JBL and Revel
At the other end of the room from the JBL Everest DD-66000 I wrote about on the first day, Design Interaction was switching between the JBL 1400 Array ($11,000/pair) and Revel Ultima2 Salon loudspeakers ($22,000/pair), both speakers very well-reviewed in Stereophile. Heard through a dark-charactered Mark Levinson No.532 amp ($20,000), No.512 SACD player ($15,000), and No.526A preamp ($10,000), hooked up by MIT Oracle cables ($3500, with allocation not specified), the much fêted Revels smoked the less expensive JBLs, I thought.
Specifically, the JBLs had a bright, edgy top and powdery gray mid and bottom. On a recording just made in the Blue Coast Studios room at the show, blogged on the first day, the Revels sounded so much better on folk violin. Bass was also far more defined and in control. Tracks as diverse as Revueltas' Sensemaya, arranged for wind ensemble and percussion, blared, thundered, and jangled without pain, with bass well defined. The only thing missing on all these recordings, as well as on a Pentatone disc of Gordon Getty's orchestral music that another visitor brought along, was any sense of soul.