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harmo_hammer

Paradigm Studio Series: The Long Road to Completing a Discontinued Set.

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Posted (edited)

Hi all,

 

If you are the type to like "vintage" or just "discontinued" gear, then maybe you can relate to this. I can't be alone in this situation? Grab yourself a cuppa, make yourself comfortable, and let me know what you think after you've read my tale. Ready? Let's begin:

 

I bought myself a Paradigm Studio (v.5) system when they were being discontinued in 2015 (and thus far more affordable than their typical prices beforehand). I really enjoy the sound, and while yes there are better speakers out there, I just know the sound the Studios make and it's what I've become used to. As you might imagine, the Studios are getting pretty hard to come by in 2019, and weren't easy even when I started this journey. However, I write this, partly to warn people of buying discontinued series, and encourage the consideration of an important question:

 

"Is this an opportunity, or is this discount going to be a false economy?". The answer might be better determined with another question. "Can I afford to get everything I need while it's available?".

 

I started my Monitor-to-Studio  series upgrade with a pair of 100s for fronts, a pair of 20s for surrounds, and a CC-590 centre. Even then, the colours didn't match. I had "Rosewood" 20s, and "Black Ash" fronts and centre. Never did I think I'd be buying more speakers to run more channels, and so quite some time passed in blissful 5.1 experiences.

 

After my early 2000s era receiver died of old age, I upgraded from 5.1 to a 7.2 model. In order to use those channels, my system became a bit of a hybrid between the Paradigm Monitor (v.7) system that I started with, and whatever Studio gear I can scrounge up. For the most part, the Monitor series (V.7) is a surprisingly decent family of speakers for the money, and even contains "trickle down" technology from the Studio series. However, it's just that Monitor Series speakers do suffer from an enthusiastic tweeter which makes them a bit "bright". Not a problem for most, but when listening in a mixed environment with Studios, the change in tone between channels is noticeable.  So, "completing the Studio set" became a "slow and steady" goal that has honestly.... been quite an undertaking.

 

I managed to upgrade the CC-590 to the CC-690 in 2015 when one was sold in the local auction house. Yes, it wasn't strictly speaking necessary, but it was more acoustically matched to the 100 fronts (particularly with the bass end), but the sheer size of  the massive centre meant that I had to modify my TV unit to accommodate it, and I was honestly surprised that it ended up being the glossy "Piano Black" instead of the matte "Black Ash"model mentioned (so I guess I screwed up my colour scheme even more). I sold the 590 years later in 2018, because no one seemed all that interested in it... other than low-ballers which I rejected on principle. So it sat in storage for quite a while.

 

Later, I bought a discounted Studio Sub 15 from the local Hi-Fi shop. Within a few months, it started suffering of a high-pitched whine. You can read the nearly year-long saga of that in my other posts, but ultimately the entire cabinet was replaced because the repair guy damaged the veneer. Other repairs were made including the replacement of some capacitors in the amplifier. Unfortunately, the problem returned a few months after that. So the sub made another junket to Melbourne, but the problem apparently did not repeat itself while in the care of the warranty guys. When it returned, I combined it with my two Monitor Sub 12's, and after using the "Perfect Bass it" (or PBK), I've tamed those beasts to integrate quite nicely into the system, but it definitely took some "trial and error". The whine is still there, but less often, and more subtle.
 

When serendipity stuck in early 2017, I was given another pair of 20's (shockingly, they matched my existing "Rosewood" 20s) by a colleague who decided to upgrade. I had not-so-subtly suggested that "If you were to upgrade, keep me in mind for these", and since I happened to un-delete some of his major project work a week earlier which had not been backed up.... I learned (yet again) that goodwill truly has a value. But my acquisitions weren't always that easy.

