Which one? Paradigm persona 3f, Revel Studio2, Audiosolution Figaro L, Goldenear reference


Guys, I am new here and have been following many topics here. I am like an audio enthusiast (not a audiophile by any means) and just did my 2 channel stereo with B&W 702 S2 with Naim Unity atom: It is also connected to TV via optical cable in living room. They sound very good overall and am happy with it.
Now, I am planning to complete a home theater in basement: I am considering 2 options.
1. Either using my B&W 702 S2 as part of 7.1.4 set up in basement and get a new 2 channel stereo.
2. Keeping the current set up in living room and buy a separate set of speakers in basement for 2 channel stereo for music and L/R for home theater.
I went to audition B&W 802 D3 and 803 D3 at Houston, while I was on business trip. At the same place, I auditioned Audiosolutions Figaro L and XL. Those speakers sound "amazing". The sound stage, bass were excellent. The mid were very good. The highs were not as good as B&W, but very close. I have selected them over B&W 8 series above. I am close to get Figaro L. But, have heard a lot of reviews on paradigm persona 3f, revel studio2 and goldener reference (somewhat within the price range, I am willing to pay). Has anybody had to make decision with similar speakers. Any body with expereince with above speakers ?, especially audiosolutions. I will soon go for audition of paradigm, revel studio2 and f228be. Hard to find a goldenear dealer for audition close to Indianapolis. Is there any other speakers in this price range (10-13), that is worth ?. I did audition Focal soprano N2 and very good overall. Still in the list of probables.
I had auditioned Dynaudio contour 60. Not my taste. 
romney80
What sound characteristics are most important to you, and what aspects of speaker performance would you like to improve upon over what you have now?
Like to have good sound stage, image and depth. I am not very critical about being neutral. Some brightness is good in highs. Most importantly, my wife should be in agreement with looks. 
I've auditioned those paradigms.  The both sound and measure far too harsh in the treble. IMO, you could give them a pass.  You should definitely try the Revels, though. It's a pain, but you can buy them mail order (at least the 228Be) and return them from Crutchfield.  An awful lot of people consider them an insanely great value, and they are basically the culmination of Floyd Toole's decades of research on what people reliably prefer in a loudspeaker in blind listening.
Actually if OP likes brightness in the highs and good looks, the Persona 3f might be perfect for OP.  They are pretty stylish and definitely a forward sounding speaker.
I have heard that paradigm personas are harsh and bright from many people. Some even complain of feeling like a tinnitus. But I love their looks and has a very good WAF. Have lot of expectations from revels and goldenear reference. Will update you guys when I audition. 
I like your list there, reminded me of  a few options.  I heard the Audio Solutions Virtuoso at RMAF last September.  My impression was that of a very neutral sounding speaker, with no frequency standing out.  My interest in Audio Solutions is the Figaro M, because Figaro L is so big. May I ask at what Houston dealer you were able to audition them?  I am about four hours away from Houston.

Revel Studio 2 is also known to be a very neutral speaker with beryllium tweeter and is no showing up at nice used prices.

I've heard Paradigm Persona on several occasions, and on great recordings, they do sound impressive.  The have incredible imaging and sound stage.  But they will tell you all about bright recordings.
Revel F228Be has sounded great at audio shows when I've heard them.
B&W 800D3 series speakers of various sizes have sounded unacceptably bright to me every time I've heard them.  I actually preferred the 702S2 to the 804D3 in a side by side comparison.

I heard Dynaudio Contour 60 at an audio show and I thought it sounded very good. 

I've heard Focal Sopra 3 at audio shows, and they always sounds great.  Nice used Sopra 2 are starting to show up at around $8-9K now. 

Please keep us updated on your findings!
The figaro XL is the very big one (too big..). Figaro L is same size as M: Figaro L has exceptional sound stage and bass. Just addictive. I auditioned at 3mA audio there. I was so close to write check.
I have 702 s2: During that audition, I felt 804 d3 was much better with bass, and slightly better in mids and highs, compared to 702S2. I could not justify 100% price difference for barely 20% difference. I am going to keep 702s2 for long. It just grows on you. 
Anybody has any experience with goldenear reference ?. The reviewers are crazy about them. I am trying to find a dealer to audition them. 

