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Narrowed list to 4 possibilitys...what say you?

 

New member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 10
Registered: May-05
After reading until my eyes hurt and wringing my hands over what receiver to buy I have narrowed the list down to 4 candidates. I have taken all of your advice and soaked it all in and then went to read more and have come to this list:

HK AVR 3805
Yamaha RX-V2500
Marantz SR8400
Denon AVR 3806

I am still open to others but I seem to be getting the best signals from these. Want to stay in the $1000.00 range.

I understand that they are all good choices but I am having trouble picking one over the other. Help

By the way I have decided on the following speaker combination

2-M60T's fronts
4-QS8's surrounds
1- VP150 Center
1- EP500 subwoofer

I also currently have a Velodyne CT120 sub that I have been happy with and would consider running 2 subs if you guys think that is a good idea. Kinda thinking that the EP500 is going to blow me away anyway and will not need it. If not I will just use it in my upstairs den to set up surround for my kids with my old components.

"Speak to me Goose"

 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 573
Registered: Feb-05
Marantz. If those are Axiom speakers you may want to reconsider. Perhaps you've heard them and are impressed, if so ignore this. But if you have not or have only listened to them briefly please understand that many listeners have complained of listener fatigue. They are certainly impressive to look at but looks ain't everything. I would either move over to the Paradigm Monitor line if you want a large floor stander for a reasonable price or really a better bet that would save you some bread and certainly sound better is the Ascends with a Hsu sub. Anyway enough of my unwanted speaker advice. The Marantz receiver would be my choice among those that you listed.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 645
Registered: Mar-05
I second Art's speaker advice, but if you have to go with Axioms I would cross Yamaha off the list: bright speaker + bright receiver = bleeding ears!

Also for subs it's usually better to buy from a sub-only manufacturer esp. if you want a high quality to price ratio.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 11
Registered: May-05
Thanks Art and Edster that is the kind of information I am looking for. I will look into the Ascends and Paradigm. Tf they were the same price which speakers would you recommend between those 2?

And as for the receivers you both recommend the Marantz SR8400 over the others?
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 579
Registered: Feb-05
Save some bread and go with the Ascends and with (some) of the money you save scrap the Velodyne and get a Hsu sub. Yes, the Marantz is the best of the listed receivers.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 12
Registered: May-05
where can I find the HSU subs online?
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 580
Registered: Feb-05
Just google "hsu" and move past Humboldt State U to the Hsu audio homepage. I would've provided a link but the site is down right now. Try a little later.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 13
Registered: May-05
Which HSU sub would you suggest with the Marantz. Also with the Ascends which ones for the fronts, rears, and surrounds. I am partial to floor standing and I also like a wood grain finish. Does ascend have different finishes?

I cant find any reviews for Ascends. Are there any out there?

If I decide on the Paradigms which monitor series would you recommend?

Sorry for being such a Newbie
 

Bronze Member
Username: Chitown

Post Number: 65
Registered: Apr-05
Jay you can buy directly from HSU at www.hsuresearch.com

I am using an STF-2 10" downfiring sub with an sr-8400. The Sub arrived 2 days ago and I still haven't had the chance to crank the whole system beyond -12db (kids sleeping etc.) The sound is just absolutley overwhelming my 25x25 living room. My wife is so excited about this whole system (after lecturing me about how we don't really need all these) She is threatening to kick me out of the house with the kids for one night so she can have an ...arrrgh... dance party and invite all her friends. I don't think you can beat the HSU subs with anything in that price range.



 

Bronze Member
Username: Jorge59

Rio de JaneiroBrasil

Post Number: 13
Registered: May-05
You can buy Hsu together with Ascends in the Ascends website (with discount for the package). This site is full of good reviews and they give advice by email. Ascends don't have many models, so it will be easy to choose your speaker set.
 

