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post #16 of 27





I bet they'd look pretty good in that country styled room.


is possible that Paradigm is working on a new Signature series (v4), which will probably have the new technology introduced in the here limited-edition. I better start saving...



B&W, not bad, but overpriced, imo.

Edited by Lenni - 1/16/13 at 8:54am
post #17 of 27
My initial instinct was to recommend PSB speakers like previously mentioned but because of your wall mounting requests I would say to try Axiom Audio on-wall speakers.
I have an Axiom 5.1 system and have been very pleased with it. The on-wall speakers are different than the in-wall type of speakers that usually just show a flush mount grill. The Axioms have a unique mounting method and you can customize them with almost any wood or finish that you like - I bet that got your attention :-). You have such a customized room that I'm sure you wouldn't want to just drop in a bunch of black boxes (PSB's come in a nice cherry).

My rear channel speakers are mounted on a concrete beam in my loft so I customized them in a gray finish to blend in.

I would recommend the on-wall M22's but I do think you should get a matching sub. There really aren't that many set up issues with a 2.1 system especially with the Axiom. You just try the recommended settings and then make some adjustments from there to see how the sound changes by turning a couple of dials and flipping a switch on the sub. If you are really hesitant then get an amp like the Marantz 5007 or 6007 and use the Audyssey DSX microphone set up. You will still probably have make some adjustments but the amp will help balance the system.

One other recommendation would be the B&W PM1's. They are Art Decco masterpiece of design and are right at your total budget. They aren't wll mountable but they become furniture in the room and I've never heard a bad word said about them.
post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mbritt View Post
The Axioms have a unique mounting method and you can customize them with almost any wood or finish that you like - I bet that got your attention :-). You have such a customized room that I'm sure you wouldn't want to just drop in a bunch of black boxes (PSB's come in a nice cherry).


Thanks for the great post :)


The Axioms look great and did very well in a shootout article I recently read. They were the least expensive of the competitors, but the reviewer was so impressed with them that he felt the need to reevaluate his position on sub $500 speakers.


Choosing the finish of the wood is awesome. I've grown somewhat OCD about the appearance of just about everything and would not, as you say, want to drop a couple of boxes into my place. Thankfully veneer paper always stands firm as an option. My Beta 22 looked like one of those recycled galvanized metal napkin holders when I bought it. I applied a few sheets of faux-wood vinyl paper and it looked right at home.  


The B & W PM1's are beautiful. Just like you said they can easily stand in place of furniture pieces. The reviews I've been reading place them in the lukewarm bin. "Good, but not great". "Impressive but there are better choices". 


What I'd really like to know is whether floorstanders are  superior to bookshelves in all circumstances? I would have no problem bringing out a pair of speakers on an as-needed basis and then removing them when I finished. Under those conditions I can set up in just about any way I would need.  I guess I don't want to shortchange myself because of space constraints. I've been reading that rooms smaller than 10 X 10 are not ideal for the big boys. At what point are the conditions right for a floorstander? Is it 20 feet? 25? I'm passing up a BHSE for my Stax for these speakers and so the room for disappointment is sadly enormous. 


Mbritt you mounted your speaker on a concrete beam, which is obviously well above your height. Is there a rule with the level of mounting? I remember reading that eye level is ideal. If this doesn't matter that could prove valuable. I have plenty of mounting room at around 7 feet on a wall. I've made an appointment to audition several setups this week at a boutique spot. Hopefully I'll come away with a direction towards which I can go.

Edited by ericfarrell85 - 1/17/13 at 8:03am
post #19 of 27
Front speakers should be around ear height but for rear surrounds it doesn't matter as much especially with multi-directional ones like the Axiom QS4's. if you want to mount your front or main speakers high on the wall just get brackets that let you aim them down at your head.

There's nothing wrong with using floor standers but it seems like a lot of work to drag them out and hook up every time you want to use them. 10x10 is a bit small for full size speakers or more succinctly 10x10 rooms are what bookshelf speakers are designed for. Smaller speakers usually need a sub for lowest frequencies but there is no direct correlation between size and quality across the board. All towers are not better than all bookshelves. Sometimes a bookshelf speaker with sub will sound better in a given room than the same brand tower. If you don't end up getting a custom finish you should audition your top choices in your house. Axiom gives you 30 days and most high end audio stores will let you try out several combos.
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
Yeah I read that 10 x 10 is too small for floorstanding speakers. My room is approximately 17 x 18 (17.7 x 18.6 to be exact). In the speaker world would that be considered small or medium? I would be sitting about 12' away from the speakers if I get floorstanding. If they are desktops ill likely use them at my desk and so a foot or two away.
post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 

Went to audition a few speakers today and unfortunately found myself underwhelmed.


I heard Magnepan 1.7's, B & W CM9 and Focal 826W's. The Magnepan's were etched in the treble, forward in the upper mids and generally bright for my tastes. The B & W were comparatively anemic and the Focals were best of the three, having no single attribute that shone especially.


