NHT SB3 or Paradigm Monitor series?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by JerryMa, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. JerryMa

    JerryMa Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been shopping for speakers for longer than I care to admit. A few months ago, I tried NHT M5's and decided to return them. I was planning to use them in a 5.0 setup, subwoofer to come later. There were a variety of issues, including what I felt were fatiguing highs.

    Now I stumbled across something about the SB3s and I noticed that they can go down to 39Hz. Reviews bear out that they have great bass for a bookshelf, though I've also seen the word "bright" applied to them. What are people's experience with the SB3? I have a NAD T762 and I've also read/heard that NAD and NHT mix well.

    I'm also interested in a Paradigm audition, particularly the Monitor 3 or 5. I've heard Minis and all of the bookshelfs in the Performance series. I like the Paradigm sound but find the highs on the models I've listened to so far too high. I've read about the Studio line but its above my budget. If I go with Paradigm I'd want to keep it in the Monitor line. I've also heard "bright" applied to Paradigm speakers. Are the Monitor 3 or 5 more forgiving?

    I will of course listen to everything but I'm looking for input from users of either or both brands who can shed a little light on their own experience with these speakers. Be gentle, you might be able to claim credit for converting a Bose owner....[​IMG]
     
  2. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    I think NHT and Paradigm are both fairly considered neutral speakers. If they seem too bright to you, you might just be one of those people who like a more laid-back speaker ... or your electronics (pre/pro/amp) may be compromising the sound.

    Other than B&W (which may well be debatable) I'm not sure what might be a 'laid back' speaker to suggest you audition.
     
  3. JerryMa

    JerryMa Stunt Coordinator

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    The one store that I've been to so far to hear Paradigm is not the best place to do auditions. When I first heard a NAD receiver there, it was with Paradigm, and I liked the sound. But the sound room has since been changed and its not possible to hear those models in a closed room anymore. I know of another dealer where I can audition Paradigm, hopefully what I hear there will be enough to sell the speakers.

    I auditioned the M5s in my home, but I think they work best when paired with the subs and amps they're designed to be mated with, and my space is way too small to go with the L5/M5 combo and the required amps that make up a complete system. I can also audition SB3s at home. According to NHT's specs, these go lower than the M5s, so I'm hoping for a better experience.
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    SB3, no brainer, IMO. I've owned Minis, 5s (I'd go for the 5s, not the 3s) and extensively auditioned the SB3, M5 and M6. While it lists -3dB as 39Hz, it is a sealed speaker, so it may not sound as deep. It's a very clean, musical speaker. The M5s sounded better than the SB3 to me, though they use the same tweeter, the additional drivers of the M5 and M6 give them a more articulate midrange. There is no reason you would have to go with a T5 or T6 arrangement, they would blend well with any decent sub. Note that the bass modules have their own amps (don't they?), you would only be powering the M5 or M6 portion.

    The tweeters for the NHTs IS on the bright side to me, a little more crisp than the Monitor line, but the NHTs are more musical to me than the Monitor line. I have not yet heard the v4 Monitors though.
     
  5. JohnCZ

    JohnCZ Stunt Coordinator

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    I would recommend you also have a listen to PSB speakers. I find the Image line pretty neutral.
    Other brands I have found neutral have been Athena and to a lesser extent B&W.

    J
     
  6. Kin Poon

    Kin Poon Stunt Coordinator

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    SB3.......the monitor series isnt that good for music imho.

    BTW, what kind of amp were you using with your previous NHT.

    I have heard the VT2.4 with a yamaha DSP-A2 and then the sherbourn amp. The yamaha made the VT sound very bright and nearly fatiguing and the bass jst wasnt there...very distorted and muddy.

    Then when the sherborun was hooked up...WHOA...the VT2.4 doesnt have bright highs...its just very accurate and the midrange finally grew some presence and air. The low....well...in simple words... is like driving a Nissan Xterra and then a sudden change to a 350z.
     
  7. JerryMa

    JerryMa Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a NAD T762.

    My room and its acoustics aren't great either. The living room and dining room are one long rectangle about 30' long. Wood floor with an area rug in the dining room, wall-to-wall carpet in the living room. I have an entertainment center in the living room.

    The dining room opens into the kitchen to form, roughly, this: |___

    The ceiling is about 12' high.
     
  8. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    Check out Polk, Definitive Technology, and JBL speakers if you want a warmer sound. All are fairly easy to find. I have Paradigm Studio speakers that I like alot, but they aren't a laid back speaker.
     
  9. John-Tompkins

    John-Tompkins Second Unit

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    The SB3 isnt gonna be warmer then the M-5 ..if thats what you want.

    I personaly love nht speakers and mated with the right electronics I dont find them bright ..But my room is dampened..

    Your room may be a culprit for the m5's sounding bright .. considering that you have a nad mated to the m5 (should be a good match)..

    If your looking for warmer Id audition some PSB's or Mirage
     
  10. JerryMa

    JerryMa Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm definitely looking for a warmer sound. I can get to audition both PSB and JBL, though not at the same store (for A/B comparison).

    I think I'd want to hear the PSB Image series, anyone know what those are like?

    The JBL Northridge line is in my price range also, the E50s seem worth a look and are dirt cheap now. Are they being discontinued?

    My room is definitely a liability. I had some friends over for the NFL playoffs recently and noticed an echo during both normal conversation and somewhat louder cheering during the game.
     
  11. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    It's been a long time since I listen to the PSB image series, so take this with a grain of salt. I don't remember those speakers as being particularly warm. It has a "smooth" sound, but I wouldn't call it warm. A friend of mine has a JBL Northridge series setup that is really quite nice. It's not the best at anything, but it is a very enjoyable system.
     
  12. JerryMa

    JerryMa Stunt Coordinator

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    I think I heard PSB alphas and did find their highs a little bright. I'll give the Images a listen and see what I think. I can order the JBLs online to do an in-home audition and be able to return them if I'm not happy.
     
  13. JohnCZ

    JohnCZ Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow, is my hearing off that far from mainstream? Maybe going from Sony speakers to Athena to PSB Image has distorted my perception? I better go get my hearing checked.
    To the batcave...
     
  14. JerryMa

    JerryMa Stunt Coordinator

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    What about Rockets? Not the ELTs, the RS 150 or 250? Can they be described as "warm" too? I might take advantage of the guarantee there and check them out.
     
  15. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    http://www.gr-research.com/performer/av1.htm

    A/V-1s are pretty neutral in standard form, and a bit warm with the Sonicap upgrade, though the Sonicaps add noticably to midrange detail and depth. The textile tweeter, coupled with an excellent x-over design, is extremely smooth. The midrange is stunning and that is why I bought my A/V-2s and A/V-1s.

    Not sure what your price range is, but these are more than the SB3s when you add all the upgrades.
     

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