B & W N802's Vs Revel Studios Vs. Mezzo Utopias

I currently own B & W Nautilus 802's and wanting a change. I am considering the Revel Studios and The JM Labs Mezzo Utopias. I know the Mezzo Utopias are being replaced by new version and you can buy them at a great price. Am I making a mistake by selling the 802's and what do you guys think of the Revels and the Mezzo Utopias? Your input would be appreicated.
I am wondering why you want to make a change. The 802's are great speakers. I have heard them and while I personally chose the Revel studios, it seemed that these had somewhat similar characteristics. I am not sure if the studios are more competitive with the 801's. It would help to know why the change and what amps, cables, interconnects,and application.
The Mezzo Utopia are also nice speakers... but, see Ksales above!
I am categorically biased against B&W speakers, which (along with Linn) seem to be to be the hype story of the century.

I also own Mezzo Utopias.

That makes my recommendation pretty clear...and also pretty biased.

Listened to all three speakers mentioned, and preferred the Revels. It was a close call with the B&Ws though and I don't think going through the hassle would get you into another leage.
I have audition the [email protected] 802, 800, and Revel Studios. Preferred the Revels overall even over the N800. B&W had kinda of a lifeless sound compared to the Revel Studios which were much more dynamic and transparent.
Mezzo Utopia's all the way!!

I used to own a pair of Nautilus 805's along with a an HTM-1 and always thought that the B&W stuff was as good as it gets. I couldn't have been more wrong, because then I got to hear some JMlab speakers. I was blown away. I ended up selling my B&W stuff and getting a pair of JMlab Electra 906's and a 901 CC. To me they sound better in every way possible as compared to the B&W's. My only wish is that I could have afforded the some Utopia speakers instead.

Speaking specifically of the Mezzo Utopia's though. At a local shop here in Birmingham, they have a pair of JMlab Mezzo Utopia's setup with a CJ (Conrad-Johnson) PV10BL tube preamp and a CJ MF2250A 125 w/ch solid state amp. Right next to it in the same room they have a pair of B&W Nautilus 801's hooked up to a CJ PV14L tube preamp and a CJ MF2500A 250 w/ch solid state amp. Now you see the B&W has the better, more expensive preamp and amp, and they also use the same CD player. I took several CD's in to listen to one then the other right after to compare. It took all of 15 seconds into the first song to see that the difference between these speakers is like night and day. The Mezzo's sounded better in everyway I could think, surprisingly enough they even had more bass than the 15" drivers in the 801 could put out. I probably compared them for about 30 minutes with varying types of music, and everytime the Mezzo's came out the same. The owner of the shop told me that since they set this up not one single customer on one single song said they prefered the B&W 801's. Funny thing is that the 801's belong to the owner of the shop, he bought them a while back before he started this shop, now he is an authorized JMlab dealer. He is trying to sell his 801's at his shop as he has replaced them with Utopia's and that is why he set up this display. But as it turns out everyone who hears them ends up buying the Mezzo's instead.

Anyways, this has gotten kinda of long. Only other thing I'll say is that I've never heard the Revel's before to compare them, but I guarentee you that you won't be disapointed with the Mezzo's if you decide on them.

Good Luck,
[email protected]
I have not heard JM Labs but I would have to agree that the Revel Studio's and N802's are in the same league. I would not trade one for the other.
This is a good post I am still undecided between the 802, and Mezzo. I have heard them both but in different setup, listen to the 802 with classe, and jm lab in mcintosh, with the 802 setup it was awesome focus, separation and deep bass, the jm lab mezzo with mcintosh did not provide me with enough detail and tight bass and I don't think the mezzo was breaking in it was even brighter than the bw. Any more info will be greatly appreciated.
My experience with the N802's has been somewhat ambiguous. They are extremely revealing. I know I need to upgrade my top end before I can get a true sense of how well they can perform but I can say they sound awesome on well recorded material and down right invasive on poor recordings. At least that has been my experience.
I have owned the 802's within the last 6 months. I had them for two years in my home. I also had the Montana XP's and the Mezzo Utopias,all in my home for several months. To get the B&W issue out of the way,they are not even close to the Mezzos in any way what so ever. The Mezzos excel way above the B&W's. B&W has to be the best marketers in the world,"Stereophile Speaker of the year" there is more invloved there than speaker ratings,that's a gurantee. The B&W will suck every bit of life out of your amp and still remain slow in transitions. The Mezzo is quick and very easy to drive,a great combination for tube amps although I use them on solid state.The Mezzos bass is very fast and the midrange and tweeter are as good as any that exists with exception to the new JM Berylliums,they will set a new reference in speakers. The B&W tweeter lacks detail,it is vailed,its best point is its mid range and it is very slow due to the kevlar.JM's have the w sandwhich material which they hold a patent on and it's index of ridgidity is over 20 times higher than Kevlar for a woofer cone and 8 times higher for a midrange cone.It's mass is very low to produce fine detail and allow for maximum acceleration on transitions...in a nut shell,B&W's "claim to fame" Kevlar is ONE of the things that keeps them from keeping up with the highest end speakers.I will echo these statements against their 800 Signatures as well,they have improved them,but not to the level of the JM's,not even close.The Montanas will also perform at a level above the B&W,their weakness is their attention to detail in craftmanship,which has a negative effect on their resale.I could go on all day,of coarse there will be someone who will disagree with me because they heard the Nautilus compared to a pair of Definitive Technologys or a Paradigm down at their high end Radio Shack,thats ok too...I just call it like it is. I completely agree with Bishopwill,and Brandon blair is as right as it get's. I also owned the HTM 1 myself,don't waist your hard earned money,they will just use it to send a Stereophile editor to Hawaii! Kenan
Kenan, what equipment were you runnin with the B&Ws? I have no claiim on any of these speakers but I did hear the 802Ns with an ARC CD-3, LS-25 MKII and Ref II pre and Plinius 102 and they were very fast, detailed and through a hugh sound stage.

