Best amp for natural timbre of unamplified acoustic instruments & vocals w/ Revel F32?
Because these are ceramic and titanium they can sound hard, thin and sterile. But they need solid state probably because they are inefficient and for bass control. I like tubes but what are your experiences?
I have been using an McIntosh MC402 with mine for years now and have been very pleased. I currently use a Audio Research REF5se and Cardas Golden Reference IC's and Cardas Quadlink bi-wire speaker cable. I had been using a AR LS26 and Harmonic Tech Fantasy speaker and that seemed to accentuate the highs as a little too forward and fatiguing especially on digital. The Quadlink definitely tamed the highs and brought the mids out into the room, however I did lose bass depth but gained control. With the REF5se it seemed to balance out and the bass has returned. My goal is to buy some Cardas Golden Cross once my new cabinet arrive next month.
I agree with the comments of John and Bill. If you find your speakers to have the intrinsic sonic signature you described (hard, thin ànd sterile) why keep them? Or to put it another way what are their attributes that would persuade you to keep them? Charles,
Terrible advice to get rid of the speakers . No speakers are designed to sound like what you are describing . Look elsewhere in the system . Start with your preamp . A personal experience last night . My system sounds fantastic .Couldn't be happier . Decided to buy a Krell preamp off craigs for the fun of it . Installed and my speakers are describing what you described . The Krell just does not fit in with what i got going on . Keep at it and good luck to you .
Maplegrovemusic, Yes I would find it hard to believe that a speaker would be intentionally designed to sound as described. On an open forum we can only respond to the information provided. If the OP has determined the speaker is the weak link then it's reasonable to suggest that another speaker may likely improve his situation. It could certainly be the fault of another system component or issue, it also could be the speaker as the OP suspects. I do hope that he solves the problem to his satisfaction. Charles,
Maple, it is great advise to sell. We all have subjective likes and dislikes. The speaker sounds this way to the poster and to another it would be heaven. Subjective. He should consider selling as they don't fit his particular taste.
If those speakers sound that way, IMO, it's because they are just not working in your room. In a typical domestic environment, It has always been my experience that some speakers work and some don't and it's trial and error until you find something you like. That said, I would buy an integrated with tone controls like the Mac or perhaps some others. This will allow you to better contour the sound to your liking. Good luck.
Based on the information provided my instinct would normally be to advocate selling the speakers. Assuming, of course, that your assessment of their sonics reflects adequate break-in, experimentation with placement and with settings of the controls that are on the speakers, etc.
However I took a look at the manual for the speaker, and I note the following rather unusual statement in the section that lists maximum recommended cable lengths as a function of gauge:
High loop resistances that exceed 0.07 ohms (for each wire run) will cause the filter network to mis-terminate, resulting in considerable degradation of sound quality.
("Filter network" presumably referring to the crossover circuitry).
In its effects on the sonics of the speaker power amp output impedance will essentially add to the loop resistance of the speaker cables. Based on your previous posts it appears that you have probably been using Manley and/or VTL tube amps with these speakers. Virtually all tube amps have output impedances that are much higher than 0.07 ohms, while most solid state amps have effective output impedances that are in that vicinity or lower.
So I would not finalize any conclusions about how to proceed without first trying a solid state amp with the speakers.
May cost a lot to get the best from those Speakers. As others have said, you might check with Revel to find out what they suggest - they will know.
And - as others have said, you may find it more effective (less frustrating and less costly) to swap your speakers.
The most cost-effective Speakers I’ve found to deliver the kind of sound you’re after are the Wavetouch Audio Grand Teton’s. Not the "prettiest" - but, certainly the best sounding - by far. For the money. They sound as good, or better, as the others mentioned for acoustic music. Efficient and easy to amp.
Or, the Magnestand Maggie’s (pair on usaudiomart for sale) are also superb (better than stock Maggie’s by a lot). As all Maggie’s, require a bit more powerful amp than the GT’s.
Thanks to all for the responses! I am using them with a Conrad Johnson MF2250A 120w/ch solid state amp, VTL TL2.5 tube preamp and predominantly BelCanto Dac1.1. A first for me, recently the circuit breaker tripped in the CJ on Reference Recording "Tutti" cd. It was very loud though, but they are inefficient. The separation of different frequencies is impressive and I wanted a floorstander this size. I still own the original Harbeth Compact 7 and the last version of KEF Reference 104.2 (bi-wire). They sound good on everything. One can say of course that the F32 is far more neutral but at what cost?
So the Revels sound "hard, thin and sterile" with a VTL pre and a CJ amp??? You prefer tubes but these speakers are a tough load for tubes??? Um, what??? Short of you using awful interconnects and cables and/or some awful recordings that could be contributing to the problem, it sure looks like the writing's on the wall on several levels. Dump the speakers. Life's too short to spend precious time and effort solving inherent mismatches like these. FWIW. Best of luck.
I don't understand how you conclude that the F32 is the more "neutral" speaker when you've identified it as sounding hard, thin and sterile. That doesn't fit the definition on neutral. Rather it would seem that the F32 has glaring inherent sonic flaws. Neutral implies absence (or certainly less) of contributing sonic characteristics. Neutrality is synontomous with chameleon like nature. Charles,
I view speakers and power amps as a single unit. The amp drives the speakers - so most certainly the issue could be with the amp. It is possible but less likely to be earlier in the chain. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, it to identify the problem (or problems). Much like cars or health, once you have identified the problem it is then possible to take the appropriate steps.
I agree with the prior comments: if you want to keep the speakers (and they are good in the right set-up) then a tube amp, which combines the best of both the world of valves and solid state, may be the best solution and one that will accommodtae changes to you speakers in the future. As I noted in a response to another forum inquiry, I have the Octave MRE 220 mono's. In a word they are "incredible". Octave integrateds may be a lower price option that would deliver a seemless solution at the front end as well. You can always add the "Black Box" if you later decide to increase the capacitance of the power supply to drive more difficult loads.
For those speakers I would look towards a good quality newer Class D or Class D hybrid type amp.
Something along the line of the Rogue Pharoah or Peachtree's new Nova 300 (integrated amps) or Bel Canto ref600.
I have used older Bel Canto ref1000m amps with speakers having similar challenges for a number of years and remain satisified with those. A pair of these used would certainly do the job for nominal cost.
These amps will do a good technical job of bringing out the best in your speakers. If that still does not float your boat, then I would look to change speakers perhaps.
if your like me and are always buying used gear off craigslist i would have more than one amp , dac on hand for evaluations . Notice no preamp . 7 out of ten times the preamp is the root of what the op describes in my experience . Now a passive volume control has 100% worked with a dozen amps , dacs , speakers .What works with setup A might not work when a new variable is introduced .
The Revels are not that bad, I heard these F32 with a Pass integrated and the sound was not thin, hard, or sterile. I also have experience with your preamp, and here in my room, IT was the culprit for this type of overly analytical, hard, glaring sound. I tried the finest vintage tubes and expensive cabling, no luck. Finally moved to a Joule Electra preamp and enjoyed it much more.