Revel Performa 206, PSB T-2, Focal Aria 936: Which offers the best overall sound?


The title should read.....":offers the best overall sound and value"

I have heard all three mentioned above, but at different times, and locations. For the record,. Revels F-206 retails for $3500. the PSB T-2  for $3499; the Focal Aria 936, for $4000. Even though, I did hear all three, I could not compare them, and I am not a big believer of in store auditions as the best way to determine which is best in sound quality. There are too many distractions, and the listener is wary of time limitations, and salesmen churning  the waters to get you to make a  buying decision.


Therefore, I would like to tap into the experience and knowledge of owners of each speaker who possibly considered the same models, and which they preferred. It is important for me to buy a speaker that  is revealing and musical, and  works well with almost all genres  of music


Thank you,

S.J.

.

sunnyjim
I own the 936's. Zero regret. You can make them sound a LOT better in your home than you can in a shop. Of the speakers you named, only the Focal was Stereophile Recommend Gear. I power mine with a 31 watt class A amp and they will make your skull feel like it's going to implode. 
Great deals on the 936 if you look around. Heard them or the 948 in the store and they were nice. I got a good deal on some used Aria 906 locally I've had for about a month now. I am actually surprised how good they are. Very musical and detailed but non fatiguing. That new tweeter is a Corker. Great open midrange and they will play pretty damn loud without congestion or turning harsh. 
 I personally found the revels kind of boring in the audition that I heard them in. I'm sure they are engineered very well. I dont even remember what was pushing them. 
I haven't heard the PSB T2 but have heard the model above it, the Synchrony One. Great speaker but something I couldn't quite get over about the tweeter although very nice overall. 
Revel is solid, but could use a sub. Great soundstage width but only good imaging.

PSB is solid, but needs an amp capable of handling 2ohm (or at least rated to be stable at 2ohm), acoustic panels behind the speakers would help too as they have some port leakage ~800Hz. Really great soundstage width and great imaging.

Focal is solid, but could use a sub. Good soundstage width and great imaging. 
 
So, unless the room is tiny and/or they have to really close to the side-walls, the PSB’s are the best.
Do they have to be new?

Focal 948, I heard it in the store but with zero pressure and over longer session, are impressive to me. They are $5000 new and have all that you may ever need. I do not look back, but if I did they would be the only contender to Revel F 208 I do have. They were really good. I know you did not ask about them, but on a slightly used market they may be worth the upgrade. Again, I did not listen to 936 and cannot comment about the difference.

I listened to Revel 206 a lot (they were a contender when I was deciding) and found them to be a nice complete package. Soundstaging was really great and I thought that overall sound was truly balanced and non-intruding. I understand why mofojo felt Revels were a bit boring. They really do not jump at you in any way and at any price point. You could say they are "not exciting". However, you may start appreciating that after a while. They will not tire you after a while. I did not find Revels lacking bass (nor did I find bigger model Focal 948 lacking it) but bass is not that important to me so they may lack it if someone is particular about it.

I suggest you give Revel F208 a listen. Not because I have them but because they may also be worth the upgrade. They show up on Audiogon regularly for $3000, even less, in really good condition. They have bass for sure, you just have to turn the volume up. Classical, rock, vocals, they can do it.

I know, I only said "go the step above what you asked about if you can and you will surely have no regret" so I am not that helpful, but it may really be worth it after all.

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis979ee-focal-aria-948-3-way-floorstanding-loudspeakers-excellent...

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis978b5-revel-performa3-f208-full-range


I have had the Focal 948's for a couple of months now and do not regret my buy. I did complain with the 936. Bothe were good but the 948 were well worth the extra. The are also a good bit bigger so that could play into your decision if available space is a factor.

Another +vote for Focal 936 or 948.


Happy Listening!

The first thing you can do is drag your amp to each salon and listen odds are the retailer will know your serious and let you take the speakers home. None of your picks are turds so it really will come down to your room and personal preference. The revel has the least personality, focal generally has fatter bass and psb is usually bang for the buck good. I really like Vienna Acoustics Beethoven's at the price, but they are not for everyone

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. Your advice is solid and helpful. 

To Steve59. I don't think I will be dragging my BAT VK-200 (100RMS) amp around because it weighs 70 lbs, and seems to get heavier every day I get older. (LOL)    However, thanks for the suggestion

To  MZKMXCV. I identified my amp above as BAT VK-200. Whether it can handle a 2ohm load, I will have to check with Victor, BAT's owner and chief designer, a very knowledgeable and a good guy.  I am surprised that PSB would design the T-2 with such a low active impedance.

The room is medium size at 12 X15 and opens into a dining/kitchen area of equal dimensions. One problem I have with the PSB is their use of bungs to control the bass output. I always believed ( maybe wrongly) that those problems should be worked out on the design table.    

Happy Holidays to all,

S.J.


Focal is better than crooked Samsung. 
Above-mentioned Revels are pre-Samsung designs and, if bought used, easily pre-Samsung manufacture.

I recently heard the Focal 936 at a local dealer. Really nice from the mids on down but had no treble/ lacked detail. Very smooth and musical speaker. It was paired with a Naim Uniti Atom. Hotel California from Hell Freezes Over was jaw dropping.

I really wanted to like this speaker more but the lack of highs for me was a deal killer.

Interesting comment re the Focal 936 not having detail in the highs. I thought that this was were it was a fairly strong performer. I had the 936's for a few weeks at home and I enjoyed them a good amount. I decided on a set of Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers with the RAAL ribbon tweeters though and didn't look back. Those speakers retail for $2,900 new. 
@sunnyjim I'm curious, did you manage to decide?

I'm also contemplating between the Focals 948 and F208, it is indeed hard to decide...