Paradigm Studio 20 v.3 and Paradigm Center Speakers
I have some questions about Paradigm Studio 20 v.3. I've heard them, and I really liked them, but I have some questions for I'd like some objective opinions (read: opinion of someone not trying to make a commission). I heard the speaker in a showroom where they were on stands well away from the back wall.
I have a large entertainment center/wall unit. This thing is 110" wide (9 feet 2 inches). My question is two fold: Has anyone placed there Studio 20s on the shelves of an entertainment unit with good results? If not, if the speakers are 10 feet apart and 16 feet from the listener, will there a be a problem?
Other question: Should I pair these speakers with the CC 470 or the CC 570? The specs on the 470 make me think it was made for the Studio 20s, but I don't want to go cheap on the center - still I don't want to spend extra money if I'm not going to notice a corresponding difference in quality. The Paradigm dealer is a couple of hours from my house, so I'd like to have a good idea going into to get the speakers so I don't have to drive back to return/swap them.
I have the monitor series not the studio series but think that the 4 series may be an appropriate match for the 20s. I'd suggest you contact Paradigm directly with your questions. Over the past half a dozen years, I have found Gary Takeda [firstname.lastname@example.org] at Paradigm to be exceptionally helpful and responsive to inquiries. He has helped me with everything from proper placement in an odd-shaped room, explained the "real" differences of versions to me, gave me pointers on selecting second-hand Paradigms that I was looking at to match what I already had, sent me a grille cover directly so that I could by-pass my "local" (many miles away) dealer, and provided all-around great customer service.
It is probably the main reason I've stayed with Paradigm. I mean, they sound quite good but I'm sure I'd probably be just as happy with the sound of some other brand as well. I have a set of Missions and some Cambridge Audio gear at my family's London flat but really consider myself a Paradigm user. Through my dealings with him, I get the feeling that he and Paradigm might take the approach that they are after lifetime customers and not necessarily after the marginal increase of a specific purchase.
Entertainment centers/wall units are less than ideal for speaker placement, largely because the enclosure can create acoustical interactions that create time domain distortions (which affects the imaging and the perceived smoothness of the sound) and affect the tonal balance of the speakers. 10' apart would normally be a very wide distance, but that should not be an issue if you sit 16' from the speakers. My concern would be whether those speakers and your amplification can adequately fill a space of that size. See if your dealer will let you borrow those speakers for home audition. The speakers will inevitably sound different in your setting than with the demo setup that you heard at your dealer.
As far as the center speaker goes, my understanding is that both Studio v.3 series center speakers are a decent timbre match with the mains. Because of the horizontal alignment, you will not get a perfect match. You would need to use another Studio 20, and place it at the same height as the other Studio 20s to obtain the best possible match, but that's typically not possible because of where people typically locate the TV.
Between the 470 and 570, people on other boards who've tried both center speakers have said that the 570 matches the mains better than the 470, and speculated that this is because of the stacked vertical alignment with the tweeter and midrange driver on the 570. This supposedly creates a radiating pattern that matches better with the mains. This is another question that you should probably explore at your dealer's demo room. When you decide between the 470 and the 570, then you can try it out at home and see if it's still an adequate match with mains when mounted inside your wall unit.
Wooch's Home Theater 2.0 (Pics)
Panasonic VIERA TH-C50FD18 50" 1080p
Paradigm Reference Studio 40, CC, and 20 v.2
Adire Audio Rava (EQ: Behringer Feedback Destroyer DSP1124)
Dual CS5000 (Ortofon OM30 Super)
Denon DVD-758 (DVD-1940ci)
Sony Playstation 3 (MediaLink OS X Server)
Sony ES SCD-C2000ES
Oppo Digital HM-31
Logitech Harmony 650
I have my 20's about 10' apart with the 470 in between. Both of these are on a open ended shelf at same height and close to ceiling. The 470 matches well with the 20's and I think they sound excellent. Unlike you however my listening position is close to speakers and my backwall is right behind where I sit. In my opinon Paradigm's speakers benefit from being close to reflective surfaces.
When I auditioned these at the dealer they were also well away from the wall in the middle of the room and 3' off the floor. I sat about 15' away with the back and side walls at about 10' away. I was not impressed with how they sounded in this setting. I knew however that at home they would sound much better in my 11' x 25' room as I have all Paradigm speakers.
I went with the 470 as I have plenty of bass and don't need extra bass from the center or the additional weight of the 570.
In my opinion if your listening position is close to backwall at 16' then they will sound good. But if your listening position is out in the middle of the room then I would hestitate on the 20's and opt for something bigger.