Cambridge Audio S30 or Infinity Primus 163? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 68 Old 09-08-2013, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Both speakers are pretty much the same price. Can't decide.
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post #2 of 68 Old 09-08-2013, 09:57 PM
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To my ears ... The Infinity will play louder with just slightly more dynamics, while the S30 is cleaner and more detailed.

For strait up HT/surround listening the Infinity would be fine. If music listening is also important to you then I would recommend the S30.
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post #3 of 68 Old 09-08-2013, 10:07 PM
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Neither. Check out these Behringer 2031p. $240 a pair. It's big for a bookshelf speaker, but the bass is very good, much better than the p163. I have A/B compared them to the Infinitys. Bass is very solid all the way down to the 50s, whereas the Infinitys lose strength under 70 Hz. It has terrific on and off axis frequency response. It isn't a pretty as the others, but I think it will give you a fuller sound. Especially if you aren't using a subwoofer.
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post #4 of 68 Old 09-09-2013, 08:31 AM
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Nice. I haven't heard of those yet Shadyj. I too have been looking at the speakers in the OP. Another pair I was looking at are the Pinnacle Speakers BD 500. They are usually on sale for $200.

What are best for music listening without a sub?
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post #5 of 68 Old 09-09-2013, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I read a review on Amazon that said that the S30's put the Behringer 2031p to shame.
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post #6 of 68 Old 09-09-2013, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrymb View Post

Both speakers are pretty much the same price. Can't decide.

In my book the S30 has no credentials. Nothing but what look to me like fanboy oohs and ahhs.

For the Primus P163 I have personal experience and a Stereophile review, for its predecessor, which is very similar.

http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/1007inf/







At first blush the P163 has a far bigger woofer, which bodes well for clean bass.

Someone mentioned the B2031 so here is more or less comparable info for it:







The B2031 would appear to have the potential even better bass extension than the P163, which makes sense given the larger bass driver and box. The apparently poorer FR measurement must be due to differences in technique.

I have quite a bit of experience with the active version of the B2031 and it gets a hearty thumbs up from me!

Depending on size, price and availability in your country, you can't go wrong!
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post #7 of 68 Old 09-09-2013, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
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So all the glowing reviews for the S30's are wrong? Not sure I understand what you mean.
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post #8 of 68 Old 09-09-2013, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by jerrymb View Post

So all the glowing reviews for the S30's are wrong?

They are clearly mystery meat for lack of objective confirmation.
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post #9 of 68 Old 09-09-2013, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrymb View Post

I read a review on Amazon that said that the S30's put the Behringer 2031p to shame.

I looked that up, he was talking about the 2030p, not the 2031p. He also called the s30s tonally colored and the Behringers neutral. That's technically a flaw with respect to accuracy, however many people seem to enjoy that coloration. It sounds to me like the s30s may have a frequency response hump in the mids.

The FR for the 2031p above don't really match my experience of them, the rolloff is much too high. I'm guessing that info is for the 2030 as well. Here is a chart for the 2031p:

That reflects my experience with them, good bass down to 50 Hz. Also in my experience they are easier to listen to than the Primus, the Primus tweeter can be a bit fatiguing after awhile. The Primus are good though, no doubt. If you have a Fry's nearby, you can get them for a hell of a bargain when they go one sale, the p163s for 60 each, the p163s 50 each.

Without a subwoofer, get the Behringers. Be aware they are large and heavy though, so they can't be fairly compared to little speakers like the s30s. They have almost four times the woofer surface area of the Cambridge, they will be a hell of a lot more capable in that range.

Here is the only graph of the s30s I can find:


It looks to me that these speakers would have a forward character. That doesn't look awful, but the woofer's breakup definitely shows up in the FR. You would think breakup would be a problem with the 2031's massive woofer but it isn't.
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post #10 of 68 Old 09-09-2013, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by jerrymb View Post

So all the glowing reviews for the S30's are wrong? Not sure I understand what you mean.

He said he hasn't heard them, which means he admitted he doesn't know smile.gif

Speaker choice is ultimately a subjective, aesthetic experience. The P163 and S30 speakers are both very popular, with enough positive testimonials for them on AVS from people that have heard a wide variety of speakers indicating that they are equivalent choices for their price point. Most likely which will be better will come down to your personal listening preferences. I've owned the S30s but not the P163s, and I would bet that short of listening to both of them, you are probably better off just flipping a coin smile.gif
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post #11 of 68 Old 09-09-2013, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Speaker choice is ultimately a subjective, aesthetic experience.

