I would pass on the B&W's. The revels and paradigm offer a much more accurate speaker for that range. But you really should listen to a few for yourself. Paradigms response is very flat in the upper frequencies which many people dont like or may see as too forward for them.
In response to Docks's comment. I have heard all of those speakers in question and all are fine products. I would not pass on the B&Ws or any of those speakers you mentioned with out listening to them over an extended period of time. Spend an hour with each speaker on different days. Buy the speaker that makes you always want to listen to one more song and not stop listening. Docks my not like the B&Ws, but you may like the B&Ws. It your purchase and you should buy the one you like best. Remember that the electronics can make or break your opinion of a speaker. If possible try using good and all the same electronics or at least one like the ones you already own. Keep an open mind and you will be rewarded with the results of your system.
B&W Matrix 804's, Look them up, I own a pair and am so satisfied. They do well under decent electronics and do great with great electronics. I have had them hooked up to tubes, High current Solid State, A pathos integrated, A surround sound reciever, and they are just listenable as all hell, They do it all from classical and jazz when my dad owned them to JIMI, Led Zeppelin, E-40, P-Funk and movies now that I own them. They dont fatigue you and replacement parts arent that expensive and still available. Pair these with 2 velodyne HGS12s and you have an awesome Speaker system that will be less than 2K. Thats MHO but they should sound good now and great later, throw in 2 awesome subs and youll be the happiest guy ever I think.
Revel Typically from what I have heard (Reviews and only one speaker Performa something) they would be too revealing for your system. I have never been that stoked with paradigm but I have never heard them set up properly so thats not really fair.
I am definetly biased toward the B&W's but look up the matrix 804, I really think its a great speaker that will grow over time with your system and they are pretty room friendly in my experience and Ive moved alot
some guy put it in his hall of fame to quote him
To me, this is one of the most significant speaker introductions of all time! It really hurt the flat panel speaker biz in our store. It was a small tower, imaged GREAT, sounded boxless, was efficient, had quite respectable bass. Finally, we had a smallish speaker SHE was happy to have and HE was thrilled to have. With separate Kevlar mid in its own enclosure and the open air tweeter, this marked the era where B&W started to leave the competition in the weeds!
Oh they do great for TV and movies, George Lucas started with the matrix line in skywalker sound is my understanding.
Also these were replaced with a pair of legacy focus 20/20's and the difference was underwhelming. I really think you would be hard pressed to find a better speaker for less than a grand or really less than 2 or 3 but the more you spend the more revealing your speakers are which wont be a good thing you need listenability and non fatiguing I would think.
Anyway they also made the HTM and 805's which you could pick up for just over a G and have an awesome surround system
Revel F12 is a great choice. As is the PSB Imagine T6. See reviews of both in the Stereophile archives. They are both true 3-way designs as is the Paradigm Studio 100.
Since I believe you'll need a subwoofer, depending on how loud you listen you may not really need a 3-way design in your room and you could save a little money by considering smaller floorstanding speakers. For example, the PSB Imagine T5.
I agree with others that have commented about not discounting B&W speakers. They make a fine product and if you like the sound that's all that matters.
I personally prefer the appearance of the PSB Imagine series over the Revel and Paradigm, but I don't think you can make a bad choice between them.
Listen to the PSB line if you get a chance. Great speakers for the price, and sometime highly discounted on this site.......
Agreed about PSB's - listen to those you've mentioned, but add PSB to the list. They won't necessarily be your choice in this price range, but they are mine.
thanks for the responses - i would have added some of the below thoughts initially, but seemed to have a word limit to the initial post
i have 3 kids 5 and under and auditioning is very difficult. furthermore, having no real experience listening to music on a high end system, i lack any real skills in this capacity. out of time necessity and the realization that i'm not sure i would trust my ears at this point, i am hoping to jump in and buy something soon (i have been reading online for many months)
revel f12s were recommended to me and i was fairly set to buy a pair. there are revel dealers in the area, but neither keep any in stock for me to listen to. in talking to one salesman he explained that he much preferred the b&w and suggested the 683s which i recently listened to. they sounded a damn sight better than what i have, but I'm not sure i want to spend 1500 on them. He spoke poorly of the revels, explaining that is why they do not carry them in the showroom. He specifically stated muffled highs/voices as a concern.
since i am such a novice at this i was hoping to buy something used and grow into it
i appreciate the b&w matrix suggestion, but i am wary of speakers on stands with my three little monsters running around. how much of a concern would that be? would i immediately need a sub if i bought monitors?
