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Anyone have any experience with revel Ultima speakers and the theta Dreadnaught II??

3102 Views 22 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  joeycalda
I am trying to find an amp for my revel speakers. I have the salons, voice and embrace. I was looking at the theta Dreadnaught II since I have the casablanca III

I'm wondering if anyone has heard this combination and what their thoughts are.

I don't like bright sound and I do like tight controlled bass. the salons are power hungry and I'm wondering if the Dreadnought II would work them without issue. For the most part I watch only movies and would like to match the speakers with an amp that would get me the most in a home theater environment. I know the room is the most important part of home theater but Iamb restricted in maximizing my current room to take advantage of the best possible sound I can get.

Basically I am asking for peoples thoughts, based on their experience with owning the ultima speakers what a good choice of amps would be for home theater use.

Another amp I was considering was the BAT VC-6200. Unfortunately Living in MI, there aren't any dealers that carry this stuff in order for me to test it out so I'm sort of stuck making a best guess.

anyone out there with any recommendations??


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Ive got the revel studios and using them with Bel Canto REF1000 monoblocs.

Small, 500w, awesome bass control. great amps...and cheap too including home trial from bel canto directly.
Hey VikingBoy,

I was actually thinking of these amps not to long ago. The issue is that where I'm at doesn't really give me the option to go with mono blocks which is what I would prefer. For now I'm pretty much stuck using a multi channel.

I didn't know they had a trial period. I haven't seen a local store in my area carry any higher end components in a while. Hard to get trial gear. Really goes to show the economic climate change in MI. Pretty much in the toilet. five years ago I could take home a pair of audio research, krell, classe, Bryston etc. Now,,, Squat.

By any chance have you ever heard the sim audio Gear? In particular the Titan or aurora? I spoke with a dealer out in boston who sells many of the amps I am interested in and claims the Sim audio stuff work real good with the revel's. problem is it's tough to trust a dealer. As far as I know he could be making killer margin with one product when compared to the other.

Thanks for your reply,

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Theta & BC are both good choices, but don't count out the amps that are made and tested with the Salons (M Levinson, Lexicon)
the bel cantos are small enough to stack two in half the space of a conventional amp (two side by side are something like 4" tall and 19" wide.


I was shocked how good these were TBH - I had to downsize from previous pass x350 and was prepared to take reduction in quality for space and heat but I actually prefer these to the pass!
PS I use 3 REF1000 for front three speakers and a S300 for the rears.

All 4 stack in a tidy little pile. They dont run hot so no issues with heat etc

Originally Posted by VikingBoy /forum/post/0

PS I use 3 REF1000 for front three speakers and a S300 for the rears.

All 4 stack in a tidy little pile. They dont run hot so no issues with heat etc

I have the same BC array but I have them distributed so each REF1000 is right behind its speaker and the S300 is at the rear of the room. Nice amps.
HI Vikingboy,

What about power. At the moment I only have access to one Outlet on a 15 amp circuit that I use everything on. I am currently working on having someone install another Outlet on a dedicated circuit at 20 amps. Would that 20 amp circuit be Sufficient for 4 or 5 of the bel conto's? how do you have all the amps plugged?

Hi Brian,

I had put together a really nice system for a buddy of mine using all lexicon. It turned out really good for him but I don't feel it would get me any more than what I have now.

As far as Mark levinson goes. When I first got my salons, the dealer had the both studios and salons on display. He had the studio's connected to a proceed amp. I have to admit the Proceed worked really really good with the studios.

The salons connected to the mark levinson 431, nice but not enough juice for the salons. he also had a pair of 436. The 436's definitely had the juice needed but the speakers were so bright it was literally unbearable. He himself couldn't take listening to the combination. I told him it has to be the room. He didn't care what it was, he changed out the salons with studios, hooked them up to the 431 and ended up getting some good sounds out of them. Still somewhat bright but much better overall. I still think it was the room but it could have been the amps to. Not really sold on the whole levinson revel combination.

The salons are great speakers but they can be finicky. I have hooked them up to some really nice amps. Unfortunately because of change, I am very limited to space and can't get the Monoblock power that would do them justice. that why I am looking into a great multichannel amp for the time being. unfortunately it's tough finding a shop that has them in my area. the dealer I got my salons from is long gone, Something about literally turning into a crack head and losing everything. what a frickin shame, he had a really nice shop with nice stuff on display and had no problem with people testing it over a weekend.

I have to admit vikingboy is turning me on to the bel contos. I didn't realise they were so compact.

As far as multichannel goes I am thinking the following. Theta Dreadnaught II, Sim Audio Titan or Aurora, Halcro MC- 50, Balanced Audio Tech VK-6200, Classe CA-5200. although I am going to call bel canto and see about the trial program for the REF 1000's

Tough choice considering I probably will never hear most of these amps unless I buy them.

thanks so far for the input, anyone other input would also be greatly appreciated.
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The Halcro MC 50 is a great amp. I've been using them in my setup for over a year now and they just keep getting better.
Find a local Theta dealer and ask for an in home demo. If you are serious, and it sounds like you are, then I'm sure he would help out. If you are in the So.Cal. area I would be happy to demo for you.

