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  1. #1
    Ajani
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    FINALLY - Revel Performa Series 3

    So I've been waiting for a few years now for Revel to replace the Performa (and Concerta) range of speakers... Well CES 2012 will finally be the one. According to Canada HIFI:

    Revel:
    The brand will replace its entire Performa series of bookshelf and tower speakers with the Performa3 series. The new series is said to raise performance through advances in driver design. Prices will also drop slightly.

    The first eight speakers will be priced from a targeted $1,200 U.S./pair to $4,500 U.S./pair. Two more speakers due in the fall will add a third tower at around $6,000 U.S. to $6,500 U.S. /pair.

    The first eight speakers will consist of two bookshelf models, two floorstanding towers, two center channels, one bipolar surround and one subwoofer.
    New Products from Harman | CANADA HiFi Magazine

    Based on the prices, it seems like Revel maybe replacing the Concerta line by expanding the Performa line downwards into cheaper territory... Very cool news for Revel fans...

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Thanks for letting us know. I will be keeping an eye open for the release and hopefully an ear open if I find a dealer.
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    GM has slid product names downmarket for years- perhaps on the theory that many uninformed people would think they were getting a bargain from their dealer.

    The once top of the line Chevys (I prob left some names out):

    Biscane, Belaire, Impala, Caprice, Caprice Classic......... Each started as the top trim line and then slowly slid down the lineup until they fell off the bottom and into history.

    I have never seen a company try to slide a product name upmarket.

  4. #4
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mash View Post
    GM has slid product names downmarket for years- perhaps on the theory that many uninformed people would think they were getting a bargain from their dealer.

    The once top of the line Chevys (I prob left some names out):

    Biscane, Belaire, Impala, Caprice, Caprice Classic......... Each started as the top trim line and then slowly slid down the lineup until they fell off the bottom and into history.

    I have never seen a company try to slide a product name upmarket.
    I'm not so sure about that... HiFi products generally go up and up in price (more than just inflation)... The B&W 805 has moved from around $2.5K to $5K in the latest version, so a large move upmarket for that pair of speakers...

  5. #5
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    Price increases and market position are different.

    I bought a new Camry in 1991 for $12000 and a new Camry in 2007 for $23000. True, the 2007 is 3X the 1991 version.... but they are both Camrys.

    Also people may not like "having to settle for less" so having one "model line" with different "trim lines" softens that blow. You cannot get the customer to buy if you make him/her feel bad about their purchase.

  6. #6
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mash View Post
    Price increases and market position are different.

    I bought a new Camry in 1991 for $12000 and a new Camry in 2007 for $23000. True, the 2007 is 3X the 1991 version.... but they are both Camrys.

    Also people may not like "having to settle for less" so having one "model line" with different "trim lines" softens that blow. You cannot get the customer to buy if you make him/her feel bad about their purchase.
    There were probably around 4 or 5 Camry models and a lot of inflation in between 91 and 07... The B&W example is literally from one year's model to the next... It was not about inflation... The new model uses a Diamond tweeter (far more expensive than anything used on the previous versions... So it is a change in market position, and not just price...

    HiFi brands tend to move successful product lines up and then introduce cheaper lines below them to take over their old positions...

    I'll have to see the new Revel line, but it may just be that Revel has gone for the latest trend of having a smaller monitor and tower in the line-up (the usual 5" driver in the smaller models versus 6.5" in the larger models)... So the replacements for the existing speakers may be around the same price as the old versions... while the 2 new models might sacrifice driver and cabinet size to meet lower price points...

  7. #7
    RGA
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    Just a note - the B&W 805 has several different versions which explains some of their prices - they have been fairly stable over the years hovering around the $3k mark.

    I am always a fan of a speaker that stays the same for a long period of time and doesn't change name badges or add MKII to the badge.

    The price goes up and that means the owner loses less money.

    The funny thing is that I can actually sell my OTO Phono SE and AN J speakers for more money than I paid for them a few years back. In the case of the J I probably make $1000 and the OTO I could make at least $500 on since the prices for the same models have risen over the years.

    With my move to Hong Kong I will be forced into selling some things - The OTO can easily be changed over for the power here but the turntable will be a nightmare so I will probably have to sell it.

