Paradigm Upgrade Suggestions

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by DUCK, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. DUCK

    DUCK Extra

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    I am looking at potential upgrades to my HT system. I presently have an Onkyo TX-DS787 receiver powering the system; Paradigm Studio 20 V2 mains; Paradigm CC-370 center; Paradigm ADP-170 rears; and a new HSU Research VTF-3 MK 2 subwoofer. I will also be upgrading my 32" Sony TV in the near future, and will soon post in the video section for ideas.

    I can not afford to upgrade everything at one time, so in what order would you recommend I upgrade the speakers and to what specific models. You can suggest other brands, but I am very happy with Paradigm and will most likely be staying within their product line. There is a good market for used Paradigm speakers, and I definitely will consider some of their older models.

    For instance I come across the Reference Studio CC center fairly often at good prices. Is this a good upgrade for my center or should I look at the CC-470 or 570? Are the ADP-470 rears the way to go; should I move my Studio 20s to the rear and upgrade my mains to something like the Studio 60s; or do you have another idea.

    I'm sure most of you will see the need for better and more power, so also feel free to suggest an additional power source. FYI, I use the system for about 70% movie/TV and 30% music. The HT room is not big (around 12'x12'), but is very open. It has no left wall (open to a 15'x18' foyer/dining room); the back wall (behind the system) is a 2/3 wall (8' high) with the ceiling at 12'.

    Thank you very much for your ideas and have a great day! [​IMG]
     
  2. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Walt

    Your receiver is fine as long as you use the 80Hz cutoff and redirect all bass to the sub. I have 2 suggestions for you:

    1) Add a second VTF-3MKII, you will gain a lot of headroom and can experience the "wall of bass" sound that I like so much.

    2) Upgrade your display. Get the Panasonic TH-50PX60U from TVA, a Forum sponsor for $3,300 delivered. If you get a TVA credit card, no payments no interest for 9 months.

    These 2 changes will have far more impact than messing with your current speakers, or electronics.

    If you have any questions please feel free to PM me.

    Regards

    Arthur
     
  3. Alon Goldberg

    Alon Goldberg Screenwriter

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    Hi Walt - here's the upgrade path I would follow:

    Upgrade #1: Purchase new Paradigm Studio CC-470 center, sell the CC-370
    Upgrade #2: Purchase new Paradigm Studio 60 fronts, move the Studio 20's to your surrounds
    Upgrade #3: Consider upgrading to a 7.1 receiver, perhaps a Denon AVR-2807 or Denon AVR-3806. Move the ADP-170's to your surrounds and Studio 20's to your rears
    Upgrade #4: Purchase new Paradigm Studio ADP-470 Surrounds, sell the ADP-170's

    Most people prefer dipoles (ADP-370) as their surrounds, others prefer dipoles as their rears. So for Upgrade #3 I would suggest staging both and seeing what works best in your room environment (e.g. try the Studio 20's as either your surrounds or your rears). If you choose to stick with your 6.1 receiver, you may want to sell the ADP-170's, or use one as your rear.

    Great choice on sub!
     
  4. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    AG

    Given that virtually everyone recommends setting all speakers to small, what is the benefit of going from Studio 20 to Studio 60?

    Also, you may not be aware of this, however, the smaller the front baffle of a speaker the better due to the minimization of baffle diffraction effects. So, all things considered, the Studio 20 is, in some ways a better speaker than the larger models.

    To give you an example, the largest selling speaker over $10,000 is the Wilson Watt-Puppy. If you look at the Watt-Puppy you will see that the tweeter is at the very top of a pyramidal shaped module, with a baffle only 2 inches around the tweeter to keep diffraction effects to an absolute minimum. These are the kinds of things you learn after 40+ years in AV.
     
  5. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    If you want to go the 7.1 route, the TX-DS787 has preouts for 7.1. Another nice feature it has is 7.1 input.

    My upgrade suggestion, for audio, would be buy a powerfull 2 channel amp for to power your Studio 20's and later on get another 5 channel amp and a couple more speakers for a 7.1 setup. If you feel you need new front speakers I would buy a another set of 20's V3 or V4 when it comes out. Then even later after that buy a seperate processor as you would not need the internal power of the Onkyo anymore. Of course my plan doesn't include the tv or other video things, because I don't feel as strongly on video, but I imagine it will be one of your first upgrades.
     
