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Monitor Audio S2, Axiom M3, Paradigm Mini Monitor or Studio 20


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#1 of 67 Rokzi

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Posted February 22 2005 - 06:24 AM

I am upgrading my speakers and I need opinions on the speakers mentioned (MA/Axiom/Paradigm), preferably from actually being able to hear/audition at least two of them. I am going to get two fronts and I can stretch my budget to $900 depending on the sound quality, so please comment on sound quality first (please comment on imaging, brightness/harshness, warm, laid-back, forward, and accuracy, ht/music quality).

I will be using them about 70%ht/30%music. My plan is to get the two fronts first and the rest (sides, backs, centers) later. my current equipment is listed in my sig.

Which one is brighter(/warmer/etc) than the other in your opinion?

I am not sure I can get them all together in my house at the same time to audition so that's why I need some feedback.

I was able to hear the following speakers, but not side by side though as they were all in different local showrooms

MA Bronze B2 and Silver S2 - at local Goodguys -- very good imaging - I am considering these both.

Paradigm Mini Monitor, Titan, Studio 20 at a local B&M showroom - nice sounding speakers, didn't feel that they image well. I am considering the Mini and the Studio 20.

Sonus Faber Concertino - not bright, very good bass, a little forward. Too expensive. Maybe just a bit too forward for me.

Boston VRM50 - very good bass, good imaging, highs are to harsh and some sibilance on vocals (test was Diana Krall cd). Not as bad as Klipsch though (I have a pair of KG1.5 and their highs are just too harsh for me). Out of my list.

Vienna / Haydn - good imaging. Roll-off on the highs that makes them sound too smooth for me.

Edit: Since listing my equipment in my sig is not allowed, here's it is:
Receiver: HK AVR 525
Fronts/Sides/Back: JBL N24II
Center: JBL NCENTER II
SUB: SVS 20-39PCi/Polk SW150
Room Size: 2500+^ft; 16x16x10.5 (12ft vaulted ceiling) with left side wide open to kitchen.
LP against back wall, 14ft from fronts.
HT listening: -25 ~ -10db
Music: -35 ~ -20db


#2 of 67 Kris.J

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Posted February 22 2005 - 06:57 AM

If you want to wait a little (June) Monitor Audio is coming out with an updated Silver RS series. GoodGuys will probably sell of thier current Silvers at 40-50% of thier current price.

#3 of 67 Rokzi

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Posted February 22 2005 - 07:06 AM

Thanks for the info. I'm not in a hurry so I guess I can hold back, he he. Will these RS series be between the Bronze/Silver or Silver/Gold?

I hope they come out with an early review.

#4 of 67 David Bikeman

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Posted February 22 2005 - 07:30 AM

These speakers compare very favorably to the one's you've looked at.

http://www.ascendaco....m/cmt340m.html

I believe the 340's are comparable to the Studio 40's at a significant savings. You will find our user's group here. Stop by and ask your questions. Lots of very friendly and helpful people.

http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/

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#5 of 67 John Garcia

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Posted February 22 2005 - 08:00 AM

IMO, some of those speakers are a bit above what you will be powering them with. Even the Studio 20 will want more power than the 525 can deliver, especially if you go with the matching center (which you should).

The 340s would probably be a good choice, especially with that percentage of music listening.

FYI: Listing your gear in your sig is not permitted.
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 67 Rokzi

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Posted February 22 2005 - 08:10 AM

Thanks for the Ascend pitch. However, I would place them in the same category as the Axiom. I will be placing orders for Axioms and or other internet retailers when I feel I'm ready to pick my top choices.

I did not get the chance to hear the Studio 40. My local Paradigm dealer does not have any "return" policy. Basically you hook em up, it's yours. Do might let me "borrow" their showroom/demo units but that's about it and the only ones they have that I am interested in are the Mini monitor, Studio 20 & the Titan.

By the way, here's a few restrictions to my choices:
  • 6~8ohms due to current receiver factor (HK 525). I do have plans to get an amp later this year, then a preamp/processor. The receiver then would go to another room, along with the old speakers.
  • Cannot be more than 15inch high due to speaker placement.
  • Must come colors other than black (due to WAF). Wood veneers preferable.
  • at least 90db sensitivity. Bookshelves only. Can't go with floorstanding models at the moment due to 24x7 toddler patrol.
I understand opinions are very subjective but opinions do count. Anyone with objective comparisons, please post or point me to the info.

