* I just put together my 7.1 Theater set-up.
Paradigm monitor 11's- Full Towers-
Paradigm Center 3 - Center channel speaker
Paradigm Surround 1'- Rear Surrounds
Paradigm Surround 3- Main surrounds
Velodyne minivee's 8"- Subwoofer-midwoofers
DVDO Edge- 1080p- 36bit Scaler-de-interlacer
Elite 60" LED - Panel
NAD- T187 Pre-amp processor
NAD- T977- 7 channel Class A amplifier 7 X140watts
NAD- C446-Tuner-USB audio player (USB @ 44KHZ audio files)
Oppo-BDP- 103- Bluray- Analog outputs @ 7.1
Mac Mini(2010)- Plex Media Server - Seagate-Hybrid drive 700gb
Mini Stack(Newer Technology) Hard Drive storage @ 3TB
Audio Control-Bijou-Analog surround EQ
Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 tuner DAC
Panamax_SurgeX- Power Protection
Neptune Audio 7 Channel Digital EQ
Yamaha CD changer- Soon to be modded.
technics 100 Disc changer
After a year of putting together my equipment- I can say that the Paradigm Monitor 11 series towers and center channel, have viscerous impact capabilities, that can really punch and throw air when they are required to- The NAD T977 7 channel amp can push my center channel till it taps you on your face- the impact and consistent clarity (low audible distortion at high volumes) can be suspensfull for the 6" drivers the Monitors are equipped with...they really throw alot of air even from 9 feet back!.
The Nad T187- Preamp has a lot of decent features including dual Sub output- 7.1 Analog inputs_(connected to my oppo 103) Separate sub-surround and center adjustments make it that much more pleasant to listen to music when changing volume levels. This preamp is a simple Audio/movie processor- nothing more- it just delivers clear consistent sound. It has input naming capabilities so you can reference what inputs you are using. HD Bluray audio is just as fun to listen to through the T187. It's auto Eq function is great-but like the fact you can go back and tweak the settings onscreen.
The NAD-T977 7 Channel @ 140W RMS_ Is another suprise as to how clear and how much impact it can deliver through the Paradigm Towers and center channel_ it really allows them to punch the air-as I beleive they where designed to do> I can crank the volume to full +5-7 and the amp does not show distortion or clipping?!...not to mention the Paradigm's can go as far as the 977 without a drop in output consistency. Dramatic impact for compact towers. Highs from the amp are smooth and never get shrill or hyper- allowing the paradigms tweeters to perform as they where designed to do.
As you will see in the pics below- I have my Main surrounds placed beside my listening position> something I was concerned about at first-since mounting them on concrete walls was not much of an effort I intended to take. I found that setting the distance setting on the NAD T187 speakers settings to 21FT allows them to...disapear!...I play all my music via DolbyIIx surround--The music remarkably comes out in 3D-(front towers are set to 21FT as well) the end results is...stunning wide sound stage that envelopes you Naturally, natural ambient effects are subtle but believable that pluck and pull on your ears audible senses with a sometimes hipnotic imersivness that doesn't play back too well in standard stereo or other surround modes I've tried. Increasing the volume on the surrounds creates better near field impact dynamics for both left and right channels...by adding delay I've slowed the high freq's freq's arrival so they get to my ears after the low freq's do ...coinciding with music cue's that evidently have convincing impact-given their small 5.5" woofer design, this does not hinder their ability to output full bodied surround sound, that is never perceived as localized.- I would compare the surround effect to listening to a pair of headphones with surround capabilties...they're close to your ears...but the entire room's sound is coming from outside the 4 walls~ My surround rears(paradigms surround 1) also help with surround audio as well and they deliver a sharp and concise sound. I accidentaly dropped one surround and realized how well built they are.
I've found the NAD C446 Tuner is a great tuner to listen to 44khz audio files...despite it's limited capabilities to play Hi-Rez 96khz-192khz audio files> it's on board Dac does not disapoint...delivering an immersive sound-stage with separatiion and articulation that does not delve to much into finer details(as higher end dacs) The material I've enjoyed playing through it ~ 80's funk jazz and club tracks ~ have plenty of drums and instrumental keyboards and guitars...where they all blended together seamlessly in a lively manner- although not crisp and clear as glass- the natural organic sound helps create a more natural "live" vibe effect instead.
* The Velodyne minivee's are more than capable of delivering low freq's bass extention that actually is quite airy and not as boomy as my Kilpch subs I have, but I've realized that they won't fill my room with enough low end without bottoming out ( they drop down to 25HZ-30HZ)...so I've chosen to run them in a bandpass config. crossing them out at 40HZ and then running them through my Digital EQ increasing their output 50-120hz.
This configuration now creates a heavier system response where as drum tracks appear coming from a giant drum set> where the Monitor towers alone would have appeared slightly lighter and thinner sounding ...adding the minivee's now add more presence and weight to all instrumental sounds, filling the entire sound-stage and blending the higher freq's more cohesively. ( although I still require 4 more minivee's to create the full effect> I chose the miivee 8" drivers because of the ability of an 8" driver to respond fast to mid-woofer freq's compared to a 10-12" driver. And feel that they have better articulation at they're playable freq's than a larger driver would be capable of reproducing as dynamically. As so...I still require a Subwoofer (dual) to fill in the low freq's below 50HZ. The minivee's can handle full volumes without major audible distortion, really impressive sound that stays consistently clear and taught , but at the same time stay nimble with differentianting tone on bass plucks that provides a live realism experience in terms of audible weight.
NAD T187 Pre-amp
Nad allows you to name each input for quick reference on it's large VFD display (I like the sharp contrast that VFD's have compared to led units.) HD audio never sounded so fun through the T187.
NAD C446 Tuner
Although this Tuner can't play High Rez files @ 96khz-192khz- It still is a decent tuner with a great sounding dac that doesn't fill unwanted detail to audio. Upsampled mp3 files converted to 16bit 44klhz come close to anything in CD out there without sounding like AM muffled radio. Music is wonderfully portrayed through the DAC. I got this piece for a really good deal @ $300 New> Notice the tiny USB stick on the front panel? it's 32GB from verbatim, and have transfer'd 50 44kkhz audio files onto it, still need to set-up it's wireless capabilities for Internet radio programing and such.
* Note my DAC sound listening tests are analogies of the original signal's characteristics run through the NAD's output dac's @ 7.1.