Paradigm Dilemma!

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Sam Pat, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. Sam Pat

    Sam Pat Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey guys,

    I'm getting the upgrade itch again. [​IMG]

    Here's my system right now: Paradigm CC270 v3, Mini-Monitors v4 for L/R and Esprits v3 for surrounds.

    For the sub I have a Paradigm PS1200 v4.

    Receiver is the Pioneer 1014TX.

    I've been thinking about upgrading to a CC370 with Monitor 7s up front and moving the Mini Monitors to the rear. Then I'll have a perfectly matched system that should be pretty satisfying for movies and music.

    However, is this worth doing? I've been told that the entire monitor line sounds more or less the same, the difference being the bass and more SPL. But I already have plenty of bass from the PS1200 so this doesn't seem necessary.

    I guess for movies I would get more excitment, more effortless room-filling sound, but for music I'm not sure if I would notice much difference. Would I?

    For a bit more, I can move up to Studio 20s for L/R and this seems like a better long term plan. Maybe I'll play with the 7s for a year and want to upgrade again and I'll end up wasting more money.

    But then I'll need to get the matching CC470 center and possibly for later, another pair of 20s for surrounds. This sounds expensive and I'll be in system limbo again for a while, where as with the Monitor 7s and 370 I'll feel 'complete' and there is a certain feel-good in that.

    So my question for those who are familiar with the Paradigm line is this: do the Studio 20s sound significatnly better than the Monitor line? I'm very happy with my mini-monitors for music, but I have never really played with anything higher end. Is it just a subtle improvement or is it an obvious improvement?

    What about my receiver? The Paradigm site says the Studio 20s are identically efficient as the Mini Monitors but they are a better, bigger speaker and I wonder if my Pioneer 1014TX is good enough for a switch to a Studio line system. Is it?

    My room is 15x15 (that opens to another room in the rear and has high ceilings) and I do about 70% movies, 30% music but I get more pleasure out of music than movies, so that's important. But only if it makes enough of a difference. Otherwise, I might have lots of fun with the big efficient Monitor 7s to belt out the action soundtracks.

    Please give input! Keep in mind the money. If I went Monitor 7s with CC370, I am done. If I did Studio 20s, I'd have to get matching center later, then the surrounds as well. But I could always just use the Mini Monitors as surrounds.
     
  2. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Sam: In my opinion, you don't really have much of a dilemma....if you are able to go to the Studios, then do it. If you were ONLY an HT guy, I'd still encourage you in that direction, but since you say music is very important to you it's a no brainer. Your room is a nice size for the 20s...and in all honesty, I wouldn't worry about the need to add 20s to the rear, either. In fact, in a room that size, I'd really try to stay away from direct radiating surrounds. I would bet that you could get away with the ADPs from the Monitor line (or even the performance line if you had to because of budget restraints) and it would give you a better overall surround effect than having direct radiators back there. It should also make your room seem a good bit larger. If you run a center speaker, though, I'd definitely make sure you get the studio center. As far as your receiver, it shoudl be fine, but if you really want to spice things up down the road, add an outboard amplifier. A nice 2-channel amp would really make the 20's sing and I think your music would sound better than ever.

    Just my $.02, bro....
     
  3. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    If the 20s don't stretch your budget too far, go ahead and get them. I think it's a good idea to get the best speakers you can afford especially for the L&R mains and build from there.

    I think the Pioneer should drive them fine. I've only heard good things about it.

    If you use your mini monitors for surrounds, you might find you don't need to upgrade them. I understand Alan's point about not using direct radiating surrounds, but I like to direct radiating surrounds. It really is a personal choice with no right or wrong answer. I use 20s for my surrounds in a room a little larger than yours and they work great.

    I'd also recommend looking at a Hsu or SVS sub in your price range. It'll be money well spent.
     
  4. ryan.p

    ryan.p Stunt Coordinator

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    Sam let me tell you this. The Studio 20 v.3's are a lot better than the mini's. I would definatley go the 20's upfront with the cc-470 and move your minis to the rears. I used to own a PS1000 v.4 sub and it was also very nice. This is exactly the same system I am working to myself. If you decide to go with the monitor line be sure to check out the monitor 3's v.4 because they are very much improved. I am not a fan of tower speakers. Good luck with your choice.
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    IMO, the 1014 is pushing it for the Studios. I'd rather have something better, but it will work until then.

    I agree with the others, go with the Studios and use the Minis as surrounds.
     
  6. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    Are you set on Paradigm? There are other speakers out there for the same or less than the cost of the Studio 20s you may prefer. Only way to find out is to do some auditioning.
     