Actually, Figaro L, at 154 pounds, is substantially larger than M, which goes 90 pounds.  That's why I'm looking at M.
@romney60 Have a listen to the Persona 3F and do not listen to what some people here say. It was the speaker that I was going to get until I did a coin flip to get something different, the Yamaha NS 5000. You need some warm electronics for the Persona but that really is not too difficult to find. One reason for not getting the 3F are more due to shape of the speaker and nothing to do with the sound.

I used to own the Revel Salon 1 for many years. I liked it but it was a little boring. So I never look at Revel anymore. Another speaker you may like is the Magico A3. I first considered this one seriously, but I ended up liking the Persona 3F more. Though I can see many people preferring the A3 over the 3F.
I listened to the Paradigm 3F at a local dealer hooked to McIntosh hybrid integrated and they sounded really good I didn't  notice any harshness but that was only listening  for a couple hours at the dealer. I almost bought them but got a good deal on some  Joseph Audio Perspectives. 
You may want to audition the Gershman Acoustics Grand Avant Garde in this price range. Genuinely extraordinary soundstage and imaging. Sounds natural; not hifi. Small footprint with distinct aesthetics. A rare speaker that lets you relax and will make you want to keep turning on your system, leading to long-term happiness.

If you find yourself in Nashville, TN (a few hours from Indianapolis) feel free to stop by and hear for yourself.

- Colin

disclaimer: I'm a Gershman Acoustics dealer
https://gestalt.audio
The tweeter in the studio is great and that speaker is supposed to be easier to drive than the salon2. I owned a few revels and for some reason prefer the earlier models to the f22-be? The sopra 2 and persona 3f would probably sound more different than alike the persona more tight, unfortunately less forgiving too. My room can seriously effect the sound of a speaker and what sounds good here may sound like crap at your house, so get a home demo of something After hearing it at a shop so you have an idea of your rooms influences. Have fun 
So if you are considering the GE reference know that it’s an imposing speaker in size..  I actually purchased the One.R which is more manageable  in size and the reviews are just as good if not better because of it’s smaller footprint.   It’s what I’m using for my two channel listening and as the two fronts for my 5.2.4 HT setup.   

my 2 cents 
If WAF is important, I'd recommend auditioning the Focal Kanta's (2 or 3). It looks much better in person than it does in photos. It's also the only Focal speaker that I like. The top end on the rest of their line is too harsh for my ears  I have not heard the Persona's, but it's interesting how some of the criticism for them reminds me of the typical criticism about Focal's.

While I have not heard the Revel Salon's, I was very impressed by their F206 & F208 models. I have not heard the new "BE" version of either of those speakers yet, but I'm looking forward to eventually hearing them.

Good luck in your search!




I've been using GoldenEar Triton3+ for HT duty over a year now, after demo'ing the (then) entire GE line in Austin TX - while on a motorcycle trip. Removed both existing subs - no need for them with GE's. T3+ sound great even with mediocre power from Denon AVR6400H - since it's only powering the mids and tweets. I've never tried them with the better gear I use on the 2-ch system. Mostly because I'm loving the LXmini's there, and infrequently the Martin Logan e-stats.
If I decided to upgrade the GE's, I would only consider going up in the GE line. I find the AMT tweets on the GE's very pleasing, and they jibe well with Martin Logan Motion series (more AMT's) that I use as surrounds and ceiling. 
Appreciate all the inputs. Very good points. I am definitely going to audition 3f. It looks stunning on pictures. Revel beryllium speakers (f228be) also has very good reviews. I had heard F206 in past and was really impressed. Am sure f228be will amaze me. I have also included PSB Imagine T3 and Sonus Faber Olympica III in my list to audition. 
Wish Goldenear made other colors. Their reference is too big (60 inch). Will see them in person. Going to start my audition journey next week. 
Some of those were in the group I was auditioning a year or so ago if I’m remembering the correct models. I ended up with Magic A3’s, but in retrospect I was remiss is not taking a long trip to Pennsylvania to audition the Joseph Audio offerings in that price range. No complaints against the Magico’s which I love, but the Joseph Audios have gotten some sterling reviews here. Search out Prof's long list of speaker reviewed on site.

Mike
For what its worth.  Ovation Audio just moved from Indy to Carmel,IN.
They are Goldenear dealers.   I have a pair of Triton +...  Love them!
They also stock the Paradigm you were thinking about...
Good luck on your search!

Gene
romney80, there are two GE dealers in Indianapolis.

