Honest opinions on my two picks of loudspeakers


So I wanted to see what most of you thought or what your pick would be between the Revel Salon 2 towers and the McIntosh XR100's I'm torn between both with looks and performances with my choice leaning more toward Mac since I'd be powering them with the 452 and the whole matching thing, but I will also be pushing these quite hard at times (rock-metal) and I want a well built power capable speaker for the long haul..I was considering Wilson's as well and have not cut them out just wanted some respectable opinions on my two narrowed down choices we all are familiar with pricing and these two options have a considerable difference between the two so I'm torn which is the better bang for my bucks!! 

Thanks all..
Aed31d3e 2812 4d11 9261 1184abe18fd3shawnscola
I have never heard either speaker but just eye balling them I would go for the Revels. I have never been fond of multi driver designs. I have never heard one that I liked. Two midrange drivers should be the most you should ever need. 10 and you have lost me. Mcintosh does not have a history of producing great loudspeakers. But, it is your system and you should listen carefully to both with the music and volume you like.
Save yourself a lot of heartache and buy JBL , and hearing protection
Thanks @tomic601  that good huh? Which model would you suggest and as far as hearing goes I'm 47 and could care less..I like it extremely loud but has to be clean sounding I'm in a large house and large property and would like to hear clearly outdoors as well in the warmer weather with windows open. 
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OP sorry for the terse post, you will care later, when it is 2 late, I have worked mixing sound in rock bands since I was 16 off and on, always w hearing protection available and have excellent hearing at 58
the Revel are fine speakers, just not designed for the SPL you are calling for. Mac did at one time have some line arrays ( xrt 28 that could sound pretty good, see Roger Russel ) I have heard the newer Mac stuff w a gazillion tweeters with both Mac and Boulder amplifiers and was not impressed.
JBL and others make compression driver horns speakers that do sound quite good and provide high SPL and the high duty cycle needed for longevity
summit series would fit your bill
check out Everest to understand trickle down
best to you
Enjoy the music 

"I like it extremely loud"

Using speakers with a lower sensitivity rating in that scenario is just asking for trouble.

Agree with tomic601


Thanks @mijostyn, since growing up in a household of hippies and loud music I always recalled McIntosh being revered as one of the best..didn't Woodstock use a wall of them? Anyhow I appreciate your opinion and I do like the look of the Revels for what it's worth. 
"I like it extremely loud"

maybe a K-Horn  
Thanks @elizabeth..same response really that I gave mijostyn I always thought they were top of the line? I also always knew they're stuff was expensive but well worth the cost for what you got quality wise no? Wilson's are also up there in price as well which I may revert back to from what I'm hearing about them..anyone have anything to add on the wilson Yvette or Sasha's?
You will need all of that power for the Revels.  Keep in mind that you can blow any speaker if you crank it loud enough.  1 watt of distortion can do it.
Shawn, It was the Grateful Dead's wall of sound designed by John Curl.
He did use Mac amps but not Mac speakers. It turned out to be too expensive and difficult to move from one venue to the next. But, it was knock out.
If you want clean SPLs get the new Klipsh Cornwalls version 3 I think. They will blow your doors off with 10 watts:)
I would say Revel, but agree with others that while they can get reasonably loud, they are not SPL speakers. What about getting some outdoor speakers and amp and have a zone for outside music when you are out there? There are some great outdoor speakers, or you could even use something like some the self powered JBL EON 612 ($900 a pair) which will push 125db and are made for sound reinforcement.

Just a note, I am your age and you should be concerned about your hearing. Extended high level listening not only results in hearing loss, but tinnitus. As someone who has lived with tinnitus since being a teenager (loud explosion) and has trouble picking out voices in a crowd, you will care when it happens. The worst part is for many people, they then become sensitive to loud noises. I cannot go to a club without hearing protection or it is painful.

I would suggest you do some reading on the reference levels used in mixing as set forth by Bob Katz. Essentially, for a large room, you will set your volume to a 82-84db reference level. While 82-84 db sounds low, it is plenty loud and the level used by most good studios and there most mixes sound proper. Any louder and you quickly suffer from temporary hearing shifts and keep turning up the volume without it really sounding any better. Here is a basic read on level setting.

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/establishing-project-studio-reference-monitoring-levels
McIntosh amps are voiced laid back and mild in the midrange and upper mids. I have heard them sound very good with good speakers, such as Sonus Fabre and the like.  However, McIntosh amps paired with McIntosh speakers sound very dull, boring and lifeless.  There is absolutely no excitement or anything on this pairing.  I would not recommend it to anyone unless you really want that type of sound.