  7. Sam Pat

    Sam Pat Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the comments, guys!! Much appreciated.

    I am pretty much set on Paradigm.

    The Studios seems to have such an overwhelming recommendation here that I really have to give them a listen in order to decide.

    The appeal of the Monitor 7s with CC370 is that they're very efficient and I'll have lots of headroom in such a setup and won't need to upgrade my other components.

    I guess I really need to hear for myself to decide if they're worth the price difference and the suffer in efficiency.

    Also, this is an aside, but someone just told me that the Center should be pointed down from the TV towards the listener and this makes sense but I've always just had it sitting flat on top of the T.V. (a Panny PT-47wx42 RPTV) and as a result have had it firing over my head. Is this totally wrong?

    But there is absolutely no simple way I can think of to angle the thing down based on how small the top of my set is. It is actually only about 70% of the depth of the center and part of its mass hangs over the rear.

    I guess I can think of fabricating some DIY wood panel to angle it down and stabilize it, but is this worth the effort ? It will potentially be an eyesore.

    Right now the speaker sits about a foot above my head and fires straight out.

    Is it worth finding a way of angling it down?

    Thanks!
     
  8. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    Absolutely

    Paradigm has such a strong following for a reason. The company makes very good speakers that are a good value.

    If you spend some time reading a lot of posts about speakers, it seems that Paradigm, especially the Studio line, is one of the speaker brands that others are often compared to. It seems that Paradigm is the reference that others are trying to beat.
     
  9. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Sam: What I did was got a strip of industrial strength velco, placed one side of it right along the front edge of the tv, and then placed the other side along the front underneath edge of the center speaker. That helps to stabilize it enough where you can just find something to prop it up a little bit to aim it more toward your ear level.
     
  10. Sam Pat

    Sam Pat Stunt Coordinator

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    Great tip, Alan. I'll look into that.

    John Garcia, during a search I came across a post where you (I think it was you, but can't be sure) compared the Monitor 7 to the Minis.

    Can you tell me more about this? Are they just the same sound except the 7 has more SPL and more bass?
     
  11. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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  12. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    I have compare Paradigm speaker lines extensively......although I do not own them. To me it is a NO BRAINER....go Studio 20's. There really is a HUGE difference. I do not think the difference between Performance line and Monitor line is that big.....the difference between Monito and Studio is huge. I admitedly am not a big fan of the Monitor line.......good for movies but really lacking for music. I think you will be happy stepping up to the Monitor 7's for a bit since they obviously have more bass but the sonic quality really is the same as the Mini's....you will eventually upgrade to the 20's......I guarantee it.
    I also think you will want to look into something a bit more robust than that Pioneer. It is a nice receiver for the money and will service you fine for awhile longer but to make the Studios sing more you will need a bit more oomph. Obviously getting a CC470 is also a must have with the 20's. The difference between that and the 370 is night and day. Personaly I would keep the 270 for a bit (or even go with a phantom center) and then upgrade to the 470. So to sum up my opinion......Get 20's, move Minis to rear. Minis are great rear speakers. ADP's are a huge waste of money IMO as they are very expensive and if you listen to a lot of music I think you will prefer direct radiating. I always tell people to put the money in the fronts. Only ambient sounds come out of the rears.....ADP's are often overkill. Keep your 270 as a center then when you get the cash get the 470....also do not be afraid to look at used 470's........
     
  13. Raymond N

    Raymond N Auditioning

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    Sam

    I have mini's up front and the CC 370 on top of my TV. It sat there, pointing over my head, for a few months before I propped something behind it to aim it towards the listening area. BIG DIFFERENCE! Remember that high frequency sounds are very directional. Once I realized what a difference it made, I cut two angeled pieces of wood (in the shape of a rubber door stop?) and painted them black. They are placed under, and even with, the outside edges of the CC 370 and it looks really good...like it was made for it. The front edge of the speaker now sits a 1/4 inch off the top of the TV and the back edge of the speaker is about an inch and 3/4 quarters off of the top.

    I have a couple perfect pictures for you that would be very helpful, but since this is my first post, I'm not sure I have the right. If somebody who reads this can let me know how to show Sam these pictures, please let me know.
     
  14. ryan.p

    ryan.p Stunt Coordinator

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    Evan I agree with everything you mentioned. However, what kind of receiver would you recommend for the Studio 20 v.3's? Right now I just bought a Yammie RX-V757 and am more than happy with how it powers my 20's. I was going to get the Pioneer 1015 BUT got a deal on my Yammie I just could not pass up. Just curious what you would recommend. Down the road I may look into getting an amp and use my 757 as a pre-amp so to speak.
     