 

Later, my partner decided that in light of our upgrade of the aged TV and gremlin-ridden bluray player to shiny 4K models in late 2017, it would be nice if the receiver could actually push the 4K signal through. Long story short, the receiver was upgraded again, and now we had the capacity for even more channels which I wired back up to my "spare" Monitor speakers with a little too much enthusiasm.  In September 2018, I leapt at the chance when another Canberra based IT guy like myself was selling a pair of 20s. I wasn't at all interested in the 490 centre he was packaging, and honestly informed him as such, but we agreed on a fair price, so I bought the lot. This might have been just three or so months after I sold the 590... so it was as if someone was saying "out with the old, and in with... wait... the smaller brother of what just left? Huh?".

 

Realizing that I'd literally owned all three models of centre speakers... I later found that the only speakers in the Studio v.5 line I hadn't owned at that point were the 10s, the 60s, and the Sub 12. So I thought that I might be able to offer some advice on most of the series. Ultimately, I wrote a rather detailed (or long-winded if you prefer) review of each known speaker on ProductReview, stating the pros and cons of each model, but it was later "archived" due to a lack of interest.
 

Fast forward to Easter, 2019. I found a guy on Gumtree selling "A set of barely used cherry coloured Studio speakers, including a pair of 60s, a CC-590 +  a pair 20s + Studio Sub 12". After driving all the way to Sydney for this sale,  and testing with my own receiver, I found that the 20s, were in fact 10s, the CC-590, was in fact a CC-490, the Sub 12 was faulty, but the 60s were good. The Studio 10s, also had grills where the holding pins had been snapped off and poorly re-glued. Naturally, I renegotiated the price.

 

So now what have I ended up with:

 

2x Studio 100s Black Ash (working, as fronts)

2x Studio 60s Cherry coloured (working as the surrounds)

6x Studio 20s 4x Rosewood, 2x Cherry, (working as the surround backs, front heights, and rear heights)

2x Studio 10s Cherry coloured (working but grill needs repair, currently unused)

1x Studio CC-690, Piano Black (working as the centre)

2x Studio CC-490, Cherry (working, one is unused, the other used in another setup)

1x Studio Sub 15, Rosewood (working as main "deep bass" sub, but with an occasional whine)

1x Studio Sub 12, Cherry (currently toast, but looking into getting repaired)

 

I'm also using TWO Monitor Sub 12 V.7s with the 15" Sub to even out room-based anomalies, and fill out the "hearing-not-feeling bass". So my system is still... strictly speaking... a hybrid setup... but one that isn't nearly as noticeably problematic.

 

Eventually, I'm planning to get rid of my Monitor series of speakers, including: Monitor 11s, "Mini Monitors" and "Surround 3s". The Monitor Sub 12s will probably be retired/sold if I can get the Studio Sub 12 running.

 

Many of you might be wondering "Why not just upgrade to a newer/better system?". The answer comes in multiple parts, aside from the reasons mentioned above. Firstly, my partner likes the look of the Studio series. Secondly, the cost of a newer speaker series of this quality is often significantly higher. Thirdly combining careful speaker placement with both PBK and Anthem's room correction has (to me at least) nigh-on eliminated many of the complaints that others seem to dislike about this series.

 

Yes, I'm not having much luck with the subs, yes a lot of my gear is getting to be 5, 7 or even 10 years old, the parts and replacements can be very expensive/difficult to get,  yes there are better speakers, but to build an 7.3.4 Atmos system using gear that I've effectively gotten for a fraction of the going rate, has been a journey where I've met some interesting people that I've learned a lot from (even if there were challenging bits like travel and faulty components). At the end of the day, our home theatre is a place we all come home to in order to relax and recuperate. I'd honestly consider the performance of my colour-muddled system to be a match to some much more expensive systems, despite the age. I just have to remember that I have to consider my neighbours occasionally... despite the fact that these speakers sound even better when you power them appropriately and raise their voices. 🙂

 

I consider my tale a conditional success. But I've driven many miles, had buyers travel even more, I've missed many deals, carried heavy subs on multiple trips, combed through many classifieds, friends, colleagues, and search engines to get here, and although I now have enough to "complete my set", there's still some repairs and trading to be done. This road isn't for everyone, but the journey I've had has kept me... somewhat.. out of mischief.

