Paradigm S2

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  • 02-13-2004, 08:25 PM
    the hand of boredom
    Paradigm S2
    Hey All,

    Hope your musical systems are bringing you countless hours of joy.

    I myself have gone up a Paradigm line from the beginning, starting with the Mini-Monitor, then the Monitor 7, Studio 40, and now my roommate owns the latest version of the Studio 100, which by the way all biases aside, is a winner for the price.

    As I was looking to upgrade from the 40 and checking out manufacturers of 'music' speakers rather than those targeted for dual HT and music use. I've auditioned Martin Logans, Reference 3A, B&W, Monitor Audios, Maggies, and will be listening to a pair by Joseph Audio next week. Last night I was given an audition of the Signature S2 and, honestly, was quite taken back. Although my memories of the auditions of the aforementioned speakers are not vivid, I can say that I thought the S2 DOES compete.

    The build quality follows the true Paradigm Reference philosophy; it's gorgeous. Sonically, it is Paradigm as well, only with a MUCH better tweeter. I didn't think it was as extended as the 3.6R or as 'real' as the Aeon-i, but definitely cleaner than the N805 and on par with the DeCapo (which, before this audition I would buy in a heartbeat), and not as thin as the GR10. The midrange is more lush, silky, wet, and transperent than the Studios. It really reminded me of the DeCapo with its palbability and openness. Bass response was quite adequate. Not as deep as the Aeon, not as quick as the GR10, but solid none-the-less as it filled the listening room with a good amount of bass.

    The imaging and soundstaging were both very nice. It was easy to hear and place every piece of the ensemble even at some testing levels.

    I liked the S2 so much that I would need to put it up against the DeCapo when I am serious about buying.

    Has anybody hear heard the S2? How did you compare it with a) your mains, and b)any similar speakers you have listened to or auditioned?

    Reference Discs: Michael Jackson, <i>HIStory</i>, Madonna, <i>GHV2</i>, Diana Krall, <i>Love Scenes</i>, and Martha Argarich, <i>Rachmaninoff's 3rd Concerto</i>.

    THOB
  • 02-13-2004, 09:33 PM
    Pat D
    We are traveling but I did hear the S2 briefly before I left, maybe for 25 minutes and not with my own CDs, though I have some of the same CDs as my dealer. Very nice, especially on female vocals and orchestra, and it seemed good on the few other things I was able to play. A while ago I did hear the S8 at some length and was quite impressed, as it seems a first class speaker to me.

    I would like to hear the S2 some more, and certainly will when we return home, but my preliminary assessment is the same as yours, that they certainly do compete.

    On the other hand, I was also very favorably impressed with the PSB Stratus Mini, which costs a lot less. The overall balance is different but it's a very nice speaker and I enjoyed listening to them.
  • 02-14-2004, 11:32 AM
    RGA
    Quite frnkly the Paradigm and De Capo I can tell you should sound almost nothing alike...so make sure you're listening in the same room wiht the same equipment. Aside from the measurements it is important for drivers to be closely matched with one another...somethig a metal tweeter cannot do without a metal woofer. They have different tonal characteristics.

    The N805 is a beatable speaker it is now running nearly a decade old now and it's not surprising that newcomers are biting them...the N805 is also hurt by the fact that it was more of a techy sounding over musical sounding speaker to start with. The N805 sounds a bit compartmentalized into treble, bass, midrange and not quuite as coherently cohesive as I would like. The De Capo does not have that problem but it does have a depth to soundstage(likely caused by it's midrange dip) that is always there. Despite the flaw it's never tiring or fatiguing.

    If the S series is designed for 2 channel audio and not designed for home theater's pyrotechnics impressivenessio then I should think they can do a solid job at making a high end speaker. Metal tweeter seem to come out in huge numbers when homne theater came about and thus ruined speakers in my rather not so humble just personal experience listening.

    Listening to a $4000.00Cdn Energy Veritas speaker the other day and frankly after listening to that speaker on and off for a year is quite an irritating speaker to me - handedly outclassed by a $1600.00 Totem. It ain't just about the money.

    Frankly, if the speakers you have can't satisfy you for 20 years then you probably bought the wrong ones - so why would you then buy from them again? More bass? Get a sub or two.
  • 02-14-2004, 12:57 PM
    Jimmy C
    I agree with...
    ...most of what you have to say about the new S2. I would also pick the S2s over the models you've mentioned, although I have never heard the Josephs and I don't know what the GR10s are.

    The N805s seem to go deeper, but the S2 is more laid-back and coherent. I heard the S2 is a room too large for the speaker, so the bass was drowned out. MAYBE I would be satisfied with the bass in a "regular" room.

    I liked the de Capo, but the upper bass (wherever it is) hump would bother me. I feel the Paradigm's are softer sounding too - may or may not be a good thing. The Ref 3A is more dynamic and puts on a VERY convincing soundstage - the Paradigms seemed bigger, the Refs more realistic. Again, the S2 is more laid-back, the 3A is "up front".

    Compared to my own speakers (Revel M20), the Sigs are probably better at soundstaging (I would love to hear the two in the same room) and, again, softer sounding. My M20 are much more dynamic. The Revels are cleaner and can play at almost any doable volume level - I felt the S2 got a bit congested at med-high SPLs.

    Overall, I prefer any of these to stats and planars in that price range (and maybe higher).

    IMO, the S2 is probably the softest sounding metal tweeter I have heard... if the bass is good in a normal sized room, I feel it's a winner. If the lack of bass is indeed a trait, and not just a function of the large room I was in, I would pass. I need some record cleaner, so I'll stop in and see if they are in a smaller room - I like when they let me play around :*)

    Sonically, they're definitely competitive... the cabinet is icing on the cake.
  • 02-14-2004, 03:30 PM
    the hand of boredom
    Same room and components
    Hey RGA,

    The DeCapos are at the same dealer that carries the S2. I don't recall saying that they were the same. What I tried to convey was that the DeCapo is very transparent and has a nice a bodied midrange, and that the S2 had the same characteristics.

    As I mentioned in the original post, I will definitely duel these babies when it comes time to buy. Not tomorrow, maybe not even this year, but when the time does come.

    PAYCE!

    THOB