  8. #8
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA View Post
    Just a note - the B&W 805 has several different versions which explains some of their prices - they have been fairly stable over the years hovering around the $3k mark.

    I am always a fan of a speaker that stays the same for a long period of time and doesn't change name badges or add MKII to the badge.

    The price goes up and that means the owner loses less money.

    The funny thing is that I can actually sell my OTO Phono SE and AN J speakers for more money than I paid for them a few years back. In the case of the J I probably make $1000 and the OTO I could make at least $500 on since the prices for the same models have risen over the years.

    With my move to Hong Kong I will be forced into selling some things - The OTO can easily be changed over for the power here but the turntable will be a nightmare so I will probably have to sell it.
    There is only one version of the 805 now... The 805 Diamond which is about double the price of the previous 805S...

  9. #9
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani View Post
    There is only one version of the 805 now... The 805 Diamond which is about double the price of the previous 805S...
    Well if they only changed the tweeter - it isn't worth it. There isn't enough bass and dynamics and weight and "believability" to the speakers to be worth $2k let alone the $5k. The Roksan speaker I am currently reviewing MUCH MUCH better than the prior 805 loudspeakers and goes for $1500. Much better integration of drivers - arguably one of the best Ribbon to cone integration I have heard - without that you really have nothing - and B&W's never integrate really at any price.

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    Diamond tweeters? Diamonds are stones... very hard stones...

    The goal for a dynamic tweeter is to use a very stiff and very light tweeter that responds quickly without ANY
    cone or dome distortion.

    So HOW does coating a dome or whatever with bits of stone make that dome both VERY stiff AND very light? The adhesive would be the limiting factror, not the bits of stone.

    Or are they machining diamonds into cones or domes?

    I understand how Magnepan gains a dynamic response advantage by changing from 1 mil Mylar to 0.5 mil Mylar for their diaphragms.

    So please be specific.

  11. #11
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA View Post
    Well if they only changed the tweeter - it isn't worth it. There isn't enough bass and dynamics and weight and "believability" to the speakers to be worth $2k let alone the $5k. The Roksan speaker I am currently reviewing MUCH MUCH better than the prior 805 loudspeakers and goes for $1500. Much better integration of drivers - arguably one of the best Ribbon to cone integration I have heard - without that you really have nothing - and B&W's never integrate really at any price.
    I know the main change is the Diamond tweeter, but there are supposed to be others as well.. I doubt the bass response is much better than the previous version though... I also found the integration of the previous version truly lacking... and the bass seemed sad when compared to speakers like the Dynaudio Focus 140 (I heard in the same demo)...

    The Roksan K2 line has received overwhelmingly positive reviews (especially in What HiFi), so I'd love to audition them one day...

  12. #12
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mash View Post
    Diamond tweeters? Diamonds are stones... very hard stones...

    The goal for a dynamic tweeter is to use a very stiff and very light tweeter that responds quickly without ANY
    cone or dome distortion.

    So HOW does coating a dome or whatever with bits of stone make that dome both VERY stiff AND very light? The adhesive would be the limiting factror, not the bits of stone.

    Or are they machining diamonds into cones or domes?

    I understand how Magnepan gains a dynamic response advantage by changing from 1 mil Mylar to 0.5 mil Mylar for their diaphragms.

    So please be specific.
    I would like to know this technology as well....this is all I can find for now:


    Why use diamond for tweeter domes? It may seem extravagant, but the move is simply an extension of Bowers & Wilkinsís pursuit of the perfect loudspeaker. One element of our quest for the best is the development of drive units that neither add nor subtract from the signal. In a tweeter, that means creating a dome that remains rigid, exhibiting perfectly piston-like behaviour, as far up the frequency scale as possible. Best for this are materials with a high stiffness to density ratio - which is where diamond comes in.
    Find out more Bowers & Wilkins - Diamond Tweeters
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  13. #13
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    I find it interesting that B&W raised their prices that much when they switched to the diamond tweeter, but the Usher BE718 only went from $2795 to $2999 when they made the switch. This was also the reason my local HiFi shop dropped B&W. Nobody was buying the diamond tweeter price increase and they were either buying Paradigm Studio series or Sonus Faber.
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    I read that Revel was re-voicing the Performa series to mimmick more of a Dynaudio sound

  15. #15
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I read that Revel was re-voicing the Performa series to mimmick more of a Dynaudio sound







    LOL

  16. #16
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Peabody!!!! just where did you hear that!??!?!?! I would be surprised if there was any truth in that!!!

