP, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650.
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post #23 of 24 Old 06-23-2013, 08:00 AM
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Congrats. I'm sure you'll love the Kef R900s. Also looking forward to your impressions once everything is set up.
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post #24 of 24 Old 01-13-2014, 07:54 AM
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I Gould not disagree more,read any credible reviews they Revel F-208 is anything but forwards sounding it has a big open sound very smooth and very well integrated top to bottom
The speaker must have been not run in yet, or not setup properly. I find the f208 one of the best śpeakers out there for under 10k
I am just buying a pair after waiting a year to give everything a good listener.
I just sold a pair of yG Carmel's and subs ,I am used to herring very well integrated a Loudspeaker. Even Keven V of Revel stated they did many blind test and I personally hear the new $15k Revel studio loudspeaker side by side with a Auraluc a Vega dac, Krell s550 integrated amplifier and the studio was a bit better on top,through the mids very close ,the studio
Went a bit lower and a little more articulate ,that was with both speakers in the room this $5k loudspeaker is the best balanced loudspeaker I have listened to .I have spent more then a home on audio equipment by doing all the R& D here at their multi$$ million lab they are ahead of everyone ,now to build overseas factories and oversee the build you would
Charge xat least $8-10k for a speaker as good ,and the assistance of Italian cabinetmakers just look at the American Walnut veneer with the boat tail design
A classic speaker ,at working mans money. I was tired of always competing with the latest multi $1,000 product" I am letting technology
And value win the day ,the dac mention ,plus a Seagate go flex 1t drive Auraliti player ,with M.I?T cables have a excellent sounding System
For well under $20 k,and also the new JL audio E-110 subwoofers are fantastic and very close tothe Fathoms at less thén half the cost.
Save your money's go to a price that know what their doing,using Exactly the same equipment for all comparisons ,including cables,
Or it is not a fair listen, also see how much time on all speakers.
Many of these guys on here here something and make a call when in the majority of the time it was in a totally different set up.
You cannot Ever do this and give an opinion without having all your facts straight. If you cannot getthe dealer to redo speaker set up with Identical
Equipment,just leave for it is a waste of time.i worked in Audio long ago' and many times they will voice a speaker with a certain cable or amplifier.
Keep this in mind. I have spent well over 30 years as an Audiophile now it is time to buy for quality and value. System Synergy us very important.
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