Setting up my first HT, need advice on speakers...

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Tim Milligan, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. Tim Milligan

    Tim Milligan Extra

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    I just bought a new 52inch DLP screen and now I need to get together a home theater audio system. I have been looking into many different companies and frankly I am lost in all the ads/reviews.

    So I need a little help. My budget is going to be around 800 just for speakers. This does not include sub as I have a sub I will be using.

    This is what I have come up with so far:

    I heard paradigm is a good company to go with for the money. I looked into the performance series and this is what would fit my price range:

    Center: CC-170/270
    Main: Esprit
    Surround: Atom/Titans

    What do you think of the above set up? The closest dealer is about 20 miles away and will probably go down and listen to them tomorrow. Is there any other company I should look into? Also is there that big of a difference between the CC-170 and the CC-270?

    Thanks alot!
     
  2. Aaron_Mum

    Aaron_Mum Stunt Coordinator

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    Here is something to consider. Think about sinking all your cash into a good set of mains for now, or if you ignore the surround speakers for now you may be able to get a pair of mini-monitors and a CC-370 for around $800. This a nice step up from the performance line. You could save up for rears later.

    Yeah go give stuff a listen. You will be able to hear the difference between the speakers no problem. As far as other brands go, just listen to all the different brands that your dealer also carries. You'll start to figure it out after listening to a bunch of different gear for sure. Listen to stuff out of your price range as well.

    If you really get into this the perfomance line may not be enough to keep you satisfied. If you sink your $800 into the monitor line you may by happier in the end!
     
  3. Tim Milligan

    Tim Milligan Extra

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    I went to Paradigm's website and looked at the mini-moniters. I see the mini-moniters and they look rather smallish. I know this doesn't matter much, but would the esprit (which is a floor standing speaker) sound fuller with more reinforced bass and mid range because of the bigger enclosure?

    I would like to have floor standing speakers just because I like the way they look (I'm not into the stands too much, I also have cats and would hate for one to knock it over...)

    I'm not really an audiophile by any means, but I do enjoy a rich sounding system. I don't think I will be upgrading my set up any time soon and I don't want to spend massive amounts of money (going to college.)

    So with all that information, is the moniter series still the way to go?
     
  4. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    I agree with Aaron.....better mains would make a nice difference and it's often a good place to start. If you know you won't be upgrading, though, and you want to start with a 5.1 set-up, then the Paradigm Performance line is good value. I started off with that line, too, only I was running Atoms in front. I'm still very fond of those little speakers. I've never heard the Esprits, but Paradigm is as good and safe of a bet as any other line. Maybe just make sure your dealer has an upgrade policy just in case, though [​IMG]
     
  5. Yung

    Yung Stunt Coordinator

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    Tim,

    I am considering the Paradigm Performance line myself. A lot of people (including some dealers) say that its better to move up to the next line, i.e. Monitor Series then go up the ladder in the Performance Line. If you are going to go with the Esprit or better in the Performance line, then get the CC-270 to match. The CC-170 is meant to be mated to the Atom or Titan. The Center Channel is pretty important for HT since that is where the dialogue flows through, so go with the bigger center channel speaker.
     
  6. Aaron_Mum

    Aaron_Mum Stunt Coordinator

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    No, like Alan said the performance line is still really good value. Consider the monitor line though because if you get into it and want to upgrade it will cost you less in the end. A good buget system would be 4 atoms, a sub, and the matching center. It is all up to what you think sounds good and how much $ you have to spend!
     
  7. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    I personally have an Atom / cc170 combo going on. The dealer actually suggested the cc-70 for the Atoms, but I liked the idea of having identical 5&1/4" drivers on everything.

    The Atom is an amazing speaker, no doubt about it. Any web-search will turn dozens of well earned glowing reviews, and you shouldn't overlook this bookshlef just because its the cheapest speaker of the (performnace) line. When comparing I couldn't hear a difference between it and the Titans, and thus didn't spend more than I had to.

    ALSO

    If your receiver has a high built-in crossover, there will be little point in buying 'tower' speakers for the front. My Pioneer has a set 100hz crossover, and the Atoms are in no danger of breaking their 80hz limits.

    Unless you wire your (eventual) sub to the fronts and run them as large, then you might need beefier mains.
     
