Paradigm Monitor's (esp. 5's)- extended break-in needed?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by GregoriusM, May 1, 2005.

  1. GregoriusM

    GregoriusM Second Unit

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    Hi!

    I recently moved from a Denon 3300 with Titan mains, CDP-170 center and ADP-170 surrounds to a Denon 2805 and changed out the Titans with a new pair of Monitor 5's.

    The Denon 2805 was all I was willing to pay for at the time (two weeks ago). I found the sound not very musical, and found the highs harsh, bright and a great deal of "sibilance", if I'm using that term correctly, where the S's mostly and the T's "ssssssssssstand" out extremely and make the music or HT or TV hard to listen to.

    So, I did a long listening session with the Monitor 5's at my dealer, and compared the Denon 2805, and Denon 3805, and Rotel RSX-1056 (which is known for its musical qualities as a receiver) and found the 1056 to be better with music than the 3805, especially for the imaging, especially the depth. I didn't listen to HT, since I'm not as critical when listening to HT, even though I do about 60% HT and 40% music. (Obviously I decided I needed to pay more for the receiver).

    Does anyone with experience with the Paradigm Monitor series, especially the Mini's, 5's or 7's, have the bright, somewhat harsh, "sibilant" sound with them?

    If so, did that go away with "break-in"?

    I have had the Rotel and Monitor 5's for 2 1/2 weeks, and have put at least 60 hours of time on the speakers. I have them crossed over at 40 Hz with a Paradigm PDR-10 subwoofer. (The Rotel allows different crossover points for the fronts, centers and surrounds.

    Do you have any suggestions?

    Also, for those with Monitor 7's, why did you pick the 7's over the 5's, if you don't mind me asking.

    Thanks!

    Greg
     
  2. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    By and large, people seem to find Paradigm a universally 'good' speaker.

    Are you sure all the tone controls are turned off and you are in pure 2-channel mode?

    I don't know why you are finding them to not sound good.

    As for break in time, I SERIOUSLY doubt it will change your system.
     
  3. GregoriusM

    GregoriusM Second Unit

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    Tone controls are all at 0, and Tone Defeat is On.

    And I can use Pure Direct or Stereo with or without the subwoofer, i.e. Large with no sub or Small with sub.

    There is no difference.
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I had 5s and found them relatively bright. After 2 1/2 weeks, that is pretty much how they are going to sound. I didn't find them to be sibilant (paired with both a Marantz 6200 and 8300), but definitely on the bright side. I found the Studios to be even brighter. I moved to much more neutral speakers because I listen to about 70% music 30% HT. All the Monitors use the same tweeter, so there will basiclly be no difference in highs. I never felt the Monitors were bad, just that they didn't quite meet my needs for music. My recommendation would be to start listening to some other speakers.
     
  5. GregoriusM

    GregoriusM Second Unit

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    Hmmmm... the reviews on AudioReview.com don't mention any brightness or harshness in the Studio line, but they sure do in the Monitor line (which I should have read before buying the dang speakers!)

    What speakers did you end up with, John?

    Greg
     
  6. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    I have the Monitor 9s and they sound good... no tininess at all. Now that being said, I did have to adjust the tweeter surround on my CC-350 center. I was getting a very bad vibration from it last year and discovered that the plastic surround/cover which holds the dome tweeter in place was actually resting against the tweeter. Every time sound came out, it rubbed against the plastic and sounded like the tweeter was blown. After about 15 minutes and a star-bit screwdriver it sounded 200% better.

    Of course all speakers will (or at least should) sound better the longer you use them, giving that you are not overdriving and damaging them. But they don't require a break-in period.

    A thought on your PDR-10. I am also running one and have found in my listening environment that it has a huge hump (of about 25dB) @56Hz which makes me believe the port may be tuned to somewhere in the 50-60Hz range. While I used a BFD to flatten it out and get a good house curve, you might try changing your receiver's x-over setting to closer to 80Hz. I'm suggesting this because I don't think the Monitor 5s are as efficient at 40Hz as is the PDR-10.
     