Ovation Ultimate Audio
6609 E. 82nd Street
Indianapolis, IN
46250
317-849-7729

Tone Studio
623 E. North Street
Indianapolis, IN
46204
317-423-3050

Ref.   https://www.goldenear.com/dealerlocator
Can’t ya find a pair of Focal Kanta2 or 3 to audition?  They are very similar to the excellent Sopras. They have it all.  Revel C228Be sounds a bit flat (dimensionless) in comparison to my ears. 
Thanks @cd84 and @gfrazi for that information on dealers for GE. I am going to audition goldenear and paradigm at same place. I definitely understand Triton one.R being less imposing space wise. GE reference is as tall as my wife ;)
I listened to focal Kanta 3 when I auditioned sopra 2. Sopra 2 is in a different league and much better. I still have sopra 2 in my short list.
My short list includes:
Sopra 2
Audiosolutions Figaro L (Seriously, I am still in love with this).

Once I audition the others as above, I will update you guys.
Any dealers for Magico A3 or Joseph audio close to Indy?. Have heard people raving about them. Would like to audition them definitely. 
I know it is too much to ask, but what do you guys think about the Technics SB-R1. Saw some deals on them online. I am not the one who buys just because it is on deal, but this one caught my eyes and seemed worth some attention. 
My wife and I recently built a home theater designed for audio excellence.   I went with the GE Triton 2+ for main L/R I auditioned speakers that were 30,000 and $40,000 that don’t sound as good. I also  use the GE center Chanel reference for center channel, and use GE for the surround ceiling and surround left right. I do have a pair of Martin Logan for the surround rear. Both use the folded ribbon tweeter which provides smooth hi frequency response to 35k. The main left and right have an integrated subwoofer system 1200 Watts power each. The bass is exceptionally good, tight and crisp down to 12 hz. Even though it’s an 11 channel all Dolby Atmos system I listen primarily to live concert video footage.  I also listen to SACD music some in stereo only.  B and W to my ears are to much “in my face”   I don’t want flinch every time the drummer hits the snare drum. I’ve been a huge Sandy Grosse fan for years and I find his speaker designs exceptional.  I can listen to them for hours without getting listeners fatigue. I’m exceptionally happy with Goldenear  I  recommend them highly!  
When I built a system to a price around 2000-02, around $10k total I bought the Krell kav300il first then patiently visiting all the local shops, 5 I think I brought home 2 pair at a time from Saturday til Monday and it was really helpful. I had to provide a CC and some shops swiped some didn’t , but I was up front that they were coming back if I wasn’t blown away and all the speakers I brought home were floor demos. $4k was the most I wanted to spend on speakers, aerial, paradigm, Dynaudio, Vienna Acoustics and the infinity compositions. Each speaker excelled at something, but the Vienna Acoustics were the most natural and involving of all to me with Dynaudio’s dynamic bass making it a tough decision 
My 11.2.2 HT is all GoldenEar . SuperSat (SS)  60 for center , SS 50's for front L&R , 4- SS 3's for Side and Rear Surrounds, 2- GE Invisa HTR 7000 for Atmos ceiling, and 2 - Forcefield 3 subs.   They cost substantially less than my last home theater setup and the sound is exceptionally better on everything ! 
( and I use GE Triton 1.R's in my stereo set up ) . 

In St Louis , see Wiley @  The Speaker & Stereo Store  

No in a huge rush ? Go to AXPONA in Schaumburg ,IL in April and listen first !  Spend your dollars wisely on HT. 

Happy hunting & listening ! 

Shad 


@ romney80 - If you really want to win bigley with this speaker acquisition that path is actually pretty easy - just have your wife choose the speakers. 

Don't laugh (too much)!  The various choices mentioned above are all pretty darned decent and you're not talking about trash sound with any of those speakers.  You'll still have critical input and will probably get your preferred pair but you'll never, ever have to deal with WAF complaints about your speakers...
@romney80 I’ve listened to the Audio Solution Figaro XLs in a local audiophile’s system driven by a flagship McIntosh stack. Audio friends have demoed Audio Solutions in Houston and their feedback was very favorable.

Go with what you heard and connected with. Audio Solution speakers are excellent performers and a good value.
@pbrown57 I completely agree about B&W. I keep a pair around just to remind myself what sounds too sharp when A-B’ing other speakers - because I have fallen into the ’detail trap’ before with those. For me, that additional information is great, but comes at the price of enjoyability. Maybe they're for those with reduced acuity in the upper frequencies - or maybe I'm over sensitive to highs.

