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Revel Studio 2 vs Focal Sopra 2

pcarnut

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I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on one of these two speakers and had a couple of concerns that I could use some advice with please. Especially if you own or have auditioned them both.

So, I'm in my 60's and have tinnitus and will be playing these at low to moderate volume, no need for high SPL, want to preserve what hearing I've got left.

1. Will one of these give me a fuller sound at low volumes? I've heard anecdotally that the Revels prefer more volume to really sing, plus the Focals look to be more sensitive, i.e. 87.7 db for the Revels vs 91 for the Focals. (I'll be using a Parasound A21+, so perhaps the sensitivity part is a non-issue.)
But regardless, will one work better at lower volumes?

2. Will one of these work better near walls? i.e. easier to dial in to the room, less finnicky about where it's positioned? I can only pull out about 2 feet from my front wall so that limitation is on my mind.

3. And last, does one of these have a wider sound stage? Reviews indicate they both disperse well, what's been your experience once they're home with you?

Thanks!
 

Kal Rubinson

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1. Will one of these give me a fuller sound at low volumes? I've heard anecdotally that the Revels prefer more volume to really sing, plus the Focals look to be more sensitive, i.e. 87.7 db for the Revels vs 91 for the Focals. (I'll be using a Parasound A21+, so perhaps the sensitivity part is a non-issue.)
But regardless, will one work better at lower volumes?
I have had both the Studio2 and the Sopra 3 in my room (but not at the same time). I would suspect that the Sopra 3 (or 2) woud give you fuller sound at lower volumes because of their higher sensitivity and also because the Sopras have higher output in the range up to 200Hz compared with their output from 500-5kHz.
2. Will one of these work better near walls? i.e. easier to dial in to the room, less finnicky about where it's positioned? I can only pull out about 2 feet from my front wall so that limitation is on my mind.
Front wall distance should not be a problem with either speaker.
3. And last, does one of these have a wider sound stage? Reviews indicate they both disperse well, what's been your experience once they're home with you?
Again, my personal experience is with the Sopra 3 and soundstage width was quite good but I felt that the soundstage depth was less than hoped for. The Studios excel in both......................in my room.
 

Hephaestus

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Hi there,

I don’t have experience from either speaker but can offer some information you may find useful:

1. Fuller sound at lower volumes - ”Dynamic Volume control” would be the solution here. DAC/pre with feature that boosts bass at lower volumes. RME offers this feature in some of their DACs to my knowledge.

2. Proper solution to this is equalisation to compensate boundary gain. Additionally you can smooth out modal resonance peaks

3. Revel speakers are safe bet if you prefer neutral sound with wide soundstage.
 
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pcarnut

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Thank you both!

Kal, I read your review of the Studio 2s back in 2008 which is one of the primary reasons for them being one of my two choices. And if I'm not mistaken you bought a pair for yourself, do you still have them?

These speakers have now been out 13 years, would you still rate them as highly given advances in design and in light of your comment in the review of "less-than-overwhelming soundstage spread"?

When looking at Stereophile's 2020 recommended speakers, the Studio 2 was in the Full Range A category, but the Sopra 3s (and by extension I assume the 2s would likely fall there also) were in the Restricted Extreme LF category. Since both these speakers are at the same price point, would this make the Studios a better buy (i.e. more bang for the buck?) I will admit to liking the form factor of the Sopras over the Studios, but within reason, I think function comes over form.

And lastly, I was told today by a dealer who sells both these speakers, that he thought the Sopras would probably be a little less fatiguing for extended listening. Would you agree?
 
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Kal Rubinson

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Kal, I read your review of the Studio 2s back in 2008 which is one of the primary reasons for them being one of my two choices. And if I'm not mistaken you bought a pair for yourself, do you still have them?
Actually, no, I do not still have those. However, after years in the wilderness, I bought three new Studio2s in 2019 and, yes, I still have those.:)
These speakers have now been out 13 years, would you still rate them as highly given advances in design and in light of your comment in the review of "less-than-overwhelming soundstage spread"?
Yes but that minor foible fades to insignificance because I use 3 of them in a 5 channel system.
When looking at Stereophile's 2020 recommended speakers, the Studio 2 was in the Full Range A category, but the Sopra 3s (and by extension I assume the 2s would likely fall there also) were in the Restricted Extreme LF category.
Those classifications are made by the Editor, not by me.
And lastly, I was told today by a dealer who sells both these speakers, that he thought the Sopras would probably be a little less fatiguing for extended listening. Would you agree?
No. I believe that such an opinion might be honest but it is not objective. He would say that are less bright/less forward but I say they are somewhat dim and a bit recessed. Which is "less fatiguing for extended listening?" For me, the Revel (of which I never tire) but, for him, the Sopra (which I I found unfulfilling). For you?
 

tico

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I have had both the Studio2 and the Sopra 3 in my room (but not at the same time). I would suspect that the Sopra 3 (or 2) woud give you fuller sound at lower volumes because of their higher sensitivity and also because the Sopras have higher output in the range up to 200Hz compared with their output from 500-5kHz.

