Paradigm Signature S2/S4 vs Ref v3 S20/40

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by jeff.adams, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. jeff.adams

    jeff.adams Agent

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    I recently listened to the Paradigm Signature S2 and compared it to the JMLab 906. It compared extremely favorably (IMHO of course). The JMLab seemed to have slightly better bass extension (went a little lower), but, with either speaker I would use a sub, so I'm not particularly worried about that. I thought that the S2 was quite excellent in the midrange/highs, better so than the 906. Overall, I would live happily ever after with either speaker I'm sure.

    However, I was unable to make the obvious comparison, which would have been the S2 against the Studio 20 v3, and the S4 and Studio 40 v3. This store didn't have the S4 or the Studio 40, and for that matter I didn't see a Studio 20 anywhere. I don't know if this was by design or what. I was under the impression that Paradigm was requiring dealers for the Signature line to carry the entire line (this store had only the S2, S6, and the new sub). To make matters worse, assuming for a moment that the S4 was just out of stock, they told me that the Studio 40 is "special order only". What seems strange. I have another local dealer that carries the entire Studio Ref v3 line, but they haven't picked up the Sig line yet. For the bucks, I have to hear the S4 vs the Studio 40 before making a choice like that.

    So... has anyone heard the S2 and the Studio 20 v3 in the same room, and, the S4 and the Studio 40 v3? I'm assuming that the Sig line is better but I have no first hand experience and, after doing a Paradigm website search for dealers, I probably never will (I could not find another dealer closer than 200+ miles). Does anyone know of any dealers for the Sig line that carries the entire Ref v3 line in the South SF Bay Area?

    Thanks for any feedback.
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Not all dealers will be carrying the Sigs because of their price range. My dealer is in the same position, it doesn't look like they will carry the Signatures at all. The 40 should not be a special order, maybe for them it is, because they chose not to stock it. Only one dealer in my area is carrying the Sigs, and they had every model, though not all of them were hooked up at the time.


    I have heard the S2 and v3 20s back to back, for the better part of an hour each. The S2 was a noticable step up from the 20s. I did not get to listen to the S4s. A little more extension, but much more depth and clarity, and if I were looking to decide between the two, there is no question that I'd be wanting to stretch the budget for the S2s.

    Having said that, the other speaker I compared to both of these was even better than the S2s, and cost slightly less:

    http://www.josephaudio.com/product.rm7sisigmk2.html

    These are one of the best bookshelf speakers I've ever heard.
     
  3. Daryn D

    Daryn D Agent

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    I went to my dealer to decide between Studio 40's or 60's. I definitely prefered the 60's for the fuller bass. The S 2's were right next to the 60's so I asked to hear them "just to see what they sound like". I was floored, I never expected such a full sound from a bookshelf. The soundstage and clarity was much better than either studio's, an obvious step up in technology. So, I changed my plan and am now planning to get the S2's for fronts. I use a subwoofer as well, and I'm not a bass freak. That being said; however, the S2's really had a lot more bass than you would expect.


    But I never rush into these decisions... Thanks to John I now need to listen to the Joseph Audio's! My 'digm dealer carries them as well.
     
  4. Daryn D

    Daryn D Agent

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    By the way, my dealer didn't have the S4's hooked up, I don't really want to hear them because they are out of my price range.

    To answer your question more concisely, I listened to the Studio 20, 40 & 60 and the S2 all in the same room and the S2 was clearly superior. My opinion, stretch the budget get the S2's (they look sexy too). My brother (a musician, a more critical listener than I) was with me and his ears told him the same thing.
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    If you like the bass of the S2s, then I'd expect the RM7si to impress. They have exceptional extension for their size, and it's clean across it's entire range. The key lies in the crossover I believe, but it is a quality package all the way around. Definitely worth a listen.
     
  6. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    As far as bookshelves are concerned, the best that I have heard are the AAD 2001's. I thought that their midrange clarity was a bit better than the B&W Signature 805's, and their bass extension is amazing (30 Hz). High end comes out hot if you are into that, but it is not overly bright, just ultra-clear. They list for $2500, but I saw someone selling them on AudioGon for around $1200 or so, which is an absolute steal. I am intrigued by the Paradigm Signatures and Joseph audio speakers, though. Looks like it is time to audition again[​IMG]
     
  7. jeff.adams

    jeff.adams Agent

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    Thanks for all the inputs. Given that some other brands have come up in passing, can anyone provide input on comparisons of the Signatures to, say, the B&W 805 or 705? Or to the Revel M20/M22? Since I'm leaning towards the S4, and there really isn't an exact match in the B&W or Revel line, perhaps this is not reasonable. What other manufacturers have a 2.5 way setup like the S4/Studio 40 that I should compare them to?
    Thanks again.
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Vienna Acoustics Waltz would be another great large bookshelf. I don't think Joseph Audio makes a 2-1/2 way bookshelf, but the RM7 is already a serious contender in my mind. Of course, I will have to plug the speakers I own: GR Research A/V-2s, and possibly the Diluceos should be considered as well. Excellent customer service, wonderful speakers!
     
