No idea how they compare, but the KEF is BIG (I was taken aback at its size), which I thought you might like to know.
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I've auditioned the 207/2, the Salon2 and the Sashas. The 207/2's were driven with top end Chord gear and the Salon2 and Sashas were driven with top end Ayre gear. I was encouraged to listen to the Salon2's before making a decision. To me, the KEF sounds so natural and are very detailed - my audition ended 3 hours later when the dealer was closing, but I would have loved to have kept going. I switched in a pair of Velodyne 1812's and found the KEF's alone to be surprisingly full with a nice bass extension - the two huge subs certainly would be nice for movies, and they were a nice addition for the few tracks with really deep bass.
The next pair to audition (the next day) were the Salon2's, I had my list of the same very diverse CD tracks which I had listed to the day before. I have to say, they are not the speaker for me. I had reserved 3 hours again, but had enough after 1.5 hours. Instruments sounded nice, but not as refined and detailed as with the KEF and voices just weren't what I was seeking. They too are big, but in height vs. the footprint. Given the choice between the 207/2 and the Salon2, it would no doubt be the 207/2 for me - they are a much nicer looking speaker as well.
As I tried to politely describe my observations of the Salon2 to the dealer, he suggested that I listed to the Wilson Sashas. I had not even considered Wilson as their cabinets simply turned me off - sound was most important, but I thought I'd evaluate top end speakers with attractive cabinets before going down this path. The audition of the Sasha's was spectacular - this was the sound I was seeking. Powerful, accurate, refined, detailed and very rich with a wonderfully full sound with great bass extension - a beautiful sound to my ears. Like the KEF audition, the 3 hour period came about much too quickly, and I had to leave when they closed shop. I had my sights set on a nice wood finish for the cabinets, but I have to say I have thrown out that stipulation in favor of the sound. The finishes are really nice, just that the geometries are very basic and square - I no longer care. So now I'm torn between the 207/2 and the Sasha's. I wish I could hear both using the same gear and in the same room, but that's not possible. You can find new KEF's for about $14K and the Sasha's are $27K. I would be happy with either, but I think my desire deep down is for the Sasha. At half the price and such a nice tonal quality, the 207/2 is a tough choice to pass up... One thing I was hoping for was to purchase an American made brand, so Wilson fits that profile. I own the KEF 150/3, and in their day, I was very satisfied with them - with age, they've deteriorated and it's time for a new pair. So in summary, I think Nirodha35 made the right decision - I found the KEF's much more refined, tighter and more pleasing over the Salon2's. Now to make up my mind with the Sasha...
It's a no-brainer that a $27K speaker is generally going to outperform a $14K speaker, especially when made by reputable brands. I have no doubt the Sasha is much superior speaker to the 207/2. Then again, while I think KEFs are good, they are not in the same league as Wilson. To me, they are a second-rate imitation B&W, which is not a criticism, might be perhaps even a compliment.
The Sashas, however, are a step back from the previous WATT/Puppy. Really a shame I think. No doubt they are still a fine speaker, but the W/P 8 was better. But then again, Wilsons don't really excel until you get to the MAXX 3s. Now THAT'S a speaker! Almost as good as the X-2s, the energy of the drum set during "Take Five" is so realistic and "live" it's uncanny. Put on a well-recorded classical guitar SACD and you feel like you're INSIDE the sound hole. My advice to you is if you're seriously considering the Sasha, I'd say wait a few years until you've saved enough for the MAXX 3. You'll thank me later.
It's a no-brainer that a $27K speaker is generally going to outperform a $14K speaker, especially when made by reputable brands.
One of the biggest myths in audio is that a higher priced unit outperforms a lower priced one.There are way too many variables for this to be true.Your higher priced speaker might not match up with your equipment.It might not work well in your room.Hell,you might just not like the way it sounds.If you are buying equipment because it costs more,you are doing a great disservice to yourself.
"One of the biggest myths in audio is that a higher priced unit outperforms a lower priced one."
That's twisting what I said. I was referring specifically to the large discrepancy in pricing (in this case around 2x) AND in the $14K to $27K price-range, and when both speakers are made by reputable brands. More specifically, I was pointing out it's not a fair comparison to even put these two speakers together, and especially in light of the poster's take of it being such a revelation that the Sasha would match or outperform the KEF 207/2.
