Whats up guys?
As most of you know I'm not a huge fan of Paradigm speakers. I always find them to be overpriced for the performance and compared to others in the same price class. Yet I always look at them and think "maybe this will be the pair that really impresses me" as if you ever taken time to look at their line, they are some remarkably beautiful speakers. Just take a look at the Studio 100's version 5's and fall in love you can even without ever turning them on.
So I had this job where my client had a Rotel RX1052 he was driving a pair of paradigm Studio 100's that he just picked up. In this 2 channel room, he decided to add video in a Panasonic 50 inch plasma, Blu ray player, Xbox 360, PS3, HD cable and a Apple TV. At first he ran all the video to the Tv, ran out of inputs and ran analog out to the Rotel. He also had all the factory remotes.
This system is a 3rd 2 channel system he has in his house with my favorite being his Totem room, another conversation after I calibrate that room.
So after careful designing, we decided on replacing the Rotel with a Integra DTR80.3. Now most of you are probably thinking why not Pioneer Elite? Well I preferred this way but wasn't against the Integra as sometimes I have found Integra to match Paradigm speakers quite well.
With this Install, another factor in the decision to go with the Integra is the ability to use a PRO CALIBRATION in Audyssey Pro EQ. This requires a License, a full PRO Mic Kit and a PC computer. This offers a much better calibration then the standard mic. IMO this is the only thing I wish Pioneer would offer.
Side note we added a nice Universal remote and RF base in the MX980 and MRF350 which cleans up all the remotes and makes for a much better experience.
So after I got the speakers dialed in for the room to seating relationship, I decided to give them a factory listen with no calibration, large no sub, center or surrounds, just 2 channel. They where somewhat pleasing to listen to. I felt the mid range was standing out a bit and the bass was a bit sloppy. A mental visual of this room is it's 16 feet wide by 21 feet deep by 8 feet high. It has full carpet on the floor with a pocket door in the dead center so you can close the room off from the rest of the house. It is in the basement so behind the pocket doors is a stairway. Also an outside ground level door with glass is off to the right in the back of the room. To the left and right of the room in the front which just misses first order reflections is standard size windows.
Once I got them exactly how I wanted them and couldn't get anymore out of them with placement and angles, I decided it's time to run Audyssey Pro. I went to our dealer login on the website, entered all my info as a Pro Audyssey Calibrator, Got my license and away I went.
The Audyssey pro cal system comes with 50 feet of Mic cable 2 x 25 which makes doing a large room nice. Some theater can get quite large and with the gear in another room, the 50 feet could just make it in those cases. The quality of everything in the kit is very nice and I like the hot red cables, they look cool.
So I ran for the sheer hell of it 8 positions, which I could have stopped at 3 or 5 but they recommend at least 8 for an accurate measurement of the room.
I may have taken 15 to 20 minutes tops to do a full 8 position Pro calibration. due to the fact I only had 2 speakers to deal with.
After this was finished I sat down to listen to my music again and to my surprise, I was shocked in the differences on how these speakers now performed.
First thing I noticed was how smooth the bottom end sounded. Crystal clear blend right into the very last note they where able to play. The Mid range now was transparent and true to the music. I hated omitting it but I actually started to really enjoy these speakers. Now mind you I have Installed these speakers many times, We had them our shop(Where I use to work which again is another story) I have ran them off of krell and Bryston and never really liked them. With this AVR in the DTR80.3 calibrated to this very room I was very pleased with the sound I was hearing to the point I would actually consider using this very setup(Don't tell nobody).
I have done many standard calibrations with the factory mic's Audyssey Preamps and receivers come with. I never once thought it made a difference for the better. I actually went back to old school calibrations and didn't run Audyssey as in many cases it made the system sound worse. I felt it took the life out of some systems in some rooms and when I would compare a mantis calibration vs a Audyssey calibration, I preferred my own over that factory mic.
Honestly sometimes I also prefer my own calibration over MCACC which is Pioneer's calibration that I feel is better in most cases over Audyssey. But generally MCACC makes very nice improvements over most systems in most rooms. I like the 1 calibration point for a KING seat and everyone else gets a off axis experience. That is completely fine with me as I personally don't think in home theater rooms you can make every seat perfect. Thats because I hang on to my 2 channel training and apply it to theater. Probably a hang up but I never experienced better sound sitting anywhere in any theater other then the KING seat or sweet spot if you will.
I didn't take any pic's of this but I am going back to add a subwoofer to this system as I felt the Studio 100's could greatly benefit from a nice paradigm Sub 12. In the Totem room which is another story, I want to add a Thunder for bottom end. He has a awesome pair of Rainmakers that by the way do a killer job all by themselves but can't play the last octaves as most speakers can't.
When I go back to recalibrate and dial in the Totem room, I'll snap some pic's. He has yet another 2 channel room but I didn't go in there yet.