@david_ten, who in Houston has Audio Solutions? I’ll be there on business later this week. AS website only lists LA location.
OP, of those you mention on your list, I've listened to the Persona's, GE's, and Olympica's at dealer setups.  For me the Olympica's were the winners from that group, but I like a more neutral to musical sound than you appear to from your brief mention of your preferences, so not sure my preferences will be super useful to you.  The SF's also look very good to extent that matters.

You're taking the correct approach by listening to as many speakers as you can.  I listened to over 20 speakers over 6 months before choosing Spendor D7 nine months ago.

Good luck
mwatsme Thanks for your B & W feedback.  I agree detail is very important but IMO accurate reproduction of the music content is the most important.  Does the system accurately reproduce the timbre and tonal qualities of the instruments?  Is it natural sounding?  Remember that old commercial is it live or is it ...……..? Can you turn it up to 100db or more and not hurt your ears?  My Goldenear system provides those details without hurting my ears.  I've been listening to some old material on my new system and I've been hearing details I've previously not heard.  Just as a side note if you have a home  Dolby ATMOS system and you want something to "test" it and or "punish" it as the case may be. Check out "Hans Zimmer Live in Prague"  Available in 4KUHD mixed in DOLBY 11 Chanel ATMOS.  Could be the best mixed musical content I've heard. Very diverse in musianship,  styles and instrumentation with lots of details and dynamics.  If you want to wow your friends and show off your system this will do it. P.S. be advised if there is anything loose on your walls or lacking in your system it will be revealed.
Ok. I auditioned a lot of speakers today: Spent almost whole day. 
Even though persona 5f (no 3f to demo) was visually striking, I felt it was too bright for me. Other than that, the mid and bass were tight and good. 
GE reference were visually not satisfying. Sound wise, it did everything good. Nothing to fault on. Very detailed and natural.
Sonus Faber Olympica III: Looked very good. Very soft, mellow: Does not hit on face. 
Magico A3: Wow. These are good. Little bright (much less brighter than BW or 3f). But the details, clarity, and sound stage were very good and mesmerizing. Loved this.
I got to listen to KEF reference 3 too: They are somewhat in between BW 802D3 and Magico A3. The bass of KEF reference 3 is "big" and tight. Liked their bass.
Revel Ultima salon2: They are big visually and in sound. It does everything good and big. Could not find anything false on the sound. Looks very muscular does not have that WAF.
There are few variables here: Different set of amp, DAC/Pre-amp, streamers. 
As I told you guys, I am not a audiophile and most of it is my amateur listening skills and some subjectivity. 

After auditioning, my top choices are:
Revel Ultima salon2 (no WAF: But the sound quality can more than compensate).
Magico A3
Focal sopra N2
Audiosolutions Figaro L.
+/- KEF reference 3.
I did not audition the Audiosolutions but did the other 3 on your current list. You may also enjoy the Vivid Kaya 45 or 90 and the Yamaha NS 5000. I am going with the NS 5000 but would have also been happy with the A3, 3F, Kaya 45 and KEF Ref 3 or 1.
@romney80  Were all of your auditions in the same room with the same chain ahead of the speakers? 
He answers that if you read his post carefully 
Besides Revel (Salon2 is nice but check out latest 228Be or 226Be), Vivid audio (l liked all but overruled by wifey on the looks), I also liked Meridian active speakers a lot but you have to get 271 or meridian processor+HDMI switcher for HT- they sounded very clean and transparent. 

Romney- I would say get F228Be- saw unused on audiogon for $6K it is very close to Salon2 and smaller in size. 

My 2 cents.
I agree with Revel f228be. Lots of good reviews on them. The audio dealer did not have them. He is going to get f328be in next week. I am going to listen to them to get an idea. 
I got find dealers for Meridian audio and vivid Kaya (although looks little weird for my wife). 
The dealer I went to audition the Magico A3 also had the Revel f228be (the $10K one). I was asking how it compared to the A3. They were very positive on that speaker but did say the A3 were better at low volumes and that was important to me. 

