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Speaker Dilemma - Paradigm or DefTech for Basement HT - Advice Welcome

5220 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  JCD
Apologies in advance for the long winded post. I'm looking for new speakers for an HT set-up in my Basement family room. The room is about 10W x 22D x 7H with an opening in the front left by the stairs leading upstairs and a larger opening to the back left leading to the laundry room area. The speakers will likely be initially powered by my old Pio 1014TX (assuming it still works as I had problems with it. The 1014TX has since been replaced by VSX-03 upstairs). Listening will be mostly for HT in this space, probably 65% HT, 30% music and 5% gaming. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on the 5.1 basement speaker set-up because after all it is still a basement and there is a certain amount of humidity down there in the summer, although I do have a dehumidifier. My budget is around $1,000 to $1,100 max on the 5.1 set-up and since I bought the sub already have about $274 less.

I was thinking of smaller speakers with a modern sleek look. I was intrigued by the good reviews on the DefTech Pro Monitor series and listened to them at several retailers including BB and 6ave. To me, the DefTechs were pretty impressive for speakers of their size. The ProMonitors with their piano gloss finish and small size also fit the look I was looking for. I ended up picking up a pair of second-hand ProMonitor 800's on ebay a few months back with intention to use them for my rear speakers in a 5.1 set-up in the basement. I compared them to my Paradigm Atoms v3 and while I think the Atoms sounded a bit better, the PM800's were no slouch. I think the Atoms bested the PM800s mostly due to its larger driver size 5.5" vs. 4.5".

I've done things a bit backwards already and picked up the Hsu STF-1 when it was on sale a few weeks back and just bought and put together a Z-line Vitoria stand with integrated mount to hold my components and future flat panel TV (likely 52").

I was set on picking up the PM1000 for the mains and PC2000 for the center to complete my front stage and 5.1 set-up. There are pretty good discounts to be had on the ProMonitors of up to 25%. I was thinking of using the Sanus Euro Foundation stands to hold the front and the adjustable version to hold the PM800s.

If I haven't lost you already, here is where the dilemma comes in. I have a 5.1 set-up in my den consisting of Paradigm Performance series - all v.3's: Atoms for mains, CC-170 for center, ADP-170 for surrounds, and PDR-10 for sub (currently using the STF-1 in the meantime). I always liked the Paradigm sound and think they are a great bang for the buck speaker. While I have listened to and drooled over Signatures, I don't think I will ever spend the money for the Reference series - Studios or Sigs, at least not for new ones. When I bought my Paradigms back in late 2004, I always thought I would upgrade to another Paradigm speaker, most likely the Monitor series with the Mini-Monitors as fronts. Since that time, Paradigm has combined the Performance and Monitor lines.

So this past week one of the electronics dealers with both an Internet and retail presence has an unbelievable offer of "Name your price" on any items available on their website. I was a bit incredulous at first and combined with a very busy week, did not look into it until the last day of the deal. I told myself what the and put in offer prices on a pair of DefTech Pro Monitor 1000's and the PC2000 center channel as well as a pair of Paradigm Mini-Monitors v5 and CC-290 v5. The dealer accepted both my offers, so I am now at a dilemma as which pair to choose and I only have 4 days left to respond to the discount offer. The discount on the PMs were well above the discounts readily available through several retailers and the discount on the Paradigms were well above the typical 10-15% offered by retailers and more in line with "family" discounts off the original v5 MSRP if you have shopped at the retailer before or are buying a higher end speaker set. The Paradigm discount is even greater if you factor in the MSRP for the v6 series Monitors now. Now some of you might say its a no brainer and go for the Paradigms. However, I have never heard the latest version of the Mini-Monitors and I do not know if I have time to listen to them before the deal is over. I heard the PM1000s, albeit not in the best environment and thought they would be suitable and I liked the sound of the PM800s in my home.

I remember liking the Mini's way back when when I listened to the v3, but Paradigm has updated these speakers significantly since then. My one concern is that in the Paradigm press release for both the v5 and v6 of the Monitor series, it makes comparisons to horn speakers. I listened a Klipsch horn speakers a few years back and they were not to my liking and I found them to be fatiguing. Another problem is that the Mini-Monitors (black ash) are a lot bigger than I thought and aren't as sleek looking as the DefTechs. Also, not sure if they will over power my Hsu STF-1 sub.

I think Paradigms probably hold their value better than the DefTechs and I always thought about getting the Mini-Monitors. The offer is for the v5 Monitors and not the latest v6 with the updated cross-over and nicer finish with nickel screws that you can show off with the grills off. I can't get the Paradigm Monitor series for my den set-up and switch my Performance series to my basement, because my speakers in my den are cherry color and I wanted black for the basement and more importantly, the non-shielded Mini-Monitors would likely cause problems with my CRT Sony 34XBR960 due to my limited ability to position them.

So what would fellow Home Theater Shack members suggest I do. I hesitate about ordering speakers I have never heard and I do like the look of the ProMonitors and were impressed by the sound of such small speakers. I'm pretty sure the Mini-Monitors would out perform the ProMonitors given their larger 6" driver vs. the 5.25" driver on the PM1000. If I get the Paradigms, I would need to pick up another Paradigm for my rears, likely the v5 Atoms. What to do with the PM800 that I already bought. I could definitely live with getting the DefTech ProMonitor series which I have heard, but would I be kicking myself later for not getting the Mini's? I'll try do listen to the Mini's this weekend but do not know if I will have the chance. Not sure if dealers stil have the v5's so don't know if they will sound the same as the v5 Monitors.
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Apologies in advance for the long winded post.

So what would fellow AVS members suggest I do.
So what would fellow Home Theater Shack members suggest I do.
Unless someone here has heard both and can tell you their impressions, make the time to audition both and base your descion on that.
Mike P's answer is the correct one..

However, if I had to choose between the two, and based on you already liking the Paradigms you already own, I'd choose the mini-monitors. Regardless of the line they come from, I think Paradigms offer some of the most neutral sounding speakers.

I haven't heard the same about Def Tech -- I think they have more of a rep for getting down low, but always at some other cost. Again, this is pure hearsay.

BUt again, I'd try to listen to them if at all possible.. barring that, I'd stick with the Paradigms. I think those Mini Monitors are unbeatable at their price point.
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