  7. GregoriusM

    GregoriusM Second Unit

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    It was mentioned to me to crossover the 5's at at least 60 and probably better at 80, so I did that, and the problems were pretty well the same.

    Funny, my salesmen said to set them to Large! Nope! Not good!

    It plugged in my old Titans, and with the new Rotel receiver, they sounded better than with the Denon 3300, with just a hint of sibilance, or it may just be that I'm hearing my CD's more clearly. No harshness, no brightness, but the Titan's are more boxy and are kind of like a medium density blanket is in front of them for the midrange.

    However, I could listen to them all day and a lot louder than the Paradigm 5's. My Titan's are 5 year old version 2's. The Monitor 5's are 2 week old version 4's.

    I think I need to move to another speaker line, OR up to the Paradigm Reference Studio 20's.

    I have a feeling that I don't like the 2 1/2 - way crossover speakers in the Paradigm line. I'm going to check that out during the next week.

    I think that the Studio 20's just might be what I would like the most, but they are twice the price of the Monitor 5's.

    Anyway, I think the Rotel 1056 is pretty good, but I just need to find the right speakers.

    I crossed-over the Titans at 80, and the Rotel, which is rated at 75 w/ch over 5 channels with ALL channels driven. And rated 100 w/ch with 2 channel sound.

    It actually feels more powerful than my Denon 3300 that was rated at 105 w/ch, but the power is rated at 105 for the front 2, 105 for the center, and 105 for the surround. In other words, you're not going to get 105 for all 5 channels when being driven.

    So, the Rotel seems pretty good, except for the infamous hiss "problem".

    Well, time to go shopping for speakers again. I'll probably have to take a hit on the 5's since they are now used. I can't afford to go to the 20's right now, so I'll either return the Monitor 5's and get a return discounted by a certain percentage, or keep them and trade them in on the 20's, or whatever other speaker I decide fits the best with the Rotel. But it sure isn't the Monitor 5's from Paradigm!

    Thanks to those who responded to my email and to those who gave me some insight here in this thread.

    And I'm glad I threw in my old Titans just for reference.

    They aren't the greatest, but they sure are a lot easier to listen to than the Monitor 5's.

    Greg
     
  8. Aaron_Mum

    Aaron_Mum Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Greg go out and buy some klipsch speakers...just kidding!

    I own M7s and they are a brighter speaker, some like that and others don't. Before you toss your M5s take a look at how they are positioned. Moving your speakers around in your room will really change how they sound. If they are too close together and toed in hard they are going to sound harsher than if you open them up. Also, if your room has a bunch of hard reflective surfaces you may have this problem with any speakers you bring home. My 7s do not sound as harsh as you are describing!

    They may be out of your pricerange but I just heard Revel's new Concerta line. The bookshelves with stands are just under a grand CND. Really neutral sound, not bright at all, I recommend you give them a listen even if you cannot afford them just to hear the difference to help decide what is right for you. Great little speakers!

    By the way, I chose the 7s over the 5s as the stands for the 5s make them about the same price.
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I would not think it was the room if the Titans sounded OK. Do you have hard flooring (hardwood, tile, vinyl, etc..)? Brighter speakers may end up being harsh in a bright room, as Aaron mentioned. Paradigms do tend to be sensitive to placement too, but I would not expect that to cause them to actually sound as bad as you describe.

    IMO, 20s are better than 5s, but I felt the highs were actually less bright with the Monitors vs the Studios. I would definitely try to bring them home for a listen before buying them, because they may not solve your problem.

    As I mentioned in e-mail, for about the price of the M5s, there are the Ascend CMT-340s.

    More than that, but a little less than a pair of 20s would be the GR-Research A/V-1 (there's a set of black ones on www.audiogon.com right now with all the upgrades). In my setup, the A/V-1 without any upgrades gave the Studio 40 a serious run for it's money. It obviously didn't have the output of the 40s, but the superior clarity of the A/V-1s was very apparent.
     
