THE HISTORY : (how
I got here)
The endless pursuit
of audio nirvana or the pursuit of that perfect pair of speakers,
amp, receiver or whatever, I'm sure has lead many people down
many different paths. I also doubt if anyone
has ever reached the end of that path only
to find yet another trail heading out wayward. That is kind
of what my current situation is.
My first "real"
speaker setup consisted of a pair of Paradigm Monitor 7 floor
standers (left), a CC-350 center, and a PW-2200 powered
sub. I lived fairly contently with that setup for over
a year and then became curious as to what else was out there.
Following a rather brief search I had opportunity to listen
to a pair of Paradigm Monitor 7's side by side to a pair of
Paradigm Reference Studio 40's (right) and to me, there
was more than just a small increase in sound quality so I
purchased the Studio 40's, a CC-center, and a Servo 15 sub.
I've now lived with the Paradigm Studio 40 v.2's for
almost two years now and just recently started looking down
one of those rabbit trails again in order to find something
new, something different, something better?
One thing that
I knew for sure was that I wasn't going to purchase another
speaker without listening to it in-home first. I'm convinced
that it is impossible to determine how any one piece of equipment
will sound in your system after listening to it in a store
(usually under ideal conditions) for 15-20 minutes. I'm also
a firm believer that every room has its own "sonics"
that can either attribute or degrade the sound about as much
as the equipment. So basically I wanted to hear it in MY room,
with MY equipment, with MY music, and on MY time. Sounds kind
of demanding I know, but then again I figured hey, after all
it is my money.
My first step was
to start listening to every speaker that I could (with my
own music) in order to narrow down the playing field and then
to choose from those selections as to what speaker to bring
home for an audition. My first selection chosen for
in-home demo was a pair of Dunlavy SC1 bookshelf speakers
(right) which I brought home and listened to side by side
with my Paradigm's over a long week-end. They were a demo
model so they were fully broke-in. In the end, I found that
I (as well as my wife) much preferred the Paradigm's sound
to the Dunlavy's so back they went... and the search went
my wife to several different places to listen to speakers
she finally dared me to find a speaker that sounded better
than the Paradigm's (within price constraints of course).
That then led me to try an unnamed mail order brand with a
return policy.. which again resulted in mailing a pair of
speakers back that fell to the ever capable Paradigm's.
I then became interested
in yet another mail order company, Audio Concepts Inc. or
ACI and ended up ordering
a pair of ACI Sapphires in light cherry to home demo for 30
days. At the same time I had further narrowed my store speaker
search down to a pair of B&W Nautilus 805's.
(Sapphires & 805's pictured below left)
the 805's were floor models so they were broke in.
The results of
this three-way matchup can be found in this thread on Hometheater
Forum. While both the Sapphires & the 805's did end
up going back, it was only due to the fact
that there was this mysterious other speaker out there
that reportedly had all of the characteristics of the wonderful
Sapphire... plus more! The Sapphires were the
first speakers that I really didn't want to send back
(neither did my wife). It was clearly a unanimous decision
in our house that the 40's were bested by the Saph's, and
both the 40's & the Saph's outperformed the 805's.
But, in trying
to look ahead, I didn't want to purchase the Saph's only to
wonder later just how much more of a speaker the Jag's were,
hence yet another upgrade, so...
Enter the ACI Jaguar.....(right,
show with optional lfm base).. problem being is that it
sells for $2500.00 without the lfm (low frequency module)
which is just a tab
bit more than I paid for my first and maybe even second car.
....... Solution .....
DIY (do it yourself)!
The DIY division
of ACI (d.b.a. subwoofers.com)
offers the Jaguar in a kit form that sells for less than a
third of the retail version ($764.00 delivered to my door
I'm NOT a woodworker,
nor do I even have access to many of the tools required. Not
to be discouraged I set off to find out just what would be
required in order to build a set of cabinets; I mean I at
least had a circular saw and a drill. I soon found that a
plunge router would be required, some clamps, and a palm sander.
So I figured that I could handle that, so here's what happened
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