Paradigm v. Dynaudio - no contest.....

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike OConnell, Apr 11, 2002.

  1. Mike OConnell

    Mike OConnell Second Unit

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    About three months ago I promised that I would try this out to some members on this forum and I finally did...

    Allright, I have to admit comparing the following speakers in a stereo only setup really was not fair, but I did it anyway:

    The speakers:

    Paradigm Reference Studio 60 V2 (List $1600 - paid $1250) - the mains from my home theater

    Dynaudio Contour 1.3SE (List $3400 - paid $2400 + $150 for stands and lead shot) - the speakers for my stereo only setup.

    No subwoofer and the rest of the system:

    Arcam Alpha 9 CD

    Arcam Alpha 8r Integrated Amplifier

    Bryston 3B-ST Amplifier

    Silvercat Interconnects

    Kimber Cable Speaker Wire w/WBT Connectors

    The discs:

    John Mellencamp - The Best That I Could Do.

    Jane Monheit - Come Dream With Me

    Diana Krall - Love Songs

    Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon

    Trevor Pinnock - Vilvaldi's Four Seasons

    Billy Joel - The Bridge

    James Taylor - Greatest Hits

    AC/DC - Back in Black

    The winner and comments in various catagories:

    Treble - The Dyn's were much smoother and lifelike; however the 60's had a little more punch with the cymbals and instrumental high's. The 60's exhibited a little too much sibilance in vocals for my taste with the jazz and general female vocals.

    Mid's - The Dyn's sounded much better with the vocals - much less punchy and generally pure. The 60's were more forward and the mid's sometimes got lost in the shuffle between the bass and the treble. The vocals that the Dyn's produce are "to die for" - the best I have ever heard, and I have listened to alot of speakers in alot of systems.

    Bass - This was the closest contest of all. The 60's exhibited deeper and stronger bass, but also were a little boomy. They gave the bass guitars and low horn notes more depth (both note wise and soundstage). The bass with the Dyn's did not go quite as low, but is very tight and never seemed to "get away" from the music as the 60's occasionally did.

    The winner - the Dyn's, but not without a good fight from a speaker that cost less than 1/2 as much to purchase.

    For critical and relaxing listening that I like to do with my stereo system, the Dyn's are perfect. For hard rock or a party in a larger room or for HT I would still pick the 60's.

    Home Theater - I placed the Dyn's in my home theater (Denon AVR 5800) and actually liked the Paradigms better for the type of sound produced from soundtracks and TV.

    I am still very happy with my choices for both. (And darn, I really wanted to like the 60's better for the stereo only setup as I could have sold the Dyn's and the Bryston and bought some 60's and driven the 60's with the Arcam for the stereo only and pocketed some cash!)

    Your results could vary...

    Mike
     
  2. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    The 1.3 Mk. II SE is the best mini-monitor I've heard. Paradigm isn't even in the same universe.
     
  3. Alexis

    Alexis Stunt Coordinator

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    A closer contest would be the Dynaudio Audience series which are about the same price. I was comparing the Audience 42 to the Studio 20's, and if you don't care about bass since you will add a sub, the Audience 42 is pretty good. I didn't get a chance to A/B them back to back though..
     
  4. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

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    When I saw your thread title i thought you were gonna be comparing the Dynaudio Audience series with the Paradigm Reference Studio series. That would be a pretty close and fair comparison based on price and performance. However, the Dynaudio Contour series is in another league of its own. I've also heard the Contours, playing Blue Man Group's "Audio" DVD-A, but bass was helped by a Sunfire sub(can't remember which model). The sound was simply amazing. If I had that kind of budget I'd definitely get the Contours, but I didn't, so I settled for PSB Stratus Goldi's, which are also very good for its price, but not in the same league as the Contours.
     
  5. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    The title of your thread says it's no contest, but then you go on to say...

     
  6. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Mike:

     
  7. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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  8. Mike OConnell

    Mike OConnell Second Unit

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    I agree with the posts that followed my comparison. The title was a little misleading; however, one thing I have learned on this forum is that to provoke views and comments you have to spice-up the title, or nobody even looks! [​IMG]
    Comparing the 60's to the Audience series would have been a better comparison - I did that about one year ago and liked the Paradigms better.
    Let me explain my comment regarding the speakers in the HT setting. I did not have a full complement of Dyn's to use for the surround sound, center, etc.; therefore they really did not blend in with the rest of my system.
    In addition, since the center speaker for HT carries the majority of the dialouge, the strength of my Dyn's with vocal's and overall full range coherence was not apparent with the HT setup. In hindsight, I probably should have run the test without the center active. But, hindsight is 20:20.
    Bang for the buck in regards to HT - I choose the Paradigm's. In fact, my first choice for my HT was the B&W CDMNT line, with the Paradigm's a close second. The Paradigm's were significantly lower cost when working with my local dealer's - so they were picked.
    I would LOVE to have a full Dynaudio Contour series HT, but they would also require a much more expensive set of amplification, as they are power hungry. I have been willing to spend a significant amount of money on my systems, but this would be overboard, even for me.
    Therefore, for my HT pick, I pick the Paradigm's for HT application.
    Overall I would rate on a five-star system as follows (first rating is performance, second is value):
    Stereo only:
    1.3SE's - [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    60's - [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    HT application:
    1.3SE's - [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    60's - [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Overall the Dyn's are the better performer's, but the Paradigm's are the better value.
    BTW: The closest Dynaudio dealer for me is 250 miles in St. Louis, but I purchased them from a dealer 400 miles away in the Minneapolis area on a trip up north.
    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  9. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Thanks for a great comparision and review Mike!
     
