Paradigm v2 vs. v3

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  • 09-09-2004, 07:36 AM
    noddin0ff
    Paradigm v2 vs. v3
    Watching the RGA attack thread get bigger and bigger...thought I'd try a splinter thread.
    RGA commented (more or less) that he could see going with the v2's but not the v3's. The value wasn't there for the V3s.

    I've got a small HT sytem, 20v2s up front, titans in back, and added last X-mas a Studio CC470v3.

    While I do greatly enjoy finally having a good center, and it blends pretty well with the 20's, I've been a little dissapointed in that I dont think the cc470 v3 sounds quite as nice as my 4 year old 20v2's. I guess I'd have to aggree with RGA that Paradigm mis-stepped slightly with the v3s. Obviously, my experience is limited to the above. I was wondering if anyone else noticed something similar.

    The 470 v3 sounds a little edgier in the mid-high to high range, kind of like there's an air-y feel that isolates the voices more than with the 20v2. The 20v2's sound more balanced and blended from top to bottom. I'm not used to describing what I hear but that's more or less it. Maybe its just that the difference between mono center and stereo 20s it the culprit. For the price I expected a more perfect match.

    Curious if that's something that will break in over the next year or so, or if its a real difference in sound between the v2 and v3. I'd like to someday add some 40's up front but might pass on 40's v3. Also curious if the 40's are really that much of an addition in low range over the 20s.

    Comments?

    noddin0ff
  • 09-09-2004, 07:56 AM
    Pat D
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by noddin0ff
    Watching the RGA attack thread get bigger and bigger...thought I'd try a splinter thread.
    RGA commented (more or less) that he could see going with the v2's but not the v3's. The value wasn't there for the V3s.

    I've got a small HT sytem, 20v2s up front, titans in back, and added last X-mas a Studio CC470v3.

    While I do greatly enjoy finally having a good center, and it blends pretty well with the 20's, I've been a little dissapointed in that I dont think the cc470 v3 sounds quite as nice as my 4 year old 20v2's. I guess I'd have to aggree with RGA that Paradigm mis-stepped slightly with the v3s. Obviously, my experience is limited to the above. I was wondering if anyone else noticed something similar.

    The 470 v3 sounds a little edgier in the mid-high to high range, kind of like there's an air-y feel that isolates the voices more than with the 20v2. The 20v2's sound more balanced and blended from top to bottom. I'm not used to describing what I hear but that's more or less it. Maybe its just that the difference between mono center and stereo 20s it the culprit. For the price I expected a more perfect match.

    Curious if that's something that will break in over the next year or so, or if its a real difference in sound between the v2 and v3. I'd like to someday add some 40's up front but might pass on 40's v3. Also curious if the 40's are really that much of an addition in low range over the 20s.

    Comments?

    noddin0ff

    RGA is just following me on this one. Quite a while ago, I heard the Studio 40, v. 3, and they seemed to me to be somewhat colored. Earlier, I had heard the Studio 100, v. 3, and thought the same thing. I posted some comments regarding both some time ago. The Signature Series sound quite a bit better, and I really don't care what the guys at RGA's dealer, Soundhounds, think about it. The v. 3's are pretty good speakers nevertheless. Now, there were no v. 2 speakers on hand to compare with them directly, but I remember my selections sounding more neutral with them. So, my impression is that the V. 2 speakers were more neutral. But you can easily compare the two versions.

    You can find some measurements at Soundstage.com. The only measurements I have for the v. 2's are from Audio Ideas Guide, which uses a different methodology, but their measurements look better than Soundstage's measurements for the v. 3's in the mids and upper mids--not that those are bad.
  • 09-09-2004, 08:10 AM
    kexodusc
    Well, the 470 v.3 wouldn't sound the same because it has a 3 driver system, and a lower crossover point, meaning the tweeter's actually doing more work.
    I've heard mixed reports that the drivers didn't even change.
    I have never heard an exact tonal match between main speakers and the matching center, in my experience, they're just darn close at best. I haven't heard all speakers.

