Revel Studios for half price?


Hi,
The title is a little mis-leading.
What I'm looking for is a speaker that sounds as good, or nearly as good, as the Revel Studio, which sounds pretty amazing to me, but cost half the Studio price.

I'm about to set out to audition speakers until I find one that cost in the $3-3.5k range and can hang with the Studios.

Is there such a speaker?
Any audition recommendations?

Best Regards,

geoh
geoh
My advise is go for the real thing first time. if you like the Revel, then save yourself time, effort, and money and buy it. otherwise you will always think about it no mattar what you end up buying. I just got a pair of Salons and said to myself, I should've bought them long time ago and saved myself time and money buying all the other speakers that I bought and sold. Mark my word. Revel are great speakers, good luck.
I have the Studios and your pursut will be a tough one. I can only say that before I decided on the Studios I also auditioned many lines. I came down to JM Lab's ( Mezzo ) or the Revel Studio. I do remember auditioning the JM Electra 926 and found them to be an amazing speaker in the price range you are looking in. Can they be compared to the Studio's, I don't think so. I can only suggest if you have not heard them they should be put on your want to audition list. I don't think you would be disappointed.
That's my 2 cents worth.
Dave
I agree, just save up for the Studios. (And yes, I own them too!) They are a great speaker. You can probably find them used for around $7K, and even cheaper if you can be patient and wait for the right deal. If you can live with the flat black body and black ash side panels, you can probably find a pair of those for around $6K.

Ok, so if you can't wait to save enough to get the Studios, Then, you might want to give the Revel F30 or F50 a chance. They sound really good, just not great. You might also want to try to Sonus Faber Cremona's as they are a really good speaker too.

Good Luck in your search. (Me, I would wait and save. On the used market, the prices will come down, slowly perhaps, but they will come down. I bet you would be able to get a pair for $5K within a year or so. They might have some dings in the wood, but so what?! It is the music you want first, not just the aesthetics. Although, they are a rather striking design.)
I've never listened to the Studios but the consensus is that they are supposed to be a pretty good speaker.

You might consider Aerial Acoustic Model 10T's or the Von Schweikert VR-4 Gen III SE's.

-IMO
Thanks for all the responses.
I guess I didn't word my post very well.
I already own the Studios. And yes they are a very sweet sounding speaker, probably the best I've ever heard, but I haven't heard the Salons yet!
The speakers I'm looking for now will be going in a separate system.
Regards,
geoh
For half the price you are going to give up some bass response and extension. You might try Thiel 2.4. I think the midrange is a little forward whereas the Revel Studios tend to be distant. Otherwise both are accurate sounding speakers.
I owned a pair of Studios, now I own a pair of Salon's. Previosuly I woned a pair of Revel F30's.

If your looking for the sonic qualities of the Studio, then get the Performa F30's(Stay away from the F50's they perfrom poorly compared to the F30's). THe F30's use the same basic crossover points and 24db steep slopes and really high quality drivers. Tradeoffs are in the basic cabinet, and the drivers. But even the Performa drivers are amazing and actually mimic the Studio's(Uses a single 1.1 inch aluminum tweeter,5" midrange,single 10" bass driver) but use a single 10" instead of twin 8's and has no rear tweeter. But you get 98% of the performance of the Studio. When I AB'd the Studio and the F30(this was about 5 years ago when I bought the F30's when on a budget)after hours I found that the F30's sounded almost identical to the studio's. Midrange voicing was almost identical,and the bass driver and tweeter did a great job too.

If you are looking for a cheap pair of "studio's" get a pair of F30's. Great speaker. Can buy a mint pair for just under $2k too.
Geoh - For a little more money you should look into Green Mountain Audio C-3's. http://www.greenmountainaudio.com/

Roy Johnson the owner and engineer is one of the brightest and technically sound speaker designers out there. Do a search on this site for feedback on GMA's Europa speaker... people rave about them. Last week I talked to a guy in New York who's extensively tested an impressive list of speakers across a broad pricing spectrum and he told me without hesitation that the GMA C-3's were significantly better than anything he's heard.

If you send me an email I will be happy to put you in touch with him and he can tell you for himself about his new C-3's.
I would second the last post on the Green Mountain Audio C-3s. I just heard them at a friend's house who is a true audiphile and they were amazing. I have listened to the Studios and Salons extensively and yes they are great speakers, BUT, the Green Mountains are IMO considerably better. I have owned the Verity Parcifals, Talons, Ushers, Maggies and heard literally everything but the Kharmas. If you can put the relatively low price aside and make pretend that the GMAs are $30,000 a pair that about captures the level of sound quality I heard.
Green mountain speakers = home built Vandersteen's with less quality control. I dont even think they match their drivers and crossover components to within db tolerances.

I have personally heard the C-1's. Nothing special, another Vandersteen clone that uses basic off the shelf drivers from different companies, basic 1st order slopes.If someone is gonna recommend this style of speaker, I would rather recommend the 3A signature if were going this route.
Again thanks for all the respones.
How about the VMPS RM40s?
They seem to be available, used and upgraded, occasionally around $3.5k.
I'm sure they sound great, but can they rock without hurting your ears. In other words, can the RM40s hang with the Studios?
Regards,
geoh
A hybrid speaker, if you want to go this route, go with a pair of Magnepan 3.6's. I have heard them, quite laid back sounding from my impressions. Good speaker nonetheless.

