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Revel M106 upgrade from Dali Oberon 1 - rookie subjective impressions

Dalprad

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So, I've been enjoying this site for about a year. And low and behold my system is now entirely composed of products praised in these hallowed halls. This includes a clean Yamaha RX-596 I picked up for $50 (and always run with the pure direct and cd direct engaged). I also I have a WIIM pro running through an SMSL SU-1. And now, I have the Revel M106 speakers that I grabbed on sale and open box for a nice price. Fairly budget system when you do all the math, even though the speakers were still a chunk of cash. For my source I use Tidal, and the WIIM pro now recognizes the FLAC tracks in Tidal Connect so I think I'm doing pretty well there.

The meat of this post is the experience of moving from the Dali Oberon 1's up to the Revel M106. Well, I now understand what "neutral" sound means. Without having to A/B the speakers I noticed a stark difference in the way higher frequencies are treated differently with these two speakers. Gone was the immediate sizzle of boosted highs, replaced with a much more natural sound. With a little comparison, I can understand the "fatigue" people talk about with brighter speakers. The Revels are very easy to listen to for a long time and never do I feel the need to turn them down. While I sometimes think I'm missing some upper end due to my familiarity with the Dali's dialed up treble, I soon notice it is replaced with clarity in every other area of the frequence range. Not sure the words to use, but realistic and broadly detailed come to mind. I have nothing negative to say about the Revels.

All that said, I am still pretty impressed with the Dali's for their size and price. If used as prescribed (pointed straight ahead not toed in) they are impressive speakers. Yeah, they are brighter.. but not obnoxiously so. And the low end is tight, albeit not deep. For moderate volumes that I play in my apartment, I would not say the difference between the sound quality and usefulness of these speakers is enormous. There is an easily noticeable, but not startling improvement. I am certain at louder volumes the gap would widen significantly. My room is too small fully benefit from the levels these speakers can push. Not to mention the neighbors.

Anyway, in case there is someone out there looking to upgrade their Dali's, now you know what to expect. And if you only have $600 to spend and a small apartment, the Dali's are great unless you absolutely can't tolerate the bump in brightness. If you only listen at ultra low volumes, the Dali's are probably a better choice. Beyond that, I think you will greatly appreciate the pure quality of the Revel's if you upgrade. Trying not to use goofy words here, but it's a sophisticated sound that does not need tricks to impress. They are undeniably excellent.
 

Davide

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I listened to the Revel M16s in the shop when I was looking and from memory they were very neutral but also not very engaging (as well as not aesthetically beautiful).
In fact I liked my Dali Opticon better (out of the box), mostly for the midrange with a musical something.
But these comparisons are worth nothing in truth... there are too many variables.
In your case it's good that you compared it in the same listening room, even if you go by memory if I understand.
To make the comparison more valid and better define the differences between the two speakers, it would be interesting for them to be corrected with the same target, otherwise the different FR play a big role in perception.
From my experience in room response out of the box is not a such a robust parameter of comparison.
 

JohnnyNG

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Trying not to use goofy words here, but it's a sophisticated sound that does not need tricks to impress. They are undeniably excellent.
I just passed the 2-year mark with my M106 and heartily agree.
 

bodhi

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I listened to the Revel M16s in the shop when I was looking and from memory they were very neutral but also not very engaging (as well as not aesthetically beautiful).
In fact I liked my Dali Opticon better (out of the box), mostly for the midrange with a musical something.
If my memory servers me correctly, the Opticons have the most neutral FR of the Dali's normal people models up to and including the Epicon.

If I had infinite room for multiple setups I could have kept the Opticon 2s I had for relaxed background listening purposes. Very relaxing and non-fatiguing sound.
 
OP
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Dalprad

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I listened to the Revel M16s in the shop when I was looking and from memory they were very neutral but also not very engaging (as well as not aesthetically beautiful).
In fact I liked my Dali Opticon better (out of the box), mostly for the midrange with a musical something.
But these comparisons are worth nothing in truth... there are too many variables.
In your case it's good that you compared it in the same listening room, even if you go by memory if I understand.
To make the comparison more valid and better define the differences between the two speakers, it would be interesting for them to be corrected with the same target, otherwise the different FR play a big role in perception.
From my experience in room response out of the box is not a such a robust parameter of comparison.
I actually still have both sets of speakers right next to each other! What I meant to convey was that I noticed the difference prior to doing the A/B comparison. There is an initial pleasing boost in high frequency and perceived clarity with the Dali, but it becomes evident that it's a little too much. I don't hate it, it's just true. I still think they are enjoyable to listen to.
 

Davide

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I actually still have both sets of speakers right next to each other! What I meant to convey was that I noticed the difference prior to doing the A/B comparison. There is an initial pleasing boost in high frequency and perceived clarity with the Dali, but it becomes evident that it's a little too much. I don't hate it, it's just true. I still think they are enjoyable to listen to.
If you have the opportunity, it would be interesting if you tried matching (approx.) the frequency responses to see if any major distinguishing factors remain.
 
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Dalprad

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If you have the opportunity, it would be interesting if you tried matching (approx.) the frequency responses to see if any major distinguishing factors remain.
I don't have roon or anything. How would I do that? There is a basic eq in the wiim.
 

nygafre

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If my memory servers me correctly, the Opticons have the most neutral FR of the Dali's normal people models up to and including the Epicon.

If I had infinite room for multiple setups I could have kept the Opticon 2s I had for relaxed background listening purposes. Very relaxing and non-fatiguing sound.
Did you EQ the Opticons? I like the 2 MK2’s quite a bit.. felt I picked up a little bit of overemphasis/‘boomy’ bass when I auditioned them, but all else good. Could easily be corrected though.

I have a very similar impression of the Spektor 2’s; nice for casual/background listening.
 

tw 2022

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Nice review... I'm glad a newer hobbyist was able to convey that the " big" upgrade turned out to be proper FR That lead to clarity... Cause generally that's what "upgrade" involves when comparing bookshelf speaker vs bookshelf speaker...clean response and a decent sub = "good" most of the time...
 

Davide

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For the record, I closed the reflex port on my Opticon 2 MK2s because don't need low extension with 2 subs. I also added some soundproofing (the rear wall otherwise lacks it).
There is certainly less fake HiFi effect and more cleanliness.
One day I will try to replace the LFP inductor to see if there is any benefit with the low hysteresis driver... but doubt I can hear differences.
The thread however made me want to try the M126Be!
 
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