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  1. #1

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    Default My general impressions of LSi 9's and Paradigm Studio 40's

    Well, its been about a month now since I've owned my new LSi 9's. They have been playing for about 4 hours every day so I believe they are well past the break-in point but may break-in a little more. Straight out the boxes they were extremely dull sounding but I was expecting this based on comments from others.

    I have owned the Studio's for about two months now. I bought them used as they were trade-ins from my dealer from a guy who had them for six months and wanted the 100s.

    Owning both of these fine pairs of speakers, I have been struggling here lately to decide which ones sound better. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Here's how I rank them head to head:


    Build Quality -- Studio 40
    Treble smoothness and extension -- LSi 9
    Detail -- Studio 40
    Midrange -- Studio 40
    Bass -- LSi 9
    Imaging -- Studio 40
    non-fatiguing -- LSi 9
    "goosebump factor" -- Studio 40

    These comparisons were done in the same room using the same equipment and cd player. For speaker wire I'm currently using Monster XP 14 gauge. All listening was done using the bi-wire method. Speaker settings were set to small using my PSW350 sub with a 80 hz crossover point. Treble and Bass were set to flat. Testing done with Rotel receiver and B&K/NAD seperates.

    The LSi 9s sound different to me than anything I've ever owned. I've owned JBLs, Infinity, Cerwin Vega, and recently Polk RT35i's as mains. The Vifa tweeter is absolutely smooth. The more volume you pump to the LSi's the better they seem to sound and are just laughing "is that all you got". Problem is, I don't usually listen to music that loud (95 - 100 db).

    The Studios are very detailed and the strength of the speaker is the midrange. Listening to cds with women's voices (Natalie Merchant, Jewel, Enya) I can hear the tonal changes in the voice as being more revealing than the LSi's. The weakness of the Studios is that at higher volumes where the LSi tweeter shines, the Studios tweeter gets a little "hot". At lower, normal listening volumes though, the Studios get the nod here and what I call "goosebump" factor. I get the "goosebumps" listening to the Studios whereas the LSi 9's, although sound very clean, sound flat and less exciting to me. This is evident to me in the midrange which seems to be further back in the soundstage as compared to the Studios where it is right there in front of you. The LSi's are more laid back of a sound and I also notice that behind the midrange the supporting instruments also have this laid back character. With the Studios you can hear the the background instruments a bit better and this is what I describe as detail.

    I think part of my problem with the LSi's is speaker placement as I have an oddly shaped arrangement and speaker wire / interconnects. I've already gotten some good input on what to use to wake-up the LSi's a little.

    I don't want this to sound like I dislike the LSi's. I love 'em. They sound totally different than anything else and do take some getting used to. I'm hoping my speaker wire / interconnect upgrades will wake them up some for me. I may also have to rearrange my living room too (or buy another house...the ultimate upgrade!)

    I did an interesting experiment this weekend. I hooked up my Yamaha RX-V1300 to the LSi 9s and that definitely woke them up from a detail perspective. The "brightness" of Yamaha paired with the "flatness" of the LSi's. I was surprised that the Yamaha drove the LSi 9's with no problem at moderate listening levels. 80 - 85 dbs. Even after an hour, the receiver never got hot just slightly warm. At higher listening levels though the Yamaha got a little shouty sounding and you can tell it was gasping as the imaging and soundstage went away. But this was interesting none-the-less.

    More to come in about another month (after new interconnects and speaker wire). By the way I'm using Aurelle Dynamics interconnects right now. They are like custom jobs and I paid $60 / each for them. Couldn't find them on the web anywhere.
    Paul

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    Here's a picture of my setup with the nines and Rotel gear. Damn door!!!! Someone else on here has a similar problem I think with a patio door.

    Not the most ideal positioning of speakers and may be part of the problem. Notice the ceramic floors too. Very sound reflecting.

    Paul
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  3. #3

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    Paul,
    great review and nice picture! I always refer to my 9 for being a "brutally honest" speaker. Can't say I heard Paradigm studio before, so can't comment on it. I do remember auditioning Vienna Mozart, and think that 9 is much warmer and detailed...
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

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    nice review!

    I found your review very interesting and informative..........it gives me a better understanding between the Lsi vs Studios(i have never had the chance to listen to the Lsi's but i did listen to several models of the Paradigms)........it must be nice listening to two pairs of quality higher end speakers powered by great amps.

