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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been saving for a long time to replace my PSB Image speakers and now my long wait is over, but I'm not so sure anymore. Here's the problem, I just heard the PSB Synchrony One B Monitors and the Totem Model One's.


IMO, the Model One's sounded better, so you'd think the decision was easy because they are about the same price range. But the Model One's 5.5" woofer lacked the ability to go really loud (the dealers showroom is almost the same size as my theater - 25 x 16). I noticed this on Amy Winehouse's Back to Black CD - track #2 (You Know I'm No Good). It has a LOT of bass, and listening pure stereo (no sub), I sat about 15 feet from the speaker. As I cranked the volume, I wanted to go just a little louder - to a point where I would only occasionally listen - and I heard it, the Totem's began to bottom out. It was horrible.


I figured, no big deal, I'll just use the sub - but I pushed the Thunder subwoofer very hard (or should I say the dealer did) during a Matrix Blu-Ray demo, and I also heard it bottom out. At the same volume levels the Synchrony's did NOT bottom out - neither the PSB Sub 9.


So I'm really stuck now - I can't get the Synchrony's because I've heard the Totem's. I can't get the Totem's because I can't afford twice the money to move up to the Mani 2's (they have a 6.5" woofer). So I'm in need of help - what sounds as musically sweet as the Totem's AND can fill a large room for about the same price.


Forgetting the subwoofer, I want to spend under $5,000 for all seven channels. I've only heard PSB's, Totem's and Atlantic Tech, so anyone wanting to help me put together another system I'd greatly appreciate it. I'll do the work in finding a dealer since I travel to NYC once in a while. Thanks.
 

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Do you want to stick with bookshelves or would you be open to going with floorstanders? The major drawback of bookshelf speakers is that they typically struggle to fill large rooms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericm83 /forum/post/15459317


Do you want to stick with bookshelves or would you be open to going with floorstanders? The major drawback of bookshelf speakers is that they typically struggle to fill large rooms.

I could go either way. I already have speaker stands, so I would like to stick with bookshelves. I heard the PSB Platinum M2's, which have a 6.5" woofer/midrange, and they had zero difficulty filling the room. Of course they were $2,000 just for the one pair, and when I added the center, S2 surrounds and rears I was way over budget.


I'm curious as to the Paradigm Studio 40's which are about $1,200.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericm83 /forum/post/15459317


The major drawback of bookshelf speakers is that they typically struggle to fill large rooms.

Not if they're higher sensitivity and they're run "small" with a subwoofer. I'd look for multiple mids and a tweeter in a bookshelf/satellite/LCR, and sensitivity of 90 dB as a minimum for your room.


And usually when a good sub bottoms out, it's because it's being played way too loud, it's calibrated too hot, it's placed wrong in the room, or more often than not...all three.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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Originally Posted by Paul Scarpelli /forum/post/15459378


Not if they're higher sensitivity and they're run "small" with a subwoofer. I'd look for multiple mids and a tweeter in a bookshelf/satellite/LCR, and sensitivity of 90 dB as a minimum for your room.


And usually when a good sub bottoms out, it's because it's being played way too loud, it's calibrated too hot, it's placed wrong in the room, or more often than not...all three.

Paul - thanks for the response. Unfortunately I think you've raised more questions than answered. Do you think the Totem's are fine and can handle my room size? What Triads do you think would fit my needs?
 

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I had the Model One and was just finished auditioning the Image B25. I thought the B25 is better for HT usage. If you're into 5.1 music you'd need a sub with the Model One. I was gonna get the B25 but decided on a Focal 806V instead. I know it's a lot more expensive but looks better and sound better as well. How bout the Focal 706V? It may just fit your bill and satisfy your needs.
 

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Some bookshelves are quite large and capable of playing quite loud.

I've heard opinions that Paradigm Studio 20v4 are actually better sounding than the newer models studio 40 and 60. And there's also the active version not sure how expensive, but I've also read that it is much better than passive studio 20s, and is overall great.
 