"If you are buying equipment because it costs more,you are doing a great disservice to yourself."
No really? What great insight, you should be a life coach. Those pearls of wisdom need to be shared! Wow, really, the only person that even remotely suggested "buying equipment because it costs more" is YOU. Ridiculous.
I was not speaking to you or about you.I was using your statement to make my point.If I hurt your feelings,which by the tone of your attack on me I did,I am truly sorry.Your last paragraph makes no sense what so ever,so again,I apologize if I hurt your feelings.Maybe you should think twice about participating in these forums,being as sensitive as you are.Have a nice day.
Brianmgrarcom: You are correct - 207/2 list is $20 ($14K or $11.5K for that matter are deals one occasionally sees on A/G postings) vs. Sasha's list of $27K.
Dylanhenry: I have seen new Maxx2's for $25K (said to have listed for ~$50K) as well, so there would be an opportunity to purchase a speaker in a higher category, but I think they are a bit too big for my liking and my room. I really liked the sound of the Sasha - it was very captivating, but I have to say without a side by side test with the same upstream gear and in the same room, I'm not too sure the 207/2 was really in a different league (or maybe better stated, that I wouldn't be perfectly satisfied with them).
Enigizer: I have auditioned the B&W with McIntosh and Classe gear, but for some reason, they just aren't what I'm seeking - again, this may have to do with the amplification or source - I'm not sure - I have always tended to fatigue too quickly with them.
I'd still like to audition the Magico V3 - not sure about the Vienna Music or Avalon. Any others you suggest which may be in line with the Sasha's?
Has anyone seriously auditioned the Sasha and the 207/2 side by side in the same environment (preferably in their own home for a good period of time) and with the same gear? That would be very interesting. It is interesting that you don't really hear about KEF much - I'm not sure why.
It all came down to the associated equipment (especially amps)hooked up to the speakers. I am positive the KEF and the Salon2 are great speakers.
Before I got the Salon2, I auditioned it with different amps. The speakers sounded very different (day and night) with different amps. I suggest you audition speakers with different electronics to identify its characters (if any) before you make up your mind.
Vav, I demoed the 207/2s again yesterday and they are a VERY good speaker for $14K. I auditioned them back-to-back with the 205/2s, and it's not even worth the comparison. I was surprised how bright and harsh the 205/2 sounded, and the bass was really lacking. Both the 205/2 and the 203/2 have been very disappointing to me, with similar distortion in the highs once you crank up the juice. The mids were also thin on both speakers.
The 207/2, on the other hand, was balanced throughout, and was not harsh on the highs, though slightly metallic. Bass extension was also impressive. The speaker reminded me a lot of the B&W 800 series, actually. I would say the 207/2 approaches the 802D, though for my taste I like the B&W better, and falls somewhat short of coming close to the 800D, though in design it probably resembles the 800D more than the 802D. But being the same price basically as the 802D, they are both great and it could be just a matter of taste. I would love to get those two speakers in the same room, however, to really have a proper shoot-out.
After having heard the 205/2, I would say the 207/2 is a quantum leap from that speaker, and it's surprising to me that there could be such a huge jump in quality in the same line between respective models. I think KEF should have created a 206 model to fill in the gap as there is SUCH a difference between the 205/2 and the 207/2.
I'm going into the Wilson dealer tomorrow and will listen to the Sashas again. Will be interesting to see if I still like them that much more than the 207/2s now that I will have heard them with only a couple of days in-between. It's never a fair comparison being in different rooms, driven by different gear, and the days apart spacing, but the timing will be closer than when I initially compared them last time.
I think in terms of value, though, the 207/2 is definitely a better buy than the Sasha, with it being roughly half the price, and there is no way the Sasha is twice as good as the 207/2. Then again, at this level, diminishing returns is a given.
And yes, to the others, 207/2 can be had for $14K. It's only $20K if you get the high gloss options instead of the standard finishes. To me, that makes the 207/2 a $14K speaker. The dealer did try to tell me the gloss improved the sound (because of "lessened vibrations" and "reduced harmonic distortion" due to the "hard finish"), but I have a hard time believing that. The model I heard was in high-gloss, but he didn't have a standard finish model for me to compare to (probably wisely), so to me, that's an unsubstantiated claim.
