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I listened to a few setups in search of my next set of front towers complete with a matching center channel. Each time I auditioned speakers the listening enviroments were quite different along with the source material. What I'm looking for is an opinion based on my final choices.


The first setup I listened to consisted of:

Denon 2807

Energy RC-50

Energy RC-30

Energy C-500

Energy C-300

KEF IQ7


This was setup in a very open setting and I was unable to hear the matching center channel for each set. I was also only able to listen to music.

IMO the RC-50's and RC-30's sounded the best, crisp and clean. The C-500's and C-300's sounded good just not a step up like the RC's.

I thought the Kef IQ7's sounded bland compared to the other speakers.


The second and third setup I listened to were also in a very large room and consisted of:

HK AVR 7300

Soundstream SB3600T

SB2500


Pioneer VSX-516

Klipsch RF-82

Klipsch RC-62


Both setups were playing a Gwen Stefani Live in China (or something) DVD in DTS.

The soundstream setup sounded bland, nothing special.

The Klipsch setup hurt my ears way to bright of a speaker.



The forth and fifth setup I listened to was in a much smaller room (12'x12'x8' roughly) and consisted of:

Denon 2307

JM Lab Focal 726V

JM Lab Focal CC700V


Denon 2307

Paradigm Monitor 11 V5

Paradigm CC-390


I was very impressed with this shop and the saleman that I dealt with. Right away he asked me what amp I was running (Onkyo TX-SR604) and selected the Denon to imitate what my amp would sound like.

I listened to a DTS demo disk with some Eagles live, a clip from Robots as well as a couple other clips.


The Focal's sounded great, not to bright just perfect.

The Paradigm's sounded good too, however the high's were a tiny bit to bright however they had NEVER been hooked up and he told me the break in period would smooth that out.


Now of all the speakers I have listened I have narrowed it down to 3 groups.


First the Paradigm Monitor 11 V5's with a CC-390 my only concern is what a broken in set will sound like compared to the new set I listened to.


Second the Energy RC-50's with matching RC-LCR however I can't listen a lot of material and the 2807 is a bit more power then I will be using.


Third the Focal's however because of price I may look at 716V's instead of 726V's with another demo.


The Paradigm's with Tax will run me (CAN Pricing) $1850 the Energy's $2050 and the Focal's with the cheaper tower's would run me around $1900-$2000 (Have to confirm)

I'm leaning towards the Paradigm's mainly because of how I was treated at that shop. Plus I just love that beast of a center! Like I said though I'm concerned about the high end smoothing out.


As I said before this will be run off of an Onkyo 604 with my Samsung 6163W and a PS3, DVD player, HDPVR, and PC hooked up. I listen to about 20% music and the other 80% divided among my other components. This is also in a large room 15'x35'x10' with stairs leading to the main floor.


Opinions?
 

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If you are going to buy speakers and *hope* they'll break-in and eventually sound the way you want them to, I think you may be in for a surprise. There have been lots of threads on this forum about speaker break-in and the forum is clearly divided, (although not equally) into two camps; those who believe in speaker break-in and those who don't. Those who believe in it are absolutely certain that the sound changes, yet they can't always tell you exactly how it will change or how long it will take for the changes to be complete. Does it take a minute, or a month? Will the tweeter break-in and be "mellower" or will it be even brighter? Will the woofer loosen up and sound more dynamic, or sloppier? A salesman can tell you that whatever characteristic you don't like about a speaker will be improved after the speaker breaks-in.


Those who don't believe in speaker break-in will tell you that the sound output of the speaker doesn't change over time. However, the sound you *perceive* can improve over time, and this can happen for several reasons:

1. You ears can acclimate to the sound of the speakers and you grow to "like" their sound over time.

2. You optimize the sound of the speakers by tweaking them in your room. You change their placement and/or toe-in; you change your listening position; you change the settings in your electronics, etc., until you make them sound the way you like.

Here is an article about speaker break-in were the electro-mechanical characteristics were measured to try to confirm the phenomenon. Some direct quotes:
Quote:
Required break in time for the common spider-diaphragm-surround is typically on the order of 10s of seconds and is a one-off proposition, not requiring repetition. Once broken in, the driver should measure/perform as do its siblings, within usual unit-to-unit parameter tolerances.
Quote:
Quite often, spider break in occurs when the driver is tested, before and/or after placement in the cabinet for which it's intended. Driver testing by signal stimulus at some point (or points) in the manufacturing process - if done at levels sufficient to break in the spider - generally makes further break in unnecessary. Hence, a finished system will not - in so far as its drivers are concerned - require further break in by a consumer once taken home from the dealer.
Quote:
As the enclosure compliance in both totally enclosed boxes and vented cabinets dominates that of the driver for most practical implementations of either type enclosure currently in production, any potential changes in system amplitude response attributable to changes in driver suspension mechanical compliance tend to be minimized. Normal production unit-to-unit driver spec variances can affect final amplitude response of a system to a larger degree than that expected from normal pre- post-burn in driver suspension compliance changes.

When I got to the end of your post, I was surprised you chose the Pardigms, especially because of this statement:
Quote:
The Focal's sounded great, not to bright just perfect.

Looks to me like you've found your speakers.
BTW, I think it's great that you actually went out and listened to speakers. This is truely the only way for you to decide what speakers you like. You may get lots of opinions from the members of this forum. Just remember, they are only opinions, and your ears need to decide what speakers you like. Personally, I like the sound of my Klipsch Ref./Earthquake Subwoofer System. Obviously you don't care for Klipsch's. That's fine. My point is: don't let someone else tell you what you like.


Best of luck to you.


Craig
 

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Focal and Paradigm are fine brands. You most likely won't go wrong either way.


The only recommendation that I might make in addition to what's already been said.... go back and listen again with your own demo discs. Something you are intimately familiar with.


Good luck!

 

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Just my 2 cents on when I bought my Paradigm 60's:


I've never listened to "good" speakers before. Maybe here and there, in theaters, but not for any length of time in a casual environment. After researching, listening, then buying, I came home and plugged them in. I could not tell much difference between the TV speakers and my speakers AT FIRST. Watching DVD's and listening to CD's were nicer because of the bass and clarity but that was about it.


After getting used to listening to my speakers, I had a friend staying over who is very much a 1-remote kind of guy. So before going to bed I turned off my speakers, gave him the tv remote, turned up the tv volume and was SHOCKED to hear how screachy, bright, and lifeless the tv speakers were. I mean it was night and day. My ears had gotten so used to the better sound that going back was like poking my ears with sharp objects.


This is just my theory keep in mind but I think that our ears (mine? lol) have a harder time recognizing what's added by better quality audio compared to what is taken away when you go back to lower-quality. Maybe (for me) the idea of "burn in" has more to do with my ears getting used to the sound than the equipment getting better over time.
 
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