Paradigm Prestige?

Posted by: LaRazaUnida

Paradigm Prestige? - 12/31/18 01:50 PM

Hey guys!

Been a long time member (‘06) and finally getting to a point in life where I can afford a sound system! I purchased my dad a 7.1 JBL Northridge (E100,EC35, 4xE50, Klipsch 12” sub) back in the day and now it is my turn! 🎉

My budget is aiming for under $10K including the new tv but I can wait for a TV into 2020 if needed. I am also looking for a system that I intend to keep for the next 15+years. The room it is going in is undecided. House will be purchased in the Summer.

After all the research, I am looking at M100, VP180, 2xQS10 or the Paradigm Prestige line of 95F,55C,2x25S. I will not pay full retail for paradigm but I would still expect a $3-$4K difference in price.

So for the question— is the significant price difference worth it or will the Axiom more than hold its own so I could allocate remaining budget to sub and tv? In 15years, who knows I might be able to afford the Paradigm Persona or Bryston equivalent line haha.

But why Axiom? I’ve always been drawn to their history, build, quality, and forums/customer support aspect. I have no relation or research with Paradigm, nor have I compared the two side by side.

Just looking for some reassurance before I drop a significant amount of money (for me at least) that I have been saving for some time.

As for subs, including the WAF, I am looking at the SVS PB16, Rythmik G25HP, and PSA S3611. Does Axiom ever plan to come out with a level higher than the EP800? Receiver will be from the Yamaha Aventage line. TV, depends on 2019 tech and ‘19 Black Friday specials 😛

Sorry for the long post and wall of text. Just excited to FINALLY be making my purchase within the next 6mo after YEARS of waiting!!
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 12/31/18 04:45 PM

I'd love to give you some answers right now but my friends and I are too busy enjoying my M100,M5,160,QS10, M3 and a special edition of the 800...all version 4. I'll try to give you more info later.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/01/19 05:52 PM

I haven't heard Paradigms in 11 years. I can't therefore tell you if Axiom sounds better than Paradigm. I do know however that both companies employ the same philosophy in speaker design which is the one developed back in the mid 80s at the NRC. Having said that, they're bound to sound different because they interpret "the recipe" in different ways. If you want to know more about this recipe, look up my post on "We six curves of Axiom are".

$10K is a very decent budget. Considering Axiom products, which is what I am most familiar with, and a sale on factory outlet gear, you can put together an audiophile-grade 5.1 speaker system for under $5K quite easily. That will easily not only work but be over-kill in many ways for large spaces like my 4200 cu. ft. room.

I can't tell you what Axiom gear to buy but I can tell you about my experience. I owned a v2 system consisting of M80s, QS8s, VP150 and EP600 for 11 years. I really struggled with it and didn't like it particularly the 600 and the VP150. In the last 4 years, my tastes changed and I wanted greater soundstage width and depth and improved imaging like being able to actually place instruments and vocals on the soundstage. I didn't do any upgrades but I followed Axiom very closely in a silent kind of way particularly after Andrew Welker joined Ian's team. To make a long story short, around 2017, 4 years after Axiom released v4, I started seriously reading and talking with Ian and a few other knowledgeable people. I finally decided to upgrade to the 160 and 800 both v4 because those were very problematic for me. I was so blown away by both of those products (which frankly I was expecting after all my reading and discussions) that I decided to upgrade the rest of my system.

If you read my many posts and reviews of the QS10, 160, 800, M3, M5, you'll come to understand what Axiom created with the v4 is a real gift for us all. I'm also running M100s now and those, while they're terrific, aren't really needed to have an audiophile-grade experience.

I've gone on and on about all these products and I'm sure folks around here are long tired of my prose. Suffice it to say that while v4 looks the same as the v2 I had, that's where the similarities end. While v4 is very important, that's not the most important thing for you to understand at this point.

The most important thing is that Axiom today isn't like the Axiom of v2. These folks are cranking out one innovation after the other. I've been in product development for 31 years and I don't know how they do it. This is most important because like you, 11 years ago I thought I'd buy a system and be done with it for the rest of my life. That's not how it worked out for me however because my understanding of what I really needed evolved. So the real question here is not only how you can get a great sounding system but how can you evolve that system to take advantage of innovations in sound research for the lowest total cost of ownership.

