Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

To Doug Schneider,

I greatly value your opinion on this subject matter and any advice would be greatly appreciated. I was trying to choose between the Paradigm SE 1, positioned right around the Monitor line (so Paradigm’s middle range), versus the Aperion Versus Grand Bookshelf. These will be used for music only. I was told that the type of music sometimes matters with brands. I’m not sure if that is true but just in case it is, I primarily listen to hardcore and metalcore music -- it’s very heavy with guitars and drums and vocals. If you could shed any light it would be much appreciated! The last thing is that someone told me that for that type of music perhaps the Klipsch Reference II series is a good choice. Are those good as well? Thanks very much!

Lou Vigilante

In general, any well-designed, neutral speaker will sound good with any type of music. For the most part, that’s true. The difference in this instance is that the kind of music you enjoy tends to sound best when played really loud, something not all audiophile-type speakers do well. So I’m answering this question based on the assumption that you’ll need the speaker to have high output capability. Hopefully that assumption is correct.

I suspect that the person who recommended Klipsch did so because of the company’s reputation for producing speakers that play loud and clean. From what I know of the brand, that’s true, but I can’t tell you anything more because I’ve never reviewed any Klipsch products formally. Still, they’re not the only speakers that will play loud well. Paradigm’s speakers tend to play exceedingly loud and with low distortion, mainly because they design them to play back music as well as movies, which also tend to sound better played back at high volume levels. We reviewed Paradigm’s SE 1 in SoundStage! Hi-Fi and measured it in the anechoic chamber at Canada’s National Research Council where it produced a very respectable result when we pushed the distortion test to 95dB, a very high level usually reserved for larger floorstanding designs. We also reviewed the Verus Grand Bookshelf in SoundStage! Hi-Fi and it produced excellent results as well, but we couldn’t push the distortion test as high, which is typical of smaller speakers. In other words, the Verus Grand Bookshelf won’t be able to play as loud as cleanly. If you need high output, that might sway your decision regarding these two models. If not, either will likely be suitable, since they’re excellent-sounding designs (within their limits), and you should really listen for yourself to make the final decision in terms of which one sounds the best to you. I hope that helps. . . . Doug Schneider