The B&W Matrix 804 Is a 3 way floor stander. The 805 is the monitor. I would highly recommend them as I have heard the newer B&W's and they just havent seemed enough better to justify spending the money VS. another component.
$1500 would get you a pair of 804's and a velodyne HGS-12 or other 500-700 sub. I would always recommend 2 subwoofers as it evens things out much better and smoothes the room curves.
You can totally play them without a subwoofer. There typically right about a 800-1000 sometimes a little less.
I just recommended subs because honestly they make life better they just do. I honestly think if you got a nice pair of floorstanders and one or 2 subs it would make your system go farthest toward toe tapping heaven.
Oh you watch movies and TV are you kidding YOU NEED A SUBWOOFER!!!! Get a decent one used and look it up thoroughly before purchasing. I promise you youll thank me. Movies and TV will be 100 times more awesome. Commercials will actually sound cool (its one of the reasons I dont have cable). I PROMISE YOU, FOR MOVIES AND TV YOULL LOVE A BIG HUGE SUB, Probably music 2
I've heard Revels, not the F12 mind you, but others in their line..."muffled highs and voices" is certainly not an accurate description of their sound IMHO. It sounds like the standard salesman-speak where they put down any speakers that they don't carry.
My reticence about Revel, when I heard them, was that they were a bit forward-sounding for me, with a hard/metalic-sounding top end. If the salesman's comments about the speakers were something like that, I might consider his opinion...in this case, based on what he said, I'd ignore him, and discount any advice he may have given.
It should be fairly easy in even any moderately-sized city to at least listen to other speakers within the same line of any PSB, Paradigm or Revel (or Focal for that matter) that you're considering - this is a lot of $$$ you're spending, you should really try to at least listen to the speaker lines with the same CD to get an idea of their characters.
If I had to simplify the differences between these lines' house sounds, Paradigm and Revel are more forward sounding with good weight in the bass. B&W are more relaxed with a focus on midrange, and PSB's are kind of in between the 2, with a more relaxed sound but better deep bass than the B&W's.
All fine speakers - Paradigm wear the "studio" name very well as they are very transparent, ruler flat and detailed.
I second PSB - full range speakers in a small package and they are very descent for the money. Another one to consider is Vandersteen 1c or 2ce, a bit ugly and big but good sounding.
You really need to check out the value leader speaker, (IMO)the Cerwin Vega XLS-215. I'll just state, outstanding
bang for the buck. Can be had @ $1200 with free shipping.
Don't let the name scare you! I just recently had and sold
a pair of B&W 802 Diamonds, and have owned hundreds of high end speakers from single driver to electrostats so I have
been around the block a few times. And they are very amp flexible, as they are at home with my Peachtree Decco, and my Emotiva XPA-2. 40 & 300 W/PC
For your price range, I hardly think you can do better for a "all around" speaker. Check em out on CV's website and read the reviews.
If you are considering used Revel speakers, also consider the F-30 in your price range. I haven't heard the F-12's, but thought the F-30's bettered the similar vintage Paradigm Studio 100's (V2?). The other choices mentioned are worthy of consideration.
Go listen to some new and improved BOSE 901 series 6 version 2's. I think they are among the best on the market "at any price" !..
thanks for the matrix rec - wife came down with a hard veto due to the exposed tweeter , however. buying those used would be appealing to me, oh well.
the salesman who disparaged the revels is a revel dealer and the only location within 100 miles i could hear them. he sells them, but does not carry them as he much prefers the b&w 683s.
my current plan is to try to listen to some psb's, vandersteens, and paradigms and get a sense of the general sonic differences. i will try to read about the cv's.
thanks for the input
I auditioned the Revels,Paradigm's & B&W's. I favored(and bought) the Revels. You need to listen and decide for yourself.
Check out the older focal Electra's, They sound great and a very easy on the old lady
just got back from some auditioning. i still cannot listen to the revels as the local dealers do not carry them on hand. I listened to vandersteen 1c, paradigm studio 60, psb imagine T5, and B&W 683s.
I really like the vandersteens - very open. I am a bit concerned about how they would perform in HT applications.
