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Amp and Sub Recommendation - Revel F208

MIchi

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Hey ASR Community,

Back during the Q4 2022 sale that Revel had I purchased the F208 towers and C208 center as part of upgrading some old Infinity speakers. Reading the high praise for the F208 by the ASR community helped me make the decision to purchase after listening to the similar product offerings in the price range from KEF, Golden Ear, Focal, Martin Logan, and Paradigm. Thank you to Amir and the community for the reviews.

I need to purchase an amp, preamp, and sub to complete the system overhaul. What would the community recommend I look at for the a good amp, preamp and sub to pair with the F208s? I'm currently running them off a Yamaha 1070 AVR. That's not enough to drive these speakers from what I read here. The F208s need power from what the community has stated from the impedance curve. My primary focus is music with home theater second. I will need to upgrade my rear speakers also. Thinking of either the Revel M106 or the S206 surround speakers to match.

I would be fine with a recommendation for a preamp/amp for 2.1 and add a 3 channel amp to drive 5.1 or an amp to drive 5.1 with using the Yamaha as the preamp.

I've looked at Parasound on this forum, checked out Rogue M-180s from my local dealer (for straight 2 channel). Listened to entry level Rotel amps and Arcam at big box retailers for amps. I'm kind of limited for what I can listen based on my area to match up with the F208 and C208. With respect to subs also limited to REL (which don't seem to be in good favor here on the forums) and SVS for stores to go listen. I'd appreciate your help. I'm looking at this as a new opportunity to learn. Thank You.
 

Burn1

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Had a Martin Logan surround system & Bryston amps 20 years ago, both served me well during that entire time.
Last year after listening to a pair of Revel 228be, first box speaker that made me ditch the electrostics favor of: Pair of 228be, 208, and 106 surrounds.
Extremely happy with the upgrade. Find myself listening to more live music multichannel recordings, so choose same speaker family.
If I was more of a movie watching person vs music would have considered going a less expensive route via the 4 surround speakers & amps.

Cramming all components into a single chassis(preamp/processor/amps) from a long term ownership perspective seemed more risky.
Went with a pre-amp/surround sound processor & several 2-channel power amps.
Downside, a lot of separate chassis/components which takes up a lot more space.

What is your budget for amplifiers, that might help the forum make some recommendations.
 

Blumlein 88

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Another former all ESL fellow here. I have had F208 about 3 years I think. I use some Rhythmik subs. Work quite fine. I'm using a Wyred4Sound ST500 which is 15 years old. Plenty for the speakers. I have used an old Tact M2150 which is maybe 150 watts, and that is sufficient too. F208s can use power, but aren't horribly in need of it. If your room is small they aren't terribly power hungry. I think any of the good class D amps of 150 wpc at 8 ohms or more rating would do the job.

I also have mine in a 5.1 setup. I purchased an XLR switcher so I can switch my amp input from my Marantz AV pre/pro or alternatively one of my audio recording interfaces for pure 2 channel listening. Often use an RME Babyface for this. Essentially a dac/preamp. Any of the good DAC/pre's would work if you want a seperate pre for stereo listening. Just have to figure out how you want to connect it that way. A Sabaj or SMSL maybe.

The Sabaj just reviewed would give you phones, bluetooth and more if you care to do so. It has an optical input. Maybe for two channel a Toslink from your AVR would work. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/sabaj-a20d-2023-dac-hp-amp-review.47440/

If you want to switch from 2 channel pre and front channels for 5.1 this is the switcher I use.

They make another switcher which is essentially the same thing. I have one of both.
 

moonlight rainbow dream

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That's not enough to drive these speakers from what I read here.
What makes you say that? It depends on how loud you are listening, how far away from the speakers you sit, and the size of your room. You should be able to tell if you're running into the limits of your amplifier (audible level of distortion/clipping, or it just shuts down in protection mode). Crossing over to subs will reduce the load on the AVR by a lot as well. That's "subs" plural, deliberately. Going to at least 2 subs (and placing them according to the Harman method) will combat the impact of room modes dramatically over a single, giving you a more even bass response. Deciding what size of subwoofer you need also depends on how loud you listen and the size of your room.

