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#128454 - 02/14/06 10:46 AM A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axiom)
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4825
Loc: western canada
A fellow around town came by with his wife for an audition of the Axiom speakers. Of course i also gave him an audition of other speakers that we own.
In the end, he has decided on the Paradigm Signature series and a Velodyne sub along with Simaudio Moon components.
His setup should be together sometime soon and he's offered to have us over for a listen. If i have the time and the chance, i will see about bringing over a M60 and the switcher box to do an A/B review of the two.

The components are:
Paradigm Signature series S8’s, C5 and ADP’s
Velodyne DD-15
Moon Stargate, Moon Aurora AMP and Moon Calypso DVD player.

A Soundstage review of the S8s, with graphs, is here.
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"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#128455 - 02/14/06 11:18 AM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axiom)
HomeDad Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 3301
Loc: Central,California
It will be interesting to see how a pair of 900 dollar speakers compare to speakers that cost 5400 dollars.
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#128456 - 02/14/06 11:36 AM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4825
Loc: western canada
Cost is partly irrelevant in a comparison. People have individual preferences such that the cost is in many cases a non-factor. If a person wants a real wood, birdseye maple finish, then the sound quality may not matter either. Such a person might be willing to pay 10k just to get that look.
There are many on this board that argue Axioms are the best speakers. I have always stated they are the best speaker for their price, IMO. However, i have speakers that are more expensive and yes, in my A/B testing, they do sound better.
Are they worth the extra price?
If they sound better to me, then yes, they are worth an extra price. How much extra cost comes down to the individual. The fact that my other speakers are nearly double the size and have a real wood finish also adds into the cost difference. Put those three factors together (nicer finish, bigger speaker, better sound) and it was enough for me to spend the extra dough.
Was it $100k more?
No.
That is beyond what i would pay for a quality difference.

Take a look at an old poll i put together that asked this question. Keep in mind that being on this forum as opposed to a 'swankier' audiophile site has likely skewed the numbers a bit towards the lower end, but an even chunk of ppl would go for a price point 4 times higher than Axioms.
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"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#128457 - 02/14/06 05:30 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
KC23 Offline
local

Registered: 12/03/05
Posts: 212
Loc: Southern California
<shrugs> Any speaker over $2k that is compared to M60ti's is a bit much IMHO, but $5,400? That's absurd.

I find it interesting that someone would even try such a comparison, but I admit to being a bit curious to hear the results.

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#128458 - 02/14/06 05:58 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4825
Loc: western canada
KC, the cost difference b/w speaker comparisons only matters if cost correlates directly with quality.
It does not.
If it did, then everyone's Nirvana should be Wilson Audio speakers.

However, as previously stated, to a point, some extra cost is worth it for many. The breaking point at which cost exceeds the point of returns is up to the individual.

My personal curiousity extends more towards the sound differences between speakers just for interest sake. If i can find a speaker that i prefer more than my Tannoys, i might consider watching the used ads for them in the future. I already have my eyes on some Monitor Audio and B&W speakers, all of which i really liked the sound. I would love to get all of them into my house for a better A/B audition. The more ppl i meet in our area, the more auditions with different brands that i can get to do. This Paradigm one is an example.

My Axiom speakers will always remain part of the family. If i ever switch them out for something else, just for a change, they will either go upstairs to the bedroom, or if my daughter is old enough, she may inherit them. I could also put them out in the gazebo on the deck for summer bbqs.
Or i might setup my mother in her retirement, who knows.
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"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#128459 - 02/14/06 06:00 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5381
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
There was a recent comparison between M80s and comparable (albeit much more expensive) Veritas speakers. It was pretty close, and if I remember correclty the M80s might have won by a nose.

Having said that, I think pretty much everyone here will agree that you can get better speakers than Axioms... it's just hard to get better speakers in the same price range.


Edited by bridgman (02/14/06 06:00 PM)

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#128460 - 02/14/06 09:53 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
bigwill2 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 03/25/05
Posts: 586
I haven't heard the speaker that does EVERYTHING the best, at any price.
Seems like there are trade-offs with every speaker?

