Upgrade to Paradigm Studio-20s?

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albireo13

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Upgrade to Paradigm Studio-20s?
« on: 24 Aug 2015, 12:32 pm »
Hi,
I'm looking to upgrade from my Studio-20s.  This is for a 2ch music only system.  I am driving them with an Emotiva UPA-2, 125w/ch amp in my living room.
I tend to listen at modest levels, not loud.  My budget is <$1500, $1800 a stretch limit.

I like my Studio-20s but, I've always wanted a bit more bass.  Plus I have upgraditis!   :)
I could stick with bookshelf but am preferring modest size towers.
Some candidates:
  Neat SX-1
  Salk Songbirds
  Philharmonic spkrs


Any good recommendations?

Rob

Randy

Re: Upgrade to Paradigm Studio-20s?
« Reply #1 on: 24 Aug 2015, 03:40 pm »
I have a pair of Philharmonic Slims and think they are excellent.

Mudslide

Re: Upgrade to Paradigm Studio-20s?
« Reply #2 on: 24 Aug 2015, 04:13 pm »
Anything from Philharmonic Audio or Salk will be a really nice upgrade from your Paradigms.

mresseguie

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Re: Upgrade to Paradigm Studio-20s?
« Reply #3 on: 24 Aug 2015, 05:18 pm »
Hello, Rob.

I had a pair of Studio 20s for a couple years. I sold them recently at about the same time I sold my CC570 center. They suited my more modest wants at the time, but I replaced them with a two-way kit designed by Jeff Bagby called the Adelphos. I contracted out for the cabinets, so the end cost to me was $1400. They blow the Studio 20 (and the 60s!) out of the water. Not everyone wants to buy a kit though, so direct marketed speakers offer a fantastic opportunity for great sound at low prices.

Pretty much any of the speakers being offered by vendors on AC will prove to be great deals both financially and sound quality wise in my opinion. Additionally, there are a couple other speakers to consider in the sub-$1800 range. Have you heard of Fritz Speakers? The Fritz Morel 6 two-ways are $1650 while the Fritz Grove sells for $1600. Then there are a couple higher efficiency MTM speakers using SB Acoustics drivers for $1600.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the Neat SX-1 speakers priced well above your $1800 stretch?

Best of luck in your search for better sound!

Michael

JLM

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Re: Upgrade to Paradigm Studio-20s?
« Reply #4 on: 25 Aug 2015, 12:13 am »
No specific recommendations, but advice:

Limit your speaker choices to reflect your audio tastes (dynamics, detail, imaging, etc.), are well suited to your favorite genres of music (realize there is no perfect speaker), and sized to the given room (most go too big that bass overload the room).  Speakers provide the biggest factor of system sound and are a very personal decision.  Specifications/reviews/recommendations from strangers can only provide a vague idea of what might be best for you.

Conduct proper auditioning, ideally at home (try for similar room/source/amplification, use a variety of your favorite recordings).  Your first step should be to eliminate as many candidates as possible, based on research or better yet listening (when I attend audio shows I can instantly veto 90%, are you drawn into the room?).  If possible make side-by-side comparisons.  Limit your serious sessions to no more than 4 per day (reliable auditory memory is limited).  Serious auditions should take hours/days (do they impress at first, do they begin to sound cartoonish or fatiguing after hours of listening?).  By cartoonish I mean 2-dimensional, limited tonal expression, and artificial sounding.

Half the fun of audio is in the hunt, but so is most of frustration.  Do some soul searching to determine what it is the Studio 20 aren't "doing for you".  Paradigm makes quality product at competitive pricing and generally offers a neutral voicing, however most serious audiophiles then "grow beyond them" (to address their tastes).  Extra bass could be resolved with a subwoofer (that can be dialed into your living room like no passive speaker can do).

albireo13

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Re: Upgrade to Paradigm Studio-20s?
« Reply #5 on: 25 Aug 2015, 10:30 am »
JLM,
Thank you for the thoughtful advice. It's hard to find local shops or venues for auditioning speakers.
I'll have to be patient.  I want an engaging speaker that doesn't dominate the room, sonically and visually.

As for Neat ....  oops, I ment SX2s.

Rob

mcgsxr

Re: Upgrade to Paradigm Studio-20s?
« Reply #6 on: 25 Aug 2015, 11:38 am »
I owned the V2 Ref 20's for a year or so.  I really liked them a lot.  I found their balance to be very satisfying, and their bass from a stand mount was excellent.

I wanted a different presentation, and something more beautiful to look at.  I tried Totem Sttaf for a few months, and then landed on the Totem Model 1's.  I loved the added detail from the Model 1's, and their striped ribbon mahogany veneer has long been one of my fav's.

i have since gone to Maggies, but that is only because I happen to love how the open baffle musical presentation hits my ears.

