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Revel Salon2, B&W 802 D3, or similarly priced speakers + Benchmark chain?

SplitTime

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#1
I’m looking to upgrade speakers, and that’ll also require amp upgrades at a minimum. I have heard the B&W 802 D3 and I like them in isolation; but I haven’t been able to compare them to anything of similar quality. I finally found a place that has Revel Salon2 speakers I can listen to. I’m planning to go check those out this weekend. So, to first order, I’m thinking about a pair of either the Salon2 or 802-D3 speakers. Was thinking I’d upgrade the digital chain to Benchmark DAC3-B, LA4, AHB2s to drive the speakers - which should pretty much make the speakers (or the room setup) the weak link.

At this point I pretty much exclusively listen to digital music (no tape or vinyl.) I do not stream digital music (Spotify, Tidel.) If I like something, then I buy it and add the songs I like to my own playlists. Most of my content is stereo, but I do have a few 5.1 surround SACDs that I think are extremely good mixes. So while my primary target here is a really good stereo setup, something that is expandable later to 5.1 would be a very nice option. I’d also like the option to add vinyl and/or tape playback options. While I will often be by myself and able to sit in “the sweet spot” - I really desire a speaker with much less directional sensitivity so that I can have 3-4 people listening & enjoying the music at the same time.

Any issues with a setup like that? Will the AHBs be sufficient to drive those speakers to “reasonable” listening levels? Feedback on the speakers? Are there other speaker options that sound better in the same price point range? Suggestions on a sub (is it really needed with the aforementioned speakers?)

I have a dedicated room. Ceilings are a standard 8’ but it is a large, open, finished basement.

Thanks in advance for the feedback. Also, many thanks to Amir for his testing efforts and creating the site for all of us!
 

DonH56

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#3
Warning: Purely subjective opinion follows!

I have heard many B&W's over the years but never quite convinced myself to buy them. Just never quite got over their house curve, and they never seemed to have a real smooth transition through the midrange region to me -- the image/timbre seemed to wander a bit as instruments and singers run up and down the scale. I have not heard the D3's, though a friend has original Diamonds and I did listen to the 802 D2's a for a little bit, but ultimately I am happy with my Salon2's. For whatever reason (spins indicate a large part of the reason) they just sounded better to me. And the price jump from D2 to D3 was quite a hit. That said, a lot of people whose opinions I respect like B&W, and I would not argue against them; rather, I'd argue that auditoning them is best, if not in your own system at least in similar systems and rooms to compare.

FWIWFM - Don
 

blueone

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#4
I'm with Don.

I'd be careful with the 800D2s & 802D2s. More than once I've heard them have euphonic coloration, especially for female voices to my ears, that can make them sound what seems like "better", or perhaps more exciting, on some recordings than more neutral speakers. If it's possible for you, I'd recommend making a recording of multi-octave scales on a piano and playing it during the auditions. You may find that on the B&Ws some notes noticeably stand out.

Anecdotal evidence from more than one person I know says the 802D3s are more neutral than the previous generations, but I've never heard them myself.
 

direstraitsfan98

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#6
For reasonable listening levels, mono ABH2 would be sufficient. I would hesitate using a single one, with an 86dB sensitivity rating, you're looking at 256W of power needed for 110dB SPL. Which is high, but there is some musical content with peaks that loud. What I'm more concerned about is the current draw the speaker will be needing, since there is quite a sophisticated crossover inside the Salon2 that no doubt is a power hug from 30hz-1khz which is actually a huge portion of the energy content in a lot of music.

If you plan on using subwoofers and having the subs take over below 80hz and running the Salon2's only above 80hz, you could get away with a single Benchmark amp for sure.

Have you considered the JBL Synthesis 4367? I've seen several pairs for sale in the past 6 months for $8,000USD brand new in box. Which is probably $3-5K less then what a dealer would sell a Salon2 for. I'm unsure how much dealers sell discounted/open box Salon2's for, but it's probably a lot more than $8K. They're my speaker and I wouldn't get rid of them for anything. I think they sound better than even B&W 800D3, though, the only setup I heard the 800 D3 at was in a crowded dealer room. I have not, however, heard the Salon2.

Good luck with your audio purchases. I was in your situation a year and a half ago. If I could do it all over, I wouldn't have changed anything I did.
 

direstraitsfan98

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#8
Way overpriced. Consider some Aerials if you're looking at monkey coffins.
I'd say the Aeriel 7T speakers are over priced compared to the Salon2's. The sides of the cabinet look nice, but front and baffle and the rears of the cabinet are not very pretty, and the overall fit and finish of the Salon2 is on a completely different level from the 7T. ps. What's a monkey coffin?
 
OP
SplitTime

SplitTime

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Thread Starter #9
For reasonable listening levels, mono ABH2 would be sufficient. ...
If you plan on using subwoofers and having the subs take over below 80hz and running the Salon2's only above 80hz, you could get away with a single Benchmark amp for sure.
No problem running a sub - but I really do not have any idea what sub would be good at all. So much to learn about. The little I’ve poked around at looking at subs seems to suggest I could just buy the second AHB2 (one for each speaker in mono mode) for roughly the same price?? Maybe people will chime in with what sub they run with Salon2s?

