Audition Experience --- "Kef" "Paradigm"

ArthurJ

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
354
Wen't down to the local HT shop in town, they carry the full range of Paradigm and anthem, and limited ranges of Bryston and Kef (particularly the Q series) This is how it went...

First up was the Paradigm Studio 60's running off a Anthem pre-amp and amplifier, first disc was "incubus" - "morning view"...first song was "nice to know you". I chose this disc to start simply for the enhanced sound affects the disc attributes. Everything was going nicely, "however" I was not blown away, The midrange on this song sound "hollow" and the tweet sounded bright, nothing fatiguing, just bright. I changed to song to track "warning", sounded a little better, but I was still not "surprised" at the sound the 60's attributed, sure they sounded good, but I was a little dissaponted, AT FIRST. Moving along I switched to the Studio 20's, now keep in mind these are both run off the exact same amp and in the exact same room (side by side) I played the exact same songs for comparision...same deal except the 60's attributes a wider range of dynamics, the the soundtage was a little broader. naturally the 60's had lower bass extension, but I never listened at this point long enough to come that conclusion. So enough with this disc, so I threw in some Metalica "black albulm" and started it off with strack #1 "enter sandman" Boy, this is where the 60's literally BLEW me away, low end was VERY VERY "controlled" sound was FULL, kickdrums were low, overall the sound was not muddy nor did it sound hollow. It was a tad bright on the top end still, but this can be flucuated through the use of a different amp? or possibly an EQ. Again we changed over to the 20's, definitly not as full and dynamic as the 60's (but what do you expect?) it has good low end for a bookshelf, but it didn't sound as controlled in the midbass as the 60's and you could tell it distressed faster, but paired up with a nice sub there winners in my book. So by now I have come to the conclusion that I HAD to have the 60's...then there were sitting the Kef Q3 series towers...He had them hooked up to a bryston amp so I really had a hard time comparing...however they did sound good, I threw in a little bit of everything, sinatra, metallica, incubus, Linkin Park. They sounded terrific, very very VERY wide soundstage, but I'm curious if this had to do more with the very expensive amp or the speakers. They were pretty bright sounding, a little brighter then the Studios...and the cabinet resonated a little. There was also a slight coloration in the music.

So here is my questions...

1) Could the Bryston be attributing the the Kefs so much to make them sound "better" then they really are? What I mean by this is, if the Q3's were hooked up to the same amp and the Studios, would they still sound the same?

2) I found that the Studio's were nothing special with Incubus as the chosen music...whats up with this? honestly, everything else sounded amazing.

3) I really don't care for the Anthem's amps/pre-amps, besides, I rather not pay $4000 for a 5.1 pre-amp. So I am more then likely going with Rotel. However my question is, were these pre-amp-amp's a bad choice for demoing the paradigms?

4) How many people prefer the Q3's over the Studio 60's?


Thanks!
 

John Royster

Screenwriter
Joined
Oct 14, 2001
Messages
1,088
2) I found that the Studio's were nothing special with Incubus as the chosen music...whats up with this? honestly, everything else sounded amazing.
If this helps you at all that disc is VERY poorly recorded with harsh and compressed midrange. Not slamming your music tastes because I have the disc as well and was very disappointed in the recording.

You should be able to get the dealer to hook the paradigms and kefs to the same source/amplifier to really get a side-by-side comparison. That would remove any question about amplification/pre-amp.
 

ArthurJ

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
354
Hey John,

Thanks for your response...that's weird that the disc was porrly recorded cause I thought I remeber hearing that it was actually a nice recorded disc. But then again the Black Albulm sound better
 

Michael R Price

Screenwriter
Joined
Jul 22, 2001
Messages
1,591
Arthur,

Incubus - Morning View is some nice fun+loud music... it's a pretty clean recording, though just like most other modern rock recordings it's a very compressed and "fake" studio kind of sound. I didn't find it really harsh, but the blaring guitars and such are pretty harsh sounding (in a good, blow-you-away sort of way) anyhow. The key, though, is just to play a lot of different music (that you like and are used to) with the speakers you try.

Yes, the amplifier can make a difference... but maybe not a very big one. Don't worry about listening with a Bryston with one speaker and an Anthem with the other... they're both good enough.
 

