Paradigm Premier 7.1 Speaker System & Defiance X15 Sub Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 41 Old 08-06-2019, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Paradigm Premier 7.1 Speaker System & Defiance X15 Sub Review

As Canada's premier speaker maker, Paradigm enjoys an enviable reputation for making both affordable high-performance speakers and cost-no-object super speakers. It is also justifiably famous for making some of the most powerful subs sold to consumers. This review is about a 7.1 system comprising the company's Premier speakers and Defiance X15 subwoofer, which make for a potent combo by any standard.

Click here to read the review.
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post #2 of 41 Old 08-06-2019, 07:42 AM
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Nice review, thank you! I've got a quick question regarding your description of the center
Channel speaker...the 600c.

You refer to the speaker as having 6 drivers, 4 "active" and 2 "passive".
I've always thought of an active speaker as one with its own power amp that
You plug into the wall, Or are the "passive" drivers just "passive radiators"?

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post #3 of 41 Old 08-06-2019, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by grasshoppers View Post
Nice review, thank you! I've got a quick question regarding your description of the center
Channel speaker...the 600c.

You refer to the speaker as having 6 drivers, 4 "active" and 2 "passive".
I've always thought of an active speaker as one with its own power amp that
You plug into the wall, Or are the "passive" drivers just "passive radiators"?
Just passive radiators.

I see the language I chose is confusing, will change from "active" to "powered" and add "radiator" to "passive"... thx for flagging that.

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post #4 of 41 Old 08-06-2019, 09:10 AM
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I have never correlated Paradigm with "bang for the buck", but this Premier line seems impressive based on what I've seen so far.

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post #5 of 41 Old 08-06-2019, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
I have never correlated Paradigm with "bang for the buck", but this Premier line seems impressive based on what I've seen so far.
My Paradigm 7.1 system uses Titan V2 speakers all around and a C-170 if I remember. The system was known at the time for being high value or Bang for the buck. The satellite speakers were $200 a pair.

Reading this review... I'm glad I bought my Paradigm's back in the year 2000. (Even though I have to re do the foam surrounds now... they are all disintegrating.)
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post #6 of 41 Old 08-06-2019, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Hampton View Post
My Paradigm 7.1 system uses Titan V2 speakers all around and a C-170 if I remember. The system was known at the time for being high value or Bang for the buck. The satellite speakers were $200 a pair.

Reading this review... I'm glad I bought my Paradigm's back in the year 2000. (Even though I have to re do the foam surrounds now... they are all disintegrating.)
Based on measurements and reviews I've seen of the 800F towers, I think you're getting a more refined speaker than what they had back in the day. I nearly spent $6k for a pair about 12 years ago. So value seems to have increased.

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post #7 of 41 Old 08-06-2019, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
Based on measurements and reviews I've seen of the 800F towers, I think you're getting a more refined speaker than what they had back in the day. I nearly spent $6k for a pair about 12 years ago. So value seems to have increased.
It seems to me that many of Paradigm's speakers used to measure quite well, but their newer models not so much.


For example, here are some older models that measured quite well:

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/me...m_studio20_v3/

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/me..._studio100_v3/

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/me..._signature_s8/


And here are some newer models that do not measure so well:

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...nts&Itemid=153

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...nts&Itemid=153

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...nts&Itemid=153


Look how much smoother the listening window curve is in the older Studio series vs. their newer Premier, Prestige and Persona series.

It's too bad. I used to love Paradigm.
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These need an Anthem MRX

I’d bet this system would sound much better with an MRX receiver. That way it could be tuned using ARC.
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post #9 of 41 Old 08-06-2019, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by buckchester View Post
It seems to me that many of Paradigm's speakers used to measure quite well, but their newer models not so much.


For example, here are some older models that measured quite well:

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/me...m_studio20_v3/

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/me..._studio100_v3/

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/me..._signature_s8/


And here are some newer models that do not measure so well:

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...nts&Itemid=153

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...nts&Itemid=153

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...nts&Itemid=153


Look how much smoother the listening window curve is in the older Studio series vs. their newer Premier, Prestige and Persona series.

