Upgrading my Paradigms, how does this sound? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 04-17-2012, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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OK I've currenly got a set of Paradigms that date back to the turn of the century. 4x Atoms (v1s or v2s?) CC-120 Center and a PDR-12 that recently rotted out and died (!).

Room is average sized living room not super huge probably 15ftx12ft or something around that range. System mostly used for movies but some music.

I already have a decent receier (Pioneer Elite VSX-03txh). So i just need speakers.

Right now budget is around $2000-$2400. I'm looking at how to get the best bang for the buck and get the biggest upgrade over my older system. I was looking at something like..

Fronts: Paradigm Studio 10s (I believe these are $800 for the pair)

Center: Paradigm CC-490 is $800, there's also the Paradigm SE thats $450 which would help the budget quite a bit. Is that too big of a comprimise tho?

Subwoofer: Epik Empire $900 shipped. I like the HSU VTF-15h as well but thats $100 more and reviews seem somewhat even on these (?). Local HT store had a 'rebel' sub on closeout for $600, not sure of the model probably the B120 or something like that. Not sure how that would compare against the HSU or Epik.

So that's $2400 right there going on the higher costs, plus tax. For rears i was just to do some Paradigm Cinema ADPs. I can get a pair pretty cheap and honestly the Atoms i have for rears now don't do a whole lot. My rear placement isn't optimum as they sit directly above the couch, maybe the dipole ADPs will help with the surround, either way i figure if i gotta go cheap on something its the rears right now.

Any suggestions on that? I haven't committed to anything and while i like Paradigm i'm open to alternatives. I'd just like to keep it at $2000 (+/- a few $$$) or so max. Mainly i'm just hoping for a nice upgrade. I've listend to the studios in store and they do sound great but are they the best bang for the buck?

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post #2 of 34 Old 04-17-2012, 12:41 PM
 
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These speakers do not look good. In fact they are totally UGLY... BUT they will take on and best the speakers you're thinking of.

CMT-340SE and CBM-170SE with CMT-340 SE center

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/

Dave is also the distributor of Brian Dings subs.

Both Dave's speakers and Brian's subs are better product with more accurate sound reproduction than the Paradigms and Epik not to mention the pricing is the same if not slightly CHEAPER for Dave and Brian's wares...
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post #3 of 34 Old 04-17-2012, 12:42 PM
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Have you thought about paradigm's monitor series 7 as you could save some money that way, or get more for your dollar. They were released just a few months back.

I'm sure some other members can chime in with some other suggestions also.
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post #4 of 34 Old 04-17-2012, 12:53 PM
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Monitors are a nice upgrade, ESP floor standing models. I have studio 10s for surround duty along with 20s... If you want to stick with bookshelf type, I recommend the 20s over the 10s. The 20s have the 7" midbass/woofer which gives you great detail and imaging. Only problem is, they blow your budget out which is why you should consider the monitors.
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post #5 of 34 Old 04-17-2012, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I'd like to stay with the bookshelf sized for the fronts if possible, it would be hard (but not impossible) to squeeze in floor standing models where the tv sits now. Wouldn't the floor standng monitor 7s be more than the Studio 10s anyway?

The Studio 20s do look nicer but that would totally burst the bank. Unfortunately you have to draw the line somewhere.. otherwise there's always something better for a few hundred more it seems

I'll look into the ascends as well, thanks for the info.

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post #6 of 34 Old 04-17-2012, 01:31 PM
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You could go with the paradigm mini monitors if you really need bookshelves.
The montior 7's would roughly be the same price as the 10's.
Generally the paradigm dealers will give a discount which can also help with your budget. The 7's do have a small footprint. I hope that helps.
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post #7 of 34 Old 04-17-2012, 01:54 PM
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If your married then I suggest not to buy ugly speakers because the wife will never let you forget it!!!
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post #8 of 34 Old 04-17-2012, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John1400 View Post

You could go with the paradigm mini monitors if you really need bookshelves.
The montior 7's would roughly be the same price as the 10's.
Generally the paradigm dealers will give a discount which can also help with your budget. The 7's do have a small footprint. I hope that helps.


OK i guess i'm confused, how could going with the 7s save money over the 10s then?

Right now I have Atoms, i was hoping for a bit of an upgrade there. Would newer mini-monitors be that much better than my existing (albiet older) Atoms?

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post #9 of 34 Old 04-17-2012, 05:50 PM
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I meant if you really wanted bookshelves and went with mini monitor you would save money as opposed to the 10's, and you would save money with the monitor series center channel rather then the cc490. Also some other members can suggest other names that they have had experiance with and within your budget.
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post #10 of 34 Old 04-17-2012, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solid-State View Post

These speakers do not look good. In fact they are totally UGLY... BUT they will take on and best the speakers you're thinking of.

