Revel F30, Dyn 1.8/3.0, V.A. Beethoven?

I am looking for a little wisdom and/or experience from the Audiogon knowledge pool-

Specifically, I'd like some opinions on a few different speakers that I am considering (it's time to separate the Audio from the HT). The speakers that I am seriously considering at this point (for the 2Ch system) are:

Revel F30
Dynaudio Coutour 1.8MkII or 3.0
Vienna Acoustic Beethovens
Joseph Audio RM30si

My system is as follows:
Ah! Tjoeb '99 CDP
AQ Emerald IC
Jolida 502a integrated tube amp (~65W/ch)
Goertz MI2 speaker cable

My musical tastes run from Enya type stuff, to jazz and classical. I am running in a very live room and would like all the typical attributes: solid powerful bass extension
(high 20s to low 30s should do it) excellent imaging, transparency, etc. My budget is around 4-5K and I am inclined to buy new or at least from a dealer (I just want to avoid any potential hassles if possible. Of course if Dekay, Cornfed or one of the other numerous regulars has a pair that they are looking to sell I'd strongly consider it :).

So, any opinions or experience with these (or others in the price range)? I have auditioned the Revel's and Dynaudio's fairly extensively, but have not been able to hear the others. At this point I am torn between the bass and midrange of the Revel and the incredible imaging of the Dynaudio's. Of course, not listeneing to them all in the same environment makes comparing a little tough...

Thanks for any info!
Whoa, just re-read my post and I think I should clarify the 'hassles' that I was talking about- mostly concerns about shipping damage and having a dealer or very experienced AGon'er to aid with any problems/damage during shipping (I have had the usual UPS drop-kick treatment that resulted in serious damage to some speakers before). Not meant at all as a statement about the quality of people here- I've had excellent luck in all my dealings so far :).
If you're going through a dealer and looking at speakers in this price range, you should be able to get a home audition of anything you're serious about and, as everyone will tell you, that's what you really want and need for this type of decision. The speaker choices you list are all extremely well reviewed, top-flight speakers from respected manufacturers, so I doubt anyone will step up and say any of them are bad and should be eliminated from your list.

A couple points to think about - the Dyns are first order x-overs, the Revels are (I believe) fourth order, the Joseph's are (I believe) even steeper, and I don't know about the VA's. There are some very identifiable tradeoffs in x-over choice that are typically important to the listener.

Second, I'm partial to the Dynaudio speakers (I own the 3.0's myself), and have the most experience with them. The 1.8's are MUCH easier to drive than the 3.0's, so if you're staying with the Jolida amp long-term, my guess is you'll much prefer the 1.8's. I have a friend who owns the 1.8's (to his total satisfaction) and originally drove them with 50w/c Arcam, now with a 100 w/ch Arcam. I originally drove the 3.0's with 100w/ch Krell and found the move to 250 w/ch Krell a very significant improvement.

Relish the opportunity for these four fine lines of speakers to win you over by auditioning (preferably in-home), and don't buy anything until you truly love what you're hearing. -Kirk

Thanks for the excellent input Kirk. I do have one further question inspired by your post- could you give me some idea of the tradeoffs (in terms of sonic quality) in x-over choice? I understand from a frequency response perspective that the higher order crossovers roll the response of the driver off much more steeply, but have not ever heard a qualitative discussion of the way each tends to sound.

Thanks again for the info and best regards.
Elorian, I have the following Revel spkrs. F30 fronts, C30 center and M20 for surrounds. They love power. I was running 120W to them and switched to power amp Acurus 200x5 ( these are 6 ohm so power goes to 250W per cannel)and the improvement was unbeleivable. They do require a burn in time. 100 to 200 hrs. The louder you go the better they sound.
I have AQ Gilbrator bi-wires to the fronts, this increases the bass.AQ Gilbrator to center, and type 4 to suurounds.
Any of the spkrs. you like are very good.
best of luck and enjoy the music
Nice post, Kthomas.
Given a highly-reflective (live) room, I might suggest trying speakers in a relative near-field arrangement.
If so, then you'll want a speaker that coheres well in a short distance. This coherence is more apt to be aquired easily with a two-transducer design than a three-way, unless the lower cross-over is at a low frequency and well-managed.
Personally I VERY much liked the REVEL F30 (except its cartoonish looks!), preferring its midrange response to the Dynaudio, but am not sure how well its bass/mid cross (is it 250 or 400Hz?) will perform in a lively room, especially in the nearfield. I adamently second those suggestions that at-home demoing is mandatory...ESPECIALLY if yours is a lively room! Good luck.
I have heard the Dynaudio and the Revel. My opinion is the Revel Performa line is underrated. Nice robust vocals and big image. Suprising open sound considering their rather wide front profile. I heard the Dynaudio's on several occasions and they are not for me. Great build quality, but where's the midrange/image? The Revels and Dynaudio's are very different and once you hear them I can't imagine anyone not choosing a favorite (one way or the other). As far as crossovers, I believe third and fourth order crossovers excel in driver integration. These tend to be much better at imaging. You can get more volume out of first order speakers. I am generalizing of course. I would like to hear the new Joseph's.
Thanks everyone for all of the input- I think more auditioning is definitely in order; you've all given me some excellent food for thought.
I agree with Joekras - I would expect anyone who seriously auditioned the Revels and the Dyn's to have a clear favorite (though I could imagine somebody loving both).

Regarding x-overs, I'm definitely not an expert. I have read several places that you can only get time and phase coherence out of a first-order design. That, coupled with the bigger overlap of the softer slope of a first order x-over would lead me to say that you'll get better driver-intergration out of a first-order x-over than a higher order one. This is the opposite of what Joekras says, and I'm definitely not here to say I positively know I'm correct. In any case, better driver integration means that you're less likely to pick out the sound of each individual driver in a speaker and more likely to hear the sound as one cohesive "voice".

Higher-order x-overs tend to generate a bigger sweet spot. The ones I have listened to sounded softer / less-bright as a result of this. This could yield an audition where the listener thought the first-order x-over was more "exciting", though long term listening is what counts and that excitement may easily turn to fatigue. In any case, if you're likely to utilize the speakers in a place where a wider sweet spot is a benefit, you're more likely to get it in something like the Revel. -Kirk


I stand corrected.

1st order= 6db per octave This has the most overlap. Ex. Woofer to mid crossover is 300Hz. One octave below=150Hz and mid driver is only 6db down in volume. Conversely, one octave up= 600Hz, and woofer is down only 6db in volume.

2nd order= 12db per octave

3rd order= 18db per octave

4th order= 24 db per octave.