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Floorstanding speakers recommendation for mixed use. JBL vs Kef vs BW vs Revel

scociu

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Hi,

Looking for some advice in making a decision around what speakers to choose as FL and FR.
The use will be roughly 50-50 between music in an odd shaped open space (500cm x 900cm x 410cm).
I attached a diagram that should help.

Some constrains I'm working with:
- no subwoofers
- speakers placed only 20cm away from the front wall, 50cm from the side walls
- room has no treatment except for a rug and a large sofa if they can be called treatment. glass wall on one of the sides as well
- will integrate DSP through Dirac Live
- budget is around 10k EUR

After lots of reading, I kinda "narrowed" it down to these options, but open to other suggestions as well:
  • JBL S3900 ex demo
    • +the 2x10" woofers should do a good job of filling the big room volume
    • no center channel equivalent, but will probably match well with HDI4500
    • -rear ported, might get tricky in the bass region, even with DSP
  • Kef Reference 3 ex demo or KEF R11 new
    • +narrow(er) directivity will probably help with the shape of the room
    • -rear ported, might get tricky in the bass region, even with DSP
    • -might not extend low enough for movie use
  • B&W 803D3 ex demo
    • -i keep reading that their upper end is not friendly at all with live rooms. potentially too harsh/bright
  • Revel F228Be new
    • +front ported
    • +excellent measurements

Thoughts? Which one do you think will work better in this context?
Unfortunately I can only audition the Kefs and the 803D3 before buying and only in the showroom, not in the actual room.


Much appreciated,
Alex.
 

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q3cpma

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* Rear porting is not different from front except that you need to leave a few centimeters of space (20 cm is plenty enough) and that you get a bit more boundary gain.
* Without measurements, I'd have some doubts about the fidelity of the S3900.
* If no subwoofer, I would discard the Ref 3 in favour of the R11.
* New B&W stuff isn't very good if you're looking for fidelity.
* Revel F228Be or F208: probably a good choice.

Would personally choose the R11, as it has more woofer area than the Revels.
 

amper42

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The Revel F228Be would be my choice. You might even see if you can get a deal on the F328Be for close to the same price. That's what I did. Revels will be more sensitive and easier to drive. They can play significantly louder and offer a cleaner low end.
 

Laserjock

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The Revel F228Be would be my choice. You might even see if you can get a deal on the F328Be for close to the same price. That's what I did. Revels will be more sensitive and easier to drive. They can play significantly louder and offer a cleaner low end.
True, wondering what’s going to be driving them and what, if anything he’s coming from.
 

Blumlein 88

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Clean power is cheap and readily available. Who cares. Alway, always find the speaker you love and work backwards to make a great system you will love.
 

Laserjock

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Also true but the space is at least 6500 cu ft and with no subs it makes sense to address the power required especially when talking 50/50 for music/HT
 

FeddyLost

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Some constrains I'm working with:
- no subwoofers
- speakers placed only 20cm away from the front wall, 50cm from the side walls
- room has no treatment except for a rug and a large sofa if they can be called treatment. glass wall on one of the sides as well
- will integrate DSP through Dirac Live

Unless you are consiously trying to protect your hearing and "hardware" limit your SPL below i.e. 85 dB at LP in that case I'd go for JBL. Controlled directivity (horns) is also good for acoustically asymmetrical side walls.
And I'd think about pair of good big beefy subs in future.
Looks like you have just front and back heavy walls and all your house (don't mention glass walls from left and right that usually are very transparent for LF) will be pumped with bass.
I doubt that anything smaller that S3900 will manage this if you will need some cinematic SPL or concert-like experience.
20 cm from front wall is fine in your case as it will reduce SBIR and will add some room gain. All other issues will be managed by Dirac.
 
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scociu

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Thanks, all! Some very interesting insight with preferences spread across the board.
What seems certain is that I will cut the B&W 803 off the list.

I am not concerned on the amplification side. I will drive the 5 channels through either a dedicated multichannel power amp or the AVR, depending on where I land with the processor choice since an AVR with balanced preouts and Dirac is hard to come by these days.
The front channels will be driven by one or two AHB2 units, depending on their sensitivity. A big plus for the JBLs here, sitting at 92db. Will probably get away with one amp driving the pair of them.

I am looking forward to hearing some suggestions outside the shortlist that fit the budget and the profile.
I even considered the Dutch 8C, but I gave up since integrating active and passive speakers in a HT system doesn't seem to be straightforward in terms of timing matching.
 

AnalogSteph

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I even considered the Dutch 8C, but I gave up since integrating active and passive speakers in a HT system doesn't seem to be straightforward in terms of timing matching.
You think so? I looked it up, and processing delay for the 8C seems to be 33 ms in linear phase mode and 3.1 ms in low-latency mode. The latter would be equivalent to a distance increase of about 1 m (3' and change), any AVR should be able to cope with that if speaker distances aren't wildly different to begin with. The former may in fact be a problem, e.g. Denons seem to be limited to 6 m / 28'.

This is specifically something that affects DSP speakers, traditional analog concepts have essentially no latency.
 
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scociu

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Yeah, with emphasis on "not straightforward". I am sure that with the right gear it can be solved, but just the hassle of having to switch latency modes based on usage and limiting the range of AVR/AVP to choose from is not worth it for me.
I also think I would have trouble matching them with a center channel and going full 8C for LCR is outside the budget.
 

anphex

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From what I've seen, the Revel is a trustworthy company with smart, efficient and high quality speakers for a buck. If you have 10k to spare, definetly go 4-way speakers as you really wont' ever need a subwoofer and torture youself with level and phase matching.
If we're speaking Euros: If you live in Europe, maybe my adored speakers NuVero 170 might be also for you. I wouldn't be surprised if they measured and sounded pretty similar to Revel Salon2. They are both 8k a pair including shipping in Germany. They may ship to other countries but it would probably cost a little more considering those 70 kg per speaker. The D'Apollito design is a good choice for untreated rooms as reflections on the ceiling and floor cancel each other out moderately.
 
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scociu

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That's indeed an exotic proposal :) Never heard of nuVero before and, for reasons I can't actually justify, I am reluctant to try out the small, boutique, speaker manufacturers. But I will take a look. 24hz -3db does sound tempting i admit.
 

anphex

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Note that this is free field spec FR. In small rooms make it 17hz. I actually had trouble to lessen the bass since I could place them only close to a wall and my sitting position is also on the wall at the opposite of the 25m² room. But they provide plugs for the bass ports to "convert" them to closed speakers and reduce the bass. But this is only needed of you have the worst case scenario. I'd guess the same would go for any speaker with strong low end.
 

Head_Unit

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- no subwoofers
Why is that? You can get a smoother bass though then again it can be more work. I favor Revel due to their consistent development target of neutral sounding speakers. OK, confession, and because my good friend designed a lot of their drivers ;)

Anyway for music towers can go pretty low, but if you want to do home theater with effects and explosions even stuff like the monster Focal 936 is only ported to 40 Hz; you really need a sub. We stuck in an SVS SB-3000 Pro and really like that. By the way those 936 (+CC900, SR900) are really really nice, having used them for many hours. I assume the $10k Focals are thus worthy contenders.

The S3900 ooh very nice though let me say I would NOT assume the HDI4500 would "match" as a center because its horn is tiny (it is not as horny? hmmm). Same friend had K2 prototypes at home, and trying to play any regular speaker as a matching center was a comical joke, nothing could keep up. You can't fit a 3rd S3900 as a center? That would be wild.
 
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