That's your opinion, and of course you are welcome to it! ;-)
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The P163 and S30 speakers are both very popular, with enough positive testimonials for them on AVS from people that have heard a wide variety of speakers indicating that they are equivalent choices for their price point. Most likely which will be better will come down to your personal listening preferences. I've owned the S30s but not the P163s, and I would bet that short of listening to both of them, you are probably better off just flipping a coin smile.gif

The first question I'll test your patience with is:

What does that speaker actually sound like, given that room interactions can change the SQ of a speaker so profoundly?

Second question:

Given that we have newer tools like Audyssey and older tools like parametric and graphic equalizers, how far can we go towards providing the preferred sound with a number of different good speakers?
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post #12 of 68 Old 09-09-2013, 12:28 PM
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Another consideration is the port location. The Infinities are front ported which will give them an edge in placement, so if you don't have 6"+ behind the speaker, or need to put them on a shelf, you may be better off with the P163s.

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post #13 of 68 Old 09-09-2013, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post


What does that speaker actually sound like, given that room interactions can change the SQ of a speaker so profoundly?

Listen nearfield, and you'll find out wink.gif
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Given that we have newer tools like Audyssey and older tools like parametric and graphic equalizers, how far can we go towards providing the preferred sound with a number of different good speakers?

"We" as in who? smile.gif

But I understand what you mean. I often wonder at the value of these AB testing speaker shootouts which try to tease out minor differences between speakers in the same class, since many people will end up "normalizing" the speaker's sonic signature with Audessey. Most of the time people doing such subjective tests are not doing so with different Audyssey profiles ready to enable.

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post #14 of 68 Old 09-09-2013, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

But I understand what you mean. I often wonder at the value of these AB testing speaker shootouts which try to tease out minor differences between speakers in the same class, since many people will end up "normalizing" the speaker's sonic signature with Audessey. Most of the time people doing such subjective tests are not doing so with different Audyssey profiles ready to enable.

+1 In my experience subtle, and sometimes less than subtle, tonal differences between speakers mean less and less because of room correction software like Audyssey or manual EQ'ing. This is part of why I seldom make comments about a speakers' tone - i.e bright, dark, etc..

I typically try to comment on speaker sound qualities that (again, in my experience) are much less affected by EQ and correction software - things like imaging, detail, clarity, dynamics, etc.. And occasionally, as in this case, volume (per my earlier post).
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post #15 of 68 Old 09-10-2013, 07:42 AM
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The B2031 would appear to have the potential even better bass extension than the P163, which makes sense given the larger bass driver and box. The apparently poorer FR measurement must be due to differences in technique.How did you text it.
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post #16 of 68 Old 09-10-2013, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

+1 In my experience subtle, and sometimes less than subtle, tonal differences between speakers mean less and less because of room correction software like Audyssey or manual EQ'ing. This is part of why I seldom make comments about a speakers' tone - i.e bright, dark, etc..

I typically try to comment on speaker sound qualities that (again, in my experience) are much less affected by EQ and correction software - things like imaging, detail, clarity, dynamics, etc.. And occasionally, as in this case, volume (per my earlier post).

I liked your descriptions above smile.gif

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post #17 of 68 Old 09-10-2013, 11:42 AM
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Any thought on Pinnacle Speakers BD 500? Not trying to jack the post but trying to get opinions from folks who know more than I do around speakers. I was looking at the two speakers in the original post along side of the BD500s.

Thanks,

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post #18 of 68 Old 09-10-2013, 11:48 AM
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Any thought on Pinnacle Speakers BD 500? Not trying to jack the post but trying to get opinions from folks who know more than I do around speakers.

Best to search the forum and then start your own thread instead of dropping into another thread about different speakers. smile.gif

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post #19 of 68 Old 09-10-2013, 12:11 PM
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Well that is why I posted here though. I was just trying to throw the BD500s in to the discussion as the other two speakers are on my list. Unfortunately, I am not able to really find info on the BD500s.

I just thought it would be a little redundant to make a post with the title "Cambridge Audio S30 or Infinity Primus 163 or Pinnacle BD500?"
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post #20 of 68 Old 09-10-2013, 12:30 PM
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I have seen a lot of comparisons with the Behringer B2031P, it digs deeper and has a flatter frequency response. I have not read much about Pinnacle speakers, but for my money I would probably take the Infinity P163.

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post #21 of 68 Old 09-10-2013, 01:17 PM
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Even with a sub, I think the Behringers are a bit better than the Primus, their treble isn't as hot. Without a sub, there is no contest, the Behringers. The Primus bass is a lot thinner.
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post #22 of 68 Old 09-10-2013, 06:54 PM
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Well that is why I posted here though. I was just trying to throw the BD500s in to the discussion as the other two speakers are on my list. Unfortunately, I am not able to really find info on the BD500s.