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SimpleTheater:


I was facing the same problem as you a couple of weeks ago (my fiancee wanted me to get rid of my floorstanders and get bookshelves). I narrowed it down to the following (I live in Canada so all of the retail prices are in Canadian dollars):


1. PSB Synchrony One B ($2500) and Two B ($1800) (I also listened to the Synchrony One and Two floorstanders);


2. Paradigm Signature 2 ($2700) and S4 (I also listened to the Studio 20's ($approx. $1100));


3. PMC TB2i ($2200), GB1i ($3300), FB1i and OB1i


4. B&W 805s (approx $2500 - they were demos)


5. Totem Arro (approx $1500) and Sttaf (approx 1800)


Unfortunately, the only speakers I could compare side by side were the S2's and the PMC floorstanders on one occasion and the PSB's and the Studio 20's on another.


To my ears and for my listening preferences, the PMC were far far far better then the others.

Paradigm: I listened to these on an Arcam integrated and Arcam CD player. The S2's had a nice mid range and OK bottom end but I found the highs to be a little too bright. Also, while I would say that the S2's were better than the Studio 20, they weren't worth double the price. The Synchrony One B and Two B were not as detailed as the S2's, but they had a better bottom end. If I had to choose between the PSB's and Paradigm S2's I would take either of the Synchrony's ahead of the S2.

PSB: I listened to these on a NAD pre and NAD amp. They are very good speakers for the price and they did everything well. They had one of the best bottom ends of the bookshelves that I demoed. However, while their mid range was good, I preferred a number of the mid's of the other speakers as the PSB were not the best on vocals (they sounded a little muddy compared to some of the others). The Synchrony Two B's were very good for the price. To my ears there wasn't a whole lot of difference between the One B's and the Two B's other than bottom end (which I didn't feel was worth the $700 price difference).

B&W: These were the absolute worst speakers of the bunch TO MY EARS. I listened to them on an Arcam integrated at the store (I have an arcam receiver). I have heard some people say that they find arcam equipment to be bright. The B&W's had an OK mid range and decent bottom end, but after about 5 minutes I wanted to smash the speakers or the equipment to make it stop. The siblance was absolutely unbearable. It seemed as though there was hissing on every 5th word on every song regardless of what I listened to be it jazz or rock.

Totem: I also listened to these on arcam and bryston equipment. I have always liked the sound of Totem's, but I've always heard salespeople demoing them with jazz that tends to sound good on any decent speaker. With many recordings sounded very good on these speakers, the highs were very good as well, but I also found them to bit a bit lacking in the bottom end. I had a couple of other issues with them. First, I don't like the fact that they don't have screens and that you have to buy them and then attach velcro. Second, they did not sound as good on rock or top 40 type music. Third, they just didn't give me that "toe tapping" sound.

PMC: To be fair I should mention that I heard the TB2's on a very nice Bryston system (I don't recall which pre or integrated they were using, but they were using the Bryston CD player and a 4B SST). The TB2's sounded almost as good as my old floorstanders. Great highs, great mid range and the most bottom end I've heard from a bookshelf (although the PSB One B wasn't that far behind).


I listened to the PMC GB1i and FB1i on the same Arcam setup as the Paradigm S2 and B&W 805, and the PMC's had all of the same charateristics of the TB2's that I had heard on the Bryston equipment. I heard the PMC OB1i's running on a Krell pre and a Bryston 28B SST (1000 watts each) on each speaker, and it sounded about 15-20% better than the FB1i did on the 105 watt per channel Arcam integrated.


I ultimately went with PMC floorstanders (the bookshelves are rear ported and need to be placed further from the wall than my space can accommodate). To my ears they are very "musical", in that I find that I just sit and enjoy listening to the music with necessarily "critically listening". I found the PMC bookshelf to combine everything that I liked from the Totem's but with more bottom end than the PSB's and they sounded good with all of the types of music that I listen to.
 

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Personally, I like speakers with a neutral sound. I don't like sonic signature in speakers and for that reason, I chose paradigm studio speakers. They reproduce music and movie soundtracks very well. If I'm correct, a reviewer for ultimate av magazine uses multiple studio 20's run full range to test amps, pre/pro's and avr's. They have great bottom end too. I have studio 60's which I love running full range for music and concerts. The bass is tight and it can easily fill a big room with proper setup and an amp that can handle 4ohm dips well(it is rated at 8ohms, but will did lower). They list for $2k but you can get them for much less.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm in between the following speakers. My biggest worry is the center channel not being able to carry the day.


