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Paradigm or SVS for full 5.1

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Mike:W, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. Mike:W

    Mike:W Member

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    Hey guys,


    I'm planning a major HT upgrade that includes a new receiver and 5.1 speakers to replace an Onkyo HT-R520 HTiB, and I need your help to decide on speakers.


    My setup (the parts that aren't changing) consist of a Pioneer PDP-5020HD, an HD cable box, a PS3, and Wii. My usage is 50% TV, 30% Gaming, 15% Movies, 5% Music.


    For the receiver, I'm pretty much set on the Denon AVR-891, which is the mid-range of their 2010 line with 1.4a HDMI.


    The hard part for me (and probably everyone else) are the speakers. I've listened to Paradigm, Polk (ugh), and Klipsch (ugh), and have done research on SVS, B&W (too expensive), Axiom (ugly), and Aperion (ugly). I have narrowed my choices down to:


    Paradigm

    Studio 60 v5

    CC-490

    ADP-590

    SUB 12


    MSRP: ~ $6,000


    SVS

    MTS-01

    MCS-01

    MBS-01

    PB13-Ultra


    MSRP: ~ $4,000


    My original budget was around $3,000 for the speakers, so clearly SVS is a lot closer to that. However, I'm willing to swing a little more up front, and if need be, buy only the front sound stage at first and get the rest later, so long as I'm getting quality. I would have to do that with the 'digms.


    Of these two, the 'digms are the only ones I've listened to, but I loved their sound and how they looked. I've been lusting over owning a set of Paradigms for well over 10 years. I'm unsure about the subwoofer, though. The SUB 12 is very pricey, and I've heard a lot of people on here say SVS is a much better value. So, I would be more inclined to get the PB13 with either system, which sort of bothers me if I went with the Paradigm, because I like having everything from the same manu/line for appearance reasons (I realize with a sub there's no need to timbre-match.)


    As far as SVS is concerned, I know little to nothing about their M-Series, or how it compares to their S-series. I've heard some people compare the M to the Studios. Is that true?


    I'm also not sure which sub to get. I've heard the cylinders are better bang for the buck, but they look like cat scratching posts to me (and I have stupid cats [and ferrets] that would no doubt get confused).


    From a visual standpoint, I like the Studios much better. The M-Series looks like an old-time radio to me. I think it's the shape. They're by no means ugly, but they're not the most gorgeous, either.


    I would also like some insight on both manufacturers' next line down. How do the Monitors compare to the Studios? Likewise, how do the S-Series compare to the M-Series? If there's not a huge difference in sound quality by stepping down, I wouldn't mind doing so to save some cash.


    Anyway, that's where I stand. To sum up, here are my concerns:


    • I like the Paradigms, but can't afford the 5.1 all at once
    • I don't like the price/value of the Paradigm subs, but hate the thought of mixing brands
    • I know nothing about SVS and would be making a leap of faith by purchasing
    • I don't think the SVS are as attractive, but sound trumps looks
    • I'm unsure of whether to get a cylinder or box sub

    Any advice? If you were in my situation what would you do? Any help is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    SVS cylinder subs are cheaper because there is less labor and materials in the building process. In a blind listening test you couldn't tell the difference between a cylinder and a box.


    If you hate mixing brands, it will always bother you running an SVS sub with the Paradigms. Based on that, the quality of the SVS subs, the faith I have in SVS, their great return policy, I would go with SVS. Get the box sub because it sounds like looks are important to you.
     
  3. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    Hi Mike,


    I can't compare SVS and Paradigm since its been many years since I heard Paradigm, and that was only a quick demo in a store listening room. You are in the same shape I was a few years ago and here's what I learned (and I recommend). Get the SVS and try them in your home (you get 30+ days). Since you already found Paradigms you really like, you can always send the SVS back if you do not like them. You loose return shipping, but the potential gain (savings) is worth the risk.


    SVS is a terrific company. Besides the in-home demo, they offer a great value (especially their subs), and their customer service is top notch. IMO, you can't go wrong with this company.