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#128461 - 02/14/06 10:18 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5381
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Yep... I was going to type something to that effect in my first post but my fingers were getting tired. Once you get up to "decent" speakers (and Axioms are definitely in that class) you are dealing with personal biases and preferences of the speaker designer as much as "goodness".

The one reliable truth in the the speaker business is that really expensive speakers tend to be better looking that less expensive speakers, but there are even blatant (ugly ) exceptions to that

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#128462 - 02/14/06 10:48 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4825
Loc: western canada
Don't forget to throw in size.
Bigger speakers usually equate to more dollars. If Axiom were to make a 90lb speaker with 7" or larger drivers, i'm sure their average speaker cost would rise.

Oh waitaminute, they did make a 100lb speaker with a larger driver and it costs over 2k Cdn.



My personal favorite for over the top and pricey has to be the Nautilus:

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"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#128463 - 02/14/06 10:53 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5381
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
What the (&*^%(*&^!@! is that ?

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#128464 - 02/14/06 10:54 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4825
Loc: western canada
You've never seen the B&W Nautilus before?
Wicked speaker.
Based on the concept that conch shells maintain the perfect interior geometry for sound, in theory.

Check out the site.

There's a bunch more here.


Edited by chesseroo (02/14/06 10:58 PM)
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#128465 - 02/14/06 11:41 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
oz350z Offline
aficionado

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 562
Loc: Atlanta
Well, actually it turned out that it wasn't a quail at all. It was a mocking bird from New Orleans. The mocking bird is doing fine and has been heard repeatedly singing his song that goes something like this "f@#k you Mr. Cheney"
Hey, don't kill the messenger
oz
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#128466 - 02/15/06 10:16 AM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
FordPrefect Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 1334
Loc: Ancaster, Ontario
Do they include the Batcar with that?
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#128467 - 02/15/06 10:40 AM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17768
Loc: NoVA
At the price they charge for those things, they should include a car...
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#128468 - 02/15/06 04:26 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3187
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
Chesseroo, Bridgman, all,

When a group of reasonably well designed speakers are tested in a really controlled environment, with double-blind protocol like the tests I participated in for 25 years at the National Research Council in Ottawa, the cost of the speakers becomes irrelevant and does not correlate with "better-sounding". For all of us on the listening panel, the operative phrase became "comparably good, " which we used when there were slight preferences between different models depending on the type of music being played.

In such cases, the rankings we gave would seldom differ by more than a fraction--something like 7.9 out of 10 vs. 8.0 out of 10. This was statistically insignificant after many rounds of listening. Often the rankings would shift a bit if we moved into a different seat in the room.

During the years I edited Sound&Vision Canada, we did all our loudspeaker measurements and listening tests at the NRC, and regularly found floorstanding models from Axiom, Paradigm, PSB and Energy typically selling for between $800 and $2,500, which would match and often exceed the rankings of large very costly British and American tower speakers, including the B&W 801, the KEF 105, Thiel and others that in the early 1990s sold for up to $7,000 per pair.

If proper controls are in place, and you can't see the brand or know the price (speakers are simply numbered), there often is little or no correlation between price and sound quality. However, once you see the speaker and know the brand and/or price, even experienced listeners will become biased.

I'd also point out that we reviewed some very costly speakers that received terrible rankings, far below others that sold for as little as $300 to $500 per pair.

Regards,
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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#128469 - 02/15/06 04:34 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16273
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
So I guess the moral of the story is:

Trust your ears, but not in combination with your eyes.
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#128470 - 02/15/06 06:02 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
bugbitten Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/06/05
Posts: 2339
Loc: Madisonville, KY
I have heard more than one person say that they bought a certain speaker because it "looked" good.

The Nautilus received design awards! And does look like some "art" I've seen.

