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I want the paradigm atoms...

post #1 of 147
Thread Starter 
I want the atoms to be my music speakers.

right now I have my laptop and an usb emu 0404.

Can that DAC power these bookshelf monitors?

If not, can I find a really affordable receiver/amp?
post #2 of 147
That's a very good choice of speakers. Just make sure you get the most recent version of the Atoms (the ones with the waveguide tweeter and the white woofer) since they're a big improvement.

You can't power them with your DAC. You need an amp. Pick up a used amp off of eBay... there are a ton of good deals on good old stuff there now that everyone wants home theatre receivers. If you need to buy new, see if you can find a Pioneer A-35R.
post #3 of 147
That Pioneer has gotten a lot of mention as a great budget choice, but I've never been able to find distortion specs for it, even on Pioneer's website.

From ebay, a used Rotel, NAD, or Cambrigde integrated would work well for you.
post #4 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by islewind View Post
That Pioneer has gotten a lot of mention as a great budget choice, but I've never been able to find distortion specs for it, even on Pioneer's website.

From ebay, a used Rotel, NAD, or Cambrigde integrated would work well for you.
It's almost impossible to find proper distortion measurements for most amplifiers. THD+N is a meaningless figure because it doesn't weight the harmonics for audibility (see the work of Geddes, among many others) and doesn't reflect low power performance. Stereophile does publish a proper set of measurements but they rarely review budget gear.

I can say that I owned the A-35R and the NAD C320BEE at the same time and the A-35R had superior sound. You can find full measurements for the NAD's bigger brother, the C370, online and the higher-order distortion performance is poor by my criteria, as are the measurements at low output levels. I have no doubt the C320BEE had similar issues, contributing to its audible inferiority.

The A-35R incidentally uses the same circuit board layout as a lot of amps from the late-90s, suggesting that a lot of manufacturers got their class AB amps from the same OEM. These days I actually use a Yamaha RX-770 as my main speaker amp, and though it is a higher power design, you can tell the OEM/designer was the same one who did the A-35R just by comparing the boards. This is not a bad technical design. The output transistors are even mounted on separate heatsinks, preventing thermal crosstalk, unlike most NAD integrateds.

Just because an amp is from an "audiophile" manufacturer (NAD, Rotel, Creek, Bryston, Cambridge, etc.) or has lower THD+N specs doesn't tell the whole story about sound quality. I still wouldn't hesitate to pick up a C370 off eBay for the right price, but buying new, especially on a budget, I would choose the Pioneer over whatever NAD and some others are selling on their low end. It's a nice, solid, good-sounding amp, provided you don't need gobs of power.
post #5 of 147
Thread Starter 
I don't know a lot about receiver and hi-fi audio....

but how do I connect the DAC>receiver>monitors?

do the receivers take the patch cables?

I have my dad's old Sony receiver from the 70's... however all I saw were wires.
post #6 of 147
DAC to receiver will be with coaxial RCA-RCA cables:



Receiver to speakers will be with speaker wire:



I own the Pioneer Elite A-35R as well and it's an excellent amplifier for the money. I had to pay quite a bit more to exceed its performance.
post #7 of 147
Thread Starter 
ok, even the modern receivers connect to the speakers using the speaker wires? I assumed they just used rca cables or something.

ill try and see what model the sony receiver is... I might use it to save money.
arent all amps from the 70's decent quality?
post #8 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by geestring View Post
arent all amps from the 70's decent quality?
No. There was no generation of perfect amps, though it's true that consumer amps in the '70s tended to have higher wattage ratings, since that was one of the most-discussed specifications at the time.

It might be in need of repair. You may want to open it up to check for leaky capacitors, bad solder joints, or to see if anything has fried.
post #9 of 147
Boy was there are lot of junk in the 70s. I remember all of those big silver panels with large number of knobs. Putting nostalgia aside, low end equipment is much better sounding today than it was in the 70s. I'm amazed at how much better a t-amp sounds than the junk I used to listen to.

I've been very impressed with the Panasonic SA-XR55 receiver with two channel music through a digital source. It would be very interesting to compare it (an all digital receiver) with the recommended Pioneer A-35R. Or how about the Trends $100 version of the T-Amp? I'd love to hear the Trends through those Paradigm Atoms.
post #10 of 147
I've been running a pair of the v.5 atoms powered with a Trends TA10.1, fed by an Oppo 980 as a second system/HT. Couldn't be happier for the money involved. Stacks up very nicely against my main rig, but ultimately loses out on bass extension and detail.
post #11 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wodgy View Post
Just make sure you get the most recent version of the Atoms (the ones with the waveguide tweeter and the white woofer) since they're a big improvement.
Why do you say that? The new monitor series, to me, doesn't sound nearly as nice as the older generations. They're bright and harsh with muddy bass.
post #12 of 147
Did you read the latest issue of stereophile? They said the v5s are lightyears better than the old atoms. I think people are posting opinions here without comparing side-by-side. Something that sounds bright in a crummy store setup is not necessarily bright.
post #13 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by classicalguy View Post
Did you read the latest issue of stereophile? They said the v5s are lightyears better than the old atoms. I think people are posting opinions here without comparing side-by-side. Something that sounds bright in a crummy store setup is not necessarily bright.
I compared some v.2's to a pair of v.5's. Both broken in, powered by the Trends, as well as by a PrimaLuna Prologue 1, the v.5's had better bass extension as well as better detail. The v.5's bested the v.2's by a good bit, in my opinion.
post #14 of 147
yeah the v.5 is a much improved little speaker. are they driven well by such a t-amp amp?


I did score a pioneer vsx 515 and some decent boston acoustics shielded monitors for $95 total. craigslist in canada?

what about powered monitors?

you can run them straight out of the sound card output.

swan m10 or m200
post #15 of 147
Pioneer (Elite or not) is NOT a good match with Paradigm IMHO.
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