    This is the end of the year...not April Fools man!

    So kindly site your source here please!
    Last edited by frenchmon; 12-30-2011 at 01:52 PM.
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  17. #17
    RGA
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    Jack

    It's just marketing BS from B&W - Usher incidentally sounds a lot better for a lot less.

    B&W goes on about tube tapering to reduce ringing but their tweeters CREATE the ringing in the first place. So the 705 does a poor job of it so you upgrade to the 805 but it's only marginally better so you buy the diamond version. Once that is somewhat acceptably satisfying the speakers still don't integrate properly and they don't have much bass - so you buy a sub - more integration problems.

    Every few years they come out with some new driver that will fix loudspeakers forever. The Be 10 is several thousand less than the D802 - and IMO there's no comparison.

  18. #18
    Ajani
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    Another slightly different version of the announcement of new products from the Harman Luxury Audio Group (I love the name - about damn time someone in high end accepts that their products are luxury items):

    Harman Group Adding Audio Under Four Brands - 2011-12-19 05:01:00 | TWICE

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    Good to see Levinson offering digital sources again. The JBL Array are really good too. I couldn't get them to image in my room properly but they did convince me JBL can make some top flight gear. Stereophile gave the Array 1400's a Class A rating FWIW.

  20. #20
    RGA
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    Not to Nitpick - but the class ratings are chosen by one guy - John Atkinson - not really "Stereophile" since that implies a consensus or even a majority would choose a given product. That is not what happens. A more apt name like the Brit magazines do - is name it Editor's Choice.

    The reason I note this distinction is because a magazine is made up of a say 10 reviewers or more. Each has their own view and each would come up with very different lists.

    It would be like a hypothetical world of watching the old Siskel and Ebert and they each choose a ten best list but only one list gets presented because Ebert owns the show and he dismisses what Siskel chooses. And if you watched the show you'd know both would have loved that :-)

  21. #21
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Good to see Levinson offering digital sources again. The JBL Array are really good too. I couldn't get them to image in my room properly but they did convince me JBL can make some top flight gear. Stereophile gave the Array 1400's a Class A rating FWIW.
    Yeah the Array are good speakers. I keep thinking they where just to big for your room and may have needed more power to bring out the best in them. They seem to not do voices correctly and not image they way they should have. I betcha it was one of those synergy problems.
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  22. #22
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA View Post
    Not to Nitpick - but the class ratings are chosen by one guy - John Atkinson - not really "Stereophile" since that implies a consensus or even a majority would choose a given product. That is not what happens. A more apt name like the Brit magazines do - is name it Editor's Choice.

    The reason I note this distinction is because a magazine is made up of a say 10 reviewers or more. Each has their own view and each would come up with very different lists.

    It would be like a hypothetical world of watching the old Siskel and Ebert and they each choose a ten best list but only one list gets presented because Ebert owns the show and he dismisses what Siskel chooses. And if you watched the show you'd know both would have loved that :-)
    I read the December review of the Rega Brio-R by Sam Tellig and while I see that Sam liked the amp and thought the phono stage was the best he had heard in a $1K amp, I still have no idea where he would rate the amp. For all I know the amp may get a Class D rating in the recommended components issue.

    I really wish that the Stereophile reviewers would rate each product at the end of their reviews... So we could know what the reviewer really thought of the rating at the time... They should still have the Recommended Products Issue (or Editors Choice if you prefer)... They can always put a little disclaimer at the end of each review to state that the rating by the reviewer is not the final rating and is subject to change in the Recommended Products Issue.

    This practice would not even be entirely new as some reviews do state quite plainly that the reviewer thinks the product is class A or borderline class B etc... So it would just make it a consistent requirement...

