Revel F208s vs Cremona M vs B&W 803/804 D

5.1 setup
Marantz AV 7005 preamp
Parasound A51 amp (5x250)
Room: 15' x 30', hardwood floors with rug

I am debating between the F208s versus others. Revel dealers in my area claim that the F208s are a superb value for the money, $5,000. My favorite speaker out of these is the BMW 803 diamond - but it may be a bit much for my space and costs $10k. The 804 diamond may be good enough, but it still goes for around $7.5k. The Cremona Ms are hard to find in Graphite and would run $6k used. It's hard to find the B&Ws used on audiogon as they are tie till relatively new.

What do you guys think? The F208s are a great value, but have dull looks and I can't get over the fact that they are assembled in Indonesia.

Any input or advice would be helpful.

Thanks guys.
I also just listened to the JBL Synthesis 1400. Good speaker bit the vertical horn is definitely a weird look. Sounds great, but just afraid of getting a brand like JBL.
Your room is plenty big for a used pair of N802's or new 803D. The 804D are too small.
If you plan on keeping your electronics the SF Cremona M might be less sensitive to the pre/power amps flaws.
Do you think my source and amp don't justify the speakers I'm looking into? Confused as I thought the A51 is a premium component. I understand that the AV7005 may not cut it as audiophile, but it has balanced outputs and can be upgraded later.

Or are you saying that the cremonas are just more forgiving in general, including recordings not in hd?

What about Aerial Acousics Model 9? How would those fit in?

I wouldn't get too hung up on country of origin...quality is quality...and Revel have a ton of R&D funding behind their products...the 208s would be an easy recommendation.
JBL and Revel are sibling companies. They both pull from the same R&D. I wouldn't be concerned about owning either (I've owned JBL pro monitors).

Since this is a 5.1 system, I see no reason to consider the F208 (or equivalent). Your pre/pro (same as mine) handles two subs, I'd be looking at the F206 (or equivalent) and adding a second sub. I would high-pass the front speakers.

The thing that JBL and Revel will both excel at is horizontal dispersion. This is especially important for group listening as will likely be done in a HT system. Look at the tweeter's waveguide; this is Dr. Toole's influence.
...Or are you saying that the cremonas are just more forgiving in general, including recordings not in hd?
The Cremona Ms have excellent resolution and transparency, yet somehow manage to sound very musical and involving with well-chosen lower-priced integrated amps such as the Marantz PM8004 and NAD C356BEE and C375BEE.
I have the Cremona M's. They are revealing enough that you can easily hear the differences between different amps, preamps, etc. However, at the same time, they don't turn equipment or recording shortcomings into "in your face" kinds of differences. As one of the posters has said, they are just so musical and emotionally engaging.
@ Aman4kr4, Hi, I wanted to know why you are afraid of getting a brand like JBL?, many audiophiles have no idea that JBL makes a more exspensive, and a whole lot better performing speaker than Revel ever dreamed of, The JBL Everest dd67000 speaker model is over $70,000.00!, then JBL has a heritage that is legendary, been around longer than most brands out there, Revel is a good speaker, I like them, However, I assure you Revel is the back seat compaired to JBL in the Harmon industries corporation's vehicle!
However, I assure you Revel is the back seat compaired to JBL in the Harmon industries corporation's vehicle!
I know of no evidence to support that claim. JBL makes many pro and consumer models that are far less expensive than the entry level Revel models. Revel is generally targets the high-end consumer; JBL has a much wider audience.
@ Bob_Reynolds, Hi, No dis-respect toward Revel, I said I like them, what you posted is true, JBL makes many products that are far less exspensive, then again, re-read my post, JBL also makes products far more exspensive than Revel!, as a matter of fact, JBL has three seperate companies, one for pro-audio, one for mass produced mid-fi, and finally, but not least, a company that does not share their products on the common JBL internet site, It is a specialized company with their own site that only sales the exotic JBL designs, this company only targets the high-end consumer, This is all your evidence!, Bing or google JBL Everest dd67000, their you will find many models to support my claim, this is a seperate company, with a seperate internet site, The JBL extreme High-end!
Aman, let me be a spoiler of sorts. There's currently an A'gon auction running for a pair of Paradigm Tributes. The current bid is around $3K+, but the reserve has not been met.

I heard the Tributes last year at a dealer while comparing an A'gon favorite brand (X). The Tributes were being driven by an ARC VS-115 tube amp and sounded SPECTACULAR! They cleaned the floor up with brand X. IMO of course.

I own the Paradigm S8s (v3) and think the Tributes sound almost as good as the S8s. Check Paradigm's web site for a review of the Tributes. I generally agree with the reviewer's comments and observations based on my experiences with the S8s and comparing the Tributes with brand X.