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#128471 - 02/15/06 10:42 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10383
Alan makes an excellent point about the fact that there's little or no correlation between price and sound quality in audio(i.e. often you don't "get what you pay for"), even in items such as speakers where audible differences do actually exist. Audio mythologies seem to require that not only do differences have to be heard in items which if correctly designed are audibly identical(e.g. players, receiver/amplifiers, wires), but that actual differences have to be exaggerated, sometimes to a gross degree(e.g. one good speaker "blows away" another good one). A further illustration of Alan's point can be found in Dr. Toole's paper where he demonstrates, especially at p.10, how the major differences listeners reported between the speakers listened to in open view narrowed greatly when the same speakers were then listened to blind.
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#128472 - 02/21/06 10:01 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axiom)
warfer21 Offline
veteran

Registered: 10/14/04
Posts: 139
Loc: T. Bay , ON
If you get the chance, I'd love to hear your opinion chesseroo!
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#128473 - 05/14/06 08:01 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
TNTguy Offline
devotee

Registered: 02/16/05
Posts: 325
Loc: Utah
Just looking back through the archives and came across this thread. Very interesting topic and discussion.....

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#128474 - 05/15/06 12:06 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4825
Loc: western canada
TNT,
This topic was a short lived one but sums up all the truth about speakers.

Difference b/w speakers do exist.
Differences b/w well made speakers are often subtle and not gross (Alan's description with the phrase "comparably good" is succinct).
Determining preferences must be done blind.
Price does not equate to better sound.

However from some of the earlier notes, conclusions must be carefully considered.
In reply to:

In such cases, the rankings we gave would seldom differ by more than a fraction--something like 7.9 out of 10 vs. 8.0 out of 10. This was statistically insignificant after many rounds of listening. Often the rankings would shift a bit if we moved into a different seat in the room



Statistically insignificant within a pool of people? Or insignificant from multiple trials with the same individual?
In this case, if an individual continually ranks speaker A over speaker B even if by fractions of whatever scoring mode was used (note the relative judgement scoring in Dr. Toole's paper on pg11 linked by JohnK), then that person has still found a speaker they prefer over another. As such, would it matter then if that speaker cost $1000 more?
Those who seek audio nirvana would say no. Those who are budget conscious or simply don't care as much would say yes. Ultimately in a pool of human subjects you still have subjectivity thus making a statistical analysis very scattered in its response. The sample numbers would have to be quite high to have reasonable power to determine strong certainties. There are also statistical means by which one can sort together groups of like individuals. It would be interesting to poke through some of this old data and revisit ideas that may not have been reviewed.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#128475 - 05/15/06 12:50 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3187
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
Chesseroo,

I have only one graduate course in statistical analysis, however, I do know that the standards at the NRC were quite rigorous and I suspect that Dr. Floyd Toole could mount a strong defense.

I would point out these tests involved, typically, four or five panel members, and tests were repeated in 25-minute sessions over the course of, usually, three days (if we were reviewing four different speakers). This was done so that every speaker was auditioned by each panel member sitting in five different chairs in the room, and each speaker was placed in four different locations to randomize out the effects of room vs. speaker location vagaries as well as seating location.

Note also that these tests were first done in mono with single speakers, which very quickly lets you isolate glitches and non-linearities. When the tests were repeated in stereo, the individual rankings never changed. The absolute scores went up even for bad speakers, but the relative rankings remained the same.

With excellent speakers, the "comparably good" line became common when it became impossible to rank one good speaker ahead of the other because slight personal preferences would change with each track of music.

Home listening tests are rarely ever performed in mono with a single speaker and even if you do the test blind in stereo, I believe that biases shift because of the shift in soundstage that occurs with stereo tests. It's beyond the capability of enthusiasts to set up turntables that position stereo pairs in the identical spots in the room, which is the only fair way to do it. Turning one pair off, getting up and moving the other pair into the same spot and repeating the test simply doesn't cut it.

Regards,
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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#128476 - 05/15/06 03:43 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4825
Loc: western canada
In reply to:

I do know that the standards at the NRC were quite rigorous and I suspect that Dr. Floyd Toole could mount a strong defense.