It's too bad. I used to love Paradigm.
Hmm. They looked pretty good here.

https://www.audioholics.com/tower-sp...00f/conclusion

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post #10 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 04:04 AM
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Originally Posted by buckchester View Post
Look how much smoother the listening window curve is in the older Studio series vs. their newer Premier, Prestige and Persona series.
And yet the newer series actually sound much better! I, for one, am glad Paradigm stopped chasing flat anechoic response and started voicing their speakers to sound good in-room. They were good before, now they are great. Yes, it's 100% a design decision. Paradigm has top notch engineering talent and measuring facilities, they didn't suddenly start 'failing' at designing speakers as some folks would have you believe.

RE: Paradigm not being a great value, that can be true if you pay retail. Paradigm dealers will typically give you a 15-20% (or more) discount just for asking. My 85F/55C setup, for example, lists at 5600 but the dealer let them go for 4200. That's fairly normal for Paradigm.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckchester View Post
Look how much smoother the listening window curve is in the older Studio series vs. their newer Premier, Prestige and Persona series.
And yet the newer series actually sound much better! I, for one, am glad Paradigm stopped chasing flat anechoic response and started voicing their speakers to sound good in-room. They were good before, now they are great. Yes, it's 100% a design decision. Paradigm has top notch engineering talent and measuring facilities, they didn't suddenly start 'failing' at designing speakers as some folks would have you believe.

RE: Paradigm not being a great value, that can be true if you pay retail. Paradigm dealers will typically give you a 15-20% (or more) discount just for asking. My 85F/55C setup, for example, lists at 5600 but the dealer let them go for 4200. That's fairly normal for Paradigm.
Perhaps they intended the sound signatures they achieved, or perhaps it was a by-product of the look they were going for.

In any event, it doesn't really matter because there is a 99% correlation between objective measurements and listener preference. This has been proven by scientific studies created by Dr. Floyd Toole.

This means that 99% of people will prefer the speakers that measure more well under properly conducted blind listening tests. More well meaning the speaker that has a smoother, flatter frequency response.

You may have conducted your own sighted listening tests. But those have been proven to contain all sorts of hidden biases that can affect one's judgement. Under blind tests, it is highly probable that you would prefer the speakers that have superior measurements.
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post #12 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 05:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Perhaps they intended the sound signatures they achieved, or perhaps it was a by-product of the look they were going for.

In any event, it doesn't really matter because there is a 99% correlation between objective measurements and listener preference. This has been proven by scientific studies created by Dr. Floyd Toole.

This means that 99% of people will prefer the speakers that measure more well under properly conducted blind listening tests. More well meaning the speaker that has a smoother, flatter frequency response.

You may have conducted your own sighted listening tests. But those have been proven to contain all sorts of hidden biases that can affect one's judgement. Under blind tests, it is highly probable that you would prefer the speakers that have superior measurements.
While I agree with the science, this all ignores the reality that a well-designed speaker is ultimately going to be subservient to the room (well, Toole does not ignore the room, obviously, but in terms of THIS discussion). These speakers sound good and measure well, so there's no point in having yet another long-winded discussion about the validity of blind tests because... The reality is no consumer is going to install the necessary turntable and put in the necessary controls and execute proper scienctific blind speaker testing in their living room.

The reality of measurements posted my reviewers is they are not ultra-precise. Unless taken in a huge anechoic chamber with a mic and robotic automation to enable the hundreds of measurements needed to reduce measurement errors, they will never be precise. Those charts should include some qualifier, like a margin of error.

So anyhow please, feel free to judge speakers based on charts. There surely is correlation and for folks who enjoy reading them, it's an easy way to sort through speakers to create a "short list" for auditioning. I'm not flying some subjective flag here, I'm just saying that the "Floyd Toole 101" lecture a stale conversation and that if a speaker is fundamentally a decent design you can move on and consider other things like personal taste and budget and aesthetics and also raw capability, i.e. output and extension... and not dwell of dispersion characteristics and exactly what kind of response curve the speaker has because this is not 2-channel "purist" audio and we've got bass management and room correction in the mix. Plus here we're judging a whole system not a single pair of speakers.
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post #13 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 06:02 AM
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While I agree with the science, this all ignores the reality that a well-designed speaker is ultimately going to be subservient to the room (well, Toole does not ignore the room, obviously, but in terms of THIS discussion). These speakers sound good and measure well, so there's no point in having yet another long-winded discussion about the validity of blind tests because... The reality is no consumer is going to install the necessary turntable and put in the necessary controls and execute proper scienctific blind speaker testing in their living room.

