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Revel F208?

stunta

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#1
I've always wanted "big" sounding speakers but never had the room for it until now - my "man-cave" ( 22' x 12' x 7' - see diagram below) is almost ready and I am looking to get a pair of large-ish speakers that measure well. Budget is < $5K USD. A local Revel dealer has the F208 open box for $4200 for the pair. I've never listened to any Revel speakers so if the dealer lets me borrow them for a few days, that would be better then buying them online and worrying about returns.

Before I haul these home to try them out, what should be the things to consider?

Given the sensitivity of 88.5dB and the amps I have, SPL should not be an issue. Amplification will not be a limiting factor (I have Hypex NCore and Classe 2200). Frequency response of the F208 is [email protected], [email protected] Hz, [email protected] I already have one REL Storm 3 subwoofer which should fill in the lower end. Anything else I should consider?

Side note: I would love to get active DSP-based speakers but they seem far too expensive for my budget at this point if I want the "big" sound. I have the JBL 305P Mark II in my living room but they sound "small". I could try the 308P but I am not sure they will compete well with dual 8" woofers on the Revels.

Side note 2: I am not asking for subjective opinions on these speakers (folks are welcome to provide them though in case there is general consensus that a particular model sounds bad and is not worth one's time auditioning).

Thanks!

BasementAudioSetup.JPG
 

Kal Rubinson

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#2
I suggest that you try them without the sub(s) since (1) you want "big" sounding speakers and this is the way to hear if they are and (2) it might be difficult to optimize the bass management in the short term of the loan. Otherwise, go for it.
 

Blumlein 88

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#3
Yeah I was going to post just about what Kal did.

You might play with the room simulator in REW to see if a minor shift in position can get you a smoother low end. Your room appears to be a simple rectangle, and the sim in REW seems of some use for those rooms. You could see what position does, as well as seeing where it is worth putting the REL if later in auditioning them you use the sub with them.

I also once had a room within 2 inches of the dimensions of yours. Set up almost where you have things pictured. My speakers however were Acoustat 2s. I ended up with those spread apart further than you have, and found moving 2 feet away from the rear wall a big help. That puts you pretty close to the speakers. Don't know if the closeness would be a negative with a multi-way speaker in a way it was not with the full range electrostat panel. Just something to try near the end of your auditioning period perhaps.
 
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stunta

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Thanks! I can't move the seating position as it is fixed. What is not shown in the diagram (which is not to scale) is that the seating position is recessed and flanked by 2 walls. I'd prefer to keep the speakers as close to the wall behind them as possible for aesthetics. There is a heating base board which limits how close I can go.

Curious: The dealer also has a pair of Revel Studio speakers at $10K. What is the sweet spot for the Revel line? I wouldn't spend 10K on passive speakers and would instead go active if my budget was that high, but I am curious.
 

Blumlein 88

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The sweet spot is the one you can afford????? I don't know.

I think I would prefer the Salons, but haven't heard them. And hey, if done to a high enough standard, I would buy passive speakers.

Seems to me you get a big improvement if you can get speakers at least 4 feet from any surrounding surfaces. If it is an audition, try them pulled out some even if you don't thing you can leave them in that place.
 
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stunta

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Thread Starter #6
The sweet spot is the one you can afford?
Fair enough. I generally think of it as drawing a price-to-performance curve and finding the optimal point similar to the efficient frontier in financial investments. I guess this is not that straightforward with audio given the subjective nature of listening., but if all the speakers in question were measured, one could draw a curve for each metric.
 

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#7

FrantzM

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Hi

One thing that happens often is the seating position.. it is best to not seat at the wall...

Seems to be the case here in the drawing you presented and this would apply to any speaker. Irrespective of speaker or/and its directivity characteristics ...Speaker positioning is relative to a Listening position. Is there a way to be off the back wall by perhaps 2 feet ... Even MC would benefit from that or turn the room/furnishing/speakers around and use the short wall ...?
 