I would point out these tests involved, typically, four or five panel members, and tests were repeated in 25-minute sessions over the course of, usually, three days (if we were reviewing four different speakers)



Alan, an experiment can involve extremely tight protocols as you describe those which had occurred at the NRC, but a panel of only 5 people is the weak point of the experiment. Granted it is difficult to setup large scale experiments that can encompass hundreds of samples (e.g. hundreds of people), but any statistician could more than easily refute data based on low numbers regardless of protocol. I have at least two very strong publications in my files that demonstrate how effectively a low sample set can derive incorrect conclusions based on accurate results. This is not to say that the past audio science is useless but each conclusion drawn from it may be interpreted slightly differently or viewed with exceptions depending on whether those papers have proven their point convincingly enough to the reader.
Inevitably there are other ways to look at the data and re-examine some approaches that may show something different or tack on a new approach. Every scientist knows there is always something further to find from one's datasets. There is never any end to looking them over and over again. This was my point in regards to the grouping idea that may occur. Of those 5 panel reviewers, did 2 of them consistently provide data that showed they prefer heavier bass {enter other descriptor here} speakers?
Would a sample size of 100 people have shown 20% of that set tend to rate a certain speaker character higher than others? Obviously the term 'neutral' is the one that has come forth time and again to describe the overall sound these panels prefer, but there are still variations in a microscale within that sampling. Were any within group ranks viewed? Again the conclusions might not be evident considering the small numbers. Still, as an example: person A may have preferred the Paradigm Studio series consistently in their rankings while person B in the same 5 person panel may have consistently picked out the Axiom M60 yet both speakers sound so very similar, very neutral. The point is, although both speakers are "comparably similar", there is still a preference being made on an individual basis and cost aside, many audiophiles will still go with their preference.
Perhaps with a sample size of 50 people, there would have been a more clear pattern showing a grouping choosing one speaker over another, even if they were "comparably similar". With a large enough sample size, what was previously statistically insignificant, now may become statistically significant as the numbers maintain a greater power of detection when evaluating the hypothesis.

All the listening tests i do at home are in mono mode with single speakers. The last switching test i did sometime last year (Tannoys and Axioms) showed some pictures of that setup. The variables i worked towards keeping the same were seating position rather than multiple spots around the room, speaker SPL and speaker position (but both were swapped left and right and placed in exact locations using floor markers). It is true i don't have a fancy turning table to setup the stereo switching sessions so my home enthusiast attempts are limited in that regard. Perhaps if future NRC research (or Axiom's) decides to expand to include a larger survey, home enthusiasts such as myself could participate. I would be interested in the process.
That being said, i know the A/B switching tests i've done at home are honest and as objective as i can make them. The first Tannoy vs Axiom tests i did had me completely fooled. I could not tell which speaker was playing (12' sitting distance), did not know which one was on the left or right anyway and simply starting listening for the usual characters with the test songs. The speakers were both good, excellent sound reprodcution but they were different. I was certain that the speaker i kept picking out as my preference was the M60. It was only after i asked my 'tech' and followed the connection wires myself did i believe the opposite.
No one can convince me that my A/B setup introduces an easy-to-pick bias after that test although i will not likely be able to convince anyone otherwise unless they tried it themselves. After all, i'm only a sample of one.


_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#128477 - 05/15/06 06:06 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
BrenR Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 3602
Loc: Winnipeg MB Canada
*blinks* Come quickly... the king has gone mad, he's discounting both the former Editor of Sound & Vision and the National Research Council of Canada.

Bren R.

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#128478 - 05/15/06 09:09 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16273
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Chesseroo: A Sample of One™
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#128479 - 05/15/06 11:56 PM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4825
Loc: western canada
You boys are hilarious.
That trademark sounds like it would make a neat book for the non-fiction, abstract scribblings section.

Just to note, if you read carefully i never refuted any science but rather asked more questions about it. I've been doing way too many peer reviews lately. I'm stuck in edit and critique mode.
Peter, pull up those pants, pull up that zipper and for the love of St. Patrick, quit showing off!!
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#128480 - 05/16/06 12:02 AM Re: A new speaker comparison? (Paradigm Sig & Axio
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7400
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
In reply to:

Peter, pull up those pants, pull up that zipper and for the love of St. Patrick, quit showing off!!




Honestly, in no way have I been pining for Peter's affection.

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