Silver Member
Username: Claudermilk

Post Number: 148
Registered: Sep-04
That list hauntingly familiar (ok, so mine was a model or tow down their lines...). I also ended up with the Marantz. I paired it with Paradigms & they sound great together. For finishes, Paradigm offers everal nice ones, check their website.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 14
Registered: May-05
Ok Art, I went started looking into the paradigm speakers as you suggested and I found a local high end audio store that had some I could listen to. I listened to the monitor series which included the Monitor 7 towers, ADP 370 surrounds (di polar), and the reference series center CC470. I was very impressed and my end up owning them soon.

I have another question though...the guy there is trying to sell me the Interga DTR 6.5 receiver which he states is the line he picked up after dropping the Marantz due to problems with the Marantz line. Im not sure if he is trying sell me something or being honest about this receiver but he says it is much better than the SR8400. Do you know anything about this line? It is apparently the upper end Onkyo stuff. I havent heard of this receiver before today. Any comments by you or anyone elso on here concerning this receiver?
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1909
Registered: Aug-04
Integra - better than Marantz?

I guess you know my opinion. Marantz also has a three year warranty. I've had a SR-7300 for over 18 mths and it has been worked hard and used daily and never let me down. But they can run hot if not given enough ventillation. The SR-8400 is great, but if you can stretch it I hear the SR-8500 is really wowing many reveiwers.
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 582
Registered: Feb-05
I'll reply when I get home from work.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 15
Registered: May-05
another question...can you but Paradigm speakers online or just from an authorized dealer?
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 584
Registered: Feb-05
You can't buy Paradigms online that I am aware of. If you buy the Monitor series then I would stick to the CC370 Monitor series center as well. Timbre matching is key. Relative to the Integra receiver vs the Marantz..stick to your original intuition to go with the Marantz. MyRantz has a point about the SR8500 but by the time you start talking those bucks I'm looking at NAD and Rotel. Sounds like your close to pulling the trigger...cool!
 

Silver Member
Username: Claudermilk

Post Number: 151
Registered: Sep-04
My Paradigm dealer mentioned the Integra line when I was auditioning my speakers as well. After checking their literature & doing some research it turns out they are Onkyo's higher end line. Depending on your opinions of Onkyo that can be a good thing or a bad thing. I stuck with Marantz.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 16
Registered: May-05
Ok I have another option for you guys to chew on. After going back and forth over and over again with which receiver I want I may be changing my thinking a little. It seems everytime I talk to someone about a certain receiver I get different opinions depending on who I am talking too. The one thing that everyone seems to agree on is if I can come up with more money go with NAD.

What are you guys general feelings about me getting a NAD T773 (refurb) from the Spearit website. Im thinking that these are factory certified refurbs and will be better and above most of the other receivers I have been looking into.

And yes Art my trigger finger is beginning to twitch...
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 593
Registered: Feb-05
Last weekend I bought a T763. In fact I am taking a break from the the back breaking work of setting up my system right now. It is replacing a Marantz SR5400. Viva la NAD!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 17
Registered: May-05
So I can trust a refurb T773 from Spearit? This is a good choice?

Say the word and I will pull that trigger!!!
 

Silver Member
Username: Markusp

Toronto, ON Canada

Post Number: 123
Registered: Apr-04
Just to jump in.... have a listen to the Integra and see if you like it. Its not about having the "best" as a group concensus, its about buying what you think sounds the best to you personally.

By the way, I think that the Integra DTR 6.5 sounds really nice and certainly better than the 7400 / 7500 model from Marantz in my opinion. Its actually cheaper here (in Canada) than the Marantz 8400 which I have not had the pleasure to listen to.

As for the Nad, I always get a little jumpy when dealing with their refurbs. Nad has been known to have problems in the recent past and their refurbs could have suffered these problems. That said, I like Nad receivers in general and their "sound" and would choose Nad over both Marantz and Integra as long as it was a problem free unit.
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 594
Registered: Feb-05
I hate to do it but the only refurb I've owned is a Rotel and I didn't think it performed as well as a new unit. Markus is right about choosing what sounds best to you, I would just be surprised if that was an Integra. I bought my T763 for a bit over $1100 brand new from a great dealer in Portland.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 18
Registered: May-05
Geez I need to buy something soon before I talk myself into going broke. The more I read reviews and specs I keep wanting to raise my budget. I am changing my mindset as of late. I am thinking that what ever I purchase will be with me for a long time so I am thinking of coughing up more money for my investment to get the best possible setup that I can afford. Oh and finding out this week that I will be getting quite a bit of overtime over the next month didnt hurt either (7 12's for the next 4 weeks).

