Which Paradigms to get?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Peter Sanderson, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. Peter Sanderson

    Peter Sanderson Auditioning

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    Hi all, I'm really kinda new to the whole idea of having a nice speaker system to watch movies and listen to music. I currently have a Pioneer HTIB, but it's no longer serving me any good. At a local audio/video store they have a pair of Monitor 7's for $550 and a pair of Monitor 5's v3 for 390. I really like both pairs of speakers. I was wondering what you guys thought of each of the speakers? Yes, I did listen to both pairs. I just want some help and suggestions. And I was wondering if it would be a good idea to get a receiver/amp (Yamaha RX-V450) or if I should get a separate amp and receiver. If I were to go with the separate amp and receiver would I see a big benefit in having a pre-amp? Thanks for the help. Ooh, and one more thing for now i was only thinking of running to speakers (basically just stereo mode) and was wondering if I should pick up a used stereo receiver and two channel amp? If I were to do that, do stereo receivers come with a sub out? Sorry for all the questions but I appreciate the help that I will get.

    Peter
     
  2. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    What are your goals? Stereo only or build up to surround sound?

    Buy the speakers you like best.

    You'll most likely be fine with just the receiver, and most stereo receivers don't have a sub out. A few do though.
     
  3. Peter Sanderson

    Peter Sanderson Auditioning

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    I'd like to build up to surround sound, but to start I'm just going to have a pair of speakers and a sub. So you think the Yamaha receiver will be fine until I want more power from the speakers? I would like some info on the Monitor 5's v3 and the Monitors 7's. I liked both of them but I can't really figure out the main differences. I don't really have an ear for the big differences in speakers. Thanks for the help so far.

    Peter
     
  4. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    Interesting article on low cost receivers.

    http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/art...&page_number=2

    Since you're looking at setting up a surround sound system, go ahead and get a surround receiver. Getting a stereo now will take cash away from the surround sound.

    Buy the best speakers you can reasonably afford. The two you've chosen should be fine, and I don't think you'll be making a mistake with either. There really isn't a right or wrong answer. Just buy the ones you like the best.

    What's your budget? What's your time frame for putting it all together?
     
  5. Peter Sanderson

    Peter Sanderson Auditioning

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    I was thinking that for the total cost would be around 3000-3500. I would like to get a good pair of speakers matched with a nice sub to start out with and then upgrade to surround sound. I'am still debating on if I want a receiver/amp combo something like a Yamaha or Soney or if I want to do get a separate receiver and amp. It was also brought to my attention that if I get nice speakers that a receiver/amp combo might not drive the speakers as I would like them to. I have also been introduced to the Ascend's and they also seem like really nice speakers. How do the Ascend's compare to the Paradigm? What would be a good amp to get? I was looking at ones for av123.com and they seem pretty nice. I think I can pretty easily find a receiver that will fit my needs, I'm just having a hard time trying to determine what kind of amp to get. Amy help, as always, is greatly appreciated and I appreciate the help and suggestions that have been giving so far. Thanks.

    Peter
     
  6. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    At $3000 - $3500 you have quite a few options. I mistakenly thought you were on tight budget.

    This will be a very long post...

    There are many ways to approach building a system, so I'll explain mine. Not everyone agrees on this. Some people advocate more power while some argue enough power. Some argue floor-standing speakers while some argue bookshelves and subs. Some argue for getting the best electronics and some argue that most midrange products work just as good and pretty much the same. AND there is an exception to every circumstance and an opinion about it. Heck, the engineers that design and build this stuff don't agree the best approach to a problem.


    My approach to building a system:
    1. Speakers are the most important part, so buy the best you can reasonably afford. Pay attention to frequency response and look for a reasonably flat one. Also, a better speaker has even horizontal and vertical dispersion, and have minimal cabinet resonances.
    2. Outside of speakers, your room has the biggest impact on sound.
    3. I choose to to use bookshelves and a quality subwoofer. There are a couple of reasons for this.
    A) The same money buys a better bookshelf than floor-stander.
    B) If I use a sub and a 80hz crossover point, my power supply doesn't have to work nearly as hard since it is the low frequencies that demand the most power(this is part of the answer to your receiver vs. seperates question).
    C) I can compensate for low frequency problems caused by my room with an inexpensive Behringer Feedback Destroyer.

    4. Power is important, but don't get obsessed with the numbers game.
    1 db = the smallest increase in volume a human can hear
    3 db = a noticeable increase in volume
    10 db = sound is perceived twice as loud

    To get a 3db increase in volume you have to double your power. A 200 watt amplifier only plays 3 db louder than a 100 watt amplifier.