The Revel speakers are excellent and would pair much better with the McIntosh amp.  However, like everyone has said, they are not efficient (somewhat low at 86 db).

Some people here are recommending JBL compression and PA type speakers.  While these are good for live sound events, they are still really not an audiophile speaker.  If you are going this way with looking for a very efficient speaker, the new Klipsch Cornwall IV appear to be excellent.  With an efficiency of 102db/watt, you can drive them to maximum volume with 100 watts at 122db.  They will do much better then the other two speakers you are looking at for loud rock/metal type of sound.

There are others, but with the high power of the MC452, you should probably look in the 90-94 db efficiency range.
All the Mac speakers I've heard would fit into your music preference. 
Good lord! Between the Revel 2s and McIntosh speakers????

For me that’s like "hmm...MBLs or Bose?"

The Revels are revered, rightly, as among the best speakers you can buy.

You don’t see a lot of audiophile (or engineer/DIY) reverence for McIntosh, I think for good reason. They may do good amps, but their speakers tend to suck eggs. Over the years they have been the single most reliable source of "head-scratching" encounters for me. I listen to those multiple-midrange-driver McIntosh speakers and the sound is so timbrally bland, it sounds like it’s made of a bunch of Bose drivers. I always wonder "how could they continue to make speakers that bad?"I’ve seen this puzzle echoed numerous times over the years from others who have heard the McIntosh speakers.

So if you are asking for MY PERSONAL opinion, it’s not even a question.The Revels.
BUT....if you’ve heard both and prefer the McIntosh, then such opinions as mine will be, and probably should be, ignored.


But, hey, you asked!


"It was the Grateful Dead’s wall of sound designed by John Curl."
Correction. That would be Owsley Stanley, aka Bear, who designed the Grateful Dead’s of Wall of Sound. He also helped to fund their early years. He also provided the acid in their Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

Read this article about the Dead’s introduction to good sound - and parallel universes.

After two years of planning and problem-solving, the “wall of sound” made its debut on March 23rd, 1974, at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Forty-feet high, it was composed of 604 speakers using 26,400 watts of power supplied by 55 McIntosh 2300s. With nine independent channels, the system was so powerful that the amps only needed to be turned up to two. Because the Dead controlled everything from onstage, no one had to mix from the house. Lesh likened the experience of playing through the system to “piloting a flying saucer. Or riding your own sound wave.” He also noted that the music made during the forty-odd shows when the system was used is still “regarded by Deadheads as the pinnacle of live performance.”
 

“When I build a sound system,” Owsley says, “I do it in a single cluster, because everything in the hall must come from one spot in the room. The sound turns into something you’ve never heard before. It’s absolutely clear. It is loud without being loud. It is articulate. Every single note is separately placed in space as well as in time. Once the system’s set, you can walk away from the board. Musicians can adjust it. It all comes from what the musicians do, and that was my goal from the beginning.” The problem was that the system was so huge and required so much setup time that the Dead had to use two separate stages and two crews so the next show could be put up while the last was still being taken down. At a time when the Dead were trying to keep ticket prices down, the wall cost about $350,000. “It was brilliant and it worked,” McNally says. “But they had to double the size of the crew and, in the process, the crew took over the band.” Because the Dead were unwilling to fire any members of their large and sometimes dysfunctional family, the band decided in 1974 to instead take a break from touring, not going on the road again until the summer of 1976.


Thanks everyone for your detailed responses and links I've enjoyed reading them all and after spending the day researching all of your suggestions I've decided to audition..well I've purchased the Klipsch Cornwall III Special Edition and special thanks to @mijostyn for the recommendation and I'll promise to listen carefully so as not to damage my hearing..lol I won't hold anyone responsible. I would assume there is a break in period with this would you agree...I'll post pictures and my thoughts once I've received these beauties and not a bad price either for a pair $6600. Thanks again all
And the initial PA for the Dead was 4x MC240 tube amps in mono :-) I still have a 1961 running rebuilt 1972 Cornwalls, certainly capable of high SPL

Alembic ( rip ) also helped w Wall of Sound engineering, it was much more complex and sophisticated than a pile of speakers and amps and also just about bankrupt the dead

fun


Dude!!! Enjoy the Cornwall in good health !!!!!
@tomic601 great story I'll agree I read all the posts and articles related to the dead and they're traveling Road show and the huge stage crew..wow very cool! And don't worry I'll enjoy them for sure and if they're as good as stated I'll likely grab another pair for the house..thanks again bud I appreciate it!!
Obviously a man who believes that he who hesitates is lost.
I was going to suggest that Klipsch sounded like a very
good match for you.However, I tend to think that this whole thread
is out of someone's imagination though. Pretty good one!!!
Tekton Double impact, end of story, hope you're neighbors are a long way away
I’m dyed in the wool a JBL fan for the last 30 years. A set of K2 s9900 brand new in the box on ebay . $ 23,000.00 
I would assume those would destroy the other two choices. 
Love the McIntosh “Doctor and Lawyer” response. It gets me every time!!! 
Spec wise, they’re pretty similar.  You’re not going to suffer with either choice,   I’d go for the Mac’s simply because they’re $10K cheaper.

