Paradigm vs B&W for HT -- prices?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Andy Young, Dec 28, 2002.

  1. Andy Young

    Andy Young Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 30, 1999
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    I only have local dealers for Paradigm and B&W, so I'm limiting myself to those two brands.
    I'm not a picky listener: Currently, I have a Pioneer Elite 26TX receiver, Pioneer DVD player, and Mitsubishi SVHS. Sony 27" TV. RL Speakers are some floor standing Sanyo speakers that came with a stereo system purchased in 1986. The center channel is a Kenwood speaker that came free when I bought a Sony receiver back in 1996. Surrounds are also Kenwood that were free. Never had a sub.
    So, you can see that I have some really nice speakers! [​IMG] Actually, the Sanyo speakers sound good to my ears. The Kenwood speakers aren't so good -- esp the center channel wrt dialogue.
    I live in a 2,000 sq ft house with a "normal" sized family room. Don't know dimensions. I'd like to stay with floorstanding speakers for RL. Bookshelf speakers on stands won't be acceptible for the mains. Surrounds need to be small, so that I can discretely hang on walls. I may even opt for a 3.1 system and bypass surrounds.
    My speakers are for 100% HT. I could care less if the speakers/subs are musical or not. I wouldn't pay an extra dime for a speaker that was somehow more musical.
    The local shop had B&W 602, 601, and 600 S3 speakers hooked up along with Paradigm Atom, Titan, Micro, and MiniMonitor. They might have had the Focus hooked up, also. I hooked a Yamaha receiver and some Jazz sampler CD and listened in 2-channel stereo. Wasn't familiar with the source, am aware that I'm comparing stereo music on speakers that I'd be using in 5-channel HT, and am aware that I'm listening to bookshelf speakers even though I specified that I want floorstanding.
    Also, since the B&W were S3, I'm guessing that they were not broken in. I don't know what version Paradigms were, but they appeared to be older (v2 ?).
    B&W 602 was sort of thin and 2-dimensional. 601 actually sounded better, with a little more depth to the music. 600 sounded almost identical to the 601. The Paradigm Atom sounded on par with the B&W 601/600, even though it was smaller and cheaper. The Titan was more full-bodied and really sounded nice. The MiniMonitor (the most expensive Pardigm bookshelf they had) sounded no different to my ears than the Titan.
    Interesting, because before listening, I was very much predispositioned to liking the B&W. Now, I'm leaning toward Paradigm. I don't believe that I'm a discerning enough listener to benefit from the Monitor line versus the less-expensive Performance line.
    Thus, I was thinking along the lines of the Phantom, CC-170/270, and Atoms for surrounds. I understand that the Phantom was recently upgraded with better drivers in the v3 version? Otherwise, I would guess that they'd sound about like the Titans in a floor standing box (at least, no worse than the Titans). Correct?
    PRICE This store has tags on the B&W that are right on MSRP (no displayed discounts). Paradigm doesn't list MSRP on its site, so I don't really know what a "good" price is. Any advice?
    Sub Any reason to get a brand-matching sub? I'm not spending over $500 on the sub and, again, only need it for HT. I absolutely don't need a sub that possesses musical qualities -- just explosions and such. Discreteness is as important as sonic performance. A non-black finish would be preferable.
  2. Christopher Lyn

    Christopher Lyn Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 1, 2002
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    Hi Andy. I have the Paradigm Reference Studio Line and am very happy with them. I really love the Studio 100s. A couple of years ago, I had your same dilemma. I was trying to decide on the B&Ws or the Paradigms. I eventually went with the Paradigms because I only live 30 minutes away from the company and it would be easy for me to get service.
    I also like the fact that Paradigm does some great research and development and base their speaker manufacturing on some pretty solid science.
    The other reason I chose Paradigm was that for the same, if not better, quality, the B&Ws were more expensive. Sorry, but I have not listened to the Monitor line of Paradigm so I cannot say if they are as good or equal to the B&W 600 series.
    Have you tried searching this forum, I know a couple of months ago people were asking for prices for Paradigm speakers...from what I read, apparently they are cheaper here in Canada than in the States. Another place you can try is They have ratings and prices from people that have actually purchased the equipment. I got some good advice there when purchasing my sub.
    In regards to your sub question. It is not crucial that your sub matches the rest of your speakers (in terms of brand). Since it is just producing low frequencies you don't have to worry about timbre matching. I am biased towards the Paradigm I would suggest one of those PDR versions (I have the Servo-15...worth of all the praise it gets). People here are partial to the SVS subs. Once again, try the link to the may help you better.
  3. James Bergeron

    James Bergeron Supporting Actor

    Oct 9, 2001
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    Have you listened to the B&W 303's they are great too and more inline with the Paradigm pricing.

    The 602 should sound much cleaner than the 601 odd you like the 601 better. When I did side by side by side comparisons I liked the 303 then the 602 I really hated the sound of the 601 sounded flat.

    I also have a pair of Atoms and they are great speakers for the money, not on par with the B&W's as far as build quality but they sound good. The Titans as well.

    Just go with what you like, the paradigms seem to have more bass in there (I believe they bump it a bit).

    So maybe you like that.
  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

    Dec 16, 1998
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  5. Nick Cerretti

    Nick Cerretti Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 7, 2002
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    First off, I can't imagine that the atom/titan/mini weren't v3. the v3 models have been out for quite some time, and I'd be shocked if that's what they had.

    From your audition, it sounds like your should just grab the Titans. I see no reason to get the Phantom, unless you need a floorstanding speaker. And I agree with you about the Titan/mini. HT-wise, there is no difference. Unless you listen to music, there's no reason to get the mini IMO.

    Since you would save a decent amount just getting the titans over the phantoms, I'd consider something from SVS for your sub. A little over $500, but you should have a bit more considering the phantoms cost a bit more than the titans.

    Oh, and here's prices (msrp) for the paradigms.
    Atoms - $199/pair
    Titans - $219/pair
    Cc170 - $199
    Mini - $349/pair
    Phantom - Over $400
  6. James R. Geib

    James R. Geib Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 7, 2002
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    You've been doing the right thing by auditioning speakers from both brands. As Scott said, it seems as if you have already determined you like the Paradigms the best, so stick with that decision. Both Paradigm and B&W make excellent products, so choosing either one will provide you with speakers you can be proud to own.

    As far as your subwoofer choice, something from HSU or SVS for your $500 (or less) would be your best bet. I would imagine you would be more than happy with the performance of any sub from these two companies.

    Which ever speakers/sub you choose, enjoy your purchase.

    James R. Geib
  7. Murali Kalapala

    Dec 1, 2002
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    I was in the same situation a few months ago. I wanted to get either the B&Ws or the Paradigm Studios(I was getting a 10% discount on both). I went with B&Ws.

    What ever you decide to get. If your primary use is HT. I would suggest that you get the best subwoofer possible. A good Subwoofer is going to make the HT experience much better.
  8. RichardH

    RichardH Supporting Actor

    Nov 28, 2000
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    If you're 100% HT, I would recommend Paradigm. I think in general their speakers are more "exciting" to listen to, which should compliment movie watching. Also, ditto the last recommendation and make sure you get the best sub you can afford, because that will seriously enhance your movie watching experience.

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