  9. cabreau

    cabreau Second Unit

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    You guys need to STOP!!! Can't you see what's happening? Can't you just be happy with your Studio's?!?!? My wallet cannot take much more of this nonsense!!! My wife is going to divorce me!!! Help!!! [​IMG]

    I REFUSE to listen to the Signature series...that's that.
    My Studio 20's, CC-470 and PW-2200 will have to do for at least 10 years. [​IMG]
     
  10. ChrisDixon

    ChrisDixon Second Unit

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    Heh... funny that you said that. Last night I set up some Studio 20s for surrounds that replaced Mini-Monitors that I had for a long time. I said to my wife, "finally, everything mathces." Her response was, "so, I guess that means you need to upgrade now." She knows our sickness too well! I don't want to listen to the signature series either, but I'm afraid that I'm weak and will give in at some point.

    Chris
     
  11. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The Signatues are calling to you....[​IMG]
     
  12. TimMc

    TimMc Stunt Coordinator

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    And I'm afraid that I listened...

    Stupid boy - stopped by the semi-local Paradigm pusher yesterday. Actually had the real plan in hand this time, audition CDs in the car, everything. Was going to stick w/ the preselected picks, nail down the choice I was pretty sure I would make, and then it happened. I'd gone through a handful of selections when that fateful "there is one more thing you really should hear" got whispered into my ear. I followed down the steps to the special downstairs audition room (the one that's just a little bit closer to Hell), and saw the CD sliding in and heard them. Frickin' Signatures!

    At one point I just had to walk over and make an extra fool out of myself by sticking my ear next to the speakers to make sure that the wall of big boys behind these little S2's weren't actually what was turned on. Little S2s...

    Problem is that I'd heard Signatures quite a while back while passing by the room on my way out - they sounded pretty decent then but I hadn't had a chance to just listen critically. This time was different - and I actually caught myself grinning more than once. Also thought I caught the salesdude grinning 'cause he knew he had another big fish. The price really sucks, but the sound was totally unexpected (and definitely did not suck).

    I really, honestly thought that Paradigm had cranked out the Signatures at that higher price point to mostly rake in the $$$ - there was no way that they could have been that much an improvement over various Studios. Now I'm not so sure - they really did seem to sound just that good. It turns out that this pair had been the demo set for some months and salesdude said he thought they really needed that time to sound that fine (although I still don't buy into speaker break-in spew).

    Anyway, that totally ruined my day, 'cause there is just no way I can justify that price. Definitely not the numbers he dropped for S4s or S8s. Maybe I could get the S2s and tell the better half that they were cheap little bookshelfers? Maybe she would whirl around three times chanting "I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you..."
     
  13. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    The S2 Sig's I heard were both beautiful and sounded pretty stellar though out of budget range.

    If I was in the market for them more seriously I'd consider the Merlin TSM's as well. The Benchmark monitor IMHO.
     
  14. Levesque

    Levesque Supporting Actor

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    I did have the Studio-100, 40, 20 and 570 at home for a while with my Signature S8,C5 and 2 pair of S2 to compare.

    And for me the differences are worth every penny. [​IMG]

    But speakers are a personnal taste. To each is own preferences. We can't really argue that a speaker sounds better then another. We have to compare them in the same room to really know.

    I did the comparison at home, and I didn't believe it, so I bought them.

    The References are still the king if we talk about the ratio performance/price. But the Sigs are better speakers.

    The C5 particularly is the gem of this set-up. In a completely different league then the 570. No comparison here.

    But I think that the Sigs are not for evreyone. People with revealing (transparent) and well-powered systems will really enjoy them. My Bryston 4BSST is barely enough to power adequately those S8.

    I'm really happy I bought the S8, C5 and the 2 pair of S2. It did really improve my listening experience compare to the Refs set-up. Multi-ch audio is not the same anymore for me.

    Paradigm really outperformed themselves with the Signature!

    But to each is own choices.
     

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