    The performance of the cylinder and box subs is similar. The cylindar has the advantage a smaller footprint, it is lighter, and a little cheaper. The box subs are 'prettier' and, with cats myself, I would lean towards the boxes. However, I will say my cats to not bother the cloth grills on my towers, so I'm not sure they would bother the cylinders...


    Whether you go with Paradigm or SVS, I highly recommend the SVS sub. The Sub 12 reaches down to only 35 Hz (although reviews seem to indicate it does go lower). Movies have content much lower and the SVS will excel in that area.
     
  4. Mike:W

    Mike:W Member

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    Robert & David,


    Thanks for the insight. Interesting that both of you are leaning me toward SVS. There is one thing I didn't think about. The Paradigm surrounds seem much better. I believe they're dipolar. The SVS surrounds look like simple direct bookshelves. Any thoughts on this?


    I'm glad to hear how reliable SVS is. I've heard they have quite a history here. If I am to put my faith in an internet-direct company, I find it easier to put it into them.
     
  5. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    I use direct radiating speakers for my side surrounds without any issue. They are about 5 feet from my listening spot and slightly behind me. I think that the dipole speakers are used when the surrounds are close but how much closer than 5 feet can you get? I think that proper calibration is more important than dipole speakers.


    SVS is extremely reliable. Before taking their sub manufacturing in-house, they got their mid and high end drivers from TC Sounds. They stole one of TC's best transducer engineers which allowed them to do their own manufacturing. As with 99% of the sub drivers, they are still getting parts from China. There are no more magnet manufacturers in the US. I'm sure other parts are sourced locally as well. I've used four 15" subs that were built by their engineer when he was at TC Sounds and I know what he is capable of. I'm also very, very particular about my subs. If I didn't DIY, I'd run SVS. And I'm currently building a set of cylinder subs with old SVS drivers. So technically I'll have SVS subs.
     
  6. Mike:W

    Mike:W Member

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    I think it's pretty clear that they are subwoofer masters. I don't know anybody who actually owns a whole set of their speakers, though, and I'd like to get feedback on them. I know speakers are very subjective, but since I can't listen to them and given SVS's track record, I'd be willing to go the lazy route and purchase them based solely on popular approval.
     
  7. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    Mike,


    The beauty of internet direct companies like SVS is you get to listen in your home for 30 days. There's no better place to listen to speakers than your own room (since the room makes a HUGE difference).

    However, if you want to see another members speaker plight and eventual SVS purchase, check out this thread:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/forum/thread/297610/how-to-buy-new-speakers
     
  8. Mike:W

    Mike:W Member

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    Due to the ever-present wife I rarely crank the volume, but should I worry about the middleweight receiver I've selected being able to power a set of 4-ohm speakers? Do I need an amp?


    If so, I don't think the AVR-891 is the way to go, as it only has pre-outs for the sub(s). I'm now looking at the Onkyo TX-NR708, which has 7.2 analog pre-outs. Am I correct in thinking this is what I would need for an external multi-channel amp?
     
  9. Jimi C

    Jimi C Well-Known Member

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    Onkyo receivers can handle a 4ohm load. If you buy the Onkyo you won't need a seperate amp.
     
  10. Mike:W

    Mike:W Member

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    I've noticed that a lot of equally- or less-expensive speakers than the MTS-01 have more drivers. For instance, the Axiom M80 v3 has 2 woofers, 2 mids, and 2 tweeters. Are the Axiom drivers just lower-quality, and that's why you can get more drivers per speaker for less? How does doubling up each driver type affect the sound? Make it more full, bigger soundstage, etc?
     
  11. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    You can't tell much about a speaker from the numbers. When a speaker is designed, the size, number of drivers, and placement of the drivers is considered as well as the size and shape of the enclosure. The electronics are included in the equation to create the best speaker they can at the time.


    FWIW - I have Axiom M60's, a VP150, and 4 QS8's to go with my SVS PB12 Ultra/2 sub.