Just wonering.
I am running a Mark Levinson 336 amp,Levinson No.37 transport and 360S Dac,with a Pass Labs X1 pre amp. Cable selection too numerious to mention.Kenan
What do you guy think 802 or Mezzo? Looking for warm smooth, separtion and excellent basss. Equipment EMC_IISE, BAT VK-30SE, Pass Labs X250.
Goone, IMO none of the two speakers you mention get the prize for "warmth". I would EXPECT the Mezzo to sound better in clarity & bass with your Pass -- BTW, JM has used Alephs to check their speakers... As Brandon above, I too find that bigger B&Ws suck the life out of amps -- or conversely need extraordinary amounts of power to sing.
I have B&W N804's with Sound Anchor stands. I have been listening to several speakers over the past year to try and find one that could replace the B&W. If you are real about your search and you trust your ears, the search is fun and educational. I was able to hear Revel Studio's with the same amp as mine and this was almost my choice. But after an honest listen to my set-up at home and visualizing how they would look in my sound room and the added cost I decided to keep searcing. What I have sounds Great!! I know people may be biased, but I need to TRULY hear a strong difference to justify spending the extra cash. I have the money, my kids are finished with college and my retirement is set. I'm still working at a job I enjoy and they pay me well enough to take care of my family and still participate in this crazy hobby of ours. So what I'm trying to say is don't be in a hurry to replace your speakers just for the sake of making a change and don't make it a latteral move. Try playing with your room accoustics and try Sound Anchor stands or somthing else. But most importantly have fun!!!!! I did like the Wilson Sophias. My next adventure is Avalon and Eggleston Works. Peace and Good Listening,Pat.
Hi, I'v heard both speakers. To me the JM Lab Mezzo Utopias are better. I heard them on an unbelievable system, Krell Amps, Pass O1 preamp, Jadis JS 1 tube dac, with a separate tube power supply. There are like 4 tubes in the Jadis power supply, along with 2 tubes in the dac. Jadis JD 1 transport, MIT 850 speaker cables and MIT interconnects. The JM Lab sounded so articulate. The bass was fast and tight. What I really liked about these speakers was the crossover, the bass blended in so perfectly with the midbase driver. The midrange on these speakers is top notch. That Jadis dac is unbelievable sounding to. I heard the BW Nautilus 802 on an all Proceed system, Proceed 250 watt amp, Proceed preamp processor, Proceed CD Player. The Nautilus 802s have a nice articulate sound to. I just felt they lacked alittle bass. The bass response on the JM Lab Mezzo Utopias was so much better then the Nautilus 802s. I heard the Montana XP speakers. Personally, I dont like that Scanspeak Kelvar Midbase driver they use. The Montana's just sounded to edgy. I emailed the designer of Montana and told him to use the new Scanspeak 5 inch Revelator midbase drivers. Those drivers are light years better then the Scanspeak Kelvar drivers. The Kelvar midbase on the Nautilus speakers sounds really good. It has a warm articulate sound. I just think the Nautilus 802s lack bass.
I've listened to all 3 speakers before but only listened to the Studio's and Mezzo Utopia's extensively. The Studio's have a polite/laid-back midrange. They can play fairly loudly but represent a more difficult load than the Mezzo Utopia's. The studio's have excellent soundstage and imaging qualities (except in the treble). The studio's are accurate but harmonically lean, they'll reproduce the beginning of the note but not the decay. I describe the studios as clinical (as in dead), they get the notes right yet fail to present the essence of the music. The big problem that I have with the studios is that they are not coherent from the upper-midrange through the treble. They sound a little bright or tipped-up inspite of their laid-back nature. High-hats image in front of the band instead of behind. Careful component matching is a must with these speakers. Front and rear tweeters can be adjusted to some degree.

