Purchase Advice


New member
Username: Oldsound

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2004
I posted this question in both the receiver and the speaker forum..
My wife surprised me with a new Pioneer RP HDTV for Christmas, and I now want to install a home theater surround sound system in our family room. I spent a couple of weeks preparing this room 15&1/2' by 22' (removed a door, window, painted, carpet, installed speaker wire. It's been many of years since I've purchased audio equipment and we live in a rural area, so the nearest (2) audio stores are 40miles, and then there is a few other stores an additional 40 miles. So my purchase present some problems, and I decided to do a search on the web for audio/video forums and got lucky stumbled on this one. Its good to hear the knowledgeable comments on your forum, terms a old timer understands, like laid back, mellow, not to harsh of speakers, receivers, certain speakers match-up better with this receiver, etc. My wife and I both like the same sound, a detailed but a laid back/smooth sound. It can become a little tiring and confusing when listening to a number of receivers/speakers, so I was hoping with advice/suggestion from you of which speakers/receivers to steer away from. As an example, we listen to Audio Monitor Silver speakers a little on the bright side for us (powered by Denon). Also the B&W 703 series, very detailed, but a little bright, and then a set of Definitive 2002 (Rotel powered), but I'm not sure about these speakers due to the critical placement of these speakers.
We're taking a long weekend this week to review speakers and equipment. Would appreciate your advice, and opinions to direct me towards the laid back soft sounding equipment, Thanks Tim


Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 345
Registered: 12-2003
Oldsound (Tim):

First off, congrats on the new Pioneer RPTV--that is awesome, my friend. With the addition of the contemplated sound system, you will be amazed at the viewing experience.

Now, I think I really understand your needs here. I would have agreed that the Denon (I own one) and the Monitor Audio speakers would be a little too bright sounding to be enjoyable. The B+Ws aren't so much bright as a little forward sounding, so it helps me to understand what you don't like. While we are on the subject, speakers to avoid would include Klipsch, JMlabs, MB Quart, Canton, and Boston Acoustics (VR series speakers, especially). Now all of these are very high quality speakers, but they are either very bright or very forward sounding, so I do not believe they would be a good choice for your needs.

Therefore, I think have the perfect system for you--very detailed but still a little "laid back" so that you can enjoy the sound without audio fatigue. Given the size room you have, I would get an NAD receiver (a T743 should be enough, but also look at the T753) together with some Paradigm speakers. Now, you have not given us a budget, so I am going to speak generally about the Paradigms, but like most quality speaker manufacturers, Paradigm has a pretty consistant sound across its product line so they all tend to be what I (and most other people) call "laid back" in their sound. The differences are the level of detail. Even the lowest Paradigm speakers, the Atoms, have a good level of detail, but as you go up the lines from the Performance Series (like the Atoms), to the Monitor Series, the Studio Series and the new Reference Series, the detail offered increases. So you should see if you can determine what level of detail you want and can afford. I personally am very fond of the Studio Series, but I have also home tested the Monitor 5s and was very impressed by the quality. However, if you looked at B+W 700 series speakers and didn't choke on the price, you can afford the Studios.

Another speaker I heartily recommend is very similar and that is PSB brand speakers. I would skip the Alpha series (their low end) as the next step up, the Image line, is only marginally more expensive and offers a significant step up in performance. Again, the level of detail increases as you step up in the line, so check out the PSB Stratus series speakers (comparable to the Paradigm Studios--but not nearly as wide a range of speakers). As NAD receivers and PSB speakers are part of the same corporate family, you can usually find them together at the same dealer.

Finally, given the fact that you have access to a B+W dealer, I would strongly suggest you check out the low end B+W speakers, which I happen to think are an incredible bargain. The DM309s and DM303s are very warm and a bit laid back sounding, yet have good detail (I like them much better than many B+W speakers that are higher in the prodiuct line). See if your B+W dealer has them so that you can listen to them. You didn't specify what amp drove the B+W 705s you listened to, but the amp has a lot to do with the overall sound. I would stay away from Yamaha, Denon, and Rotel (Rotel is super gear, but the sound can be a bit cool and clinical to some ears--I would err on the side of warmth, given your stated preferences). If you can't find an NAD receiver, my second choice would be a Marantz--like the SR5400 or SR7400, both of which are very good choices.

I wish you luck in finding what you want. I recognize you have limited offerings with dealers being so far away. However, if you need mail order sources, the fine people on this board can certainly suggest some very good dealers.


Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Post Number: 135
Registered: 12-2003

Great recommendations as always. I was going to respond to this thread, but I don't think I can add anything that has not already been said. I would disagree however with your comment about NAD and PSB being sold at the same dealers, at least in my area. I will admit that things in my area are sometimes a little backwards. Since NAD and PSB are owned by the same company, you would assume that it would be natural for dealers to sell both...but not in good old Missouri! I live in central Missouri, and my two choices for NAD and PSB together are Kiefs (2.5 hours) or Saturday Audio in Chicago (around 7 hours). There is a PSB dealer in St. Louis...but they don't sell NAD...and there is an NAD dealer in KC, but no PSB. I am very glad you turned me on to Kiefs...I am actually going there this weekend. Did you read my posting about this?


P.S. A little off the subject...going back to our hockey discussion of last week...did you hear that the Blues fired their head coach on Monday? Why he is gone yet the GM is still around is beyond me.

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 352
Registered: 12-2003

NO! They fired Quenville? I had not heard--what a shocker. I agree that the GM has done a poor job stocking the club, yet Quenville has done a very good job of making a bunch of disparate parts work together. The last time St. Louis made a good personnel move was the acquisition of Wayne Gretzky (which they had for all of three months) and you know how long ago that was!

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Post Number: 137
Registered: 12-2003

I think we were posting at the same time. I just sent you a PM. Let me know if you don't get it.

As for the hockey, I am afraid it is true. Quennville kind of took the fall for the apathy of the players. I will post a link below to a commentary by one of the sports columnists of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. He makes some very good points.

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/columnists.nsf/Bernie+Miklasz/20D51E7EAB E4831986256E45001F9BC4?OpenDocument&Headline=Firing+Quenneville+just+isn't+enough%3B+Pleau+must+go,+too&tetl=1
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