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Decision time: Anthem/Rotel/Adcom pre-pro, Energy, NHT, Paradigm speakers

550 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Greg_R
Sorry for another A vs. B comparison thread, but have been having trouble making up my mind! Inability to do direct A to B comparisons in the store hasn't helped.

Currently have a Pioneer 610HD, and will be getting the Pioneer DV-37 DVD player.

For components, am looking at spending around $3K US and have the following short list:

ANTHEM AVM2 and MCA5. Unfortunately haven't seen an AVM-2 or seen much on the web about it. Sounds very nice with good future proofing.

ROTEL 985 and RMB1095 amp. Heard both of these and they are very nice.

ADCOM GTP750 and GFA7500. Haven't heard these yet but are supposed to be good options.

All of the above combinations are about the same price.

For speakers, I am having even more challenges.

PARADIGM STUDIO 100/CC/40s for rear. Nice sound but seem a bit muddy. The 100s are also very big.

ENERGY VERITAS v2.2 or V2.3 (plus their matching center and rears when available). Very precise sounding, but the v2.3s are an additional $1K over Paradigm.

NHT 2.9/ac2/1.4.

Room size is 24x24 with 12ft ceilings. 50/50 video versus music (jazz, classical).

Any comments would be appreciated! Thanks.
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Are these your final three brands?

I would guess that the new Anthem should edge out the other two products because it should benefit most from being the latest release of the processors you mentioned. I have heard positive things about the amp also personal reviews not pro reviews.

I think I will vote for the Anthem and Rotel second.

Just a hecklers opinion but I would hold out for the Anthem it seems like they intend to make a statement with it.

Other option would be a used ACT-3 to free up more money for the amp. The acurus has great build quality and a very nice sound, out of the so called budget pre's sounds the best IMO!

Listen to the little Acurus you should be able to get one for around ?<1100
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gba1, Paradigms Muddy? Where did you audition them? I have the Reference 100 V2, CC Reference center and Reference ADP surrounds. They certainly aren't "muddy". I havenever heard them referred to that way. In fact, I believe the 100 V2 to be the best speaker within a $1,000 of their list price. However, they are large, but do not get easily stressed a high volumes and can handle lots of power. If you are leary of their size, check out the Reference 80's. I can't help but believe there was something wrong with the power source, audio source etc. when you audtioned them. All of the reviews pretty much rave about these speakers. If you like, later on I can post the URL from a recent Sterophile review of the 100 v2's. Let me know.

Lot's of luck,


The Anthem AVM2 is on my short list too(if you find any more info please post it), but like you, I've not been able to find out much about it because it is so new. As for amps, I've located a very interesting company named Odyssey audio (odysseyaudio.com). They are a division of the German company Symphonic(very high end). The odyssey amps are sold direct at a VERY good price & have 20 year warranty...ala Bryston. The reviews on Audioreview.com are very posistive. E.G the Stratos stereo with 150Watts per channel area only 895.00, and can be factory converted to mono at no cost! They also have other amps: monos, 3 channel, & an upcoming 5 channel amp, etc. Very good looking and seem very well designed...that famous German engineering type.

As for speakers, I have to recommend the brand I just purchased...also direct. They are from a Canadian Company named Newform Research (mine are the R645s). They are hybrid monopole planar ribbon with scanspeak mid/woofer combo. These are truely reference quality speakers for a very low price (2,265.00 delivered..have other lower cost models too)...great for both music & HT. Again see reviews on audioreview.com. The owner reviews there are quite good. So far all 5 stars and have received audioreview's gold star. The owner John Meyer is absolutley great to deal with...he sometimes contributes to the MUG forum as NR speakers are discussed quite a bit there too( http://www.sonic.net/~howl/MUG/ ). I hope I haven't given you too much more to consider, but in my search these are some of the best I've seen.
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didn't expect my Paradigm comment to go unnoticed. I was actually very strongly leaning to the 100s. Did a side-by-sde with the 80s and with the new Energy veritas in Canada last week. I always like the 100s a lot more than the 80s, although they are huge. The Energy seemed much more responsive and articulate. I was probably slightly swayed by the salesperson who was quite down on Paradigm as they can be a very difficult company to deal with.

Has anyone else listened to the new Veritas 2.2 and 2.3?

Nathan, I have seen the Acurus Act-3 and it is quite nice as well. It lists for $2000 and I got a quote for $1775. Where can it be had for less than $1100?? I can get the Anthem for around $2100 and the extra $300 over the Acurus seemed worth it.

