AVS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 1759 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,755 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all!

Thanks to the powers that be at the AVS Forum, I have been given permission to post about a unique “speaker shootout” / HT get-together to be held mid-August in north Colorado Springs / Monument (about 35 minutes south of Denver). Any and all are welcome to attend this unique get-together, which is not a sales event, but a simple listening test between what can objectively be called two of the very best speakers made at any price – the Revel Salon2 and the JBL M2 Master Reference Monitor. This thread is being set up as a repository for updates on the shootout, plus a place for those who attend to post their comments and impressions.

There are several factors that make this listening test unique:

1. This is a “shootout” between two of the flagship speakers from one parent company, based on all the latest research coming out of Harman labs, still the largest and best equipped audio research facility in the world. Both speakers have earned the utmost respect from not only the audio press, but those who mix and master the content we all so much enjoy (more on this in a moment). In other words, this is not a test of “brand A vs. brand B,” but a test of two flagship speakers from the same parent company, but using different approaches of achieving similar goals.

2. We will attempt to properly blind part of the listening tests and conduct them in a scientifically controlled manner, taking advantage of direct input from Dr. Floyd Toole on testing methodology. (If you are not familiar with Dr. Toole’s work, you must check it out here and
. Dr. Toole literally wrote the book on applying proper scientific methods to understanding what matters when it comes to sound reproduction and loudspeaker design. To say we are honored to have him advising us on how to set up this event would be an understatement).

3. This is an attempt at demonstrating how a speaker listening test should properly be set up, where all factors such as speaker placement, source material, and volume are equalized. In addition, part of the listening sessions will be conducted in a truly blind fashion, with both speakers hidden from view so no one knows which speaker is playing at any given time.

The contenders:

The Revel Salon2: Long a favorite of the audio press as well as those in the professional film and music industries, the Revel Salon2 is unique in that it continues to win the same kind of scientifically controlled, double blind listening tests we are attempting to emulate. Over the years a huge variety of speakers from many different manufacturers have been compared to the Salon2 during these tests, and the Salon2 continues to beat competitors at many times its price point. One can find lots of reviews of the Salon2 by doing a simple Google search, plus it may be interesting to know that one of Dolby Labs’ Advanced Technology Group’s Critical Listening Rooms features nine Salon2s as main and surround speakers. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that Dr. Toole himself has a set of Revel Salon2s in his own personal home theater 😊

The JBL M2 Master Reference Monitor: While technically a “Pro” speaker, the JBL M2 is also a part of the JBL Synthesis line-up of speakers intended for premium home theater and stereo listening applications (you can find several threads dedicated to this speaker and its brethren right here on AVS). It also has an impressive professional pedigree, with the M2 rapidly becoming one of the reference speakers for film mixing and critical music mastering. Again, a quick Google search will reveal a large number of excellent reviews and endorsements of the JBL M2 – users include such industry professionals as Frank Fillipetti, Kenny Mixx, Joseph Magee, and Bruce Botnick. In fact, DeLuxe Toronto just outfitted all the main theaters in their new mix facility with M2 monitors.

So here you have it – two of the most respected speakers in the world going head to head. Both speakers are the beneficiary of the purely scientific peer-reviewed research undertaken by Dr. Toole and others at Harman Labs.

I am also happy to report that Harman is sending us new JBL SDP75 surround processor / pre-amp as a loaner specifically for this event. More on this later, as details come in.

Again, please note that this is intended to be a fun home theater / stereo listening / scientifically controlled listening test, NOT a sales event. The idea is to keep things fun and fascinating, where you can listen to some great speakers and hang out with fellow home theater / audio geeks, just like us 😊

Here are the dates and schedule (Saturday and Sunday feature the same schedule):

August 11, 12 and 13

Location – my house in North Colorado Springs (PM me for details)

Friday August 11th

6 – 9 pm – casual hangout and listening, snacks and drinks provided

Saturday / Sunday Schedule (same both days, August 12th and 13th):

11 -12 pm - demo of the JBL Synthesis M2 / LSR708i / C763L / SDP75 based immersive audio setup
12 pm – Break for lunch
1 – 1:30 pm – setup of blind listening session (you are welcome to observe or assist)
1:30 – 3:30 pm – Blind comparison between the M2s and the Salons (may run shorter or longer, depending on number of attendees)
3:30 – 4:30 pm – Revel Salon2 stereo listening session
4:30 – 5:30 pm – JBL M2 stereo listening session
5:30 – 6 pm – Requests taken 😊

There will be limited seating for these listening tests, so please contact me via PM to reserve a space.

Here are pics of the contenders, which we are calling “Beauty” and “The Beast.” I’ll leave it up to you to determine which is which 😉



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,635 Posts
Very cool, way out of my "don't wanna get a divorce" league but looking forward to it.

Can you provide the MSRPs?

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,755 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Very cool, way out of my "don't wanna get a divorce" league but looking forward to it.

