High-End Standmounts: KEF LS50W vs. NOLA Boxer II vs. Revel M106
I'm wondering which you'd give the nod to for:
- A small room - Pushing primarily vinyl (Planar 3), cd (OPPO 105), and TV - Music comprising mainly rock and roll, orchestral classical, jazz and blues - And, as necessary, a Sonneteer Alabaster 55wpc amplifier
As for the LS50W, the promise of ridding myself of an amplifier is offset by (likely) having to get a phono stage.
Your general impressions would be greatly appreciated!
I've spent the last 2 months looking for and demo'ing stand mounts and have lived with Dynaudio Excite X14's for a year and a half...Listened to the Harbeth C7ESIII,all the Martin Logan Motion series,the Kef's,S.F.Veneer series...I just 2 weeks ago received and returned a brand new from the factory set of Boxer 2 and I didn't even listen to them..The cabinet work and finish was absolutely a disgrace I wouldn't pay $200.00 for. Small room=Excite X14 or Reference 3A Dulcet BE...
FYI the LS50W would convert the analog turntable input to digital as part of their DSP processing before going back to analog before hitting the internal amp. I'm paranoid but I went with the passive versions for that reason, plus they were $1k direct from KEF on black Friday.
Hi pupil, I currently own a pair of the Boxer 2's. I have not,however ,heard either of your other choices. All I can do is give you a brief rundown on the Boxers. I run them on a First Watt F5,a pair of Monarchy Audio SM70mkII's. The F5 is 25wpc class A,the Monarchy's 70wpc mono,also class A. My listening room is small,13x9x8ft.
I can not say enough good things about these speakers. They seem to do so many things so well. Most of my listening is on the quite side,as my wife goes to bed earlier than I do. Even at quiet volumes,under 55db,they still sound full bodied. Also,on occasion,I will get a chance to put them through their paces. Volume upwards of 90db. They can also rock when asked to do so. Very detailed,but not bright or fatiguing. They also provide tuneful,tight bass. But remember,they are standmounters,so don't expect to rattle the windows out of their frames. I also feel that the Nola's do a very good disappearing act, with very good imaging. I'm a big fan of 3D imaging!
Agreeing with rocay and sad for freedriver. NOLA is (was?) known for getting excellent Piano Black cabinets at are a reasonable price. The Contenders are the best example of this.
The Boxers deliver a calm experience and require very little power. 18-20 Watts works well from a tube amp. Also, the unusual floor stands from Mapleshade will tighten the sound and give you a bass extension.
I enjoy the NOLA Boxer 2s more than the KEF LS50s. The Boxers sound complete at any volume. You don’t have to "get the sound out" with them. No Dynaudio or Revel experience.
Just a suggestion, but you really should consider the Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2. They have a 30 day return window, so you're only out shipping if you don't care for them, but they are really nice stand mounts. I went through a whole bunch before settling on these. My second choice would be the Dynaudio X12's - they image like crazy, but I needed a little fuller sound because my room is pretty big. And my favorite thing about the Sierra 2's is that they sound great at lower volumes. I'm powering mine with a Rega Elex-R. Good luck.
I have not listened to the Revel but the Boxers are superb monitors. More enjoyable than the KEF and they don't need huge power for them to open up. Lived with the Boxers for 4-5 years and moved to the Nola Contenders, another great option....
I've acquired a ridiculous amount of stuff used but two things have really stood out- and they just happened to be stand mount monitors. I have both Revel Ultima Gems (1st Gen) and Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors, also 1st gen. The Revels throw out a big stage sound great and they crank, except they're pretty ugly-The Cremona Auditors sound phenomenal for such a small package and quite honestly, they look like a million bucks too. The Revels were around 8k new and the SF Auditors around 5500 with stands- I think either could be had for 2-3 on the used market. Just a thought- They are worth a look for sure.
I know I'm in the minority, but I did not care for the LS50s at all (auditioned both the passive and active models and truly expected to like them after all the praise). I especially disliked them with massed strings and large orchestral classical music.
I owned Alon/Nola (Alon IVs, Circes, Nola Minis)speakers for many years and loved them. The Boxers sound wonderful on rock, classical or jazz, throw a big open stage but won't overpower a small room. They're not fussy about amps either, although they will appreciate fine electronics. They're just damned musical and enjoyable speakers.
I have the boxer 1 pair with Parasound Halo I int the sound very nice , 3d detail . Ism really enjoy the Nola after work I have to spend 6 hrs on it and it keep me llisten without the hash or fatigue. Hope that help
I would like to suggest something other than your picks and that would be to take a look at the Lawrence Audio,Mandolin or Violin. They both sound just a fabulous as they look and come with their own stands.
I've listened to the KEF Ls50. A very nice speaker. I found the Nola Boxers to be a much better preformer. Deeper bass, more dynamic, more detailed and open. I liked them so much I bought the Contenders. I currently own the new Contender S3. Still breaking them in. One word, Wow!