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Monitor Audio M4 vs Paradigm Monitor 7 vs Monitor Audio BX5

 

New member
Username: Frodobalboa

Post Number: 1
Registered: Mar-11
Hi folks,

My first post here. I've been searching for a great set of floor standers for under a $1000, to replace my BIC America DV-64s. I went to the local Magnolia Hi-Fi and heard the Monitor Audio BX-5s. Loved the sound from the BX-5s. The sales guy said that the M4s were running at 50% off. I got them for $137 ea! I hadn't heard them in the store but I figured that I'll bring it home and put it through the grind. I bought these speakers mainly to listen to music but also to watch movies. Right off the bat, the M4's bass response was wayyy better than my BIC towers. The high freq response is better too in my opinion. But, I am not too thrilled by the mid-freq response on the M4.
So, my mind is working over time now to see if there are other speakers out there that are better than both the MA M4s as well as the BIC DV-64s. I just auditioned the Paradigm Monitor 7s this morning. They were being driven by a Peachtree Audio amp. I currently own a Pio Elite VSX-30. My living room size is quite small, 15' X 18'. On one side of the living room, I've French Glass windows that open into the Patio. The bass response on the M4s is phenomenal! Although for music, it gets a bit overpowering. I do have a Dayton Audio sub (10") as well. I'm really looking for a good improvement in sound compared to the BICs/MA M4s. The MA RX-6/8 is above $1000 and out of my price range. Given my setup what are your recommendations?

Thanks in advance.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2170
Registered: Oct-07
No matter what you end up with, leave the sub OFF when doing the initial speaker setup. That'll just confuse things. Once the speakers are in the 'proper' location, it'll be OK to bring the sub back into play....if at that time you still think you need it.

What else can you listen to? Any other places besides Magnolia? Like a dedicated hi-end store? We don't have Magnolia out here on the 'left' coast.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2171
Registered: Oct-07
We DO have Magnolia out here, after all. But the nearest is 60 or 70 miles......
 

New member
Username: Frodobalboa

Post Number: 2
Registered: Mar-11
Yeah we do. I'm over in the SF Bay Area and there's one down in Santa Clara (though it's about to close shop and move into the BB across the road). I listen to all kinds of music, but mostly hard rock and house/trance. Recently started listening to Jazz as well.
 

New member
Username: Frodobalboa

Post Number: 3
Registered: Mar-11
Also, I auditioned the Paradigm's over at Music Lover's Audio and Video @ Berkeley
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15946
Registered: May-04
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https://www.ecoustics.com/cgi-bin/bbs/show.pl?tpc=1&post=1937232#POST1937232
 

New member
Username: Frodobalboa

Post Number: 4
Registered: Mar-11
Thanks for pointing me to this excellent article Jan! I bought better speaker wire yesterday and bi-wired my speakers. I am noticing a slight performance improvement in the mids and high freqs now. I adjusted my speakers' position and that seemed to help as well. Although, I'd still like to hear folks' opinions on the above three speakers
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3439
Registered: Jun-07
Hey Frodo, I actually prefer my Paradigm Monitor 7 V6's over my Monitor Audio RS6's for both HT and Music (just spent a few weeks with the Paradigms). FWIW. I was really surprised by the new Monitor 7's. I expected them to be crap. But they are actually really good. A very good value IMO.
 

New member
Username: Frodobalboa

Post Number: 5
Registered: Mar-11
Thanks Nick. Yeah I really liked the Paradigms as well. Some folks say that they tend to be bright, but I didnt get that impression. I'm also planning on checking out the Wharfedale Diamond 9.5/9.6s. Any ideas on those?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 14108
Registered: Feb-05
Hate to confuse it even more but if you have PSB (the Image series) available I would look at those as well. I prefer both the Wharfedales and PSB's to the MA's and Paradigms. I missed what amp you'll be using.
 

New member
Username: Frodobalboa

Post Number: 6
Registered: Mar-11
I plan to check out the PSBs as well. Need to figure out which store carries that brand here in the Bay Area. My amp is a Pioneer Elite VSX-30.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 14110
Registered: Feb-05
The Elite's are pretty good. Let us know what you hear.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15951
Registered: May-04
.

Just my opinion but you're wasting your money using $1k speaker with a $400 AV receiver. Speakers are not the most important piece in your system and better speakers are intended to show you exactly what is being put into them by the system. You noticed the Magnolia demo room wasn't using an inexpensive receiver. What are you using for your source player? IMO - again - your source should be as expensive or at least of the same quality as the rest of the system - including speakers. Generally speaking DVD and MP3 players aren't in the same league as any of the speakers you've mentioned.