Another reason to stick with the Yamaha AVR is that it has sub crossover capability (2 sub pre-outs with independently adjustable delay and level) that many 2-channel preamp products do not have. It also has manual EQ (it's not true parametric EQ because the frequency bands are preset) that would help you integrate the subs. It's not as powerful and precise as something like a Minidsp, but it is way better than nothing which is what you would be getting with a traditional audiophile preamp. I've used an A2060 to integrate 2 subs (an SVS PC-2000 and a DIY ported 12" ultimax) just as I have been describing. It worked well enough that I actually removed a minidsp 2x4hd from that system in order to use elsewhere.
 
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MIchi

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Had a Martin Logan surround system & Bryston amps 20 years ago, both served me well during that entire time.
Last year after listening to a pair of Revel 228be, first box speaker that made me ditch the electrostics favor of: Pair of 228be, 208, and 106 surrounds.
Extremely happy with the upgrade. Find myself listening to more live music multichannel recordings, so choose same speaker family.
If I was more of a movie watching person vs music would have considered going a less expensive route via the 4 surround speakers & amps.

Cramming all components into a single chassis(preamp/processor/amps) from a long term ownership perspective seemed more risky.
Went with a pre-amp/surround sound processor & several 2-channel power amps.
Downside, a lot of separate chassis/components which takes up a lot more space.

What is your budget for amplifiers, that might help the forum make some recommendations.
Hi Burn1! I was thinking 5K for an amp or amps and the same for sub or subs. I would add to the system over time. I have enough space for the equipment or will make room for it.
 
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MIchi

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What makes you say that? It depends on how loud you are listening, how far away from the speakers you sit, and the size of your room. You should be able to tell if you're running into the limits of your amplifier (audible level of distortion/clipping, or it just shuts down in protection mode). Crossing over to subs will reduce the load on the AVR by a lot as well. That's "subs" plural, deliberately. Going to at least 2 subs (and placing them according to the Harman method) will combat the impact of room modes dramatically over a single, giving you a more even bass response. Deciding what size of subwoofer you need also depends on how loud you listen and the size of your room.

Another reason to stick with the Yamaha AVR is that it has sub crossover capability (2 sub pre-outs with independently adjustable delay and level) that many 2-channel preamp products do not have. It also has manual EQ (it's not true parametric EQ because the frequency bands are preset) that would help you integrate the subs. It's not as powerful and precise as something like a Minidsp, but it is way better than nothing which is what you would be getting with a traditional audiophile preamp. I've used an A2060 to integrate 2 subs (an SVS PC-2000 and a DIY ported 12" ultimax) just as I have been describing. It worked well enough that I actually removed a minidsp 2x4hd from that system in order to use elsewhere.
Hi Moonlight. A couple of dealers recommended that my AVR would not be enough to drive the F208s to their potential given the impedance touching 4 ohms in a couple of spots on the curve. The Yamaha should be able to run 4 ohm speakers but I think the impedance is set to 6 ohms on the display. I know it can go down to 6 ohms on the C208, but that's as low as it will go otherwise damage can occur. I need to grab the owner's manual to check that.

Room is 25 feet length by 15 feet wide. I'm sitting back a good 15-16 feet when listening. I was thinking a 12" sub or subs would be large enough for the room.
 
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MIchi

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Another former all ESL fellow here. I have had F208 about 3 years I think. I use some Rhythmik subs. Work quite fine. I'm using a Wyred4Sound ST500 which is 15 years old. Plenty for the speakers. I have used an old Tact M2150 which is maybe 150 watts, and that is sufficient too. F208s can use power, but aren't horribly in need of it. If your room is small they aren't terribly power hungry. I think any of the good class D amps of 150 wpc at 8 ohms or more rating would do the job.

I also have mine in a 5.1 setup. I purchased an XLR switcher so I can switch my amp input from my Marantz AV pre/pro or alternatively one of my audio recording interfaces for pure 2 channel listening. Often use an RME Babyface for this. Essentially a dac/preamp. Any of the good DAC/pre's would work if you want a seperate pre for stereo listening. Just have to figure out how you want to connect it that way. A Sabaj or SMSL maybe.

The Sabaj just reviewed would give you phones, bluetooth and more if you care to do so. It has an optical input. Maybe for two channel a Toslink from your AVR would work. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/sabaj-a20d-2023-dac-hp-amp-review.47440/

If you want to switch from 2 channel pre and front channels for 5.1 this is the switcher I use.