This is a gorgeous++ looking and sounding speaker. Sure wish there were more B&M stores that carried a lot of different speaker brands. Buying expensive gear is a tough job.

Anyway, sorry to shift the discussion, but maybe other members will weigh in with some helpful observations about the Tributes and Paradigm's Signature line.

Good luck.


How would you describe the sound of the signature 8s? I'm looking to replace my F208s with something below 10K. I'm looking for a neutral speaker that has good imaging and depth.
I agree with the following reviews:

For example, look at this Tone Magazine review:

And also Marc Mickelson's review in The Audio Beat:

And look at Jerry De Colliano's review in Home Theater:

The S8s are ruler flat. Take a look at the bench tests in this Home Theater and HiFi review of the S8s (v2):

(Note -- the x-over and bass drivers were changed in the S8 v3s. I understand that the impedance bump at 2K Hz was tapped down to about 20 ohms in the v3s.)

Frankly, I am uncomfortable recommending gear because there are a lot of terrific brands on the market and there's so much subjectivity when making selections. I only mentioned the Tributes because I saw a pair up for sale and I think they are terrific speakers. And the cabinet finish is to die for -- black garnet. The dealer almost freaked when I touched the cabinet. He used white gloves to move them around. No sh*t!

My only caveat is that the Tributes and S8s will sound best when driven by a low output impedance amp (usually SS) that can deliver high quality, clean current/power. Jeff Dorgay in Tone Magazine said that the S8s are good enough to be fed the best power you can afford. I agree with that statement.

I recommend that one NOT couple a high'ish output impedance, low power tube amp to these speakers. They have an impedance bump (S8s: 20 ohms at 2K Hz) at the mid-range/tweeter x-over point and a 4 ohm impedance saddle in the mid-bass to middle midrange sonic spectrum (50 Hz to 500'ish Hz).

Now ... if you have a little extra change, pick up a pre-owned Paradigm sub woofer and then lock the house to keep the neighbors out. You will be doing some serious rocking.

Hope this helps.

Good luck.

@Audiolabyrinth, I'm familiar with JBL's product lines. I was simply saying that I know of no evidence that Revel "is the back seat" to JBL.
@ Bob_renolds, I am sorry for saying the back seat scenero, I assume this because JBL makes 2 or 3 models that cost alot more than Revels most exspensive model speakers, and both companies are owned by Harmon Industries, Forgive me Bob, I concluded this is only an opinion I have, I thought that what I said was common sence, cheers.
@Audiolabyrinth, no problems... I just didn't want the OP to get the idea that Revel were in some way inferior to JBL.
@ Bob_reynolds, Revel is inferior to JBL top models!, Really?, your kidding right?, why would Harmon industries charge more money for the JBL 3 or 4 models that are more exspensive than the best model, most exspensive of Revel?, There is no way I believe that Revel would compete to JBL at this level of speakers, why carry the JBL line that cost more?, This to me is impossible!, I am sorry to put it like this, I have tried to make you understand the best that I believe here, I have listened to both brands as well, I enjoy both, but there is a level of performance you cannot get with the Revel speakers that the JBL top models achieve, cheers.
Thanks for the great discussion guys. I have done a fair share of listening to Revels this past week. I auditioned the F208s, the F206s as well as the Salon2s. I think they are all amazing speakers. The only thing if didn't like amongst all three was that they didn't sound musical to me. They would all be top picks if I just cares about HT, but given my main reason purpose is for audio listening, I for now have decided to stay away from Revels. The Revels did sound a bit better using a Levinson amp then a Classe, as you would expect.

I think the JBL 1400 arrays blow away the F208s for music.

But for now, I have decided to audition some Linns as well as some B&Ws before making up my mind.

I will also look into the Tribute and S8 speakers you mentioned.
You say you're looking for "musical." Have you auditioned some Sonus Faber Olympicas or Cremona Ms?
In what way or ways are the Revels not musical for you?
I liked the Cremonas and Olympicas as we'll. Beautiful sounding and looking speakers indeed. The Olympicas are apparently a LOT better, but way out of my budget.

Re: the F208s, when doing an ABA comparison using two separate set ups, both the Linn and B&Ws had a broader and more dynamic mid range and upper range. Guitars, female vocals, etc sounded alive in these speakers compared to the F208s. The F208s seemed to color the music - one guitar demo played like the guitar was playing backseat to the bass and drums. And the vocals sounded machine-like and not real.

The F208s excelled in bass response and quickness. I think they would beat most speakers for high impact home theater sound effects.

But again, for my purpose, for listening to music, instruments, and soundstage, the F208s didn't get me there.