  23. #23
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    So folks still anguish over Steriopile equipment ratings? I am glad. Somebody has to- I quit c. 1978. Too often something was Class A or Class B one year and then not even mentioned the next year. One could also track the advertisements, but that was being cynical.

    I completely gave up when a reviewer complained that the SPL meter he was using to measure loudspeakers was rather non-linear. It was an A-weighted meter. Gee, maybe he should have tried a C-weighted meter?

    I still think that one should attend a generous number of recitals and then get what provides a similar sound. Then be happy and save the rest of your money for retirement. TV's are being improved every year so that we can better see the junk shown, but sound equipment?

    Bargain of the Day: Audiophile Outlet is offering some Einstein 60W mono OTL amps for $20,000 each. Includes a premium caps upgrade. Better hurry.

  24. #24
    RGA
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    I'm not sure there is any point because the awards thing is business - big sellers. The reviewers at these magazines do not hear every component - they hear the ones they get for review - and some hear a lot more than others and they have to remember what they heard over the years to try and slot the product into some sort of rating scheme. I have tried but it still boils down to an incomplete selection at given price points.

    Hi-Fi Choice at least does blind level matched session but that still is only against the competition for that particular issues. So an amp that finishes say in 3rd place - might have finished first in a test three months later in effect it could be that that amp beats a recommended amp in a different issue.

    Even my argument - "what did the reviewer actually buy" - this IMO is telling in that the reviewer spent his own cash on the speakers and if he has heard a lot of speakers over the years then that speaker is the best he has heard in that price range (and under) on the market. BUT, he may like a speaker better at 4 times the money - just can't afford it (even with a reviewer discount - which often just the price you could pay for it on the second hand or demo market).

    I am often curious about lists because they don't make much sense most of the time.

    Speaker 1 is class B.

    Stereophile reviewers and technical article contributors

    Reviewer 1 (one of their 5 most experienced reviewers) bought the speaker and says he would give it A++. (long time Quad panel owner)

    Reviewer 2: (one of their 5 most experienced reviewers and well versed in technical issues - "for sheer emotional delivery, timbral clarity, dynamic agility, and, yes, the highest fidelity, the [speaker 1] system may have been the best hi-fi I have ever heard." (long time Dynaudio, Revel, Wilson owner and yet speaker 1 beats them all in his very own words)

    Reviewer 3: (one of their 5 most experienced reviewers and recording engineer and technical writers) "Dunno 'bout "best," but here's the most memorable....Now, the last movement of the Wheeler completion is longer than many whole symphonies of the Classical era, but all of us were entranced.../...I later analogized it by saying that most hi-fi gave you a clear view of an animatronic dummy, while that system give you a somewhat foggy window with a real person on the other side..../...But that [speaker 1] system did things I have not heard since.

    Technical Adviser contributing editor bought the speakers.

    Speaker 2 (class A rated) - no one bought a pair - no one extolled any such verbiage on them - claiming "best they ever heard or most memorable sound etc). And there are a LOT of class A rated speakers where no such verbiage and no reviewer bought a pair. Indeed reading the review of some of them the noted issues in the treble or lacking dynamics makes me want to puke a little in my mouth. Best of the best and it's bright or is dynamically anaemic - probably the two most important aspects of sound reproduction - bright means you can't listen long - write-off. Dynamics is the lifeblood of music.

    So you tell me how exactly that makes any sense.

    The only thing that makes sense for a consumer is to find a particular reviewer you agree with when it comes to sound reproduction. Follow the reviewer not the magazine. You won't even get reviewers on the same staff to agree with each other on the sound. I may agree with them on politics and some products but not every one of them. Two writers at Stereophile are complete opposites - one preferring SET the other thinks it's terrible and believes you need 1000 watt amps as some sort of minimum reading between the lines. How could they possibly come up with class A - unless of course they "settle" on the mediocrity middle ground where they both give something a pass. (judging by just about everything I have heard that gets class A it would not surprise me if the mediocrity rises to the top.

    I'll give you an example - Movie reviews - There may be a movie that 100 critics see - 90 of them give it 3/5 which is a pass. 5 hate 1/5 and 5 liked it a fair bit 4/5- so the rating is 95% fresh

    Looks great that is definitely a Class A race to the theater movie - but wait - in fact 90 out of the 100 really only marginally liked it with a 60% score and the 5 on each end cancel each other out. No one felt the movie was GREAT.

