Stereophile's Products of 2008 2008 Joint Loudspeakers of the Year

2008 Joint Loudspeakers of the Year

KEF Reference 207/2 ($20,000/pair; reviewed by John Atkinson, Vol.31 No.2, February 2008 Review)
Revel Ultima Salon2 ($22,000/pair; reviewed by Larry Greenhill, Vol.31 No.6, June 2008 Review)

B>Runners-Up (in alphabetical order)
Avalon Acoustics Indra ($19,995/pair; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.31 No.10, October 2008 Review)
Definitive Technology Mythos STS SuperTower ($2998/pair; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.31 No.8, August 2008 Review)
DeVore Gibbon Nine ($6500/pair; reviewed by Art Dudley, Vol.30 No.12, December 2007 Review)
Dynaudio Confidence C1 ($7000–$8400/pair; reviewed by Wes Phillips & Jim Austin, Vol.30 No.11 & Vol.31 No.8, November 2007 & August 2008 Review)
Esoteric MG-20 ($9000–$10,500/pair; reviewed by John Atkinson, Vol.31 No.8, August 2008 Review)
Hansen Prince V2 ($39,000/pair; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.31 No.4, April 2008 Review)
KEF Reference 201/2 ($6000/pair; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.31 No.7, July 2008 Review)
Magico V3 ($25,000/pair; reviewed by John Atkinson, Vol.31 No.5, May 2008 Review)
PSB Synchrony One ($4500/pair; reviewed by John Atkinson, Vol.31 No.4, April 2008 Review)
Revel Ultima Studio2 ($15,998/pair; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.31 No.3, March 2008 Review)
Vandersteen Quatro Wood ($11,395/pair; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.30 No.12, December 2008 Review)

Two state-of-the-art speaker systems share the honors this year. While the impressive KEF Reference 207/2 received the most first-place votes, the revamped Revel Ultima Salon won the most votes overall. The race was just too close to call; both of these outstanding performers are entirely devoted to the music and, therefore, deserve the highest recognition.

Back in 1999, the original Revel Ultima Salon impressed our reviewers with its exotic, curvaceous cabinet and its extraordinary sound, enough to warrant its status as "Joint Loudspeaker of the Year." Though radically different in design, its successor does not disappoint. Built into a much slimmer and more room-friendly column, the Salon2 is 2.3" taller, 3" narrower, 7" shallower, and 72 lbs lighter than its predecessor, but manages to reach higher levels of musicality. Larry Greenhill was astonished by the speaker's combination of powerful bass extension, timbral accuracy, and superb dynamics. He raved: "The Revel Ultima Salon2 is the best-performing, most natural-sounding full-range loudspeaker I have auditioned in my listening room since I started writing for Stereophile in 1984." John Atkinson couldn't let Larry have all the fun; our editor was so swept away that he requested a second sample for a Follow-Up. Wait till you hear what he thinks.

JA did have the pleasure of living with the mighty KEF Reference 207/2, albeit for too short a time. Like the Revel, our other joint winner is the product of ardent dedication to engineering and design. Outwardly similar to the original 207, with a handsome, graceful cabinet that belies its considerable bulk, the '/2 features a completely redesigned coaxial two-way Uni-Q drive-unit that eliminates the need for a separate supertweeter. The result was awesome dynamics, coupled with a treble response so natural and free from grain that JA couldn't contain his excitement. I saw it—the dude positively glowed. His comments echoed LG's sentiments: "The 207/2 is overall the best-sounding full-range speaker I have used in my current listening room. To all intents and purposes, it is without flaw."