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New member
Username: Frodobalboa

Post Number: 7
Registered: Mar-11
Yep you are right Jan. I had asked the folks over at Magnolia to use the Pio Elite VSX-30 while demo'ing my speakers. As for my CD source, I'm using my 'fat' PS3 to do the job. I've been told that it's an excellent CD/Blu-ray player and I've been very happy with it as well. My wife will have some choice words for me if I bring up the need to buy a new CD player!
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2173
Registered: Oct-07
Now you've gone and done it.
New amp / preamp or decent integrated.
New CD player.....Keep the PS3 for games. The PS3 IS supposed to be a good BR player.
New DVD player. Maybe The OPPO 93 or 95 as a compromise universal player.
The wife will eventually hold out for something expensive for herself. Be prepared for a couple weeks in Hawaii or maybe a car or clothes. Flowers and a nice dinner won't cut it, at that point.

When I went thru this a few years ago, I came up with a plan to replace everything......I hadn't changed anything in 2 decades and stuff was starting to fail. Just as an example, my CD player was an original 14 bit player sold here as Magnevox. It was an original Phillips player...an FD1000, I think.
Are you Rocky's younger brother?
 

New member
Username: Frodobalboa

Post Number: 8
Registered: Mar-11
I am Rocky's alter ego...a small and pugnacious hobbit ;). Your advice sounds great . Been dreaming about changing my current equipment for a while now. But, I have to do it slowly, step-by-step. I read somewhere on these forums (maybe it was in the link that Jan sent out) that there's a disease called 'upgraditis' and I might be susceptible to it . I want to focus on a decent Amp/Receiver + speakers first, then move on to the CD/BD Players. Guess I'll need to save up for that Hawaii trip first . I've been calling around all the audio stores in the area and almost everyone keeps telling me that $1000 is too low a budget for a pair of floor standers! Really?? I've read TONS of posts by folks on these forums on speakers that cost a lot LESS than $1000. Of course, aural perceptions can be very subjective and that's primarily one of the reasons I want to audition some more speakers in my price range. I am within the 30 day return period for the Montitor Audios (ends this weekend actually) and so wanted to gather as much ammo (info?) as possible on making the best decision. Please keep those comments coming.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15952
Registered: May-04
.

Read a few archived threads to get a foothold on how to make the journey as painless as possible; https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/643339.html

and ...

https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/628565.html


At this point my primary advice would be that you get some sense of which speakers are a decent electrical match to your $400 Pioneer. While you might prefer the sound of a speaker when auditioned through a certain amplifier, that speaker might not be a good electrical match to the receiver you own. Even using a receiver similar to your own will not be useful if that receiver has been connected through a speaker selection switch box for audition in a store. The switch box uses transformers which ameliorate the negative effects of impedance and phase angle on the output of the amplifier. It is also very difficult to make real world judgements in a room full of speakers. The operation of a loudspeaker produces pressure waves, the result of those pressure changes in a roomful of speakers is that you are listening to every speaker in that room no matter which set is being hooked to the amplifier. You should perform your audition with the least number of speakers in the room as possible, ideally that would be only the speaker you are auditioning at the moment. Lacking that option, the next best you can hope for is a direct connection between your amplifier and the speaker being auditioned. Anything less than that is not a useful comparison. Finally, as has been stated in the linked thread, the room is the major contributor to what you hear from a system and your room will not sound like a roomful of speakers at Magnolia.

Begin by reading those two threads and take away the fact that $400 Pioneer AV receivers are rather dishonest in their claims for real world wattage and that wattage alone has no real bearing on sound quality. (The Elite line of Pioneer is for the most part just a mass market Pioneer with gold plated connectors and additional features. The amplifier section of an Elite is still prone to the same issues as any other Pioneer. Sorry if you were told anything different.) For a receiver such as yours any speaker you select must have a nominally high impedance no lower than 6 Ohms. Often you'll see a spec stated by the manufacturer as "nominal impedance" or in even less definitive terms such as "compatible with 8 Ohms systems". These are not helpful and even make me think the manufacturer doesn't really want me to know the true facts about their product. If the speaker's impedance drops beneath the 6 Ohm point, it is at best provisional with your amplifier and probably a speaker you should disqualify from your auditions. You must also ascertain the phase angle of the speaker system which is typically not stated in the manufacturer's specs. High phase angle combined with low impedance will not be a successful match to your current receiver. Doing a bit of search engine work on any speaker you think might be of interest is where you begin. I wouldn't rely on a salesperson to give you advice about the specifics of a speaker's electrical characteristics, a vast majority of audio salespeople will not understand the question. To complicate the matter, those who do know about impedance still might not have the information you require. In this case, a call to the manufacturer is your best bet though don't expect them to tell you whether the speaker they produce will work successfully with the receiver you own. No manufacturer talks about other products in that manner. Just simply ask about the lowest/highest impedance point and the most severe phase angle and at what frequencies do they occur. If you understand what's been put into the two threads at the beginning of this post, you will then be able to determine whether you should pass on a speaker or whether it might be a good match for your amplifier.



"I've been calling around all the audio stores in the area and almost everyone keeps telling me that $1000 is too low a budget for a pair of floor standers! Really??"