They make another switcher which is essentially the same thing. I have one of both.
Hi Blumlein! I see a lot of press about Class D amps like Hypex for example. The Audioholics really liked the new NAD amp that they reviewed.
Parasound Halo P6 preamp has a home theater passthrough and I saw a couple of complaints from users saying the volume auto turned up to max on its own. That was one of the reasons to reach out and see what the forums would recommend for equipment to look at. You've given me some reading material to check out on ASR here when having a beverage :)
 

DMill

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Hi Burn1! I was thinking 5K for an amp or amps and the same for sub or subs
Here is the good news. At your budget, you will should be able to get an absolutely stellar setup with those speakers. Fact is, you already have one. A sub obviously, for movies… maybe music too, but those speakers dig pretty deep. I’m an SVS guy, but any of the usual suspects like Rythmik, JBL, HSU, and even probably REL and 10 others are all good. Just look at their spec sheets and any ”features“ you might like. I personally liked the SVS Pro cause it was a well sorted tiny black box that delivers good thump for the dollar. After that, my only advice would be, do you like Class D amps or just just want to play it safe with more traditional A/B solid state? Something like a Denon 4800 offers a lot? i think if you can narrow it down a bit you‘d get thoughts from members using specific amps.

edit. Anything you do at this point is going to be baby steps compared to cost.
 
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DMill

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The Audioholics really liked the new NAD amp that they reviewed.
Which one? And yes, the current NAD offerings are very nice. I need something similar but am waiting on Buckeye who is about to offer an integrated amp solution.
 

Flexecutioner

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After that, my only advice would be, do you like Class D amps or just just want to play it safe with more traditional A/B solid state?
What's "safer" about class A/B versus class D amplifiers? The top end hypex and purifi amps haven't had reliability issues as far as I know and have great measurements.
 

DMill

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What's "safer" about class A/B versus class D amplifiers? The top end hypex and purifi amps haven't had reliability issues as far as I know and have great measurements.
You may be absolutely right. In 20 years we can decide.
 
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MIchi

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Here is the good news. At your budget, you will should be able to get an absolutely stellar setup with those speakers. Fact is, you already have one. A sub obviously, for movies… maybe music too, but those speakers dig pretty deep. I’m an SVS guy, but any of the usual suspects like Rythmik, JBL, HSU, and even probably REL and 10 others are all good. Just look at their spec sheets and any ”features“ you might like. I personally liked the SVS Pro cause it was a well sorted tiny black box that delivers good thump for the dollar. After that, my only advice would be, do you like Class D amps or just just want to play it safe with more traditional A/B solid state? Something like a Denon 4800 offers a lot? i think if you can narrow it down a bit you‘d get thoughts from members using specific amps.

edit. Anything you do at this point is going to be baby steps compared to cost.
Hey DMill, definitely want a good sub for music as I have a nice collection of 5.1 for listening and with Dark Side of the Moon getting a Blu-ray release in October, the right one is important. Part of the problem for me is I'm looking at a spec sheet and may have to just pick off the list. I did hear REL v SVS at a big box store and I thought the REL sounded better for music. That was the REL S/812 if I remember correctly compared to the SVS. I sure would like to be able to walk into a store and hear a Rythmik.

I don't have a bias to Class A/B over Class D for amps. Its the same issue there too with the subwoofers. I'd love to hear a Benchmark or a Bryston against an NAD, Rotel, Parasound for example in the same place. I was not aware of ATI until I started looking around. Paradigm has their own line with Anthem. Then there is Rogue audio which my Revel dealer really likes.
 
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MIchi

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Which one? And yes, the current NAD offerings are very nice. I need something similar but am waiting on Buckeye who is about to offer an integrated amp solution.
They reviewed the NAD M23. There is a home theater version, the M28.
 

moonlight rainbow dream

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Hi Moonlight. A couple of dealers recommended that my AVR would not be enough to drive the F208s to their potential given the impedance touching 4 ohms in a couple of spots on the curve. The Yamaha should be able to run 4 ohm speakers but I think the impedance is set to 6 ohms on the display. I know it can go down to 6 ohms on the C208, but that's as low as it will go otherwise damage can occur. I need to grab the owner's manual to check that.