  8. Tim Milligan

    Tim Milligan Extra

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    Thanks alot for all the helpful information. I am still undecided and without a price list of the MSRP of the paradigm (couldn't find it on their website) I can't really see which ones are in my budget. I guess the audition tomorrow will help me through it a little easier.

    Also what do you think of axiom mains? I just saw the ad and they look pretty good.

    BTW is there a price list for the paradigm somewhere?
     
  9. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Garrett:
    You were smart to go with the cc170. When I initially picked up my Atoms, I went on the cheap and added the cc70 instead. That was my first lesson in having mismatched drivers across the front [​IMG] I haven't made that mistake since, though, so I guess it was a good learning experience. Anyway, even though I'm capable of putting together a pretty nice set-up today, if for some reason I had to stay with my Atoms I would not have been unhappy about it. I upgraded simply because I could, and there is obviously an improvement in the quality of my HT and music. But for $189 I loved those speakers.

    Tim:
    I know that by Aaron and I saying that the performance line is good value BUT you may want to consider a jump to the monitors and go with fewer speakers for now, it can make things more confusing. Unfortunately, that just comes with the territory of HT. Many of us make changes to our systems pretty frequently, and the 'upgrade bug' is a very, very real thing. The good news is that there are few right or wrong answers, and you'll probably end up with a system you like regardless of how confusing things get. Try to look at all the options as a positive more than a negative. The fact that you ARE reading reviews and the fact that you are on here is a great way to go. I think most people would agree that there are advantages and disadvantages to both online sellers and your local stereo shop. My stereo shop guy wishes I'd have gone with him for my amp and preamp, but I felt going with Outlaw Audio was a better choice for me. But at the same time, I'm pretty loyal to him with regard to speakers, and so whenever I want to change something or upgrade something he's more than happy to work with me by providing advice, demos, and discounts. Anyway, good luck....and be sure to let us know what system you go with [​IMG]

    PS. One of my favorite places to go for consumer reviews is audioreview.com They usually have the msrp listed for a given product, too.
     
  10. Yung

    Yung Stunt Coordinator

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    The Atoms and CC-170 have MSRP of $199. You should be able to negotiate with the dealer for anywhere from 10-15% off MSRP, depending on if you are a repeat customer or if you are buying other things along with the speakers. You can go to this website for an indication of MSRP for the paradigms.
    www.bradfordshifi.com

    Also, Paradigm has recommended systems on its website.
    http://www.paradigm.com/Website/Site...e/systems.html

    I'm personally considering a setup consisting of Atoms for mains, ADP-170 for surrounds, CC-170 for Center and the PDR-10 for sub. I'm seriously considering getting a PDR-12 sub or maybe the new SVS PB-10 or Hsu STF-2.

    You might also want to check out the JBL Northridge E series which can be found at BB and CompUSA stores. These speakers are pretty good value for the money. I am considering these as well.
     
  11. Tim Milligan

    Tim Milligan Extra

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    Thanks alot for all the help guys, I will post what I think about them tomorrow after I audition them. Most likely I will stay with the performance series, unless the moniters blow me away. After seeing the prices, they may be a little too rich for my blood at this time.
     
  12. cabreau

    cabreau Second Unit

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    Yung, that's funny that you say that about the subs, because that's exactly what I wrote to someone in one of the other threads.

    My second setup was a CC-170, 4 Atoms (fronts and surround) and a PDR-10. I loved the PDR-10, but for the price, I think you could get an HSU STF-2, not sure. If I could go back and do it again, I would change the two surround Atoms to ADP-170s just to see what happens (I still haven't heard the ADP-170s vs Atoms for surround though).

    After hearing several different brands at Tweeters, Best Buy, Circuit City, and two local Hi-Fi stores, I'd have bought the Atoms with CC-170 for the front all over again, for the budget that I had. My suggestion is to go Atoms for the fronts, with CC-170. Whatever sub you like for the price, and ADp-170s in the rear. Surrounds really are the LEAST important speakers to the HT setup, IMHO. Some recent reviews make me wish that I had tried the di/bipolar speakers in the back instead of direct radiating though.
    FYI, even after I upgraded my fronts and center (Paradigm Studio 20s w/CC-470), I kept the Atoms to do surround duty in my new system. You will hear nothing but praise for these little guys. They really do perform awesome for the size and price.
     

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