Seriously though, if your looking for "Studio" sound, look at the F30. If you AB these speakers with the Studio's on the same equipment you will be hard pressed to tell the 2 apart.They are that good. Save that extra $1500 towards other upgrades like room treatments or something........
Ritteri.....you would be dead wrong about GMA NOT matching the crossover components in stereo pairs. They are matched to within plus or minus one half of one DB. Sorry, but I feel the need to correct the people who make false statements.
I agree with Ritteri about the F30 alternative. I had both in my system, one after the other, and they are very similar. Kept the Studios, however.
Songwriter72:If GMA's match their crossover tolerances to what you claim they do then their frequency response curve would be much more linear between each unit. We put a few of the older Continuum's up on an RTA. We could never match the response curve between ANY single unit under identical circumstances or even get em close. And if the blame is on the drivers themselves(which I wouldnt doubt) then there would be no reason to match em to begin with. Cant believe everything you read. GMA speakers use average drivers and minimal components(just like Vandersteen), too bad the price doesnt reflect that because they should be alot cheaper. You can get a pair of Vandy 3A sig's much cheaper than the 1.5's or the 3's both of which are grossly overpriced.
I spent a year listening to Revel's and ended up buying Aerial 8b's for $3,800.

The problem with this "hobby" is that you can always want more! I started by wanting Performa's, then thought Studio's, and finally fell in love with Salon's. At the end of the day, I couldn't justify the money and the amount of time it was going to take to save up and buy all the other associated speakers for my 7.1 home theater (especially since my IRA isn't doubling every year any more).

I listened in a lot of different listening rooms and decided the room had a significant impact on my listening enjoyment. Much more than I had originally appreciated. In an acoustically great room everything sounded wonderful, but in a weaker setting even the Salon's were "so what."

Stick with you price point and spend money on making your room sound good. Since you and your guests will not be doing side-by-side comparisons very often, you'll enjoy whatever you buy at this level.

Pride of ownership affects all of us, but don't let it get in the way of enjoying great sound now, cost effectively.
Yep, room interactions do play a MAJOR part of how good a speaker sounds. I have always told folks to allot $500-$1000 for room treatments. If you have a drill and a stapler and a pair of scissors you can keep the number well below $500 to EQ out the room properly to make the best of those speakers.

Any speaker will sound "so what" in a poor room environment, but I wouldnt use that as an excuse not to get em. I spent 2 days and $380 bucks(high frequency absorbers on all main reflection points,DIY tube trabs in the corners and to the sides of the speakers) on my "so what" room and turned it into a room far superior for a pair of floorstanders than from where I originally heard em.
You should go with aerials they will give you what your looking for!
Worldcat: The guy is looking for sonic characteristics of the full range Studio, not the sucked out midrange that all Aerial's(AKA generic Wilson Audio clones except for the 5B's which are excellent monitors but not full range) are known for.
pls try Virgos!!you will love it.
Not exactly what you were asking for but I purchased a Revel Salon in 10/10 condition last year for half price on A'Gon. So if I was in Geoh's shoes I would wait until you find a Studio on sale on A'Gon.
Ritteri-
You say,
"We put a few of the older Continuum's up on an RTA. We could never match the response curve between ANY single unit under identical circumstances or even get em close."

We do indeed match to tight tolerances as stated above- always have. I personally have re-checked drivers and crossover parts from customers' speakers we made going back 20+ years, and seen no remarkable changes. Your measured differences don't agree with our tests, or those published by Brent Butterworth, Andrew Marshall or John Atkinson. So there must be a wiring error inside, if the speakers weren't abused. I'd encourage that owner to contact us to make it right.

BTW, our drivers are not "average", but it's understandable how you'd have a negative opinion after getting such weird measurements. The drivers we've used over the years are the most linear, and many times not flashy-looking. Linearity is not an opinion- it's a set of measured quantities, and you should have been able to see linear behaviour in your measurements. This is why I suspect we screwed up or that the speakers were abused.

People buy our products because of what they hear.
Let me know if we can help those odd Continuum 1's.
(719) 636-2500

Best regards,
Roy Johnson
Green Mountain Audio
GMA quotes : "We do indeed match to tight tolerances as stated above- always have. I personally have re-checked drivers and crossover parts from customers' speakers we made going back 20+ years, and seen no remarkable changes. Your measured differences don't agree with our tests, or those published by Brent Butterworth, Andrew Marshall or John Atkinson. So there must be a wiring error inside, if the speakers weren't abused. I'd encourage that owner to contact us to make it right."

Im sure you do under circumstances. But the 2 pairs we had(this was 2-3 years back btw)wouldnt match up and the soundstage seemed to shift with moderate power amplifier loads. We did do basic checks for polarity, but everything did seem in order. The speakers were in the posession of a BA rep at the time. They seemed to be in good condition. But I didnt physically break the speaker down either.

