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  1. #1
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    Paradigm Studio 20 v3 vs. B&W 705

    Has anyone auditioned and compared these bookshelves? I need some input please.......

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    Yes, but not in the same store at the same time, etc. Based on my very unscientific comparison, I thought the B&W 705's sounded marginally better than the Paradigm Studio 20's. However, in no way did they sound "twice as better." The B&W's are better looking, IMO, and have a better sounding top end -- they should at almost twice the cost. But, the Paradigms give you, by far, much more "bang for the buck" than the B&W's -- IMO, of course. I ended up with the Studio 20's and am very satisfied. They are excellent speakers -- worth far more than their MSRP, IMO.

    Have you auditioned them? What did you think?

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    I would, hands down, take the 705's I jsut listened to both and thought the Paradigms underperformed in every category, even if only a little. The 705's IMO really are a better speaker

  4. #4
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    I simply couldn't justify why the B&W's cost twice as much, I actually liked them both but I really preferred the 'alive' sound of the Studio's as opposed to the 'dark, laid back' sound of the B&W's. I like my speakers to be a little more forward, with vocals and instruments in your face and the Studio's made that happen where the B&W's just kind of took everything down a notch. It's more personal preference, but I much preferred the Paradigm Studio's.

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    A couple of interesting reviews here. For the B&W 705:

    http://www.stereophile.com/loudspeakerreviews/204bw/

    and for the Paradigm Studio 20 model:

    http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/p...tudio20_v3.htm

    "You pays your money - you takes your choice".

  6. #6
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    Speakers are so subjective, who can say what's better for you? I auditioned the 705's and 20v3's last year when looking for bedroom speakers. I own the 705's predecessor, the CDM 1NT so naturally the 705's had an advantage from the get go. Honestly, I was completely underwhelmed by the newer model. B&W changed the voicing quite a bit and to me, they sounded a lot closer to the 600's than the N800's. A lot of consumers and reviewer alike really like the 705's, I'm not one of them.

    The 20v3's are an exceptional value IMO. This is a very good speaker in most disciplines. It images very well and has that uncanny ability to disappear into the room. Overall dynamics were very good, if not as good as what I finally ended up with. The treble response was much improved from the v3 to the v2, which could be a tad sibiliant in certain situations. I would find it extremely difficult to justify the price difference between the two speakers you mentioned.

    Still, as Peter pointed out, it's your money so buy what you like and enjoy!

  7. #7
    RGA
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    More to the point which one did you like better -- personally I would not buy either one as I personally feel both are overpriced for the sound you get. I think the thre are several speakers in the $600 - $1600.00US range that I would take over both of those -- as a STARTING point and not by any means a complete list are as follows:

    Audio Note AX-Two ($600.00US)

    Audio Note AN K/Spe ($2300.00US) Slightly more but can be had for $1500.00Cdn at www.soundhounds.com -- 2 pairs left I believe is two years old but new in box with full warranty.

    Dynaudio Audience 42 ($750)

    Dynaudio Audience 52 or 52Se (~$1300.00)

    Magnepan 1.6 ($2,000.00Cad)

    Gershman Acoustics X-1 ($1500.00US and looks beautiful to boot)

    Totem Rainmaker ($1000.00Cad) Don't know if they charge par in the US if they do this is less of a good deal).

    This is a short list --- I would also check into Energy, JM Labs, Linn, Klipsch, and Boston Acoustics..

    Speakers are a function of personal taste the music you listen to etc and what premium you want to pay for style. I did an A/B with the 705 and the AX Two (a plain Jane looking product) - as one of a few listeners in the demo we chuckled at how much better the AX Two was and no more obvious was in piano and vocal and large scale music. Goes to show it ain't all about how much you spend. The Gershman is a better looking speaker IMO costs less sounds better because it has some sort of dynamic ability -- needs power though, the Danes are more ballsy a bit darker sounding but feed it big power and they lighten up quite a lot -- the K has incredibly extended treble range as was illustrated in a shootout on Saturday and creates a huge open presnetation unboxy presentation. Other than the Model Nautilus for $60kCanadian there isn;t a B&W or paradigm I would take ofver the K musically but obviously there is a limitation to bass.

    Klispch has a more in your face less refined presentation but to me more exciting and fun to listen to than the B&W - and is cheaper than bot -- I'm thinking of the Reference series standmounts.

