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Need help with speaker selection

661 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Dan Driscoll
I know, I know go with what your ear likes. However, the speakers I’m interested in are not all at the same store. This question has more to do with quality and durability, but of course I’m still interested in the reproduction of the sound.

I will be using the Denon 3802. 90% Movies, 10% Music. I have narrowed it down to these 7:1 packages:

Package 1: Klipsch Reference Series

Cost out the door: ~$1762

Fronts: RF-3

Center: RC-3

Sides: RS-3

Rear: KSB 1.1

Sub: KSW-12

Package 2: Paradigm Performance Series

Cost out the door: $1740

Fronts: Phantom

Center: CC-170

Sides: ADP-170

Rear: Atom

Sub: PS-1200

Package 3: Paradigm Monitor Series

Cost out the door: $2250

Fronts: Monitor 5’s

Center: CC-370

Sides: ADP-370

Rear: Atom

Sub: PS-1200

1. Price wise Package 1 & 2 are similar, but how does the quality and durability match up?

2. The price difference between Package 2 & 3 is $510. Am I going to hear $510 worth of clearer/better sound? Are the Monitor Series $510 more durable and have better quality?
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I can't advise you on the Klipsch, but I have listened to quite a few different Paradigm models. IMO the Monitors are well worth the extra cost. I feel the sound from the Monitor 5's vs the Phantoms is more accurate, cleaner and has greater depth. I think even the Monitor 3 is a noticably better speaker than the Phantom.

I would also highly recommend getting the Mini-Monitors or Monitor 3's instead of the Atoms for rears. The Atom does not have the same tweeter as the Monitor 5 and isn't truly timbre matched to the Monitor line. If your budget is tight, I would recommend that you put off getting the ADP side speakers in favor of upgrading the rears to Monitor 3's. That might even free up enough cash to consider upgrading the fronts to Monitor 7s. I believe you would be better off building the best 5.1 speaker system that you can afford, instead of a lesser quality 6.1 or 7.1 system. You can always add side and rear center speakers later on.
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Yeah, I know the Atom's are not timbre matched to the Monitors, but timbre matched in the rear isn't as important as the front. My ears can't tell the difference. I'm actually now considering doing the ADP-170's on the sides with the Atoms in the rears, but going with the Monitor 5's, ADP-370, and PS-1200 in the front. This way I can save a little money for other extras. I can always upgrade the sides and rears later. This setup would save me $440 over all 370 and the mini's. I realize the later would sound better, but is having the 170's/Atoms going to make it sound bad??

The Monitor speakers are notably better than the Performance line and it isn't difficult to hear the differences, especially when you have them in the same system, as you are proposing. The set-up you are looking at wouldn't sound bad, but you would be able to hear the differences.

Given the budget suggested by your #3 package, I think this set-up would be a possibilty, if you shop around and haggle with the dealers.

Monitor 7 fronts

Monitor 3 rears

CC-370 center

PS-1200 sub

Wait and get ADP-370's for the sides and another CC-370 for the rear center later. This will give you a speaker system that you can upgrade as you go. I honestly belive that this 5.1 set-up will sound better than the 6.1 or 7.1 set-up of mixed Performance and Monitor speakers that you are suggesting. Plus, you won't have 'wasted' any funds on speakers that you know you will have to replace later on.

Of course, these are just suggestions, you should purchase whatever you think is best for you.
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Why would I get the rears before the sides? Most movies don't even utilize the rears yet. Are you suggesting wiring the rears as the sides to begin with?
Why would I get the rears before the sides? Most movies don't even utilize the rears yet. Are you suggesting wiring the rears as the sides to begin with?
No offense intended, but I am afraid you have it wrong. :( A standard 5.1 channel speaker system is 2 fronts, 2 rears, a center and a subwoofer. A 6.1 channel system adds a rear center speaker and a 7.1 system adds the side speakers. Even the old Dolby 2.0 (Pro-Logic) surround system included rear speakers.

IOW, rear speakers are a required part of the most basic surround sound system. Side speakers are only specified for 7.1 channel systems. Also, only a few receivers currently on the market have the connections needed to hook-up side speakers. There is also very little material on the market that is encoded for 7.1 channel sound. That is why I have been suggesting that you concentrate on building the best 5.1 system that you can afford.
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The current Home Theater magazine has a rave review of the new B&W DM303 system which would run about $1570 list. Check out the article and see if you can audition.

I think most 5.1 systems have side speakers not that far behind the listener rather than true rears on the back wall. It's all symantics as to what you call them.


Get the best ones you can afford..


-- Cain

No offense taken. Symantics as cwilson pointed out. If were just talking 5.1, I still prefer more diffuse for the surround speakers compared to the direct radiating Monitor 3's your suggesting. This is why I suggested going with the 170/370's instead of the Monitor 3's.
Topaz, if you prefer dipoles for rears, go for it. My own set-up has ADP-370s as the rear speakers. I think they sound better for music, which is what my system is primarily geared for. HT enthusiasts generally prefer direct radiators for rear speakers, which is why I made those suggestions. My current speaker set-up has Monitor 90Ps up front, a CC-350 center and ADP-370 rears. Eventually the ADPs will move to the sides and I'll get a pair of direct radiators for the rears.

Again, no offense intended, but if your keep calling the rear speakers 'sides' you will get a lot of confusion. The term has been 'rear' ever since the concept was introduced, quite a few years ago. Side speakers are a relatively new introduction to the home theater market.
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