The Dreadnaught II is a very nice and dynamic amp. It is a solid value and built very stoutly. It is also upgradeable. Something that is a comfort to know in this ever changing world in which we live in.
Nice setup Pzouboul. Have you tried Krell amps? I was wondering, because I just got me a pair of Studios, and i'm in the market for a 2 channel amp. Is anyone using Krells with their Revels.
HI Allen,

The problem with the local theta dealer is that they recently shut their doors. I talked to theta and they gave me the ok to start looking out of state and still be covered under warranty. I have been talking to this guy named craig from theater max. Seems like a really nice guy actually. don't know to much about him but he definitely doesn't mind taking some time to talk to you. I just hope that if I do go forward with him that all goes well.

Hi rinkledorf,

The only krells I have ever heard are the FPB 650MC's with the Grand Utopia's out at sound by singer in NY back in 2000. You need a stadium for those speakers and a forklift for those amps their so big . I also heard the FBP 300 back in 2000 at a local dealer but to be honest I don't remember to much about them. I considered krell monoblocks a few years back as well as some others amps but ended up buying 2 Brytson 7b's (they were so much fun) then two omnicrons (Pain in the butt but awesome in the end) for the salons. I don't listen to two channel anymore and sold those off. I would have loved to purchased 5 of either (especially the brystons, although the Omnicrons Looked WAAAAAY cooler) but my other half would have me sleeping in the the dog house and let me tell you this, you don't want to get stuck sleeping next to a 82 pound slobbery stinky mess of a basset hound. Basically we don't have room for large monoblocks (for now) although vikingboy has me thinking that It might be possible with the BC's.

I'm finding myself stuck because of the fact that that their are many major players now that seem to be making some great multichannel amps that will do the job (YAY!!!) but I can't really hear them (boo!!!!) I expect all them to have their own signature especially with the salons. Living in MI has been pretty limiting lately to hearing finer amps. Back in my 2 channel days, dealers carried more stuff. Now,,, theta dealer, gone, Classe dealer, gone, Revel Dealer, Gone. SIM Audio dealer, gone. I haven't looked for a Halcro dealer yet but I'm pretty sure I know what the answer will be)

I guess I'm hoping to pick up peoples experiences with the salons and multi channel amps. Those who have them probably know that they are great speakers but can be finicky. I'm sure that all of the amps I'm interested in will be great. but for 5-10K and without listening to them I would like to feel more comfortable knowing that chances are I won't get bright irritating highs and will get some really good control in the lower end.


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Wow Pete. No 2 channel listening.
I figured someone with speakers of that caliber would have a nice 2 channel rig integrated into their HT. You're not getting too old are you?
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Hi rinkledorf,

I guess I didn't really answer your question.

I was in the market way back when to upgrade my old speakers. I never got the chance to listen to krells with revels and don't know anyone that has used them with revels either.


I have heard the Studio's in many occasions and I can say that they are much more forgiving then the salons. I have heard levinson, proceed, bryston, aragon and a Denon 5806 (I think it was a 06). In my opinion the studio's sound phenomenal with the proceeds. I don't know why but they are an awesome match and the best thing is it won't cost an arm and a leg. The worst of the 5, again in my opinion, were the levinson and the denon. I have heard the studio's with proceeds in two different dealers who had them in designated HT rooms and both sound outstanding, especially for the money.

You got yourself a super set of speakers my man and I'm willing to say that they are probably the best choice of speakers for hometheater needs as well as great two channel listening. The salons can squeeze out a little more by design in two channel but it takes effort to do so. the studio's reminded me of my old 10T's. although I never owned the studio's, each time I heard them they just reminded me of that inviting sound my old aerials's had.

but again, these are just my experiences and I am by no means an audio expert. The only real significant speakers I have owned are my old aerial's and the salons. I have owned speakers before that but not of this caliber.

Will the krell's work with the studio's? My bet is that you can make them work with your studio's much easier than with the salons if things don't originally go your way.

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I'd say more owned than old. You don't want to end up in the dog house with a basset hound!!!

You ever here the song "video kill the radio star"? well my version is "My ball and chain killed my music listening time!" ;o)

They say relationships are all about comprimise. If I ever find "they" i'm going to break an amp over their head! :O)


Originally Posted by Pzouboul /forum/post/0

What about power. At the moment I only have access to one Outlet on a 15 amp circuit that I use everything on.

Im based in the Uk @ 240v so we dont have the same issues as you 110v guys. However, the Bel Canto are extremely efficient because they use a switched mode power supply. I was also a sceptic until I heard them.