CMT-340SE and CBM-170SE with CMT-340 SE center

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/

Dave is also the distributor of Brian Dings subs.

Both Dave's speakers and Brian's subs are better product with more accurate sound reproduction than the Paradigms and Epik not to mention the pricing is the same if not slightly CHEAPER for Dave and Brian's wares...

Plus one on this setup! Check out the link. I was considering replacing my Monitor 9's with the Studio series but will keep what I have and replace my aging surrounds instead with possibly the ascend's.

Jeff
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post #11 of 34 Old 04-18-2012, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
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OK thanks for the heads up on Ascend they seem to rate very well against the Paradigms.. for less money even.

So now the question is, do i do the CMT-340s ($868 for the Trio) or the Sierras? ($1286) The Sierras would be harder on the budget but not insanely so and they'd be cheaper than the combo of the Studio 10s and the CC-490. If i'm reading the general consensus right, the sierras should best those particular paradigms?

Also on the rears.. i really, really want a dipole speaker for that given my setup. Ascend doesn't offer anything like that. I'm a big proponent of matched speakers but how awful would the sierras do with some Paradigm ADPs for rears? Honestly its just for movies.. i don't do much Quadraphonic music or anything.. would that just be awfully imbalanced?

The only other option would be one of the SVS sets. Theire SCS-02 set is $950 shipped which is a decent savings under ascend. Plus it comes with the matched dipole rears. But how much would that setup give up over the sierras or even the CMT-340s?

Thanks in advance!

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post #12 of 34 Old 04-20-2012, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Recap - 75% Movies / 25% Music. Small - Medium sized living room. Due to rears placement prefer bi/dipoles. Already have decent receiver (Pioneer Elite vsx-03xh) Budget around $2000 (+/-) Can do towers instead of bookshelves but they can't be super huge.

OK reading all of these reviews, threads and recommendations over the last week has literally started to make my head spin. No matter what you pick there's reasons to pick something else or another direction to go in, etc. etc. etc. After awhile you just gotta make a decision.

Here's what I've pretty much narrowed it down to:

SVS SCS-02(M) 5.0 SYSTEM: $949. Upside - Cheap, bipole surrounds. Plenty of budget to add a nice sub. Downside - Reviews are positive but seems like there might be better options. Movie dialogue is somewhat quiet off the center? (I hate that!)

Ascend Sierra 1: (Sierra L/C/R) $1342. Upside - Well reviewed, probably better for music. Comprable to Paradigm Studios which I like. Downside - Need to add non-matching Bipole rears (Cheap Paradigm ADPs probably to stay within budget). Ported design might make placement problematic (but not impossible). Might have to step down to a $600 price range sub. I could do the CMT340s instead but figure if you are going to do ascend, go for the sierras.

Emotiva X-Ref Series: (X-Ref 6.2 Tower, 6.2 Center, 4.2 Bipole Rears) $1485 on sale Upside: Due to pricing can do a tower instead of bookshelves which will hopefully be better for music. Reviews seem to be good from magazines/mainstream sources. Matched bipole rears. Downside: Are they as good as the Ascend/paradigm combo above? Would once again probalby have to make due with a $600ish sub to stay in budget. Have read some less than stellar stuff on the X-Refs being a step down from previous speakers in their line.

For subs i'm looking at something from Hsu, SVS, Outlaw or Epik. Model (and price) depending on which speaker set i go with.

Anyway that's where I'm at. Paradigm kinda slipped off list because it seems like brands like Ascend have better value for money and i'm all about that. (would these SVS/Emotivas compare against the paradigms tho?) I know there's no substitute for listening to them in-person but with these all being internet companies that's not possible (theres always returns).. so just appealing to the avs folks what do you think? Sound Quality is important but so is wow factor and i definitely want to surpass my old Paradigm setup.. I've been out of the HT loop for a decade so i figure that shouldn't be too hard with any of these?

Thanks in advance guys!

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post #13 of 34 Old 04-21-2012, 12:45 PM
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Reviews are one thing... Listening to them yourself is entirely different. I'll encourage people to listen before pulling the trigger.
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post #14 of 34 Old 04-21-2012, 01:51 PM
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Best to factor in your room size for your sub budget. Sub performance is heavily related to the total cubic volume of the room. In their reviews, Audioholics rated the SVS P12-NSD and Outlaw LFM-1 EX as good for rooms up to 5,000 cubic feet (the HSU VTF-3 MK4 would be in that class--HSU rated the VTF-3 MK3 as good in rooms up to 6,000 cubic feet). If your room is maybe 3,500 or less, then the HSU VTF-3 MK4, Epik Legend, Rythmik FV12, or Outlaw LFM-1 Plus would probably be fine. Of course more doesn't hurt

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post #15 of 34 Old 04-21-2012, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venomous View Post

Reviews are one thing... Listening to them yourself is entirely different. I'll encourage people to listen before pulling the trigger.

