Audition # 7SVS MTS', Onix Rocket 850 Signature's and Paradigm Studio 100 V4's (floor standing speakers)
The reason I've waited so long to post a little review of the three above speakers is because they weren't compared in the same manner as the bookshelf speakers. The bookshelf speakers both sat on the same stands and were placed at the same position with the same amount of toe in. The same cannot be said about the tower's. The tower's remained in their spots all day/night, with the Rocket's taking the inside, the Paradigms hanging in the middle and the MTS' residing at the edges. It should also be noted that there was a bass null at the seating position. This was somewhat cured by moving the couch all the way against the wall, but very early into the GTG the couch was moved forward again to provide a second walk way, hence introducing that bass null again (FYI, the bass null seemed to not
come into play while listening to the bookshelf speakers, perhaps due to the different speaker positioning and room interaction). Due to all of this the sound was going to be greatly effected by all of this, but it was what it was.
In lieu of the above I will post this disclaimer:The following opinion is mine and only mine and should not even be considered worthy of an honest opinion. This is due to the different speaker positions, toe in and listening distances, so results may certainly vary. Nonetheless I will give my thoughts, if nothing else just to keep a record of my impressions.
SVS MTS Floor Standing Speaker
I first listened to these speakers in Warpdrv's room on the Friday before the GTG. Yes, his bedroom.
But it's okay because his master chef girlfriend was there to ensure nothing kinky happened. LOL! J/K
Upon first listening to the MTS' they didn't jump out at me at all. While sitting in the sweet spot they sounded dull and very uninvolving. I thought that it was probably because the tweeter was below ear level and because the speakers were fairly close to the back wall. Nonetheless I was left alone to listen to my own personal audition CD of which I stopped about 8 minutes through. These speakers just weren't "doing it" for me, so I decided to wait until Sunday to give a real listen.
Sunday arrived, and after giving the guests a quick listen to the MTS' in his room, Warprdv moved them into the basement with the rest of the goodies. This did improve the sound, but not as much as I would have hoped.
The first track we listened to (that I remember) was Copland's ''Fanfare for the Common Man.'' I thought that the SVS MTS' portrayed this piece better than the other tower speakers. It could have been due to their positions, I don't know, but I was shocked and remembered saying to Warpdrv, "Your bedroom acoustics must have been why these SVS' sounded so bad." However, I had to get my foot out of my mouth at the end of the night because no other musical piece sounded natural or correct to my ears on the MTS', especially rock and roll (which is my favorite genre ranging from Led Zeppelin and the Who to Dream Theater and Metallica). The SVS' were just unpredictable and sounded both harsh and dull at times depending on the Rock artist. They sounded boring and unengaging with The Eagles, and piercing and shrill with Dream Theater. At times they were downright unlistenable for me.
In the end, the SVS', which fell into the middle of the group for price, ended up being the least preferred (by me). There were a lot of factors that could have played a role in why they sounded so bad, but in that room on that day, the SVS' were not my cup of tea. The tweeter was unpredictable, ranging from laid back to ear piercingly bright. The midrange sounded recessed and muffled which caused a loss of detail. Finally, the bass was deep with an impactful feeling (probably the only thing I liked about the MTS'). But 1 out of 3 just didn't do it for me.
Not recommended as I can certainly think of a number of speakers that I like better in that price range.Onix Rocket 850 Signature Floor Standing Speaker
I'll keep this review as unbiased as possible (because I own them). For the price ($1400/pair), they outperformed the SVS' and tied the Paradigm's IMO. I liked some things about the Paradigms better, but some things about the Rocket's better (more on the Digm's later).
The bass null in the room greatly effected the bass response of these speakers. Although, even when the couch was against the wall, the Onix speakers seemed a little light in the bass depth. It could have been the speaker positioning, room acoustics and that bass null, but I tell it like I heard it. Due to this the Rocket's sounded a little brighter than when I heard them in my home and a few other owner's homes. In this room on that day, they probably would have benefited from zero toe-in. Nonetheless, the tweeter wasn't piercingly bright, but rather walked the line in between just right and a little too bright.