I traded up from my Pass 350w amp and am happy to say this was an upgrade. The Pass bettered the levinson 336 and ANY Lexicon/Proceed amp you care to mention. The Pass was IMHO, one of the best solid state amps available.

Im sure there is some new lover syndrome with the BC's - I dont want to come across as a fan boy but Im shocked how good these little things are. They run 500w into 8ohm and 1000w into 4ohm with a high damping factor - I thought my revels sounded good with 350w of Pass juice but TBH, 500w of BC really makes these things come alive.

If Kal Rubinson uses the BCs too, Id take that as a good sign too - Im sure kal has heard LOTS of amplifiers, many more than us consumers are exposed to and if they are good enough for him, they cant be that bad ;-)

enjoy your shopping - you have great speakers and deserve great amps to drive them
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HI Vikingboy,

Thanks again for the response.

The more I read about the Bel Canto's the more I like. I have narrowed it down to 5 possible solutions.

Bel Canto's Ref 1000 X 5

Theta Dreadnaught II

Anthem Statement P5

Sim Audio titan

Balanced Audio Technologies VK-6200

As it turns out the only dealer in MI who has any of these for demo is the Bel Canto dealer and luck would have it that they are at his home running in his current system and that he lives (get this) Literally across the street. What are the chances of that. This might be destiny.

The rest of the dealers told me that they won't be able to get me a demo and that I'd have to purchase blind.

I called BAT and talked to the designer of the VK-6200. According to him, 200 w might not be enough to power larger inefficient speakers. He claims that the speakers will run just fine BUT that I might not get that extra "Oomph" that most people are looking for in high end. I would not be suprised if the VK-6200 turned out to be the best amp of the bunch for solid state but something seemed real honest about his response. So far everyone else has been telling me, "no problem, they can take any load you give them", etc.

I'm really looking forward to trying the Bel Canto's. I hope the new ICE Powered amps really work out. They just make sense overall.

Is it me or are dealers afraid of these amps? When ever I mention them, their immediate response is "They don't even compare to what a good solid state has to offer" or, and this was my favorite, "It's fake audio power!" ????? I'm like, "What in god's name is fake audio power?"

Not one out of 7 that I talked to ever carried these types of amps. I'm thinking they might be full of crap because if IC based power amps do turn out to be equal to SS amps, or better, there will be a major turn in the industry.

Anyones thoughts on Class D amps and the future of High End Audio????

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Hi Pete,

The BAT 6200 reviews really well, however I figured that it was too big and heavy for my system, at the best part of $10k new (I couldnt find a good used one) vs the price of the ref1000s (available as new on audiogon for $2400 a pair) there was no comparison. The fact my electricity bill has haved now too is a nice side effect.

I read the stereophile review and placement in class A persuaded me that at $2400 I could take a gamble and sell them on if I didnt like them without much, if any loss. Having now got them and tried them myself now there is no way they are going anywhere yet. I honestly expected to be slightly disappointed after the big Pass amp but was very pleasantly surprised.

There is a lot of love/hate around class D amps (stereophile class A) vs Absolute Sound rubbished (certainly their review was much more negative (available for download from their website)). I tend to agree with the stereophile review in this instance. I think the class D amps are picky re the system they are used in but with our speakers (Revels) I find they are a very good match.

FYI, Im using a Sonos digital server feeding a meridian 861 -> balanced outputs to REF1000s -> revel studios cabled completely by Ric Cummins Pursangs (silver cables) and they sound is simply awesome. Very detailed, pin point imaging, stupendous bass with awesome pitch control and airy highs without any sign of digital artefacts etc. The mids are also very liquid sounding.

Im sure there are other amps as good as these ICEpower units, but at $2400 for a pair Im not sure there is much around to compare. There are other manufacturers making the icepower 500w units in their amps with slightly different combinations but I think they will all sound similar. They are based on the same core boards and you cant modify unless they are happy to invalidate the orginal B&O warranty.

I think Class D has a very bright future, it will certainly if nothing allow higher quality sound than previously available to guys without mega deep pockets.

Plese let us know how you find the demo when you get a chance to listen in yur own system.


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I have the Revel Ultima Salons (Voice Center Channel and 4 Embrace Surrounds) and they sounded great with my former Krell KAV 1000 (5ch) and KAV250 (2ch).

But after auditioning the Halcros (2 MC20s, and a MC30), they sound bettter. While the MC50 is a great choice, too, you're going to do a bit better with the array I'm suggesting.

I loved the Krells, and had the opportunity to keep them after auditioning the Halcros. The Halcros make a difference.

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When you described the type of sound you wanted, the first amp that sprang to mind was Classe. Consider this http://www.classeaudio.com/delta/specs/ca5200.htm I think that amps sounds like it would fit the bill perfectly. Strong solid bass with a slightly rolled top end. If you do not have the ability to tame the top end you should consider this amp. There are a lot of good amps but this is the only one that I have experience with that will specifically sound like the attributes you describe.
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