Mark LP

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 18, 2002
Messages
51
Kefs are known for a wide soundstage. They are brighter than some speakers but I dont think they are brighter than actual live music. Your comment about the resonating cabinet surprised me though. Kef is usually very good about not having that. Try placing a nickel on edge and see if it falls over while listening to music at any level. I wasn't that impressed with paradigm when I listened to them. try Energy...not too expensive and nice as well.

Mark
 

ArthurJ

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
354
Mark LP, I appreciate your comment...I am very confused right now...speaker buying is a big pain when you get mixed emotions. Then again, nobody can tell you what sounds good but yourself, right? I would realy like to go into a shop where I can do A/B testing MYSELF, I feel obligated everytime I go in there, the dealer doesnt make me feel very comfortable...for example, I like to switch speakers OFTEN, to detect a difference and it seems like its a chore to him, kinda makes me mad considering I already dumped $2400 into product there. What did you dislike about Paradigms? Also, where are those Kef's made? I don't have the most trained ear, I have a hard time finding which speaker sounds better, cuz to be honest I liked the Kef's "in your face" sound...weather I was listening to sinatra or Led Zeppelin. please comment, thanks!
 

Mark LP

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 18, 2002
Messages
51
You should really test speakers with your music that your familiar with. The music should also be something that is comparable to what you listen to the speakers with a majority of the time. Take your time. Nuances between speakers are most apparent after listening to one pair for awhile then the next pair for awhile using the same music.

Most shops once they know you will have no problem showing you how to change between speakers and then let you listen on your own. The other smart thing to do is go in to the store at a time when they are not going to be busy. Usually weeknights or during the day. Listening on the weekend is not a good time. The salesman are there to make money by selling.

Kefs are typically made in England. The new Q series may not be though. It should say on the brochure, website or back of the speaker. I found Paradigm to be slightly muddy compared to Kef. I listened at very low and high volumes as well as mid. budget allowing, step to the highest level of speaker in the brand that you prefer. See if you can listen to the Q7's or XQ's or reference from Kef to give yourself an understanding of the differences in sound from a price standpoint. You will then be able to create a gauge of dollar to performance value that you can live with. I would recommend this step for any speaker line you look at. Components are easy to switch out and even buy used. speakers are a pain to ship and have serviced.

Mark
 

John Garcia

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 24, 1999
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11,571
Location
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John
I think the real question is, what gear will YOU be pairing up these speakers with at HOME?

As for music, not just what you listen to all the time, but something you are VERY familiar with, something you have listened to critically; noticing very subtle details, and listening for them. I use male and female vocals, fast percussion, and piano because I can hear the fine details right away. Incubus and Linkin Park, which I listen to often also, are NOT good to demo critically with, IMO.

For the type of music mentioned, I would have to say that the KEFs would be a better choice. I am a Paradigm fan, but I don't think the Studios are necessarilly the pick of the litter. They are good, but are the type of speaker that require a bit of tweaking to achieve the perfect sound one might be looking for (placement, interconnects, amplification) depending on how critical you are.

Power doesn't sound like it was an issue in this audition, but what about source? What was being used, in what modes, and with what interconnects?
 

Lewis Besze

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 28, 1999
Messages
3,134
Were the Kefs in the same room with the Paradigms?
If yes,then I wouldn't worry about much of the different amps.
If no then there is your answer[room].
Have them put those speakers side by side and hook it up to the same amp,so it won't any variables,and do the audition again.
That should answer all your questions.
 

ArthurJ

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
354
They were side by side, the paradigms were powered by a anthem and the Q's were powered by a Bryston. I think i'm going to ask him to hook the Anthem's up to the Q's and if he makes a fuss about it I'm doing my shopping somewhere else. It's kinda a blow to the stomach after being so dead set on the Paradigms and hearing something in the same price range sound a little better IMO. I guess I have to be more open minded, for some reason I had my mind set that there was NOTHING better then the Paradigms out there for the price.
 

Jamey F

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 20, 2002
Messages
200
for some reason I had my mind set that there was NOTHING better then the Paradigms out there for the price
That all depends on the price you pay. If you're talking full retail prices on everything, there will always be something better at a given price point. That's because there is a subjective compenent to it. If however, you find (input whatever brand here) as one of the best sounding to you AND you get a heck of a deal, there isn't going to be better for the money.
 

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