    Also there is the Reference 3a Dulcet - I have not heard it but I heard the De Capo which is excellent. The Dulcet is $1500.00US the De Capo is $2500.00US

    And lastly the PMC TB2 -- I heard the original version which is IMO much better than the standmounts you're considering at about $1500.00US. But PMC has gotten rid of the metal tweeter and upgraded to a silk dome as used in their higher end speakers. My main complaint with the original was the treble so if the new tweeter fixes that slightly fatigue inducing etchy response -- so if the new tweeter crossover fixes that complain then this is going to be one serious speaker because it has exceptional bass response and can play to chest pumping levels with a very tight sound. Again needs high clean power which can be pricey.

  8. #8
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Duminy
    A couple of interesting reviews here. For the B&W 705:

    http://www.stereophile.com/loudspeakerreviews/204bw/

    and for the Paradigm Studio 20 model:

    http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/p...tudio20_v3.htm

    "You pays your money - you takes your choice".
    It is obvious that Stereophile reviewers read AA because so many people complain about the lack of driver integration with B&W speakers -- so this review surprise surprise goes out of its way to note the seamless (chuckle chuckle) integration of the Metal tweeter with the Kevlar woofer. Man I wonder which B&W employee told the reviewers what to say. What an embarrassing state the high end is in -- I notice they never talked about the LACK of integration on the prior models - I wonder why that is? Not that any of this in itself is a deal breaker - I like the CDM 1SE and NT even though there was and is a clear audible gap between the drivers simply because the competitores I heard had similar or worse problems -- but the Dane 52 does not and is cheaper.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    More to the point which one did you like better -- personally I would not buy either one as I personally feel both are overpriced for the sound you get. I think the thre are several speakers in the $600 - $1600.00US range that I would take over both of those -- as a STARTING point and not by any means a complete list are as follows:
    Last time I checked, you hadn't even listened to the Paradigm Studio 20 v.3 yet, so how would you know that it is "overpriced for the sound you get"? Given that you offered up nothing of substance about the characteristics of the 20 v.3, it seems that you still haven't done any first hand listening of those models. (And don't respond by telling me that you've listened to the Studio 100 v.3s and the 20 v.2 -- either you've heard the speaker in question and can comment on it, or you haven't and need to admit as much; any other response from you would be just tangental blather) Your dislike of the 705s have been oft-repeated in any number of different ways.

    The original poster was asking for comments about those two particular speakers. Offering up your usual list of personal favorites is nothing more than taking the mic and doing yet another soapbox rant. Oh, and covering up the fact that you haven't even listened to one of the two speakers in the original query.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    It is obvious that Stereophile reviewers read AA because so many people complain about the lack of driver integration with B&W speakers -- so this review surprise surprise goes out of its way to note the seamless (chuckle chuckle) integration of the Metal tweeter with the Kevlar woofer. Man I wonder which B&W employee told the reviewers what to say. What an embarrassing state the high end is in -- I notice they never talked about the LACK of integration on the prior models - I wonder why that is? Not that any of this in itself is a deal breaker - I like the CDM 1SE and NT even though there was and is a clear audible gap between the drivers simply because the competitores I heard had similar or worse problems -- but the Dane 52 does not and is cheaper.
    Huh? What kind of presumptuous nonsense are you spinning now?

    Obvious that the Stereophile reviewers read AA? What, just because the reviewer noted the integration between the drivers? Why don't you just disagree with the reviewer's viewpoint and move on. (Oh, but that would be too simple a response and not worthy of the fury and moral outrage that you feel everytime the 705 is mentioned. No, you have to impugn the ethics of the company and presume that the groupspeak/circle jerk at AA represents the universal truth about how everybody's observations about the 705 should come out.)

    Instead, you have to talk about AA and whether B&W told the reviewer what to say. If you have any proof to support your speculations, then spell out your source. Otherwise, just fess up and admit that you're doing nothing more than hatching unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alcamaya
    Has anyone auditioned and compared these bookshelves? I need some input please.......
    Have not yet heard the 705s, so I cannot comment on those particular speakers.

    With the Studio 20 v.3, those are some of the best all-around speakers that I've heard in that price range. They have a very balanced and compliant sound throughout the frequency band, and don't try to bite off more than they can handle. They don't do deep bass, and they don't pretend that they do by artificially boosting the midbass or other parts of the lower frequencies. The lower frequencies tail off very smoothly and evenly.

    But, IMO the biggest strength of the 20 v.3 is its ability to create convincing 3-D sound images, and hold that imaging coherency off-axis. Better than almost any other conventional box speaker that I've heard (and definitely in this price range), the 20 v.3 does a great job at "disappearing" into the room.