  6. ryan.p

    ryan.p Stunt Coordinator

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    Walt the main problem I see with your current set-up is the cc-370. Personally, I would opt for a Studio series center . Thus, if you plan on keeping your Studio 20 v.2's then I would NOT get a cc-470 v.3. There were some driver changes from the Studio v.2 to the current v.3 and as such would not really be a good fit. You would be better off to get a Studio CC especially if it is the v.2 version. Furthermore, in that size room I would think the Studio 20's would work just fine. However, if you want more dynamic impact then the Studio 60's would be an excellent upgrade. I also agree that (2) VTF-3MKII's would be absolutely awesome. If you end up on going w/the Studio 60's then the 20's would work great for rears. It really depends on what you prefer. Me, I like the sound to not be localized and as such prefer the di-poles. Yet others prefer a more direct firing sound-only you can answer that question. Lastly, if you listen to a lot of multi-channel music then imho the direct firing rears would be a much better way to go. Anyways, good luck in your decision. Be sure to let us know what you decide and how it all turn out. Happy hunting!!!!
     
  7. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Seth

    With all due respect, could you explain what benefit larger mains are if you have things set up as recommended by virtually everyone, crossing over all speakers at 80Hz to the subwoofer? And given that, why would he need added amplification?
     
  8. DaveHo

    DaveHo Supporting Actor

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    I have a Paradigm Studio V2 setup. 100's & CC across the front, ADP's side & 20's rear. They are crossed over @ 80Hz to an SVS PB12-Plus/2. This is in a 13.5'x20'x8' fairly closed in room. There is no way the 20's are as good as or even remotely close to being equal to the 100's when used as mains. They simply don't have 100's dynamics or soundstage. I tried using the 20's as mains for kick's and well, in my size room they sounded just like they look, small. That said, in Walt's room the 60's would probably be a better choice. I would also stick with the same series, at least across the front.
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I'd have to disagree with that. The main change was in the crossover. The driver changes were more of an evolution, not really a dramatic change. I've listened to both extensively and the v2 and v3 sound fine together, though I do thing the v3s sound better. IMO, the 470 is a better center than the Studio CC was.

    If you want to sort of split the difference, you could just get 40s and move the 20s back. The 40s have the identical drivers used in the 60s.
     
  10. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Dave

    Given your personal experience with these specific products, I bow to your perceptions.

    I wonder, how does Wilson achieve the great dynamics and soundstaging from the 19 inch tall Watt?
     
  11. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I do agree with Seth, more power would be beneficial. These speakers drop relatively low in impedance, making them a moderately difficult load to drive - meaning they like plenty of power. They are "8 Ohm compatible".
     
  12. DaveHo

    DaveHo Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence.[​IMG] Correct me if I am wrong, but it doesn't appear the Watt is available without the Puppy. So, I'm not sure what you are getting at? The several multiples of thousands of dollars in price difference might have something to do with it also.
     
  13. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    I had the TX-DS787. It's power is limited by it's design, i.e. clips easily with high and low tones in comparison to a seperate more powerfull and efficient design. I did not really find the TX-DS787's internal amplifier musically satisfying, those speakers would have more potential with a seperate amp.

    Also I made no suggestion to upgrade the front speakers to larger ones, and if they do get upgraded in the future that they be upgraded with a newer version of the Studio 20's which would be the same size. If indeed larger speakers are wanted I would second the Studio 40's which achieve lower extension than the 60's and use the same drivers.
     
  14. ryan.p

    ryan.p Stunt Coordinator

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    John great point concerning the 40's but time you buy the stands they are almost as much as the 60's. I was told the change from the Studio v.2 to the v.3 was mainly done to the tweeter and as such lowered the X-over point. Of course, this would also create a need to change the design of the crossover as well. I have never heard nor have I owned the Studio 20 v.2 BUT I do own a set of the v.3's. From my own research I discovered that the tweeter in the v.2 was much more harsh/grainy and not quite as refined as the tweeter in the v.3. Like I said this is from my own research and talking extensively with my local Paradigm dealer. Sounds like you know a bit more and have more experience than I. But, thanks for pointing this out.
     
  15. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    Note the 40's have deeper and tighter bass than the 60's. I am not sure how they managed more extension, but usually you will get tighter bass from a smaller cabinet.

    Also note that it may not be absolutely neccessary to buy the stands that Paradigm offers.
     
  16. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    With all due respect to those golden ears who think that separate amps are that big a deal, I have both a 92 (true) watt receiver and a 425 watt per channel separate amp, and with my measured 5 ohm speakers driven full range, let alone cut off at 80Hz, there is negligible difference between the 92 watt receiver and the 425 watt, 70 pound amp. Just as well I am not a golden ear. I would suggest that the placebo effect is alive and well here in audio land.
     