 (PS:  I own a set of McIntosh LS350 from the 1990’s.  They’re amazing - and huge.    I don’t currently use them because they’re super inefficient and I’m in a tube phase.  PPS: I’m not college educated or a doctor or lawyer but I have a few on my payroll.)
@steakster       Really enjoyed the read you linked on Owsley. The guy seems to have been extraordinarily perceptive (high or not). My understanding of the man and what he was about definitely took a leap forward. Lotta good s##t went down in the '60s, Nam notwithstanding.
I wonder how many of you have really heard McIntosh speakers? Most likely, not many.  I have heard 4 pairs of McIntosh speakers at Audio Classics, three on the lower end (up to 25K) and one of the much more expensive ones and WOW, they did not sound like what I thought. While they wouldn’t fit in our décor, they will give any good brand of speakers an excellent run for the money. I find it truly irritating, that in 2019 McIntosh still has the stereotype of being a Doctors and lawyers speaker. It sounds like you people are still stuck in the 70’s and 80’s. Welcome to the 21st Century.
I heard the McIntosh speakers last year at RMAF.  They were being driven by the big 1.2kw monoblocks, but I was just not impressed at all.  Dull and boring.  However, I heard the McIntosh integrated paired with Sonus Fabre bookshelves and that was very nice, even though it was still the "laid back" McIntosh sound.
@acresverde Agreed. The 60’s were pretty amazing.

Re: Owsley Great line from the article.
The Bear, says Jerry [Garcia], is ‘Satan in our midst,’ friend, chemist, psychedelic legend, and electronic genius; not a leader, but a moon with a gravitational pull. He is a prince of inefficiency, the essence at its most perverse of what the Dead refuse to give up.”


I have the Revel Performa F228BE which are a little easier to push than Revel Studio or Ultima at 90 dB sensitivity vs 87 which is a pretty significant difference and they sound outstanding. I like to listen loud also, I have an SPL meter and can push at 103-105 decibels without breaking up at all with a Mark Levinson 532H amp that easily pushes out 350 wpc per Stereophile bench tests before clipping.
If you want even more spl at lower watts the Paradigm Persona are around 92-93 sensitivity and sound excellent, they have received excellent reviews as well. 
Mc speakers No thank you, their equipment - Electronics is better then average 
dependable and the meters look great. I sold McIntosh for a number of years
it is true Doctors and Lawyers are some of their biggest clients.
their spearrs,and digital -No thank you not their specialty.
way too many very good Loudspeakers out their .

I Would have picked the Revel’s over any JBL, Klipsch, or mc speaker. My friend is a JBL dealer and he had the $45k pair in his own house, not impressed for $45k. Revel’s are 1/2 the cost.I’ve heard the Revel’s in multiple show rooms with good electronics and when turned up loud, it sounds like you are at a concert. I’m not sure how loud you will be able to crank up the klipsch before distortion creeps in. 
Speakers are the most individual sensitive component. The best we can do is offer a variety of choices you may enjoy, but in the end it is your ears and wallet that will rule the day.

There is a reason that horns and planar / electrostatic speakers have a fan base. There is no “Best” speaker, there are only the speakers that resonate with your music preferences.

Listen, choose and be happy with your selection. Don’t let an outside opinion color your selection process, but due diligence will get you to your happy olace.
I run Salon 2s powered by a pair of MC501s. It is a very good match and there is more than enough power to drive any sane person out of my modestly sized (12x16) music room. However if max SPL listening had been higher on my list of criteria I would have chosen a modern JBL like the M2 or 4367.
I don't know if you care about this factor but the Revels will likely be easier to sell if you decide to change speakers in the future. They are an industry flagship that have received numerous positive reviews. Everybody knows what they are and if a non-millionaire is looking for a Stereophile Class A speaker a used pair of Revels are a no-brainer.
Congratulations on your Klipsch Cornwall 3 buy hope you enjoy them. 