The reality of measurements posted my reviewers is they are not ultra-precise. Unless taken in a huge anechoic chamber with a mic and robotic automation to enable the hundreds of measurements needed to reduce measurement errors, they will never be precise. Those charts should include some qualifier, like a margin of error.

So anyhow please, feel free to judge speakers based on charts. There surely is correlation and for folks who enjoy reading them, it's an easy way to sort through speakers to create a "short list" for auditioning. I'm not flying some subjective flag here, I'm just saying that the "Floyd Toole 101" lecture a stale conversation and that if a speaker is fundamentally a decent design you can move on and consider other things like personal taste and budget and aesthetics and also raw capability, i.e. output and extension... and not dwell of dispersion characteristics and exactly what kind of response curve the speaker has because this is not 2-channel "purist" audio and we've got bass management and room correction in the mix. Plus here we're judging a whole system not a single pair of speakers.


I don’t think it is a stale conversation because most people have no idea about the science in audio. There are many opinions on what products sound best, but very few facts. Because of this, most people are confused when making decisions on what gear to buy.

Not sure I understand your comments related to room acoustics. If you’re trying to say it doesn’t matter how speakers really sound since the room will alter their sound anyways, then I guess all bets are off, so what are we all doing here?

The fact is, above the room transition frequency (~200-500hz), it is the direct sound of the speaker that dominates our perception of how it sounds. Below the room transition frequency, we do need bass management to make any speaker (or sub sound good).

Those links I provided are measurements that were done in an anechoic chamber, which are extremely accurate. How they measure above the room transition frequency shows exactly how they will sound in any room.

Your review concludes that these speakers sound good. But I guess my point is - compared to what? Well, not compared to Paradigm’s older models. That is a good point to make, in my opinion.
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Your review concludes that these speakers sound good. But I guess my point is - compared to what? Well, not compared to Paradigm’s older models. That is a good point to make, in my opinion.
Ahh, and that's the key point. It's just your opinion that the older speakers sound better. I've been running Paradigms for ~20 years, and my opinion is that the new ones sound much better. If you want to disagree that's fine, I respect your opinion, but please don't try to present it as fact.

Paradigm knows more about speaker engineering than you or I, and it's simply silly to dismiss the measurements as a byproduct of product styling.
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post #15 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 06:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I don’t think it is a stale conversation because most people have no idea about the science in audio. There are many opinions on what products sound best, but very few facts. Because of this, most people are confused when making decisions on what gear to buy.

Not sure I understand your comments related to room acoustics. If you’re trying to say it doesn’t matter how speakers really sound since the room will alter their sound anyways, then I guess all bets are off, so what are we all doing here?

The fact is, above the room transition frequency (~200-500hz), it is the direct sound of the speaker that dominates our perception of how it sounds. Below the room transition frequency, we do need bass management to make any speaker (or sub sound good).

Those links I provided are measurements that were done in an anechoic chamber, which are extremely accurate. How they measure above the room transition frequency shows exactly how they will sound in any room.

Your review concludes that these speakers sound good. But I guess my point is - compared to what? Well, not compared to Paradigm’s older models. That is a good point to make, in my opinion.
Yes, my point is people get too bogged down in charts and the "science debate" when pagmatically speaking, the speaker subjectively performs well.

I get that endless drill-down chart-based comparisons are a thing here, and I respect that and there's much to learn from it, so carry on.

My position is that pragmatically speaking, attention paid to setup is the key to good sound in most cases. It certainly is once you've obtained reasonably good speakers and start working with EQ and room correction etc.

Anyhow, it was the fine folks at Harman (now Samsung) who noted that taking and averaging just a few measurements in a chamber like the NRC's will yield errors as large as 3 dB variation, versus their robotic measurement system that can execute hundreds of repeatable measuremnts in their much larger chamber, which is right next to their turntable system for blind speaker testing.

I've visited both facilities and the NRC chamber is small and a bit "long in tooth" IMO, as compared to what Harman (Samsung) is working with.

Anyhow, I do not know how these speakers would fare in blind tests versus older Paradigms. You can postulate based on charts but it's all hypothetical unless you can get the speakers in question into a facility where you can run blind A/B tests with proper controls. It's simply not clear to me if the measurements you linked to are fully predictive of how people would respond to such a test; even if it is a good hypothesis, it's not proven.
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post #16 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 07:00 AM
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Paradigm’s older models have superior measurements.