    In my past auditions of other B&W models, one area where they have fell a little short has been with their tendency to sometimes sound "boxy" and not image very well when sitting off-axis. Not sure if B&W fixed these issues with the 700 series, but this is something to judge for yourself. But, another hallmark of B&W has been their generally neutral and unoffensive sound. They do many things very well and have a balanced character overall, but for your preferences, you might be looking more for speakers that do one or two things exceptionally well, and B&W generally is not as known for that.

    I use a set of the Studio 20 v.2s as my surround speakers, and the v.2 series puts more of a rise in the midbass that the v.3 models do not. Some people like this effect, while others don't. In general, I think the improvements in the imaging and midrange coherency with the v.3 models more than offset any reductions in the bass extension that might have occurred when Paradigm revised the Studio series.

    These two models are good ones to start with, but you should definitely look at others as well. (Despite my objections to RGA's speculation and tangents, his list of other speakers to consider is definitely worth looking into) You should also look beyond conventional box speakers. These alternative designs include panel speakers in your price range like Magnepan and Martin Logan, bipolar speakers such as Definitive Technology and Cambridge Soundworks, omnidirectional speakers like Mirage, and boxless baffleless speakers like Vandersteen. Just take your time and do as much auditioning as you can feasibly do in your area.

  11. #11
    Canuck!
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    Oh RGA, I'm honoured that two of the speakers I own are actually on your recommended list, but your stereophile/AA conspiracy theory is a bit much for even me

    Gershman Acoustics X-1/SW-1 / Odyssey Stratos Extreme Monoblocks / Edge Electronics Si-1m Preamplifier / Sony DVP-NC555ES Transport Modded Caps and Opamps / Pro-Ject Debut II with Shure M97xE / Carver TX-11 Tuner / SonoCable and Harmonic Tech Cabling / Monster Power HTS1000 MKII / Monster Power HTS3500 MKII / Audio Note AN-K/Spe / Radii MSKT88 Monoblocks / SonoSilence One / Akai Reference Master

  12. #12
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by corwin99
    Oh RGA, I'm honoured that two of the speakers I own are actually on your recommended list, but your stereophile/AA conspiracy theory is a bit much for even me
    If you notice the reviews for the new series from B&W you will see that they write that they have improved driver integration which is in fact something I do agree with versus the prior model. But if you have the reivew of the original CDM 1NT which I did, then you will notice that they never mentioned the fact that the drivers don;t integrate -- lie of omission? I am sick of reading reviews of a product that is wall to wall glowing and then the replacement model comes out and NOW they say how much it fixed all the PROBLEMS of the old model they never told you about in the first place.

    Wooch
    The poster does not need advice on the two speakers -- if one stood out head and shoulders above the other the question would not need to be generated -- if one of the two blew him away he would buy it - neither likely have. I heard the Studio 20V3 in Guildford Mall Surrey BC a couple of weekends back -- Not long enough to make a full report.

    The speakers were run by some very expensive Anthem gear. In fact it was the same place I last heard the 100V3. If I had to choose I suppose I would take the 20V3 over the 705 if for no other reason that if I'm going to get a speaker I don't really like I'd rather spend less for it. The 20 had to me more "life" to it and IMO is a better loudspeaker musically but it depends I guess on what is listened to -- for simple acoustic music the B&W -- for everything with a pulse the Paradigm. If I have time and money to make the trip and assuming Soundhounds will let me review the speakers side by side -- as I'm sure they don't like internet reviewers balsting what they sell -- sorry Soundhounds.

    And because of the advertising blitz maybe this feller has not heard of some of the lesser known commodoties. I can answer the question any way I wish to prevent people from makintg what I think is a mistake. If this was a Bose VS B&O thread people would recommend other speakers.

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    Hey RGA,

    With all the speakers that you mentioned which do you think will match better with my gear. I have a Rotel RSP-1066 processor and RMB-1095 amplifier. I was wondering about the Totem Rainmaker or Dynaudio Audience 52SE, these speakers can be purchased used from audiogon.com. I don't know how they compare to The Studio 20v.3 though.....

  14. #14
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    I like the Rainmaker a bit better than 52SE, better tonal balance overall IMO and much better at imaging and staging. It's just really engaging speaker for the money.
    At the same time, the 52SE is a decent speaker, and I've never met a Dynaudio I didn't like...

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    how would you compare Von Schweikert VR-1 to the Studio 20v3?

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    I've actually never heard the VR-1's...Most Von Schweikert's are very unique in their presentation, you either love'em or hate'em. I suspect the VR-1's would be the same...I know some people that love them so they can't be all bad. Truth is, there's a lot of good sounding speakers out there and not everyone will agree which one is the best for the money.