Although they are excellent speakers, for a $5k sticker price, I'd rather by the $3k Linn majiks or a used pair of B&Ws.

Just my personal opinion.
Good response, thanks.
@ Aman4kr4, Hi, well I see you have tast saying what you have with the JBL array 1400 speakers, I would like to know your best buget for speakers?, I looked at prices for the JBL speaker you listened to, before you buy, make sure all is legit, this is the same with alot of high-end, I say this because, I seen where you can buy the array 1400 for under $5,000.00, sounds to good to be true to me, as you know, this speaker retails for $12,000.00, and worth it!, you can e-mail me where I seen this, and the both of us can investagate this sale.
@Audiolabyrinth, you're confusing price with "better." Better in what metric? Better for what situation? The price of a component (speaker or electronics) is only marginally tied to the cost of manufacture. With an expected small market, the price has to be large to cover development costs and return a profit. That's why the JBL Everest is so expensive; it has nothing to do with any objective performance measure.

In a smallish 10' x 15' living room, the Revel M106, for example, will perform just as well as the Everest. The Everest is capable of playing louder and lower with less distortion than the M106, but it's pretty much irrelevant in this room for most people. A subwoofer could be added to the M106 system to cover the bass deficiency and could yield a smoother bass response than the Everest.

Some people simply want to spend money and justify their expenditure by believing what they bought is better. Why own a Ferrari to pick up groceries from the corner store?

Manufacturers develop statement products as concrete examples of their research. Why not try selling a few to recover some of those costs? There may even be some situations where the statement product is actually needed, but there won't be many. I think the manufacturer is counting on the old adage: "there's a sucker born ever minute."
@ Bob_renolds, Hi, Very funny post you have here!, your explanation is way off mark at what I am totally saying here, first off, The JBL Everest dd67000 speakers is a brand new model that suprecedes the previous Everest dd66000 just in the last 4 or 6 months ago, The new model JBL Everest dd67000 speakers out perform speakers that cost more and less money than what they cost,these are a whoping $70,000.00 retail!, Now I will get real, A lessor model JBL like the new model k2 s9900 speakers that cost less than the everest are in some ways as good, this model is way, way more performance than Revels best, these two are the best models from JBL now, then the next two models down are better than any revel speakers too, I believe you should research what I am saying, look at the awards and etc... and how they are made and the specs, which are by the way, measured in a special absolute quite room, The best way to know, is go and listen for your self, that way, you will never forget what I said about the performance between the Revels and JBL speakers.
Aman ... kudos on your hard work. You have much more patience than me.

I would appreciate reading your reactions if you get around to checking out the Paradigm S8s. One reviewer with whom I have traded e mails some time ago thought the S8s and Revel Studio 2s share a similar sound. He referred to it as a Canadian sound of sorts, reasoning that Revel and Paradigm have access to the Canadian NRC research data and test facilities. For that reason, he surmised that the two speakers might be voiced similarly -- at least to him.

Must say though, I'm a tad surprised reading your reactions about the Revels. Other members have posted superlative comments over the years. But I 100% respect your opinion. Beyond a certain point, picking gear is a very subjective enterprise.

Looking forward to reading your future posts.


I personally have to disagree with the comments about JBL Everest outperforming Revel's top lines. I come from a background of pro audio and JBL is pretty well respected in this space, though by no means "the best". Not even close. Nevertheless, there are clearly good engineers at JBL.

However, I have also heard too many of JBLs home speakers which, while exciting to listen to, are far from the accuracy and musicality of Revel's. Price has little to do with how well a speaker performs. I've heard the Everest and I thought it laughably bad for the price and handily outperformed by the Salon 2.

Why is it expensive? Because it can be. It has a big voice, and a big, nicely finished cabinet. There are many who will be seduced by the JBL name and, not knowing any better, will be impressed by the big and easy sound. Is it full range? Yes. Can it play loudly? Yep. Does it sound like a movie theater? Check. Do I want it in my living room? Nope.

Only my $.02 of course. Clearly some posters in this thread will disagree strongly though I hope they're not offended. My ears (and only my opinion) suggest you will do much better with Revels top of the line than with JBL.
@ Bob_Rynolds, I also wanted to add from my last post, I am done here explaning real world facts between JBL and Revel to you, you believe what you want, you have not once produced evidence that Revels speakers sound better than JBL speakers, I have produced many facts, not opinions!, I have better things to do than to try to convince somebody the sky is blue and you say it is green!, whatever!
IMO you would have to be near deaf from too many rock concerts to believe JBL is better than Revel.
Its all personal opinion, the above quote that the revels seemed to be "coloring the music" made me laugh out loud. To my ear they are far more neutral and less colored than any BW or linn, which to me are bright, forward and boosted in the presence region, which is a coloration. If I had ten grand to spend, I would by the revels f 208s, if I had fifty thousand to spend, I would by revel Salon 2s, the best speaker I have ever heard.
I think it's interesting that Aman made these comments:
They would all be top picks if I just cares about HT, but given my main reason purpose is for audio listening, I for now have decided to stay away from Revels.

