1. We suffered a brief outage this morning when our host noticed that HTF needed to be moved to a different server due to a hardware failure. That work is now complete. Please post in the feedback area if you have any issues.
    Dismiss Notice

Paradigm Reference Studio vs Active

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dustin B, Jul 27, 2001.

  1. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been dreaming about one of these setups for a while. It's by no means certain but is coming into the realm of possibility that I will soon be able to afford a Paradigm Reference setup. So as I'm some what bored right now I thought I'd go fishing for some opinions on a couple setups. I'm hopeful what my gut tells me will be reinforced by what others here say, or have my perspective changed by what others here have to say. Oh and what people out there think or know these setups should cost.
    I'd be using them with a 260L Adire Tempest Sonosub tuned to just under 17hz (possibly a pair of slightly larger ones in a year or so) and likely Outlaw's 950 Pre/Pro
    I'm considering either Studio CC center, Studio 40 mains, Studio 20 surrounds, powered by either an Athem MCA5 or an Outlaw Audio 750.
    The second one would be identical, minus the power amp since the ActiveCC, Active40, Active20 are all internally biamped.
    I might also consider upping the surrounds to 40's, depending on available funds. And the center surround isn't possible for at least 3 years due to room constraints in my current place of residence.
    I guess the biggest issue is whether the inflexibility and added cost of internal biamping would be of sufficient benefit over the Studio series with a good power amp.
    Thoughts, opinions, experiences anyone?
    [Edited last by Dustin B on July 27, 2001 at 04:49 PM]
     
  2. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have Studio 40's powered by a B&K dual mon Ref 4420. They retired my Paradigm mini-monitors to rear channel duty. I guess you could say I'm partial, but I actually was looking to go outside Paradigm's line, but couldn't find anything I liked better. Anyway, suffice to say I like your choices for dual music/movie duty.
    Had I not gotten great deals on my amp and speakers, the Actives would have been awfully tempting. In fact, I may end up getting a pair for main L/R for 2 channel duty, my current passives then go to the back. You can't beat true active bi-amping when the engineers pick out and match all the components for for you! Of course, it costs more this way. But, then again, I've seen a review calling them the best sounding pair of speakers under $5000.
    Do you listen to a lot of 2 channel music? Consider 2 actives and 3 passives with a 3 channel amp. This way you get the benefits of the active bi-ampo design for critical listening, and still timbre matched and dynamic for movies, for less cost then active all the way around.
    ------------------
    http://www.sdiver.org
     
  3. GregoriusM

    GregoriusM Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    0
    IMHO, EXACTLY what Steve said!!!
    ------------------
    .... "just me up on my pony on my boat".
     
  4. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    I never thought of only doing the mains as Actives. Interesting. But from the price list I found on the net I figure the cost difference between StudioCC/20 and ActiveCC/20 will be a little under $1500 CDN. So then the question for this option becomes will an MCA3 be enough under $1500 CDN to make the savings worth it?
     
  5. Greg Cellini

    Greg Cellini Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2000
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Dustin,
    I have the exact Active setup you're consdering (40's, CC, and 20's). The Actives are a significant improvement over the passive studio series. In addition to the excellent bi-amplification, you're also getting active electronic crossovers (superior to even the best passive designs), active frequency compensation and time correction.
    Try to arrange a passive Studio/Active side-by-side comparison before your purchase. The improvement in accuracy, dynamic response and bass extension is significant and easily discernable. Recording professionals have almost universally embraced active technology monitors for these very reasons.
    If it's within your (future) budget, I would strongly recommend the Actives. BTW, go for the 40's in the rear if possible. There's a lot of low frequency info being mixed back there these days.
    Have fun making your choice.
    Best wishes,
    Greg
     