There is a 99% correlation between objective measurements and listener preference.

The measurements done at the NRC are not as detailed as those done by Harman. However, they are accurate enough to be able to infer listener preferences in many cases. Especially when there is as much difference as we see in the Studio 100 measurement vs. the Prestige 95F measurement.

I don’t see any anechoic measurements for the 800F, but we do have one for the 100B and it does not measure well at all. There usually isn’t much deviation from model to model in Paradigm’s individual series’, with the exception of output and extension as the speakers get bigger, but all speakers in a specific series usually share the same house sound, per say. So, I doubt the 800F has a very different frequency response to the 100B.

Therefore, it is likely that these 800F speakers do not measure well, which means they do not sound good compared to a speaker that does measure well.

Save your money for something better, folks.
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Paradigm’s older models have superior measurements.

There is a 99% correlation between objective measurements and listener preference.

The measurements done at the NRC are not as detailed as those done by Harman. However, they are accurate enough to be able to infer listener preferences in many cases. Especially when there is as much difference as we see in the Studio 100 measurement vs. the Prestige 95F measurement.

I don’t see any anechoic measurements for the 800F, but we do have one for the 100B and it does not measure well at all. There usually isn’t much deviation from model to model in Paradigm’s individual series’, with the exception of output and extension as the speakers get bigger, but all speakers in a specific series usually share the same house sound, per say. So, I doubt the 800F has a very different frequency response to the 100B.

Therefore, it is likely that these 800F speakers do not measure well, which means they do not sound good compared to a speaker that does measure well.

Save your money for something better, folks.
Yes, great... 99%. Thanks, I recently read that somewhere.

You doubt a 3-way tower measures much differently than a 2-way bookshelf? For someone who cites science as their justification for making speaker recommendations based on charts, that's quite a leap of faith! (IMO, of course). Thanks for your input.

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Therefore, it is likely that these 800F speakers do not measure well, which means they do not sound good compared to a speaker that does measure well.

Save your money for something better, folks.
So you're badmouthing a speaker you've never heard, based on a line drawn on a graph for a completely different speaker. Forgive me if I don't take you seriously.
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post #19 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 08:45 AM
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[B][B][B]Yes, great... 99%. Thanks, I recently read that somewhere.

You doubt a 3-way tower measures much differently than a 2-way bookshelf? For someone who cites science as their justification for making speaker recommendations based on charts, that's quite a leap of faith! (IMO, of course). Thanks for your input.

Thanks for the sarcasm. However, let me elaborate:

Regarding the 99%, don't take my word for it. Take Floyd Toole's. See post # 10499 here: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...8X5Zwj_nP69_uk

Regarding a 3-way tower having better measurements than a 2-way bookshelf, you are correct, this can often be the case. The measurement that a 3-way tower will usually show benefits in is the directivity index. However, in this particular case, we don't know because we don't have that data in the NRCC measurements. Also, many of the 3-way tower speakers that have this benefit also have smaller midrange drivers, which helps achieve this benefit. However, the Paradigms do not have this. In any event, I think you know that I was referring to the listening window response. And if you look at those, you will see similarities in this response from all the speakers in a particular series for Paradigm.

For example, if you look at the listening window of a Studio 20 vs. a Studio 100, you will see a very similar listening window response.

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/me...m_studio20_v3/

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/me..._studio100_v3/

Likewise, when you look at the listening window response of a Prestige 15B vs. a 95F, you also see a similarity:

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...nts&Itemid=153

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...nts&Itemid=153

I'd be willing to bet the 800F measures similarly to the 100B in the same manner. However, I could be wrong. I have no problem admitting that. But I doubt that since every single one of Paradigm's newer speakers measures poorly relative to their older models.

Furthermore, it is well known that frequency response on axis and listening window response has a greater weight in sound quality preference than directivity index.
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But I doubt that since every single one of Paradigm's newer speakers measures poorly relative to their older models.
You're missing out on the fact they they are doing it on purpose. Paradigm absolutely has a 'house sound' now. Listen to some of the newer speakers and you might see why
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post #21 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 10:18 AM
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Anybody else getting tired of this "Cult of Toole" gang that intrude on multiple speaker threads?
Have these people actually LISTENED to the speakers mentioned?
I can assure you that my 85F, 55C, 15B system with an MRX 720 sound incredible.
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I don’t think it is a stale conversation because most people have no idea about the science in audio. .
That is correct. Most people care about how it sounds and how it looks.