Enter the Axiom loyalty programs, sales incentives and multiple on-line "stores". Every time you buy, your loyalty discount level grows. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Ian is very, very generous. Even though I am happy as the proverbial pig in sh!t with my system, I know there's stuff coming around the corner that will give me more of what I want - improved image focus, greater stage depth and wider soundstage. I also want to move to separate amplification and Axiom is going to make it easier for me to do that. I'll be able to trade my current gear in at very generous trade-in values to take advantage of the innovations that will truly improve my sound experience and emotions. On this point, don't be fooled by changes to speaker aesthetics that a lot of companies engage in. Those aesthetics may make the speakers appear better but they won't necessarily sound any better. The speakers are not just a tweeter, a mid-woofer, a woofer, a cabinet or a cross-over but rather how well a speaker company understands those parts and how to "sum them all" so that they work as a finely tuned system.

Getting into gear, I've tried M3s, M5s and M100s in my 4,200 cu. ft. space mated to my Onk, 800v4, vP160v4 and QS10. All of those speakers fill my space. Even those M3s which I long-despised since hearing the M3TI 11 years ago. Now, they are a different animal and even at 12.5 feet apart and 12 feet away, I had an amazing deep, wide and tall soundstage with images I could see across the layers. As I've said in other posts, the M5 and M100 improves on that with strongly diminishing returns after the M5. The M5 is simply amazing but of course I don't know how much more or less amazing to an equivalent Paradigm product. I just know that my finnicky ear-brain system that was so badly tortured by v2 gear is now so flooded with the chemicals released by v4, that I just can't get enough!

I have no reservations recommending the v4 speakers and sealed subs. I've been saying all v2 customers need to do themselves a solid and get on v4. I can't say anything about the ported subs because I've never heard them. If you have the resources to compare gear from the two companies within your space, go for it. Remember though that your tastes may evolve and it may cost you a whack of cash to satisfy them. Or you may not be able to satisfy them because cash is a barrier and that's a pretty crappy way to live the rest of your existence. Axiom makes satisfaction much easier. BTW, customer service is exceptional.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/02/19 01:55 PM

I forgot about your sub question. I have the 800v4 and it leaves me wanting nothing unlike my 600v2 that I wanted to shoot a few holes through with my 9mm and finish it off good with my 0.45. I got a great trade-in value 11 years later because Ian is so generous. Smooth, tight, transparent, effortless, permeating bass and infrasonics that is fantastic for both music and movies. It's too much for my 4,200 cu. ft. room...it's at less than 1/3 gain on the back and my Onk turns it down an extra 2dB. I should have gone for a single 500. Ian says the 600 is good enough and goes low enough. The 800 is for those who want the lowest and loudest while maintaining linearity. They don't necessarily need it.
Posted by: Slimpikins

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/02/19 08:38 PM

I had the opportunity to use pretty extensively several different SVS subs; the SB16 Ultra, the PC2000, the PC12plus, the PC13 ultra and I also was able to use the fancy $4500 Paradigm, forgot the number... I now have the Axiom EP800V4 with the special 'switch', an EP500 and a new to me since November Bryston Model T sub. I can tell you hands down; there is no comparison between the SVS and the Axioms or Bryston subs... it's not even worth discussing how much better these are than the SVS offerings. I had horrible reliability with all of the SVS speakers, every one I had failed within short order. The Paradigm was a beast, but it was not at all musical; very boomy and overpowering; I didn't like it at all.

Anything I have from Axiom or Bryston is is hands down in different league. BTW, my main speakers are the Bryston Model T's converted to the signature series with PX1 outboard crossovers.... the only way to go.
Posted by: brendo

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/02/19 10:12 PM

Another vote for Axiom sub over anything else. I've got an EP500 ,much better than the PB1000 I used before it.
Well I still use my PB1000 up against my couch as more of a mid bass unit. My Axiom is the big rumble and SVS booty shaker.

