Paradigm vs. Definitive Technology vs. Totem [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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12-27-2004, 09:06 AM

I recently upgraded my receiver to the Yamaha RXV-1500 thanks to the feedback on this forum. I'm now thinking of upgrading my main front speakers and have narrowed down to 3 of them based on a budget of about $1,000Cdn ($800US).

My current setup is all Paradigm:
Front: Titants on stands, Rear: Cinema 90, Center: CC-170, Sub: PDR-10

I was planning to go with Paradigm Monitor 5/7 but decided to spent a little more to get a higher end product. Which of the following speakers would offer me the best value for the bucks and or be the most suited for my setup? I have listened to them all at the show rooms and have mixed reviews. They are:

- Paradigm Reference Studio 40 ($1,000 Cdn)
- Definitive Technology PM 500 ($950 Cdn)
- Totem Accousitc Arro ($1,100 Cdn)

If there are any other speakers in the same class should consider, please let me know.

Thank-you all in advance.

12-27-2004, 09:32 AM
IMO, at that price, the Studio 40's would be my first pick out of the three options you have. I might suggest you try the Totem Rainmaker, when I demoed it a few months back next to the Studio 40's I found it to be far more competent in the midrange, not quite as bright sounding though lacking a bit in the bass. But they can be had for $900 Cdn, and since you have a subwoofer, present another viable option.

12-27-2004, 10:24 AM
Wow - are the Studio 40's V.2 or V.3? Is that BRAND NEW or is that a demo sale? They list for $1400 and most stores do not discount them unless you are getting other product. Mid-High end speakers are about as close to price fixing as you can get. In other words, if Paradigm found out a store was discounting the speakers on a regular basis, that store would lose the line.

Due to the value of the Canadian $, I went on-line and purchased some CMT340's for the front L/C/R and CBM 170's for the side surrounds from Ascend Acoustics. These speakers are fantastic - and including shipping and tax, cost about the same as ONE pair of Studio 40s' (including stands and taxes). But of course, I got FIVE speakers plus two wall mount brackets and two stands for that price. I've heard the Studio 40's and although extending lower in the bass department, they do not match for neutrality, mid and upper range detail like the Ascends do. And since the Ascends have a much more attractive price point, I won big time!

BTW - I was looking at the Studio line - Studio 40's and 570 for the front, and 20's for the rear, and that was going to cost me total about $3300 before taxes Canadian. I paid HALF that and IMO got better sound :D

12-27-2004, 12:52 PM
If you want to go with a multichannel 5.1 or 7.1 speaker setup and eventually voice match the center and surround speakers, that might knock the Totems off your list. Totems are low impedance speakers, which place more demands on amps. Yamaha receivers are known for their low impedance drive capability, but they do not recommend hooking up more than one pair of 4 ohm speakers at a time. That doesn't mean that the receiver cannot drive a full 5.1 Totem speaker setup, but it also means that if the speakers indeed present too much of a load, the receiver's protection circuit might get tripped constantly. The only way around this is to add an external amplifier, which of course bumps up the budget that you need.

Between the Paradigm and the Def Tech, you're talking about two very different sounds. The Def Tech is a bookshelf speaker with a powered subwoofer built in, while the Paradigm is a large 2 1/2 way bookshelf model. Generally, I'm not a fan of speakers with built in powered subs, and in my listenings, I've found the Def Tech models I've heard to be overly aggressive (I've only tried out their bipolar speakers). The new Paradigm Studio 40 v.3 series is IMO very impressive for the money, and in general they couple very well with receivers because they don't present a huge load on the receiver. If that price quote is for the Studio 40 v.3, then that's a steal of a deal for an excellent speaker (I own a Studio 40/CC/20 v.2 setup, and found that the v.3 versions made some very impressive refinements and improvements). Between the Def Tech and Paradigm, you should be able to discern the differences very easily and make your choice on that basis.

As for other speakers to consider, there are plenty of options out there. B&W has options in your price range, as does PSB, Energy, Vandersteen, Monitor Audio, Vienna Acoustics, KEF, Mission, Klipsch, Boston Acoustics, and Polk, among others. If you choose to go with low impedance speakers like Dynaudio and Magnepan, then you should make sure that your receiver can handle the load with a full 5.1 configuration. Otherwise, you add the cost of an outboard amp to the mix as well.

12-27-2004, 01:35 PM
I prefer the Rainmaker to the Arro - never heard Def Tech.

Which do you like best? Get the one you think is going to offer the best sounding upgrade.

There are other home theater speaker options of course - but you can look at Hi-Fi CHoice or What Hi-fi to see what other brands are out there.

12-28-2004, 03:48 AM
Totem Rainmakers, Model 1 twins, and Lynx are 8 ohm speakers

01-06-2005, 11:12 AM
After reading almost every reviews out there on the different audio forums and sites on Axiom products, I finally decided to get the M22ti for my main front. With the 30-day money back guarantee and the many positive feedback, I thought it wouldn't hurt to give them a try.

The rest of mine 7.1 HT setup are Paradigm Titans rear, Cinema 90 rear back, CC-370 center, and PDR-10 sub on a Yamaha RX-V1500 receiver.

I was also considering Paradigm Monitor 5, Studio 20 or 40, Totem Rainmaker, and Definitive Technology PM500.

It only took 2 days for me to get them and I must say that their customer service was excellent. My first impression was that the speakers have nice finishing, very sturdy, and the built quality is excellent. I hook them up side by side with my Titans using A/B speaker mode, and disconnected the rest of my other speakers.

I have been using them for a week now listening to Classical, Jazz, Rock and watching movies. IMHO, I am a bit disappointed with the outcome. Although the sound is very clear and the midrange is good, I didn't find them as "rich" and room-filling as my Titans. The lack of bass is very obvious. They sound better when all the rest of my speakers are on but that is expected.

Perhaps it is still too early to tell as I will give them another week or two to see if some break-in time will help, before making my final decision. If I do return them, I will most likely go with either the Monitor 5 or Studio 20 as the Studio 40 is out of my budget.

These are just my thoughts for as a first-time Axiom owner.