DonH56

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I am not sure the ask here... You do not want subjective impressions, what exactly are you curious about? What is your objective definition of "big" and "small"? Can you go listen to both pairs at the dealer?

The line currently is F208 -> F228Be -> Studio2 -> Salon2 for floorstanders. The F228Be is roughly the same price as the Studio2 and both use Be tweeters (as does the Salon2). Crossovers etc. are also different among them. I have not compared the F208 and F228Be, have only heard the F208 briefly, and never the Studio2. Opinions seem a bit varied on whether the step from F208 to F228Be is worth ~2x the price but a log of folk seem to be making the jump. Revel has stated the lines are designed to sound similar from top to bottom with the upper models providing "more" (more extending FR, greater output capability, etc.) My dealer told me one of the top Revel guys actually felt the F206 was the "swet spot" in the line for performance and affordability (I have F206's though not in use right now); I personally would have put the F208 at the sweet spot. In your case, I think F208's would more than do the job in that room.

I have used small sats and bookshelf/monitor systems for mains in the past and much prefer floorstanders with an extra octave or so of bass. That is subjective, natch, but I have always liked the "bigger" soundstage and image I get from larger speakers, and want them to play deeply enough that the overlap between mains and subs can be more seamless. For me, that is around 40 Hz or so -3 dB, so I can cross at ~70-80 Hz and still have lean sound from the mains and subs about an octave either side of the crossover. Power is going down as they roll off, but IME/IMO is still significant a half-octave plus from the crossover. 10 dB down is about half as loud (in the midrange; the curves are a little more compressed in the bass region), so if your mains are half as loud half an octave or more away from the crossover, they are still contributing to the sound.

12' is not much distance and placing the couch in an alcove would drive me nuts (it's a short drive). That will really accentuate a range of frequencies, probably making the bass sound boomy and then give an "in the cave" effect as you move up in frequency. I would move the couch out if at all possible, maybe put some bookshelves behind it? Or re-orient to use the short wall, though from your pictures that wouldn't really work with your layout.

HTH, FWIWFM, etc. - Don
 
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stunta

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Thread Starter #12
Don, it has been a long time (7 years or so) since my last serious speaker purchase where I went above $1K, so I started this thread to get some input on things to consider before clearing out $5K from your bank account. I was trying to avoid subjective impressions such as - "these speakers have a massive soundstage, are airy, great for jazz/electronics" etc... which are totally useless to me.

I have some challenges with the room and what I want to do with it. I have a projector screen (84" diagonal) that will go between the 2 mains and this system will double as stereo + HT 5.1. The seating area is fixed (built in) with custom upholstery so I can't move it. Initially I thought about adding a sofa perpendicular to the the current seating area and having the screen on the right side wall of the diagram, but that wall is too narrow given it is flanked by two storage niches. Using the existing seating area without an extra sofa also helps keep the space less cluttered.

it is best to not seat at the wall
I've never heard this before. Is this because of reflections off the back wall? Can sound absorption panels help with this?

That will really accentuate a range of frequencies, probably making the bass sound boomy and then give an "in the cave" effect as you move up in frequency.
This worries me. I will take some measurements with REW with the mic placed at the seating position and then also just outside of the alcove. I will do the same with my head before I take the measurements.

What are your walls made of?
The outer wall is fieldstone foundation. The previous owner installed a thin wood panel with 1 foot spacing from the foundation on the side where the diagram shows the main speakers. The wood panel runs around the room and separates it from the unfinished area of the basement which has a furnace, water heater, laundry etc.

I still have to worry about acoustically shielding the room from the noise of the furnace (in winter) and the dehumidifier (rest of the year) in the unfinished space.

Overall, given the limitations of the room, I expect the initial result to be far from ideal (no room is, but this one has some challenges). I plan on making incremental improvements over time.

Thank you for the great feedback so far. Much appreciated.
 

