Diva vs. JBL vs. Paradigm

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark Weber, Mar 3, 2002.

  1. Mark Weber

    Mark Weber Auditioning

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    Okay so I'm still an uninitiated audio enthusiast despite a few days of reading thread after thread about HT speakers. I don't want to embarass myself by listing my current equipment (suffice it to say it was the envy of my college buddies some 20+ years ago).

    I have narrowed down my receiver options to the Onkyo DS797, Integra DTR-6.2, or Pioneer Elite VSX35TX...I think. I am trying to keep my receiver and speaker budget at $2500.

    Here's what I am considering:

    1) Paradigm - Mini Monitors (front), CC-370, either Atoms or Mini Monitors (rear). Need a sub in the $400 - $500 range.

    2) JBL S-series - S36's (fronts and rears), and S-center. Still need a sub.

    3) Diva deal - 4.1's (front), C3, 2.1's rear (seems like a great price at $1198). Oh by the way did I mention I need a sub?

    I'll stop listing at this point, however, all it takes is a small breeze to get me interested in other speaker combinations.

    I know it will probably come down to personal preferrence, but I have not read any direct feedback from Diva owners. They look great in photo's and specs, but I have not found a place to audition them.

    One other point - I have moderate size room (20X16) with a two story ceiling (configuration dictates placing the fronts and rears on the short walls). It is pre-wired (speaker) and will be almost impossible to place the rear speakers on the side walls.

    Any opinions?

    Mark
     
  2. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    You won't hear any negative feedback from Diva owners if/when they chime in. People usually like the speakers they own. That said, the Divas are very attractive and that sale looks like an excellent deal. It is difficult to get an opportunity to demo the Divas though.

    See if you can find a local Paradigm dealer and give the Monitor line a listen. You likely will not be disappointed. I think you should consider most carefully those 2 options. You can move down to the Titans or Atoms for surrounds and it will not make a huge difference. This would free up more for a sub and/or electronics. Do not move down the from Mini-Monitors and cc-370 for fronts however.

    For a sub, the three most commonly recommended in this price range are: Hsu VTF-2 ($400), Adire Rava ($400), and SVS 25-31PC ($550). Most people here will tell you to get the SVS at any cost no matter what the rest of your equipment ends up being. I have demoed the VTF-2 and 25-31PC and I like both. Unfortunately, all three subs are sold only online, so you will probably make your decision based on reputation, price and looks. However, you are not likely to be disappointed with any of the three. Good luck!
     
  3. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    If you like a speaker with lots of detail on the high end, the Paradigms would be a very good choice. If you like the treble a bit rolled off and not too weighty, then the silk dome tweeted Diva's might be your better choice. They are very different speakers, some like hyper-detail and some like a more forgiving sound. IMO both are excellent quality speakers.
    Here is a website put up by a Diva owner which includes a link (near the top) for putting you in touch with someone in your area for an audition. Maybe there's someone near you. Good luck! http://www.blueridgecabin.com/diva/
    BTW, check out the linked threads on this site to AVSForum and you'll find about 15 million posts by Diva owners.
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I prefer the smooth sound of fabric tweeters, but when it came down to it, I bought Mini Monitors for my mains and I am very happy with them. I have Titans as rears, and they blend quite well.

    Personally, I don't think the JBLs fit into that trio of speakers, but they would still probably fit the bill.
     
  5. Bryan Michael

    Bryan Michael Supporting Actor

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    did you ever consider polk audio thy are on their updated line and you can get the last years model for a good price i have the 800mains/400 center/500 sorounds (4) they are great qualty and the price is good too. i would not recomend their subs.
     
  6. Mark Weber

    Mark Weber Auditioning

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    Well I think I have made up my mind (as of this moment at least). The mini's front and rear with the CC370 and SVS 20-39PCi to handle the bass.

    I believe a Onkyo DS797 should match up fairly well with this setup.

    Throw in speaker stands and I have blown my budget of $2500, but life is short....I hate the regret factor.

    I'll probably be posting a new thread as soon as I realize I don't know a darn thing about hooking this thing up.

    Thanks for your help.

    p.s. If you've got any better ideas that can produce an equivalent or better HT and music listening experience, I've got a few days before I will be attempting to convince the wife that we really did not need to fill the house up with furniture all at once....
     
  7. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    come to think of it, i have never, ever, ever heard anything bad about swan's divas. i have heard a few complaints about paradigm and jbl speakers.
     