  17. #17
    RGA
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    i prefer either the Dane 42 or 52 to the Rainmaker -- For me it is the superior treble smoothness combined with extention. The older 52 was a little subdued. Your amplifier will be enough. Rotel is an underrated amp maker which rarely does anything annoying. I think soundstaging and imaging are aspects leading to the wrong path with little sensory cues that we know for sure was ont he disc and not doctored by the recording or by the speakers themselves. For me it's a red herring to keep you focused on the tree instread of the forrest.

    This article strikingly reflects much of what I have felt for years about the Imaging and Soundstaging overimportance. http://dagogo.com/Borden02044.html

  18. #18
    RGA
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    Also -- i don't think it is wise to buy unheard -- no matter what we think of the speakers you may not agree -- just take a look at Kex and myself on the speakers mentioned. Both of us have listened to lots of speakers and we may both like the Dane and Totem but if push came to shove he takes the Rainmaker and I take the Dane - in fact because of amplification I would take neither one and get the AX Two --- but I would not recommend you buy any of these unheard or anything in a review unheard. There are countless well reviewed speakers that I would rather have turned off permanantly. And indeed you may like the Studio 20 or 705 more than these others anyway. My dealer carries a lot of speakers and I have had the luxurious opportunity to spend FULL days almost from when they open until they close listening in the same rooms with a variety of gear. As such it's very clear in my own mind and listening sessions which to ME is the best for ME from most of these sessions across a wide array of music. Here is an outdated list of what they carry == http://www.soundhounds.com/ They have also picked up Magnepan and carry Epos among others.

    I can't gaurantee the experience would be the same for you but it would be nice if you have access to a dealer who has the intention (and or presently) carries about 12 lines of speakers with different design approaches (significantly different) so you can get a flavour of what is being brought to the table. Listening to big horns, Stats, panels, slim lines metal tweeters, silk domes, ribbons, undamped boxes, heavy damped boxes, bipoler, sepakers with rear firing tweeters woofers, etc. As much as Soundhounds has they still don't carry all of them - but to me it's better than a shop that carries 4 brands all of which are slim line multiple stacked ~6 inch woofers with a metal tweeter. You're picking the best apple out of a basket of apples -- but if you like strawberries and apples make you gag then who cares which apple you get?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    I think soundstaging and imaging are aspects leading to the wrong path with little sensory cues that we know for sure was ont he disc and not doctored by the recording or by the speakers themselves. For me it's a red herring to keep you focused on the tree instread of the forrest.
    http://dagogo.com/Borden02044.html
    I could not disagree more with this assessment. For me, imaging and soundstage are no less than 50% of the equation. Sure recordings are doctored for the artificial illusion, but that means that's exactly what the designers WANT you to hear. Superior tonal accuracy is nice, but if soundstage and imaging are neglected, it is less involving. Indeed, why have stereo at all if these aren't at least EXTREMELY important. Listen in mono. I would argue that tonal accuracy is very much dependent on imaging and soundstage, the two are complimentary.

    I'm sure some people attribute different weightings to these characteristics. For you RGA, I suspected long ago that soundstaging was a secondary concern - wide cabinets are by design limited compared to narrow cabinets, instead opting for the benefits in the bass region and lower baffle step loss that wider cabinets provide. And if there was one relative weakness (nitpicking I'll admit) that I've heard in the AN's it's imaging. Not bad, but definitely not the AN E's distinguishing trait.

    Still, at some point it becomes a necessary part of a speaker's presentation.

    At the same time, I'm somewhat discouraged by what I hear as a recent trend in the imaging characteristics of more and more speakers. They have become so precisely focused, that vocals can appear to originate from an infinitely small, fixed point in space. When I play my cello, or (heaven forbid) sing, the sound doesn't just emanate from a small fixed point.

    I'm not surprised an article like this is written...who wants to read yet another article about the importance of soundstaging? That's been done a zillion times, contrary views make for an interesting read if nothing else. But that's about all it is, IMO...I suspect the right formula for balancing imagery with tonal accuracy varies from person to person. Don't dismiss it though.

  20. #20
    RGA
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    Well in a way a long time ago I suggested that i would prefer listening to ONE AN E than two of anything Paradigm puts out -- I have never put it to the test but it would certainly confirm whether I would value tonality to imaging. because the decay and tonality to me is so far superior it overides whether the piano is 2 feet to the left or 1 foot to the left -- I was not there and will never know -- just like the article so eloquently tries to say.