Yeah definitely, but since these are all speakers from internet based companies that's kinda difficult

I was mainly hoping somebody that is familiar with those 3 sets could at least give some personal thoughts on which one might have the best performance for the money. Obviously it's all subjective, but when direct evaluation is impossible getting an opinion from somebody that has heard 1 or 2 of these is the next best thing.

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post #16 of 34 Old 04-21-2012, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Best to factor in your room size for your sub budget. Sub performance is heavily related to the total cubic volume of the room. In their reviews, Audioholics rated the SVS P12-NSD and Outlaw LFM-1 EX as good for rooms up to 5,000 cubic feet (the HSU VTF-3 MK4 would be in that class--HSU rated the VTF-3 MK3 as good in rooms up to 6,000 cubic feet). If your room is maybe 3,500 or less, then the HSU VTF-3 MK4, Epik Legend, Rythmik FV12, or Outlaw LFM-1 Plus would probably be fine. Of course more doesn't hurt

Yeah with those setups i was thinking about either the Epik Legend or one of the cheaper VTF units. I want a good punch but it doesn't need to blast the windows out. I'm sure either of those will offer more than the old Paradigm sub I had.. and that was pretty decent.

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post #17 of 34 Old 04-21-2012, 09:31 PM
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Yeah with those setups i was thinking about either the Epik Legend or one of the cheaper VTF units. I want a good punch but it doesn't need to blast the windows out. I'm sure either of those will offer more than the old Paradigm sub I had.. and that was pretty decent.

One advantage to the VTFs is that they have maximum extension modes which gives them fairly flat output down into the teens in hz. So you'd get a little improvement out of one of them for HT. I think even the new PDR12 is only rated down to 25hz.

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post #18 of 34 Old 04-24-2012, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
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One advantage to the VTFs is that they have maximum extension modes which gives them fairly flat output down into the teens in hz. So you'd get a little improvement out of one of them for HT. I think even the new PDR12 is only rated down to 25hz.

Yeah i'm probably leaning that way on the sub. It's not a huge area so probably any of those would be fine.

I'm still debating with the SVS vs. Emotiva vs. Ascend for the mains! It's a hard decision. Go with the set or the unmatched ascends.. hmmmm

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post #19 of 34 Old 04-24-2012, 05:02 PM
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If you must have bipole surrounds then I'd get the SVS. I wouldn't mix the front sets with surrounds from another brand. Having said that if you're looking for the most accurate sound that plays reasonably loud you'd want those Sierras. Also check out Hsu's horn bookshelves offerings since you're more interested in HT.
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post #20 of 34 Old 04-24-2012, 06:28 PM
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[quote=numsixof1;21932252]Recap - 75% Movies / 25% Music. Small - Medium sized living room. Due to rears placement prefer bi/dipoles. Already have decent receiver (Pioneer Elite vsx-03xh) Budget around $2000 (+/-) Can do towers instead of bookshelves but they can't be super huge.

With the bias toward HT look at high sensitivity speakers for the dynamic capability. If your listening distance is 13' and you want to listen to your HT with 95db peaks at the seats (10db below reference) you will need 64 watts to get there with a 86db sensitive speaker. You will only need 32 watts with a 89db sensitive speaker and only 16 watts with a 92db sensitive speaker. While most AVR's can provide 64 watts, you will be near the limit for most AVR's. Trying to get 3db more out of the 86db sensitive speaker would require 128 watts. Now you are just upping distortion. These calculations also do not take power compression or headroom into account. Both of those can cost you several db's.

It all comes down to what performance you want out of your system. You do not have to spend a fortune to get a high performance HT system, you just have to know what it takes to get to the performance level that you want and then shop for products that can meet the performance requirements. If you wish to discuss farther, shoot us an email.

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post #21 of 34 Old 04-24-2012, 06:48 PM
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+1 to look at the HSU bookshelf HB1's and the HC1. I recommend them highly, which means they still make me smile.... , and are the most budget friendly. Especially in the packages they offer, If you are already thinking about one of their subs. Give them a call , and Pete will mix and match whatever you need. Their customer service is top notch... as is their product.
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post #22 of 34 Old 04-24-2012, 07:20 PM
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How about I stir the pot and further confuse you? LOL

I just got the Energy VS Surround to go with my RC-50s and RC-LCR, and it is not a perfect match, but a very close match (it even looks very similar to the components in the RC-LCR). Sounds great. Some combination of that bipole/diploe and either the Energy RC series or the Veritas series (for the perfect match) for L/R/C could be a very good option for you. Vanns has been known to give small discounts if you call in (best place to buy Energy), so you might even be able to get a discount over their current prices. You can ask questions about different combinations in the Energy owners thread.