  17. Jacob C

    Jacob C Second Unit

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    I am staying out of the rest of this but if you are running it with a sub the Studio 40's will sound better than the 60's. I've auditioned both of these speakers (I ended up getting ascends btw) on several occasions and always preferred the 40's by a significant margin. The mids and bass were not as controlled as with the 40's.
     
  18. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    I can garantee that my upgrade from the internal amp of the Onkyo to my current amp, which I am pushing 160 watts to each speaker, makes an astronomical difference. I like music loud, with the Onkyo I had harshness at higher volume and weaker bass. With my amplifier, I have yet to press it's limits on a continuous basis, there has been one instance were it has shut off due to an extremely low frequency that also spelled doom for my M&K. But none the less, a seperate amp makes a tremendous difference, if it indeed is better than the receiver's amp. Looking at the output stage of the Onkyo and my amp is night and day. The output stage is weak on the Onkyo. It is actually overated to be honest. Regards
     
  19. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    With all due respect, and referring back to the OP's situation, what we are talking about is 2 things.

    1) Running the receiver set to small which eliminates the the strain of playing ANY deep bass, which is where the power is really needed. There is actually not much material present above 10KHz. What is above 10KHZ idoes not put a strain on any competent receiver, unless one is using Martin-Logan electrostatics.

    2) The OP did not suggest in any way that he uses his system at extreme levels. Nor did he suggest that he intends to use his receiver without the strongly recommended settings of Small for all speakers, all bass redirected to subwoofer. Blowing a subwoofer and causing a separate power amp to shut down indicate that you do not use the recommended Small settings for all your speakers, and were driving the system very, very hard.

    As John Garcia can attest, running with all speakers set to Small, reaching even 25 watts per channel is rare.

    As an example, there are folks who are using the 10 pound Pioneer XR-55/57 with B&W speakers and love it.

    Please refer back to my last post regarding my experience with 92 vs. 425 watts.

    I am posting for the OP, my real life experience of 40+ years in AV, having owned over 2 dozen speakers, and a dozen receivers/power amps/4 subwoofers, both powered and unpowered.

    Once again, I am posting for the benefit of the OP, who I feel can only benefit from a lively exchange of experiences.

    I am planning on bowing out of this thread now. I have spoken my piece, and with due respect to the moderators, don't want to repeat myself any further. I am simply trying to point out where the OP will get the biggest improvement in his system, which, IMHO, is with the purchase of a second identical subwoofer. Sure makes a big difference in my system.
     
  20. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    It is only during big transient peaks that your speakers will push the limits of your amplification. BIG compliex passages and bass hits, explosions, etc... are where the speakers may draw 100+ watts. During most listening, only a few watts per speaker are in use on average. Power will essentially make a difference if you didn't have enough before - and there are a ton of factors that play into that such as speakers sensitivity, room size and conditions, listening position, personal preference of listening level, etc...

    I was able to drive the 40s with my Marantz 8300 without issue for long periods without strain (I have a large room). My current speakers are similar in size and sensitivity, but are 4 Ohm nominal and at elevated levels, I could tell when the receiver was running out of steam. Adding just 2 monoblocks for the mains relieved all stress from the receiver and I can push it to levels that even I am uncomfortable with.

    40s vs 60s - I agree, the reason why I like them is the mids/midbass sounds a bit more controlled with the 40s to me, and that is likely due to the fact that the 40s don't extend as low. With a good sub, the main benefit with the 60s might only be that you could use a lower x-over (like 60hz). The 60s actually do go lower than the 40s -3dB @ 30Hz vs 36Hz, but the 40s don't quite have as much presence down low as the 60s in room, and the 470 is -3dB @ 39hz which means if you don't have the ability to set individual x-overs, you may not really benefit from 60s. The 40s have more kick and less boom. Without a sub, I'd definitley opt for 60s or 100s.

    The difference between the v2s and v3s was noticable to me; the harshness definitley seemed reduced (the main reason I like the v3s better), but I was kind of surprised when I listened to the v3 40s with a Studio-CC (my local shop had just brought out the 40s from their first shipment, the same pair I ended up bringing home) because I didn't really notice the difference between them at all. Now, that may have been different with v2 40s vs v3. Same thing when I owned a v3 CC-370 and v2 Monitor 5s, they blended seamlessly, despite the 370 having slightly different drivers.

    You can get great stands for much less than what Paradigm offers. Monitor 5s vs 7s, the stand point is valid, but not so much with the 40s vs 60s IMO.
     

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