Alternate Reference Question Pondered
I'm nothing if not loyal to my reference gear. Google "fleischmann rotel rsx-1065" or "fleischmann paradigm studio 20" and you'll see what I mean--the latter alone brings up more than 900 links on this site and elsewhere. I continue to use, and implicitly recommend, these products because they sound great, combine the best traits of both real-world and high-end audio, and give my ears a stable and reliable benchmark against which to judge other things. When I tell speaker makers I use the Rotel, they breathe a sigh of relief. So do receiver makers, when I tell them I'm using the Paradigms. The reference pieces also like one another. Hearing them together recalibrates my ears between reviews. I wish I could listen to them more often.
But they're not the only receiver and speakers I'd be glad to live with. As I look over my past year's worth of reviews, my heart beats a little faster when I recall the DynAudio Focus 110. This stand-mount monitor is slightly smaller than my Paradigms and uses a silk-dome tweeter in lieu of an aluminum dome. That, and a slightly different voicing, give it a more relaxed feel (I hesitate to say better sound) than my reference.
As for the receiver, I will eventually need to upgrade to something with full HDMI connectivity and onboard decoding of Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, et al. In this regard, the 2001-vintage Rotel is getting long in the tooth. Though definitive sound keeps it in the rack, I'm really getting into HDMI-hip receivers like the Pioneer VSX-94THX and the Onkyo TX-SR805. Rapidly patching my BD, HD DVD, and universal players into the rack with three HDMI cables is a dream come true (though I still resort to the analog-ins to get SACD out of the HDMI 1.1 universal player). While the Rotel maintains its overall performance advantage, the new kids do pretty well. The Pioneer is driving the Paradigms to a fare-thee-well even as I type, and the Onkyo did equally well with a set of B&W 600 Series speakers. But what will be my next reference receiver? It's got to be out there somewhere.