Mezzo Utopias on the other hand present a more musical/editorialized sound. The note decay seems to go on forever. Soundstage and imaging are at least up to the standards of the Studios. Coherency is excellent, with none of the problems the Studio's have. Bass is a little loose for my tastes, even when mated with an amp that has a high damping factor (800+). Microdynamics are excellent.
This speaker sounds best when reproducing acoustic instruments or cleanly amplified (no distortion) instruments where the listener can appreciate the big hall sound presented by the Mezzo Utopia's and the extended note decay/harmonics. Some good examples are Jesse Cook, Al Di Meola, Branford Marsalis, Miles Davis etc. With amplified instruments the sound will tend to sound smeared. This is true with most rock and pop recordings.

To sum it up. The studio's annoy me because of their lack of coherency. I enjoy listening to the Mezzo Utopia's with the proper source material, however their extended decay colors the sound and while I enjoy listening to them I would never buy them for their lack of accuracy.
Which one is warmer mezzo or 802?

So what are we to gleen from what you said? Don't buy either the Revels or the JM labs and keep the N802's. I am not sure what conclusion to draw from you statements. You seem to say that the Revels and the JM Labs suck in different ways. What speaker do you have and what are you suggesting that I do about my situation?
What I tried to do is give you an objective and incisive describion of the character of these speakers. Each of these speakers have strengths and weaknesses that should be taken into consideration before making a purchase. However, I think the best thing for you to do is take these comments and listen for yourself. If you like either of these speakers then your opinion and your money are the only two that need to be in agreement.
What I tried to do is give you an objective and incisive describion of the character of these speakers. Each of these speakers have strengths and weaknesses that should be taken into consideration before making a purchase. However, I think the best thing for you to do is take these comments and listen for yourself. If you like either of these speakers then your opinion and your money are the only two that need to be in agreement.
Jazzdude, no way did the Mezzo Utopias have a loose bass. The bass sounded upbeat and tight to me. The Aerial 10Ts and Mezzo Utopias bass response are the best I'v heard. I like the crossover better on the Mezzo Utopias then the Aerial 10ts. A loose bass response is the Legacy Focus.
Goone, the Mezzo is alittle bit warmer. Dont be fooled by the Nautilus using a Kelvar midbase. This midbase sounded warm and articulate. The Montana's on the other hand, which uses a Scanspeak kelvar midbase sounded to edgy to me.
Twilo, I said it was a little loose for my taste. If someone is spending 14k on a speaker then I think ANY overhang or loss of control in the woofer is unacceptable and that is what I have heard when listening to the Mezzo's. I am not saying the bass was REALLY loose, just a little, but more than I expect for a speaker that costs so much. I don't have any qualms with the bass extension of the Mezzo's.
I think Jazzdude's analysis was very helpful. I don't fully agree with his assessment of the Studio's, but not because he is wrong, but because there are other factors, which are so important to what one hears. He pointed out that equipment matching is very important. I agree as are acoustics and cable ect. My studios sound fantastic both detailed and great imaging. I found the midrange to be rather robust and the tweeters allow for adjustment which is really helpful for different settings. They sound better in my application than they did in many of the stores I demod them in. It was important to me to listen to them with different amps and cables. Also many retail outlets don't have adequate acoustics even though you would expect it with this level of product. I heard these paired with spectral amps and mit cable and while I found the sound detailed and quick felt it was two bright and that the midrange tended to do what Jazzdude pointed out.
In one setting I listened to them with Levinson 436's, which seem somewhat muddy. I was surprised and asked the salesperson whether something was wrong with the system and was told the cable and the speakers were just set up in the past day. There has been a lot of threads about the pros and cons of burn/breakin. When I went back a week later after telling the guy to break them in the sound was a world of difference. Where the spectrals were bright the 436s were more involving. Some have called them clinical, but I actually found them quite robust but a bit slower than some other amps. Loved them,but got something else. What's the point? Different equipment and environment are going to impact your speakers. These reviewers are giving you their impression with different equipment than yours and a different environment. Before dumping the speakers you have consider what is going to be the result of the replacement in your environment.
I listened to the Studios again this past weekend. They weren't nearly so clinical this time as they have been in the past. They will always have a little bit of a cool predisposition. The only thing that had changed was that the speakers had been moved apart about a foot and given some toe-in. Coherency issues still exist. I think TacT RCS would do wonders to address this issue.

FWIW, I am normally drawn speakers that are transparent and accurate. So my reaction to the Studios bothers me a little bit and has me searching for a reason. The only thing I can come up with (besides the coherency) is that the Studio's midrange leaves me wanting. I prefer something that is a little forward or has some midrange bloom. That kind of sound is more intimate where the studio's are more distant.

Enough introspection for me. Time for a beer and some tunes.
Has anyone ever heard a tube pre or tube amps with the Salon or Studio's? I wonder if the presentation would be less cool on top?
I use them with, among other combinations, the SF Line3/Power3 combination and do not find them cool at all. However, I have used them with SS amps/preamps that do make them a bit cool but those amps do not stay in the system.
I haven't heard them with tubes, but I have unique amps from Harmonic Precision which are designed to be very tube like. They are over 97% efficient with very little heat. I must admit that despite tremendous skepticism on my part they imparted a warmth to the studios I had not heard previously with many other high amps including ML,Spectral, and others.