The Onix Rocket's strength was the midrange, IMO. The midrange detail surpassed the SVS MTS' and the Paradigm Studio 100's. No detail was overlooked while focusing on the human voice. I heard every breath, each lip smack and a nicely balanced vocal tone. While not the most resolving, full and lush midrange I've ever heard, it's tied for the best I've heard on a pair of speakers retailing for $1400 or less and is definitely the selling point of these (big) guys. I now know why they perform so well for home theater.
Compared to the rest of the speakers at the GTG, the Rocket's were the most dynamic. Even with the dB level in the 90's these big dogs never whimpered and just continued to flex their muscles, almost saying in a taunting tone, "bring it on!" They also sounded pretty darn good at lower levels, losing some bass impact, though. I've discovered that these speakers don't push a heck of a lot of air through the back ports, so near wall placement isn't an issue and may actually help with the bass response. IN comparison to the bass response of the Digm's, the Rocket's bass is tight and quick as opposed to boomy.
Finally, I felt that the 850 Sig's were easily the best looking speakers at the GTG. The Rosewood finish was just dead sexy (yes, a speaker can be sexy...
)! I honestly would have preferred a solid black driver color, but the white isn't terribly distracting, and I listen with the grills on anyway, so... These speakers are solidly made, but could have possibly been dampened a little better.
In the end, the Rocket's performed wonderfully, especially considering they were the least expensive floor standing speaker at the GTG. I wish they had a little more bass depth and impact, but that's just how they sounded that day in that room. All of the Floor Standing speakers could have benefited from crossing over to a capable subwoofer (yes, all of them).
The Rocket's are definitely recommend, especially considering the price you pay for a good sounding speaker with a high quality construction and look. I consider them the Paradigm's of Internet Direct. Cross them over to a subwoofer and they are even more impressive!Paradigm Studio 100 V.4 Floor Standing Speaker
The Studio 100 is a great speaker; something I've already made clear earlier in my speaker thread. However, this time I was able to put some time in with the V4 rather than the V3, with the former benefiting from a new midrange driver.
As previously noted in my former Studio 100 thread, the Digm is a fairly balanced and accurate speaker with a slight bass hump. I feel that crossing over to a capable sub would be beneficial because that bass hump caused some loss of midrange detail. However, the midrange was lush and engaging and the treble was well extended and airy, though sometimes walking that fine line of being too bright. This could have been due to the room acoustics and speaker placement, however.
While listening to this speaker I again noticed that bass null I spoke of earlier. Up in Warp's main listening area (and in the well treated A/V shop in which I auditioned the Studio 100 V3's) the Digm's had more bass in 2-channel. Down stairs the bass was less pronounced but still noticeable. In fact, in my opinion the speaker's may have actually benefited a little from the bass null because the bass wasn't as boomy and overpowering. I do like powerful bass impact, but not at the expense of a loss of details. If the bass was a little tighter I feel that I wouldn't have had to strain to hear low level details and nuances. Again, crossing over to a subwoofer would probably be beneficial.
When it was all said and done I was still impressed with the Paradigm Studio 100's. However, due to the bland look (just not my style) and more than double the cost of the Rocket 850's, I can not highly recommend them over the Onix's. Is the treble a little more refine on the Digm's? Yes. Does the bass dig deeper? Yes, but at the expense of loss of detail. However, is it worth the price increase of $1400? I'd have to say no. Don't get me wrong, the Digm's are a terrific speaker, but I do feel the asking price is a little steep. I guess you can thank the markup of B&M for that, something that ID doesn't suffer from.
The Paradigm Studio 100's are definitely recommended, but I'd recommend purchasing used or finagling with the dealer for a hefty discount.