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Monitor Audio Gold Reference vs. Paridigm Studio 100's

 

Hudson
Unregistered guest
I have a great opp with MA (gold ref 60's). A full surround package at about 5900 (retail seems to be a few k more). The Paradigm package comes in around 4900.

I would match the MA with Integra seperates (9.4 DTC/DTA). Most likely match the Paradigm with a Denon 3803.

So:

1) Do the above pairings make sense?
2) Any thoughts on the relatively new Integra seperates
3) For the price difference between the two is it worth the money to go up to the Monitor Audio Gold Ref 60's
4) is the denon enough juice for the paradigm set?

I have a big room and will use the system 50/50 for surround sound/listening.

Thoughts on the above would be most appreciated
 

New member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 135
Registered: 12-2003
I have heard both Monitor and Paradigm and like both but I would go with the Monitor/Integra setup any day over the Paradigm/Denon. The Monitors are so clean and dynamic and can go places the Paradigms can't. If you want the Paradigms I would get something better than the 3803 as my experience with it was horrible. Try NAD763 or a Rotel 1055 or 1065. Much better than the Denon. Both systems would be very good but go with the Monitors and consider other options than Integra like the Elite's , NAD and Marantz. Even the H/K7200 would power the Monitors very well and can be had for under $900 right now. It is very powerful and a perfect sonic match with Monitors.
 

New member
Username: Edison

Post Number: 317
Registered: 12-2003
Speakers of this level would sound better with separates. Both are good speakers - I would try to hunt down the amps that sounds the best with the one you choose.

You can get better quality for the buck if you get used at www.audiogon.com or www.videogon.com When we upgrade, we don't lose much money in reselling them - when we buy used.

 

hudson
Unregistered guest
Thanks for the input. I listened again last night to the MA's paired with Anthem seperates. The were much more musical (if that makes sense) and they were paired with the Denon 2800. They were very clean and had a great soundstage while listening to some Chantal Creziak (had to go and make sure the center was turned off)... will listen to them today with the seperates....

The paradigms seem to handle hard rock (badly recorded Led Zepplin, U2 Desire) a little better as they seem to have more bass. I think because of the clarity of the MA's it made listening to the old led zepplin stuff almost painful .... certain notes were very very bright... for the heavier rock stuff would it help if the sub was used??

If you had a choice between Integra seperates or B&K who would you go with (both seem to be in the 4k range for the pair)? I kind of like the idea of new for the system but appreciate the feedback on the used sites)

Mr. Elite..you mention Nad/rotel and of course Elite...Would they have enough power? Clean power to do the MA's justice... From those who I have spoken with most have suggested seperates would be the best choice (as James mentions also.) Think the Monitors will outperform the Paradigms in surround sound for theater listening??

looks like todays the day... one more listening session lined up.

Appreciate the thoughts.
 

New member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 138
Registered: 12-2003
Hudson,
All of the brands I mentioned have ample power to drive the Monitors but if you have the money I would agree that seperates would be the first choice. The Monitors would outperform the Paradigms IMO. Don't be put off if they sound a bit bright in the store as they have to be broken in for 60 hours or more and if paired with a mellow amp with sound very smooth when broken in. I have had my Monitors since May and paired with my Elite45 makes a perfect combination. Good luck.
 

New member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 66
Registered: 12-2003
Hudson:

I salute you, my friend. Many people take 10-15 minutes to try out audio equipment and end up choosing what a saleperson tells them to--then they they can't understand why they don't enjoy using their sound system 6 months later. Clearly, you took the time to listen and understand how different components can sound very different. You clearly have a good ear and will need to be selective to get a system that you will enjoy for the years to come.

MAs are a relatively brighter sounding speaker and the Paradigms are almost polar opposites. Both are very good at what they do, but their sound charecteristics are different and should be taken into account when purchasing a system. If the MAs sounded "almost painful" on some music, I would suggest that it is because of a mis-match with the electronics. Anthem is a very good brand, but not my choice for MA speakers.

Between Integra and B&K, I think their is no comparison. I would get the B&K in a heartbeat. B&K uses some really smooth sounding MOSFETs for its output stage, so it will have a warmer and more listenable sound than will the (badly over-priced) Integras, which I find a little sharp sounding (their separates, not their receivers which are just the opposite--soft and unfocused).