Overall, the 207/2 performed well in my audition, and for $14K, I think it's a good buy and you could definitely do a lot worse.
Since you asked for other recs:
I recently heard the Rockport Ankaa, which at 25-27k is priced right there with Sasha. WOW! I have listened to lots of speakers recently and this has basically blown everything else away. I need to listen to Sasha soon to make a comparison, but would highly recommend the Ankaa.
I listened to both (among several), and bought the Salon 2s. The 107/2s are *very* nice though. We all listen differently, in that different people focus on different aspects of the music, so preferences are natural. For speakers of this ilk source material, venue and placement are so critical; it took me a week of "inching around" the Salon 2s until the sound was right. I was actually concerned I had made the wrong choice until I found exactly the right placement.
The most unusual alternative I heard, only in a private home, was the Linkwitz Orion+. I was shocked (shocked!) :) at how competitive it was.
I have not heard the Salon 2 but in January of this year we bought a pair of 207.2 (with a 10% dealer discount : thank you Michael) and have been delighted with them in every way. This is the first pair of speakers I have had that I no longer think about. Every recording sounds at least acceptable and usually wonderfully natural and true, I surmise, to the producers and performers intentions. The mid range and treble are smoothly transparent and never harsh or edgy. The bass is always there and overwhelming when the recording demands it.
I had a chance to buy a pair of Sophias at the same time. They were second hand but immaculate and were brought to my attention by Martin Colloms. They would have worked out cheaper than the KEFs by about £K2. Unfortunately their finish was typical Wilson automobile in a Mercedes silver. We couldn't reconcile ourselves to something so out of character with our room although I suppose they looked like giant versions of our MF amps !
We took a lot of advice before deciding. Martin Colloms said the Sophias were his favourites at that price which is quite a recommendation. John Atkinson recommended the KEFs over the Wilsons and of course Stereophile had already made them speaker of the year.
Our helpful dealer (Lyric Hi-Fi Belfast) arranged a home trial and we listened exhaustively post Christmas. There was no doubt they were keepers. We had tried a number of speakers at home including Quads and Tannoy Canterbury's but these were so listenable with all material and at all volumes. They had some of the natural transparency of the Quads but with a much better overall balance. Bass was all there but never booming. It is a cliche but they totally disappeared leaving a natural sound stage with depth and width.
After so many trials and disappointments it was like coming home. We ordered a pair and during the wait for the matt walnut finish we wanted Lyric left the trial pair with us.
Now nine months on we know we have made the right choice and would recommend them to anyone. I still wish I could have heard the Sophias but that was not to be. Its difficult to imagine how they could be better.
Of course I haven't heard the Revels either but that would be almost impossible to arrange and again I dont know how I'd expect them to be better than the KEFs.
Apart from the Stereophile review the KEFs seem under-reviewed which is surprising although there is one due in Hi Fi News I think. A review in 'What HiFi' didnt like them but what do they know?
If you are in the market at this price I would say you must try them.
I am using MF KW Preamp and Amp single amped through Transparent cable with CD/SACD from Marantz SA7ST with Van den Hul First and Second interconnects.
I have lived with many speakers through my years of pouring my savings to upgrading my systems, but nothing, I mean nothing has satisfied me more than the sound that the new Kef 207/2 makes. I have lived with Wilson WP 7, Thiel 3.7, Dynaudio c4, Harbeth SHL5, B&W Nautilus, ATC 50 or whatever and so on..They were all respectful speakers, but always, something seemed to fall short. My last audition before choosing the KEF 207.2 was between Salon 2 and KEF 207.2, because both of them were so highly reviewed by Stereophile and TAS. In end, I felt they were both extremely superior speakers at their price points, but KEF 207.2 excels above Salon 2 on several points. They go very very loud without ever getting irritating or loosing balance. Also the mids which almost accounts for over 80% of the music we listen to, KEF is so much more smooth and natural while being as transparent, detailed as you would want them to be. Top to bottom, nothing irritates you, and the highs on KEF is truly "high-end" high, being able to go extreme without ever getting edgy. Finally, the body of instrument has real weight and heft true to real sound and never will sound thin, which may happen to such detailed and trasparent speakers. To sum up, super balanced with finesse. You will find Revel Salon 2 superior in it's own right, but for years of listening to many different types of music, most likely you will be better off with KEF 207.2. However the taste of music is down to each individual and you would eventually have to audition with your own ears.