As for as they my final 3 options, not really, just trying to wrap my mind around the plethora of equipment out there. Speakers are probably my biggest unknown at this point in time. Always willing to listen to the sage advice of the AVS board!
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the only info I have to date on the AVM-2 is off their homepage www.sonicfrontiers.com. The upgradeable firewire statement and other internet download options are definitely intriguing. Some of the links on the page don't seem to work, but you should be able to at least pull up the spec sheet (the manual download hangs my browser). I'm going to see if I can get firm availability and pricing for one.

Thanks for the other suggestions, I will look into them.
gba1, I got your reply. Just remember, you will be listening to the speakers, not a customer service rep for the next several years. Purchase the ones you like, not the ones pushed by a salseman. If the dealer is reputable, he/she will be the one dealing with Paradigm in the event of trouble, not you. If you like the Energy go with them. BTW, judging by the build quality of the Paradigms, you more than likely would not be needing to deal with any problems anyway.

Good luck on your decision.

gba1. Forgot to mention. The 100 v2's take many hours of breakin-in to really shine. I estimate mine really started to "knock my socks off" after about 50 hours of listening. Just a thought - maybe the v2's you heard weren't broken in yet. As far a speed and response, I think they are great. Again, never heard the Energys though.

I am also intrigued about the Anthem, but have not seen anything. I e-mailed the local anthem dealer but have not heard back. The firewire and software upgradeability seem to make it seem like one could use it for quite awhile. My only minor concern is how they will deal with 6.1 or 7.1 formats if more software comes out. My reading of the manual (which I downloaded with no problem) indicates that it only has 5.1 inputs and outputs.

As to speaker suggestions, since you are looking at a 50/50 music/HT system, I might suggest that you listen to some KEF speakers. They are great for hometheater, and really excel at jazz and classical (they have a really sweet midrange and top end, and have a huge soundstage). Bass is not great but is well controlled. You would need a subwoofer to maximize the sound.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for the link to Sonicfrontiers...but I've already been there. I'm now looking for a pro &/or owner review, etc. Also, I forgot to mention another amp on my short list. This one is a digital amp...ala TACT Millenium. It's from an American company named Spectron(Spectronav.com). They have a current stereo model (Musician II - 400Watts per channel) that is supposed to be as good as the TACT Millenium...but for about $3K instead of the TACT's $9K! They are supposed to release a 6 channel version very soon (was supposed to be this Sept... but all manufacturer's miss their published due dates it seems). Digital amps are the wave of the future! Analog amps are in their last days...except for some holdouts, as there are for vinyl records affectionados, etc) Digital amps/etc will lower costs and improve yearly in price performance similar to tah found with computer CPU advances. John Meyer of Newform Research (newformresearch.com -great site for discussion on many different audio technolgies here..not just speakers) is developing a digital amp too(as are almost all amp manufacturers). His recomendation is to not spend too much money now on amps, as digital amps will soon (12-24 months) offer much better performance for much lower cost that today's analog amps. Low cost/high quality, was the only reason why I was considering the Odyssey analog amps now...I would really prefer to get the new Spectron, or Newform research digital, multichannel amps...if they are released soon enough!

[This message has been edited by Veritas (edited 10-10-2000).]
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I think you would be doing yourself wrong if you didn't try out some magnepans and maybe smaller Hales speakers. I don't think you would dissapointed with either.

I don't want to see your speakers on audiogon in a year but I prob. will that is the nature of the beast. I have never heard a - about Maggies this is very impressive considering the field of hecklers and critics. Also please give the Theta Casa Nova a whirl! You may find that it is a very good value also. (plus there are people who can help you out on the price)

I know a 4000 dollar pre-amp may not be in the budget but you might not have to pay that?????????

Anyway just give it a whirl.

Hope your system works out like you want and I would be lying if I didn't say the 3801 from denon is impressive at a low cost. Dont think it would work if you are listeining to music. If you are a music fiend then $ for $ the Casa Nova is the best, followed by the ssp-25 7 EAD encore (the later are not modular & the Nova is)

You can prob. tell that I am a THETA owner but I would hate for you not to at least give one a whirl.

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I'd suggest looking at the Paradigm Studio 40s with the Servo-15 subwoofer or the Active 40s & sub (you won't need to get an amp with the Active's). I feel that the 40s and 20s are much more tight and clean when compared to the 100s & 80s. The Actives are incredible (a step above the studio line, IMO). Be sure to check them out before making your decision...

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