Esoteric Amps with Revel Salon 2 Speakers

Would low watt Esoteric power amps work well with Revel Salon 2 speakers.  I keep reading the Salon 2s need a lot of power.  However, the dealer says "current" is clarity are more important.  Does anyone have an opinion on this?  Thanks.


Here are the specs from Stereophile:

 Sensitivity: 86.4dB SPL/2.83V/m (4 pi anechoic). Impedance: 6 ohms nominal, 3.7 ohms minimum at 90Hz. Recommended power: not given.

Looking at those specs, I'd say you don't want a low power amp.  What is the output for the Esoteric you're considering?

Esoteric F-01 - 30 watts

Esoteric F-02 - 120 watts

Esoteric S-05 - 30 watts

The dealer seems to like the Esoteric amps and use them for demos.  But they have tons of other amps and integrated amps from Mark Levinson, Classe, MBL, Musical Fidelity, Rega, Dan D'Agostino, Devialet, Hegel, Balanced Audio, Pathos, Naim, Electrocompaniet, Rogue Audio, Pass Labs, Lumin, Rotel, Bryston, Parasound and Advanced Paris.  Any suggestion for the Salon 2s?  Budget is $25,000 max.


The Salons are very neutral so the choice very much depends on what sound characteristics you’re looking for, so if you share that critical info you’ll get much better recommendations here.

I had the parasound A 21 250/425 and also the Hegel H360 that has similar power ratings, but is more neutral than the A 21 yet both didn't have enough to get the bass the salon 2 are renowned for. Also, if I tried to drive the speakers to 90+ db levels amps would go into thermal shutdown.  The gent I sold the salon 2 to used Mac MC 601's and had no such problems, however he said that even with 600 wpc the clipping lights would occasionally start blinking on the Macs. I wouldn't buy any amp without trying first because they are quite good when powered correctly.

I don't know the Salon speakers so maybe my comments won't be useful. 

I have PMC Fact 12 speakers which have a sensitivity of 84dB.  I tried out an Esoteric S05 amp with them and found they could play loud enough in my 12' x 18' x 10' room.  They were also very musical.

I am now trying out the Esoteric S02 which is class AB.  Pretty well as musical I'd say but more grip. 

I gather the S02 has been discontinued; no longer available in the US.  I'm in the UK and my dealer said he picked up one of the last available ones.  I imagine one might find a second-hand one tjhough.

While the Salon 2s will play with lower powered amps, the designer has been quoted as recommending a minimum of 500 watts for the best performance. My experience with them confirms this, they simply come to life with a new level of performance and effortlessness when paired with such a powerful amp.

They lack dynamics on lower powered stuff. They need massive power to be dynamic. 

I believe the Esoteric F 01 and F 05 are class A amps.  You need to know the amount of current they can put out.

I’ve owned both the Salon 1 and Salon 2 speakers. I currently own Salon 2 speakers. The Salon 2 speakers are notoriously inefficient, so they need lots of high power, current, and damping factor, capable of opening them up and controlling their bass drivers with a vise-grip, if you want to get the best out of them. In my smaller room, my Hegel H590 (300/600wpc) beautifully drives my Salon 2s, because it has the required amount of power and current to drive them effectively. In my smaller room, the Hegel H590 is wonderfully sufficient. If I were in a larger room, I’d go with even more power of at least 400/600wpc. With the Salon 2 speakers, the more power and current you bring to the table, the better. You get the idea. So, I would strongly advise against you going with lower powered amplification to drive your Salon 2 speakers. Even if the low power amp is high current, it’s still not enough, as you will need at least 300 or 400wpc of high current amplification in order the drive the Salon 2 speakers with authority. By driving your Salon 2 speakers with low powered amplification, you’re actually short-changing their ability to perform at their greatest capabilities, with deep, tight bass. Happy listening.

I would look at Hegel or Pass Labs. Have you asked your dealer if you can do some "in home" auditioning over a weekend?  That would, by far, the best option.

It is surprising what the right amp can do with just 1-2 watts. I still recommend the try before you buy scenario.