Vienna Acoustics vs Revel Studios?

Three years ago, I invested in a system that has given me many hours of listening pleasure. I have Vienna Acoustics Beethoven speakers, a SimAudio I-5 integrated, and an Ultech CD player. At that time, that was about as much as my budget would allow, and I have never regretted buying any part of this system. The only "problem" I am having is that the system lacks "rock out' power. It is perfect for moderate listening, but will occasionally clip or become slightly shrill or unfocused when "cranked."

So now, of course, I'm pondering all kinds of potential remedies. I could simply use the I-5 as a pre-amp and add something like a Bryston 7B ST for extra volume. I could sell the I-5 and go for separates, maybe even try out some tubes, such as the Sonic Frontiers Power 3 set-up (although I have heard that tubes are not necessarily a good match for the 'warm' Vienna speakers). Or I could sell the system and try out the Revel Studios (I think the Salons are probably too big for my living room) with some combination of the above to drive them.

I am not a true audiophile, in the sense that I know an awful lot about this stuff, but I do know that I enjoy good music played on a good system. I don't mind paying for top notch equipment, within reason, but I don't want to fork over 10-12K when a modest adjustment in my current set-up would be almost as good.

So, I appeal to all of you true audiphiles for advice. Please show me the way. Would the Revels be a big step up from the Viennas? Would separates be much better than adding an amp, while using the I-5 as a pre-amp? Any suggestions on possible matches?

I realize the answers are, to some degree, subjective. But I am interested in your feedback and experiences.

Many thanks.
Most of what i see is right....I own the V-A and an Ayre V3. It's an incredible match! I've compared the Revels as well....if you like the V-A, the Revels WILL be fatiging to you. The difference is the tweeter! Come on people, the tweets are even remotely close! The Revel is far more extended (just my hurts my ears, maybe not yours, but it does mine).

If you like the V-A, the Revel will be to "metallic" sounding.

But as far as what you should change out....have you consisdered the CD player? The Ultech was "good for the money" but your system is being held back by that.
I gotta chime in here. Keep the speakers and replace the cdp and amp. Both are going to make a bigger improvement than replacing the speakers. Don't know what your budget is, but if you like the overall sound of the SimAudio, you should strongly consider going to the W-5 amp, which will be a giant improvement in impact and much less strained at high levels. Sim's cdp is also a big step up from the Ultech. The Bryston 7's are also an excellent choice, maybe even a little better than the W-5 but much bulkier as well.
I think you have an amazing set of speakers in the Vienna Acoustics Beethoven's. It would be unfair to comment on the Revels since I have never heard them before.

I can say that I have spend numerous hours in front of the Beethoven's doing critical listening with my own CD's and found them to be exceptional speakers. Midrange was extremely impressive on these and the bass was more powerful than you would expect from a speaker of it's size.

The source equipment used was a VTL ST-85 tube amplifier and the preamp was SS. I cannot recall the brand of preamp, but the CD player was a Naim.

My listening took place in a room about 14 x 18 and it was fairly well damped. Speakers were about 2 to 3 feet from the back walls and about 7 to 8 feet apart.

I thought the combination of the VTL and beethovens was excellent. It could drive these to surprising levels. The only change I would make is to remove some of the damping materials in the room. I thought the high frequencies were getting absorbed. However, this will most likely not be the problem with your average home listening room.

The beethoven is a 4ohn speaker so I can only imagine that is has a fairly flat impedance curve that does not dip below 4 ohms to be driven with such authority.

I disagree that you need more power. The relationship between power and output levels is logarithmic. It takes double the power to get a 3db increase in volume levels. To the human ear, anything under 3db will go unnoticed. So if you have a 100 watt amp and go to 200, you may get 3db. If you go to 400 you may get another 3db. The reason I say this is that often measurements are skewed in spec sheets and don't reflect real world performance. Also, room size and damping items such as furniture, will absorb some of the sound. Don't waste your money and your electricity bill on a super powerful amp; Unless you live in a cold climate and need additional heat to heat the room up so that it's cozy warm. Remember also that just because you have all this additional power does not mean you are using it. Your amp has capacitors, rather large ones if its SS, and they store power for just that reason.

So what would be the point in having all that power in storage if you had such a big amp? Its because transistors are not very linear. They require huge amounts of storage reserve and negative feedback to make them behave linear. A tube amplifier, provided it is properly designed, is much more linear to begin with. It does not require negative feedback to correct for such problems. Excessive negative feedback robs you of some of your dynamics.

I would recommend that you explore tubes. This is such a musical speaker and I think what you are experiencing will be resolved with Tubes. Try and go with a model that uses little or perferably zero negative feedback. You may also need to replace your preamp as I understand not all tube amplifiers mate well with SS preamps. Most do but you should make sure just to be on the safe side. Its all about synergy.

Just my belief and I am sure someone else will disagree with me on that.
It appears that many people love the Viennas as much as I do. It also appears that I need to consider not only different amplication, but a different source as well. I am intrigued by the thought of trying out tubes and would appreciate suggestions on possible good matches with the Beethovens. Ayre? Sonic Frontiers? What about the pre-amp?Or is there an SS combo (such as Pass) that approximates the "tube sound"? Also, any thoughts on a CD upgrade in the $1-2K range? Meridian, perhaps? I'd love to try the Sim Moon Eclipse, but can't quite feature spending $3K for it. Please offer up suggestions on a significant upgrade from the Ultech.

Thanks again for all the help. Unfortunately, I do not live in an area where I can easily audition all of this stuff. I must therefore rely on the kindness of strangers. I must say, it worked out great for me when I assembled the system I have now.

My top two picks in cdps in this price range would be Meridian 508.24 and Wadia 830, both of which are excellent and can be had for $2k used. I would highly recommend looking into the BAT preamps and amps, any models, they are all excellent. See Good luck!