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post #23 of 34 Old 04-25-2012, 05:34 AM
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I just recently went through a like process although moving up from Studio 20's (v3). In a matter of a couple months I went from the 20's to 60's to what I eventually have which is the Studio 100's (v5). I also have a Servo 15. As part of this I did audition the Ascends (Siera-1).

I preferred the 20's over the Seira-1. To me they just gave a fuller sound. The Siera-1 still sounded very good and Ascend customer service was excellent. I thought it was a good use of $40 (return shipping cost) to try out and return the Ascends. I liked the look of the 20's as the Ascends were too boxy for my tastes.

I would also add that I really didn't see much difference between the 20s & 60s when paired with the Servo 15. I do majority of listening with TV/Home Theater.

I would echo what many people here say - if you get a good sub to go with your bookshelves then that is sufficient.

As for the 100s - I've always wanted the big tower look (call it a mid-life crisis my wife tolerated) so am loving those.

Lastly - consider buying used. I sold my 20's and they were in perfect condition. Likewise I bought my 100's used and they are in perfect condition.
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post #24 of 34 Old 04-26-2012, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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If you must have bipole surrounds then I'd get the SVS. I wouldn't mix the front sets with surrounds from another brand. Having said that if you're looking for the most accurate sound that plays reasonably loud you'd want those Sierras. Also check out Hsu's horn bookshelves offerings since you're more interested in HT.

That was my biggest concern. How big of a deal would it be having unmatched rears? Would an unmatched set of sierras be better than say the SVS set of matched?

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post #25 of 34 Old 04-27-2012, 04:19 AM
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Quote:
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That was my biggest concern. How big of a deal would it be having unmatched rears? Would an unmatched set of sierras be better than say the SVS set of matched?

It's hard to say without listening to the actual setup itself. Some mixed setups are successes while others failures. Are you going to be running Audyssey or some kind of freq correction with your receiver? If so then I think you can get away with mixed setup. Like I said the Ascends are some of the most accurate home speakers on the planet so you can always use them for a pure music system later.
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post #26 of 34 Old 04-30-2012, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
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As for the 100s - I've always wanted the big tower look (call it a mid-life crisis my wife tolerated) so am loving those.

Lastly - consider buying used. I sold my 20's and they were in perfect condition. Likewise I bought my 100's used and they are in perfect condition.

I'd love some 100s but there's just no way i'm finding that in my budget. I keep an eye out for local used but most of the paradigms that show up are as old as mine so kinda pointless there.

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post #27 of 34 Old 04-30-2012, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
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OK i'm going to give up on the dipole speakers, it's just easier to go with a matching set.

I think i'm going to go with the Ascends w/HTM-200s for rears.

One final question.. with a $2200ish budget in mind which sounds better -

Sierra-1 LCRs and a $500ish sub (like the Outlaw LFM-1 Plus which is on sale for $500 shipped)

*OR*

CMT-340 LCRs and a nicer ($800-$1k sub.. like a VTF-15H.)

I'm thinking the sierra is the better way to go as my room isn't all that large and I'm sure the HSU designed outlaw should be plenty sufficient?

I'd imagine either setup should be better than my aging atoms.

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post #28 of 34 Old 05-01-2012, 06:45 AM
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Go with the CMT-340. Way more efficient and suitable for HT.
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post #29 of 34 Old 05-01-2012, 11:04 AM
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For home theater I would go with the CMT's and the better sub. Those are GREAT speakers and $800 can buy you one heck of a sub!!

If it was music.....I would go the Sierra tower route....
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post #30 of 34 Old 05-03-2012, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
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CMT-340s do seem like the best bet but wife really, really, really wants the better music quality. Plus the whole ported thing is rearing its head as with some measuring looks like the center is going to be really close to the wall as my shelf isn't that deep.

Without plugs i don't think i could do the CMT-340s at all which sucks but I'd have to otherwise completely reconfigure my HT setup, but a new entertainment rack, etc and that would just blow the budget nutso high.

Other option would be a sealed speaker but the ascends look pretty attractive. They seem to get a lot more love than the runners up.. the SVS set or the Emotivas. So i'm still thinking the plugged sierras might be the option.

Why does this always have to be so complicated, sometimes i wish i could just goto best buy and buy whatever crap magnolia is selling and be happy like your average schlub. OK Maybe not, but at least it's simpler.

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