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  1. #1
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    Oct 2004

    Paradigm Reference V.3's . . .

    Hey everyone,

    I'm just wondering if any of you can provide some feedback as to whether the Paradigm Reference Studio's in "V.3 trim" are significantly improved over the "original" trim?

    I have a pair of Studio 80's that are probably 5 years old by now and I'm getting a bit of an upgrade bug. I had originally had my eyes set on B&W 703's, but with my budget, I'm not sure if I can swing them. This led me to look at the Studio 100's, 60's or even the 40's. In addition to the 80's, I'm running a Paradigm PW-2200 sub. Amplification is a Rotel RB-1080 amp and my preamp is a Rotel RC-1070. I'm very happy with those 2 pieces. I also have an older Yamaha CD changer which will likely be changed to a Rotel piece this fall. A sub in the Reference line may also be an add on at some point if it is worthwhile.

    I'll go and have a listen to some models at my local dealer, but I was just curious what some of you have experienced when it comes to the changes that have been made in the Studio line over the years. Do you think it would be a worthwhile upgrade or would I be better off saving the dough and jumping at the B&W's or something in that price range with time?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications
    The V.3's are a small but noticeable step up from the v.2 predecessor. If you were looking to add to your system I'd say go for it. As an upgrade though, I really don't think it'd be enough of an improvement to justify the cost and satisfy your upgrade bug. Over the last 5 years there have been a lot of excellent new speakers introduced to the market. Sounds like it's time for you to get out and see what's out times ahead!

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    SF Bay Area
    The general changes that have been made to the Studio series over the years are as follows:

    -major upgrades to the cabinet bracing (weight of the speakers increased on average by about 40%)
    -minor refinements to the drivers
    -minor refinements to the crossovers

    -major upgrade to the woofer/mid driver
    -major change to driver mounting system
    -lighter weight cabinet with less bracing (weight of speakers now close to v.1 versions)
    -changed to front firing port
    -switched from flush mounted wood frame grille to raised plastic framed grille
    -styling changes
    -eliminated Studio 80 model and veneer wood options
    -improved binding posts
    -major change to crossover points and slopes

    One change to the v.3 version over earlier versions is with the bass response. The overall bass response is now smoother and better articulated, but it does not extend as low as before and doesn't have that slight punch in the midbass that it had with the v.1 and v.2 versions. Another major difference is that the v.3 models (especially the Studio 20) image a lot better than before with better refinement in the lower midrange and the highs.

    In general, the v.3 series adds refinement and imaging capability at the expense of shortening the bass extension. Definitely worth a listen, and IMO they represent very high performance for the money. Since you already use a subwoofer, that bass extension might not be needed.

  4. #4
    RGA is offline
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    Nov 2003
    Well what did you think of the 703 when you listened to it? Or did you listen to it? I didn;t like them in the least bit not for the nearly $5,000.00Canadian tax in they want for them. I don't think they're an upgrade over the 100V2 nor do I think the 100V3 is an upgrade over the 100V2. But who cares what I think or what Paradigm or B&W advertise in magazines -- what do you think? Try and listen your speakers directly against some of the ones you're considering. If you have access to a dealer that carries a vast array of gear not what I would call clone speakers and amps of the same design approach and listen to those comparatively. So perhaps a big electrostatic or planar speaker and maybe a tube oriented or set oriented system. Paradigm to B&W isn't doing much in my view for the loss you're going to take on your speakers and grossly overpaying for speakers that may do certain things worse than than your speakers are doing.

    Ask yourself a series of questions -- 1)
    what is it that I don't like about my system,
    2) Are they really important or does this decision have an element of I'm bored and need to do something, attached,
    3) wat is the new speaker going to improve.
    4) Is there anything I'm going to lose in the way of sonics that my speakers are already giving me. (for instance a floorstander may add more bass in a given speaker line but it may also add a muddier midrange -- and this is very very often the case).
    5) how experienced am I listening to a variety of audio systems. Have I only experienced mainstream brands that I read about in audio magazines?
    6)Am I sure the problems, if any, are not associated with the room, the amplifier or cd player, the recordings?

    You really don't need anyone telling you what it is "right" to your ear. Keep listening and one day you may come across it.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Thanks for the responses everyone . . . I think you've helped me answer my own question. I think the biggest factor right now is RGA's "question number 2". To be perfectly honest, I love the way my system currently sounds and I have no significant complaints. Now that being said, there is always room for improvement.

    RGA, I have listened to the 703's and I actually thought they sounded great. I thought the way that they projected the voice into the room was amazing and I really enjoyed their sound. Like you said though, 5K is allot of dough and I'm not sure I liked them THAT much . . . or at least I'm not sure the improvement over my Studio 80's is worth 5K at this point in time. That is why I was looking at the 100's as a lower cost (but still in the same ballpark sound wise) alternative. I just wasn't sure if the changes to the Studio lineup were significant enough to warrant an upgrade. I'll have to go and listen to them and make that decision on my own.

    I'm also seriously thinking about upgrading my source first to see if there are some improvements there. I guess it never hurts to target the "weakest link". My Yamaha changer has done me very well, but perhaps before I drop a few grand on speakers, I should focus my attention on replacing it.

    Anyway thanks to all of you guys for your help and thanks Woochifer for pointing out the changes to the Studio lineups over the years. Now I get to have fun listening to stuff to help me make my decision!

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