In these days where some speakers are reaching well over 100k, I think KEF 207.2 is well positioned and more people will appreciate the high value of these speakers when they hear what these speakers can deliver. In my country I am blessed with options to audition many high-end speakers in one location..unfortunately I have lived in US and I know that option is not readily there. I hope you can audtion them close by to where you live, then you would know where I am coming from. They will prove shortcut to getting to audio bliss without wasting $$$ upgrading and changing systems to match to your need. ;-)
While I find the previous post thoughful and well reasoned, my thoughts are slightly different. Once you start looking at speakers at this level your room and equipment take on greater and greater significance. Dealer demos are next to worthless as a tool to determine long term satisfaction. Only after you've heard the speakers in your room with your stuff LONG TERM can one be sure. Even small changes in placement can have a big impact on the ultimate result, the best placement can take some time to find.
Both the KEF and the Revel are world class speakers. I don't think anyone can say with absolute percision one is materially superior. Personal preferance on sound priorities along with associated equipment and the environment are variables that make comparing speakers at this level difficult at best. What I find interesting is the description of the strong points of the KEF match almost exactly what I'd use to describe by Studio 2's.
One speaker worth shortlisting that is priced at $21K right between sasha and kef is the Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation. I replaced my Revel Studio's with the Parsifal Encore's. If you're listening to smaller acoustic smaller ensembles this speaker is hard to beat with true "midrange magic". They are also the smallest footprint of any true high end speaker I have ever come across. On the downside of the small size factor is they raise the question what on earth justifies their pricetag, but based on sound quality they are very competitive in its priceclass.
egrady, I agree with you on your points. That's why I have even higher regards for the KEF 207.2. They sounded right in dealer demo, and they sound equally right at home. They are not too picky on placement (due to Uni-q) I guess, The sweet spot area is big (you don't need to sit straight at the center of listening position nervously) the system matching wise, you don't need monster power to drive them (fit with right cabling) you can easily configure the sound to your liking. Given it's sheer size and given it is really a full-floor standing speakers, I was bit worried about the bass control..but the KEFs deliver powerful but clean, tight bass that cross over to the high well balanced that you don't need to worry about the bass bloat. It was almost like a "plug and play"...They will sound good right out of box. I said in my previous post that for long term satisfaction at home, KEF 207/2 will be a safer bet. These are some of the reasons why. I just know that world-class speakers Salon 2 are, when brought home, I will have much more headaches to deal with to get them right. Wrong placement/room size, wrong system match, wrong cable match upstream, you got yourselves speakers that could potentially fatigue you right out. then you got yourselves over $20k headache. These are the observations from my 20 years of painstaking experiences. However, once again, these comments are personal.. My ears prefer clean, well balanced sound but with much emphasis on the mid, how musical they sound while still being detailed, transparent, and dynamic. Anyway, shopping for a new speaker is always an enjoyable experience so do yourselves good and try as many speakers before deciding..It amazing the # of choices you have out there nowadays...Personally I would always lean toward manufacturers that design and manufacture their own drivers, over those who outsource to Scanspeak or Audio Tech. or other less known driver manufacturers.
The conclusion that the KEF is generally more system/room compatible than the Revel is hard for me to follow. Other than the fact that the Revel does need more power. In fact, they both are more flexible than most large floor standing speakers because they have tone controls and large sweet spots.
It may be easy to get 90% of what the KEF can do following a basic room placement rule-of-thumb, but to get 100% out of any speaker almost always takes many trial and error efforts.
I'm wondering, Egrady, if he formed that conclusion after my original post regarding my week of inching around the Revels to get the right placement. The Revels were, truth be known, more difficult to place that my previous Legacy Focus, but I suspect that the Focus was inherently easier to place because it had front and rear woofers, and back-facing rather than down-facing ports. But I'd chalk that up more to the Legacys being easy to place than the Revels being more difficult than normal.
