What integrated to go with Paradigm studio/60's???

Hi guys, I'm new to the audio game and am kind of disappointed with my current system. The sound is all there but without the realism they had at auditioning. Vocals tend to be hidden or mushed into the intstruments making them sound unclear. Also, whenever my system tries to really rock out with complex peices it sounds confused and lacks any coherent clarity. My system is:

NAD T531 DVD player
Music Hall MMF 2.1 w/Grado Gold cartridge
Rotel RQ 970BX phono preamp
NAD T752 reciever
Paradigm Studio 60's

My sound isn't what I heard from my speakers when I auditioned them leading me to believe there's a mismatch upstream. I think I'd like to switch my receiver for an integrated amp around $1000. Does anyone with these speakers or similar ones have any suggestions?


You don't say how long you have had your Paradigms in your system.

First and foremost, break in your Paradigms for a good 100 hours before expecting them to blossom, and blossom they will. The Studio series is notorious for its long break in period. My Studio 100's sound great now but I almost returned them because I was so disappointed when I first brought them home. Play them, play them, play them. I'm glad I was patient.

Second, consider buying a good dedicated CD player rather than expecting good quality CD playback from a DVD player. Some DVD players do fine with CD playback but not many.

As far as a good $ 1000 integrated, there are many good ones on the market. I currently run an Arcam Alpha 10 100 wpc which is a highly regarded former Stereophile Class B recommended. You can pick up a mint Alpha 10 on Audiogon for $ 600-700. The newer FMJ A22 is essentially the same product and runs $ 1000-1100 used on Audiogon. It is a current Stereophile Class B product.

Second on my list for integrateds in that price range would be the Musical Fidelity A 3.2 - also a Stereophile Class B recommended product. This is new $ 1495 but mint used at probably 60% of that.

Personally, I will be purchasing a Bryston 4B SST power amp and use my Arcam 10 as a preamp only to drive it. I want more oomph.

Good luck.
I've had the speakers for about five months and I do know that they take a while to break in because I was sorely disappointed at first. They took at least 50 hrs for the bass to even start to appear. As for the DVD player, it is an NAD which has a pretty good rep for spinning CD's in their players, although I've never auditioned it against a dedicated CD player. Thanks for your suggestions on the amp too, I'll look into those. What about the Krell 300i? Anyone's thoughts?

I agree that you should consider ditching the DVD for a dedicated CDP. I think then you would be more likely to find a substantial improvement, even with a modest integrated.

If you acquired, say, a Rega Planet and a Rotel or Creek integrated, I think you would be pleasantly surprised. As for the Krell, it's a pretty good value on the used market, but I have not heard it paired with any of your other components.

And don't skip on speaker cables and ICs - many have fallen victim to the folly of trying to save $$$ that way.
Try a Plinius 8150 or 8200 if you are lucky you may find one for about $1200. I do not think you would look back as these are very nice with excellent tone, detail and control.
I have a pair of Paradigm studio 60 v2 speakers. My previous system was: Marantz receiver 7200 and a no brand DVD player (digital output). I was very disappointed about the quality of the sound.
I then decided to buy a cdp. I listened to Rega, Jolida, Macintosh, and Primare. The previous three didn't impress me at all. But Primare D20 (or D30) really made a BIG difference even with my Marantz receiver. It is clear that the DAC in the cdp is orders of magnitude better than that in the receiver. The sound has incredible clarity, richness and strength. When I played Eric Clapton's "Unplugged", the system sounded much better than the much more expensive systems that I auditted in audio shops. You'll feel that your heart vibrates strongly with the guitar strings.
I would therefore highly recommend the Primare cdp.
I'm also looking for an amp to exclude the receiver from the stereo. Please visit my recent thread in amp/preamp. There're many valueable advices.
Good luck!
One more thing: the cable makes an audible difference. I used Audioquest ($150), it's much better than the no brand cable ($30) that I used before.
Thanks for the help guys. I do know the value of decent cables and am quite happy with my cables from Frank at SignalCable here on Audiogon. I've also just upgraded my crappy Audioquest optical interconnect. I'll definitely look inot a dedicated CDP in the future. I started out wanted a home theatre setup (which is why I bought the receiver) but now just want a really good stereo setup. Any more suggestions would be fantastic.

Look at a Unison Unico integrated. It's a good tube integrated for the money. I also like the Creek and Rotel integrateds.
take a look at the denon pma 2000ivr intergrated amp. it's rated at 80 watts and 120 amps of current. it make smy studio 60's sing.
Matt Zak,
do you have experience with the studio 60's and the Unico? I'm going to audition one soon. Thanks.

How about adding a good 2-channel amp to the pre-outs on your receiver? i added a B&K stereo amp to the pre-outs on my Denon receiver and the difference in sound was pretty much night & day. i have the Studio 80's and they REALLY opened up after adding the B&K (ST2140). Plus I still have surround capabilities.

good luck!

I've heard both of them just not together. After hearing the Unison though in my opinion it would be a good match. I also agree with chris above that another option would be to get a good 2ch amp and add it on to your receiver. Look at maybe used classe, rotel, arcam, mcintosh amps.