I think the JBL 1400 arrays blow away the F208s for music.

given that the JBL 1400 Array is a cinema speaker by design. From the Project Array brochure:
You may never have seen anything like them. But youÂ’ve been hearing something very much like them for years. Behind the screen at your
favorite movie theater, and overhead in the rigging at major concert events, large vertical arrays of constant-directivity horns have long been instrumental in delivering the massive yet highly accurate sound that large audiences expect.

Obviously, one man's "musical" is another man's "cinema." There's no right or wrong, no better, just different. We each get to pick what appeals to us and that's how it should be.
@Audiolabrinth, last comment to you... define "better." Your personal preference has no meaning regarding performance. There are objective metrics, but you don't provide any. The point you continue to miss is that regardless of how good a speaker is (objectively measures), there are likely to be many speakers that will performs just as well in a specific situation. Sorry you don't understand that.

You remind me of that Will Smith line in "Men in Black," the best of the best of the best. You've definitely been drinking the Kool-aid.
I compared the 1400 project arrays to the F206. To clarify, the 1400s were for $9,000, for floor models. I also just realized that this was not a true ABA test. The sourced components were on the same rack, but different. The source components for the JBLs we're much better, so may justify the better sound.

The F208s I listened to were on a different day, different system.

So basically, I would completely disregard my above comparison between the JBL 1400s and the F208s. Apologies our or that. I will let you guys duke it out between what's better between these two Harman brands.

I do think the Revels are great speakers, and if I had to pick between Revel and JBL, then I would take the F208s in a heartbeat.

But I do insist that on the Classe setup I listened on, the 804Ds blew away the Revels on music playback.
Bob_rynolds, The speakers we are talking about, I love both as I said before, I understand what you said in your post to me clearly!, I have been in audio over 30 years, I agree with you, there are many speakers that will be good as another in specific litening rooms, you are out of line with the will smith comment, I am nothing like what you said, you do not know me, you should understand that both speaker lines are made by the same company, Harmon industries, and that they would never charge more money for a product if it did not perform better,why would Harmon shoot there selfs in the foot like that, so to speak of?, I could understand your opinion if they were made by two differnt comanys, I believe what you are saying is based on your preferance for speakers, and that is good, some people like electrostats better, some like horn speakers better, and some like dynamic driver speakers better, and Ribbon speakers, all of this is system dependent anyway, there really is no such thing as best in any audio!, only what suits the buyers preference, and that is what counts, I believe the Revel speakers are some of the best and liked speakers, I am a huge fan of the revels and JBL speakers, now, to please change the subject about what is better would be grand!, Bob, a question for you, have you listened to the Revel salon 1 and salon 2 speakers?, what is your opinion in the differences of sound between the two?, Thanks Bob, and cheers to you.
Audiolab, we could have avoided this nonsense had you simply stated in the beginning that the JBLs sound "better" to you. That I have no problem with. That comment has no meaning regarding performance. Performance to me implies objective measurements and I was thinking you had some information about that.

You can, of course, believe whatever you like about manufacturer pricing. Recall that it was Lexicon (another Harman company) that was caught selling a stock Oppo Blu-ray player for a very premium price.

The Will Smith clip may have been over-the-top, but your posts reminded me of marketing hype. Sorry if it stung.

It's very rare that I'll ever comment on the "sound" of anything, because I consider it completely worthless information.

All the best.
Thankyou Bob for your reply.
@ Aman4kr4, Hi, Have you come to terms with a decision on the speakers you want buy yet?
New to this site, looking at used Cremona from overseas. Good deal, but you know what they say about good deals.
Is this crazy, send money and wait to see what you get?
It also seems a bit nuts to spend $7,500 for new 804's. That are nice but not great.
I am using older B&W CM's for 2 channel music, mostly voice and strings viola de gamba etc...)
Most of the SF speakers from overseas come from Eastern Europe, mostly Poland. I would not trust those. They have low ball prices, but are very risky. If you order from a reputable sealer overseas, realize that the shipping will be costly and you will probably need to pay duty to bring them in. Plus, Sumiko, the NA distributor for SF will not typically provide service for speakers purchased from overseas. If you find a reputable seller, call Sumiko for specifics if eventual repairs are an issue. Personally, I would not recommend SF speakers from overseas. I would wait for a US seller.