Audition suggestions Part 2

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ted_T, Aug 9, 2001.

  1. Ted_T

    Ted_T Auditioning

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    Hello all again,
    Well I have been auditioning speakers for I guess the past week and ran into a snag. Just for the heck of it I auditioned a pair fo Paradigm Studio 20 v2's and was astounded at how much better they sounded then the budget speakers I had been listening to. I dont know the right terminology for music but to me they sounded invisible. Like the sound sucked me in and I forgot I was listening to a reproduction.
    Well the reason I came to post again is because that experience has shifted my whole HT insight. I am now going to raise my budget for this project quite considerably. With that being the case I now more then even really need some sound advice on what to audition in your opinions.
    My budget is now $3,000 for the front left and right and the center so they are timbre matched. The reciever I am going to use is either the Denon 3800 series or 4800 series depending on how much amplification I need. I figure either will sound about the same since they are coming from the same manufacturer.
    So if you had the budget I have what would you audition? THank you again in advice. Cant begin to tell you how much fun I have been having with this. My only fear is I will get addicted to is. =)
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    Ted
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Ahhhh another victim ... er ... member. [​IMG]
    Ted: For Home Theater we talk a lot about tone-matching the front speakers, etc. and this IS important.
    But for auditioning speakers, music will often reveal things about a speaker that a DVD will not. So make sure you use Music as your main audition material when checking out speakers.
    What speakers: Well, you already picked Paradigm which has a very good reputation and a loyal following around here. People fall in love with them and the quality of the sound for the price is hard to beat.
    (This is probably what you are going to buy.)
    Since I am mainly into movies rather than music, I bought Definitive Technologies bipolar speakers. A Bipolar speaker fires both forward and back. This design has the following advantages over a normal speaker:
    - The back-fire sound can help compensate for acoustic-challenged rooms, or rooms with bare-wood floors.
    - Pulled into the room a bit, the back-fire sound gives you a slight delay/echo which can help a small room sound much larger. This is great for simulating a large movie theater room, or music auditorium.
    So I would strongly recommend you audition some Def Tech speakers if you can find a local dealer.
    There is one more KIND of speaker you should audition while you are looking. These are called Panel or Electro-Static speakers.
    These are not traditional magnent-driver speakers. But many audiophiles move into them and never go back. Two brands to look for (that I think include a HT setup) are Magnapan, and Martin Logan. Note: these are NOT cheap speakers but dont let the initial prices scare you off. Many of these companies are creating scaled-down HT setups. But these are not the ones in front when you walk into the demo rooms. Be persistant and ask to see the home-theater versions.
    Try this link and search for "electrostatic":
    http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Club/1484/audio.htm
     
  3. Tim Markley

    Tim Markley Screenwriter

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    Ted,
    You should definitely add B&W to your list. Check out the CDM NT series, CM series and the 600 series. If you need to find a local dealer or wish to see the different models, go to B&W Speakers .
     
  4. george king

    george king Supporting Actor

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    If this is going to be a combo music/HT system, you might want to check out the KEF Reference line. The RDM line would be in your budget: A pair of RDM 3 (floor stander) and the 200C center would be $3K list. You might be able to squeeze in a pair of Reference 1.2 and a 100C for about $3K street prices and this would be a great combo, but the 1.2's need a fair amount of space to really shine.
    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    I would second that vote for Definitive Technology...see their lineup at www.definitivetech.com
    In your price range I think you could get bp2000TL mains and clr3000 center channel (or something similar).
    The 2000TL's are amazing speakers...some people like to think of Def Techs as a home theater speaker and believe me this is NOT the case at all! With good setup and attention to associated equipment these 2000TL's should do just as good with music as with movies. In fact, I now actually prefer them with music (although movies are killer too) and I have yet to hear a better setup with music even after having listened to Martin Logan, Dynaudio, Mirage, etc.
    Bob, are you really not very satisfied with your 2000TL's with music? How do you have them set up? Too much space for the rears to fire and you may get a strange echo type sound...1-3 feet is probably good for the rears. Just recently I felt I was getting slightly less output from my left main than my right main, so I unconnected the wiring and made sure the power cords for the powered subs were fully plugged in...afterward everything sounded much better! Vocal clarity because tremendous, imaging improved, bass became tighter, even when they had all been quite good before!
    Take a look at the reviews at www.audioreview.com on the 2000TL's to get an idea on how they should be set up...make sure to use some decent cable and decent cd player (I use monster cables and Sony cd player) and make sure that the wiring is not cluttered or coiled. For the bass, you should wire "full range" (send the long end of a y-connector to the "full range low level in" on the speaker and then send the shorter ends to the "main in" and "pre out" on the receiver...then send a normal speaker cable from the "mid" jumper to the main (L/R) inputs on the receiver...this will tighten up the bass).
    Some receivers I would generally recommend are yamaha rx-v1, b&k avr307, high end Marantz, or denon 5800. If you can't go with any of these, just get the best receiver that you can afford. You might not want to lock yourself into denon...I would recommend choosing the receiver which sounds best to you with Def Techs (if you are in a position to audition them).
    If you have any specific questions feel free to email me...if you follow my suggestions you should love these speakers! Good luck!
     