  6. Earl_C

    Earl_C Agent

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2001
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dustin,
    I was in the same position you were in six months ago except I already had a Reference set-up w/ 40's/CC/ADP's and a PW-2200. I wanted a separate amp but really couldn't swing the one I really had my heart set on(9B-ST) and was considering the Rotel's, Outlaw's, and Anthem's of the world too. If you do a little homework I think you'll find that the Active series and Studio series similarities stop at their looks; they really are two different animals. The Actives will put your system on a whole new playing field.
    To save a little money you could do what I did and that's upgrade to an Active front stage (40's + CC) and keep passive ADP's for surrounds w/ a budget 2-ch amp of choice. My Active front stage is so good, I was forced to upgrade my processing (Onkyo 777-trash) and I'm now in the middle of purchasing a Lexicon DC-2 because that receiver was just holding them back. Anyway I wish you luck.
    Earl
     
  7. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Cool, like what I'm hearing. If it comes to pass I do think I'll be going the Active route. But Greg, what do you think of this thought.
    My room is too small to allow for a center surround and with an Outlaw 950 I'll likely be crossing all the speakers over at 60hz (except for some critical 2 ch listening on non bass heavy music when only the front 40s would be going) and the Active20/40/CC can all go well below 60hz. So for my use the 20s would be more than enough for a surround. Then later on when I'm in a new place that does have room, I could buy a new set of Active40s or maybe Paradigm will have an Active60 out by then and I could move the old 40s to where the 20s were and move the 20s to center surround duty.
    As for the part passive and part active suggestions, never thought of that and seems interesting, but I think for the price difference (around $500-$1000 after the seperate amp is bought) I'd just save a little longer and go all Active in one fell swoop.
    [Edited last by Dustin B on July 29, 2001 at 11:29 AM]
     
  8. John Cain

    John Cain Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2000
    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Earl, I have a question.
    I was thinking about Active 40's for the front, then Studio CC (non-active) and the non-active ADP-450 surrounds 4 of them for the rears.
    I'm wondering how much difference the Active CC makes beyond the non-active CC. I'm putting it behind a Stewart Screen, so I'm wondering if I'll really notice that much difference.
    I was planning to get a 5 channel amp, and power all of the Studio non-actives with it, and of course the two Active 40's power themselves.
    Can you tell me how much difference the Active CC made from the non-powered CC, for you??
    Thanks!!
    -- John
    ------------------
     
  9. Greg Cellini

    Greg Cellini Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2000
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dustin wrote:
    "My room is too small to allow for a center surround and with an Outlaw 950 I'll likely be crossing all the speakers over at 60hz (except for some critical 2 ch listening on non bass heavy music when only the front 40s would be going) and the Active20/40/CC can all go well below 60hz. So for my use the 20s would be more than enough for a surround. Then later on when I'm in a new place that does have room, I could buy a new set of Active40s or maybe Paradigm will have an Active60 out by then and I could move the old 40s to where the 20s were and move the 20s to center surround duty."
    Dustin,
    I have a Lexicon MC-1 which allows me to crosover my system at 40Hz. The 20's in the rear have been pushing 40Hz info for about a year and half with no problems. However, my preference would still lean to the 40's for the rear. As for a center surround; I've never needed one. The Actives image so beautifully that any info mixed to the rear-center "appears" exactly there-an extremely well focused image directly behind and slightly above my head. Also, consider if possible, crossing over your system lower than 60Hz. Many bass instruments mixed into the rear channels have information below 60Hz. Given a 60Hz crossover, any information above that setting will be steered to your subwoofer, presumably in front of you, which would alter the intended placement of that information. Imagine a rear-center bass line bouncing from rear to front as it crosses above and below the crossover point. Annoying at he very least, unbearable to someone like me.
    Best wishes,
    Greg
     
  10. Greg Cellini

    Greg Cellini Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2000
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    Quality control!
    I wrote:
    "any information above that setting will be steered to your subwoofer"
    Obviously I intended to state:
    "any information BELOW that setting will be steered to your subwoofer"
    Sorry guys.
     
