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Discussion Starter #1
My latest audition happened because I found a pretty good deal on some Revel S16, which are the same drivers as the bookshelf version the M16 and are $900 msrp. I've been wanting to hear a pair of Revels in my house for awhile and the same for the LS50 because of so much praise about them so thankfully a local dealer let me take a pair home for an audition.

I'll start with the Revel since I've had them a few weeks. Anyone who remembers my Mini Phil vs ZA5.2 thread knows I went with the ZA5.2 so those were what I initially compared to the Revel. As good as the 5.2 are, it really wasn't very close, the Revels outclassed them in pretty much every way, deeper extension despite being a sealed enclosure, very neutral, very clear sounding, great driver integration and almost perfect treble response meaning they sound detailed but not bright at all.

The LS50 are also everything people say as well, very natural sounding, transparent, wide soundstage and ultra detailed. Ultra detailed can mean fatiguing for some, I found that they sounded best with almost no toe at all, the off axis sound seems to be better balanced to my ears. These speakers have the most natural vocals I think I've ever heard, I definitely enjoyed listening to them. I actually didn't even A/B these with the Revel until the last day because I didn't want to stop listening to them. Oh and the cabinets are like knocking on marble, basically exactly like the Polk Lsim 703 I tried a few months back.

So comparing them head to head I had 1 on each of my front stands in mono, the Revel were quite a bit more sensitive so needed a 3.5db cut to put them at the same level and I use an 80Hz 2nd order high pass so that the bass is pretty close, also subs were turned off. The weird thing is the Revel are probably the more neutral loudspeaker and really don't do anything wrong but going back and forth it was very clear that the LS50 are more natural to listen to. I've never felt like music was being played by more than one source when listening to a traditional speaker but it's pretty obvious going back and forth and the point source of the Kef sounds much more natural to my ears. The LS50 certainly aren't perfect but they sound the closest to real music that I've heard and make me a believer in the coaxial driver.
 

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Interesting comparo. Why the S16 and not the M16? The S16 gives up a ton of bass extension for the slim-line cabinet, it's mainly designs as a wall-mount or surround speaker vs the M16 which is designed for main channel use.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Interesting comparo. Why the S16 and not the M16? The S16 gives up a ton of bass extension for the slim-line cabinet, it's mainly designs as a wall-mount or surround speaker vs the M16 which is designed for main channel use.
Mostly because I found a good deal on them and was looking for new surrounds but since they share the same drivers as the M16, it was a good chance to check out the Revel sound and use them as fronts for a bit. The bass extension doesn't matter to me which is why I always compare speakers with an 80Hz crossover without the subs on to negate a bass advantage of either speaker. Even despite the S16 being sealed, they still have very impressive bass, more than enough to blend with a sub.
 

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Mostly because I found a good deal on them and was looking for new surrounds but since they share the same drivers as the M16, it was a good chance to check out the Revel sound and use them as fronts for a bit. The bass extension doesn't matter to me which is why I always compare speakers with an 80Hz crossover without the subs on to negate a bass advantage of either speaker. Even despite the S16 being sealed, they still have very impressive bass, more than enough to blend with a sub.
Interesting way to do it, I suppose that's one way to level the playing field, but I've always preferred a speaker that can dig a bit deeper even when pairing with a sub so that there's more output throughout the crossover region without an acoustic roll-off due to the speaker naturally losing steam in combination with the electronic crossover in the bass management.

I liked the LS50s when I listened to them at a store, though I thought they were maybe a bit dark, or maybe a bit veiled is a better term. I heard them back to back with the Dynaudio Emit M10s, which really impressed me, both had things that were really pleasant about them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Interesting way to do it, I suppose that's one way to level the playing field, but I've always preferred a speaker that can dig a bit deeper even when pairing with a sub so that there's more output throughout the crossover region without an acoustic roll-off due to the speaker naturally losing steam in combination with the electronic crossover in the bass management.

I liked the LS50s when I listened to them at a store, though I thought they were maybe a bit dark, or maybe a bit veiled is a better term. I heard them back to back with the Dynaudio Emit M10s, which really impressed me, both had things that were really pleasant about them.
According to Harmans algorithm, they apply something like 30% of the preference due to the bass response, so my method attempts to not be influenced by the bass since I'll be using subs equalized flat anyway. by applying an 80Hz crossover, I'm comparing only 80Hz and up, so if there's an advantage around the crossover region it will still be evident with the crossover in place.