Ok here is my latest line of thinking. I am thinking top of the line in receivers and have narrowed the list to 3. So what I am looking for again is feedback from all of you guys who know more than I do.

Denon AVR-3805 (new) $999.00
Marantz SR 8500 (new) $1299.00
NAD T773 (new) $1489.00

These are the best prices I could find on the net.


And I am feeling almost certain that I will go with the Paradigm monitor 7's, CS370 Center, ADP 370 surrounds, and an HSU sub that I havent decided on yet but probably the 3 series.

Side notes: room is 18' x 25' with 10' ceilings


Ok let the critique begin...
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 606
Registered: Feb-05
NAD! Either the NAD T763 or T773 should do the job better than the other 2 you listed. I have the T763 and it is mind boggling. I didn't feel that the T773 was worth spending more on.
 

Gvenk
Unregistered guest
Jay, just to have a counterpoint and not to sound sacrilegious, have you actually listened to any of these or are you putting this together entirely via specs and what others say is good? What was your previous system that you listened to from which you will be moving up?

The reason I am asking is that while it is highly likely you may very well convince yourself that you are hearing good sound for whatever is the group recommendation, YOU may not hear any better sound than spending half that money depending on your previous exposure and tastes for sound. In the worst case, it may also happen (especially if you are honest with yourself even after spending several grand) that it might sound terribly bad to you desite the recommendations.

Recommendations from audiophiles is part acoustics, part psychology, part bragging rights and part self-validation. Like wine, it is impossible to recommend one over the other to any one else.

Why don't you go to a local hifi store and audition a bunch of receivers in different price ranges and see for yourself what sounds good and what doesn't (of course without the sales guy telling you or the price influencing you). Then if you post on the board honestly without worrying about what people think of you which ones sounded good and which ones might not, then some informed opinion can be given on what other options of that type also exist.

If that sounds like too much work, you can indeed try to get the maximially recommended one for the highest price you can afford and live happy forever that you really have the right sound. Any modern component over $300 these days WILL sound good to anyone who has convinced himself that it should sound good. That is the reality of psycho-acoustics.

And when you buy, try to buy from that local store that helped you with the audition, not the cheapest mail-order.

If you want to impress guests by having the "in" things that you wouldn't be ashamed of, then just buy the most expensive you can afford. :-)

Not trying to make a statement or criticise anyone but I have been following this field too long to not realize the reality of buying via recommendations.

I wouldn't recommend spending this kind of money except for an upgrade where you feel you are sonically growing out of your current equipment, in which case describing what you find lacking in them (especially in relation to something you have auditioned) would help suggest the next better alternative.

Of course, I might also be destroying the business cases for some boutique hi-fi manufacturers with the above approach.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY Pakistan

Post Number: 31
Registered: May-05
Great post Gvenk!!! I was thinking the same exact thing.

Jay -
If you can tell the difference between the stuff mentioned and mass market junk (I'm not trying to be a wisea$$), another one to consider before buying is the Arcam AVR250. It retails for about $1500. Go to audiophilesystems.com and clik on Arcam on the bottom of the page. They make great sounding and reliable stuff. From what I hear NAD has had a lot of QC issues (supposedly fixed) with their H/T stuff. I have owned their 2 channel stuff for about 15 years now and highly recommend it, therefore I'm not a NAD basher by any stretch of the word, but I wouldn't buy their H/T gear myself. The 'sounds great when it works' line are all too common; just read some of the many posts on this forum. I think very few would argue that the Arcam H/T gear isn't superior to the NAD stuff.