    I'm still waiting for my set up.........but hope to reach my dream soon! I hope to see what your next set of reviews will be after and even longer break in period and may be some added new interconnects.


    dc.

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    Off the main topic, do the ceramic tile floors make that big of a difference. Does it improve the listening environment? I will soon be setting up my system in a similar room and was wondering what I should expect. Thanks
    Scott

  6. #6

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    pjdami
    great review and nice pic.Please don't mind what I'm about to wire/reply to scottdawg
    Suggestion...try the sub behind the tv and move the Lsi9 front right where the sub is currenty.Put a mat under the sub and if it's possible get some area rugs in there.It should help out what I call a problem room.The corner loaded is also a challenge.The door can be worked with my man.I would just move the right speaker over and repoint it.Sorry just noticed all that and went with it.

    scottdawg
    Tile floor are the worse for sound.They reflect and make the room sound echoey.If you have area rugs,use them.It will make a big big differnce in sound quality.Alive this room will be without.
    Last edited by mantis; 04-08-2003 at 10:08 PM.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  7. #7

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    Scottdawg,

    No problem buddy. Hi-jackers are welcome because you ask a very good question. I have ceramic tile floors and a 10 foot ceiling in my living room. When I clap my hands together I can hear a slight "echo" or reverberation. This makes your amplification sound "louder" at the same volume setting as opposed to a room with carpeting. This also makes speakers sound "brighter" which is not a good thing for me. I have an area rug which helps and I plan on putting curtains up on the windows (so much for the expensive faux-wood two inch blinds from Home Depot); sound is more important than looks. (yep yall guessed it .... no wife; I can rearrange the living room however I please).

    Its one of the main reasons I got away from Yamaha / Onkyo / RT trilaminate combos. I wanted warmer more neutral sounding equipment to match my listening environment. This is an important consideration if you haven't bought your stereo equipment yet.

    P.

  8. #8

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    Mantis,

    I must have been reading your mind when I replied to Scottdawg because we both replied at the same time. The ceramic tile floor is killing me I know (and I don't mind the comment..my thoughts exactly). I don't know what I was thinking when I built the house. Probably low maintenance.....

    I want to get a bigger area rug too. What is absolutely amazing is the fact that the nines sound flat in this room to me. Its one of the reasons I decided to purchase the LSi 9's because I was set on the Studios but find them a little "fatiguing" in this room. The Studios sound much better in my home office with carpeting.

    My next upgrade is going to be a center channel to match my mains depending on which path I go in the living room ... studio or LSi. The LSi is definitely more forgiving in terms of brightness in this room. I just need to wake them up a little.

    P.

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    I've found that placement is completely key with the LSi series. When I went over to Phuz's place, he had the 15s and while they sounded awesome, the placement needed a tad bit of work, but he had a wierd room.

    I've got a very "dead" room, carpet, couches, and fairly small. The 9s scream in this room and are amazingly detailed. After about a month or so with them, I toe'd them in a little more and that put the soundstage perfect. They just take a little bit of time and tweaking.
    LSi 9/C/FX
    Arcam AVR-200

  10. #10

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    Dan,

    Suggestion...try the sub behind the tv and move the Lsi9 front right where the sub is currenty.Put a mat under the sub and if it's possible get some area rugs in there.It should help out what I call a problem room.The corner loaded is also a challenge.The door can be worked with my man.I would just move the right speaker over and repoint it.
    That's pretty much how I had everything setup a few months back (when I had the RT35i's). I had the sub behind the tv and the right speaker where the sub is. I got a little worried about the sub being so close to my tv. All of that bass ... worried it might shorten the life of the tv. Looking at people's profiles though it looks like a lot of people have their sub next to the tv with no problems. I did that for a year and a half with no problems too. Currently, one cannot tell where the sub is from a sound perspective. It doesn't really look right where it is though. I'll try behind the tv again.

    Another thing I notice is that Polk recommends making an equilateral triangle between the main listening position and the two main speakers. that's why the right speaker is where it is. Once again, in looking at other people's setups I notice that the distance between the speakers is less than the distance to the listening position. Will this improve the imaging some??? moving the speakers closer together?? I know the LSi's are finicky with placement so I'm going to experiment around a little. Thanks for the input.

    Paul

  11. #11
    Stronzo
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    Pjdami,

    Excellent review. Well written, and detailed.