Pricing I found; "Beauty" about ... "Beast" about ... pr.
Thanks for your comments! :)

For reference:

Revel Salon2: List $22K per pair
JBL M2: List $12K per pair PLUS the necessary electronics, which can vary wildly in price / capabilities
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,635 Posts
Thanks for your comments! :)

BTW, only MSRP pricing allowed to be quoted on the Forum. And, FWIW, the price on the "Beauty" you found is from a completely non-legit source - check this out on Revel's own site:

http://www.revelspeakers.com/revel-warranties.html

Know you are just trying to be helpful :)

For reference:

Revel Salon2: List $22K per pair
JBL M2: List $12K per pair PLUS the necessary electronics, which can vary wildly in price / capabilities
Sorry I will edit my post.

Carry on! :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,783 Posts
Wish I could go!

Have not heard either of them but they measure well, the pros like them and the M2 just has that look that testosterone was made to match. Yes, my wife would dispise the M2 but would put up with the Salon 2s (until she saw the price and called the lawyers) As speakers become increasingly more expensive, I demand more measurements and both of those speakers provide staggering amounts of information. Not for the brandy snifter types but I don't have bare hardwood floors with a wall made out of windows either.

Pure speaker porn but it don't hurt to look and listen... right? Thank you for doing this and I'm eager to see what the top dogs can do. If they are too large for your house, I'll gladly take them and provide a good home...jus' sayin'... :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,671 Posts
Wish I could go!

Have not heard either of them but they measure well, the pros like them and the M2 just has that look that testosterone was made to match. Yes, my wife would dispise the M2 but would put up with the Salon 2s (until she saw the price and called the lawyers) As speakers become increasingly more expensive, I demand more measurements and both of those speakers provide staggering amounts of information. Not for the brandy snifter types but I don't have bare hardwood floors with a wall made out of windows either.

Pure speaker porn but it don't hurt to look and listen... right? Thank you for doing this and I'm eager to see what the top dogs can do. If they are too large for your house, I'll gladly take them and provide a good home...jus' sayin'... :cool:
I think I can get away with the look of pretty much any speaker after breaking the WAF in with a pair of 802's the past six months. After all, they do look like R2-D2 with a microphone taped to his head.

When the upgrade occurred, she, the wife, voted for the KEF reference 1's based on looks, but the deal I got on the 802 Diamond's was pretty awesome.

M2's look far less obnoxious IMO, and I'm kind of jonesin to hear a pair properly set up. IMO I think a Salon2/M2/B&W 802 shootout would be useful at that ~$20k price point, as the bowers speakers are pretty popular there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bimmaguy

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,419 Posts
As a former Studio 2 owner (and have heard the Salon 2), I'm going to guess the M2 will win. The titanium mids are a little long in the tooth (the new generation of mids in flagship speakers in the industry are now using carbon composites, diamond, or beryllium) and I remember quite a bit audible noise in the mids at higher volumes, which is backed up by the waterfall measurements of both the Studio 2 and Salon 2, with (compared to new flagship speakers that have come out in recent years) a surprising amount of midrange hash.

The mid driver is just a bit outdated for today's flagships which are moving to higher performing materials. The Paradigm Persona B for example, which I currently use, is leagues ahead of the monitors that I replaced (Revel Gem2s), in terms of midrange speed and detail, and the sensation of speed reminds me of high end electrostatic headphones like the Stax 009s.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,260 Posts
Please excuse my ignorance, but it seems to me that these two speakers are dramatically different in design and that might mean they are also more appropriately targeted toward different applications.

The M2 is a 2-way, 2-driver system with a wide precision waveguide horn controlling the dispersion of half the spectrum and the measured dispersion pattern demonstrates how well it works. The cabinet is wide to accommodate the large drivers. Using fewer drivers with that classy waveguide horn may improve the overall sound for 2 channel listening where dispersion is of primary importance to the sound power component of the frequency response and ambiance. However, that wide cabinet is going to eat up wall space in a cramped multichannel installation and the wide/smooth dispersion pattern could be a drawback for theater, or for acoustically challenged environments where narrower dispersion is possibly better.

The Salon2 is a four-way system with smaller drivers that tend to behave as point sources for much or possibly all of their spectrum in the case of the bass woofers. Several of these cabs in a multichannel installation will eat up fewer radians in a circle surrounding the listener, but the overall smoothness and imaging of the sound may be somewhat compromised by splitting the spectrum into twice as many bands, and by the reduced waveguide control over the dispersion that probably results in a narrower/lumpier beam at mid/higher frequencies (sorry, those are assumptions since I am not familiar with either of these speakers).

I am not sure the Salon2 could always directly substitute for the M2 in 2-channel listening or vice-versa on the M2 substituting for the Salon2 in multichannel listening, so comparing the two with blind testing seems odd to me.

Please forgive me for questioning the premise of the shoot-out. I am still sort of noob at this. For me the discussion is academic. I will never own either of these speakers. By now my ears would not possibly justify the investment even if I had the cash.

I can readily understand the desire to compare them and nominate one or the other king, but that is not really what this art is about IMO. To me, it is more about optimization and that optimization encompasses the choice of appropriate tech more than it encompasses the choice of 'the best' tech.

