To Jeff Fritz,
I have been thoroughly enjoying your "What I'd Buy" series of articles. I appreciate that you are going across a wide span of budgets and not simply sticking with price-no-object gear.
The article that is currently most germane to me is your most recent one about speakers. I am looking to upgrade my venerable yet still excellent-sounding Revel M20s. The main reason I want to upgrade is to get a fuller (deeper) soundstage. As far as sound quality is concerned, I still love the M20s.
I've narrowed down my choices to the Focal Electra 1028 Be, Magico S1, B&W 802 Diamond, and Revel Ultima Studio2. If you do not mind me asking, which speaker would you get? Thank you in advance for your time.
Your Revel M20 loudspeaker is a two-way, bookshelf-type design. As such, it is limited in the bass when compared with larger floorstanding speakers. You say in your letter that you want a deeper soundstage, but you don’t say anything about deeper bass. If, however, deep bass is a priority for you, then looking at a larger multi-way speaker such as the Focal you mention is a good idea. With more drivers and a larger cabinet you'll certainly gain the ability to play your music louder and reproduce deeper bass. Of the speakers you mention, I'd probably go with the Focal. I like its Be tweeter and, more importantly, Focal makes highly resolving speakers that are evenhanded from the top of the audioband to the bottom.
If deep bass and overall loudness capability -- when compared to these large floorstanders -- is not a primary concern, then there is no question in my mind that the Magico S1 is the best-sounding speaker of the bunch that you mentioned. It will play lower in the bass than the Revel M20 you have, but its primary advantage will be its higher resolution and far more precise sound. I suspect that you'll get exactly the soundstaging improvements you're looking for with the S1, as its transparency will let through every nuance contained on your recordings. The Magico S1 is where I'd put my money. . . . Jeff Fritz