My second choice would be the new NAD separates which I had the chance to listen to today driving some JMlabs Cobalt S floorstanders. Now JMlabs are very similar to the MAs--both lean toward the bright end with their metal dome tweeters, and the NAD T163 pre/pro and the amp (don't remember the model #, but it is brand new), sounded terrific playing a Roger Gilmore concert DVD through the JMlabs. Interestingly enough, a month ago this dealer had an Anthem pre/pro and amp driving the same speakers and playing the same concert DVD, so I had a ready comparison. The NADs were simply a better match for those types of speakers, and the NAD separates are cheaper.

Finally, as a Denon 3803 owner, I can tell you it makes a horrible system combination with Paradigm speakers, IMO. I have had Paradigms into my home for evaluation after previously hearing them driven by other electronics at the dealer. But when I set them up at home, I was really disappointed and they went right back. I have come to the conclusion that the Paradigms were just fine, but they are not a good combo with the Denon receiver. It is just a combo that doesn't work for me. The Paradigms have a soft sound (a bit laid back) and the Denon just doesn't have enough real juice to make them sing.

Anyways, my 2 cents worth. Good luck with your evaluations!
 

Hudson
Unregistered guest
Hawk, I'm surprised by your comments on the integra seperates... I havent' listened to them but did hear the 8.3 with the MA gold reference 20's... they were very good together... i kind of figured that would follow through for the seperates.... guess not!!.. by the way I listened to the paradigms with Anthem and MA's with a Yamaha amp (my mistake..).. was going to go back today and pair the MA's with the Anthem but I think that based on what I have heard and read hear is my final conclusion.

MA gold ref 60. Great musical speaker, incredible clarity and imaging but a little on the bright side (especially with badly recorded music... you really hear the flaws!!). Will be great with classical, jazz and in my opinion will handle rock well especially with a sub (the big one!!).

Paradigms, i totally agree, very laid back speaker, does very well in a surround environment, great alll purpose speaker with good imaging and clarity. Also I think great value considering what you can pay (I demoed B&W, Theil, MK, Canton...)

One of my goals was to really buy a speaker that I can grow into from a listening experience...i.e. start to buy/listen/learn about different music and really develop my ear... Don't get me wrong, a bottle of wine or two on a friday and I've got AC DC thunderstruck and Blind Melon rocking....Theater surrround sound is very important given my kids are young and getting out is harder and harder..

Both will do the job admirably but I think the MA's give me more of a future listening experience and since I can get a decent deal on them... why not??

so now the electronics...


I haven't found too many folks with NAD/B&K/MA combo's and frankly haven't found too many folks with Integra Seperates out with MA speakers so the listening thing becomes very difficult. My guy carries both B&K and Integra... he doesn't stock but is a custom guy (order what you need)... does a good job and knows his stuff so I will call him this morning on it... if you know somewhere in the chicagoland area that carries b&K and MA... let me know.... The thing you said the most that concerns me (one more kink in the buying process) was that the integra seperates are not as mellow as their other stuff (i think you said they are sharp... the overpriced I cna handle as I am getting a decent deal on them)... not what you need with the MA's... Have you heard them together cuz my guy thinks they will go...(insert final thoughts!!) I know I need to judge for myself but not sure if its possible... the integras also seem to have quite a few bells and whistles... no detail.. perception only....

Anything I have said above shock you?? I've got some great feedback from you, Kida, TheaterElite man and Gman on this.. Thanks all.. very exciting..

This with a Samsung 56" DLP and I'll never leave my house again...

Almost there.

Hudson
 

New member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 81
Registered: 12-2003
Hudson:

I was surprised, too, as I thought the separates would sound like the receivers. I guess my jaw dropped because I thought the sound was really different. I am told that these Japanese brands are actually more like groups of separate companies, unified only by the trading company at the top that slaps a single brand on them (such as Panasonic or Mistubishi). I am not sure how Integra is organized, but to me it certainly sounds like the separates are sourced from a different manufacturer than the maker of the receivers.

Just to clarify, I find the Integra separates to be a bit clinical sounding--they sound very solid state, which to me is not a good thing, especially with the MAs which can be very bright sounding. The brightness of the MAs would tend to empahsize the cold and clinical nature of the separates. One reason I think the separates sound this way is that I think the amp is very biased toward Class B operation. Means it runs cooler, but also has that hardness to the sound which was typical of many lower quality solid state amps. I also think it is a cultural thing as I think many Japanese are more tolerant of this type of sound than most North Americans. It is neither inferior or superior, just a difference in attitudes about what sounds good to us.