happy listening. 
I just ordered the Cornwall 4's and very much look forward to your review if you would share. Thanks.
I have not kept up with Mac speakers, but having been a customer of a Mac dealer for years, I was never impressed.  Revel seems to be very good.
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Many people contributed to the creation of the Wall of Sound. Rick Turner, Ron Wickersham, John Curl and of course Bear. He had the original concept of putting the PA behind the band. BTW the hight of the bass speaker stacks was the same as the wave length of the low E on a bass guitar. A very good article on the WoS for those interested.
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wnnayb/the-wall-of-sound
You need to take a serious look at Salk Speakers.  Jim Salk sells direct and he uses the finest drivers and cabinet materials.  They will simply amaze you.
Steakster, Bear is not an electrical engineer. Who do you think was telling bear what to do! Bear however was quite the character and indeed the wall was probably his idea in looking for a grand expression of the concert audio system. Like I said before it was unfortunately a royal PITA and did not last long and it really did not have to. It would not be long before excellent commercial sound systems would hit the market that were made to deal with the rugged life of portable sound equipment.
The absolute best concert system I ever heard was back in 1973, Return to Forever. What a system, what a band. I skipped a week of classes and followed them around New England.
Shawnscola, excellent! Do tell us how you like them. I have not heard the new ones yet. Do heed mcryn to this extent. I listen at 95 dB all the time but I always warm my ears up for 10 minutes at lower volumes and allow them to accommodate. Once your ears adjust themselves for louder volumes Rock and Roll. You can get a sound pressure meter for 20 bucks on line. With warmed up ears 95 dB is safe for people with normal hearing. 100 dB is safe for short periods again only with ears that are warmed up. 105 dB will cause hearing loss in just about everyone. I am an anecdote but at 65 I can still hear 18 kHz. I would prefer to think it is because I have always been careful how I expose myself to loud noises. Everyone on my father's side was deaf as a door knob by the age of 80. Fearing that end I always wore hearing protection shooting guns and using various machines. By 65 my father was already noticeably hard of hearing. So I am already doing better than he did. Anyway I listen at 95 dB virtually every day. It is certainly not concert loud but it is loud enough to give you the appropriate visceral impact if you have good bass reproduction. 

Enjoy,
Mike  
To the OP....Why did you not get the CW IVs ? 
Just logged back in to see all the new comments..so I'll update. The online retailer I was planning to buy from had an issue with sending them back..so I'm auditioning them at one of my local hifi stores who btw didn't have them in stock but was willing to get a pair in for me to have a listen..so I'm going that this week afterwards I'll likely talk to them about the IV's since tbh I had no idea that they were available so thanks for the information on that @mrdecibel..update to come...thanks again all much appreciated 
Give up, do this:

https://www.mcintoshlabs.com/brand/news/Despacio-Powered-by-McIntosh-2018

Your neighbors will kill you....slowly, with great malice.
@shawnscola.....Believe me when I tell you, the CW IV is a huge upgrade over the CW IIIs ( and the IIIs are good ). I started a thread on the CW IVs, to alert Klipsch fans of the introduction of this new model....They will do exactly what you want......
Sorry for my tardiness, but I didn't see any suggestion for any Zu Audio speakers. They are high efficiency speakers made to exacting standards in Utah. They will rejoice with a good workout, sound great, look awesome and quite affordable, with choices to fit most budgets. 

Enjoy! 
Garcia was a poet.  The bands these days seem empty, no soul to them.  Who among them could produce "Truckin'"? Those were songs and tunes that mirrored the times and the culture.  Music was alive.  It meant something; stood for something.  Great posts in this quest for loud rock speakers. 
steakster866 posts11-06-2019 9:29pm@acresverde Agreed. The 60’s were pretty amazing.
Re: Owsley Great line from the article.
The Bear, says Jerry [Garcia], is ‘Satan in our midst,’ friend, chemist, psychedelic legend, and electronic genius; not a leader, but a moon with a gravitational pull. He is a prince of inefficiency, the essence at its most perverse of what the Dead refuse to give up.”
Check this out...
"Truckin'" is a song by the Grateful Dead, which first appeared on their 1970 album American Beauty. It was recognized by the United States Library of Congress in 1997 as a national treasure.Wikipedia

Indeed.


The Salon 2 does need gobs of power, in fact I sold mine when 250/425 wasn't enough to make them sing. I think if the mac speakers were any good we'd know considering all the press their amps get. The Klipsch speakers I listened to just had too much treble energy for me to relax to. Look into active speakers as they're generally bulletproof and can rock. As to efficiency, most manufacturers fudge that number to make the speakers appear easy to drive. 
@tomic601 
Why RIP Alembic? They are making high end basses and guitars in Santa Rosa, I have a Series I Alembic 6 string from '76 and they are still in business and Ron is still there, his wife and daughter as well.