  11. Earl_C

    Earl_C Agent

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2001
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    John,
    I was powering the Studio CC with the Onkyo receiver so the difference to me in going to the Active was very dramatic. But I've also heard the CC along w/ 60's powered by my coveted Bryston 9B-ST w/ the SP-1 processor and guess what?-I still prefer my Active front stage. I can only imagine how the DC-2(when I finally pay it off) will tie the three together. They're that good! I really think you'd be better off w/ the 3 Active fronts; they are definately NOT the Studio series w/ amps thrown in.
    Also, for me, the Active ADP's are too expensive and HEAVY to mount properly and was just too much of an all-around hassle so once the DC-2 arrives I'll just power 4 Studio ADP's w/ some el cheapo 5-ch amp like the Marantz MM-9000 which you can get for well under a $1000 and still have a free channel of amplification for a 2nd sub like an SVS to go with my 2200. Anyway, hope this helps.
    Good Luck,
    Earl
     
  12. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's my understanding that a full wave length of sound has to pass your ears before you really perceive it. If that is true and the speed of sound in a normal room ,say 22 degrees celcius with some mild humidity, is 345 m/s then a full wave length at:
    80hz= 14.1'
    70hz= 16.2'
    60hz= 18.9'
    50hz= 22.6'
    40hz= 28.3'
    30hz= 37.7'
    20hz= 56.6'
    16hz= 70.7'
    My room is 18' long and 12' wide and my listening position is at about 15.5' from the front wall which would be more or less 14-15' from the sub. So I really shouldn't be able to localize bass that is below 80hz as by the time a full wave length passes my ear it will have bounced off a wall and be going by my ear again making it very difficult to hear where it is coming from. To be safe though, I was gonna go down to 70hz or 60hz depending on what the processor I get would allow. Or has my reading taken me way out to lunch here [​IMG]
    My other thought on the subject was I wanted to take the crossover as high as I could without being able to localize the sub, to take as much strain off the other speakers as I could, since the Tempest can effortless do the 16-80hz range and also since the Active40 is biamped and not triamped. If it was a three way triamped design and had a larger low bass driver then I wouldn't worry about it as much.
    How may crossover frequencies can you choose from with your pre/pro Greg. Have you ever considered bringing someone to your house who doesn't know where your sub is and blindfolding them. Then start with a 40hz crossover and play some music and ask him to tell you where the sub is. Then raise the crossover point a bit at a time until he can correctly tell you where the sub is. I'd then choose a crossover 5-20hz below that point. I'd love to try this experiment but don't have the equipment yet. If you get the inclenation to try it I'm sure a lot of people here would be very interested in your findings.
    [Edited last by Dustin B on July 29, 2001 at 07:50 PM]
     
  13. Greg Cellini

    Greg Cellini Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2000
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Dustin,
    You wrote:
    "How may crossover frequencies can you choose from with your pre/pro Greg. Have you ever considered bringing someone to your house who doesn't know where your sub is and blindfolding them. Then start with a 40hz crossover and play some music and ask him to tell you where the sub is. Then raise the crossover point a bit at a time until he can correctly tell you where the sub is. I'd then choose a crossover 5-20hz below that point. I'd love to try this experiment but don't have the equipment yet. If you get the inclenation to try it I'm sure a lot of people here would be very interested in your findings."
    I've never done what you've suggested simply because I haven't felt the need. The differences, at least in my system/room, are very obvious. I have a Servo 15 sub which blends seemlessly and into my system-no apparent directionality. I've also experimented with different crossovers (the MC-1 allows speaker independent crossovers of 40,80 and 120Hz). When the 80Hz crossover was used, my system lost, for lack of a better phrase, that "depth of reality" when listening in surround. And, as previously stated, when listening to rear mixed bass material, there was very distinct rear to sub bouncing. The bass was not localizable, but you could obviously hear that those frequencies, as they alternated between speakers, where energizing the room from different locations-the tonality was diferent. Consider, for example, that the tonality of a bass guitar Low "E" is going to sound significantly different when produced from a 6.5" driver on your rear wall as opposed to a corner loaded 12" or 15" sub. The "theory" that frequencies below 80Hz are not localizable does not hold water once the variables of room interaction are applied. When I lowered my crossover to 40Hz, that "depth of reality" (sorry again about my "phraseology") returned. In fact, I experienced the most effective sense of envelopement when my speakers where set for full range. I switched back to 40Hz because this was just a little to much for the 20's to optimally handle.
    Now I've really got your scratching your head :)
    Best wishes,
    Greg
     