    Film 2 gets 80% fresh rating - 60 out of 100 reviewers give it 5/5 thinking it's one of the year's or decade's best- 10 give it 4/5 and 10 give it 3/5 and 20 give it 2.5/5 (marginal thumbs down) but no one disliked it and 60% absolutely loved it and many are going to want the deluxe boxed set Blu Ray and are happy to shell out the cash for it.

    The overall rating places this film in the second tier down list even though you have a real good chance of LOVING this movie - while the 95% class A rated movie most people like but none of the critics LOVE it and none of them want to buy the Blu Ray or even the DVD in the cheap bin.

    What I want to know is would they buy if they could buy it and why not. Movie X was pretty good but I would never want to watch it again. I liked reviewing X component but I would never want to live with it long term. Or if he would buy it but didn't then explain why not. For instance had I had a different system and money - I would have bought the Grant Fidelity Rita amp or even better the Shengya monoblocks which are absurdly good. The OTO is simply better with the AN J not necessarily that the OTO itself is a better amp.

    Eventually I will make a league table of gear. I have to think it through and I want to listen to several things several more times to be sure. I like Audiofederation's classifications of amplifiers and how they rate each company's top of the line amps against eachother - they have a list for tubes and one for SS. But it doesn't help those of us in the 'sane prices" camp.

  25. #25
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA View Post
    Speaker 1 is class B.

    Stereophile reviewers and technical article contributors

    Reviewer 1 (one of their 5 most experienced reviewers) bought the speaker and says he would give it A++. (long time Quad panel owner)

    Reviewer 2: (one of their 5 most experienced reviewers and well versed in technical issues - "for sheer emotional delivery, timbral clarity, dynamic agility, and, yes, the highest fidelity, the [speaker 1] system may have been the best hi-fi I have ever heard." (long time Dynaudio, Revel, Wilson owner and yet speaker 1 beats them all in his very own words)

    Reviewer 3: (one of their 5 most experienced reviewers and recording engineer and technical writers) "Dunno 'bout "best," but here's the most memorable....Now, the last movement of the Wheeler completion is longer than many whole symphonies of the Classical era, but all of us were entranced.../...I later analogized it by saying that most hi-fi gave you a clear view of an animatronic dummy, while that system give you a somewhat foggy window with a real person on the other side..../...But that [speaker 1] system did things I have not heard since.

    Technical Adviser contributing editor bought the speakers.

    Speaker 2 (class A rated) - no one bought a pair - no one extolled any such verbiage on them - claiming "best they ever heard or most memorable sound etc). And there are a LOT of class A rated speakers where no such verbiage and no reviewer bought a pair. Indeed reading the review of some of them the noted issues in the treble or lacking dynamics makes me want to puke a little in my mouth. Best of the best and it's bright or is dynamically anaemic - probably the two most important aspects of sound reproduction - bright means you can't listen long - write-off. Dynamics is the lifeblood of music.
    LOL... I've damn near had the same reaction reading those kind of reviews... IMO, a Class A component should be free of such nasty limitations... In fact, that's where my definition for Class B begins... Class C or lower can have obvious flaws...

    I like Stereophile's Class system as it is rare to see a mag have the balls to try rate each component on an absolute scale... So a $1K amp might be rated Class B and a $5K rated Class C...

    However, I agree that the system is seriously flawed. The most obvious problem being the execution - Why does one product get class A versus another? Is it all down to the Editor's decision?


    Quote Originally Posted by RGA View Post
    The only thing that makes sense for a consumer is to find a particular reviewer you agree with when it comes to sound reproduction. Follow the reviewer not the magazine. You won't even get reviewers on the same staff to agree with each other on the sound. I may agree with them on politics and some products but not every one of them.
    Well this point actually ties in to my suggestion of having each reviewer rate the product on his own scale.... So If I have similar tastes to Art Dudley; then I know that a product rated Class A in his review (within my budget) is a MUST audition... I can always put products rated Class A by Mike Fremer or John Atkinson at the bottom of my audition list (assuming I generally don't share their respective tastes in equipment)...

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