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post #1 of 10 Unread 01-22-2016, 08:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Help with a 2-channel setup: Paradigm vs Revel

Hi all,

I am looking to set up a 2 channel system, with the flexibility to turn into a 2.1 down the road, with my computer as the hub providing the source material. I will be listening to music almost exclusively (although I can't rule out a movie from time to time), with Electronic, Metal, Jazz, and Classical being the genres that will likely get the most attention. Speaker budget is $5,000, and system budget is about $8,000.

After visiting several hifi shops and doing a lot of online reading, I Have narrowed down my choices to two speakers that have really impressed me, and one amplifier that seems to have it all...

The amp in question is the Parasound Halo Integrated. It truly does have everything I want: ample, clean power; usb, balanced sub, and a variety of other connections; excellent headphone out (I have a pair of HD 650s); incredible ESS Sabre32 DAC; it even looks terrific. While I always try to keep an open mind and am still open to suggestions, in terms of an amplifier I think I am pretty much set.

The two speakers I am torn between are the Paradigm Prestige 95f and the Revel Performa3 f208. Both speakers sound phenomenal. Both speakers look terrific. Both speakers are identical in price. Unfortunately, I have not been able to spend very much time listening to them as of yet (about 45 minutes per, using music of my choosing). What I did glean was that, while both outstanding, they sound very different from one another: the Paradigms presented an incredible soundstage with very crisp detail, while the Revels seemed to virtually melt away and left nothing but a very smooth, refined presentation.

I am having a lot of trouble picking between the two. There is not much in the way of direct comparisons online that I can find, and unfortunately the location where I demo'd these is quite far. Any input from someone who has experience with one or both of these wonderful speakers would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all for your attention.
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post #2 of 10 Unread 01-22-2016, 09:41 PM
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While I haven't heard the 95F, I have heard the 85F and liked them every much. Seems like a lot of folks on the Paradigm Owner's thread are not huge fans of the Prestige looks compared to other Paradigm models, but I agree with you - love the looks of the Prestige line. Eh, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so they say. But I have no personal, at home experience with them so I can't offer much more than what you already know.

Nobody nearby my location has Revels, so I've never heard them and can't say anything other than like you, what I have read, they seem highly regarded and a good consideration.

I know you said 2 channel, but if this helps sway your decision, check this out:

http://www.paradigm.com/specials/jan-2016.php

You can get a $1700MSRP center channel for free. Even if you didn't want it, you could sell it and probably get enough for it to get a really nice subwoofer.
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post #3 of 10 Unread 01-23-2016, 12:01 AM
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I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions, but ultimately the choice is yours. Pick the ones that sound best to YOU, not what sounds best to a bunch of strangers. Also, while auditioning at the dealer helps, how the speakers sound in your listening environment may be entirely different. Hopefully you can purchase from somebody that either will let you audition in your home, or exchange if your first choice sounds like crap when you get them home. Good luck.
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post #4 of 10 Unread 01-23-2016, 12:06 AM
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^^ Welcome to AVS. It’s always great to see someone that has researched and narrowed down his/her speaker choice to two excellent candidates. So I am going to tell you what you already know. Go back to each store and keep auditioning until you are sure. That’s what I did (three different auditions of four speakers, that went down to two speakers, then one). If that means several auditions for you, then do so. Only you can determine what speaker you’d rather have in your home. My preferences, or anyone else’s (even if they have heard both speakers) doesn’t really matter (no, I have not heard either speaker, but have read much about them).

Music area: Magnepan 3.6, McIntosh MC2205 & C48, SVS SB13-Ultra, Oppo BDP 95, dbx 3BX, and assorted equipment.
Movie area: EMP Tek R5Bi, RBH/EMP Tek R55Ti, PSA S3000i, Denon X2000, Oppo BDP 83.
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post #5 of 10 Unread 01-23-2016, 08:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the kind words! Your collective point - choose what sounds best to me - is well taken. It is my first big purchase in the audio world, so naturally I am approaching it with caution. I have seen some bad reviews about both models (more so for the Paradigm Prestige) that have shaken my confidence, so it is nice to hear some reassuring words. I honestly don't think I could go wrong with either, so I just need to keep in mind that whatever way I go it's a win-win!
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post #6 of 10 Unread 01-23-2016, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UlamsCosmicCipher View Post
Hi all,

I am looking to set up a 2 channel system, with the flexibility to turn into a 2.1 down the road, with my computer as the hub providing the source material. I will be listening to music almost exclusively (although I can't rule out a movie from time to time), with Electronic, Metal, Jazz, and Classical being the genres that will likely get the most attention. Speaker budget is $5,000, and system budget is about $8,000.

After visiting several hifi shops and doing a lot of online reading, I Have narrowed down my choices to two speakers that have really impressed me, and one amplifier that seems to have it all...

The amp in question is the Parasound Halo Integrated. It truly does have everything I want: ample, clean power; usb, balanced sub, and a variety of other connections; excellent headphone out (I have a pair of HD 650s); incredible ESS Sabre32 DAC; it even looks terrific. While I always try to keep an open mind and am still open to suggestions, in terms of an amplifier I think I am pretty much set.