#7 of 67 Jeff-0

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Posted February 22 2005 - 08:19 AM

I think the AVR 525 will run the studio 20's fine, I would go with the Studio 20's or if the funds are available go with the Studio 40's.

#8 of 67 Rokzi

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Posted February 22 2005 - 08:37 AM

I think the AVR 525 will run the studio 20's fine, I would go with the Studio 20's or if the funds are available go with the Studio 40's.
.

Both the mini monitor and the Studio 20 sounded good to me but I think they don't image as well as the MAs, but that's in the showroom.

Also, can't do with the Studio 40s--too tall.

anyone with experience with both the MA S2 and any of the Paradigms I mentioned? How about the MA S2 vs M3?

You'd notice that I seem to be favoring the S2, but that's only because I can get them anytime at my local GoodGuys--and return them if i'm not satisfied without extra cost (except for gas)-- I do like their sound, but I do need to compare them to the others to see (hear) which ones are better. The paradigms, no real option for home auditioning so I might just take the other speakers and hook them up in their showroom, but then that's not MY room.

The Axioms/Ascends I'd like opinions before I place the order.

I can't trust my ears alone since I'm so used to my N24s, so I need some really good leads before I start hopping around the shops (local/internet) buying and returning stuff.

Thanks.

#9 of 67 Rokzi

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Posted February 22 2005 - 08:52 AM

FYI: Listing your gear in your sig is not permitted.

Sig removed. Thanks.

I will research the Ascends as well and possibly include them in my list.

IMO, some of those speakers are a bit above what you will be powering them with....

Is this because I listen loud? There's a consensus that HK rate their receivers conservatively so a 70watt/channel HK is likely more powerful than that. By what you said, does it mean that I will have to hold back on playing them loud for a while until I get a new amp later ?

#10 of 67 Jeff-0

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Posted February 22 2005 - 09:21 AM

The Paradigms will be a great way to start off a HT setup, start with the 20's, eventually move them to the surround position and get some 40's, 60's, or 100's for the fronts and get either the cc-470 or cc-570 center top it off with a nice sub and you will be in HT heaven.

#11 of 67 John Garcia

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Posted February 22 2005 - 10:40 AM

The 20s will be fine at average listening levels, but driven hard with a CC470 and matching surrounds (ADPs or another set of 20s), will likely push even that receiver to it's limits. It's a nice receiver for sure, but these are pretty demanding speakers who's impedance drops pretty low and that like plenty of power. They are also picky about room placement, which can greatly affect their imaging. If you are going to get a better receiver/amp, I would say it won't be a problem in the meantime as long as you don't crank it to extreme levels.

If you have an NHT dealer in your area, give the SB3 a listen. I would say M5 or M6, but I am pretty sure they exceed your size requirement.

The Axiom M3 is more clear than the Mini Monitor, but does not have as much bass. It is not quite as good as the Studio 20.
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)

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

 


#12 of 67 Jeff-0

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Posted February 22 2005 - 11:30 AM

Quote:
The Axiom M3 is more clear than the Mini Monitor, but does not have as much bass. It is not quite as good as the Studio 20.


Having owned all 3 of those mentioned I disagree, the MiniMonitor produces a much fuller sound with abundant clarity, as for the "its not quite as good as the Studio 20" reply, that’s the understatement of the year, there is no comparison.

#13 of 67 Rokzi

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Posted February 22 2005 - 11:34 AM

If you have an NHT dealer in your area, give the SB3 a listen. I would say M5 or M6, but I am pretty sure they exceed your size requirement.
There's a local AndersonsTV that's authorized NHT dealer. I'll give the SB3 a listen but it only comes in piano black gloss though, might have a tough time with WAF.

The Axiom M3 is more clear than the Mini Monitor, but does not have as much bass. It is not quite as good as the Studio 20.

I do have a capable subwoofer so if there's not much big difference in the bass then that might not be a problem should I go with the M3.

Assuming the same speaker placement, which one have better imaging? the M3s or the Studio 20s?

#14 of 67 Jeff-0

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Posted February 22 2005 - 11:39 AM

Quote:
which one have better imaging? the M3s or the Studio 20s?



Rokzi stop!


These are 2 completely different class of speakers. You were joking right?

#15 of 67 Chris Quinn

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Posted February 22 2005 - 11:56 AM

Rokzi- It seems like you are in Austin. I'm fairly sure there are Axiom owners in Austin that would like let you come listen. I don't know of any Ascend owners but if you get down to Houston I can help.