And I actually thought the LS50 sounded pretty bad when I demo'd them at my local dealer, the only reason I took them home is because of the almost universal praise of them. I actually don't put much stock into how speakers sound in stores because I think 99% sound like crap because they don't know how to set them up properly. The Salon 2 is the only speaker I've really been wowed by in a demo.
 

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I would think anyone would jump at the chance to own a Revel system? You don't mention the size of your room, (I'm guessing other forum members may be familiar with your setup?) Based on all the reviews (rare to find anyone that disliked the KEF's), you have a tough choice to make between the two. Might have more to do with what's powering them? Seems like the KEF's are more power hungry and the Revel's easier to drive? 2012 vs 2016 technology which doesn't mean much . .
 

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Quick question - the S16 was engineered to work in 2 pi space; i.e., against a wall. It depends upon such a mounting to flatten out the frequency response.

Just thought I'd bring that up since you mentioned stand mounting.

The Revel M16 would be the better matchup (as I know you are aware). :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I would think anyone would jump at the chance to own a Revel system? You don't mention the size of your room, (I'm guessing other forum members may be familiar with your setup?) Based on all the reviews (rare to find anyone that disliked the KEF's), you have a tough choice to make between the two. Might have more to do with what's powering them? Seems like the KEF's are more power hungry and the Revel's easier to drive? 2012 vs 2016 technology which doesn't mean much . .
The Revel are definitely nice, I have nothing negative to say about them. If I were to prefer them I was going to most likely grab M105's for my front 3 channels which should be more refined than the Concerta series. And my room is on the small side I think, 11' wide but a little over 20' long with 8' ceilings, my listening position is about 7' away. I find bookshelf speakers fill the space fine and I use dual subs to round out the bass.

Kefs are definitely more power hungry but it's not a huge deal, I just turn up the volume a bit more with them. I use an Emotiva UPA 500 and haven't had a problem powering any kind of speaker. I didn't buy the LS50 yet, not sure what I'm going to do, I might grab some Q150 to see if they have the same magic but I think I'm sold on the coaxial design for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Quick question - the S16 was engineered to work in 2 pi space; i.e., against a wall. It depends upon such a mounting to flatten out the frequency response.

Just thought I'd bring that up since you mentioned stand mounting.

The Revel M16 would be the better matchup (as I know you are aware). :)
Yes I did use them on a stand and yes it did look a little funny doing so but I also took measurements and the Revel still had better bass response than the KEF and pretty much all smaller bookshelves I've had recently with 5 inch drivers, to me that's pretty impressive considering they're sealed speakers. I'm not sure how much you've read Toole's books on the matter but under the Schroeder frequency the room really takes over anyway, I find that most bookshelf size speakers have a nearly identical response under about 200Hz in my room. Again though, I specifically audition speakers with an 80Hz crossover in place to try to minimize these bass differences because I'm not going to be running them full range. It doesn't really make sense to me to compare bass response between 2 speakers if I'm not going to be using them for that purpose, others may disagree with that logic but that's why I'm clear how I audition.
 

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I neglected to mention the wall mount application as well vs stands. Thus the question on room size and how much you're willing to sacrifice? I imagine the KEF's optimum placement is 1 1/2' - 2' from the back wall? Aesthetics obviously is a major focus for you, personally I don't like the cosmetics of the LS50. The architectural speaker industry did years of developing an isolated coaxial speaker design by isolating the tweeter from the woofer in a suspended bridge (however, that created other dispersion issues). Obviously, it sounds (no pun intended) that you like the KEF's as much for looks as you do the audio performance. Shouldn't be any question as long as both sets have had a substantial break in.
 

