I would be hesitant to buy a speaker I had not heard over one I had heard and liked no matter how well regarded it is by others. All speakers sound different, even the best, and preferences will differ. If the price differential is large enough you can buy the Revels with the idea of reselling them if you don't like them but this is a poor second best to hearing them before hand. However, it is often impossible to do so, I have heard some speakers I know to be good sound quite dire on demo if badly set up.
The Studio2 versus Sophia2 is the same comparison price wise, not the Salon2.
The prices here at Agon for the Salon2 would be similar to what the local Wilson dealer wants for the Sophia2. That's what makes the Salon2s tempting even though I have not heard them.
I have posted this before but FWIW, at CES 2008 only four speakers that I heard stood out. The Wilson WP8's and Revel Salon 2's were two of them.
The Wilson's had about $100,000 of VTL equipment in front of them and the room was really dialed in. They sounded great.
The Revels were in the back corner of a room promoting chip amps. Just thrown together with maybe $2000 of front end equipment, if that, and they sounded great.
I will not comment on the nuances of either as I did not spend enough time to do so and it has been a while. But that said, I think that I would have bought the Revel's over the Wilsons.
I agree w/Rydenfan..You cant fairly compared those two speakers..I love the Sophia2 and have heared it many times as well as the Salon2....but if those are the only two choices, Revel salon2 (used) or Wilson sophia (new)... a no brainer IMO..Revel Salon2!
I have heard both and though I heard the Revels when they were new. I also at the same dealer have heard the Sophias
more recently. I own Revel F32's and the one thing that I can say between Wilson and Revel that the Wilsons seem more musical where as the Revels are more analytical. To me they are like comparing a Cadillac to a Corvette. One has more comfort while the other is more performance driven. I would say that if you like the Wilson's buy them. They are known quantity for you. I think in the Wilson line I have listened to teh Duettes, Sophias and Maxx's and I always walk away thinking the Sophias are the best sounding of the three. They offer an outstanding value when comapred to the Maxx's. But that is my ears and opinions will vary.
I'd be more concerned that the Revels and possibly the Sophias might be to reveling for the Brystons 4B SST's. If your ready to up grade the amps also go for the Revels and buy amps for them.
Thanks for all the thoughtful responses guys. Still going back and forth, but I guess that's part of the fun of this obsession!
Given the amount of money involved, wouldn't it be worth traveling to a Revel audition to make a decision you're completely comfortable with?
I'm with Johnny. For the cost involved in purchasing high end speakers at this level, it's worth it to at least hear the Salon2's before making any decision. Take a weekend and fly if you have to.
Auditioning would be best, but absent that I would vote to buy the Revels. Why? It's their top of the line speaker---at the price your getting them at you're getting a speaker from a higher price and performance segment than the Wilson's.
Secondly, the Revel's have gotten good critical acclaim; Voecks is a superb and competent engineer.
Good luck-let us know what you buy.
They will be palced in a 20x27' room. Power will come from an all Bryston front end including the all new 4B SST squared. Music is a mix of classic rock and jazz. I tend to value bass slam and depth as well as the ability to disappear. Coherence is also important.
From a theoretical standpoint (I've heard the Sophias, not the Revels), for a room that size the Revels have a big advantage on moving more air with their multiple drivers. They have nearly double the radiating surface of the Sophias (198 sq. in. vs. 117). The Revels should have more bass slam for classic rock; either will do well for jazz; the Revels would have an advantage on big band jazz.
The Sophias are well known for disappearing and having good coherence. OTOH, when the room gets too big, *any* speaker loses its ability to disappear, and you become more aware that the sound is emanating from two appliances trying to fill the space. Both speakers are known for good coherence. The Sophia is sort of time-aligned.
The Revel makes no pretense of time-alignment, but I have the S'phile review of the Revel by Larry Greenhill, who's been reviewing high-zoot speakers for decades, and his summary stated that the Revel Salon 2 is the best sounding speaker he's ever had in his house, and that it sounds particularly coherent.
I used the Bryston 4b-SST with the Salon1 and found it was not as powerful as I needed. I listen to music some what loud. I bought the 7B-SST and that worked great.
"I'd be more concerned that the Revels and possibly the Sophias might be to reveling for the Brystons 4B SST's. If your ready to up grade the amps also go for the Revels and buy amps for them."
Why do people pick on Brystons? I think it is the review of them back in the early 90's (several models ago) when Stereophile gave them a "B." The ST's and on are truely first class products. I used to have 7B ST's and they are definately high end amps and up to the task. Some feel that they are an upgrade from other amps such as McIntosh and Classe. I found them more accurate than Classe CAM 350 monoblocks.
Basically it comes down to this -
You have found a speaker that you like, however, there is another speaker that you can get for a "deal," but you haven't heard it so you don't know if you like it.
Hands down, go for the Sophia. You already know you like it! Why take a big risk with an unknown? Buying things unheard rarely works out well in my experience, and when it does, it's because of luck, not because of good planning.
Sage advice my friend.
Thanks to all for the guidance. Appreciate the input!
Wht isnt the Sopia2 used an option?..Wilson speakers are being dumped big time on most sites right now....Wait a tad and you will find a nice pair of Wilson for a real bargain..
The Sophia2 is a no brainer. You already know you like them and that's most of the battle right there. By the way, anyone who has spent sufficient time with both the Sophia and Salon will tell you that the speakers don't really sound alike.
As for buying used, Wilson warranties are not transferrable...
Both very good speakers. the new salon 2's i think are a better than the watt puppy 8's, which are better than the new sophia's. the studio 2's are also very good and those would save you some money and 1 heck of a speaker. IMO!
He bought and is selling the Sophia 2's!!!!!! Accommodation ???