I brought home a few weeks ago a Yamaha RX-v793 receiver (80 watts per channel) with Paradigm Studio 20s and the matching CC-450. I have a low pass connection (via a single RCA Monster cable) to a Velodyne 1015.
The Paradigms sounded so sharp, crisp, clear, and dynamic in the store. They have phenomenal imaging but the almost never sound very sharp and crystal at home. The room in which they are is 10' wide by 11' long with only three walls---it is an open room.
I understand that audio shops have ideally designed acoustically optimal rooms and I don't.
Is this Yamaha properly matched for my speakers ?
Do I have enough power ?
I bought the Yamaha as a floor model. It seems ok, but could this be my problem ?
What can I do to significantly improve the sound ?
I have 3 LCR 450's across the front of my HT. They took 50 hours to break in . Before they broke in they sounded as you describe. Get good stands also. The premier stands Paradigm sells are very good. Good Luck!
If you are using the patchcords that came with the receiver and some generic lamp cord for speaker wire, get rid of it. You dont have to spend a lot to get significant improvements. Check out Jon Risch's homemgrown recipes for cables and interconnects, or something like Kimber PBJ and 4TC. Many other options are out there that would better the sound over what came with the receiver. Good listening!
I just purchased a pair of B&W 602's, a speaker in a similar class to the Paradigm 20's. When I first set them up I had them on end tables: they sounded terrible. I had some MDF 24" stands in the closet and put the speakers on the stands. Again, they sounded terrible. The stands were singing right along with the speakers. All sorts of distortion. I replaced the MDF stands with 20" of concrete blocks that I had sitting around and the speakers now sound terrific. I plan to buy or build some good quality stands.
If your speakers are sitting on boxes, they could be moving all around as they play and thus creating your problems. Concrete blocks are a cheap and easy experiment.
It is really really difficult to help without some information about what it is you don't like. About all I can figure is that it doesn't sound the same as the store. I'll make an assumption that what is wrong has something to do with the setup, although it could be anything from room to defective component.
Can I suggest "backing up" a step or 2 to the very beginning. Strip the system to its essentials. That means unwiring everything and having the instructions in hand.
I suggest having only receiver speakers and source to start with. Do not biwire the speakers (yet). Put the jumpers back on. Connect the speakers to the receiver, and connect the source to "CD" or "AUX" if it's a CDP, or to "phono" if it's a TT. Double check all of the connections, and double check all of the settings (vs. the instructions if need be). Place the speakers in their approximate listening position. Turn on the system.
At this point, it should sound more or less OK, but maybe not perfect. If so, fiddle with speaker placement and roum acoustics until you get things as best you can under the circumstances. Then proceed, stepwise, with biwiring and adding additional sources (etc.) listening critically with the introduction of each change.
If it still sounds bad, and you're 100% satisfied that all of your connections are OK, then your problem is likely either room acoustics or defective or audibly unacceptable component. If the latter, I would suspect wires first (assuming you heard the same system in a store and liked it). Try swapping your interconnects with another pair (can be cheap - it's just a test for defective components). If that doesn't do it, try the same with speaker wires.
But I still think it would be easier to help if you said why you were unhappy.
I can't imagine a Yamaha / Paradigm match-up not sounding "sharp" or "dynamic". If anything, I would think you might have too much of that sound. Forgive me if I'm mentioning the obivous, but have you checked to be sure your connections are OK? The first time I listened to these in an audio store, the sound was much like you described, and I couldn't believe that the 20's had been so well received with a sound like this. It turned out that one of the metal jumpers had slipped off one of the speakers' binding posts. You might check to be sure these are in place, assuming you're not bi-wiring. Also, are you running your Paradigm's directly off of your Yamaha, or are you using the sub's line or speaker-level crossover? Speaker level crossovers can really muck up the sound. To me it sounds like you have a pretty basic problem somewhere and not an issue of fine-tuning or room acoustics.
I simply lowpassed the sub from a lowpass lineout from the receiver to the sub. The speakers are hooked up (biwired) directly from the receiver.
What are the room furnishings like? In my parents' heavily furnished living room (carpet, couch, chairs, curtains, etc.) my mini-monitors sound rather lifeless. In my wood-floored dorm room w/area rug, they sound fantastic.
What was the demo setup in the store where you auditioned them? Did you use the exact same Yamaha receiver you now own, in the demo setup? What source component are you using at home? Is it the same one used in the demo at the audio shop? How do you have the speakers setup in your listening room(give exact measurements)? Where do you sit, relative to the Paradigms, to listen?
Please help us, help you and be a lot more forthcoming with information.
They are temporarrily proped up on boxes at about ear level---one between the wall unit containing the components and TV and the right side wall (near a window which is treated with vertical blinds) and the other (the left front) is on boxes between the wall unit and an open the portion of the room without a wall.
Between the speakers and myself is a large wooden cocktail table on top of an area rug. In front of the right speaker is a love seat; the speaker is higher than the arm of the couch so there is no interference (I hope).
I'm actually planning to build stands for them in a few weeks.
I appreciate your help.
If U have any ideas for good speaker stands designs, I'd be grateful if you would furnish them to me (ZLitigator@aol.com)
They need to be out, forward of your wall unit, about 7 feet apart. From the ideal seated position, you can play with toe in of the speakers, usually 10 to 15 degrees is enough. Personally, I wouldn't have a love seat right in front of one speaker. See if you can temporarily move it out of the way to gauge what effect it may be having on the sound.
You still haven't addressed my other initial questions on source component and how you auditioned this equipment and what was used.
Real speaker stands designed for the task will be a positive.
What is "Toe in" and what do degrees (angles) have to do with it ?
"Toe-in" is the angle the speakers are rotated inward toward the listener. If the speakers are facing directly forward, there would be no toe-in (0 degrees) and if they were turned inward to face each other, there would be 90 degrees of toe-in (and a few questions about your motives...(grin). If the listener/speaker relationship is a triangle where the distance between the speakers and the listener is the same, it would take 30 degrees of speaker rotation (or "toe-in") to point the speakers directly at the listener. The same applies to "toe-out" and although I've never heard of anyone using these to describe other positions, I suppose it applies to "toe-down" and "toe-up"...you get idea!
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