Like I mentioned earlier my Revel days are in the past but I was just curious about the new line.
You should try to listen to Yamaha NS 5000s.
There might be more impressive sounding speakers around at that price point  [or should I say more hi fi sounding],but I doubt any of them would sound as real , as natural or as complete as the NS5000s.
I have listened to the Revel f226 and f228be, Paradigm Persona 3f's and Aerial Acoustics 6t in my own dedicated theater. I can honestly say you need to check out the Aerial 6t's for a tower or 5t for a bookshelf. They just do so much right. To me they are much better than pretty much all of the speakers mentioned above. Revels I find a little boring and don't image well. Personas on some material are really nice. But can sound bright on most material. Golden Ear ok but not great. Aerial's OMG! They have it all. They sound so real. So 3 dimensional, so musical, such great bass. The drivers are integrated so well. I can't move from my seat when I start listening. And this is coming from someone that got out of the hobby about a year ago because I wasn't satisfied with the music anymore.
About 2 months ago I bought a pair of Revel f226be speakers and thought they were blah and sounded a little unreal in the treble. I started getting worried again. I was trying to get back into it. Then I came across a good deal on my Aerial 6t's I hooked them up and immediately couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was in total bliss. Every song that came on sounded more musical, better, deeper, higher,real. REAL is the best part of it. Everything sounds not like it's forced out of the speakers. It's as if they are just conveying exactly what they should. And leaving out what shouldn't be in the music,ie; distortion, noise cabinet noises, diffraction. 

So I really suggest you give them a listen. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

P.s I have also heard the sopra and Kanta2 Legacy whisper and one other Legacy, Magico A3 not at my house though. But I just figured I would throw it out there. Please, you might just love them the way I do. I will never need another speaker. I am done on my journey. No speakers do so much this well and don't cost a ton of money. Of course you might not like them. I haven't ever heard anyone say they don't like how they sound. But you really do owe it to yourself to at least give them a shot.

Sorry for the long post,
Ron
AXPONA is even better if you're on the hunt for something specific. You'll find many unexpected surprises, some disappointment of high expectations, and some discoveries of new products.  You can spend 5-10 minutes a room on day one, then spend some extended time on day two with the three or five that made the best initial impression.

I noticed the vendors trumpeting their tweeter technology made sure you heard it. Might impress on some carefully selected cuts, but there's a lot of mediocre recordings that will set your teeth on edge with hot tweeters.

I liked the GE,  did not like the Revel, and made an unexpected discovery.
While they are not what I like in a speaker, there is a store in Grand Rapids Michigan, Bekins.  They have a pair of 3f's and are throwing in the center channel if that is of interest to you.  I have no affiliation with them.


Hello, I can comment on the Revel, Paradigm and B&W.  I have had 802N's for some time.  So I have auditioned the newer 802's, and find them too bright.  I still enjoy the Nautilus is one of my systems.
I wanted to like the Paradigms.  Pretty, choice of finishes, WAF etc.
But too bright and harsh...I liked certain recordings only.  So I bought a pair of Revel Studio 2's.  Easy to listen to, non fatiguing and I liked them more and more.. They love highly resolving components, and continue to surprise me, not fatigue me. 
I recently swapped my Studio 2's plus some bucks for the Salon 2's.  I have a large room and the upgrade was significant in terms of richness and bass.

And yes, I agree that the Revel's, Studios or Salons. are now going for about half retail and a bargain.

Upgrade the two channel and use what you have for the HT.

Thanks, Ken
Think I'd go with the one the sounded best to me. 
Joejoe said it best. Go with the ones you like the best. But at least give the Aerial's a chance. If you don't like them fine with me. 
I think Ovation in Castleton has Goldenear on audition/display...
I had the Salon2 but my little 250/425 wpc int couldn’t really get them woofers woofin. I just went through a bunch of speakers in the salon2 price range and they were all really good, but you’re going to have to decide what is the most important cause none of them excel at everything and, unfortunately many ‘hi end’ speakers fall flat once you get them home and plug them into your old components. 
Thanks so much.
I will try aerial acoustics 6t, if I can find a dealer near me. I want to hear Joseph Audio perspective too. My dealer is going to get revel f328be soon and will try that one to get feel of new revel series. 
As I said, I loved salon2 for what it did with every music I played. Sad, could not hear studio2 but am sure it does good (it is Stereophile class A rated !!!). 
I want to give Golden ear reference another try with different amp. My dealer was using a old Rogue audio amp, which was not impressive. 
At least part of the reason I felt in love with revel salon2, KEF ref-3 and Magico A3 could be the hifi gear behind them (dealer told me those cost > 20K, including the speaker cables).They used Mark Levinson 585 (I think) with lumin S1. Also used Rotel Michi (which is the latest apparently).
@dep14,

Ahh those Paradigms are still there huh? I thought they would have sold by now for that price. I offered i think 8500 for them and never got a call back. Maybe I should try again if their still sitting there. Lol.