  10. GregoriusM

    GregoriusM Second Unit

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    Thanks John! Everyone!

    I'm returning the Paradigm 5's and looking at a pair of Vienna Acoustic Haydn's, with a silk-coated soft dome tweeter. That might be easier on the ears.

    I'm leaving right now to audition a few speakers at my dealership.

    -----

    Aaron: Those Revel Concerta's look VERY promising. I know I have to pay more than what I did for the Monitor 5's. I see they don't have a metal tweeter, which might make for a less bright speaker.

    I like that they have a matching center and dipole surrounds, which are my preference. I also like that all of the speakers - mains, center and surrounds are magnetically shielded. I need that in my setup (not the surrounds, really, but the mains and center).

    I'm going to see who in my city (Winnipeg) sells them, if any do. I hope I can find them here. $1000 is not out of line, by any means.

    Where did you auditon the Concerta's, Aaron?

    Thanks!
     
  11. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Haydns are very nice too [​IMG] I really liked the Motzarts as well.

    Metal tweeters are usually a bit more crisp, but that alone does not guarantee a bright speaker. I typically prefer soft dome tweeters, but I also have Mordaunt Short 902s in a second stereo setup, which uses an aluminum tweeter and midbass driver, and I don't find them bright at all.
     
  12. GregoriusM

    GregoriusM Second Unit

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    Yes, the Vienna Acoustics are nice, but they sure aren't cheap!

    I didn't get to audition them, but the Haydn Grands are $1700 CAD MSRP. And they are smaller than my Paradigm Titans!

    I listened to the Paradigm Reference Studio line. Not as bright as the Monitors, but still a bit too bright for me. However, the soundstaging by the Reference line is phenomenal.

    I listened to the lower end B&W 600 line. Wow, what a sonic difference across the 600 line. At least the Paradigm Reference line is sonically similar across the line.

    I made the mistake of listening to a $5000 pair of Def Techs.

    I listened to a low end ($2000 CAD) pair of Martin Logans. Wasn't terribly impressed. I didn't dare try the high end ones.

    Next time I go they are going to set up the VA Haydn Grands with my Rotel in appropriate position in one of their listening rooms so I can go through some serious auditioning. And they'll swap speakers in and out as I want.

    I just wanted to get an idea of the "sound" of a fair number of speakers tonight in order to narrow down my auditioning.

    NOTE TO SELF: Do NOT listen to the Paradigm Mini Monitors because they were sold out of Paradigm Monitor 5's, and expect that if you like the sound of the Mini Monitors (for the price), that you'll be even more suitably impressed with the Monitor 5's when they get them in stock. DON'T DO IT! Because the higher you go in the Monitor line, the brighter the line is, as far as my ears heard. Now I've learned a lesson in auditioning. Definitely audition the EXACT speaker you're looking to buy, not just any one in the lineup. (Thank you Greg for that mental note! :b )
     
  13. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Joseph Audio RM7si Signature [​IMG]
     
  14. Aaron_Mum

    Aaron_Mum Stunt Coordinator

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    Here in Edmonton I shop at Audio Ark, they have demo nights and the last one was for the Concerta line from Revel. These were the most laid back speakers I have heard to date, really different from my Paradigms. I like them a lot but I think I prefer a brighter speaker actually. I also felt my 7s imaged better but who knows. The head speaker designer from Revel was there and he claims they have done extensive double blind comparisons to speakers in the same price range as the Concerta line and claims that the Revels beat out everything else to esure, "you are getting the best value on your dollar". Not sure how they get those types of results with different listener preferences but it was interesting!

    I also had a HT demo with the Concerta line which was impressive. If you are interested the center is $650 (the towers are $1500). The 10" sub in the line is super tight and clean but does not dig down super low like most of the HT junkies around here like. Mind you they had four subs set up in the room so it better sound tight and clean!

    It sounds like you may be after this type of sound. Check them out if you have a dealer in Winnepeg.
     