  8. Steve Stogel

    Steve Stogel Supporting Actor

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    Mark, you may want to check out nOrh speakers as well. Their ceramic 4.0 setup is five matching speakers for $850 (shipping included). Throw in the 20-39PCi for $650, and you're only down a bit over $1,500. That's a grand for the receiver. And while we're doing Internet-only companies, the Outlaw 1050 Receiver ($500) has garnered great reveiws.
    Currently I have the SVS, and the nOrh's and Outlaw will be the next (and hopefully for quite a while) upgrades.
    Here are the sites:
    http://www.norh.com/ for nOrh.
    http://www.svsubwoofers.com/ for SVS.
    http://www.outlawaudio.com/rules.html for Outlaw.
    That would still leave you about $500 for DVDs, connections, et cetera [​IMG]. Just one more suggestion to help cloud your thoughts [​IMG].
    Steve
     
  9. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    If you haven't done so already, audition the JBL S36 & S-Center, which 'in my opinion', . . . had the smoothest & widest, Pro Studio Monitor** like - frequency response, than the Paradigm, though Diva wasn’t too bad.
    **The S36, S38 & S26 Studio Series incorporates technologies and design innovations used in JBL recording studio monitors - specifically based on their 1999 TEC (Technical Excellence & Creativity) Award for "Studio Monitor Technology" - JBL LSR28P.
    Were they successful?? I'd say so, . . . since CEA has recognized JBL's design efforts, . . . by bestowing its coveted Innovations 2000 Design and Engineering Award to JBL's Studio Series S38.
    The Studio Series S36 broadens JBL's efforts to provide consumers with true studio-quality sound in their home-entertainment systems, with a compact, wall-mountable monitor that is ideal for value-conscious listeners with limited space and budgets.
    HTF member Mark Knight makes this comment on his recently installed six JBL S36 & S-Center Speaker Review
     
  10. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    I agree with Phil's above post. And I will add.....

    A bunch of us recently auditioned some JBL S Series with some Paradigm Mini and found the JBL to be better in several areas especially in imaging. The Minis sounded a little muffled to most of us on music and shallower imaging on HT.

    That being said, we moved up to the larger Paradigms in the studio and reference series and had much better results but much much more money too. We got all the way to the largest Paradigms (100's I think but am not sure) before they began getting a + vote in comparison to my old JBL L100.....

    The end result that day were 2 sets of JBL S Series purchased. 1 pair of CC370 Paradigm purchased by one person for his odd shaped listening area.

    Both Paradigm and JBL S or N series are real winners with the JBL being a little more forgiving in placement (for imaging).....
     
  11. Mark Weber

    Mark Weber Auditioning

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    I listened to the JBL studio series line of speakers (albeit in Best Buys where the warehouse did them no justice).

    I visited the local higher end audio/video store today to find all of the mini's sold out. Of course they had plenty of speakers in the upper atmosphere in price. The salesman and I discussed my situation (room size, etc.) and he strongly recommended going with larger floor standing monitors (7's or larger) for my fronts. At $600+ for the fronts, the mini's for satelites, CC370, and the PW2200 I am pushing $2300 for Paradigm speakers all the way around. Add a $900 receiver and I have blasted my budget. Diva's are sounding better and better. That is if I could actually find out what they truly sound like.

    With regard to never hearing anything bad about the Diva's I am not sure I have heard a great deal at all about them other than they look good....

    nOrhs are definitely wild looking speakers and I have heard good things about their performance, but I am having a difficult time figuring out how they would work in room (especially the rears).

    It sounds like I am destined to continue down the upgrade path to the poor house....
     
  12. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    >It sounds like I am destined to continue down the upgrade path to the poor house...<
    Well, they say that misery loves company... so, join the crowd!
    Mark, I think I gave you some internet based speaker company urls in another thread. TMI?
    Divas seem well regarded. My wife tossed the Divas out because she didn't like the rosewood finish. (there's your negative!) j/k.
    You likely won't go wrong with any of the ones you have under consideration. Imo, your best bet is to bring speakers home on trial and listen to them in your HT room.
    Although your best *value* will likely be in an internet speaker, your risk is higher since you have to cover the cost of the return shipping should you elect to return them.
    What to do? Tough call!
     