I have not heard the Integra separates driving MAs--I heard them driving KEFs, which are not as bright as the MAs, but when driving the KEFs, I thought the sound was "edgy". Since I had already heard the KEFs driven by something else, I knew it wasn;t the speakers. With a brighter speaker like the MAs, I would infer that the sound would be even more objectionable (to my ears, anyways).

I certainly have no quibble with your choice of the MAs. I think they are superb speakers and if you like the sound, as I have said before, it is just a matter of getting electronics that compliment them and not fight them. That is why I highly recommend the B&K amp which I think would be a killer combo with the MAs. Now, you don't need a B&K pre/pro as it is the amp that has the greatest interaction with the speakers. You may want to consider an Outlaw 950 pre/pro (for $795) to mate with the B&K amp. It is a great unit well worth twice the price. Or, you could get the Integra pre/pro with a B&K amp. As I have said, my concern is that the Inetgra separate amp would be a bad match for the MAs. I have no reason to believe the Integra pre/pro would be a problem.

I checked and found there are five B&K dealers in the chicago area and seven MA dealers, but none have both. However, Saturday Audio Exchange in Chicago has both MA and NAD. I would call them to see if you can hear that combo. NAD is not as warm as the B&K IMHO, but it will present a similar soundstage and will have greater clarity and be warmer sounding than the Integra amp. Just a thought.

Keep truckin'!

 

hudson
Unregistered guest
Hawk,

Just to confirm your thoughts... Pair a B&K amp (more power, more mellow) with a different pre/pro... since the integra seems to be decent priced and some good electronics maybe use their pre/pro......

turns out my guy has both so this might be a good solution...

TV QUESTION: Samsung DLP HLN567, Mits Diamond (55), Pioneer Elite 53...??? is DLP all its cracked up to be or do I stick with more traditional technology..

With Comcast now coming up with 12 channels ( a bunch of them local)in HDTV an internal HD receiver isnt' req'd.

Here is a review on the integra amp, pre/pro ... I also posted in the amp section...

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_11_1/integra-dtc-94-ssp-dta-94-amp-1-2004. html

 

New member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 100
Registered: 12-2003
hudson:

About six months ago, I walked into a local video superstore with my daughter, and right in front of us was an MLS game on a Samsung rear projection DLP in a special HDTV broadcast (ESPN HD). One of the Colorado players is the assistant coach to my daughter's club soccer team and she was able to discern that he had gotten a haircut! And I don't mean she spotted it in a close-up either, but when he was quite a ways away. The detail in that TV is incredible. I do think DLP is a huge step up in rear projection sets. My room will not accomodate the 56", but I have my eye on their 50". Saw one side by side with the very mistubishi Diamond you asked about and the Samsung is much better in just about everything. I also am thinking it is time to take the plunge as I also have Comcast and their system obviates the need for a digital receiver--you just use one of their cable boxes.

You have read me right--there is no reason that the pre/pro and the amp need to be the same brand. Get the pre/pro that works for you and get the amp that works best with those gorgeous speakers. The amp that I think works the best of the ones we have discussed is the B&K, IMHO.

Warmest regards -

 

Hudson
Unregistered guest
Final decision:

This is what I ordered today. I'll let you know how it all works out.
Electronics

B&K 200.7 amp
Integra 9.4 Pre/Pro
Denon 2900

Speakers:

Main listening area:

MA Gold ref 60
MA Gold center
MA Gold GRFX
MA Gold FB 212 sub

B&W 705's for the living room

Video: Went with the Pioneer Elite 53" rear projection. It was over a thousand less than the DLP and I didn't need a stand...

Thanks for everyone's thoughts.

Hudson


 

New member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 149
Registered: 12-2003
Hudson,
All I can say is WOW!
 

New member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 127
Registered: 12-2003
I had no idea you were looking for that much power. Good thing you didn;t go with the Integra! The B&K 200.7 is a killer combo with the MA golds. Congrats!
 

New member
Username: Billdashill

Post Number: 45
Registered: 12-2003
Hudson, you did your part supporting this ecomony and you'll be able to enjoy it also! LOL Nice. I'd hate to be your neighbors though :-)
 

hudson
Unregistered guest

Better safe than sorry!! I figured I can just get something rocking with a big bass and the vibrating house will just put my kids to sleep!!

H
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