    Soundstaging the AN''s have no problem with in terms of depth or in width -- they creat a quite wide open sound and on other recordins a shut in sound -- but that follows their philosophy to the tee so give me what is there. I have recordings that extend a good 20 feet from the back wall so there is no problem with soundstage depth -- that fact that most pop recroding sound incredibly two dimensional while some slim lines present depth tells me only that the slim lines are artifically creating that depth when it is not on the recording. In fact the Reference 3a MM De Capo's greatest strength became for me the reason I didn't buy it. It has one of the best Soundstage depths of all speakers out there -- but it is best if one means it is stamped onto every recording whether there or not. It's no a major complaint because it sounds wonderful regardless but if you hear it you may get an idea of this and it is something I heard from the 100V3 as well but add in boxy colourations from resonances and an almost echoey reverb undercurrent. it hardly soundstages well IMO.

    As for the loacalization of instruments well I wonder about that as well. The AN's can sound more vague in this regard than other speakers but here again it is recording dependant - Dianna Krall can be left of center or right of center and on the paradigms dead center all the time -- which is being truthfull -- the one that is alwayas centered or the ones that are not always dead center.

    I can think of a great example as well in the Miles Davis Kinda Blue Album where instruments are spaced across the stage and easily identifiable as to which instrument and where they are - if they could not image well they would never be able to image well. And because they do on many recordings and are vague on others means to me it is not artifically creating it's own false image on everything..

    Not that this is a bad thing just like the writer notes but I don't buy that slim towers are doing a better job of reproducing the disc -- to my ear it is actually a more compressed stage shallow. When i last heard the B&W 604S3 (and I like these speakers BTW) I got the sense of listening to two pillers with a singer in the center but between the singer and the speakers nothing was there almost like a giant gap was there with nothing -- it was very odd to me and took me out of the recording -- I get the same sense with the 100V3 that there are divots or gaps across the stage -- to me it is missing the breadth of music across the stage -- it sounds far more localized from the speaker itself (something they claim is not the case with the reams of advertising they put out) but they sound like a box and a tweeter and a woofer and nothing remotely like real music.

    And no one talks about dynamics and forward staging -- on big jazz works and classical - the pressure geenrated by a real instrument in a real room from a Saxophone or trumpet on the E comes at you with huge power and scale -- the 604 etc get louder but does not seem to separate itself from the proceedings as it always does in a jazz club -- you feel the presence energy of these instruments live and it's gone with the 604 and the others I've heard like it. Forget crescendos in large scale classical works. Even the Gershman Acousics have a reeled in sound versus the K which has superior impact on the way the pressure of an instrument presents itself live - this despite a couple of less octaves.

    If you know of recordingsoff hand where I can put imaging to the test -- like the cymbal should be hard right the vocal slightly left of center etc etc. Then I can determine if they are doing it or not. But we need the same recordings in the discussion not different recoding on different speakers and then say that speaker B is better at imaging or soundstaging.

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    RGA, I must say, those ANs must sound a lot like my Ohm Walshes.

    My thoughts on this thread - Dynaudio over Totem - Totems are fun, but more about hi-fi than music. Paradigm 20s over 705s - they're a lot cheaper.

  22. #22
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alcamaya
    how would you compare Von Schweikert VR-1 to the Studio 20v3?
    I know this wasn't directed to me, but since the VR-1 is the speaker I ended up purchasing for my bedroom, I thought I'd throw in my observations.

    The first thing you notice with the VR-1's is their unrivaled bass (for a standmount) with a dynamic envelop extending to 40hz (-3dB). I don't use a sub in my room and haven't been left wanting at any time. In this respect, there is simply no contest in comparison to either the 20v3's, 705's, JML's Chorus 706's, or anything else I've heard. Albert Von Schweikert has patented his xover and for good reason; it offers absolutely seemless integration between the two drivers and off-axis response that has to be heard to be believed. Combine the cohesiveness and speed of planars but throw in a huge sweet spot and you'll get the picture. The sound simply envelops the room. I found the treble response to be sweeter than the 20v3's and not nearly as sibilant as similar offerings from Energy's Veritas line or Monitor's Gold. The midband is simply gorgeous with accurate renderings of both tonality and pace.

    In all honesty, the best descriptor for the VR1's is "Fun!" They seduce you into playing more music. If that isn't a great speaker, I don't know what is!

    HOWEVER...

    This little blurb of promotion should taken with a grain of salt: These are only my findings, in my room, with my gear. Consider it a recommendation for an audition of the VR1's, nothing more. Everyone hears differently and I invite you to draw your own conclusions.

    Hope this helps.

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    I'm not surprised to hear the VR-1 outperformed the Studio 20s (and 705s).

    I haven't heard the VR-1, but I've heard some of their floorstanders and they definitely struck me as "fun" to listen to, also.

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