Auditioned Studio 60s today, is there something wrong with my ears?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Justin Ward, Mar 30, 2004.

  1. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    Today I went into my local Paradigm dealer to have a look around, surprisingly they had some new Studio 60s and 40s in the store and the 60s were hooked up ready to play. I couldn't resist so I pulled out my Radiohead - OK Computer ( not reference quality I know, but a good CD nonetheless) which was the only CD with me at the time. I reciever used was some lower mid-range Panasonic and the CD player was a Tehnics Mega-changer. Anyway, overall I was not terribly impressed.
    The treble seemed very extended but somewhat harsh and this is coming from a guy who doesn't find Grado SR-80s overly bright. The lower-midrange upper bass was unimpressive as well. Deep vocals were sounded congested and overemphasized. I noticed this most on the song "Exit Music" which I found was more intimate and detailed on my SR-80s. The bass sounded a bit slow as well, loud enough but not as musical as I would have liked. Even my "slow" 15" SBB4 Tempest sounds "faster" and less boomy. The midrange was good, but didn't stand out enough as it seemed to be overpowered by the bass and treble. At first I thought maybe someone had messed around with the tone controls or accidentally left a low-end sub turned on but this was confirmed to not be the case.

    I should note that these comments are relative to their price. I did find they sounded marginally better than my Titans and Tempest(though not the bass portion) but I was expecting alot more for the price. They were setup decently as well.

    So, is there something wrong my ears? I know the equipment was low-end but still better that the stuff I have.
     
  2. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    When you say the gear was setup decently, what do you mean by that? It's conceivable that the room is just a poor room for sound reproduction and what you are hearing are the limitations of that room, and not the speakers themselves. Did you hear any other speakers in that room that sounded noticably better?

    For what it's worth, Paradigm makes a killer speaker but there are plenty out there that feel it's high frequency reproduction is extended and somewhat harsh.

    Doing a comparison with any speaker to headphones is always going to produce discrepancies as well. A better comparison would be to another set of floorstanders.
     
  3. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    I see what you're saying. By set up decently I mean good placement. Away from the walls, about 8 feet apart and about 11 feet from me, very similar to my at home configuration. They also had Monitor 7s hooked up that sounded pretty decent.
     
  4. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    Evan, good points. Room acoustics probably affect the sound as much as the speakers. Also, Justin said that the signal was being fed through a Technics CD Mega changer and a Panasonic receiver? These would probably make even a set of $50,000 Maggies sound overly bright on the top end and sloppy on the bottom end. As you may find out as you get to audition equipment more, the better the speaker, the better it is at exposing inadequacies of the signal being fed into it. What I mean by this is think of the speakers as a telescope. With a somewhat weak(worse) telescope, you will only be able to see the outline of a pile of crap. With a stronger (better) telescope, you will see every piece of corn and peanut in that steaming pile of poo. At the same time, with the weak tele you can only see the outline of Heidi Klum , while with the stonger tele you can see her in all of her Germanic glory.

    Hope that example wasn't too graphic, but I think I got my point across. Next time, try to see if they could feed the 'Digms with a good signal. The results will be much more favorable.
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I have to agree, it was probably both the source and power that were lacking in this setup (possibly room as well). Why they would pair Studios with average gear and expect to sell them is beyond me. There is no way 60s should sound similar to Titans, there should be a very noticable difference between even the 20s and Titans.
     
  6. Bill Blank

    Bill Blank Stunt Coordinator

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    Justin,

    I'm quite surprised that a Paradgim dealer also sells Panasonic and Technics gear and that they'd hook the Reference series speakers up to that combo to boot! Surely Paradigm wouldn't approve.

    The speaker to headphone comparison is not a good one as has been pointed out, it's apples to oranges.

    The idea of auditioning speakers before you buy is good in theory, but you cannot judge it against what you've got at home already. The room you're auditioning in is likely MUCH different than your own and it plays a HUGE factor in the overall sound.

    The best you could hope for at a store is that they carry the speakers you currently have and allow you to do a side-by-side comparison. This levels the playing field a little bit but you're still dealing with a different source component, different preamp/power amp, and most of all, a different ROOM.

    Bill
     
  7. ChrisDixon

    ChrisDixon Second Unit

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    First of all, OK Computer may be on my top 10 list of all time, but the sound quality is not good. I usually listen to it in my car because a revealing system really brings out the worst of a bad recording.

    Also, this is why I don't like going to stores to listen to speakers, though it is a necessity. I have v2 Stuido 60s which I like very much. When I went to one shop and listened to v3 Studio 40s, they sounded really bad. I'm not sure whether it was the sony receiver that was driving them, or the room configuration, but they sounded harsh and fatiguing. I then listened to Studio v3 60s at another shop and they sounded much better. Same tweeter, two very different results.

    Chris
     
  8. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    I might add that the Studio speakers need a lot of break in time. See if you can find out how long they have been played. They need a minimum of 100 hours to start sounding good, and they continue to improve long after that. I have my Studio 60 (v2) for 6 months and they just recently starting sounding exceptional. The first month they were somewhat harsh, then they mellowed out. In about the last month they have smoothed out even more and are really sounding good.

    I also agree on the bad equipment as well.
     
  9. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    OK this is all starting to make a bit more sense. I also briefly auditioned Studio 20s in a different store but they were set up in a very nice audition room with Cambridge Audio electronics, I was impressed to say the least.
     