    I had the opportunity to spend some time with the Paradigm studios mated on some NAD gear. Since I did not have the 9's with me at the time, I really cant coment.

    I felt the Paradigms had a bit more "life" to them, if you will. They are the kind of speakers you can just jam to. Where as, the LSi's are much more layed back, almost too much so for many peoples tastes.

    The Paradigms had the detail edge, imaging was a toss up. The Lsi's center imaging is killer - yet, the Paradigms is much broader.

    I have a room simular to Steves description. Small, carpeted, many objects that can take in sound very well. Things just sound better in my room.

    I do not mean to step on any toes here bud, but your placement of the LSi's is limited at the very best. The set up you have going, just will not work well with the LSi's. These speakers hate being against walls, hate being boxed in, and even worse, hate being un-even. The LSi's are by far - the most finacy speaker I have ever delt with.

    Positioning... is everything, with these speakers. I noticed that the Paradigms did not require such delacate attention. Which is a plus in most peoples point of view. You can place them in many rooms with the same results. Not so - with the LSi's.

    You asked if it will improve imaging. To improve their imaging, proper positioning is not only manditory, its an imperative!

    Getting back to the review. Very nice work.... Both speakers are truelly awesome in their own right. Can't loose with either one.

    Sean

  12. #12

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    pjdami,
    Another thing I notice is that Polk recommends making an equilateral triangle between the main listening position and the two main speakers. that's why the right speaker is where it is. Once again, in looking at other people's setups I notice that the distance between the speakers is less than the distance to the listening position. Will this improve the imaging some??? moving the speakers closer together?? I know the LSi's are finicky with placement so I'm going to experiment around a little. Thanks for the input.
    Here's how I feel about this.Equal distance between the speakers to the listening position works for most speakers.There are alot of reason to do this and some not 2.
    With the LSI's,I have found you can position the wider if choosen or needed,and I also foud the having them lets say 9 feet apart and 10 feet to the listening area works well 2.
    Toe is is what I have found the best results.My speakers are 8 feet apart and my main listening seat is 9 1/2 feet away.I use less toe in when I can still see the inside of the speaker.I had them dead on where I could see anything but the fron,but I felt this made them slightly narrow sounding.Sound didn't fill the room as wide as I like it.So toeing them out a bit made a huge difference.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  13. #13

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    Hi PJ,
    Great review man. I've been waiting for your LSi/Pdime comparison for a while now. I like the way you talk about the strenghts and weaknesses of each speaker. Your set up looks very nice too!
    I have a suggestion for the LSi9's. Do you still have the rubber feet that came with them? If you do, I strongly suggest you use them. This is something I read from a post by Russman. I was already happy with the sound but decided to try the feet between the speakers and stands anyways. All I have to say is HOLY SH*T! The sound improved 110%! No Joke. I never thought it would improve that much. I think it was due to my speaker stands because I'm currently using stands made of MDF. I will upgrade to some Sonus stands. I believe your "goosebumps" problem will be solved after this. My music seems a lot more emotional after adding the rubber feet.
    Give it a try and let us know what you think.

    Maurice
    CD Player: Original CD-A8T
    Pre: Antique Sound Lab Passive T1-X DT
    Amp: NAD C270
    Speakers: B&W DM6
    "I would rather have a cup of tone than an ocean of power" **Dr. Harvey Rosenberg**

  14. #14

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    The more you can "suspend" the speaker (via rubber feet or spikes) the better. That way the sound doesn't become absorbed into the stand and then the floor.
    LSi 9/C/FX
    Arcam AVR-200

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    aaah, exactly! Steve, do you think upgrading to the sonus stands will improve the sound even more?

    Thanx

    Maurice
    CD Player: Original CD-A8T
    Pre: Antique Sound Lab Passive T1-X DT
    Amp: NAD C270
    Speakers: B&W DM6
    "I would rather have a cup of tone than an ocean of power" **Dr. Harvey Rosenberg**

  16. #16

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    Yea, they will lighten up the sound, make it more "airy".

    I hate using those words to describe that kinda stuff, makes me sound like a stuffy Stereophile editor ;)
    LSi 9/C/FX
    Arcam AVR-200

  17. #17

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    Aw c'mon Steve, those are the exact words you used when I demoed your LSi rig....

    Let's paint the picture:

    Steve sitting in his smoking jacket, with a pipe, glasses halfway down his nose, swirling a glass of Brandy in one hand, and explaining his room acoustics, and speaker placement to me....