Kal Rubinson

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#13
The line currently is F208 -> F228Be -> Studio2 -> Salon2 for floorstanders. The F228Be is roughly the same price as the Studio2 and both use Be tweeters (as does the Salon2). Crossovers etc. are also different among them. I have not compared the F208 and F228Be, have only heard the F208 briefly, and never the Studio2. Opinions seem a bit varied on whether the step from F208 to F228Be is worth ~2x the price but a log of folk seem to be making the jump. Revel has stated the lines are designed to sound similar from top to bottom with the upper models providing "more" (more extending FR, greater output capability, etc.) My dealer told me one of the top Revel guys actually felt the F206 was the "swet spot" in the line for performance and affordability (I have F206's though not in use right now); I personally would have put the F208 at the sweet spot. In your case, I think F208's would more than do the job in that room.
:) I just spent a few days in LA at Harman with lots of listening in the labs as well as Chez Toole and Chez Voecks. Illuminating but not in a way that would shine useful light on your arguments. I am still digesting it all.
 

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#14
Also depends on whether you are going to use sub(s) or not. Like @Blumlein 88 said you can use the room sim in REW or here is another fun calculator that lets you see the room modes of your room and hear then too! Make sure you have the volume turned down if using you computer audio to output the sound. Just place the mouse in the graph and move side to side.

Your room has low modes at 47 Hz and 51 Hz. and bunched up a bit in the 90 Hz range. You could go with the F208 or F206 and add another Rel sub to smooth out the bass and pressurize the room a bit. But that adds another layer of complexity for placement, unless using DSP below 500 Hz. Decisions, decisions...

Can't go wrong with the Revel's though... a speaker design based on science.
 

Soniclife

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#15
The room SIM in REW let's you move the listening position as well, worth playing with. Consider if a movable chair can be put in front of the sofa for serious listening.
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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#16
Hi

One thing that happens often is the seating position.. it is best to not seat at the wall...

Seems to be the case here in the drawing you presented and this would apply to any speaker. Irrespective of speaker or/and its directivity characteristics ...Speaker positioning is relative to a Listening position. Is there a way to be off the back wall by perhaps 2 feet ... Even MC would benefit from that or turn the room/furnishing/speakers around and use the short wall ...?
I've never heard this before. Is this because of reflections off the back wall? Can sound absorption panels help with this?
I completely agree with @FrantzM. You want to get your ears away from the back wall.

Here is Dolby’s recommendation for 5.1:

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/surround-sound-speaker-setup/5-1-setup.html

DTS and the ITU spec used for 5.1 Mch are all nearly identical.

No, I don’t think sound absorption panels on the back wall will do the same job at all frequencies, and the speaker angles are important. So, you still need space between the sofa and the wall.

Also, it is not clear at what height your surrounds are. The mid and hi drivers should be at about ear level, unobstructed and not firing into the the sofa.

DSP Room EQ will likely provide major benefits, whether you use it full range or just in the bass below, say, 500 Hz. Trying to get the same benefits from absorption or other treatments is a difficult and involved crap shoot, especially in the bass.
 

DonH56

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:) I just spent a few days in LA at Harman with lots of listening in the labs as well as Chez Toole and Chez Voecks. Illuminating but not in a way that would shine useful light on your arguments. I am still digesting it all.
I am very curious to hear/read/whatever your impressions, Kal. (This is where I really wish I was around for RMAF this year to sit down and chat!) I will say I don't really consider any of the lines you quoted my arguments as I have too little experience to provide an adequate basis for debate; that would be the next paragraph, and that is just my own opinion. I'm going by what little I've heard and more by what I've read. I have spoken to several who do not like the Revel sound, I've no problem with that. And when I was considering my last purchase Kevin and Floyd provided almost polar opposite viewpoints of which way to jump. Ask the experts, then do what you want... I have immense respect for Dr. Toole but do go the other way on a few things. Different tastes.
 

mitchco

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#19
@Soniclife Yep, I spent way too many hours with that REW sim... :) It is very good! I found in the end, however, that the room calculator I linked too has a room 3D view that lets you quickly view the pressure zones for that room mode when you hover over it in the graph... In @stunta's case, those 51 Hz, 77, 101, 128 Hz etc room modes will dominate at the current seating position... @stunta if you can move the current seating position, great. If not, then you might consider using DSP to help alleviate, it will make a major difference in the bass response. Bass traps are useless under 100 Hz unless you stuff the room... OTOH, a diffuser panel above your couch would assist with the midrange...
 

