|Paradigm Reference Studio Home Theater System (100v4/CC-690/ADP 570/Servo 15v2)|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Ken Taraszka, MD|
|Tuesday, 01 May 2007|
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As I was walking through the operating room one afternoon, my cell phone rang. “Ken, did you buy something? There’s a truck outside….” It was my wife, and I had to think quickly. Had I bought something that needed to be freighted and I somehow forgot? The new Paradigm Studio speakers were on their way to review, but they were almost a week earlier than I expected. That must be it. I told my wife to pull my car out of the garage and ask the delivery men put the pallet there for the time being. My weekend plans had just been made for me. Sure enough, when I got home, a large pallet of speakers was in the garage, and my convertible in the driveway. Each speaker came in its own box. The fronts, center and subwoofer came in a beautiful deep ruddy rosenut finish, with the surrounds in ebony plastic. Each were packed in high-density foam and wrapped in heavy-gauge clear plastic to protect their finish in transit. The subwoofer was packed with multiple layers of cardboard reinforcement; the boxes for the center and fronts also had additional reinforcements of the long edges with cardboard inserts. All the speakers were solidly constructed and had excellent fit and finish. The main speakers came with both metal spikes and pre-mounted rubber feet to level them. The center came with the slightly outboard feet and spikes included. For my tiled floor, I kept the rubber feet in and was very happy with how easy they were to adjust. My floor is irregular, so during my set-up, I frequently moved the main speakers around. The rubber-tipped feet were a breeze to use each time I had to re-level them. This can often be a tedious task, but the Paradigms’ feet allowed easy adjustment and stayed where they were set down, making planting the speakers on my floor a piece of cake.
I placed these speakers into my reference home theater system, comprised of a Meridian G98 DH, Teac Esoteric DV-50s, Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray player and Toshiba HD-XA1 HD DVD player all running through my Meridian 861v4 AV preamp to Proceed HPA 2 and HPA 3 amplifiers. The front three speakers were wired with Transparent Reference balanced interconnects and single-wire speaker cable, with Transparent jumpers. All power was run on dedicated lines through Chang Lightspeed HT 1000 and 9900 amp power conditioners; the sub was connected to its own dedicated 20-amp circuit.
The center channel is large, and almost didn’t fit under my television; both the height and width were extremely close. I couldn’t attach the feet pods, as the unit then wouldn’t have fit. Instead, I added rubber pads and positioned it beneath the display. I got a surprise when I attaching the grille, which added another inch to the width. I pulled the speaker to the front edge of my stand and it just fit. The surrounds were placed on Lovan® speaker stands off to the rear and behind the listening position. As they were adapted dipole surrounds, I ended up with them further behind the listening position than the direct radiators I usually have. After some experimentation with movies and audio, I settled on a place three feet behind the listening position and about 30 degrees back. This gave me the best effects for both movies and multi-channel audio. I tried several different placements for the Servo 15, but ended up with it in the rear right corner of my room, a place most subwoofers like. I used the balanced low level in and settled on just the slightest bump at 60 Hz in its final position.
Trimming in speaker size on the Meridian 861 is not like that of most processors. Rather than just small, medium or large options, the 861 allows a continuum of size, and the sub can be set anywhere from zero (the smallest) to 30 (largest). When I first started to trim it in, I had to stop and remove items from the room, for as I increased the size, secure items began to rattle and shake. Finally, after removing some artwork, candles and other trinkets, the room could handle the bass from the sub and I was able to easily assign it to the maximum size the 861 allows without appreciable distortion.
I initially placed the Studio 100v4s where my Canton Vento809 DCs live, and was unimpressed. After playing around with them, it quickly became apparent that these speakers need more space behind them to let the bass open up. I ended up with them 40 inches from the back wall. I had them almost straight forward, with just a slight toe-in, which let them reproduce full bass while offering the best imaging. They took a while to burn in and really opened up and smoothed out over the first 50-plus hours. Then I tweaked them to their final position, ensured they were level in all planes, recalibrated their size and position, as well as levels in my processor, and set out to do some critical listening.