 

Knowing what you want now is helpful, especially if there are good deals, but having a "road map" of where you are likely to head with your hi-fi purchases, even if you can't buy everything at once is probably going to be an advantage, and help you to avoid some of the struggles I've been going through. I just hope this helps people (or even a person) to make the right decisions for themselves.

 

Anyone else have similar tale? Nuggets of wisdom to impart? Marriages threatened by the cluttering of speakers perhaps?

 

Have fun, and happy listening!

Hamish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by harmo_hammer
Spelling mistake

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Quite a tale Hamish.
All that is missing is photos.
I am not interested in HT...at all.
Strictly a 2 ch guy (2 speakers is plenty), music only.

But it was such a rollicking good story, it was worthy of comment.

Two speaker, or the several hundred you currently have running, is always a journey.
I am currently selling my HiFi speakers, to upgrade to a higher end set (paid the deposit). And now realise l have to upgrade the amp for these speakers to work at optimum.

So l fully understand my friend. So l replaced my CD player last year, because the other one died. I just know in my heart of hearts, that once l get the new amp, and speakers; l will suddenly become unhappy with my turntable. So that will be replaced with an higher end model. And then of course, to go with that; will have to be an even higher end cartridge.

Then l will be that broke l won't be able to afford CDs or records. So then in my flawed logic, take out a 2nd mortgage on the house; buy a very expensive streamer and listen to Spotify for the rest of my life.

Then l will realise that Spotify is lacking, because of the low res; take out a 3rd mortgage on the house to upgrade to Tidal. Then finally realising l miss the smell of vinyl, the artwork on the sleeves; the turning over of said vinyl. Then miss the simplicity of CDs and then the realisation that the quality of CDs craps all over compressed music. But by this stage, I've sold my turntable, CD player, all my records, CDs and speakers (because l bought a Bluetooth speaker) all just to keep my house.

Because l realise l miss the old ways, l sell my home. Then by new amp, CD player, new turntable, new speakers, cables, et al. Then restart my record/cd collection, having sold my car to pay for them (well records are expensive).

THEN I WAKE UP in a lathered sweat.
Rushing out to the garage, my car is still there, stereo is still in the theatre room.

Now fully awake, l realise I DON'T EVEN OWN A HOUSE, phew. I roll over and go back to sleep, thinking of the dream the night before when l was married to Captain America.

Happy dreaming.

Ken













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No no no. Confused from bad dream.
Meant Captain Marvel; Captain Marvel or was it Elle McPherson. [emoji33]

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Hi Needlerunner,

 

Hilarious confusion aside, I wouldn't have judged you negatively even if you had meant Capt. America. Now on that note... I have judged you to be almost as good at "sticking your foot into it" as I am. (I truly mean that in good-natured way, having stuffed up myself on many occasions). *cue chuckles here*.

 

I think you have a valid point, whether difficulties arise when you're going "all out" for a 2ch set and looking to upgrade, or more towards my end of the spectrum by simply "adding more". I guess 2ch makes a lot of sense if you truly are running vinyl like your name suggests. Unless you have one of those "quadraphonic" systems.

 

Back to the request for photos. Here is a few.

 

The first pic should be of the front 5 speakers (Fronts, centre, and front heights) and 4 subs. The faulty Cherry Sub 12 is merely sitting (disconnected) on top of my Studio Sub 15 on the left.  It stands out because I have removed the grille, and it's right under the light well. The two Monitor Sub 12s are lurking on the right of the TV cabinet.  Please ignore the wanton laziness implied by the Roomba on the left, or my partner's quilting supplies on the right.

 

The heights here and the sub 15 are actually "rosewood", the centre is a somewhat dusty "glossy piano black", and the fronts are the matte "black ash". It's easy to see how the speaker colours aren't necessarily an issue in this shot...  and part of that is because the speakers taper to the back, so they look thinner than other (boxy) speakers would when off-axis.

 

IMG_0876.jpg.e2204767df097115f758cc9c5dc70d38.jpg.

