Revel versus PSB

July 30, 2010 

To Philip Beaudette,

I enjoyed your previous review of the Revel F12 ($1198/pr.), and your most recent review
of the speaker that appears to be its direct price-point competition -- the PSB Image T6 ($1199/pr.). Actually they seem very comparable, as both are towers and have similar frequency-response measurements.

If you don't mind me asking, I'd like to know: Which speaker you would prefer? The Revel F12 is rated 90dB, and so is a little easier to drive for my lower-powered tube amps, but maybe the PSB is better still in quality? Both speaker companies are equally equipped and serious, and you are the only reviewer I've read who has experience with both. Any thoughts and observations you would be willing to share would be greatly appreciated.



When I reviewed them four years ago, I thought the Revel F12s were amazing speakers. That review was the first I'd ever written for SoundStage!, and since then I've heard quite a few different speakers. It's interesting that you ask me about the F12, since for some time I've wanted to go back and hear them again to find out how they stack up against some of the other speakers I've written about.

Unfortunately, it's been too long since I've heard the F12s to be able to tell you with confidence whether I would prefer to own them or the PSB Image T6s. The T6s are outstanding, and since they've exited the listening room I miss the powerful low end that I enjoyed so much about them (amongst other things). The Revels offer a really full and fleshed-out sound, but I'd really need to hear them in my current room and system to say which I liked better.

Hopefully you can audition both of these speakers so you can buy knowing that you've got the best speaker to match your listening tastes. If you can't hear both of them, I can say that neither is likely to disappoint you. Both offer great value, and, as you say, they come from manufacturers that have the resources and the know-how to make great speakers. I wish I could tell you which one I'd buy, but I really need to hear the F12s again before I could say for sure. . . . Philip Beaudette

Boulder 2060 in Dynaudio Focus 360 review

July 14, 2010


I see in your associated equipment that you used a Boulder 2060 amp for this review. I have that same amp and have had it for some months now. I know from experience that the amp is on a completely different level from amps one might expect to use with $7k speakers and can make speakers sound far better than more modest amplifiers -- which, of course, makes an interesting point. I suppose that the 2060 is the perfect speaker-review amp, since it has no weaknesses and is very neutral and will let you know what a given speaker is capable of or not capable of. But, on the other hand, you will hear sound from those speakers that practically no one who is likely to buy them will -- but that is true no matter what amp you use, just more so. So I guess it is the perfect review amp. Besides, if one has to choose between listening to a 2060 all day and . . .

Thanks for the review.


It is an interesting point. By using something like the Boulder 2060 you do take the amplifier out of the equation and are left with what the speaker is ultimately capable of doing. And you can make the same argument about the room too: Would you review speakers in a poor room that might be indicative of many users’ rooms to see what the speakers sound like in less-than-stellar environments? I’d say no, because then you’re reviewing the room more than the speakers. I’d rather review speakers in an acoustically neutral room so I can really assess the speaker itself and report on that. The same could be said of the amplifier: Use a neutral, transparent amplifier with almost unlimited load-driving capability and power and then you’ll be able to discern exactly what the speaker is capable of in a best-case scenario. Another example would be to test the 0-60mph capability of a car on a dirt road; you wouldn’t do that! Enjoy your 2060, and thanks for the thought-provoking letter! . . . Jeff Fritz

Integrateds, separates, and power requirements

July 3, 2010

To Uday Reddy, 

Thank you for the very helpful review of the Hegel Music Systems H200 integrated amplifier. What put the Hegel in perspective for me was your assessment that it was very close to your Jeff Rowland Design Group Concentra, and that the Esoteric A-100 and Luxman L-509u have been the standouts.

I use a vertical equipment rack, and an advantage of separates would be the ability to place the preamp on the easy-to-reach top shelf, while the power amp would serve as a counterbalance on the lowest level. A friend absolutely loves his new Classé Audio CP-700 preamp, and I am considering that model; it appears to do a very good job of eliminating AC power-supply noise. If I buy it, I would of course have to figure out what power amp to buy. Would it be best to use it with a Classé (two-channel) power amp? I would not object to having more power than the CA-2100, but the CA-2200 is huge and very heavy.

Speaking of AC noise, did you feel the Luxman L-509u did a good job of achieving flat DC? I like the convenience of integrated amps, but if I had to buy a separate device like the PS Audio Power Plant Premier I would still end up with two boxes. I must admit I was blown away by your excellent review of the L-509u


Mark Lombardi

I have not heard any Classé products, so I can't really comment on them. But companies do tend to design their products to have synergy with the other models in their line, so partnering your preamp with a Classé amp certainly makes sense, if the sound quality meets your expectations. The choice of amp is going to be dictated more by the overall sensitivity and impedance rating of the partnering loudspeaker than the overall power capabilities of the amp. I personally feel that many people buy more amp, watts-per-channel-wise, than they really need.  

As far as the Luxman L-509u is concerned, this amp is the Swiss Army Knife of integrated amps, delivering excellent sound with a very flexible, user-friendly design. I used the L-509u with a relatively inexpensive power conditioner and it was still dead quiet, so while a Power Plant would not hurt, it's not exactly necessary. I'm a big fan of well-made integrated amps, because they reduce the number of boxes and interconnects. My feeling is that they get short shrift because most people feel that the performance is going to suffer. The L-509u is proof positive that is just not the case. . . . Uday Reddy