B&W vs. Paradigm vs. PSB vs. Warfdale vs. Energy

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DaveZeisler, Dec 23, 2002.

  1. DaveZeisler

    DaveZeisler Agent

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2002
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Howdy, I'm a HTF virgin, so please be gentle. ;-)
    I'm looking to revamp my entire speaker setup. The ole college speakers just aren't cutting it anymore. Here are the speakers I have currently:
    Front: Cerwin-Vega SE250 (Select Edition!!)
    Centers and Rears: JBL Flix 10 package (yawn)
    Sub: Boston Acoustics PV600
    My receiver, Onkyo TX-DS696, and the sub were purchased last year so they're in good shape. This will be a majority Home Theater setup, although I do listen to music 25% of the time.
    I'd like two towers as the main L and R speakers. I'm not a fan of huge bass, just a well balanced sound. I listen to a variety of music (Rock, Jazz, Blues, Techno, Metal) and already have a pretty extensive DVD collection (~75). My budget for all five speakers is the $2000 range (don't tell my wife! [​IMG] )
    So, I guess my question is, can anyone offer advice on the following brands:
    B&W, Paradigm, Energy, Warfdale, PSB
    Where to buy? which to avoid? deals? surprises? Experiences? B&W appear to be really popular (rightfully so, I was with a friend when he auditioned his) but I rarely hear anything on PSB or Energy. Is Paradigm too "trendy"? Am I kidding myself If I think I can get a set of Warfdales?
    I know the bottom line is I have to buy what sounds best to me, but I'd greatly appreciate any input!! Thanks in advance!
    ---Dave
    P.S. The Cerwin-Vegas are for sale. Make an offer. ;-)
     
  2. BradJudy

    BradJudy Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've heard the B&W and Paradigms - I prefer B&W to Paradigm, but it's a personal taste thing. With a budget of $2k for 5 speakers I would definitely take a look at the Rockets. It's a leap of faith, but well worth it from my listening experience. Definitely superior to the Paradigms or B&W 600 series.
     
  3. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    442
    Likes Received:
    0
    At that price range, you'd be looking at the Paradigm Monitor series and the PSB Image series if you must have floorstanders. I'm not sure of the other brands. Personally I prefer the sound of PSB to Paradigm.

    As for other brands to look out for, definitely check out Diva, Rockets and Axioms as well. These are the more raved about speaker brands, and they should fall within your price range. Also check out Home Theater Direct Level 4 setup.
     
  4. Sean L

    Sean L Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    I listened to B&W, Paradigm, Wharfdale, and others before making my decision.
    B&W wouldn't budge off list price. With $2K+ in the budget, I expect a deal!
    Paradigms were definitely a contender, but again, I couldn't get the models I wanted for the price I was willing to pay.
    Wharfdales are definitely way cheaper than B&W or Paradigm.
    To locate a whardale dealer, go to http://www.iagamerica.com/wharfedale/
    Specifically, I auditioned the Wharfdale Diamond 8 Series. They sounded ok, and were extremely affordable. If I was on a very VERY tight budget the Diamond 8.4 and 8.3s would have been totally acceptable. If you like Wharfdale, and have a more generous budget (w/ $2K it sounds like you do)you might want to look at their higher end Pacific Evo Series http://www.iagamerica.com/wharfedale/pacific.htm
    However, my local Whardale dealer also sold KEFs, and after doing an A/B comparison with the KEF Q3 and Wharfdale 8.3/8.4 I decided I wanted KEFs. I ended up going to another dealer to audition the KEF Q5 & Q7s. The higher end Q7s definitely had stronger midrange and bass, so that's what I ended up with. When it came time to buy, I hit the web ---fortunately, KEFs are available at very aggressive prices online (Q7s $895, Q1s $345 Q9c $280)--close to 30% off list!
    Good Luck
    Sean in Nor Cal
    KEF Q7/Q1/Q9c & SVS 25-31PCi sub
    Denon AVR2802
    Toshiba 43" HDTV
    Panasonic CP72 DVD-A
     
  5. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2000
    Messages:
    1,693
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dave

    The Diamond line of Wharf's give allot for the dollar output. Wheather it's enough to make you happy, you will have to be the judge.

    The Wharf EVO line is in a whole nother leauge compared to the Diamonds, I highly recomened you give them a listen if a dealer is stocking them in your area.

    The KEF's are very worthly of your time also.

    As mentioned for the 3rd time now, the Divas and Rockets are serious contenders for many.

    It is a personal taste thing as already mentioned, so take what you draw from us/here and else where as a base-line. You need to make your ears and pocket book happy, as in the end your the winner or looser of your purchase.
    Take your time and listen to as many models/brands as possible with your favorite music materal.

    When it's right you'll know!