  13. Alex Prosak

    Alex Prosak Supporting Actor

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    Mark,

    If you haven't checked the Diva link posted above for an audition, I stronly recommend doing so. It may take seveal days for them to get back to you so be patient. Also check out the avsforum for a lot of info on the Diva's.

    Also, I found that one of the Onkyo authorized e-tailers sells the 797 for $749. You could get the 797, Diva's, and a SVS sub within your price range...well, before shipping.
     
  14. Steve Zimmerman

    Steve Zimmerman Second Unit

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    I'd just like to interrupt this great discussion to invite Diva owners who are willing to allow someone else to visit them to audition their speakers to register at:
    www.audioenvy.com
    We're trying to automate the audition request procedure but it won't work unless Diva owners sign up.
    Thank you.
    --Steve
     
  15. Brian Johnson

    Brian Johnson Supporting Actor

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    Sounds like a great idea. I went to the link steve provided, I can go and audition the divas along with the SVS if I decide to drive to KENTUCKY [​IMG]
    I like in northern indiana. But a good idea anyways.
     
  16. Robert Derouen

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    Mark, I am in your shoes and have been researching the same models you mentioned for quite some time now. While I do not have the experience of most people on this forum and their opinions should definitely weigh more than mine, here is my "dream system" after spending countless hours digging through months of different forums and reviews.
    The Divas for mains, center and surrounds and the SVS for a sub.
    Up until A year or two ago I would NEVER have purchased any audio equipment without auditioning it first. Over time, with the shear number of positive feedback and reviews I've seen on the Divas as well as the SVS without any negatives, I could now purchase them without hesitation. Unfortunately, you will not be able to audition them unless there is someone in your area that has them and will let you have a listen.
    I have taken many a road trip (some over 150 miles) to other cities to audition different speakers and have been frustrated every time. The setup they have will never be the same as what I am aiming for so you never get a true audition. Of course I could have demanded that the salesman drag in comparable equipment to what I was looking at then spend some time fiddling with settings. I just have a problem with asking some employee to spend half a day on me when I know I will probably walk out, say "I'll think about it", then go home and order it online. Also, even if I get a truly accurate audition of speakers somewhere, who knows what they will sound like at home with different room acoustics?
    My feeling is that if I can't get a true audition of each and every type of speaker I want. My next best bet is to go with the general consensus of thousands of guys on forums like this that have only positive things to say about a speaker. I figure that at worst, I'm still getting a damn good speaker or sub. You have probably seen this but here's a good review of the Diva 4.1's
    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...rs-5-2001.html
    I would be very happy with these but would rather the 6.1's (that as well as the SVS Ultra).
    As far as receivers go, I am still undecided. I am waiting for the Outlaw 950 pre-amp to come out and see what kind of reception it gets as I would rather go separates but can't really afford to. On the plus side for me, I have a relative that is lending me a decent 7 channel 100 watt amp. Good luck in your quest and let us know what you decide on [​IMG]
     
  17. Steve Zimmerman

    Steve Zimmerman Second Unit

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  18. Mark LS

    Mark LS Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello Mark

    Do let us know if we can supply any additional data...

    We believe our DIVA's represent exceptional value for HT and Music applications...

    Thanks... and all the best...

    mls
     
  19. Mark Weber

    Mark Weber Auditioning

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    And the winner is.....my wife. She decided she did not like the rosewood finish on the Diva's and pretty much eliminated the tower speakers as well. She liked the JBL's most of all and being in a weak position as her new furniture needs mount I decided to strike while the iron was hot so to speak.

    I just ordered the JBL S38II for the front, S36II for the rear, studio center II, and went with the PB-12 for the time being. I went with dynadirect.com (authorized internet JBL dealer). I also ordered an Onkyo TXDS797 from onecall.com. I was able to get started on my first real HT audio system for around $2000 ($500 under my budget). Now for a new DVD player....

    Thanks for all your input.

    Mark
     
  20. Stephen Houdek

    Stephen Houdek Second Unit

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    Mark, I think you will be pleased with your purchase of the JBL speakers. I just finished setting mine up and the sound is amazing.

    Here is my setup:

    Hitachi 53UWX10B

    Onkyo TX DS797

    JBL S-Center

    JBL S312's Front

    JBL S36's Rear

    I don't have a sub yet but the bass response of the 312 towers is darn good. I plan on rounding it off with an SVS sub once I've recovered from this buying spree.
     

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