    Yeah, I remember.

    Cheers,
    Russ
    Check your lips at the door woman. Shake your hips like battleships. Yeah, all the white girls trip when I sing at Sunday service.

  18. #18

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    Hey Russ, I forgot to thank you for suggesting the rubber feet to one of the forum members. This is one thing I never thought about trying until I read your post. Thanx a lot dude!

    PJ, I forgot to mention this on my previous post. After adding the rubber feet, the detail, imaging, etc really improved not just the "emotional" factor.

    Maurice
    Last edited by organ; 04-09-2003 at 05:36 PM.
    CD Player: Original CD-A8T
    Pre: Antique Sound Lab Passive T1-X DT
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    "I would rather have a cup of tone than an ocean of power" **Dr. Harvey Rosenberg**

  19. #19

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    Maurice,

    Already using the rubber feet guy. thanks for the suggestion though and it is a good point. Isolation of the speaker from its support is critical. I actually have some api speaker stands in my home office with the pdimes that have the little spike screw nuts to support the speakers. I was a little against using them on the LSi's though because it could scratch the piano gloss on the bottom rather easily (who's going to look there though). I would think the "point" on the screw nuts provide even more isolation due to less surface area. I may use some electrical black tape on the bottom of the LSi's and then use the points to "bite" into the tape.

    Guys, I do have some options as far as relocating things in the living room. I have it drawn up on Visio somewhere with all of my furniture and stuff. I may have to give up the Lazyboy as my primary seat (but maybe not). My biggest job will be to snake a new cable run into the wall from the attic (no biggy) and relocate my rear surrounds (in-ceiling now but may upgrade in due time too).

    Paul

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    Here's a shot of system two in my home office. I really need to spend some time and do the system showcase thing; in due time I guess.

    No problems with speaker placement here in the office and the pdimes.

    One thing I forgot to mention in my original post above is that I prefer the way the LSi's sound with the B&K / NAD and the Rotel with the Pdimes. Although both are very good sounding, the Rotel with the nines sounds "warmer" or "darker" for lack of a better term. The LSi's sounded a little more open with the seperates. The Rotel and Studios are an excellent match as the Rotel helps to tame the tweeter on the Studios. This is exactly reverse of how I have them set up right now because I want home theater (receiver) in the living room.

    Following Venom's excellent review, I ordered some IXOS Super Gamma Bi-wire today. Also was considering Signalcable and Kimber Kable but let me take some smaller steps first before I really dish out the dough on some Kimbers to see if I can hear a difference as opposed to Monster XP.

    P.
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  21. #21

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    nice two two channel rig............you even have the real wood veneer on your studio's.........i guess when i get the 100's i will only have the poor mans laminate finish!


    dc.:D

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    Speaker7,

    Yes the cherry wood veneers on my Studios is very nice. Overall build quality is like a 8 or 9 / 10. The cherry wood on the Studios is why I gave the build quality edge to the Studios. Also very impressive drivers in the Studios with very large magnets.

    The LSis are very close behind in build quality. 6 or 7 / 10. I was a little disappointed in the "cherry" finish on the nines. Studios without the cherry veneers, I have seen them too. In this case I would call it a tie in build quality with perhaps a slight edge to the LSis

  23. #23

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    If and when I pick up a pair of 100's.....I will probably go for the light cherry laminate......I definitely prefer the veneer finish but the cost is abit out of my range......however it does look nicer and also it makes the speaker a little more rigid/solid.



    dc.

  24. #24

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    Default Latest Update

    I received my IXOS Super Gamma 7 Bi-wire today and hooked it up to the LSi 9's with the Rotel receiver and Rotel cd player in the living room.

    I guess the best way to describe how the LSi's left me after the first couple of songs is FLABBERGASTED. I had no idea how much of a significant impact better speaker wire has on a system.

    I am not imagining this either. The detail, midrange, and goosebump factor is now clearly evident with the IXOS wire and the LSi 9's. I listened to several cds that I am very accustomed to and heard details that are more vivid now. The LSi's do not sound "dull" or "boring" anymore but very alive, detailed, midrange soaring out of these things.

    I haven't hooked up the Studios to this rig with the new wire yet and don't care to at the moment. I'm enjoying this new sound so much. It REALLY woke up the nines bigtime. It sounds like I got a new amp or something. I am in total awe. I think I have finally found the sound that I am looking for.