When I was only using M3 and M22 for my fronts the SVS seemed like enough. When I added my M80s the poor little SVS was completely drowned out by the M80s alone. The difference is night and day, the ported SVS runs out of steam easily and easily goes into chuffing . My EP500 handles everything fast controlled detailed. Never once an off sound. For the last couple years I've had mine.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/02/19 10:48 PM

Brendo, it sounds like you need the gut punch (disco fever) mod Ian made for Slim and I. By my crude measurements, it will give you a 6dB boost between 55 and 85 Hz.
Posted by: Ian

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/05/19 04:30 PM

Hi Mojo,

We have now made the Gut Punch switch a permanent feature for the EP500, EP600, and EP800 subs. Yours is the only one labeled "Nad Tickler" and "Gut Punch" though. Slimpickins has his own special labeling happening on his too.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/05/19 05:05 PM

That is a very nice addition, Ian. Yes...Slim is very fond of disco and gin. smile Thank you.
Posted by: bman84

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/05/19 05:53 PM

Originally Posted By Ian
Hi Mojo,

We have now made the Gut Punch switch a permanent feature for the EP500, EP600, and EP800 subs. Yours is the only one labeled "Nad Tickler" and "Gut Punch" though. Slimpickins has his own special labeling happening on his too.


I ordered an EP600 on Oct. 25th (haven't picked it up yet). Would it have a Gut Punch switch built in?
Posted by: LaRazaUnida

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/05/19 06:56 PM

Thanks so much Mojo! I have followed your posts for quite sometime and I greatly appreciate your candid responses and honest feedback. After further discussion with the wife, I have decided that I will be purchasing the Axiom system! The purchase will not happen until the Fall BUT it will FINALLY happen!!

I am going to end up with M100,QS10, and the VP180.

As for the sub, WAF is still an important factor. Performance wise, I see that for music the EP800 is THE sub according to Craig Chase. I do not mean to sound like a complete noob or power hussy—but how does the EP800 compete with a sub like the PSA S3611? The PSA is several hundred dollars less, more than double the power, dual 18” vs dual 12”, weighs more even though it is smaller, and reaches around 100dbd down to 10hz on many reviews. I ask because I truly do not know the answer. The sub will be the last piece of the puzzle for me. At the moment It is the EP800 vs the PSA S3611. BTW-I have followed the progression of threads and posts in regard to the “get punch switch” and this is another reason why I feel secure in going with Axiom and love their customer service. They listen to their consumer/fan base and value their response, loyalty, and feedback. Great customer service that is hard to find.

Lastly, I am looking at the Yamaha Aventage 2080, this should be sufficient to power the Axiom system correct? Thanks again for everyone’s advice and imput. Looking forward to when I am officially a part of the Axiom family laugh
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/05/19 07:32 PM

The Yammie is more than adequate unless you're planning to be in a cavern.

I can't tell you if the PSA sub sounds better than an 800. It should, given its large drivers, be able to give you a good massage and that's pretty cool for movies. But what about music? I want my sub to play like a musical instrument and my 800 does exactly that. On top of that, it provides great sound effects for movies. I see a few things in the PSA info on their site that I question. The quoted distortion figures are way too low. Even if God himself designed a sub, distortion that low would be impossible. It must be the distortion of the ICE amp alone which really isn't meaningful. On the frequency response curves, I see the response dropping off at about 30Hz. Contrast that to the 800 which starts dropping off around 16Hz or so. And don't just look at frequency response or output but also THD+N and group delay. This is the difference between "tight, fast" bass and slow, loose bass. My 600v2 was slow and loose because it was ported and the amp and DSP were poorly executed. Not so with the 800. Craig Chase is very correct and I would not have believed it unless I heard it for myself.

As for the receiver, I highly recommend you consider going separates. Go with something like an Anthem processor with ARC. As for the power amp, you'll have some interesting choices soon. Keep your options open and don't limit yourself to the M100s. Axiom is coming out with speakers that will have DSPs and linear amplifiers built into them. Each speaker driver will have an amp and no analog filters. This is a panacea for audio. Also don't get too hung up on the 800; the 600 is good enough and allows you to spend some money on those improvements I mentioned above.