Since I have no idea what you are judging in a speaker system, I have no idea whether the rather bloated bass of a speaker like the BIC is what you still crave. However, if you ignore the basics of matching your speaker to your amplifier, you will not have the best results no matter what you hear in the showroom demo. This has nothing to do with whether the speaker is a floorstander or a standmount, it's the electrical characteristics of the system that matter. A small standmount that is a difficult load for the amplifier will have less chances of good performance with your receiver than would a large floorstander with a very easy to drive impedance/phase load. That's simple electronics at work. If you don't understand the electronics of matching a system of components, then you have a choice of either learning a bit before dropping your cash or possibly wasting a large amount of that cash on an unsuccessful pairing.

IMO, if you have a decent subwoofer, a floorstanding speaker is mostly a waste of money. You already have a subwoofer which will perform the task of producing any frequency beneath 50Hz. A wide range of speaker manufacturers build their lines on similar components - in other words, similar "drivers", the individual "speakers" within the box. Most standmount speakers can provide good bass response down to the all but lowest octaves which is where you would have your subwoofer crossed over to fill in the last octave of bass. Moving from a standmount to a floorstander provides little in the way of truly useable response when the difference between two speakers is not much more than the size of the box. I'm assuming you like bass response and you feel a larger speaker will provide that additional boom you think makes for good music reproduction. Since you've not described how you have your system configured to operate with a sub or what you're after in sound quality, there's not much advice I can give about how to find the best performance for your tastes. I would suggest there is more to music than bass. This is most especially true as you dig further into jazz and inch away from hard rock and trance. The larger panels which make up the box of a floorstanding speaker require more bracing to keep them from adding their own sound to the speaker. That means a good portion of your expense is in buying larger panels and then buying the aditional bracing which keeps them from being an annoyance. Smaller, high quality standmount speakers are typically cleaner since there is less contribution from the box. Additionally, they are often more acceptable in a domestic living room.

I get the feeling you're not fully informed about the electrical matches once again. Sensitivity - sometimes mislabeled as "efficiency" - of the speaker is another important spec which you should consider when buying speakers for your receiver. Adding higher sensitivity is the same as adding more wattage (volume potential) to your receiver and will result in the amplifier having to work less hard at producing sound - which is always a good thing. IMO, your choice in speakers should be somewhat determined by the speaker claiming the highest sensitivity of any choice and the highest, most stable impedance along with the closest to 0° phase angle. Keep in mind not all specs are taken in a similar fashion and it is entirely possible for a spec to be "honest" but also be inaccurate. Ignore frequency response specs completely as they are too easily manipulated to be meaningful to the majority of buyers. While most reviews offer glowing praise for a decent product, the reviewer's tastes might not actually be a good match for the priorities you should develop. Take reviews with a large lump of salt, they should only warn you away from the truly horrible products. Otherwise, most reviews are made up of huge scoops of glowing praise which doesn't do you much good other than to offer more whiskey to the achoholic. If you bought every product that managed a good review, your house would soon look like an audio shop gone wild. I would actually begin any search for speakers by finding out those specs I mentioned and eliminating the speakers which fall outside of the acceptable norms for your receiver.

Having sold audio for twenty five years and having provided this same advice to numerous posters over the years on this forum, I don't truly expect you to take the advice I've given. It's a considerable amount of effort to learn about what you are buying when just buying in and of itself is so much simpler. Buying what you like in the store is so much easier. But, you have the MA's - which you say are an improvement on the BIC's - and already you're looking at something else. Yes, I would say you are catching "upgraditis". Upgraditis most often afflicts those who do not learn about what they are buying.

Last piece of advice for this post; stop calling the stores. The salesperson's job when they answer a phone call is to get you in the store. That's not necessarily a bad thing or a dishonest approach, you can't judge what an audio shop has to offer by talking to someone over the phone. Go into a shop or two - not a big box or a specialty shop attached to a big box - on a slow weekday afternoon (not a weekend) after calling to make an appointment. Ask for the manager of the store and explain what you are trying to accomplish. They will set you up with their best salesperson who can explain the in's and out's of successfully putting together a decent audio system with minimal mistakes and at the cost you have available. Spend time with the salesperson and listen to what they have to say. If they begin bad mouthing other competitor's products, you have the wrong salesperson. You want someone interested in solving your system problems, not someone interested in spouting off about how lousy the competition is. Take along some of your music and allow the salesperson to show you what their products can do with the music they have chosen for demo. Have some idea what you are listening for and then just listen. "Tight bass", "clear mids" and "clean highs" are not priorities. You should have some idea beyond those trite, ubiquitous, nonsense descriptions of "what I want" in order to successfully select a quality audio product. If you don't know what you want, then you have several options available to you. The most common is to go hear some live music and familiarize yourself with its sound. Listen to the musicians perform and pay attention to how music is made rather than just how much bass/volume it can produce. All of this has been discussed in numerous threads on this forum and you wouldn't be wasting your time to go through a few threads to get some idea of what others have done. This is a process that is constantly repeated and everyone goes through the process in similar fashion if they want a successful system. Basically, you can't find what you want until you recognize what you're listening for.




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