The two speakers I am torn between are the Paradigm Prestige 95f and the Revel Performa3 f208. Both speakers sound phenomenal. Both speakers look terrific. Both speakers are identical in price. Unfortunately, I have not been able to spend very much time listening to them as of yet (about 45 minutes per, using music of my choosing). What I did glean was that, while both outstanding, they sound very different from one another: the Paradigms presented an incredible soundstage with very crisp detail, while the Revels seemed to virtually melt away and left nothing but a very smooth, refined presentation.

I am having a lot of trouble picking between the two. There is not much in the way of direct comparisons online that I can find, and unfortunately the location where I demo'd these is quite far. Any input from someone who has experience with one or both of these wonderful speakers would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all for your attention.
I think you will find the Paradigm speakers to be a bit too bright in the long run; the Revels are a much better choice, I think.

Other very fine speakers you might wish to consider:

Vandersteen Model 2Ce

Focal Aria 936

PSB Imagine T2

Wharfedale Jade 7

On the amplifier; I suggest that you consider the Musical Fidelity M6si Integrated. I think if you put the two side by side and listen, you will be amazed at how much better the Musical Fidelity amplifier sounds. It is slightly more expensive, but competitive with some costing $5000-$8000 in sound quality. I think it is amazing for its price.

Last edited by commsysman; 01-23-2016 at 08:49 AM.
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post #7 of 10 Unread 01-23-2016, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post
I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions, but ultimately the choice is yours. Pick the ones that sound best to YOU, not what sounds best to a bunch of strangers. Also, while auditioning at the dealer helps, how the speakers sound in your listening environment may be entirely different. Hopefully you can purchase from somebody that either will let you audition in your home, or exchange if your first choice sounds like crap when you get them home. Good luck.
What he said!

Quote:
Originally Posted by UlamsCosmicCipher View Post
Thank you all for the kind words! Your collective point - choose what sounds best to me - is well taken. It is my first big purchase in the audio world, so naturally I am approaching it with caution. I have seen some bad reviews about both models (more so for the Paradigm Prestige) that have shaken my confidence, so it is nice to hear some reassuring words. I honestly don't think I could go wrong with either, so I just need to keep in mind that whatever way I go it's a win-win!
I'm in the same boat as you right now too. Wise to be cautious when spending this kind of $$$. And don't feel like you MUST buy immediately (unless there are other factors pushing you to do so). Take your time. In your budget range, you probably will not end up with a BAD speaker, not based on what you are looking at nor what others are recommending as possible alternatives. You'll find criticisms about everything - if it were a universal opinion that either of the speakers you are looking at are garbage, then it'd probably be true. Simply isn't the case.
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post #8 of 10 Unread 01-23-2016, 04:06 PM
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For lots of insight into Revel, I've been posting quite a bit about them in the "What's wrong with B&W" thread. Thought you might like to read about how Revel speakers are engineered and evaluated against just about all other brands under double blind conditions. You can check it out here:

What is wrong with B&W speakers?

From my perspective, you are looking at two excellent speakers. I am intimately familiar with both brands, but would recommend the Revels (for reasons that should become clear).

Hope it helps!

John Schuermann
www.thescreeningroomav.com (under construction) Home Theater Design
JS Music and Sound Post Production Audio / Original Music for Film and Video
Check out my new movie!: www.stephensonmovie.com
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post #9 of 10 Unread 01-25-2016, 03:51 PM
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To John Schuermann's point, I strongly agree that you should go Revel as they are arguably the best in the business. If you negotiate with a dealer on a package deal, you should be able to get 2x Revel F208 and 2x Revel B112 and something like a Denon X4200W combined for your budget.

I suggest the Denon AVR-X4200W (which is effectively identical to the Marantz SR7010/AV7702MKII) as it's the lowest-end Denon with the upgraded DACs and enough amplifier cojones in 2-channel to get the job done for most people (and factory refurbs go for like $1K). If you want to step up the electronics, the Yamaha RX-A5100 w/ D-Sonic M3-1200S amp would be a good combo.

Last edited by energizerfellow; 01-25-2016 at 04:09 PM.
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post #10 of 10 Unread 01-27-2016, 08:30 PM
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I'm currently in the market for speakers, and the Paradigm Prestige series are on my short list. I've had the opportunity to listen to the 85F/95F on several occasions, and I find them to be very impressive. The quality is outstanding and you would be hard pressed to find a more attractive looking speaker in the price range. My fiancee thinks they look gorgeous, especially with the front exposed.

I've spent ample time with the B&W CM10s, GoldenEar Tritons, and a few Klipsch models, i always find myself returning to the Paradigms. I prefer the soundstage they create. My last speaker to test is the Focal Aria series.

I'm also pleased to see that paradigm hasn't farmed out production to China, which most other companies have at this price point.

You might like this video:
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