Originally Posted by jlanzy
I agree that in all similar quality speaker levels, it comes down to listener preference. Unfortunately revel dealers of the Ultima class and Aerial dealers are quite a distance from where I live to be able to hear them at least in their demo rooms, and of course both are likely using different amps and acoustics making any decisions that are not based on your own amps in your own listening space makes this hobby challenging. Since both are at a significant magnitude higher in performance and overall owner and reviewer opinion that my current speakers I'm sure I'd be delighted with either.
I'm a big Aerial fan, and I've had the pleasure of listening to both the Model 9's and the LR5's in my home theatre. Indeed I have 13 channels of Aerial speakers including LR5's, LR3's,
CC5 and CC3b, and SR3 and 5B surrounds.
The 9's are a superb speaker for sure, but in all honesty they are not in the same league as the Salon 2's - a speaker which I ultimately chose for my stereo system over the 9's.
The 9's have a very exiting forward nature and provide a cohesive image focus unlike anything I've heard from any other speaker, but they have no way near the detail, depth and three dimensional sound staging the Revel's produce, they really are in a different class.
The 9's produce a relatively shallow sound stage, even compared to the LR5's which produced better midrange texture and depth in my room.
The upper bass on the 9's is superb, it is incredibly punchy, but it is let down a little by the lower bass which is a bit flabby by comparison (though that could be room dependent - I didn't have space to allow the 3-4ft all the way around that they probably need) - that and the midrange difference is why I opted for the LR5's which, although not reaching quite as deep in the bass as the 9's, provide a more balance sound (for me anyway) overall.
As for timbre matching speakers, particularly surrounds, I think its fairly important. If you're building a surround sound system based on either the Salons or the 9's, it's pretty much a reference grade system, so I wouldn't skimp by just chucking any old surrounds into the mix.