Perhaps you should start your own thread about the science and measurements and stop derailing this one. I'm sure there are more scientific members that would love to argue with you about measurements.

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Anybody else getting tired of this "Cult of Toole" gang that intrude on multiple speaker threads?
Have these people actually LISTENED to the speakers mentioned?
I can assure you that my 85F, 55C, 15B system with an MRX 720 sound incredible.
My point exactly! They probably don't measure flat and neither do my LS50's. They sound fantastic and that's all that really matters in the end. As mentioned, proper placement and calibration goes a long way.
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post #24 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 11:08 AM
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I'm not sure where this 99% thing came from.

It was actually a correlation of 0.87, which is strong enough, but is not 99%.

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post #25 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 11:32 AM
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I'm not sure where this 99% thing came from.

It was actually a correlation of 0.87, which is strong enough, but is not 99%.
Read the post I referenced above from the Revel owners thread (#10499). It was an 86% correlation when comparing speakers with different bass capabilities (E.g. Because sometimes a speaker with a worse midrange and/or treble response would win because it had superior bass response), but when comparing speakers that had comparable bass response, the correlation between the measurements and listener preference increased to 99.5%.
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post #26 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 11:43 AM
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Well...….He's gone keep on defending his point just to prove he's right. Let's just stop feeding it and it might go away. We would then be able to go back to discussing the nice speaker line and sub(s) being reviewed in this thread.
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post #27 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 11:45 AM
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Haters gonna hate, as the saying goes.

edit: And yes, I'm calling you out @buckchester - you are here crapping on subjective opinions about speakers you've never heard. Stop and think about that.

Last edited by ratbuddy; 08-07-2019 at 11:49 AM.
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post #28 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ratbuddy View Post
Haters gonna hate, as the saying goes.

edit: And yes, I'm calling you out @buckchester - you are here crapping on subjective opinions about speakers you've never heard. Stop and think about that.

It’s not my fault this review (and your purchasing decisions) are contrary to proven science. You can believe whatever you want if it makes you feel better. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

For what it’s worth, I have heard various speakers within both the Premier and Prestige line-ups. And I thought they all sounded a little bright. The measurements show a scooped-out midrange and a heightened top octave, so they confirmed what I was hearing.

This sort of sound can come across as “detailed” and exciting upon initial listening. However, if you were to do more in-depth side-by-side comparisons with a speaker that has a smoother, flatter frequency response, then there is a 99.5% chance that you’d come to prefer the latter one more. If the latter speaker did not extend as deeply in the bass, then there’d only be an 86% chance that you’d prefer it. Still a pretty good chance in an unfair fight though if you ask me.

Then again, none of this may occur if you are doing sighted tests, and you had just spent a large chunk of cash on the former speaker. But, I think we’re seeing the results of that from you right now.
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post #29 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 12:47 PM
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Thanks for letting me know what type of speaker I should prefer. You've been very helpful. For your next trick, how about letting me know which color is objectively best to paint in? Or perhaps which song lyrics are objectively superior to all others?
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post #30 of 41 Old 08-07-2019, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by buckchester View Post
It’s not my fault this review (and your purchasing decisions) are contrary to proven science. You can believe whatever you want if it makes you feel better. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

For what it’s worth, I have heard various speakers within both the Premier and Prestige line-ups. And I thought they all sounded a little bright. The measurements show a scooped-out midrange and a heightened top octave, so they confirmed what I was hearing.

This sort of sound can come across as “detailed” and exciting upon initial listening. However, if you were to do more in-depth side-by-side comparisons with a speaker that has a smoother, flatter frequency response, then there is a 99.5% chance that you’d come to prefer the latter one more. If the latter speaker did not extend as deeply in the bass, then there’d only be an 86% chance that you’d prefer it. Still a pretty good chance in an unfair fight though if you ask me.

Then again, none of this may occur if you are doing sighted tests, and you had just spent a large chunk of cash on the former speaker. But, I think we’re seeing the results of that from you right now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratbuddy View Post
Thanks for letting me know what type of speaker I should prefer. You've been very helpful. For your next trick, how about letting me know which color is objectively best to paint in? Or perhaps which song lyrics are objectively superior to all others?

You've both had your say....and it's obvious you are not going to change the other's mind...so as they say, "Time to move on.."
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