    For example: My L&R main speakers are Studio 40s with a 88 db sensitivity level that means 1 watt will produce 88 db of sound at 1 meter. 2 watts = 91 db, 4 watts = 94db, 8 watts = 97 db, 16 watts = 100 db, 32 watts = 103db, 64 watts = 106, 128 watts = 109db, 256 watts = 112db

    A lot of listening is done between 75 db and 95 db. 100 db sustained for any length of time will cause permanent hearing damage and starts to get painful before too long. Based on this, I only need approximately 2 watts of power!

    Just about any decently designed receiver will do this. External amps tend to have a more robust power supply, better heat sinking, better slew rates, lower THD numbers so they can play louder, longer without clipping or shutting down. They are more stable with low ohm speakers.

    All things being equal, it's better to have too much power than not enough, but don't skimp on the quality of your speakers just to get more power. You'll have more headroom, but I'd prefer to have better speakers with less headroom than more headroom and inferior speakers.

    After saying all this garbage. If I had $3500 to spend on a system and I wanted to move into surround sound. I'm also assuming you have a DVD player and TV. I would do the following:

    Buy $1000 receiver from Denon, Yamaha, or Onkyo. I'd buy the one with the features I liked and that I could get the best deal on.

    Buy SVS or HSU sub for $600

    Speakers...listen, listen, listen and buy the ones you like. This is very subjective, but don't skimp here. I would probably get Studio 20s - $800, CC 470 - $600 and some less expensive ones for surrounds. You can also do 2 pairs of Studio 20s and run a phantom center. Other brands I like and have heard are B&W, Boston, Definitive Technology, Energy, Klipsch. Ascend, Aperion, and Rockets have a good following, but I haven't heard them. Regardless, the Studio 20s are a first rate bargain if you like the sound.

    This will give you surround sound AND a great sounding 2 channel music system. You might have enough left over for a radio shack SPL meter and a BFD so you can equalize your sub.
     
  7. B_r_i_a_n_

    B_r_i_a_n_ Auditioning

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    I just bought a pair of Monitor 5s V.4 and paid way more than $390. I also got a CC-370 V.4. They're nice. They will, however, require that you buy or build stands for them.

    A receiver will be cheaper than a separate pre-amp and amp(s). Most people use receivers and they work just fine. I would, however, consider spending more than $200 on one. If I was looking for a "budget" receiver, the Onkyo TX-SR603 and the Denon AVR-1706 would be the first two that I checked out.

    If you're really gonna spend $3000 then you have lots of options. If you just want a decent system it can be done for less.
     
  8. DevinJC

    DevinJC Stunt Coordinator

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    $3000?

    1 Pair Studio 20s = 800
    1 Pair Studio 20s = 800
    1 CC 470 = 600
    1 SVS PB10 = 400 (might need bigger depending on room size)
    1 Pioneer 1015 = 400

    3000. [​IMG] If you have a narrow room, or small centered seating you could skip the center and maybe shoot for a bigger SVS... or whatever sub.

    Now, you are set for fronts and rears (don't buy the "surrounds aren't as important" theory) and you have a very nice sounding system.

    And it comes with a built in bonus. The upgrade path is laid out for you in the pioneer receiver (thinking about separates? Hey, it's not like you sank a ton into the receiver) and the PB10, cause everybody eventually wants more and more bass for their movies.

    If you like the monitors, chances are you will love the 20s.

    Of course, since I have 2 pairs of 20s, the ADP470s, a massive DIY sub, and the Pioneer 1014 (in the sights of the upgrade gun) I might be biased.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Jacob C

    Jacob C Second Unit

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    I think the 1014 or 1015 will not do those speakers justice. Thats my opinion. Maybe I am on crack but I notice large differences between receivers and their ability to deliver quality sound. (certainly not as large as the differences between speakers) I know that is a great option at its price point and even above that but I would look for something better if I paired it with studios. I think the 1015 would be a match for the Monitor series in terms of performance. That is just my experience.
     
  10. DevinJC

    DevinJC Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah I was going for 3k budget, throw the other 500 in and you could do better for sure on the receiver. I had the 1014 with some old 5ses and atoms for rears... and then heard the 20s, which led to two pair, and then got a deal on the ADPs... so yeah, I've out speakered the hell out the 1014, but it does moderately ok by them. Until the HT budget recoups anyway.

    Speakers age well, receivers get outdated, so one could make do. Plus, the 1014/5 would work in a pinch as pre if a separates bug bites you.

    Or you could lie to yourself and say, I'm going to spend $3500 and be done with this for many years... [​IMG]
     

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