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Yes I did use them on a stand and yes it did look a little funny doing so but I also took measurements and the Revel still had better bass response than the KEF and pretty much all smaller bookshelves I've had recently with 5 inch drivers, to me that's pretty impressive considering they're sealed speakers. I'm not sure how much you've read Toole's books on the matter but under the Schroeder frequency the room really takes over anyway, I find that most bookshelf size speakers have a nearly identical response under about 200Hz in my room. Again though, I specifically audition speakers with an 80Hz crossover in place to try to minimize these bass differences because I'm not going to be running them full range. It doesn't really make sense to me to compare bass response between 2 speakers if I'm not going to be using them for that purpose, others may disagree with that logic but that's why I'm clear how I audition.
Got it, and appreciate your thoughts. Yes, have read Toole's books and he's become a friend over the last couple of years :)

Just pointing out that wall placement will affect the mids as well, plus other factors - overall sound power, etc.

Enjoy, either way!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Something else I should mention to people who want a compact or on-wall system, I could really see a set of S16 speakers being used as all 5 speakers and sounding pretty good for a home theater system. A lot of people get hung up when speakers are called "surround speakers" but these things have a lot of bass and play plenty loud, you could certainly do a lot worse.
 

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Something else I should mention to people who want a compact or on-wall system, I could really see a set of S16 speakers being used as all 5 speakers and sounding pretty good for a home theater system. A lot of people get hung up when speakers are called "surround speakers" but these things have a lot of bass and play plenty loud, you could certainly do a lot worse.
Thanks for the heads up; lots of folks come on here looking for a great on wall and many are quite thin.

While aesthetically the thin ones have a clear edge it is good to see one compared quite favorably to a very highly regarded stand mounter.
 

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Something else I should mention to people who want a compact or on-wall system, I could really see a set of S16 speakers being used as all 5 speakers and sounding pretty good for a home theater system. A lot of people get hung up when speakers are called "surround speakers" but these things have a lot of bass and play plenty loud, you could certainly do a lot worse.
Great point - and was part of the design goal. Having them up against the wall also rounds out the sound and allows them to deliver even more SPL.

One of the reasons I don't have spins for these is that Harman is redoing one of their measurement spaces so they can get more accurate 2 pi measurements. Same goes for the JBL SCL series.
 

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The Revel are definitely nice, I have nothing negative to say about them. If I were to prefer them I was going to most likely grab M105's for my front 3 channels which should be more refined than the Concerta series. And my room is on the small side I think, 11' wide but a little over 20' long with 8' ceilings, my listening position is about 7' away. I find bookshelf speakers fill the space fine and I use dual subs to round out the bass.

Kefs are definitely more power hungry but it's not a huge deal, I just turn up the volume a bit more with them. I use an Emotiva UPA 500 and haven't had a problem powering any kind of speaker. I didn't buy the LS50 yet, not sure what I'm going to do, I might grab some Q150 to see if they have the same magic but I think I'm sold on the coaxial design for sure.
In close listening situations, the coincident/coaxial driver design of the LS50 provides a single point sound source that's hard to beat. Most conventional speaker designs require a minimum distance to ensure proper blending of the driver elements. One of several reasons why big speakers don't work well in a small listening space.
 

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i think its assnine to compare wall speakers with others.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
i think its assnine to compare wall speakers with others.
Then don't think of it as a "wall speaker", since there really is no such thing. A speaker is a speaker, and in this case the Revel S16 uses the identical drivers as the M16, the main difference is the S16 is sealed which only affects the bass roll off. I'll post measurements to show the bass is almost identical between the 2, an on wall speaker and a bookshelf are designed pretty much the same way, both are usually a "half space" design or 2pi. Also, many bookshelf speakers have wall mounting provisions and can be mounted or used on a stand.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
In close listening situations, the coincident/coaxial driver design of the LS50 provides a single point sound source that's hard to beat. Most conventional speaker designs require a minimum distance to ensure proper blending of the driver elements. One of several reasons why big speakers don't work well in a small listening space.
I agree, because like real voices and instruments, sounds all occur from a point source, so it only makes sense that an actual point source speaker would sound more natural. I agree about matching the speaker to the room but just to be clear, my listening position is about 7' from the speakers so a 2 way has definitely blended by then.
 

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thats cool you will do this. i just think its accepting a lesser value.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
As promised, the in room response of both speakers, each speaker was individually measured in 3 different locations around my listening location and then averaged and both had an 80Hz 2nd order high pass applied. Very similar in room response but I guess the LS50 dig deeper in the bass, it seemed like the Revel had deeper bass in my listening sessions.
 

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