Looking forward to your thoughts on this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,691 Posts
Please excuse my ignorance, but it seems to me that these two speakers are dramatically different in design and that might mean they are also more appropriately targeted toward different applications.

The M2 is a 2-way, 2-driver system with a wide precision waveguide horn controlling the dispersion of half the spectrum and the measured dispersion pattern demonstrates how well it works. The cabinet is wide to accommodate the large drivers. Using fewer drivers with that classy waveguide horn may improve the overall sound for 2 channel listening where dispersion is of primary importance to the sound power component of the frequency response and ambiance. However, that wide cabinet is going to eat up wall space in a cramped multichannel installation and the wide/smooth dispersion pattern could be a drawback for theater, or for acoustically challenged environments where narrower dispersion is possibly better.

The Salon2 is a four-way system with smaller drivers that tend to behave as point sources for much or possibly all of their spectrum in the case of the bass woofers. Several of these cabs in a multichannel installation will eat up fewer radians in a circle surrounding the listener, but the overall smoothness and imaging of the sound may be somewhat compromised by splitting the spectrum into twice as many bands, and by the reduced waveguide control over the dispersion that probably results in a narrower/lumpier beam at mid/higher frequencies (sorry, those are assumptions since I am not familiar with either of these speakers).

I am not sure the Salon2 could always directly substitute for the M2 in 2-channel listening or vice-versa on the M2 substituting for the Salon2 in multichannel listening, so comparing the two with blind testing seems odd to me.

Please forgive me for questioning the premise of the shoot-out. I am still sort of noob at this. For me the discussion is academic. I will never own either of these speakers. By now my ears would not possibly justify the investment even if I had the cash.

I can readily understand the desire to compare them and nominate one or the other king, but that is not really what this art is about IMO. To me, it is more about optimization and that optimization encompasses the choice of appropriate tech more than it encompasses the choice of 'the best' tech.

Looking forward to your thoughts on this.
The Salon2 also uses a wave guide for the tweeter, so I don't see that as an issue. And both speakers are promoted as highly accurate, and that's the popular perception. If it turns out that they do have very different sonioc characteristics and are not equally suited for music and home theater, I think that would just make the results more useful and interesting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,419 Posts
Does this mean Salon2 has already beat the M2 in these tests? :rolleyes:
I don't like blind tests that much, being that most people will favor a sound signature that accentuates their favorite music type, over absolute performance metrics. For example, I've been to quite a few headphone audio meets and the most popular headphones tend to be the worst measuring ones, but with the hardest hitting bass line, being that R&B/Rap are the most popular types of music these days, and we aren't talking about Beats fans here but people who will drop $20k into their listening systems.

The Abyss and HE-6 headphones are bass cannons for instance, and tend to be the overwhelming favorites in these meets despite measuring much much worse than say the HD800S, Focal Utopia, Stax SR-009, etc. When you realize the majority of music people are listening to is rap and dubstep on these high end systems, it all starts to make sense. Truth is for most people stock frequency response is everything.

To me I think a blind test needs two phases, one where both systems are played as is, and then another one where both are digitally EQed with room correction so you remove the sound signature bias (i.e., one system is winning just because it has more bass).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,691 Posts
I don't like blind tests that much, being that most people will favor a sound signature that accentuates their favorite music type, over absolute performance metrics. For example, I've been to quite a few headphone audio meets and the most popular headphones tend to be the worst measuring ones, but with the hardest hitting bass line, being that R&B/Rap are the most popular types of music these days, and we aren't talking about Beats fans here but people who will drop $20k into their listening systems.

The Abyss and HE-6 headphones are bass cannons for instance, and tend to be the overwhelming favorites in these meets despite measuring much much worse than say the HD800S, Focal Utopia, Stax SR-009, etc. When you realize the majority of music people are listening to is rap and dubstep on these high end systems, it all starts to make sense. Truth is for most people stock frequency response is everything.

To me I think a blind test needs two phases, one where both systems are played as is, and then another one where both are digitally EQed with room correction so you remove the sound signature bias (i.e., one system is winning just because it has more bass).
I'm not following what this has to do with blinded vs. unblinded tests. And if you start using digital EQ to fit every speaker to a flat room response from the listening position, you've covered up inherent characteristics of the individual speakers (and probably introduced other problems given my experience with these programs). You can't force people to hear what you think they should hear. That kind of defeats the purpose of letting real people judge speakers. Ideally, it would be nice to have measurements as well so that we have better idea of whether, say, preferences for the bass response of one speaker vs. another reflects cleaner and flatter bass, or just exaggerated bass.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,755 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I have a feeling those M2's are going to steal some hearts...

Props for putting this on man.
Thanks!

I think both speakers will steal hearts and minds :). Have done some listening myself but won't reveal my thoughts in the hopes of not prejudicing the tests. Of course, by keeping things blind that should eliminate that factor.
 
1 - 20 of 1759 Posts
Top