Hoping somebody knows these brands M&K vs Paradigm

scoobert

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
342
Asking for computer but since this equipment is mainly for home theater I am hoping somebody on this sub will know the answer :)


Looking at going away from my klipsch 2.1 and thought I would start with bookshelf speakers and then down the whole rabbit hole of amp, sub and dac.

Anyhow I am starting with my little Denon RCD-N7 ( https://www.crutchfield.com/S-hjpXUNTE2G6/p_033RCDN7/Denon-RCD-N7-White.html ) because it is just sitting in my basement doing nothing. I am sure it will get upgraded fairly quickly but right now I need a set of speakers for it. I have a set of Klipsch KB-15's on it right now and I really dont like the way they sound so off to the local pawn shop I go and I found 2 choices pretty cheap. Both are in nice shape and work but I never heard of either of the brands.

Paradigm Atom Monitor V.5 is one and the other is a Miller and Kreisel S-80.

Is one of these brands better then the other to start with, and maybe even stay with? Both are about the same price and in really good condition.

Thanks
 

swingdjted

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
271
I would ask to listen to them. Speaker reviews can be helpful, but they're usually subjective and qualitative, like wine reviews. Most other gear reviews are objective and quantitative, like what you'd see in a review for a pair of RAM sticks. There is value from both schools of learning, but just understand that because of this issue, it really matters more what you yourself think of the sound. Speaker reviews do throw in a few numbers at the end, but they aren't really able to tell you as much as you would like. This one at least made an effort to talk about materials but didn't realy help explain why those materials were chosen or how they affect sound reproduction. I almost wish speaker reviews were required to post a frequency response curve graph where you could see how well the tweeter/midrange/woofer are mated. Even then, it's not guaranteed that you'll prefer a flat response even though that's considered a perfect sound reproduction. So I would listen to them, preferably at your home if they'll let you. Maybe if they have a good return policy.
 

Verge

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 27, 2001
Messages
6,914
Speaker reviews can be helpful, but they're usually subjective and qualitative

this is so true. I met an old dude on a cruise one time, he had to have hearing aids in to hear his television at normal volumes. Some HT company in houston had convinced him to buy 30,000 in speakers alone... i'm like dude you won't be able to tell the difference between those and 300 dollar speakers. He thought about it for a second and was like, shit you're right.

If you're over 50 the difference between a 1,000 dollar speaker and 10,000 dollar speaker, is knowing how much you paid for it. The human ear degrades over time, and that's an unfortunate fact :( Listen to some stuff, and pick what sounds best for you.
 

scoobert

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
342
Thanks folks. Listened to both and ended up with the Paradigm V.5 for 50 bucks.

Now I need a amp with optical in for my computer :)

Screenshot_20200513-062607.png
95703064_552927618746144_4105892304370270208_n.jpg
 

swingdjted

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
271
You definitely got a steal at $50. I have to say, that's an amazing deal. I would strongly encourage you to add a beefy-sized subwoofer to those as noted in your initial post. Not so much for powerful wall shaking, but for a balanced sound across the spectrum. Bookshelf speakers sound huge if you add a sub, especially if you make sure to grab a model that remains reasonably strong in the lowest octaves/frequencies. Cone diameter helps in this regard like 10" or better 12". Any bigger and the sound gets muddy (as opposed to clean or tight) due to material flex if the materials aren't rigid enough or if they are, the sound is unbalanced in a boomy way when paired with bookshelf speakers. Rappers love it, but most other listeners that diversify their genres prefer more balance. If you go any smaller than 10", most brands have a serious drop in response in the lower frequencies, causing users to turn it up louder; then you get far too much annoying higher bass like those over-powered, undersized tabletop systems of the early 2000s. My personal choice is 12", but tastes vary.

Also, I need to take you with me next time I shop for audio gear. You know how to get a good price.
 

scoobert

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
342
You definitely got a steal at $50. I have to say, that's an amazing deal. I would strongly encourage you to add a beefy-sized subwoofer to those as noted in your initial post. Not so much for powerful wall shaking, but for a balanced sound across the spectrum. Bookshelf speakers sound huge if you add a sub, especially if you make sure to grab a model that remains reasonably strong in the lowest octaves/frequencies. Cone diameter helps in this regard like 10" or better 12". Any bigger and the sound gets muddy (as opposed to clean or tight) due to material flex if the materials aren't rigid enough or if they are, the sound is unbalanced in a boomy way when paired with bookshelf speakers. Rappers love it, but most other listeners that diversify their genres prefer more balance. If you go any smaller than 10", most brands have a serious drop in response in the lower frequencies, causing users to turn it up louder; then you get far too much annoying higher bass like those over-powered, undersized tabletop systems of the early 2000s. My personal choice is 12", but tastes vary.

Also, I need to take you with me next time I shop for audio gear. You know how to get a good price.
Trying to follow your advice and get a sub.
I ran across a Paradigm pdr-8 v4 for 50 bucks. Do you think an 8" would be big enough or should i keep looking for a 10-12?
 

pendragon1

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 7, 2000
Messages
29,467
Trying to follow your advice and get a sub.
I ran across a Paradigm pdr-8 v4 for 50 bucks. Do you think an 8" would be big enough or should i keep looking for a 10-12?
if youre not looking for house/foundation shaking bass that will work well.
 

swingdjted

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
271
Honestly, 8" subs are decent, even good if you get a quality model, but they still often lack balanced response in the lower octaves. Most people go bigger for strength and volume, which is why they feel smaller cones will sound just as good at lower volumes. But even though it's true that bigger often is capable of being louder, it doesn't necessarily mean smaller will be just as balanced at low volumes for those not trying to deafen themselves.

