Please settle a bet!

This is purely intended as an exercise in vicarious fun. However, there is a bottle of fine Scotch, likely single malt, riding on this bet. So, please be somewhat serious and well-reasoned with your responses.

My audiophile friends and I have recently been waxing philosophical, as audiophiles with too much time on their hands are wont to do, and bantering back & forth which pairs of speakers, among 3 specific choices, would, hypothetically, sound "best" in a two-channel application when paired with either a McIntosh MA5200 or MA5300. We, of course, fully understand that "best" is a subjective concept and appreciate the many variables involved, especially with regard to speakers (e.g. sound room dimensions; speaker placement; room acoustics; etc.). As such, let’s assume a hypothetical living room ... say ...15’X20’ with 8’ ceiling, no windows, average wall-to-wall carpeting, proverbial sheetrock construction, average couch & love seat, not chock-full of furniture, etc. Also, please assume good quality modestly priced 12-guage name brand speaker cables (e.g. Audioquest).

The 3 specific pairs of speakers involved are:

Revel Performa3 F208

Focal Aria 936

Revel Performa3 F206

All of these speakers are certainly outstanding in their own right. However, as all audiophiles know, components must be properly paired in order to sound their best. As such, please keep in mind the virtually identical characteristics and power levels of the amplifiers involved, the sensitivity or efficiency of the speakers, etc. Using your best audiophile skills & know-how, personal experiences, etc., please rate, in order, which speakers you think would sound best, second best and third best, in your opinion(s), and explain your reasoning, conclusions or prognostications in this regard.

As indicated at the outset, there’s a friendly wager riding on this (i.e. bottle of fine Scotch) and, of course, audiophile bragging rights for years to come.

Thanks for any and all responses! Have fun!


I am going to pretend I am an audio consultant ( retired ). As a music listener, what " musical characteristics " are you looking for ? Example : I own Klipsch Lascalas, tweaked and modified. They have the characteristics that are important to me. Superb dynamics; great tone; excellent coherence ; amazing transient speed and agility; gobs of detail; amazing imaging and sound staging; plays great with ANY amplifier; plays loudly while remaining clean and open; gets my toes tapping when the music calls for it, and relaxes me when the music calls for it. Draws me into the performance, the musicianship, the listening experience of my favorites. This is what I like, and this is " my best ", even though they are not on the above list. Also to note, nothing " blows anything " out of the water, which is a ridiculous statement. Every piece of equipment we own ( not just speakers ) have a sound, and a personality. So do our recordings. Given your favorite and most listened to music, how do you want it " delivered " to you. I correspond with many people, and some are confused as to what they want, or like. A constant merry go round. I hope you find what you are looking for, and I apologize to anyone if I spoke out of line. Enjoy your scotch. Always, MrD.

When I was a less enlightened child one of my pastimes was to get a shovel full of red ants from a nest and plop it down on a black ant nest and watch the battle.

This post...

As the creator of this post, I feel a certain amount of responsibility for it. It was and is intended to be, as stated, "as an exercise in vicarious fun". So, to those of you who've obviously decided to hijack it as a platform for political debate or argument, please find another forum for that.

I would pick the Revel F206 towers given the Mac integrated being used. I have Revel F208s and they didn't come to life until I added a Parasound JC5 to the chain. Nothing wrong with the Focal Aria but I personally much prefer the Revel offerings.