Luxman or Pass Labs for Revel Salon2 Speakers?

Doug Schneider,

I just recently purchased a pair of Revel Salon2 speakers, new. I also realize they require 300W or more to operate at peak efficiency. I have been thinking maybe the Pass Labs X350.8 may be a good choice for revealing the sonic qualities of the Salon2. But, I’ve also done a bit of inquiry and have been told to look into the Luxman M-900u amp and C-900u preamp as an even better-sounding option. My concern is the lower wattage output of the M-900u (150Wpc) not driving the Salon2 to its full dynamic capacity. Also, I’ve been led to believe that it produces more class-A wattage, and therefore will have “no problem” driving those Salon2s with even more clarity than the X-350.8. I want these speakers to sound their best at moderate volumes, but also sound clean if pushed a bit. Listening room is 23’ x 29’ with an 11’ ceiling. I listen to jazz and classical. Your opinion would be appreciated.

United States

The Salon2 was released in 2007, but it keeps coming up with people writing in! Obviously, this speaker is still really popular. I’ll try to answer your questions the best I can and at least guide you in the right direction.

The reason that the M-900u would have no trouble driving the Salon2 has nothing to do with how much class-A power it provides -- watts are watts. Instead, the reason is that it’s more powerful than its specs indicate. Luxman rates the M-900u as outputting up to 150Wpc into 8 ohms, but our own measurements of it indicate that it can actually put out more than 200Wpc into 8 ohms. I’ve seen other measurements as well that corroborate ours. I have no idea why they rated it as 150Wpc into 8 ohms instead of 200Wpc.

The X350.8 is rated at 350Wpc into 8 ohms. To make this example easier, we’ll just say that’s about double the power of the M-900u. Here’s why that’s important: For every doubling of amplifier power, you only get a 3dB increase in volume out of a loudspeaker. That’s not much, but it could be significant if you need that little bit of extra headroom. It could also be the difference between one amplifier being driven into clipping and the other not.

Still, it’s not all that simple. Another factor that comes into play is room size. In general, speakers in smaller rooms need less power than the same speakers in bigger rooms. Your room is actually pretty big -- quite a bit bigger than mine, in fact, which could be a make-or-break situation with the Luxman. I know that the Luxman amp could power the Salon2s sufficiently in my room, but whether or not it can in yours is another story -- a lot will depend on how loud you want the speakers to play. That’s really all the advice I can give. To know for sure, you’re really going try it out. . . . Doug Schneider