Room is 25 feet length by 15 feet wide. I'm sitting back a good 15-16 feet when listening. I was thinking a 12" sub or subs would be large enough for the room.

It is easy to ascertain if you actually require more amplification. Clipping is very obvious, and mainstream AVRs have robust protection circuits. The thing to do is to just slowly and carefully turn up the volume to the max level that you would ever consider listening at (and maybe slightly above that) and observe if clipping occurs. BTW do not ever change the setting on the AVR to the lower setting (e.g. 4 ohms). Keep it at the highest setting, usually 8 ohms. All that setting does is throttle the output of the AVR dramatically. You don't want that.

Personally, I would not hesitate to run 4ohm speakers with a midrange AVR, particularly if they're being crossed to subs. I'm rarely listening to music above an average SPL of 80-85db, but I'm maybe overly protective of my hearing. Playing with a basic spl calculator... in your scenario, you should be able to hit 100db peaks. Are you listening that loud?

spl.jpg


If you want headroom for the sake of headroom, that's a different thing and you can do what you want, but if that spending outlay prevents you from getting a second sub or sub of higher quality and integration tools, that's where I would take issue. You would be leaving a ton of actual performance gains on the table.
 
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MIchi

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Thank you for posting this, Moonlight. I've got the F208s in each room corner, because they were not rear ported. I'm not going to go past -20 dB on the Yamaha, maybe up to -10 db. Depends on the dynamic range of what I am listening to for music. I'm not going to go 100 db loud, least I hope my hearing isn't that bad to warrant that ><

I would like the headroom. I wont be in the same place in the next year or two. I appreciate the insight about the subs. For example, a couple of Rythmik F12s, one in front and one in the back. I see the point.

I am curious though, when I looked at YouTube videos of the F208s or the Be228s, I saw a couple of videos where they were matched up with the REL 212/SX for music. That seems like its the price of two good separate subs at then some at 5K (plus REL will want you to purchase their own special cable on top of that price). Is that equipment thought of in good favor on ASR? I know the Audioholics didn't care for anything from REL other than the Predator HT sub.
 

Matias

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In your place I would get a single multichannel amp based on NCoreMP, NCoreX or Purifi. And SVS subs.
 

DMill

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I'd love to hear a Benchmark or a Bryston against an NAD, Rotel, Parasound for example in the same place. I
Me too. That just isn’t going to ever happen unless you want buy them all and compare. Objectively the Benchmark sets the bar ridiculously high. They are proven, and spectacular In pretty much every way. Stereophile reviewers who I trust are making them their reference. I find the NAD offerings interesting mostly because of the convenience of HDMI. They are the most AVR like. Rotel is a bit like NAD. They give you a more traditional design, great features but I really find them a few hundred bucks high. Id buy any of these before an overpriced Parasound. All this said, I bet it would be tough in a blind listening test to tell much difference let alone a preference. My money, I’d get the Benchmark. Or maybe the NAD if I just wanted a clean 2.1 system where I skew towards movies over music. Same with the subs. If you like REL they are fine. Probably not a lot of REL lovers on ASR cause of their marketing and silly high pass crossover thing they claim, but they look nice. I’d save a few bucks and look elsewhere, but a box with a woofer is what it is. This is a pretty “un-ASR“ like response. There’s really no science behind it. But we are splitting hairs with some of the things you are considering.
 
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MIchi

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In your place I would get a single multichannel amp based on NCoreMP, NCoreX or Purifi. And SVS subs.

Now this is the list of lists here for Class D amps! :D:D. An Apollon Purifi monoblock for each speaker.

I was reading Amir's review of the NAD M28. Surprised that NAD did not use good Japanese capacitors given what the MSRP for the amp is to save what fifty dollars? Seems pennywise and pound-foolish, but anything to save buck for what something is specked out to be. I remember when cheaper capacitors on gaming motherboards caused problems with quality years ago and as a result the entire industry made the switch to Japanese capacitors and that's the standard now.
 
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MIchi

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In your place I would get a single multichannel amp based on NCoreMP, NCoreX or Purifi. And SVS subs.
The Buckeye 3 channel Purifi amp review will get some definite attention over the weekend, Matias.
 
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