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Went speaker demoing yesterday (long read)


I'm famous now bitches! vvvvv
Ben and me headed to K-town yesterday to a store called Statement Media & Designs. I was wanting to check out the new Studios, mainly the 20s, but since he didn't have a set hooked up we looked around and listened to what he had.

One system we listened to was a pair of Monitor 7 towers. They are the v6 (the ones where the midrange driver looks like a rolled up condom stuck to the front of the speaker). The speaker is better looking than expected, but on some of the tracks we listened, it seemed they ran out of steam pretty easy. On some piano pieces, some of the notes seemed to be more louder than others. I didn't noticed this on the Studio 100s and the S2s I would hear later. One track, a tune called "Spanish Harlem", the female singer's vocals seemed to want to break up when she hits that one note and holds it. I feel a lot of it was probably the setup and not the speaker. There was a huge ass Mac amp driving it. I just wasn't impressed with the sound of the Monitors, but at the same time I think maybe it might be some abuse from a previous ignorant/inconsiderate customer? (crank 'em up man!)

Next were a pair of $7000/pr of Revel towers. I really liked these. I can't remember the model, but maybe from their Performa line? They sounded very smooth and laid back and seemed to have a pretty impressive low end to them. I liked these a lot, but at the same time, they just didn't really reach out and grab me.

The same can be said for the Signature S2s. They had a better sounding more silky smooth high end to them, but I felt they were getting held back. They originally weren't hooked up to the system we were listening. Instead, these higher end set of Revels were hooked up. The lady there let me unhook the Revels and connect the S2s to hear the setup (an all Mac setup), but the cables I noticed had some sort of in line amp hooked to it. She told me the S2s would probably sound different and not like they probably should, since the system was calibrated more for the Revels. I don't know if it was that statement had created a bias or the goofiness of the cables connecting the S2s to the Mac amp. The S2 seemed to have some great sounding highs, but everything else just seemed thin. No low end at all, so it can't be the speaker. You should have seen the speaker cables and that stupid looking passive amp thing on them. I swear that had to have some effect on the speaker's sound.

Next was a small dedicated room with a pair of Studio 100s. They sounded phenomenal, but yet again I felt like I was left wanting more. Good low end to them, but the mids seem to suffer and sounded a bit repressed. They still had that silky smooth high end just like with the S2s. Also I think it was more the environment, and not the speaker. When sitting in the sweet spot, there's a support pole sitting in the line of fire of the left speaker. This caused a lot of imagery issues and I had to point that out to the owner when he asked what I thought of the 100s. It was as if someone were standing in front of the speaker, trying to block the sound. The 100s were driven by a Lexicon amp and an Anthem pre/pro (I would love to have that pre/pro).

Before we left, we tried out a pair of Revel towers. These were the F12s from their Concerta line. The cherry finish looked great and when he fired them up, I was drawn in. They were driven by an Anthem receiver. This was the best sounding setup I've heard in that store so far. I think a lot of that was due to the setup. A long wall behind the towers and nothing but open space ahead of them. Also nothing complicated in hooking them up, just a run of simple speaker wire. They sounded as good as the more expensive towers we heard earlier, but imo (after hearing the $1500/pr price of the F12s) I would prefer the F12s. Yes they are more affordable, but I think it's like comparing the Dynaudio Focus 140s to the C1 bookshelfs. There's a difference, but I don't think the added benefits justify the added cost. IN other words, I wouldn't lose sleep wishing I had saved for the more expensive speaker.

I had a great time, but I also left the store really wanting more. Would I buy from this guy? Yeah, I would. They go out of your way to make you feel comfortable. I didn't feel like I was in a store so much as I thought I was just visiting someone. We even talked "shop" with the owner for a little while before heading out.

What sucked was, we head back to Ben's place to play back some of the same material we used for demoing on his system and just recollect on our day. I hate that guy's system (Vifa speakers, B&K preamp/stereo amp). If the Vifa kit was still available from Madisound, I would probably serious think about ordering it. Some of the tracks we played back on his setup, I don't remember hearing those really fine details on any of the speakers in Knoxville. It kinda changed my viewpoint on what I should consider for my next set of speakers.
Rope said:
Pair of Thors + 3 Odin's.


I've considered that setup so many times.

It seems like the higher the pricetag, the higher the expectation. The only speaker I've listened to, that could justify the ridiculous price tag, was the Meridian DSP8000's. Deerhunter and I demoed them once. This place was selling their floor model for the "reduced" price of $30,000. The sound was inspiring, and created amazingly high SPL without breaking a sweat. The snare cracks were so loud, they made me involuntarily blink! But they weren't just loud, they were musical.

But that was really the exception. Like Yesfan did, I've found myself drawn to the sound of the less esoteric models in high end salons. Maybe it's all in my head, or maybe they provide a sound that I am more familiar with. I would love to hear those F12's. And thanks for sharing your listening notes with us Yesfan!

And why is it that none of the Paradigm dealers I've visited EVER have a pair of Studio 20's hooked up?!?
milpool said:
...And why is it that none of the Paradigm dealers I've visited EVER have a pair of Studio 20's hooked up?!?

I asked the owner that and he told me, that the new 20s are a popular seller for him. Another thing is they are not as much a conventional showroom as much as they are in the custom install business. They mainly cater to clients that want a system pieced together and installed in their homes. Because of this, they are not going to have a lot of inventory for straight out sales, but he assured me he would be more than willing to help me get what he carried.

I wished I had more to report on, but to be honest I wasn't intent on buying anything anyways, at least not that day. The owner was also coming back from a trip so the last thing I wanted to do was ask him to move a bunch of stuff around and hook up so I could listen to it. I didn't want to do that unless I was going to buy that day.
Rope said:
Pair of Thors + 3 Odin's.



Don't get me wrong, I would love to have a setup like that, but man that's some serious coin. Originally, I was thinking 3 Odins and a pair of Lokis could be just as good, for a lot less.

The one thing that holds me back on a kit is not being able to hear them before purchase. I would hate to get something like that, assemble them, and then be disappointed. The good thing is, I have heard the Vifa kit that Ben has, and that is the one reassuring thing. Dentman also has his Vifas and I was equally impressed when I heard them. IMO, Madisound should have never discontinued that kit.

I think what I'm going to do is just order a few to demo at home, make notes, then keep what I like. A few that's on my short list (in no order).

Dynaudio Focus 140
Klipsch Reference RB-81 II
Paradigm Studio 20 v5
Revel Concerta M12 (bookshelf version of the F12)
Seas Odin Mk3 Kit*
Yesfan, Dynaudio is in the process of revamping some of there lineups. The Focus line is one of them and the 140s are being replaced with the all new 160s...with a quick phone call I could find out if maybe some 140s are on clearance perhaps...that's if there are any left. If Dynaudio is seriously in the running make sure you contact B or me for ridiculous pricing...
Batman said:
........If Dynaudio is seriously in the running make sure you contact B or me for ridiculous pricing...

of course. ;)

What are the biggest differences in the 160 to the 140? The woofer size? I noticed the 220s seemed to be replaced by a 260 tower too so it had me wondering.
Dude, the Eros and Eros MkII look like a great deal and would give a better result for less money. I believe we have some members who have experience with the Eros and it would be nice to hear their comments.