DonH56

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#20
Don, it has been a long time (7 years or so) since my last serious speaker purchase where I went above $1K, so I started this thread to get some input on things to consider before clearing out $5K from your bank account. I was trying to avoid subjective impressions such as - "these speakers have a massive soundstage, are airy, great for jazz/electronics" etc... which are totally useless to me.

I have some challenges with the room and what I want to do with it. I have a projector screen (84" diagonal) that will go between the 2 mains and this system will double as stereo + HT 5.1. The seating area is fixed (built in) with custom upholstery so I can't move it. Initially I thought about adding a sofa perpendicular to the the current seating area and having the screen on the right side wall of the diagram, but that wall is too narrow given it is flanked by two storage niches. Using the existing seating area without an extra sofa also helps keep the space less cluttered.

I've never heard this before. Is this because of reflections off the back wall? Can sound absorption panels help with this?

This worries me. I will take some measurements with REW with the mic placed at the seating position and then also just outside of the alcove. I will do the same with my head before I take the measurements.

The outer wall is fieldstone foundation. The previous owner installed a thin wood panel with 1 foot spacing from the foundation on the side where the diagram shows the main speakers. The wood panel runs around the room and separates it from the unfinished area of the basement which has a furnace, water heater, laundry etc.

I still have to worry about acoustically shielding the room from the noise of the furnace (in winter) and the dehumidifier (rest of the year) in the unfinished space.

Overall, given the limitations of the room, I expect the initial result to be far from ideal (no room is, but this one has some challenges). I plan on making incremental improvements over time.

Thank you for the great feedback so far. Much appreciated.
I appreciate your posts and on-going participation here, but must tell you, hopefully without offense, that unless your hacker skills are good you will not be clearing out my bank account... ;) :D

Sounds like a tough situation. In a similar place in the past I used a director's chair placed about where the center ottoman is when I wanted to do serious listening. I am much less sensitive to the sound in movies, more focused n the video, probably a personality failing (one of many, ask my family).

A thin wood panel does not sound like a great thing for sound. Are you, can you, reinforce and insulate the paneling? I would insulate the mech room walls with rockwool or whatever and drywall the inner as well as outer walls. That will help isolation. As for the alcove, you'll have to see. My fears are based on past experiences and perhaps memory has emphasized the cons and suppressed the pros. But the math will show frequency response issues whenever you have a resonant cavity.

Speakers are a pretty personal choice IME/IMO. I have had Revel, Magnepan, and a myriad of others from small Mirage sats to big Infinity's and just about everything in between. I owned only maybe a half dozen or so different brands; most were just passing through when I worked in the biz or convinced a dealer to let me audition at home. I've a pretty good idea of what I like and don't but auditioning always brings surprises (good and bad). I think you'd be happy with the Revel's, but probably also happy with any number of other speakers. $5k puts you in a position to choose from a pretty wide selection. I like to audition a step below and above in price to get a better idea of what my dollar is buying. Is the speaker I want worth $xxx more than the model below, and is the model above really worth $yyy more? It's pretty subjective.

I like the science behind Revel, but other brands have it too, and some of my favorites are not at all liked by others. So many speakers have a particular "sound" in terms of frequency response and dispersion (radiation pattern) that writing about it is almost useless. Reading provides a starting point but you really have to listen. That said, I had not heard Salon2's before I bought them, not stocked locally, but had heard other models as well as several other speakers so I had an idea what to expect. And an understanding dealer if they didn't work out. I have a friend with big B&W's and have toyed with getting them several times through the decades; they just never seemed to quite "click" with me but many others really love them. And some definitely did not like the Maggies that lived as my mains for ~30 years. So many good choices these days...

/babbling mode off/
 
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