It's a good time to be putting a system together, especially at your budget. smile
Posted by: LaRazaUnida

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/05/19 08:55 PM

Every point you make is valid. I need to see if anyone is around Lexington or Cincinnati to get a demo! As for the new line up, is this an extension of their omnidirectional line up?
Posted by: brwsaw

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/05/19 10:14 PM

Originally Posted By Ian
Hi Mojo,

We have now made the Gut Punch switch a permanent feature for the EP500, EP600, and EP800 subs. Yours is the only one labeled "Nad Tickler" and "Gut Punch" though. Slimpickins has his own special labeling happening on his too.


Like.
Like.
Like.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/05/19 10:51 PM

It's not an omnidirectional extension but rather an entirely new digital active speaker line. I don't think any Axiom customers have them yet.

I should correct my typing above. I didn't mean linear amp but rather linear power supply which offers improved transient response over a switching power supply. By the way, that type of power supply is found on all Axiom subs.
Posted by: LaRazaUnida

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/26/19 09:50 PM

Hey Guys! Didn’t want to start a new thread so I will keep updating this thread on my journey to my HT until it is complete.

So-

Surrounds. After further research, I am shying away from QS10s since everything seems to be going Dolby Atmos including games. I read a few posts on here about monopoles and read the Dolby Atmos thread on AVS.

Anyways. Surrounds. M3s or M5HP? I will be going with in ceiling in M3s. Again this is 50/50 music/HT. Going to do lots of concerts and even some multi channel depending how it sounds.

Any real benefit of M5 vs M3 as surround only? Trying to see if worth price difference.

Thanks for your thoughts!!
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/26/19 11:13 PM

M5s all the way. As you might remember, I have both. The M3s are nice. Then you hear the M5s and just can't go back. Better bass, better mids and better highs. Better imaging and better soundstage. You will enjoy your concerts and music much more. I can't get enough of the M5s.
Posted by: brendo

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/26/19 11:32 PM

M5 would probably be better altogether.
The M3 more cost effective.

Here on the forum, some one had the chance to experience. An ATMOS system with all large speakers. Think it was 8inch ceilings, and sides all around. At an audio show. Remember they highly recommended. Enough low end all around.

I use my old M22 as front height in 5.2.2 config. They do a whole lot when playing DTSX. It's wonderful huge sound even on music. Can seem like watching a concert Blue ray with good C.D.s. The low end from the larger driver in the M5 with 7.2.2. Would totally be the cats meow of emersion.
Posted by: LaRazaUnida

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/26/19 11:37 PM

Nice! Like always, thanks Mojo! Now I’ll have to find a way to make them not stand out like sore thumbs lol. We are moving to a new home in the summer. Do the M5s need a separate amp as surrounds or should they be solid with power from Aventage 3080? Plan on buying amp for LCR but trying to limit budget as I am quickly rising in potential costs. Still need to set funds aside for the TV. Waiting to see what cost of the Lg 77” C9 will be.

Edit::

Thanks Brendo for that input! I can’t wait for this system to be put together! (Then I’m sure V5s will probably drop right after lol). Brendo-question about in ceiling. Do you think M3s in ceiling will be good enough atmos?
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/26/19 11:52 PM

You're good to go with that Yammie for the M5s.

Regarding v5, I think Axiom has gone about as far as it can in squeezing out performance from their current drivers and crossovers. I can't imagine a v5 without new drivers.

Axiom will be introducing fully active versions for all their speakers. I'd expect improved imaging, improved sensitivity and improved soundstage. Already the v4 is amazing so I can't imagine how much better it can possibly get.
Posted by: brendo

Re: Paradigm Prestige? - 01/27/19 12:55 AM

Cost wise for over heads get the M3 it has a nice BASS boost to its sound. Plus the 6.5 driver can blend with any Axiom no problem.

No holds barred the M5 would easily wrap you in warm deep lows from all directions at once.