As I mentioned previously, the KEFs and the Revels are both very, very good. There are differences between them, but they are so close to the same level of achievement that it will end up being mere personal preference for which you choose. The KEF's mid-bass, at least in my audition, definitely struck me as plumper than the Revel's, and some people might be drawn to that. On the other hand, the Revel's reproduction of cymbals still strikes me as unmatched by any speaker I've ever heard. So, because there are subtle differences, it is easy to see how an individual could develop a preference for one over the other, even though either one exceeds the performance, overall, of just about any other speaker I've ever heard.
no I came to my conclusiong after my audition using various systems upstream, Salon2 required more juice, not just more, but right one. Like you said it was more sensitive to the placement as well. Anyway, I agree with you that KEF does produce plumper/little more body in the mid which I personally like. (gives good body/texture/depth to the instruments I think) And also, yes, they both exceed in their performance at their price point in my view. I have heard some that cost twice/three times much which didn't come near KEF/Salon 2 in terms of sound quality..Don't get me wrong. I contemplated in buying Salon 2. With right system match, right room setting, and placement, they are super. However for those who do not have the luxury (most don't) then I am just saying be aware that it will require some efforts/$$ to get to 100% vs. KEF which I felt was more listener friendly to get to that 100%. cheers and have a wonderful Christmas..it is got dang hot here which wipes out the Christmas atmosphere.. ;-)
Part of the what is going on with the Revel's and in-room placement is that their drivers are matched speaker to speaker to very tight tolerances. So it is relatively easy to put them in your room and just sort of eyeball the placement and they will sound good/acceptable but I have found, owning the Studio2's, that very small changes in position are audible. So when set-up right you can hear really deeply into the recording.
When I worked at Legacy Audio we would get a pallet of Eton mid-range drivers in and they would be tested for voice-coil alignment issues but prior to Legacy's purchase by Allen Organ their freq. resp. was not tested. The crossovers would be adjusted individually so that a 'pair' of speaker gave relatively the same response. That method works 'ok' unless you need to replace a driver, it is really impossible to reach the same level of precision as the bigger mfg'ers.
I started matching the mid-range drivers as it made my job easier (less adjustments needed) when it came time to adjust the crossover and match a pair of speaker to one another, (one of the things I did when employed at the Allen Organ plant in Macungie PA to every Legacy speaker that came out of PA at the time).
Anyhow sorry going off on a tangent but with firms like Revel or KEF or B&W or JM Labs that make their own drivers they have a significant advantage as they really can match drivers with in fractions of db instead of being in the 2,3,4 db off at a given frequency. Wilson does not have that benefit even though they work closely I sure with their vendors it is not the same thing. This was part of what drove Dunlavy, their rejection rate of drivers from Vifa that didn't cut the mustard was something crazy like 60-80% per pallet. Legacy was more of the 'use every part of the animal' mentality. I have no idea what their current practice is but that is what was happing in 1999.
There is a reason for the cost of some speakers, tight tolerances cost a lot of $$$
The way any speaker interacts with a room is unpredictable. Pkoh70 may have found the Revels more placement sensitive than the KEF, but that doesn't necessarily mean such will always or even usually be the case. The reviews of the Salon 2 I've seen don't indicate they are particularly picky in this regard. Certainly not in Wilson territory. In any event, in my view all this is immaterial. What is important is whether or not a speaker works in your room, not how much work it might take to find the optimal spot.
I'm lucky enough to to have a rectanglar room with a vaulted ceiling. I moved by Studio 2's around for a few weeks until I placed them using the 1/5 rule. That is, with the center of the speaker front 1/5 of the room width from the side and 1/5 of the room length from the back wall. After my jaw got off the ground I installed the spikes and have never enjoyed music as much. Placement had a huge impact on firming up the low end. No more boom, just a tight and controlled bass foundation.
The Cardas website has some very instructive comments on speaker placement. While I'm tempeted to try the 1/3 rule, logistics make it impossible for me to move the speakers that far from the back wall.