JUST MAKE SURE YOU LISTEN FIRST BEFORE BUYING!!!!!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY Pakistan

Post Number: 32
Registered: May-05
Specs on paper are meant for relative comparisons... they shoul never replace what really counts - what you consider great sound
 

Bronze Member
Username: Chitown

Post Number: 75
Registered: Apr-05
Gvenk and Stu though I agree with your sentiments about listening to audio equipment and deciding, I have to say that I read the posts here before making a decision on parts of my system and I am happy about it. I read these posts the way I might read/watch a review about a movie before deciding to go see it. I don't look so much for a thumbs up or down on a movie, but I listen to why they recommend or not and make my decisions based on that. I read some of the posts, asked questions and read the specs. It would have been impossible otherwise for me to test the combination of different amps/speakers/subs that are out there. I don't have that much time. The specs on the web site may not mean much, but they do help in comparing apples with apples. Doing so I was able to purchase what I felt was the best equipment for the price without the brand frills. I am happy so far, though if I change my mind, I can send them (most of them at least) back and try again.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY Pakistan

Post Number: 35
Registered: May-05
Stof -
I agree with everything you said. When I was shopping for equipment I was actually more concerned about negative things people had to say about the stuff I was considering such as reliability issues and mechanical problems. It's a great place to get people's opinions, but that's all it should be taken as. To me (and probably Gvenk, although I can't speak for him/her) it sounded like he was strictly going to buy the stuff based on the consesus winner. No one posed the questions that Gvenk did. I really hope that he is listening to these before buying, but you never know. Anytime I give my opinion on a system I always try to tell people to listen for themselves before buying.
I don't think anyone is trying to blindly steer someone somewhere, but somehow people forget to ask the questions that Gvenk asked.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY Pakistan

Post Number: 36
Registered: May-05
Not to beat a dead horse - he never mentioned once that he's heard any of them, only...

"After reading until my eyes hurt and wringing my hands over what receiver to buy I have narrowed the list down to 4 candidates. I have taken all of your advice and soaked it all in and then went to read more and have come to this list:"
 

Bronze Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY Pakistan

Post Number: 37
Registered: May-05
Correction to the last post - the ony hearing he's claimed was to paradigm...
 

Bronze Member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 19
Registered: May-05
Gvenk great post...that really hit home and made sense to me. Stu thanks also but I am in the same situation as Stof...I can make the time to go listen to some different items but my options here are limited unless I go to Best buy, circuit city, etc... The only affordable high-end store here went out of business. The other one here has some speakers I was able to listen to but they have mostly very high-end (out of my price range) stuff. They didn't even have the Integra receiver the salesman was trying to sell me hooked up so I could listen to it either.

Stu after reading your post I decided to look into the Arcam and did a dealer search and did not have any within 150 miles of me.

Oh and I went to my local Best buy the other day and had some yahoo try to tell me how awesome their stuff is and how good it sounded. He was obviously tone deaf because what I heard was crap.

So I am stuck with depending on trusting what I read and other people's advice in my decision-making.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 20
Registered: May-05
And I am "He" by the way
 

Bronze Member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 21
Registered: May-05
Correct. I was able to hear the Paradigms and they sounded awesome although the sound was being generated by a $7000.00 set up according to the salesman.
 

Gold Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 1063
Registered: Jan-05
There is no one best receiver out of the bunch listed above. Which is best depends on your personal preferences, uses and what features are most important to 'you'.

For me, it was the Yammi2500, but that doesnt mean it will be the best for you. Whatever you do, be sure to listen to 'front speakers' before you buy. Dont take a leap of faith based on reviews because what sounds good to one person can sound terrible to another.

Subs are a different story. A massive SVS is the only way to go if you want big theater sound:-)
 

Bronze Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY Pakistan

Post Number: 40
Registered: May-05
Jay -
I didn't mean any offense by the "he" and knew it was you. It is a real pain in the @ss to find half of the stuff people discuss here, and then too often the dealer doesn't even have it hooked up or have the stuff you want to compare side by side.

It really sucks to not have a high end dealer anywhere within sight. Even when you do, it still poses problems. I live 10 minutes from Manhattan, and you'd be surprised as to how few places that are around here too. Most of them have stuff that I'd need to marry into the Trump family to afford, and have one "lower end" line like NAD, Rotel or Arcam that I can't compare side by side against each other. The whole process sucks, but pays off in the end when you know you have exactly what you wanted (within your budget anyway).