Here are my choices (in alphabetical order):


1) Atlantic Technology 6200


2) Focal Chorus CC800V or Profile CC908


3) Paradigm Studio CC690


4) Triad Silver LCR


Any information on these center speakers from people who own them would be wonderful. My room is 3500 cubic feet. And I like to listen at REFERENCE levels.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimpleTheater /forum/post/15454138


I've been saving for a long time to replace my PSB Image speakers and now my long wait is over, but I'm not so sure anymore. Here's the problem, I just heard the PSB Synchrony One B Monitors and the Totem Model One's.


IMO, the Model One's sounded better, so you'd think the decision was easy because they are about the same price range. But the Model One's 5.5" woofer lacked the ability to go really loud (the dealers showroom is almost the same size as my theater - 25 x 16). I noticed this on Amy Winehouse's Back to Black CD - track #2 (You Know I'm No Good). It has a LOT of bass, and listening pure stereo (no sub), I sat about 15 feet from the speaker. As I cranked the volume, I wanted to go just a little louder - to a point where I would only occasionally listen - and I heard it, the Totem's began to bottom out. It was horrible.


I figured, no big deal, I'll just use the sub - but I pushed the Thunder subwoofer very hard (or should I say the dealer did) during a Matrix Blu-Ray demo, and I also heard it bottom out. At the same volume levels the Synchrony's did NOT bottom out - neither the PSB Sub 9.


So I'm really stuck now - I can't get the Synchrony's because I've heard the Totem's. I can't get the Totem's because I can't afford twice the money to move up to the Mani 2's (they have a 6.5" woofer). So I'm in need of help - what sounds as musically sweet as the Totem's AND can fill a large room for about the same price.


Forgetting the subwoofer, I want to spend under $5,000 for all seven channels. I've only heard PSB's, Totem's and Atlantic Tech, so anyone wanting to help me put together another system I'd greatly appreciate it. I'll do the work in finding a dealer since I travel to NYC once in a while. Thanks.

What are you driving the spkrs with? ...........How much power?

Are the speakers "giving up" or is the amp clipping?
 

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I like the ID companies, a little harder to audition but most manufacturers have their own forums and the owners are willing to audition in their homes, you just have to ask around on the forums about auditioning. I have Axiom Audio and their forum has a section called Hearing Things listing many people willing to give auditions, if there isn't anyone nearby you can call Axiom and ask if they have an owner nearby that they could contact on your behalf about an audition. I have given many auditions over the years, it is fun to meet other people with some idea of audio and HT.


With your budget you get some very good speakers or full HT set ups going ID, Ascend, Aperion, Salk, Rocket, Axiom as I have already mentioned, to name a few.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Espo77 /forum/post/15548114


What are you driving the spkrs with? ...........How much power?

Are the speakers "giving up" or is the amp clipping?

How can I test if the amp is clipping?
 

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With a scope
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimpleTheater /forum/post/15566370


How can I test if the amp is clipping?

Are you using a receiver? Amp and a Pre/Pro?
 

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A couple of us have asked the OP "what are you using? What equipment? ect.

For some reason he doesn't want to share that info.??
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Espo77 /forum/post/15566955


A couple of us have asked the OP "what are you using? What equipment? ect.

For some reason he doesn't want to share that info.??

I haven't answered because I listened at a dealer showroom. I believe the speakers were hooked up to a Marantz 7002 or 8002 A/V receiver. So if the receiver is clipping, I'd like to know how to tell the difference between that and the speaker bottoming out. At least that's what the dealer told me - that the Totem Rainmaker center uses 4.5" woofers and can't be driven to reference levels in a room as large as the showroom. Incidentally, my home theater is almost as large as the showroom (~3,500 cubic feet).


Now, if I go back to the showroom and listen again, is there a way of knowing if the Marantz is clipping? The PSB's never bottomed out, but I don't believe they are as hard to drive as the Totem's, so the amp clipping is a possibility.
 

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I don't get it... Why not match the Totem fronts, which you like, with a better (non-Totem) sub that won't bottom out?
 

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If you have a chance and can audition Monitor Audio GS10's you might give them a try. We have two pairs with the matching center and matched up with a Epik Caliber sub They are fantastic with music and great with movies also.
 
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