 

The second pic is in the hallway where I'm storing my Monitor series speakers with some Studio 10s on top. Let's just say that my better half would like me to move these on as soon as possible. 🙂

 

IMG_0877.jpg.131c5f34b8797a99626a8dd574007da2.jpg

 

The third pic is of one of my Surround 60s next to my cheese cave (also known as a wine fridge). There's the unused CC-490 behind it. The Cherry really stands out against both the black fridge and the white wall. Again, from the listening position, it's not such a big deal.

 

IMG_0878.jpg.7eba25319137f54bb5caf0345a0269ca.jpg

 

I hope that satisfies the pic requirement. The surround backs,  and rear heights are amongst the clutter at the moment, and I would like to avoid incurring partner wrath by publicizing our mess. 🙂

 

 

 

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I need a centre channel to match my Studio 100s V5 (cherry), I've been using a old B&W that I've had for nearly 20 years.

 

This series of speakers were great value for money, I bought mine a year before they were superseded.

 

I also spotted the ad in Gumtree.....

 

Great story, and I can relate to you on so many levels.

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Hi Dolphy,

 

I'm afraid I'm too attached to my 690 to let it go, but if you want a 490 (probably better matched with the 60s, 20s, or even 10s though). I happen to have a spare cherry coloured one to match your 100s.... at least visually.

 

Do you have the room in your setup for the bigger centre channels? the 690 is pretty big (25.4cm high × 94.6cm  wide× 41.9cm deep), the 590 (23.8cm × 66.7cm × 32.1cm), and the 490 (21.3cm × 48.9cm × 28.9cm).

 

I think there's a cherry CC-690 for sale on eBay down in Melbourne, found here:

 

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/PARADIGM-STUDIO-CC690-v-5-REFERENCE-SPEAKER-LARGE-CENTRE-CHANNEL-CHERRY/202653446955?hash=item2f2f16332b:g:jSoAAOSw9ylcswnd

 

Maybe that'll help. I don't see the 690's being sold very often at all since everyone wants to upgrade to them, or sell them as a set as they change speaker series.

 

Good luck!

Hamish.

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Thanks for the link, the cc690 is way too big for my cabinet

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4 minutes ago, dolphy said:

Thanks for the link, the cc690 is way too big for my cabinet

590 ? 

 

2 hours ago, dolphy said:

Studio 100s V5

these remind me of the original studio ref range ? I had a CC570 which was superb ! detail attack ! dynamics ... clout had all that ... for most systems it would be MORE than enough. and not huge in size... I only sold as though a very good speaker my focal centre a better match with the focal mains I updated to :) 

 

maybe can find a studio ref 570 ? 

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Yeh dude. All tongue in cheek. Good old Ausie dry wit. Amazing what you can come up with, with insomniac brain at 3 am. Honestly did mean Captain Marvel (got my Captains mixed up). No homophobic slur intended. So appologies if I offended anyone.

Man, you have some gear in that room.
You must have an understanding partner.

Great photos. Thanks for that. The only disappointment was the wine fridge. Dude, you need to get that sucker stocked.

Take care, and happy spending.

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On 30/04/2019 at 11:53 PM, harmo_hammer said:

Fast forward to Easter, 2019. I found a guy on Gumtree selling "A set of barely used cherry coloured Studio speakers, including a pair of 60s, a CC-590 +  a pair 20s + Studio Sub 12". After driving all the way to Sydney for this sale,  and testing with my own receiver, I found that the 20s, were in fact 10s, the CC-590, was in fact a CC-490, the Sub 12 was faulty, but the 60s were good. The Studio 10s, also had grills where the holding pins had been snapped off and poorly re-glued. Naturally, I renegotiated the price.

I almost bought this set! :)

I like the sound of the Studio line and I still have the S40 V2, but I am looking for something bigger.

 

Nice road story!

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Hi Hamish,

 

Not quite the trials and tribulations as your tale but I moved from the Paradigm Cinema 330s at front and Cinema 110 in centre and PDR10 sub to Studio 100 v5.1s at front, Studio CC-490 at centre and Seismic 110 sub.  I retain the Cinema ADPs as rears because of their dipole/bipole nature.