    I also moved the right speaker closer to the door which made an isosceles triangle between the two speakers and my listening position. My listening position is about two feet greater than the distance between the speakers.

    Thanks Venom and many others for the suggestions.
    Paul

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    Stronzo
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    Pjdami,

    May I be the first to extend my hand in welcoming you into the world of incredible sound, at an absolutely ridiculous low cost.

    Enjoy! And happy listening.

    Sean

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    Paul,
    I'm glad you're enjoying your nines a lot more now after the cable upgrade. I recently upgraded to Monster XPHP and the sound really improved. Like you said, I love the way sound just soar out of the LSi's. I've never heard any speaker with sound/imaging signature of te LSi. The LSi have a very unique sound and I believe my search is over for a LONG time. Are you going to try them out with the C270?

    Maurice
    CD Player: Original CD-A8T
    Pre: Antique Sound Lab Passive T1-X DT
    Amp: NAD C270
    Speakers: B&W DM6
    "I would rather have a cup of tone than an ocean of power" **Dr. Harvey Rosenberg**

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    Are you going to try them out with the C270?
    Maurice,

    Eventually I will. I've been swapping things around so much lately that I want to keep things the same for a while so that I can have a more fixed impression of what the sound is like.

    Currently, I have the nines with the Rotel RSX 1055 receiver so that I can have the best of both worlds home theater and two channel. The Rotel does a great job at this with the nines. To me the Rotel is very neutral sounding and doesn't add any coloration to the music. If anything, it may roll off on the highs some which is why the nines sounded kind of dull to me before the speaker wire upgrade. The B&K PT5 / NAD C270 did sound a tad bit more musical to me detail wise; not much, but noticeable enough without being bright. I'm not sure if this is the preamp stage of the PT5 or the seperates issue. I'm curious as to how this setup will sound with the new wires too. I'll give it a run in a couple of weeks.

    I'll give you another example of what I mean by improved detail. Of course I'm used to Yamaha sound which has a lot of detail; take for example the Counting Crows cd "August and Everything After" the first song "Round Here" the drummer is barely tapping the cymbals with his drumstick during the entire song for that Sssttt sound. Well this sounded barely audible and droned out on the nines (especially behind the vocals) with the XP wire compared to how the Studios sounded. Now with the IXOS wire, I can here these details clearly. I can also pick up the inflections in the vocals much better.

    Wicked kewl. A girl from Massachusetts taught me that saying....wicked kewl. I had never heard of it. Apparently a popular saying with the younger crowd up north.

    P.

  28. #28

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    Originally posted by pjdami

    Wicked kewl. A girl from Massachusetts taught me that saying....wicked kewl. I had never heard of it. Apparently a popular saying with the younger crowd up north.
    Wicked Kewl...wtf....aint dat der the coolest darn thing you ever seen? der ya go pardner!
    Damn you all, damn you all to hell.......
    I promised myself
    No more speakers. None. Nada. And then you posted this!!!!
    Damn you all! - ATC

  29. #29

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    I hate audio dammitt.....
    It keeps me in constant financial hardship...Ha,ha,ha,ha....
    System #2
    Yamaha cdc-755,(20 bit DAC )
    Yamaha KX W382 cassette deck,
    ADCOM GFA-545-II.ampfilier,,
    ADCOM GFP-450 Preamp ,,BBE audio Restoration System (ARS)--Monster--M850I Innerconects and Monster 14 gauge speaker cable and the Fabulous POLK RT-7's with a Velodyne 12/15 subwoofer system ....she rocks.........
    .............................
    System #1:
    Meridian 508-24 cd.(20 bit DAC)
    Adcom -Gfp 750 preamp,
    Bryston 14b-sst amplifier,
    Martin Logan Prodigy Electrostatc speakers.and Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II innerconnects (rca) with Acoustic Zen Satori Shotgun speaker cable.
    ............................. "Jazz is democracy in music".
    .............................

  30. #30

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    As u can tell by my name I love my lsi9's but then again I got a sweet SAE amp hooked up to them taking care of the midrange while my denon receiver takes care of the highs...I am very satisfied with them for the money I paid, I m not sure how much the pardigms cost, but mine were under 700$ and for that money you are hard pressed to find a comprable speaker.

    Audio Physic Scorpio II
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