  6. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Ted- I would also recommend that you add Def Tech to your list.
    Last year I had occasion to directly compare the Paradigm Ref Studio 20's in my system vs the Def Tech BP-20's I had up front.
    (Was trying to decide if I wanted to switch to an all Paradigm set up or simply move the BP-20's to rear and get BP-30's up front, which is what I eventually did.)
    The Paradigm 20's were very nice sounding speakers, and maybe the comparison wasn't fair (BP-20's and 30's are towers, and almost full range, and the Studio 20's are a lot smaller.)
    The 20's sounded alot more "boxy" compared to the Def Tech's. The bass sounded more forced and labored. (Yes, I had them crossed over to a sub. At 80Hz, maybe not high enough.)
    But I have also had the BP-20's for more than 5 years, and maybe my preference for bipolar speakers also played a part.
    With the Paradigms, you do get more pinpoint imaging, but I still prefered the "wall-of-sound" approach of the Def Techs.
    Chucked the Studio 20's, got some BP-30's for the front, and moved the BP-20's to the rear.
    I would also recommend you looking into the Studio 100's. Full range towers that were favorably reviewed in Stereophile a month or two ago.
    Depending on what your budget is of course!
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  7. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    Kevin what amplification are you using with your def techs? With well "matching" equipment you should be getting very good imaging! Yamaha rx-v1, b&k avr307, high end Marantz, and denon 5800 seem like good choices (and John H has been very satisfied with Parasound amps). I know you have good electronics...but maybe some match better than others with DT.
    With your 30's you have offcentered tweeters (I believe)...you should have these tweeters facing inward and use a slight toe in. Play around with distance in between speakers (5-8 feet should be good) and distance behind the speaker (1-3 feet). Once they fully break in (>100 hours) they should be crisp, detailed in the highs and mids.
    [Edited last by Bob_A on August 11, 2001 at 04:05 PM]
     
  8. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Bob- I have a Sony TA-E9000ES for a pre/pro feeding 2 Acurus 200x3 amps.
    I have the BP-30s toed in 1/2 way to my listening position.
    What I meant by the Paradigms having better imaging, is that with the reflections of the bipolar DT's, that the imaging isn't as apparent or straight forward as with the Paradigms. It is much each to localize the Paradigms. But that's actually one of the reasons why I like the Def Techs more. "Wall of sound."
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  9. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    Kevin I agree with you...the wall of sound is nice, and still each instrument is clearly heard with the DT's.
    How much space do you have in between your speakers? You said that your speakers are toed in halfway to the listening position...does this mean that they "converge" at a point halfway between the speakers and the listening position? Someone once mentioned that the DT's should be toed in so that you wouldn't be able to see the inside of the speakers from the listening position. With your 30's you should only need a slight toe in (where the convergence is at the listening position or maybe even slightly behind the listening position). Try some slight adjustments and see if you notice a difference (even an inch makes a difference!).
    So what are you impressions of the 30's so far?
     
  10. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Bob- I have them toed in such that the intersection of a line drawn from each speaker forward hits maybe 4 ft behind me.
    I have a somewhat strange set up in that my room is mostly square, but I have my futon (sofa) back about 60% of the distance from the front wall. (Leaves room for the BP-20's and the C-1 in the back.)
    I have the BP-30's about 15" out from the front wall, and the nearest side wall is is over 3 ft away. (One side is open, and the other side is dominated by a sliding glass door with a curtain in front of it. No appreciable side reflections in other words.) But the 30's are wider apart than they are from me. Not much I can do about that.
    As far as the BP-30's, I think Def Tech (and their dealers) do a disservice to their customers by pushing the integrated powered subwoofer models too much. Marketing! Only the more expensive "intregrated" towers have the larger 6.5" "midranges" that the BP-30's come with. (Don't ask me which model numbers!) So, even though the cheaper "integrated" towers cost more than the BP-30's, I feel that the bulk of their sound is inferior.
    (When I went to my local Magnolia Hi Fi to buy the BP-30's and the CLR 2000, they didn't carry either, and they wanted to charge me full list to special order them. But they certainly had the "integrated" towers and center speakers that they tried to push on me. Sorry, my external powered sub, a Vandersteen V2W, will blow away anything Def Tech could shove into their own speaker cabinets.)
    In other words, I really like the BP-30's. I didn't notice as much of a difference that I expected when I moved the (older) BP-20's to the rear. But that's the idea, right? To try to have "timbre matched" speakers all around.
    I have looked into Paradigm, B&W, and Vandersteen speakers, and I've always come back to Def Tech's. (Although the powered Active 40's of Paradigm are intriguing, and the "time and phase correct" Vandersteen's are also interesting.)
    But for now, "Def Tech rules!" [​IMG]
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  11. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    Kevin I heard someone else mention that his local dealer with not even carry the bp30's but carried the bp8's and bp10's...this is almost inexplicable to me. I also agree that the nonpowered towers are probably a better value than the powered towers. Still there are some nice things about powered towers including seamlessness between highs/mids and lows, ability to run the channel as "large" (some feel this enhances the effect), and the ability to get good bass with formats such as dvd-audio and super audio (where bass management is apparently bypassed). But again the nonpowered towers + external sub(s) is arguably the more cost effective approach.
     
  12. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Bob- You are of course exactly right. For some people, integrated powered subs are the way to go. For me, I already had a (good) external sub, so I stayed with the path of getting the best (Def Tech offers anyway) towers without them.
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