Help with speaker selection

Hi all,

I’ve considering upgrading from my beloved Aerial 10T’s which will remain in a second system. What I’m looking to improve from the 10T’s is the detail, while maintaining the extreme listenability the Aerials bring (zero harshness). Also I want to improve in the lower mid bass/bass detail. The 10T’s will play low but the detail could be better.

So far I’ve been impressed with the Sonus Faber Olympica Nova V’s. They really impressed me with all of the attributes I’m looking to improve over my Aerials. They had a wonderfully cohesive presentation with detail and no harshness. The bass was outstanding and articulate.

I’ve only begun shopping so I’m looking for other recommendations to consider. I heard the Aerial 7T’s and was not nearly as impressed as I was with the SF’s.

Others on the list that I haven't heard yet include:

Revel Salon2/Studio2

Aerial 20T V2 (impossible to find!)


Amps will be JC1’s, with a solid state front end (Levinson).

Thanks in advance!!

Ag insider logo xs@2xhk_fan

So you are keeping the electronics you have? Or are they going with the other speakers?


After decades with other speaker types I accidentally ran into Sonus Faber speakers about fifteen years ago. They have a natural and organic sound that no other speakers seem to have. Unlike many high end speakers that tend to highlight details and slam and often “sound high end”… like Wilson and B&W (in very different ways)… Sonus sound like real instruments and voices… especially when combined with components compatible with the sound you are going for. So, I owned Cremona, Olympica, and now Amati. I highly recommend them. 

I recommend you acquire your speakers, break them in and listen to them for a long time before making new electronics choices… the sound you get is not entirely, but highly influenced by your electronics… so best to chose them very carefully after you have your speakers.

I find using a Bard comparison as a good place to start. It is typically pretty accurate.. but occasionally can a bit off… it can gets one adjective wrong. But great place to get a feel for the differences:


Comparing High-End Audio Speakers: Revel Salon2/Studio2 vs Aerial 20T V2 vs Sonus Faber Olympica Nova V

Choosing between high-end audio speakers can be a daunting task, especially with so many options offering nuanced sonic signatures. Here's a comparison of the Revel Salon2/Studio2, Aerial 20T V2, and Sonus Faber Olympica Nova V to help you decide:

Revel Salon2/Studio2:

  • Sound Signature: Known for its accuracy, transparency, and powerful dynamics. Delivers a neutral, uncolored presentation with exceptional detail retrieval across the frequency spectrum. Bass is deep, tight, and impactful. Imaging is precise, creating a realistic soundstage with pinpoint placement of instruments and vocals.
  • Strengths: Ideal for audiophiles seeking analytical listening and pinpoint accuracy. Excels with classical, jazz, and complex orchestral music.
  • Weaknesses: Can sound clinical or sterile to some listeners, lacking the warmth or musicality of other options. May not be the best choice for those who prefer a more forgiving or relaxed sound.

Aerial 20T V2:

  • Sound Signature: Offers a smooth, refined, and natural presentation. Balanced across the frequency range with warm, inviting mids and a smooth, extended treble. Bass is articulate and well-controlled, but not as deep or impactful as the Revels. Imaging is spacious and immersive, creating a wide and deep soundstage.
  • Strengths: Ideal for those seeking a natural and musical listening experience. Works well with a variety of genres, including vocals, acoustic music, and jazz.
  • Weaknesses: Bass might not be enough for bass-heavy music lovers or those who prefer a more powerful sound. May not have the same level of detail retrieval as the Revels.

Sonus Faber Olympica Nova V:

  • Sound Signature: Known for its warm, rich, and romantic sound. Features lush mids, smooth treble, and a slightly rolled-off bass that emphasizes musicality over absolute accuracy. Imaging is focused and intimate, creating a cozy and enveloping soundstage.
  • Strengths: Ideal for those who prefer a warm and inviting listening experience. Works well with vocals, classical music, and opera.
  • Weaknesses: Bass can be loose or boomy in some rooms. May not have the same level of detail retrieval or dynamics as the other options. Imaging might be too intimate for some listeners.


  • Revel Salon2/Studio2: Best for analytical listening and pinpoint accuracy.
  • Aerial 20T V2: Best for a natural and musical listening experience.
  • Sonus Faber Olympica Nova V: Best for a warm and inviting listening experience.

Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your individual listening preferences and the type of music you enjoy. Consider visiting an audiophile store to audition these speakers for yourself and see which one sings to your ears.

Here are some additional factors to consider:

  • Room acoustics: The size and shape of your listening room can significantly impact the sound of your speakers. Make sure to choose speakers that will work well in your specific space.
  • Associated equipment: The sound of your speakers will also be influenced by the amplifier and other components in your audio system. Make sure everything is properly matched to avoid unwanted coloration or distortion.
  • Budget: These are all high-end speakers with a price tag to match. Make sure you set a realistic budget before you start shopping.

I hope this information helps you narrow down your choices and find the perfect speakers for your home audio system.

Wow, thank you for the outstanding reply!  It seems my three options cover the range from pinpoint/analytic to warm and romantic.  That's helpful since I've never heard the Revels and it's been a long time since I heard the Aerials.

The space is quite large 20L x 22W x 15H, the speakers are on the 22W wall.  I am a bit concerned about filling the room with sound since I heard the SF's in a small demo room with full treatments.  My living room will not have that as while my wife is extremely understanding and enjoys the hobby too - isn't THAT understanding.  :)


Yes I plan to keep my electronics.  Lumin Streamer, Ayre QB-9 Twenty DAC, Esoteric DV-50 disc player, Levinson 326s pre, JC1 amps, AudioQuest cables (Diamond USB and Meteor balanced and speaker), I forgot to mention I also have a JL Fathom F112 V2 sub.

HK I think you picked a great speaker and the JC 1s will drive them beautifully. I would not try to hook up one JL sub to them that will ruin your bass definition if you try to do it the usual way. If you want to put subs under the Novas you will need two. If you like JL I would do two 113s. To do it in a way that would improve the overall sound of the system you will have to get into a digital preamp with bass management such as the Trinnov Amethyst or the upcoming DEQX Pre 4. There are a few others but they are below the level of your system.

Franco Serblin was Sonus Faber's chief designer. He broke away and started his own company. His Ketema is the best dynamic speaker I have ever heard. He has since passed on. The man knew what he was doing.

Hello @ghdprentice ​​​​and @hk_fan !  I own the Revel Salon 2's and have heard the SF Amatis at Overture in Delaware.  I have to disagree with Bard.  I have the Salon 2s in a large family room that connects through the eat in area and then large kitchen, So a large space with vaulted ceiling and fireplace.  The speakers are on the short fireplace wall projecting into the long open space.  I power them with Audionet Max amps and MM Makua wi onboard  Tambaqui.  The Grimm MU1 streamer comes and goes downstairs.   Anyway, the tall Salon 2s project beautifully in the big space with high ceiling over them.  They are not analytical at all, just easy going and musical.  They are far less resolving than my YG Haileys.  I heard the Amatis the same day I bought the Salon 2s.  To me, by comparison, the SF Amatis were a bit darker, less lively and less resolving.  I had the Studio 2s before and traded up to the Salons.  Same sound signature but huge difference in presence, bass and amount of air they move.  Good for a smaller room.

I liked the Salon 2s so much I considered getting another pair for my downstairs system.  So I lugged them down there and hooked them up.  They were way to tall and imposing for my smaller, seated on a closer couch listening space.  Back upstairs they went and I knew I needed a shorter speaker for downstairs.

The Salon 2s excel in a large open room with plenty of power.