Have you considered the JBL Synthesis 4367?
I did read the other thread where these were discussed at length, along with the M2. I eliminated the M2 when I realized they required ML Crown amps (and a separate room with ventilation to hide the fan sounds.) I did poke around a bit at the 4367 - but it seems there’s no way to demo them to Don’s suggestion — at least not locally. So, I’d certainly consider them if I could demo them. I’m somewhat skeptical of purchasing “used” speakers sight unseen (seems there are still some out there for $8,000 but perhaps not really new.) Claims of new speakers in boxes unopened (but with holes and crunched corners.) I knew a bunch of guys thrashing motorcycles and then selling them as ”always garaged; never raced; never down...” once they were spent.

If I could do it all over, I wouldn't have changed anything I did.
That’s fantastic to hear; congratulations! Hopefully I’ll be able to say the same thing in another year. :)


I really appreciate the feedback everyone!
 
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Kal Rubinson

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#10
I have recent
I'd say the Aeriel 7T speakers are over priced compared to the Salon2's.
Agreed. The 3-way, 2 woofer 7Ts are more similar to the Studio2, the F228Be or the F208.

FWIW, I use an AHB2 mono with each of my three Studio2s.
 
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LDKTA

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No problem running a sub - but I really do not have any idea what sub would be good at all. So much to learn about. The little I’ve poked around at looking at subs seems to suggest I could just buy the second AHB2 (one for each speaker in mono mode) for roughly the same price?? Maybe people will chime in with what sub they run with Salon2s?


I did read the other thread where these were discussed at length, along with the M2. I eliminated the M2 when I realized they required ML amps (and a separate room with ventilation to hide the fan sounds.) I did poke around a bit at the 4367 - but it seems there’s no way to demo them to Don’s suggestion — at least not locally. So, I’d certainly consider them if I could demo them. I’m somewhat skeptical of purchasing “used” speakers sight unseen (seems there are still some out there for $8,000 but perhaps not really new.) Claims of new speakers in boxes unopened (but with holes and crunched corners.) I knew a bunch of guys thrashing motorcycles and then selling them as ”always garaged; never raced; never down...” once they were spent.


That’s fantastic to hear; congratulations! Hopefully I’ll be able to say the same thing in another year. :)


I really appreciate the feedback everyone!
The JBL M2s do not require ML amplifiers. I’ll more than likely be running mine with Crown amplifiers. I would highly, highly recommend that you go with the Salon2s + Benchmark components.
 
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#14
B&W 800 are "hifi magazine" speakers, very bold sound but tiring in the long run. Far from neutral. Had the N802 and the MF/HF would never blend as it should, not to mention they would only sing with an arc welder, otherwise the bass was lacking.
 

Purité Audio

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#16
You might also look at the new generation of active speakers, Kii THREE and Dutch&Dutch 8Cs, full range, cardioid, perfect step,group, phase, constant directivity etc etc.
Recently p/exd’ a pair of Salon 2s for some Dutch&Dutch 8Cs.
Keith
 

blueone

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#17
If you plan on using subwoofers and having the subs take over below 80hz and running the Salon2's only above 80hz, you could get away with a single Benchmark amp for sure.
Just saying, but IMO crossing over Salon2s at 80Hz appears to be wasting much of the investment in Salon2s. Much of the cabinet cost is the ported construction for the three rather expensive-looking woofers, not to mention the passive crossover with a 150Hz 4th-order L-R design. That crossover can't be cheap. So all of that complexity for not even an octave from 80Hz to 150Hz when crossed to subs? Why get Salons2s at all for that configuration?
 

direstraitsfan98

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Just saying, but IMO crossing over Salon2s at 80Hz appears to be wasting much of the investment in Salon2s. Much of the cabinet cost is the ported construction for the three rather expensive-looking woofers, not to mention the passive crossover with a 150Hz 4th-order L-R design. That crossover can't be cheap. So all of that complexity for not even an octave from 80Hz to 150Hz when crossed to subs? Why get Salons2s at all for that configuration?
I don't know why you'd want to do it, but a lot of people do. I'm not sure if they all do it at 80hz, perhaps 40hz would be better. I think you might want to have the subs take over at 30hz, Revel states -0.5dB at 29hz, but that number is optimistic at best, and misleading at worst.
 

anmpr1

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#19
FWIW: I never heard a B&W speaker I'd pay the asking dollars for. Not my kind of sound. Of course few here like my kind of sound, so it goes both ways. You need to get the dealer to give them to you, and live with each for a couple of weeks. In your room. Forget the charts. It's the only way to really be sure. When I bought my speakers the dealer told me to take them for a month. Then, if I didn't like them, find a way to get them back to him undamaged. No questions asked.

FWIW-2: I considered Revel speakers for their sophistication, but decided that if I was going to do that I'd want another AHB amplifier. I think that's probably true for B&W. At these prices and at these sophistication levels you don't want to run out of horsepower. I wouldn't think.
 

amirm

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#20
I have a sub which I have not bothered to connect with my Salon 2 system. There is more than enough bass and in the large room I have, together with EQ, room modes is not a concern either. The bass goes quite deep.
 
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