GMA quotes: "BTW, our drivers are not "average", but it's understandable how you'd have a negative opinion after getting such weird measurements. The drivers we've used over the years are the most linear, and many times not flashy-looking. Linearity is not an opinion- it's a set of measured quantities, and you should have been able to see linear behaviour in your measurements. This is why I suspect we screwed up or that the speakers were abused."

Yes, measurements do give a first impression(along with sound quality of course). And our first impression sure wasnt a sparkling review(but thats not to say they sounded bad, as I felt they did sound very good with a definete "Vandersteen" quality to them). And I am know your drivers have to be linear to implement the crossover slopes used. This is a given. Drivers sure dont need to look "flashy" to be a quality driver either. I dont want to give off that impression. But I still felt that for the money they represented that better drivers or crossovers could have been used but then of course that cuts into profit margin, and of course trade-offs need to be made Im sure you will agree at least to some extent. In high end speaker design, I feel that the biggest offender is the passive crossover set though.

Just out of curiosity what tolerance parts are used in your crossovers?
Thanks for your comments, Ritteri.

From what you said about the image shifting with power levels, I believe an employee (no longer with us) must have wired the L-pad resistors to mid and tweeter "backwards", which would produce some strange results. It would have likely affected both pair, as they would have been made together.

"for the money they represented... better drivers or crossovers could have been used."
You may not know those retailed in 1995 for only $1295/pair, for a 10" three-way.
We don't believe we compromised:
Hovland and Solen caps,
Solen air core inductor on the mid,
350Watt E-I laminate-core inductor for the woofer,
voice-coil Zobels on all drivers,
high-power non-inductive resistors,
Kimber TC wire with Wonder solder, hard-wired,
a Morel neodymium soft dome with acoustic felt around it,
a 4.5" mid made for us which measured +/-1dB from 250Hz to 5kHz before any crossover circuit was applied,
an Audax 10" woofer we modified with a vented dustcap and epoxy reinforcing its chassis,
an industrial-grade particle board woofer cabinet with adjustable spikes, and
a cast marble mid and tweeter housing, adjustable for "Soundfield Convergence" to most any listening position.

We sold several hundred of them, but never got the man-hours down low enough to make sufficient profit- one of the mistakes of a young company...

You are right- passive crossovers usually veil the sound. Over the years, we've found better parts (the best parts?), and still only use one or two per driver with no circuit board, which is about as transparent as you can get. Much of the loss of transparency I found came from using certain well-known brands of parts. Much sharpness is also lost from the "voicing" tricks designers use when the circuits are not time coherent, to "compensate" for cabinet reflections from the mid and tweeter, to "correct" drivers that have non-flat responses, and to balance the sound from multiple woofers/mids/tweeters for a specific listening distance. As you may know, these manipulations always produce a very irregular impedance curve and/or a complicated circuit.

Our tolerances for capacitors: < 0.5% from the design values, +/- 0.05% pair match.
Inductors and resistors: < 1% from design spec, +/- 0.1% pair match.
Drivers: < 0.5dB from the design spec max (usually +/- 0.25dB), +/- 0.25dB pair match.

No way to know where those speakers went?

Thanks again for your thoughts.
Best,
Roy
Man, this is some great reading!
$1295 back in 95' to what now? Dont want to under sell em by all means, just dont go to the other extreme(Like Wilson Audio) either if you know what I mean! =)



For a 10" three-way, we've made the Continuum 1.5 since 2000. It has several times the parts cost of the C-1, with better cast marble visually and acoustically, and an even stronger and quieter (more difficult to make) woofer cabinet. $4995/pair in black. And it sounds better.

We are still working on a less expensive 3-way. Sound quality is not an issue. Simplifying the design to reduce man-hours in cast marble and cabinetry is.

Have an excellent weekend!
Best,
Roy
Id be very interested in hearing a pair of the C3's, Ive heard a few people make claims on them,I would also like to see a speaker that truely is +/- .75 DB in its specified response range as the GMA's claim to be(along with parts tolerance and pair matching,phase response etc, alot of the specs seem to be to good to be true). The first ones I heard were not that regardless of possible reasoning. I have a pair of 5A Vandy's at my disposal just after Xmas too. Would love to hear a pair of them with my Salon's and the 5A's. Im very skeptical on alot of the claims, but would love to eat my words as I do like seeing small business's compete with bigger mfg. Alot of the times though they just dont have the equipment or R&D to compete.
They are great speakers. The newest model is sure to be the best yet ! RM-30s. They'll be here in January. Here is a picture

http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/viewtopic.php?t=6670&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

And best of all, only around 3500 with all options !
STUDIO'S DON'T COMPARE TO THE MODEL 9 AERIALS! MAYBE TO YOUR EARS BUT NOT MINE. ALL I CAN SAY IS GO LISTEN THEN DECIDE FOR YOURSELF.
PMC OB-1's. I had somebody actually do that comparison. Yes, they are that good.

Kevin
The Sound Broker