I see you already had a thread here where no one posted knowing about those speakers. So to borrow from Bill Engvall, "There's your sign." wink.gif
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post #23 of 68 Old 09-10-2013, 08:20 PM
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Touché.
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post #24 of 68 Old 09-11-2013, 11:15 AM
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Because the Behringer B2031P speakers are passive would they work best on a receiver without auto correction? I am looking for a pair of speakers for my living room to use on my older Sony receiver, I will not be using a subwoofer in this room. They will only be used for music listening.

That said, I have a 5.1 set up in the tv room (with the newer Sony STR-DN 1040 with auto correction) and would like to have my bookshelf speaker for my living room to used one day to make the system into a 7.1 system.

That said, I gather that the Behringer's are suited more for music listening (with no sub) but would they also work well in the HT setting?

Cheers,

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post #25 of 68 Old 09-11-2013, 11:35 AM
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Passive speakers and auto correction aren't really related. Your receiver should be able to equalize any type of speaker connected to it, passive or active. The Behringers would work just fine for either a music system or home theater system. The only caveat with home theater system is there isn't any dedicated center channel for them, so if you need a horizontal center channel speaker, Infinity might be a good choice for that system as the Primus series have a great center in the c351. On the other hand, if you can accommodate a regular bookshelf speaker as a center speaker, that is actually more optimal from the standpoint of sound quality. Horizontal speakers, ie most center speakers, tend to compromise sound quality for the sake of a convenient form factor.
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post #26 of 68 Old 09-11-2013, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by pieper53 View Post

Because the Behringer B2031P speakers are passive would they work best on a receiver without auto correction?

All speakers work best with AVRs that have effective automatic system tuning facilities. Being passive or active doesn't matter as long as they work with the avr.
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I am looking for a pair of speakers for my living room to use on my older Sony receiver, I will not be using a subwoofer in this room. They will only be used for music listening.

You want the best sounding speakers you can afford, no matter what you listen to. The idea that there are HT speakers and Music speaker is fundamentally flawed.

I guess the presence of the LFE channel on surround recordings makes a sub a more attractive option, but you do know that their are multichannel DVDs that feature music as opposed to drama, again showing that the distinction between music and movies is false.

I can see preferring the Behringers on systems with no sub since they have almost an octave deeper bass than many of the speakers being discussed around here.
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post #27 of 68 Old 09-11-2013, 03:04 PM
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Thanks. I agree with the two replies.

I guess my post could have been clearer. I am looking for speakers for my living room that will be great speakers without a sub (no desire to have a sub in that room). In addition to have them for my "music listening room" I will want to pull them into my HT and use them as additional speakers to my existing 5.1 set up to make it a 7.1 system (either as surrounds or backs).

Thanks.

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post #28 of 68 Old 09-11-2013, 04:35 PM
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I own both speakers, I've heard both speakers, and I gave the P163's to my parents because the S30 sounds better to me.

Performance on a graph is performance on a graph, my opinion on the S30's is so high that I replaced my entire Infinity Primus set (363, 163, 153).

I like the clearer more defined sound of Cambridge Audio, and it wasn't until I did a listening comparison between the Monitor RX-1, and the Paradigm Studio 20's that I heard some of the S30's shortcomings. I think for output the P163 will play louder, I think for sound quality the S30 is very much more appealing to me..

Edit: I agree with ShadyJ about saying the Primus speakers are fatiguing to listen to after a while. I have not had that experienced that with S30's. Both speakers will be missing something unless a subwoofer is added.
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post #29 of 68 Old 09-11-2013, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Valtyr View Post

I like the clearer more defined sound of Cambridge Audio, and it wasn't until I did a listening comparison between the Monitor RX-1, and the Paradigm Studio 20's that I heard some of the S30's shortcomings. I think for output the P163 will play louder, I think for sound quality the S30 is very much more appealing to me.

That's good to hear. It echoes what sdg4vfx described. smile.gif

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post #30 of 68 Old 09-11-2013, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

You want the best sounding speakers you can afford, no matter what you listen to. The idea that there are HT speakers and Music speaker is fundamentally flawed.

That's not entirely true. There are speakers designed for HT usage that have very high sensitivity and very good dynamics that roll off under 80hz because they are designed to be used with a sub in a dedicated HT room for hitting (or coming close to) reference volumes. On the other hand, some people prefer towers instead of mating speakers with a sub for music listening, even though the towers might not have the same sensitivity and dynamics as the HT speakers.

But I would agree that at this price point, the OP should not worry about that.

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