okay so i just finished my latest demo session yesterday! it was even more eye opening than my last session!
Here's the speakers I heard in the order I heard them: (all w/o subs)
PSB Imagine T2
(same room same placement, same amps)
Magnepan 20.7 (idk about the model exactly-i think it was that one)
(same room, mirrored placement, similar amps)
PSB Synchrony 1
Paradigm Signature S8 V5
Dynaudio Contour 5.4
(same room same placement, same amps)
-Dashboard Confessional: So Impossible EP
-Red: The End of Silence
-Jimmy Eat World: Futures
-Dove: Jazz Classics
-Jesus Culture: Awakening Live
Here are some of my overall impressions:
-YOU CANNOT BELIEVE WHAT YOU READ UNTIL YOU HEAR FOR YOURSELF! - Unless you get an opinion that is unbiased and even better an opinion from someone who you know shares your particulars in audio. I can't believe how DIFFERENT the opinions of posters here and elsewhere are from my actual demo experiences - NIGHT AND DAY! It makes me wonder if people are getting paid to give certain opinions or something...and for those thinking I'm off my rocker, I did not audition these alone - my blind uncle who has perfect pitch and is a virtuoso pianist with an acute ability to discern sound was along with me and also echoed many of my concluions - yes we had different LIKES and DISLIKES but how we HEARD each speaker was virtually identical. Granted OPINIONS DIFFER...BUT certain claims i've read are just ridiculously false!
-After hearing all of these speakers I realized that demoing speakers is easier than expected! I thought I would have SUCH a hard time deciphering what I liked - it was not that hard at all
-Also, it was amazing to note that jumping from series w/ in a brand proved to deliver a totally different experience than I had expected. BOTH the imagine to the synchrony and the studio to the signature were NOT improved versions of each other but rather TOTALLY different speakers with their own distinct audio characteristics.
Here are my impressions for each speaker respectively:
-PSB Imagine T2: very good detail but a little too much in your face sound to me - the sax on some songs was too shrill (MUCH smoother and more pleasant on the synchrony 1's), powerful bass with good extension w/o a sub (most bass out of all the speakers)
-Totem Hawk: sounded very STERILE with little character... like a yamaha NS-10 studio monitor pair! NO tactile experience whatsoever with these - i've both read on totem's website and heard people make claims on the forums that they were great with bass extension - i have one question - did they demo them with a subwoofer?! Seriously!!
-Magnepan 20.7: tried these tall slim giants for a kick and they had the most laid back sound presentation out of all of them - the ribbons are certainly the cause for this - my uncle LOVED these b/c of that particular way they sounded - not in your face whatsoever...like you are at a show sitting in the back listening to a performance - that is the impression they give.
-PSB Synchrony 1: Excellent speaker - not too in your face but present enough to be powerful and involving. Definitely a very clear and articulate speaker and one of my favorites. It's amazing how this is NOT an upgraded version of the Imagine T2 - it is an ENTIRELY different speaker! (and a MUCH better one IMO) The voicing of its sonic character was SO different and very beautiful. Jazz sounded EXCELLENT on these babies! This had the cleanest and most articulate and musical bass out of all of them.
-Paradigm Signature S8 V5: now I was expecting a slight upgrade from the studio's for these but that is not what I got. again like the synchrony's, they are a totally different speaker from their younger brothers - the sigs were more laid back and mellow than the studio's and didn't really wow me like the studios did - the sound was very pleasant and detailed but the sound character was not better IMO than the studios.
-Dynaudio Contour 5.4: TERRIBLE! I'm a HUGE dashboard confessional fan and i played track one from so impossible ep and the S's were STABBING me in the ears - they were SO pronounced it was disgustingly distracting from the experience. I hit the stop button after about a minute of play. LOL
Could someone tell me if there's a dynaudio speaker that doesn't sound like this one did? I listened to their studio monitor offerings (bm5aii etc.) and same thing SUPER sharp s's and just terrible painful listening experience! I can't wrap my mind around why people rave about dynaudio speakers (and MANY do) unless they offer a speaker that doesn't do this terrible thing to the listener! lol
Could someone tell me if the totem forest (the only other totem in my price range) has a different sound character than the hawk? Like I described the imagine/synchrony and studio/signature being different beasts - is it the same for the hawk/forest?
Can anyone who has listened to any of my ID possibles who gets a feel for my taste tell me what i may or may not like? It is MUCH easier to demo in store brands but ID is a BIG pain for obvious reasons. I have plans to demo all of the remaining dealer brands except for energy - can't seem to find the veritas v6.3 anywhere near me.
Bottom Line - for price and audio quality the Paradigm Studio 100 V5 is still at the top of my list and has yet to be dethroned by anything else I've listened to thus far! I would say a close second or even possibly a tie in the audio quality department would be the PSB synchrony 1's but they are nearly 2k more per pair!
Paradigm Studio 100 $3500/ /$1475
Energy Veritas V-6.3 $3000/ /1050
Revel F206 $3000/ /
Monitor Audio Gold GX200 $ / /$1800
KEF R700 $ / /$1850
Focal Chorus 836v ($/$2550)/836w $4400/
comparable canton offering - so annoying can't find prices
Axiom Audio M80 V3 (ID)
Pinnacle BD 2000 II $5000/ (used only) (ID)
Aperion Verus Grand (ID)
Ascend Sierra $1900/ (ID)
Salk Song Tower (ID)
Philharmonic 1 Tower (ID)
SVS Ultra Towers $2000 (ID)
Atlantic Technology 8200e LR $3700/ (ID)
THE SEARCH GOES ON!