I suspect you will find the Ref 20's hard to replace.  But there are options.

Of yours, I would go Salk.  Their woodwork makes me drool, and I have a ton of faith in Dennis Murphy's ability to design an Xover.

Of course if I were you, I would also be very tempted to hunt down a Servo 15 sub from Paradigm with the X-30 crossover and be done with it.  I have heard that combo in a friend's home, and found nothing I could determine I wanted more of.
« Last Edit: 25 Aug 2015, 02:49 pm by mcgsxr »

JLM

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Re: Upgrade to Paradigm Studio-20s?
« Reply #7 on: 25 Aug 2015, 01:58 pm »
JLM,
Thank you for the thoughtful advice. It's hard to find local shops or venues for auditioning speakers.
I'll have to be patient.  I want an engaging speaker that doesn't dominate the room, sonically and visually.

As for Neat ....  oops, I ment SX2s.

Rob

Thanks to the internet many shops have closed and many more options have come to light.  Hunting for audio gear can be very overwhelming, especially if you consider this a significant/longterm investment.  So take advantage of the information age and educate yourself from the comfort of home.  Look for local audio clubs (each have their own style).  Do whatever research you can, then book a long weekend in whatever the nearest city is that has multiple "real" audio shops that carry brands of interest (not predominately A/V stores).  Make a vacation out of it, let wife/girl friend shop while you listen.  Call ahead to ensure the best use of your time, bring a variety of favorite/familiar recordings, and force yourself to take notes.  I recently compared at home 6 different USB cables and couldn't have come up with conclusive findings without notes.  Proper hunting takes much time/effort but should reap rewards in terms of longterm satisfaction. 

kisersolzi

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Re: Upgrade to Paradigm Studio-20s?
« Reply #8 on: 5 Oct 2015, 10:42 pm »
How did these all turn out?   They  were decent speakers....a buddy  of mine  had  a modded set.

gman74

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Re: Upgrade to Paradigm Studio-20s?
« Reply #9 on: 7 Oct 2015, 11:30 am »
I've been using Kef R300's in my system.  The base is really good for a monitor. It's actually a three way speaker. Great sounding all around.

RDavidson

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Re: Upgrade to Paradigm Studio-20s?
« Reply #10 on: 7 Oct 2015, 02:43 pm »
I agree with everything said so far.

The Paradigms are quite good and have been continuously refined over the years. I owned v2's a long time ago, and have fond memories of them. They're like the Honda Accord of monitor speakers. They are versatile and well built. They do all the important things well to excellently. They don't really do anything "wrong." They're priced right and are a good benchmark for monitor speakers in general. If you can, keep them around so that you can compare them to anything you audition before you let them go.

To share some of my experience : As you listen at modest levels, you should look at speakers of highish sensitivity. I listen at modest levels and also listen relatively nearfield (ears are about 8' from the speakers). I have found that speakers of average sensitivity (85db-87db and lower) and lowish impedance (big swings into 4ohms and lower) have a hard time "breathing" unless the volume level is goosed up a bit. So, in my experience, speakers along these lines sound a bit thin at modest levels and need a sub or other means of reinforcement (tone controls) to sound balanced. I know part of this is due to our ears lacking sensitivity to bass sounds at a certain (low) spl threshold. It also has to do with the moving mass of the drivers. With that said, all Dynaudios I've tried lack fullness at modest volumes, though the smallest and least expensive pair (I had) suffered this the least. I think Dynaudio has made improvements in recent years so their speakers are easier to drive. Another speaker that didn't work well for me was the KEF LS50. This may sound surprising as the KEFs are universally praised. Please note, I still think Dynaudio and KEF make fantastic speakers. They just didn't suit 90% of my listening tastes/habits. The KEFs sound quite big and full when the volume is turned up a bit. At modest levels, their upper mids and highs dominate the presentation too much for me.

A pair of speakers that has worked well for me, and I've owned them for 8 years (while other speakers came and left), is the Monitor Audio RS6. I haven't heard another affordability priced, small tower speaker with its combination of bass, dynamics, speed, imaging, clarity, responsiveness and ease. They're very easy to drive too. Going from memory, they're 88db-89db sensitive, but perhaps more importantly, they stay at or above 6 ohms throughout their frequency range. They're very versatile and respond VERY well to system upgrades also. I've used them with everything from HT receivers to tube amps to Pass Labs amps. They've been refined quite a bit since the model I have. Most notably, they balanced out the treble peakiness in the RS6 when they rolled out with the RX6 and newer Silver 6. I think they get a bit overlooked nowadays as they aren't the "flavor of the month" design.