    I can tell you the difference between the Axiom and the SVS is the Axiom is more 'in your face' while the SVS is more laid back. I like the sound of both. The Axioms will play louder at the same power due to their lower impedance. Be aware that the M80's and the VP180 are 4 ohm speakers. Onkyo has been known to have issues in the past with 4 ohm (at least according to the nice folks on the Axiom forum). I went with the M60's because of this (and the fact that even the M60's are overkill in my room).


    I was swayed towards Axiom because of the QS8 surrounds. IMO, they are one the best surround speakers on the market. After a few years my opinion has not changed. I would most likely do it again (unless someone gave me the ultimate deal on some B&W 800 series )
     
  12. Mike:W

    Mike:W Member

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    I agree, those B&W 800s look beautiful. Of course, I've never heard them, not that I'd be able to afford them any time soon anyway.


    The MTS-01 towers are stated as being '4-6 ohm', so I'm also a bit concerned with them as well. I'm not sure what the difference is between '4 ohm' and '4-6 ohm' speakers. Jimi, a couple posts up, says Onkyo can handle 4 ohm.


    The QS8s look nice. I'm still unsure of whether to go the dipole route or just direct radiating speakers. In my current setup, my surrounds are very very close (about 2.5') as they sit on the end tables to each side of the couch and angle inward. So maybe dipoles would be the best way to go.
     
  13. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    The QS8's are not really di-poles. They are closer to bi-poles, but the midrange drivers are top and bottom. The tweeters are on the sides (angled in). It's hard to explain how they work - you almost have to hear them.


    Can't say anything more about the Onkyo other than there are more than a few folks on the Axiom boards that had problems. It was enough to scare me away. Denon seems to be OK.
     
  14. Jimi C

    Jimi C Well-Known Member

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    The Onkyo manual says they can drive 4ohm speakers. I personally have a Denon receiver and I have 6 ohm towers and a 4ohm center speaker and have no issues. That being said my speakers are much more sensitive than the SVS towers are. I really wouldn't get my self to hyped up over the numbers. Speakers in this price range should be, and I would assume are designed to be able to be powered by any run of the mill home theater receiver. I don't really think most people buying separates are considering a $1000 pair of towers.
     
  15. Mike:W

    Mike:W Member

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    Nearly a full year later, I'm still debating between SVS and Paradigm Studio v5. The time to purchase is getting close, as there's been a new development; I'm buying a new house and will be finishing the basement, including a dedicated home theater.


    I haven't kept up with the latest news from either of these speaker or receiver lines, so I was just wondering if there are any other opinions out there.


    The home theater I'm planning is going to be roughly 16' x 20', including room for built-ins. In addition to speaker/receiver choice, I need to make a decision on if I'm going with a projector or HDTV. I like the convenience of the HDTV, but the, well...bigness...of the projector. Any thoughts there?
     
  16. Mike:W

    Mike:W Member

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    It looks like the "M" line is up to version 2 now, and I've read that they no longer use the AirCirc tweeters, but now use Tymphany tweeters made specifically for SVS. Does anyone know if this is an improvement (or even a downgrade) over the AirCirc? Has anybody listed to both versions?


    I'm starting to lean more toward Paradigm. I have a little more cash to play with, and will probably go with the CC-690 instead of the 490, and the Sub 15 instead of the Sub 12 (if I don't decide to get a PB13). I'm also thinking of starting out with a 5.1 setup instead of 7.1. As I mentioned, I will be building a dedicated home theater, but this won't be complete for about a year. In the mean time, I want to purchase the speakers and audio equipment to put in my family room. It's a large great room about 20' x 30' with a high vaulted ceiling, and the seating will be near the middle of the room with no place to mount ADPs, so I'm considering getting Studio 20's for real channels, and then when I finally move everything down to the theater, I will buy the ADPs and place them on the side walls for 7.1.


    Does that sound like a good way to go?
     

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