I just got back from listening and comparing F208 to Ultima Salon2 for about an hour. My two CDs that I brought and played are Lynyrd Skynyrd Southern Surroundings: The Ultimate Skynyrd Collection and Stan Getz and Oscar Peterson Trio-Silver Collection.
The source was an Oppo SE universal player(not sure which one) connected via the stereo analog outputs to a Classe pre-amp of some sort, which connected to a huge set of Mark Levinson mono amps that looked like a pair of monoliths. The speaker cables were the big Nordost ones that are about two inches wide. Sorry I don't know all the exact specs on all this equipment. Since the cables had banana terminals on them, it was relatively easy to switch out. The room was a treated home theater setup, although they only had the 2 channel audio running. Unfortunately, they just had the speakers sitting directly on padded carpet, but it was the same for both.
I can confidently say that there is indeed quite a divergence in the overall sound between the two models:
First, the F208 are about 2 to 3dB more sensitive, as the volume had to be turned up after switching to the Salon 2s. Aside from that, the F208 definitely had more pronounced and punchier mid-bass than the Salon. It would be easy to get the first impression that the F208 has more bass than the Salon2, but we did not really play anything with true deep bass. The F208 sounded very good to me, with good sound stage and localization of instruments. The highs were OK, but contrary to what some have noted, seemed to be a bit laid back, compared to the Salon 2. I guess I would characterize the overall sound as what some have termed "tilted down". I think a lot of folks who listen to movies and rock and roll music might enjoy the F208s.
As to the Salon 2s, they clearly had more intricately detailed highs, so much so that you could hear even slight extraneous sounds in the recording. I would say the layout of instruments was more clearly defined, and I also noticed that piano and guitar seemed to have more dynamic nuance to them. As to bass, the Salons just didn't seem to have much, which is consistent with the last time I heard them as well. However, that may only mean that they are more accurate to the recording than the F208s, which I believe is the case. IMO, the Salon 2 would be great for people who listen to classical and jazz music.
I think the Revel sales pitch is going to be how much they have narrowed the gap between the new Perfomas and the Ultima 2. I am not sure that is going to work because, to me, they sound fairly different. As I told the salesman, the big question now is how the Performa 3 models compare to competition in their price range. Unfortunately, they no longer had the Focal W series on hand to be able to compare with.