just returned from another speaker demo (long) [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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07-08-2011, 10:54 AM
So me and my co-worker visited another speaker/HT custom installer this afternoon. Name of the place is Audio Video Excellence in Raleigh, NC. Great place and super friendly staff and boy did they have some gear.

We started in a listening room stuffed full of lovely speakers. He is searching for a nice 3.1 setup with music as primary.

We started with Paradigm Atoms. They are small and vinyl wrapped black. Nice speaker, but the bass was incredible....and this is a 4" woofer. Wow, what has Paradigm discovered that others have not we thought.
Well, short story, we asked about the bass and discovered a sub was also connected.
Once straight, the demo continued. Source was a Cary CD player ($2200) and a Krell unit. Speaker was nice, but lacked when the volume was increased from low to moderate. We then listened to the Paradigm Signature (SE) 1. Talk about a beautiful speaker in Rosenut. It sounded clear, great imaging mids and nice bottom end...tight...until the volume was very high. I think these are $700/pair. Great speakers!

In the same room where Thiel 3.7s. Quite a statement speaker that says you have done something right in your lifetime to own these. They were not hooked up because they were just purchased as a mark down from $13k to $9800. Geez! This room also has a pair of Dali Mentor 6. I have always heard about their fit/finish and it was a small floor stander, and very nicely built.

The sales guy was making his move now...we entered a HT with a set of Paradigm Studio 20s as the FL & FR part of a 5.1 setup. We listened in stereo in full range and then with a sub. After all the years of reading about Paradigm, this was the first chance to listen and boy did the Studio 60s not disappoint. They were clear, airy, detailed, midrange was spot on...imaging and sound-stage were wide and 3D. They really sounded 'high end'.

Due to a work related meeting, we did not listen to the Dali (my request) or the Thiels.

After all the speakers we've listened to (3 total shops) I rack the following for bookshelf speakers

Aerial Acoustices 5B ($2200)
Paradigm Studio 20s ($1700 i think)
Paradigm SE1 ($700)
PSB Image B5 ($380 i think)
See my last 'just returned' thread for the rest of the ranking.

The SE1 and Image B5 were fairly close in performance, at least much closer than the price indicates.