  10. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    I personally think the Studio Series v.3 speakers are really bright to the point of being harsh; I greatly preferred the sound of the v.2's to the newer ones, but YMMV.

    I think you need to find an authorized Vienna Acoustics dealer before you search any further into the usual brands. I would take their $1000/pr bookshelf speakers (Haydn) over any of the Paradigms, and to my ears, the bookshelf speakers had more clean bass than the Studio/100s! If you want floorstanders, the Bach is right in your price range ($1500/pr) and blows away the Studio/60.

    Sorry for sounding biased, but after hearing a properly set-up pair of Viennas you will agree that Paradigm (or anyone else, for that matter) can't hold a candle to what these speakers present. I will be owning a pair of Mozarts in gorgeous Rosewood very shortly [​IMG]
     
  11. Bill Blank

    Bill Blank Stunt Coordinator

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    Thomas,

    While the Vienna's are wonderful speakers, stating that they are world's better than any Paradigm is simply your opinion.

    I've owned the following setup for over two years now:

    V.A. Mozart
    V.A. Maestro
    V.A. Haydn

    I was drawn to their laid-back sound but as time went on they (Mozarts) just couldn't give me the bass extension and weight I wanted in 2-ch from my music (rock). Rock N' Roll didn't come across the way it should on these speakers so I've made a lateral move to a full Paradigm Reference v3 setup that arrived yesterday:

    Studio 100
    Studio CC-470
    Studio 20

    Comparing them directly to the Vienna's could lead a listener in either direction. One could say the Paradigms sound harsh in the highs. Someone else could say the Vienna's sugarcoat everything. They're two VERY different speakers geared towards people with different tastes.

    That said Justin, if you DO like the Vienna sound, I've got the above setup going up for sale at very nice prices. PM me if you're interested, though I do already have an offer on the Maestro & Haydn.

    Bill
     
  12. cabreau

    cabreau Second Unit

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    If you did not hear a difference between Titans and Studios, then there is definitely a problem...somewhere. While Paradigms's Performance series are very good, as are their Monitor series, you should hear a very distinct difference in the sound.

    The Studios are much clearer and seem to produce a much more accurate sound...so you will actually hear more SUCKness in the CD if there are mistakes in it. You won't hear as many mistakes on a lesser quality speaker.
     
  13. Levesque

    Levesque Supporting Actor

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    Thomas.

    "I would take their $1000/pr bookshelf speakers (Haydn) over any of the Paradigms,"

    Do you really think the Viennas can compete with the new Signature? I don't think so.

    I would take my S8 over any Vienna offering. My dealer had a pair of Verity Audio Sorastro at 53K$ a pair and the S8 were not very far...We did compare them just for fun, and the S8 were surprinsigly good against those (at 6 times the price...).

    I'm sure that the S4 and S2 can compete with any Vienna offering.

    "but after hearing a properly set-up pair of Viennas you will agree that Paradigm (or anyone else, for that matter) can't hold a candle to what these speakers present."

    Go listen to the Signatures. Your opinion will change...
     
  14. Steven Simon

    Steven Simon Producer

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    I have owned the Studio 100's as well as I currently run Studio 40's for my mains, with the Studio CC, and Studio 20's for rears... All powered by Parasound Amps...

    The gear used is the root of your problems.... Panasonic reciever, and a Tecnics dvd player.... [​IMG] Switch that to a higher quality reciever, and Pre/Pro setup with dedicated amps, and your will be blown away by the Reference line of Paradigm.....


    Also as stated above, your room acoustics will never match the acoustic values of the demo room. You won't know for sure until you demo the 60's in your own theater...
     
  15. Steve Adams

    Steve Adams Second Unit

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    I am not fond of paradigm either. it's all personal preferance. I think half the fact is that kelly's sells them here and they have shit customer serivce. But i was in the same boat. way too harsh!...
     
  16. Steven Simon

    Steven Simon Producer

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    I have never found the Paradigms to be harsh....

    Steve,

    What were you powering them with and what was your Preamp??
     
  17. Michael__M

    Michael__M Stunt Coordinator

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    I have come to the conclusion that some people just do not get along with aluminum dome tweeters. I think I am one of those people. Everyone hears something different when listening to speakers. Aluminum domes tend to make my ears hurt after listening for a while. I have PSB Images and I just get this ringing deep inside my head that says I need to stop listening after a while.
     
  18. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    This is exactly why I switched from a Paradigm Reference setup to all ACI (Sapphires, Emeralds and Essence). Don't get me wrong, the Paradigms are great speakers but they did give me listeners fatigue after a while, something I don't get with the ACI line.
     
  19. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    It is not the aluminum tweeters, I am almost certain it is Paradigm's crossovers that imparts this sound to their speakers. The midbass and tweeter are both aluminum in my Mordaunt Short 902s and they do not sound harsh at all, quite the contrary - they sound very smooth for metal drivers. They use a 1st order, very simple x-over and the selection of the individual components in the x-over greatly contributes to the overall sound as well.

    I found the v2s to be brighter than the v3s. I felt they have actually tamed some of the tweeter's brightness with the v3s, but the v3s are still bright to me, which is why I did not end up buying the 40s.
     
  20. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Aren't those rear ported? If so, your experiences suggest speaker placement was largely at issue here. I take it they were probably also in a room with a host of other speakers, no?
     

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