Front wall distance should not be a problem with either speaker.

Again, my personal experience is with the Sopra 3 and soundstage width was quite good but I felt that the soundstage depth was less than hoped for. The Studios excel in both......................in my room.
Hi there. I am new to this forum (or really any forum). Very happy that one exists and especially happy that kal is on it. I too read your review on the studio2s and pulled the trigger. I am in absolute love with these speakers. I did, however, come across an issue now on two occasions. The tweeter on one speaker started to make a scratchy, electrical sound on piano—really only on solo piano when not masked by other instruments. I had them replaced and then maybe a year later, I heard distortion in the other tweeter that actually was in the recording but made me go close (which I try not to do in fear of hearing distortion lol) and same thing going on with this one now. Again, only with solo piano and for this tweeter, you have to be rather close to hear it but it is there pretty consistently. EVERYTHING else is pristine. I’m in the process of revel sending my a replacement tweeter but I find this hard to believe. I did the painstaking process of ruling out the components etc. I definitely do not drive them hard as my room is more on the smaller side and I am running them with reference components from simaudio. With it happening on both now, I wonder if this is something within its normal limits and that eventually there will be a bit of the same on the other tweeter that was replaced?? A local equipment repair guy had mentioned that he has had to deal with failure of modern tweeters quite often. He then said that since Harmon is now run by Samsung, there have been some quality control issues? Any thoughts would be great and please don’t go listen for defects in your studios lol…I’m tired of chasing rabbit holes…other than this these speakers are marvelous. Thank you for reading and sorry for the long post! Exciting to hear your wisdom on the matter!
 

Kal Rubinson

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Hi there. I am new to this forum (or really any forum). Very happy that one exists and especially happy that kal is on it. I too read your review on the studio2s and pulled the trigger. I am in absolute love with these speakers. I did, however, come across an issue now on two occasions. The tweeter on one speaker started to make a scratchy, electrical sound on piano—really only on solo piano when not masked by other instruments. I had them replaced and then maybe a year later, I heard distortion in the other tweeter that actually was in the recording but made me go close (which I try not to do in fear of hearing distortion lol) and same thing going on with this one now. Again, only with solo piano and for this tweeter, you have to be rather close to hear it but it is there pretty consistently. EVERYTHING else is pristine. I’m in the process of revel sending my a replacement tweeter but I find this hard to believe. I did the painstaking process of ruling out the components etc. I definitely do not drive them hard as my room is more on the smaller side and I am running them with reference components from simaudio.
Well, I hope the replacement solves the problem. Have you tried exercising the treble control as such physical devices can get contaminated contacts which could be the fault?

That said, I have heard something on rare occasions that is, perhaps, similar from my left Studio2 and not the center or right one. However, it is not consistent even with the same recordings and so I tend to ignore it and attribute it to my aging ears and mind. What I have done is, first, fiddle with the treble control in an attempt to minimize it but that only dulls the overall balance. What seems to work (although only because I have not heard the sound since doing it) is to use DiracLive with Harman's recommended correction curves.
With it happening on both now, I wonder if this is something within its normal limits and that eventually there will be a bit of the same on the other tweeter that was replaced?? A local equipment repair guy had mentioned that he has had to deal with failure of modern tweeters quite often. He then said that since Harmon is now run by Samsung, there have been some quality control issues? Any thoughts would be great and please don’t go listen for defects in your studios lol…I’m tired of chasing rabbit holes…other than this these speakers are marvelous.
Dunno. I've heard it only on one speaker and not in quite a while. I doubt this has anything to do with Samsung as I suspect that all Studio2 production preceded their involvement.
 

tico

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Thanks so much for the reply. Really appreciate it. I know piano is one of the hardest if not the hardest to reproduce. Everything else out of that tweeter is pristine. Interesting point about the treble control. Will play around. It is definitely something I can live with but because it’s under warranty for another 2 months, might as well use it. But at end of day, really beginning to come to terms that nothing is perfect and to be happy with what you have. I think after this change, if anything comes up that is not consistent or distracting from listening chair, I will do the same as you and ignore it. Thanks so much. Lots of tough lessons in this hobby lol.
 

tico

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Well, I hope the replacement solves the problem. Have you tried exercising the treble control as such physical devices can get contaminated contacts which could be the fault?

That said, I have heard something on rare occasions that is, perhaps, similar from my left Studio2 and not the center or right one. However, it is not consistent even with the same recordings and so I tend to ignore it and attribute it to my aging ears and mind. What I have done is, first, fiddle with the treble control in an attempt to minimize it but that only dulls the overall balance. What seems to work (although only because I have not heard the sound since doing it) is to use DiracLive with Harman's recommended correction curves.

Dunno. I've heard it only on one speaker and not in quite a while. I doubt this has anything to do with Samsung as I suspect that all Studio2 production preceded their involvement.
Is there any way to upload a video?
 
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