  10. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Very well Mike. Nice review now that I understand it better. How do you like your Arcam integrated?
     
  11. Mike Veroukis

    Mike Veroukis Second Unit

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    Here's a question... If price isn't an issue, why didn't you compare the Studio100s instead of the 60s? Just curious.

    - Mike
     
  12. Mike OConnell

    Mike OConnell Second Unit

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    Martice: I really like the Arcam 8R integrated for this application. It was a demo unit that I got for around 40% off of list. I drive a pair of old (and I mean old) monitors in the office with the second and switchable speaker connection. I would have not added the Bryston 3BST to the integrated, except that the Dyn's are power hungry and I got a great deal on the 3BST from a friend who traded me for a used 35" Mitsubishi TV. The 3B had to be sent in for service under Bryston's exceptioanl 20-yr warranty because the clipping indicators no longer functioned. However, I am interested in trying out a pre-amp that is a little on the "brighter" side than the Arcam, but am still awaiting the right opportunity.

    Mike: the reason I used the 60's is because that is what I already own and price is an issue; however, I would love to try the Dyn's up against a pair of 100's. Know anybody in the Metro-KC area that will let me borrow their 100's for a trial? The shop where I bought my 60's does not carry the 100's in stock for evaluation, or he would let me bring the Dyn's in to do the comparison.

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  13. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Hi Mike. If you don't mind I would like to make a suggestion regarding your next possible pre-amp. I used to own the Adcom (huh?) GFP-750 which has a HT bypass switch. I cannot say that it's bright but I will tell you that it's one of the most neutral preamps that I've had in my system. Some say that it's dry sounding but that's because most CD's are well..dry sounding compared to vinyl. It really get's out of the way of your source signals and allows you to hear very close to what's exactly on the disc. I would've kept it but my wife didn't like having to go through the bypass switch and then to the processor just to watch a movie. The calls for instructions on how to work the system at work were killing me. Anyway, I just thought that I might pass that along. If you have a chance you should audition one.

    On another note, I used to own the Paradigm 100v2's. Very nice speaker but I sold them for the PSB Goldi's. I consider the move a lateral move and a matter of choice in regards to each speakers overall tonality. Unfortunately, it seems that I'll be taking the chance on a turn key DIY speaker that in some circles are preffered over some Dynaudio models although I'm not sure which one. I'll keep you posted if your intrested.
     
  14. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike:

    I wish that I knew you had the Dyn's earlier, I would love to have heard your comparison between them and the ACI Sapphire III's that I've been demoing for about the last (3) weeks (I'm in Des Moines). I getting ready to send them back this week-end or the first of next week.

    I've been comparing them to my Studio 40's and they have done excellent. The only reason that I'm sending them back is because I'm going to build a pair of the ACI Jaguars.

    Phil
     
  15. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    When I was demoing speakers, I primarily compared Dynaudio Contour to the B&W CDM line. Also listened to some Phase Tech.

    I selected the Contours for my combo music/HT system and never looked back. It's been 4 years and I've never even had an itch to listen to any other speakers. Guess you could say I found something I like.

    I actually took an RS SPL meter and tape measure with me along with my own CD's to the dealers when I was demoing. It helped me zero in on the differences between the speakers.

    Mains: Contour 2.8 Towers (2-way plus a passive radiator)

    Center: Contour Center

    Surrounds: Contour 1.1 Mini-Monitors
     
  16. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

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    Well, perhaps the Dynaudio's are not 200% better, but having heard them compared to speakers in the Paradigm Reference series and PSB Stratus series, I think they represent a significant, noticable improvement without even having to do a direct comparison among them.
     
  17. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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  18. Michael_Mc

    Michael_Mc Extra

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    Why didn't you compare floor standing models like the Dynaudio Contour 1.8MKII to the Studio60s. I'm looking for speakers and have been considering the Paradigms as well as the Dynaudio and a few others, however, I haven't heard the Contour line only the Audience line. I've heard the B&W CDM9 with the Audience 82 side by side.

    I'm wondering how much of a difference the electronics have on the speakers. The dealer that I'm auditioning the speakers from may not be giving a fair comparison by using the same electronics. As you said the Contours are harder to drive.

    Since I'm new to HT, what should I look for when auditioning? Ideally, I would like speakers that sound good with any type of music and with any combination of electronics.

    Thanks for the input.

    Mike
     
  19. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    As far as today's Dynaudios, I would select the 1.3SE over the 1.8MkII, as it has a higher quality tweeter, and the 1.8 can be hard to position in a room without getting slightly boomy bass.
     
  20. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

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    Martice:
    What GR Research speakers are you looking at. I've seen where many compare the AV1 and AV1+ to the likes of the ACI Emerald, Paradigm Studio 20's etc... and other sub 1K speakers, but I've never heard them compared to the likes of the Dyn Contour series and above.
    I think that you'll have to move on up to the DIY ACI Sapphires or Jaguars (or similar other DIY kits) for a more accurate comparison to the Dyn's.
    Check out subwoofers.com for DIY ACI speaker kits.
    Philhttp://www.subwoofers.com
     

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