  15. DevinJC

    DevinJC Stunt Coordinator

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    I've got 20s up front, adp470s on the side, and 20s in the rear (20s were sides before I got the adps, 10x15 room made them very localizable on occasion) all being driven by the 1014. It will do the job, but I think I'd be happier with something more robust. I'm not passing judgement on it until I have the room treatments up though... and I have the money to do something about it.
     
  16. Sam Pat

    Sam Pat Stunt Coordinator

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    To give you guys an update on the situation, I finally made my move!

    It was a bit of a surprise.

    I came home from work to discover a letter saying my Paradigm dealer is closing out their store and having a liquidation sale. I quickly whipped down there to bargain hunt.

    Everything was marked down 25% on MSRP, which started to excite me.

    I found my usual salesguy and told him I was interested in either the CC370 + Monitor 7 or the CC470 + Studio 20s. I told him I wanted to A/B them.

    First he hooked up the Mini Monitor to the left and Studio 20 to the right. I walked back and forth trying to hear something but I couldn't hear any difference. At this point, I was confused and leaning towards the 7s. I also started to wonder what everyone is on about. Studio 20s, better? What? Maybe my ears are just shit.

    Then he set things up properly. He hooked up both L/R for Studios and both L/R for the 7s this time and let me A/B back and forth between them.

    Slowly but surely, the difference was clear. The 7s were bassier and fuller, but also had a muddiness to the sound. The 20s were much crisper and much more delicate and gave me that 'tickle in the ear' feeling I love. They sounded exquisite. Also separated different sounds better.

    I sat there going back and forth for 30 mins on a variety of songs and it was becoming very clear to me the 20s were distinctly more pleasant for music. The 7s would probably bring more life to action films but I know if I got them, I would hanker for the 20s in a year or so.

    The decision was clear in my mind, but I didn't tell my salesperson that. I told him I was still unsure and listed reasons for liking both and told him ideally, I would like to sleep on it. Give it a night.

    But I also said this: if he gave me an attractive price, I could take the 20s + 470 combo right now without question. I calculated 30% off MSRP and handed it to him on a calculator.

    He bit.

    Now I have Studio 20s in my HT and the 470s are on the way (2 weeks).

    I'm very happy so far. Back home, I definitely noticed a improvement in the tweeter over the Minis. The 20s are just sooooo smooth. On alot of the highs, the Minis would sound just a bit rough and scratchy and I've always thought it was the recording. Now my favorite bands literally have better singers! The vocals are just so much more... natural sounding.

    The 20s also start and stop faster. On songs that start out silent then jump right into music, the 20s just explode, filling the room with sound.

    These puppies are just so refined. There's nothing that stands out or is obtrusive (like the Mini's tweeter). It's just smooth, consistent, refined sound that doesn't draw attention to any weakness.

    And those are my feeling so far. Keep in mind I'm by no means an audiophile and if my average-joe ears can tell such a difference, it's no doubt even more pronounced to you guys.

    So my advice for anyone who finds themselves in my situation : go for the 20s!

    I just can't wait for my CC470 to get here.
     
  17. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    That's great!! I am glad you like the 20's. I don't blame you, they really are great speakers. Wait till' you get that 470....it is a very nice sounding center. As for not having "audiophile ears".....forget that!! There is no such thing. "Audiophiles" know about sound and the technical stuff and enjoy studying it......ultimatley though it all boils down to what you like and how you prefer the sound to be presented to you. I think you got a great deal and got speakers that you will like and appreciate for a long time!!
     
  18. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    That's great news, Sam! I"m really glad that you were able to discern the difference between the two speakers. The studio line are excellent value all around.....as Evan said, they'll be giving you great sound for years to come! I loved my 100s and 20s.....great memories of that set-up [​IMG]
     
  19. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    I'll give you another congrats! Good choice. What'd you listen to or watch last night? What'd you think?
     
  20. Sam Pat

    Sam Pat Stunt Coordinator

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    I put in a variety of music and then went into Stereo for Kill Bill vol. 1 DTS.

    Those swords clashing sounded very very crisp and anytime a woman screamed, the Studios performed much better with much less distortion in the voice and was just so much less fatiguing to the ears.

    The only problem now is that my PS1200 sub matched to the Studios is showing its weaknesses, very badly. I have great speakers matched to a high output but very flubby sub.

    This is bad for me cause I'm already thinking about the PW-2200 I saw also on sale yesterday....
     

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