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.

Silvertone's picture

ML doesn't make a No. 526A Preamp, the preamp in this set up was the No.326s. I think the dark character you heard came mostly from the No. 512 SACD player. Their new No. 532 AMP is not dark by any means, very detailed and relaxed w/o sounding dark. I would go as far as to say that other than SOTA tube amplifiers this amp has the cleanest, purest midrange than any other amplifier I've heard to date, all this w/o sacrificing air in the highs and a rock solid botom end. I noticed you also mentioned the new Krell 402E AMP sounding 'dark as the levinson'. I heard this amp, it couldn't sound any more different than the levinson, the treble had more bite and it was bit more transparent, no way this could be categorized even remotely as a dark amp. I would summarize these 2 amps as follows:Krell 402E: SOTA dyanmics, SOTA noise floor, extremely detailed. Not as good as the levinson in the midrange.Levinson No. 532: SOTA midrange, very delicate when it needs to be, rock solid bass.Not as dynamic as krel

tcs's picture

powdery gray mid and bottom. WTF does that mean?