  14. Will Gibbons

    Will Gibbons Agent

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2000
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Greg--Greetings! I gotta fess up. I've been experimenting with planars, but still have the Actives.
    John--If I understand you correctly, you have front projection. If that is correct, I would recommend Active 40's all across the front. I have the Active CC, which I purchased for a rear projection. One of the nice features on all the Actives are the high and low frequency contour controls. Even slight adjustments make a significant difference in tonal response. I think that would be nice to have feature for a speaker placed behind a screen. The Active 40's are my favorites among the Active series. They are very good sounding speakers and are a great value for what they offer in features and performance.
    Regards,
    Will
     
  15. John Cain

    John Cain Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2000
    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Will thanks,
    Tell me about that Active CC please..
    Why would you recommend another Active 40 rather than their Active CC??
    I'm assuming the Active CC was tailro made to act as a Center channel.
    -- Thanks!!
    -- John "Cain"
    ------------------
    [Edited last by John Cain on July 31, 2001 at 06:49 AM]
     
  16. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Greg---
    are you talking about the speakers interacting with the sub, or the frequencies the sub produces interacting with the room. If it's the first then it sort of makes sense to me, but I've never had the opertunity to experience it. Regardless with only 40 or 80 hz to choose form I would have done the same as you. With my room how ever I think I should easily be able to get the same effect from a 60hz and maybe even a 70hz crossover point.
    If it's the second I don't understand what you are getting at. From my understanding the interaction of the sub with the room is what makes it hard or impossible to localize.
    John----
    Will will have (haha that's funny [​IMG]) to tell you about sound wise as I haven't even heard them yet. But design wise the CC is closer to the Active20 then the Active40. The 20 and CC are both 2 way speakers with a crossover of 1.5khz between the tweeter and 6.5" cones. The Active40 is a 2 1/2 speaker that has the same active crossover of the 20 and CC at 1.5khz between the tweeter and 6.5" cone, but the active also has another passive crossover between it's two 6.5" cones at 400hz. So the two 6.5" cones in the Active40 produce different frequencies and are made of slightly different materials, while the two 6.5" cones of the CC are identical in material and in the frequencies they produce.
     
  17. Will Gibbons

    Will Gibbons Agent

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2000
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    John,
    Specs Dustin indicated are correct, and the crossover listed for the Active CC is listed as 4th order, while the Active 20 and 40 are 3rd order. Sound quality is a very good match with the CC and 40's. However, matching the same speaker for all three across the front is preferrable in my opinion. You also match the height on all drivers. The bass extension is slightly lower on the Active 40 than Active CC (36 Hz +/- 1 dB versus 42 Hz +/- 1 dB) though that has not been a factor for me. I often run the center at a higher crossover on my Lexicon, which sends the crossover bass to the fronts. The Active CC is an M-T-M design, which has wider dispersion in the vertical and less in the horizontal. On wider setups and listening areas, I believe the Active 40 would blend better with Active 40 sides. The Active CC is a very good speaker. It's just my opinion I would prefer to go with Active 40's all the way across the front if setup permits.
    Regards,
    Will
    [Edited last by Will Gibbons on July 31, 2001 at 10:45 AM]
     
  18. Greg Cellini

    Greg Cellini Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2000
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Will!
    Nice to hear from you again. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the Planars when it's convenient.
    Take care,
    Greg
     

Share This Page