The experience, as a whole, was not what I'd hoped for. I found there wasn't a single setup that can provide the clarity and coherence of my Stax or HD800 setup. Also, importantly, I found the sound had far more grain to it than most of my headphones. The salesman kept cranking up the volume to considerably greater levels than I would listen to and seemed almost oblivious to the distortion and messy bloom that resulted. With the volume moderated I heard the hints of an impressive sound, but nothing wowed like when I first heard my HE6 plugged into my vintage Marantz.


I spent a great deal of time experimenting with every pair of headphones I own and have grown very fond of each one for its special individual traits. To think that a pair of speakers would easily surpass them was wishful thinking on my part. Sure, the ambiance factor was great. The Magnepans staged in a dispersed, open, full way that I could not get from a pair of headphones, but the tradeoffs were also considerable. I would still like to purchase a pair of speakers, but my expectations require adjustment. Shortly after I left the treated listening room I was prepared to save for an BHSE. Back to the drawing board I guess. 

post #22 of 27
I don't think it's that speakers can't match what you have (okay, they'll never fully replicate the headphone experience, and you shouldn't expect them to (or vice versa)), I think it's that you're either looking at the wrong speakers (for you) or expecting too much given your budget. redface.gif

I'd agree that the CM9 are underwhelming (actually, I'd go on and say that I have nothing nice to say about them or their product line); the Focals have never done much for me either (two brands that are exceedingly popular, exceedingly expensive, and consistently underwhelming imho). Haven't tried Maggies (but will add that as planars, placement is kind of a big deal for them - most demo setups don't seem to acknowledge dipoles/bipoles/planars/etc correctly). There's plenty of other options out there, none of which will give you a "headphone-like experience" - but many of which can give you a good listening experience if placed right. Have you tried models from Faber? Vienna? MartinLogan? Mirage? Klipsch? Kef? etc - there's a lot of good options out there once you get away from "audiophile popular" speakers (and I know, Klipsch/Mirage are sort of "big box", but the RF and OMD are still nice towers).

wrt speakers vs headphones - this is a very long-running debate. The easy answer is that there is no easy answer - speakers will do some things that headphones can only dream about, and vice versa. It's a difference experience; as a result I would try not to judge speakers by headphones (and vice versa) where possible. Sure, knowing what you like in a headphone can help you find a speaker you might enjoy, but it's still a very different overall frame of reference. My best advice would be to work with a dealer or manufacturer that will give you 30 or 90 days in-home with a pair of speakers, pick out a set you like well enough in a demonstration, take them home, and get used to them for a week or two and then decide. Both because it will be useful in terms of elucidating speaker/headphone differences, but also because speakers are more dependent on how and where they're placed (in other words what sounds great in my living room or office might sound dreadful in yours, and vice versa).
post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 

Your advice, best or not, is always practical and well thought out. I think my post reflected a need to share a disappointing experience and a way of saying to myself that as the search for the right headphones didn't come easy, neither will that search be easy for a pair of speakers. I entered the shop excited and left feeling a bit like a pin-pricked balloon.


I've only begun the auditioning and Martin Logans are next on my list. Incidentally, is it natural for cymbal crashes to sound substantially more ablaze via speakers? I was surprised at 1) how forwardly staged the bass was, with equal amounts heft and bloom 2) how scintillating cymbals were compare to headphones (an area I've always thought headphones struggled with). Anyway, as the auditions continue I'm sure the speaker-experience, different as it is from headphones, will start to become familiar and comparisons with headphones will come to an end. 

post #24 of 27
Bloom and clash can be the speaker (e.g. Some are just tubby or forward), but it can also be placement or the room. For example I've got some ceramic openbaffle speakers that will take your face off in some rooms, but are tame pussycats in other rooms. Distance, spacing, room shape and volume, etc are all contributing to that (the speakers themselves aren't changing).
post #25 of 27
Originally Posted by ericfarrell85 View Post

Went to audition a few speakers today and unfortunately found myself underwhelmed.


It happens. It also sounds like the dealer wasn't a very good one if he kept jacking up the volume control. The better ones let you listen at your leisure (reasonably speaking). The best ones can discern your tastes based on the feedback you give them as you audition and suggest products that match your expectations.


I've had numerous times when I've been underwhelmed by systems. It could be the room or system synergy among a variety of other factors.


In any case, I still recommend trying the PSB Synchrony or Paradigm Signature lines...

post #26 of 27
I would recommend giving a look to Ascend Acoustics. I have the Sierra Tower speaker they make, and it is the best, most natural sounding speaker I have ever heard.

Also, others have recommended KEF and B&W, and I have had great experiences with both brands. Great value for the money, on the KEF's.
post #27 of 27
I've seen plenty of Sierra Tower owners describe them as amazing, as well as the Salk Song Towers. Ascend Acoustics has their own community forum at their website. You might be able to find someone to demo them.

Meanwhile, I think you'll have a tough time finding speakers with the clarity of the headphones you have.
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