    Regards
    Geoff
     
  6. StanleyW

    StanleyW Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2002
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    are you willing to buy used? if you are 2k will go a long way for 5 speakers. i just replace my monitor audio silver ht setup with b&w's. i spent a little less then $2300. here is what i got. cc6 brand new on ebay $275, 601s2 brand new on ebay $300, and last but definitely not least nautilus 805 with stands 6 months old mint $1700. they are all b&w but from 2 different lines. both lines use woven kelvar bass cones and metal dome tweeters so their trimble matches pretty good. I spent the extra money on the mains since i do 50/50 ht and music. you can take the $2000 and spread it evenly on the 5 speakers since you are mainly into ht. i have heard most of b&w speakers excepts for the lesuire monitors and cdm nt lines. all of them are great each being slight better then the one below. again i have haven't heard the cdm not series but if the sound quality is between the cm and nautilus series then it should be a great speaker. i have seen cdm nt1 bookselves for under $800 used. if you get two pairs of these that would leave you with $400-$500 for the matching center.

    i have heard both the paradigm monitor and studio lines. to me the monitor line is nothing special. i don't understand what all the fuss is about them. the studio line however is excellent. i was considering these or my b&w's when replacing my ma's. the reason i got b&w's instead of the studio's were because they were easier to get since more people owned them. the studio's are very detailed and reveiling speakers without being bright.

    i have also heard psb status bronze's, the line above the images series. they are very laid back and smooth alot like the ma's i had. haven't heard the wharfadale's or energy's.

    in short i would reccommend the paradigm studio's or the highest b&w series you can afford or find. hope this helps.
     
  7. StanleyW

    StanleyW Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2002
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    just want to mention one more thing. although i got all of my stuff on ebay, audiogon.com is also a great place to get used high-end audio gear.
     
  8. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2000
    Messages:
    1,693
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you find something you like sound wise and do not fear to buy used, I and friends have found that when buying ~{used higher end speaks & electronics}~ threw Audiogon, the owners (usualy) have taken very good care of their equipment regardless of age.

    As Stanly pointed out, your 2k will go much futher buying used. Seems allot of B&W speaks go threw AG, why I don't really know. Upgrading certainly/bad times maybe, but allot of them are less than 6 months to a year old.

    My last AG experience....
    I bought 5 of my 7 Wharfedale Oak Emerald MKIV's off Audiogon. Someone fell on Very Hard times and I literly stole them. I really felt bad for him as things really fell apart for him and his wife finacialy. He was parting out and selling his entire HT system....

    After a few emails, then a few phone calls, and some bartering, I ended up with all 5 of them. 2-months old and I paid 375.00 for all of them, shipped. They all came with all original packaging, paper work, warranty cards, and (his Wharf Dealer reciepts) for the speakers. I called the dealer and they where legit reciepts.
    He did really practicaly give them to me.
    They where absoulty MINT.
    I wasn't looking for speaks at the time but heard good things of this line and was thinking of setting up a med-fi bedroom HT system up. Well it's up, much quicker than planned, and speaker wise, very very cheaply I might add. 95-Towers, 93-Big Bookshelfs, and Center. I added the largest in the line towers, 99's, just this late summer.

    Had I went in store, I would have easly spent 2 to 3k for the equivelent sound (different brand) in my case. I have 705.00 and change into the 7 speaks... I am extremly pleased thank you.

    Also would like to mention Wharfs customer support is excellent! 3-years no questions asked replacement on all parts including the cabinet. Had a grill with a broken pin, they sent a new one Fedex. Recieved it 2-days from the late afternoon support call I made.

    Just another used Audiogon experience and then some, sorry..:b

    Regards
    Geoff
     
  9. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 7, 1999
    Messages:
    2,921
    Likes Received:
    1
    Lets see:

    I don't remember MSRP but lets see

    Paradigm
    Monitor 11 ..... $1200 Canadian
    CC370 ......... $ 450
    Titan/Atom ..... $ 250

    Or move up to Dipole rears for another couple hundred Canadian.

    Brent
     
  10. DaveZeisler

    DaveZeisler Agent

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2002
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey Folks, thanks for the feedback. [​IMG] Helpful, friendly, and concise. And of course....very much appreciated.
    Armed with this information, I'll look up retailers in the area and start auditioning. I was considering burning a "demo disc" of my own with some of my favorite songs from specific genres of music.
    As a friend of mine said "Half the fun is wanting it." I really enjoy this part of the search for new equip. Yes, the thrill of the hunt....
    Thanks again all!
    ---Dave
     
  11. JohnBrianW.

    JohnBrianW. Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2002
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've auditioned all of the speakers you've mentioned and thought at best they were satisfactory. If I was going with Paradigm I would stick with the Paradigm Reference line. Its much better than the regular lines. B&W were very similar to the Paradigm studio but more $$$. The best I've heard and eventually purchased was Totem. I went with the cheapest they offer a 5.1 system called the dreamcatchers, and I love them. They are crystal clean, quick, accurate and have a great sub with them. For music they're even better! They are worth an audition as well if you can find a dealer.
     

Share This Page