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Polk vs. Paradigm with Onkyo 501? (new to HT)

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7 replies to this topic

#1 of 8 OFFLINE   Jim Ritter

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Posted August 07 2003 - 04:00 PM

Hi, I'm new. I've been lurking around though, so thanks for all the advice you've been giving me without even knowing it! I'm about to set up my first home theater. I started by planning to build my own PC, and then figured I'd hook it up to a Bose set of surround sounds instead of PC speakers, so I could play DVDs and CDs in style. Now I'm becoming an educated audiophile just by reading these threads. Instead of Bose (which of course I thought was the only serious brand), now I'm torn between Paradigm and Polk audio and maybe Infinity. I have an Infinity sub I'd like to use for a while, and I'd still like to make sure I can connect everything to my PC (which isn't built yet, so I'm flaxible). I'm thinking also about buying a refurbished Onkyo 501 for $150 and sinking about a grand into speakers. I heard a couple Polk options at Circuit City and some Infinity setups too, and loved them both. I was pretty surprised with the small Polks, I think the RM6000 or 6700 for $599. The Infinity group sounded clearer to me, but I read here that they're inferior to Polk? And then I walked into an Integra/Paradigm dealer and now I'm thinking of a Paradigm setup with Atoms. I need direction. Am I buying too short with the Onkyo 501? How about the Paradigm vs. Polk? It is a hard decision because I can't hear them back-to-back? I would appreciate anything anyone can do to lead my thoughts in the right direction! By the way, I'm looking at small spaces of about 15x15 feet. Thanks again. Jim

#2 of 8 OFFLINE   Frank Zimkas

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Posted August 08 2003 - 12:19 AM

A/B comparisons are always desireable in your own home, but not always possible. Any chance you could buy them both and return the system you don't like within a few days?

#3 of 8 OFFLINE   Ryan*Pr*



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Posted August 08 2003 - 12:48 AM

I would get a little bit better receiver if you are spending that much on speakers. Think about it - a $300 receiver with $1000 speakers - sounds like a mismatch to me. If I were you I would at least look at the 600/601. For speakers, Paradigm, no doubt.

#4 of 8 OFFLINE   Dave Nibeck

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Posted August 08 2003 - 05:42 AM

I switched from Polk to Paradigms and could not be happier. Polk and Infinity both make good speakers. As Frank said, doing at home comparisons is the best way to tell (particularly if you have a means to quickly switch back and forth.)

#5 of 8 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted August 08 2003 - 07:29 AM


I have owned Atoms, Titans, and Mini Monitors, and I have compared them to the M3Ti. I felt the M3, while lacking low extension, was definitely better than either the Atoms or Titans, and was even a bit more clear than the Minis. Even more impressive, is the fact that they are priced about 1/2 way between the Titans and Minis. For a budget bookshelf at this price, these are very difficult to beat, and that is coming from a long time Paradigm guy.

I agree about the receiver, I'd spend a little more on the receiver with that budget, Onkyo 600/601, Marantz SR5300, H/K 225.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

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#6 of 8 OFFLINE   BrianEK


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Posted August 09 2003 - 07:21 PM

I own the Infinity Alpha speakers I got from Circuit City, and I love them to death. I prefer them over the Polks because I think the Infinity handles high frequencies better, clearer sound to me than the bassier polks(who needs bassy fronts when you have a sub to handle that?). but everybody has different ears and likes different sounds. Polks are definitely good speakers, just matters what kind of sound you like. Don't just go by what you've read. If you read that polk is better than Infinity, but go to the store and think Infinity sounds better, trust your ear, not what someone writes on paper. You will be happy with whatever YOU think sounds better. I have never heard Paradigm but they look beautiful and from reviews I've read I'm sure you couldn't go wrong with those either(i'd love to get some myself, but as you said, it's hard to buy speakers you've never heard or can't compare side by side). but if you end up going with Infinity, I would highly recommend at least the Alpha series, there is a huge jump in quality from the lower Entra or new Primus series. and as John and Ryan stated, don't skimp on the reciever. if you underpower your speakers you won't utilize how good they can sound. I would say to go with the onkyo txsr600. it is last years model but because the replacement 601 is out(main difference is 80watts vs. 110watts), it is on sale I think for the same price as the 501 at $299. the extra power will definitely help sound as well as give you a nice learning backlit remote instead of the dinky 501 pre-programmed one, and on screen menues that make speaker setup a sinch!!!! I first owned the onkyo txsr500 and then upgraded to the THX certified onkyo txds797 and the remote and on screen menu helps a lot, believe me!! hope this helped out. good luck

#7 of 8 OFFLINE   Jim Ritter

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Posted August 09 2003 - 07:27 PM

Wow..great advice. Thanks for your help! Jim

#8 of 8 OFFLINE   Kevinkall


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Posted August 12 2003 - 01:17 PM

I just upgraded to Paradigm Atoms all around and matched them with the CC-170 and couldn't be happier. I don't think that you can do much better for the price.

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