If I were blindly getting something (especially for the money you are looking to spend) I would make sure that you can return it without any penalty. I was going to buy the Arcam I mentioned eariler, but couldn't afford all of the speakers I wanted to go with it to make it worth having. Not to bash NAD (I mentioned my strong affection for the eariler) but a lot of people have some serious and justified complaints against their H/T stuff. I don't know enough about the other recievers to give an honest opinion, but if their is anyway possible to hear the Arcam (most likely not) I've never heard a single negative thing about them. When the car is paid off I'll most likely buy one and start a home theater. Just my opinions though, for whatever their worth!

PS - Paradigms are great speakers. An alternative to them could be PSB's... sorry for making it a little harder
 

Bronze Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY Pakistan

Post Number: 41
Registered: May-05
Glad to hear you're anti-Best Buy and the like!!!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 22
Registered: May-05
LoL you definately did not offend me. I just wanted to clear that up.

I have figured it all out...I am going to buy a home theater in a box from Jensen or Aiawa (does Jensen still exist?)

Just kidding

Ohh and thanks for the kick start you just gave my heart. I went to the PSB website and clicked on the Platinum series speakers and saw $4999.00/pair. That woke me up a bit. I will look at the others...

JAY
 

Bronze Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY Pakistan

Post Number: 44
Registered: May-05
I've got the Image t55's and love them. Look online at DMC-electronics.com for some b-stock stuff. Hippo's also has some on closeout. they used to carry them but dropped the line and are getting rid of them at cost - http://www.hipposaudiovideo.com/closeout1.htm
I used to live a few miles away from them, and they are a great family owned business.
I think DMC has put together a few PSB H/T packages.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY Pakistan

Post Number: 45
Registered: May-05
Can't go wrong with KLH and Dual either!!!
 

Gvenk
Unregistered guest
Stof, so there is no misunderstanding, I was not suggesting it is an either-or between getting these recommendations and auditioning. It is one thing to short list a bunch for auditioning based on recommendations and quite a different thing to short list which one to plunk the money on based on recommendations.

These boards are very useful when the recommendations are given in the context of what the listener is used to or expecting, which is why pre-auditioning and then asking for opinions based on that experience or giving some details of what they have heard before or more importantly what they are looking for in features for a H/T set up (unlike a sonically pure audio set up) makes a lot more sense then a "NAD sounds better than a Marantz or vice versa" recommendation or worse, "I have X, it is great, buy X"

Wine analogy is a lot more apt. You will get a lot of recommandations at $20 or $200 or $2000 a bottle depending who you ask. If someone has no experience with $2000 wines then buying the best recommended wine in that price range is an utter waste of money and it may not even be the best choice for them unless it is got something that they have found lacking in the lesser wines and they can indeed discern it in the $2000 wine. Wine-tasting (when possible) would be a good way of finding that out before plunking the $2000.

Of course, the psychology of audio is that you will indeed be happy with any of these choices if you find a group of people telling you so and you have convinced yourself that you have a good system based on that (at least until another group comes up with a consensus as to why that is a bad component and then you start noticing those shortcomings). :-)

When it comes to H/T equipment where the sound is an important but only one of the components of the overall usage and experience, sometimes the frills are as important as sonic purity. But it all depends, of course, on whether that user is looking for just sonic purity or a house-rocking theater experience which is why recommending in a context makes more sense.

Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread for a sermon.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY Pakistan

Post Number: 46
Registered: May-05
I'm saving up for the $14,000 speaker set at the bottom of DMC's PSB special page. Platinium series all the way around. Maybe I'll pair that up with the McIntosh H/T seperates that cost a few bucks more. One of these days...

Anyone know any rich single women that are looking for a fat ugly broke guy? My wife would understand.
 

Gvenk
Unregistered guest
Jay, do you ever get out of town? If so, make a point of seeing if you can drop by a dealer in the area that your visiting. You don't need to audition these exact equipment. Just audition a number of things in the same price range and if you can articulate which one sounded better than others to you and why you think so, then people may be able to recommend other options that sound similar to the ones you liked or say which amongst a list like this you are likely to enjoy the most.