The paradigms were the most dynamic and powerful and i liked them quite a bit as well, a bit unfair as they are 2x the price of the others (except the B&W)
The B&W's were my least favorite - not quite as open and engaging as the V's for some reason
I was impressed with the psb's, particularly at a 900$ price point.
for music i'd probably rank them: V1c, paradigm, psb, b&w
So, i am perhaps as confused now as when i began auditioning. I really like the idea of buying used, not only to save money but also I am just not sure how well i will be able to tell the difference between a 1k and a 2k speaker.
In this regard, paradigms might be the most logical choice = studio 60 v3 seem to go on sale fairly frequently for 500-750$
Please forgive the rambling, i do have 3 ?s
1. any major reasons not to buy used?
2. will i be disappointed with the vandersteen 1c for HT
3. if i bought a pair of used vandersteen 2c/2ce etc, can my receiver power them? the sensitivity is 86 db (vs 90 or greater for all the others)
thanks for all your responses and help
One reason not to buy used is that it sounds like you've got a local dealer who demonstrates nice gear and whose continued existence you might want to invest in. Just a thought.
Add NHT to the list. The classic 3's are excellent bookshelf's. The Classic 4 and absolute tower are excellent towers. I recently purchased and the b10-d sub and also really enjoy it.
I agree with Hesson11, support your local dealer if you possibly can and be glad he is still in business.
All sound so different. My tastes run B&W 8XX series. The little 805's are a steal and will eventually migrate into your main system! Those must be on a factory stand to work right!
My B&W 805s have been in and out of my main system (with a sub). I think with B&W stands they are tough to beat for flexibility, stereo staging, and the ability to play really, really loud! Plus, they look very nice and non obtrusive in almost any decor, if that matters.
The absolute best bang for the buck is the B&W 683's...for $1500 a pair and spec's reflective of it's more expensive brother, the 804....yeah, give them a listen!
The other consideration will be placement in your room. Whatever you buy will ahve the potentail to satisfy you, but also disappoint depending on your room placement restrictions. Jammed in a corner against walls = bad, pulled out somewhat into the room (to varying degrees) = good - as a general rule. Be sure that as you listen, you at least notice the positioning of the speakers in relation to others you audition. If at all possible, position what you listen to in close approximation to how they'll be in your room. The room is an important factor in what you buy. hardwood or carpet? sparse furniture or heavy 'overstuffed' couches, things like that. At least one sub is a must for movies. You can get by without for a while, but once you do buy one and set it up right you'll wonder how you did without.
I personally believe any of the speakers you've mentioned could prove very satisfying. I'm new on this journey as well, and have learned that electronics can bring out the best in speakers (or hinder them), and to be blunt, I'm not sure it'll matter much which of the ones you've listened to you buy, I think you'll be happy. Those of us reading your posts have our opinions based on our tastes and experience, and we're happy to share (I like PSB's, B&W, Focal, and Vandersteens too), but the setup in your room, and the associated electronics will be a big factor. If you have little experience, as you say, ignorance might be bliss to a degree - I keep listening to more and more speakers as I contemplate my upgrade, and keep hearing new nuances as I go up the price scale. I agree with those suggesting buying from your dealer to support him. He may be willing to agree a home trial (some do, some don't, some reserve that for 5-figure purchases), as that's the final arbiter of the sound - how they sound TO YOU in YOUR room, with your wife looking at them.
Let your ears be the judge.....I have owned bookshelf speakers from Paradigm ,B&W, PSB,KEF and enjoyed them all.
My current speaker is the Revel M106. I listened to them for about five minutes and knew they were just right for me. Great little speaker but need a sub like any small speaker for satisfying full range sound. If you are patient you could buy a pair used and still have some of your budget left for a sub. The Revel M22 is a great speaker too that are starting to pop up used.
A buddy of mine has a pair of B&W 805 and I think the M106 sound better, but like anything that is a matter of taste.
What about the SVS Ultra Towers. Well reviewed and they seem to have a generous trial period and free shipping both ways if you don't like them. Just another option.
Listen to the RX series of Monitor Audio. They are the only one in this pricerange who use crossovers which can make a deep and wide image like only the best highend speakers can. 2nd they use thicker and more heavy cabinets than there competitors. 3th they have the fastest response with the speakerunists they use. With Onkyo it is a very good combo. Just take a listen, all I can say!!