If you get a chance to listen to two sizes of the same brand/make/model, one 8" and one a size or two bigger at the same decibel level at say, 150Hz, it would sound pretty even, although you might need a bit more amp to match on the smaller one. Once matched at 150Hz, leave the volume alone and drop the pitch to around 25-30Hz. That's where the difference will become pretty obvious in many cases. The bigger cone at 25-30Hz will likely be closer in volume to the original 150Hz pitch whereas the smaller cone will weaken quite a bit in terms of what you hear and create a bigger difference in volume from the original pitch, especially if you're several feet away. You can test this with an online tone generator such as this one:
https://www.szynalski.com/tone-generator/
and any separate device with a microphone and an onscreen recording level indicator.

You could just, well, turn the volume up so that the lower pitches are loud enough, but then the high bass pitches are too loud. With a bigger sub, it stays more balanced.

As you know, quality audio gear lasts a long time, so the investment in a size or two bigger could be quite a long term payoff. Personally, I bought my current living room speakers in 1995 and they're still in great shape and sound as good as any absurd-price competitor as far as my ears can tell. I'm happy that I was given good advice by the people that helped me decide on what to consider way back then and I'm happy I was patient enough to listen to several examples in the same room before finally buying. I've since been tempted by the buyer's itch to replace them with something newer, but still have yet to find something that sounds better. Even when buying speakers for another room in the house after much more research and consultation, I spent significantly more money and still somehow didn't quite get something that sounded as good, nor did they test quite as well with equipment at normal listening volume.

At the end of the day though, they'll be yours and not mine, so take my advice only as an option and not gospel truth. With even minimal care, a good sub will last you decades, so it may as well be something you like. If you can't afford the sub you truly want, I'd say just enjoy the damn good bookshelf speakers you have while saving money for the sub over time. Eventually, with some financial discipline, the money will be there and you'll buy what is best for your personal listening preferences.

Edit:
Oh, and I almost forgot, you probably already know this but in case you don't: to be fair, try locating speakers in different places and pay attention to aim, as that can make more of a difference than most people would otherwise believe. My current speakers have a hot spot at 50Hz where they normally sit (perhaps because of the size/shape/materials of the room), but if I move them just one foot closer when listening or watching a movie, they sound (and measure when testing) as perfect as anything I've ever heard or tested here. A little experimentation helps.
 
Last edited:

scoobert

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
342
Honestly, 8" subs are decent, even good if you get a quality model, but they still often lack balanced response in the lower octaves. Most people go bigger for strength and volume, which is why they feel smaller cones will sound just as good at lower volumes. But even though it's true that bigger often is capable of being louder, it doesn't necessarily mean smaller will be just as balanced at low volumes for those not trying to deafen themselves.

If you get a chance to listen to two sizes of the same brand/make/model, one 8" and one a size or two bigger at the same decibel level at say, 150Hz, it would sound pretty even, although you might need a bit more amp to match on the smaller one. Once matched at 150Hz, leave the volume alone and drop the pitch to around 25-30Hz. That's where the difference will become pretty obvious in many cases. The bigger cone at 25-30Hz will likely be closer in volume to the original 150Hz pitch whereas the smaller cone will weaken quite a bit in terms of what you hear and create a bigger difference in volume from the original pitch, especially if you're several feet away. You can test this with an online tone generator such as this one:
https://www.szynalski.com/tone-generator/
and any separate device with a microphone and an onscreen recording level indicator.

You could just, well, turn the volume up so that the lower pitches are loud enough, but then the high bass pitches are too loud. With a bigger sub, it stays more balanced.

As you know, quality audio gear lasts a long time, so the investment in a size or two bigger could be quite a long term payoff. Personally, I bought my current living room speakers in 1995 and they're still in great shape and sound as good as any absurd-price competitor as far as my ears can tell. I'm happy that I was given good advice by the people that helped me decide on what to consider way back then and I'm happy I was patient enough to listen to several examples in the same room before finally buying. I've since been tempted by the buyer's itch to replace them with something newer, but still have yet to find something that sounds better. Even when buying speakers for another room in the house after much more research and consultation, I spent significantly more money and still somehow didn't quite get something that sounded as good, nor did they test quite as well with equipment at normal listening volume.

At the end of the day though, they'll be yours and not mine, so take my advice only as an option and not gospel truth. With even minimal care, a good sub will last you decades, so it may as well be something you like. If you can't afford the sub you truly want, I'd say just enjoy the damn good bookshelf speakers you have while saving money for the sub over time. Eventually, with some financial discipline, the money will be there and you'll buy what is best for your personal listening preferences.

Edit:
Oh, and I almost forgot, you probably already know this but in case you don't: to be fair, try locating speakers in different places and pay attention to aim, as that can make more of a difference than most people would otherwise believe. My current speakers have a hot spot at 50Hz where they normally sit (perhaps because of the size/shape/materials of the room), but if I move them just one foot closer when listening or watching a movie, they sound (and measure when testing) as perfect as anything I've ever heard or tested here. A little experimentation helps.
Got a Harman Kardon 10" 200 watt for a pretty decent price. At least cheap enough that if I dont like it I wont feel bad upgrading down the line.

Thank you for all the advice and input from you and the others, I really appreciate it.
 

swingdjted

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
271
I have always trusted Harmon Kardon electronics when it came to stereo receivers and other high end home electronics. They are of excellent quality, putting out good sound and lasting a long time. I have yet to listen to a Harmon Kardon speaker, but only because I have never been in a place where one was being used. Hopefully their speakers are of the same quality as their electronics. If so, you're in for a treat.
 
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