 

I drive the Studio 100s with the Musical Fidelity M6si, they sound brilliant.  About 70-80% of our listening is 2 ch music. The whole family likes the look of our Studio 100s in gloss black, especially with the curving cabinet, though I do like the look and (limited) reviews of the new Persona series. 

 

I have been doing some thinking on an upgrade of the Cinema ADPs. Intuitively I like the idea of dipole/bipole rear/surround speakers but really can’t see anything I am overly enthusiastic about in the current Paradigm lineup of rear/surrounds. Been looking at Krix speakers for the task, but worried about integration.  

 

Cheers

 

 

 

 

AD5F3510-4A9A-4A79-BB0B-0636BBE371EE.jpeg

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Hi all,

 

As always, your comments are appreciated, and a source of non-work email entertainment, so thanks! 🙂

 

At present, I have no knowledge of anyone selling a CC-590. I'd just keep an eye on the classifieds/Gumtree/eBay online.

 

Kevin, I like your setup! All nice and clean (in contrast to to the clutter of my own), and I can see why you like the glossy black Studios.  Regarding your upgrade, I personally have a bit of a love-hate relationship with dipole/bipole surround speakers. Having used them, I get that they're great from the surround effect perspective. However, there is an obvious loss in some of the clarity and sound stage. Not critical for many movies, but if you decide to go down the multichannel music route, I think that's where you'll start noticing it.

 

I totally approve of your Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers LP in the corner of Kevin's pic. I've never heard an LP of them, but I enjoy the digital recordings. I know that may sound offensive to some, and it's wrong to me too! But I don't have a turntable, and I suspect that if you are running anything less than a valve amp with your records, it'll be offensive to someone. I have however, really enjoyed some fantastic jazz (including a cover of "Moanin") in a former "speak easy" in Chicago. The entrance was literally hidden behind a sushi shop.

 

If you want something different and/or multichannel that might be up your alley, you might want to look into "A Quiet Winter Night" by the "Hoff Ensemble". http://www.2l.no/pages/album/087.html
 

Anyway, I have to track down the local electronics guru to repair this Sub 12 today. Happy listening everyone!

 

Hamish.

 

 

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Hi Hamish,

 

I agree with your comments about the rear speakers. Mostly I use them for movies, especially given limited availability of 5.1.

 

I did have have trouble finding true 5.1 files but got some great direction and help from a fellow StereNet member. This included a track from A Quiet Winter’s Night.  It and the other tracks sounded great in surround. 

 

The Art Blakey and Jazz Messengers was recently acquired and i have been really enjoying it.  

73DE6AC6-36C9-40D8-8DFE-9BCC4081505C.png

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Hi Hamish, quite a post and honestly half the fun is in continual pursuit of matching up your gear, although it will get exceedingly harder from here.

 

I’ve got a set of Studio 100s, cc690 (get the stand if you can, looks a tonne better than on a tv unit which I had it on before) and 60s for surrounds, all in piano black, and have previously owned the same colour 10s for a computer (now switched to LS50 wireless).

 

I regret not going for the full Signature lineup when it was available, I had the S2s and they were honestly just brilliant. I’m not entirely sure what really matches the performance for similar price.

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I had the pleasure to meet Hamish as I purchased his mint conditions cc590 after a long drive from Sydney and back! .. Basically I'm part of the story above... 😅

The studios are indeed great sounding speakers, hard to beat expecially at second hand price range. 

I'm using a valve amp to run my front 20 and planning to upgrade to the S series (s2, s6 v2/v3) if something comes available one day.. as I'm more into 2 ch stereo than movies nowadays.. 

On 01/05/2019 at 10:36 AM, dolphy said:

I need a centre channel to match my Studio 100s V5 (cherry), I've been using a old B&W that I've had for nearly 20 years.

 

This series of speakers were great value for money, I bought mine a year before they were superseded.

 

I also spotted the ad in Gumtree.....

 

Great story, and I can relate to you on so many levels.

If that's the case the cc590 and the studio 20 will be available for sale.. 

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