  15. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    When I went from the Monitors to the GRs, at first it was strange hearing the softer, smoother highs. It almost seemed like the GRs were TOO soft; I sort of missed the crisp highs. After a few days of critical listening, it became very evident that I was hearing more sound than before and everything just sounded a bit more natural.

    I had various Paradigms in the house for about 8 years, but always had Infinity or Blaupunkt separates with soft domes in my cars. I found that I preferred the soft dome sound, and that was what I was after during my speaker search - I didn't limit myself to speakers with soft domes, but I did end up with them in the end.
     
  16. VinhT

    VinhT Second Unit

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    I am a bit surprised that many find the Monitors to be bright. I found them to be rather laid-back, with the Studios more on the neutral side. Comparing the old Monitor 5 v.3 and the Studio 20 v.3, the measurements seem to corroborate this. It would be a bit of a stretch for me to characterize the Monitor 5 as a bright speaker. I have not heard the v.4 update, but I have noticed that Paradigm has had a very consistent vision for the Monitor line, so unless they have changed the formula, I would expect a similar sound characteristic.

    Aaron,
    I am really excited about the Concerta line. No dealer in my area has them yet, so yours is the first report I've heard about their sound. Regarding the four subwoofers, Harman conducted research and found that four subwoofers was the optimum number for cancelling room modes across a listening area (instead of just one seat). A side effect of using multiple subs was that the low frequency output was reduced. So, in conjunction with the B12's roll-off around 30Hz, that would explain the clean and tight sound you heard. By the way, was that "head speaker designer" Kevin Voecks by any chance?
     
  17. Aaron_Mum

    Aaron_Mum Stunt Coordinator

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    This is interesting, I was wondering if I'd like a more neutral speaker over time, as it does sound more natural. It just sounds "dull" at first if you are used to a brighter sound.
     
  18. GregoriusM

    GregoriusM Second Unit

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    Well, I did about a 3 1/2 hour audition today, and kept it to the Vienna Acoustic Haydn Grand's, the similarly price Definitive Technology floorstanding dipoles, and I threw a quick listen again to the Paradign Reference Studio 20's, 40's and 60's, and also to the entire Paradigm Monitor line.

    The Monitor line is out, out, out for me.

    The Studio line is better - imaging and not quite as bright, but too bright for me.

    The Def Techs were pretty good.

    But, the Haydns killed them all for overall natural sound and critical listening.

    Now, for $1700 CAD MSRP, you are getting a very small speaker with a 1" soft silk dome and a 6" clear cone midrange woofer. You would definitely need a sub with this for most music and definitely for HT.

    They are 4 ohm, and I was using the same receiver I have at home, a Rotel 1056 which is 100 w/ch in 2 channel mode.

    Excellent! And these speakers probably had 5 hours on them, not even broken in.

    Don't expect these to be great for a large room though. For that you'll have to double or triple in price and get the floorstanders in the same line, but for a small, small/med room, wo!

    The Paradigm 5's are going back or going to be sold by me, depending upon what the store manager says when he gets back on Thursday.

    Later.........
     
  19. GregoriusM

    GregoriusM Second Unit

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    Well, my Rotel 1056 has a buzz/hum problem, so I'm going to get Rotel to send me one brand new as close to "just off the assembly line" as possible.

    If it still has that problem, I guess I have to look elsewhere.

    Here's hoping I can get a good one since I do like the Rotel sound.
    ------

    As far as the Paradigm 5's go, I returned them and bought the Paradigm Peformance line Focus for mains, and also bought the CC-270 for a matching center.

    This will do me just fine along with my Paradigm ADP-170 surrounds, and Paradigm sub for HT.

    Down the road I will be looking at the Haydn Grands, and hope to listen to the Revels as well.

    I'll be listening to a whole lot more as well before I spend the $2000 CAD for two mains (I know that may not be a whole lot for some of you, but it sure is for me), and then I'll REALLY enjoy my 2-channel music.

    --------

    Then maybe a Denon 3910 or something like that, but it will probably be a 3999 before I get to that point! [​IMG]
     

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