And when you spend money like this, don't ignore the "frills" unless you have money to throw at these every few months. The H/T is evolving rapidly these days both in video and audio (especially in terms of connectivity) and many of the mid-high end audio companies that have a good reputation in audio are finding it difficult to keep current. NAD, for example, brings out equipment that seems outdated as soon as it comes out (of course, sound quality doesn't go out of style!).

Example of things to think about, do you need HDMI connectivity or are you going to run multiple cables and risk potential intereference and a/v sync problems? Do you have an ATSC tuner included TV whose audio you would like to use as a source to the receiver, and if so, are you going to have lip sync problems because of the connectivity options offered by the receiver or the processing of it? If these things aren't considered then even the best sounding receiver is going to fare badly for a H/T set up.

While it may have worked for some, it may not work for you because your video set up is different.

Sorry, there are no easy answers which is why a very good neighborhood hifi dealer is as difficult to find as a good barber and when you find one worth keeping him very happy. :-)

No, I am not a dealer!
 

ZiggyZoggyOiOiOi
Unregistered guest
Gvenk... more great suggestions/questions from you! Those are exactly the things I have thought about for my new basement H/T purchases, and what also led me to my decision (which I have not purchased yet, but will shortly):

H/K AVR235 - to be used as a pre/pro. It has all the bells and whistles I need, including A/V lip sync and adjustable crossover frequency for bass management, to go along with good build quality at a low price (refurb units from Harman on Ebay are ~$300, new units from Onecall are ~$350.

Outlaw Audio 755 - 5x200W power amp. $1300 (or $1179 for B-stock).

With this setup, I can always keep my pre/pro as up-to-date as I want it. It's an inexpensive enough component to upgrade when I feel the need. I looked at the NAD 773 and the Arcam AVR300 - both great machines indeed. But the NAD reliability scares me, and the Arcam is not real feature-rich to begin with. After all the listening, and all the research, the Harman/Outlaw combo fits my needs best.
 

Kraig
Unregistered guest
Jay,
Just my two cents...have owned Denon, Yamaha, have heard Marantz, now own NAD. Speakers, have owned Wharfeldale, Energy, Mirage, have heard nearly everything else under and over $1000, except PSB (never heard a bad thing about them though - but they don't carry the specs Paradigm does), but I own Paradigm, and likely always will. NAD and Paradigm together are the ONLY combo I don't get listening fatigue with...in fact it only sounds better the longer it runs...I don't like shutting it off to go to bed! Am I an audiophile? Um...I leave my tone controls at flat on everything. The only way to tell if you have a good amp or speaks. Messing with adjustments when you listen messes with accuracy. Keep as many things the same as possible.

Here's one more weird thing...when I auditioned my Paradigm's, I found that in your typical store, the different models sound quite different from one another. That's because, the only place where I got a good audition was in a true listening room, not a big room with a rack of components, and a wall of speakers, but a room where I could bring my amp, hook it up, and they bring out a pair of what I want to hear and hook them up and then they shut the door and I listen for an hour. Then I swap speakers and they take the others away and I listen for an hour. In a room with a wall of speakers, your sound is destroyed because the sound is bouncing off of all the other speakers, and it effects each one differently. Not a good test environment. What did I end up with?...you'll be shocked. In a true listening environment, the Paradigm Atoms (list $190/pr) killed a pair of $800 B&W's! Now, the Atoms wouldn't make a great front, but I'd be hard pressed not to have them as surrounds! For the price point, you plain won't find a better balanced sound.

Read the reviews, too. They'll tell you that when you listen, you need to focus on bass, then mids, then highs, or vice versa, then just plain listen...for awhile. Find out what you like, but most folks that hear the Paradigm Atoms for a long listen will tell you that their midrange and high end is amazing. They happen (IMHO) to have probably the smoothest, most un-offensive, and detailed tweeter I've ever heard. It's a Ceramic tweeter. Titaniums have 'sizzle', but these ceramics make cymbals sound like they are present in my living room! But, I digress...I do love my system. I have Mini Monitors in front and Atoms as surrounds.

