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Paradigm Studio centre speakers, cc-490 vs cc-590 vs cc-690

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Hi All,


This is perhaps an odd time to be asking this, since the Studio line is being phased out. I have a Paradigm Studio v.5 setup, (Studio 100s, and 20s for surrounds)... but I'm asking now because I've got an opportunity to buy the CC-690 for a reasonable discount before they entirely disappear. Before I "jump the gun" I've been looking for an auditioned comparison between the three centre speakers, and it's nigh-on impossible to find online.


Has anyone compared the three centres against one another? Would anyone like to share their thoughts?


I've heard the CC-590 (at length.... thanks to a friend's gracious hospitality and willingness to loan me his) and I found it to be articulate, and very good match for the 100s, it's certainly not a slouch, but it had a little less impact at higher volumes in my somewhat cavernous living room.


What are the sonic differences between the models? I'd expect better bass from the 690, I don't know if the 490 would work as nicely with the floor standers. From what I've read online, the 490 was aimed for folks running the non-floorstanders as fronts/surrounds.


Does anyone have the 690? I'd like to hear your thoughts, and why you chose that one. I can get the 590 a little cheaper, but I don't want to regret my purchase.. but if I do buy the 690, it would be extremely difficult to audition before purchase.


All help will be greatly appreciated! All the best!


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Hi Hamish,


I ran a CC590 with 100's for a couple of years. The only reason I didn't get a CC690 originally was its size and I could only fit a 590 in my entertainment unit. I moved into my own place recently and was able to wall mount the TV, so placing a 690 wasn't such a problem.


In my experience it's worth it. When I heard that the studio series was being discontinued I went out of my way to source a 690. Why? because I'd researched upgrade paths and numerous people would say that the 690 was a noticeable upgrade from a 590.


What I found was the difference between the 590 and 690 is the 690's ability to blend seamlessly with the Studio 100's and match their bottom end. When I first compared the 690 at home the thing that stood out was the balance of sound coming from the front stage. It was no longer missing something between the 100's and it presented a consistent wall of sound from the front stage. The 690 is similar dimensions to a studio 100 and is able to dig as deep in the bass. Instead of crossing the centre over higher for the 590, I was able to match it across all three speakers for which improved the integration. I noticed improved clarity in the dialogue also (but this could have been helped by the fact the 690 was now higher and on top of my entertainment unit, closer to ear level)


Originally my focus was home theatre but over the last few years i'm listening to more music. I made a point to get hold of some 5 channel music to see how it sounded. This is another area the 690 shines. The vocals and sound stage are noticeably better and packs more punch since it's able to go deeper.

Edited by Leftaudionut

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Hi Leftaudionut,


Thanks for the input, I also noticed that many who had tried the 590 upgraded afterwards. As a side note, I'm glad to see another ACT person here... I've only had sporadic dealings with them! I tried to get a few others out for a get together, but it seems the  average Canberra audio enthusiast is a tough nut to coax out of their audiophile nest. :~)


You're right about the 690! I just acquired one (albeit not in the colour I had hoped), and I really did notice the increase in bottom end. I had to make some modifications to the TV unit to house the beast. Out of curiousity, how far have you placed the 690 from the wall? Given that the depth of the speaker is significantly bigger than the 590. It does seem a little big to be placed near the wall, and thus more challenging to position.


Multichannel audio sounds intriguing, it seems that there isn't a lot of multichannel music for sale these days. Could you please tell me where you source your music? JB Hi-fi's music section seems either absent, or utterly miniscule in range.


Thanks for your info!


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Hi All,


Just a quick update for anyone who's interested. I've recently obtained some multichannel music, and I'd like to share a quick story with you.


I've also recently added a separate amp to power my front left and right channels, and was tidying up the cables behind it. During that process I switched the power amp off using the physical switch, finished my task and then went to work. I came back and put some music on and started cooking dinner.


It took me a full 20 minutes after sitting down to realise that the 690 was doing all the work of the fronts, and that I'd forgotten to activate the power amp again. Naturally there was a lack to the sound stage, but with the surrounds augmenting the other channels very very well it's wasn't very obvious. It's this similarity in sound to the 100s with the detail, depth, and power that makes the 690 an amazing centre.


Now I know a dedicated music setups would use all floor-standing speakers, or all similar bookshelves, but I am honestly surprised how nice a horizontally arranged multi-driver centre can be.


If you have the ability to match 100s with the 690, I heartily recommend it.


All the best!


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Hi Hamish,

Yep, plenty of people in Canberra but a lack of a social community it seems. I know Sean at Audiotech tried to get some people together last year but it never got off the ground.

My 690's about half a meter off the wall measuring from the port. Ideally I'd like to mount if on a stand an free up the area but that will have to wait until I can build a dedicated room.

Obviously 5 channel SACD has been around for a while and you can pick up classics pretty easily online but there's a few decent recordings available on bluray and bluray pure audio. JB's a bit of a lucky dip. Nothing really of interest most of the time. Best bet is online retailers to get what you want. Unfortunately not many artistis have embraced bluray so your options are limited and record companies are only releasing older classic albums on pure audio so it looks like it's going the way of SACD.

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whats the best center to match the 60s? currently have the 490 and sounds. ok.

would like another studio 60 to use as the center but don't like my chances of finding a single speaker of the 60s.

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There was a single studio 100 for sale a few months ago in the classifieds, (it was miss titled as a Studio 60).

The CC490 has matched cabinet and driver size for the Studios 60's so is the intended match. The CC590 and CC690 cabinet and driver size match the Studio 100's. Although any of the Studio centres would work fine with the Studios 60's as you receiver calibration would level match them.  If anything a bigger centre would add some bottom end to the sound stage.

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I personally was not a fan of the CC centre range. I started with a CC490 then a CC690 and found them very "boxy" sounding in performance. When I upgraded to a C5 this issue I found greatly diminished. It also (at the time) gave me the motivation to upgrade from Studio 100's to S6's. But I have B&W now.

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