The Ascend 170 and Paradigm Studio 20 are in a different class from the M3 in my opinion. You'd need to step up to the M22 get closer.

#16 of 67 Rokzi

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Posted February 22 2005 - 03:01 PM

Rokzi stop!

These are 2 completely different class of speakers. You were joking right?
Posted Image
Ha ha. Sorry if I'm so stubborn. The reason I ask is because I did audition the Studio 20s and in that showroom (quoted from my initial post)...:
Paradigm Mini Monitor, Titan, Studio 20 at a local B&M showroom - nice sounding speakers, didn't feel that they image well. I am considering the Mini and the Studio 20.
Eventually I will have to get these speakers in my home at the same time to audition. The local Paradigm dealer is finicky about home-audition. "You hook em up and it's yours" is basically their "policy" but the guy I talked to said he's willing to work around it... also they don't stock a lot of the Paradigms and they might have to special order it for me (depending on the finish I want) and I think that requires 50% down and that's why I have to be careful with getting the Paradigms.

As far as them being in different class, I have nooo idea... except from what I read here in HTF. It's been touted that these Axioms can outclass more expensive speakers, and that's why I'm looking at the prices last, as long as they all fit within my budget.

Anyway, thanks for clearing that up. That's actually one of the things I wanted to know, but I already have too many questions.

So basically my question is "everything else equal" how do these speakers fare against each other as far as sound quality?

I was going to order the Axioms tonight (to audition). I don't even know how much it costs to ship them back if I ever decide to do that. Guess I'll hold back some more.

Rokzi- It seems like you are in Austin. I'm fairly sure there are Axiom owners in Austin that would like let you come listen. I don't know of any Ascend owners but if you get down to Houston I can help.
I am in California (Bay Area).

#17 of 67 Rokzi

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Posted February 22 2005 - 03:18 PM

These are the kind of responses I was looking for. Just personal opinions whether subjective or backed by numbers.
The Axiom M3 is more clear than the Mini Monitor, but does not have as much bass. It is not quite as good as the Studio 20.

Having owned all 3 of those mentioned I disagree, the MiniMonitor produces a much fuller sound with abundant clarity, as for the "its not quite as good as the Studio 20" reply, that’s the understatement of the year, there is no comparison.


Needless to say, I appreciate all the responses. Keep it coming!

They are also picky about room placement, which can greatly affect their imaging. If...

...so this is probably why I was somewhat suprised when I heard the Studio 20. I was expecting that they would image well and "disappear", however, that did not happen in the showroom.

#18 of 67 Chris Quinn

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Posted February 22 2005 - 03:23 PM

I am in California (Bay Area).


I guessed Austin because the NHT dealer there is a TV shop on Anderson Rd.

#19 of 67 mackie

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Posted February 22 2005 - 03:31 PM

The studio 20s are a great speaker and image very well. They are very revealing to the point of being brutal at times. A bad recording sounds bad, but a good recording sounds great. They really do reflect what's being put into them. With good recordings, I'll swear the center channel is on and the speakers disappear. Some complain that they are bright speaker, but they measure a +- 2db from around 80hz to 17,000 hz. They are brighter than your JBLs but not as bright as Klipsch or JM Labs. Another point to consider is why so many people compare their speakers to Paradigm studio speakers. It seems to me that I read more posts about "my speaker is better than the studio..." It says something if you own the standard that everyone is trying to beat. FYI - Paradigm studios are picky about placement, and I'm surprised you can't find another paradigm dealer within a reasonable driving distance. Good luck with your search. In my opinion, the speakers you listed are all good speakers, and it comes down to which ones YOU like best.

#20 of 67 John Garcia

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Posted February 22 2005 - 04:52 PM

Where in the Bay Area? My 'Digm dealer has let me borrow plenty of stuff. I can point you to plenty of good local places...and maybe even help get some discounts.

I've owned the Minis, compared them back to back with the M3s in my own setup, and have also spent plenty of time with both v2 and v3 20s and 40s. The Minis have a muddy lower midrange and were just not that great with certain types of music, which is why I sold them and my 5s. The M3 is easily clearer than the Mini, though that may just be because they don't try to do more than they should as the Minis do. The 20s are much more "punchy" than either the Mini or M3; much more dynamic, however I feel all the Studios have an odd coloration to their midrange that is not to my liking. The tweeter gets tiresome to my ears after a while also.

You are welcome to come listen to my setup as well.
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)

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

 






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