    What you describe is similar to what I experience between my Studio 40 and center channel (all v.2's). Even the 20's and 40's sound a wee bit different in the midrange IMO.

    I did a few demo's at a Paradigm dealer around January/February or so...I recall the V.3's sounding a bit better, especially the imaging. IMO, the tweeter was a bit more laid back, but still very revealing, something that I prefer to the V.2's. If memory serves, the salesperson and I both thought the V.3's (only Studio 20's and 40's in this case) had better soundstaging than their V.2 predecessors.

    I don't think the differences are all that substantial though...I wouldn't hesitate to mix versions when building an HT. I've always suspected that any perceived upgrades have just as much to do with cost cutting on production and quality control as they do sound, though I have no way to prove that.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • 09-09-2004, 08:31 AM
    BillB
    noddinOff,

    Your center channel speaker will never sound the same as your front L&R speakers unless it is:

    A) The exact same model
    B) Located in the exact same position
    C) Surrounded by the same things surrounding the L&R

    They do however come quite close as they're all "voiced" to sound similar to models in the company's same range. Placement has the biggest impact though and even if you were to use a single 20v2 on a stand the same height you're likely to have a screen somewhere behind it of some sort and the L&R will be closer to more room boundaries.

    The key to getting as close as possible with your center channel aside from careful placement is finding one with the same size drivers made of the same same material. This is the reason I chose the 470v3 over the larger 570v3. The center channel does not require deep bass extension in my home theater which is how it's used 95% of the time for me. I cross ALL speakers over at 60Hz to my sub and the 470 can play that low quite easily. I placed more importance on seamless dialog, the primary duty of a center channel. Midrange and tweeter units handle 99.99% of all of the dialog. The midrange units in the 470 are identical in size and material to my 100's and my 20's for that matter. The 570 gets a midrange of identical material but NOT size. It's midrange unit is only 4" compared to the 7" drivers used throughout the rest of the Studio line.

    When I auditioned a pair of Studio 60v2's I remembered how dynamic they were with rock music and great guitars and drums sounded. A few years later when I auditioned 100v3's it was generally how I remembered it with more bottom end and better imaging. The former is attributable to the larger cabinet and number of drivers, the latter due to a narrower front baffle.

    Obviously the cabinetry on the v3 series is not as nice as that on the v2 series but after living with gorgeous Vienna Acoustics speakers for over 2 years I could care less if they don't look as pretty but sound better...that's just me. Paradigm had to hold something back for the Signature Series and I suppose cabinet finish was one of the easiest ways to distinguish.

    I think the Studio Series gives you 95% of what the Signature Series offers in terms of looks/sound at nearly half of the cost.

    At less than $2500 for a 100/CC-470/20 setup I think they're an absolute steal!

    Bill
  • 09-09-2004, 08:36 AM
    Woochifer
    You can't really judge an entire speaker series based on the center speaker. The horizontal alignment alone will create some differences in how you perceive the tonal characteristics because the dispersion pattern is different and how it interacts with the room is also different (the center speaker will tend to interact more with the floor and the ceiling). The only center speaker I've ever heard that came close to perfectly matching the mains was from Vandersteen, and that was a coaxial design.

    If you want to do a more accurate comparison between the two series, you need to compare the Studio CC v.2 with the Studio CC-470 v.3. The center speaker voice match is not perfect, but it is close enough so that you can create a fairly seamless image across the front and that's really the main objective when it comes to center speakers -- how well they match to the mains.