All I really mean is this: Do all those things that some are suggesting, but come down to what you like. If you can't listen...trust the overall concensus of the reviews. And, that is NAD and Paradigm rock! Trust me, you won't be dissappointed. If you don't have a ton of time to listen...you can follow the consensus and not be disappointed anyway. Good not to fret over it. NAD and Paradigm have the same goal...to recreate live sound as it was. And, they both happen to have a VERY balanced, dynamic, clear, clean, detailed and emotional sound, with incredibly low distortion.

Also, if you read up, you'll find that NAD has solved their QC issues. Arcam is great, too, but if you try the NAD T763, you will fall in love. I'd recommend probably a pair of Paradigm's to your choosing for power needs and also for space and placement. Remember this, though...if you have a sub, nix the floor standers...they muddy up the bass...if you have the opportunity, go back and listen to a pair of Monitor 7's and then the Mini Monitors. You will realize that though the Mini's don't have the deepest ranges, like the 7's, the sound of the bass is more detailed and cleaner, less foggy. Go with some wall mounted Mini Monitors or on stands. Let the sub handle the lowest regions (below 60 Hz), and you'll have bass that is still HUGE, but clean, detailed and you'll keep that 'growl' in the bass guitar! What sub? For the price, a new Velodyne SPL will shock you. Paradigms are great, but you have to drop a bit more for them usually.

Oh, and refurb? Actually a refurb unit is one that either didn't make specs to ship originally or was returned, BUT...when they refurb it, they check out EVERYTHING and make sure it's bomb! So, if I could get NAD b-stock for cheap...no brainer! Oh, wow!...I did! Yes, I own b-stock...and no issues.

One last tid bit...go with your gut...and don't forget to enjoy! That's why you're in this in the first place! Ok, now you can stop reading and go buy your stuff. Git'r done!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Moorejh

Post Number: 23
Registered: May-05
Thanks for all of the comments guys! I have really enjoyed reading them all. I have learned a lot and am really going to miss all this expert insight once I make my purchases.

I have all but decided on the NAD T773 and the Paradigm speakers. I have changed my mind somewhat on which paradigms though. I am thinking about going with the reference studio series instead of the Monitor series. I listened to them both today on my way to work and I was very impressed with both but more so with the Reference line. They are more money but like the salesman said " great speakers with an average receiver will be much better than a great receiver and average speakers" and to continue quoting him..."most people who invest in great speakers go through 2 or 3 receivers before changing speakers again". It also doesn't hurt that I am getting a ton of overtime for the next few weeks and I will be able to pay everything cash.

I'm still a bit concerned that I will not be able to audition the NAD before I buy it but I guess that is just the chance I will have to take. I'm sure it will be fine.

Thanks again!
 

Kraig
Unregistered guest
Jay,
If you do what you're talking about, you truly won't be disappointed...you'll be laughing at how good it sounds, and maybe jumping up a down from shear glee!

Please do us all a huge favor, though...don't make your first listen something like Creed. Put on something like Miles Davis Kind of Blue or some Allison Krauss, and then tell us what you think. I'd love to hear your reaction! :-)
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 642
Registered: Feb-05
Good choice Jay. I have NAD and Studio 40's, 20's, and the CC470. I am very satisfied. Enjoy.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 738
Registered: Mar-05
Jay,

If you can afford the Reference line then by all means go for it. When I was shopping speakers they also impressed me but my budget didn't make it past the Monitor series, so I was very intrigued when I read several posters saying that their Ascend 340s compared well against the Reference/Studio 40s---especially since the 340s cost about the same as Monitor 5s!

But I was willing to do the 30 day in-home trial thing, though I did have the advantage of having found a local Ascend owner who let me come have a listen first. Some people just aren't comfortable with the Internet-direct business model though, which is somewhat understandable.
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 657
Registered: Feb-05
Yep I think Edster is right the Ascends occupy that area between the Monitor series and the Reference series. May be worth a try.
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