    In my experience, the v.3 series is an improvement in almost all facets over the v.2, and the improvement in the imaging and soundstage is very noticeable, especially the 20 which is now about as good at imaging as I've heard from any conventional speaker in that price class. The v.3 series does not have the low frequency extension that the v.2 series had, but what it gives up in the extension it more than makes up for in more coherent articulation of the bass notes. The v.2 series had an audible and measureable rise in the midbass, and that's also been taken out in the v.3. Overall, it just sounds more refined and balanced. There's no denying that you're listening to the Studio series, but those differences can potentially make the center speaker even less perfect a voice match to the mains.
  • 09-09-2004, 09:42 AM
    topspeed
    I agree with Wooch and KC in that the biggest difference seemed to be the refinement of their tweeter. I always found the V2's, particularly in 100 guise, to be a bit forward and agressive for my taste. The 100's bass can also become a bit loose and lost in complex passages. Nothing untoward, but I am glad they apparently have addressed this issue with the V3's (haven't heard the 'em yet). I thought the 20v3's were excellent and darn near bought a pair. The treble was much smoother and lacked the exaggerated edge that plagued the V2's. Understand, I'm not talking night and day differences here. Of course, this is just my opinion and if you prefer the sound of the V2's, by all means stay the course.
  • 09-09-2004, 10:17 AM
    Luis31
    I agree with kexodusc on "mixing and matching" v3 and v2 respectively. I recently upgraded to a CC-570 v3 from a CC v2. I took home the CC-570 v3, CC-470 v3 and compared them with the CC v2 and of the three, the CC-570 v3 matched with my Studio 80's v2 the best not only for HT, but for multi-channel music as well. Before auditioning the new center channel speakers from Paradigm, I had e-mail their tech support and was told the v2 and v3 are "voiced" pretty much the same.

    I also auditioned the Studio 20 v3 and found it to be an improvement over the v2 in "pin-point" imaging (very impressive...) and just better overall tonal accuracy. Not a "night & day" difference, but noticeable nonetheless...

    -Luis31
  • 09-09-2004, 03:52 PM
    RGA
    Please don't put words in my mouth because I am not saying the V2 is better than the V3. The Atom V3 I liked better than the Atom V2. The 100 V2 I like better than the V3. If you want to break it down to individual aspects the 100V3 probably does have a smoother treble than the V2 but it is also seemingly laid back and rather dull with a hollow sound that would rule it out for me no matter what else it does.

    How the 20V3 would do with less of the Paradigm cabinets may yield a better result than the V2 given my treble compaints of the previous model.

    You may want to pick up a used seto of 20s and run both as your center channel if your receiver allows for such a set-up. Then you would have 4 of the same speaker across the front preferrably at the same height.

    Hope whatever you're trying to do works out
  • 09-09-2004, 04:52 PM
    Woochifer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by topspeed
    I agree with Wooch and KC in that the biggest difference seemed to be the refinement of their tweeter. I always found the V2's, particularly in 100 guise, to be a bit forward and agressive for my taste. The 100's bass can also become a bit loose and lost in complex passages. Nothing untoward, but I am glad they apparently have addressed this issue with the V3's (haven't heard the 'em yet). I thought the 20v3's were excellent and darn near bought a pair. The treble was much smoother and lacked the exaggerated edge that plagued the V2's. Understand, I'm not talking night and day differences here. Of course, this is just my opinion and if you prefer the sound of the V2's, by all means stay the course.

    Actually that would depend on what part of the highs you're talking about. I thought that in the extreme highs, the treble was the least changed aspect of the v.3, but as you go lower in the treble range, there is a difference as you get closer to the crossover point. The v.2 tweeters had to handle a lot more of what most speakers would consider the midrange, but with the v.3 they bumped up the crossover frequency and went with a second-order design rather than a third-order crossover so the slope is not as steep around that transition. With a couple of my test discs, the v.3's midrange sounded very different from my v.2 set, and that was in the upper part of the mids.

    Agreed though, the differences are more subtle than dramatic, but I thought that with the 20s and 40s at least, they made some good decisions and came out with an overall improved speaker. The v.2 is more forward sounding and noticeably punchier, but the v.3 makes some very nice strides in the imaging and in that specific area has gone from excellent to near top of its class among the speakers I've heard.