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  1. #1
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    Paradigm Studio 20 vs B&W 602 S3

    I've heard both of these speakers at two separate local dealers and I liked the sound from both of them. I'm going to see if I can audition both sets in home but I'd also like some thoughts from people out there that have either set of speakers.

    1. The studios are ~800 retal and the 602s are ~600. I know price doesn't necessarily mean better quality but why are the studios 200 more?

    2. Can anyone recommend a stand for either of these speakers? The girlfriend really likes the Bello stands we saw at a dealer.

    I can get them online for a lot cheaper here:
    http://www.racksandstands.com/cats/A...tands/0C97.htm

    3. I watch movies 80% of the time so the center channel is going to be important. Which brand has a better matching center?

    Thanks for any input. Hopefully I'll be able to audition them in house soon.

  2. #2
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    I've looked at these. Both nice sounding. For $800 ish I would audition the Klipsch RB75s. At $600 the B&W are cheaper mainly because B&W does more volume (units) than Paradigm. Paradigm fans will have other reasons. Both of these speakers are not outsourced to asian fab houses. Many folks would contend that you'd need a sub for either pair HOWEVER the B&W have a larger internal volume and it is likely, a more satifying bass note. You might look at the Klipsch, very nice detailed sound. Made in Arkansas still. I was contemplating all of these but went for something else. I am importing these from Germany.
    Canton
    I think the B&W will be best for you.

  3. #3
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    IMHO, the B&W 600 line matches up with the Paradigm Monitor line. The B&W 700 series competes with the Studio series. And the Nautilus series competes with the signature series. Taking this into account I've always viewed Paradigm as a more of a budget option. Their prices seem to be rising, which reduces some of their value, but I think they are still considerably priced under B&W, which has always tended to be fairly expensive. Additionally, the two speaker companies have distinctly different sounds. Make sure to do in an in home audition. I would try some other brands as well.

  4. #4
    RGA
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    I agree with Bruhaha mostly except that I always felt the 600 series competed very well with the Studio series for sound quality but not for build quality - the Studio's build quality mtes well with the CDM and 700 series.

    I would personally take the 602S3 for sound over the Studio 20V2 (have not heard the V3 but the 100V3 dissapointed me greatly). SOmetimes the 602S3 can sound a bit dry and polite and I get the sense the whole series needs careful positioning.

    I can safely say I like the 602S3 more than the 705. I would not buy based off of price.

    If you can get your hands on a used CDM 2SE you might be quite pleased - that was one of the better standmount speakers B&W made IMO.

    Also try and listen to other companies who have different design approaches - You'd be surprised that many lesser known speakers can IMO easily outperfom these guys for less money.

  5. #5
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    I have Studio40V2s, and I've done a lot of listening to both Paradigm and B&W. I'm more of a music person, so I'm not really used to thinking about sound from a HT perspective. In terms of low end extension I don't think there is a big difference between the Sudio20 and the 602. The really noticable difference between these two is that the Studio series tends to be a bit more "lively", while the 600 series is, as RGA put it, a little "polite". To me, I would think that the Studio20s would suit HT a little better, but that's just me. The B&W 600 line has a nice smooth sound. I once heard a system with 4 602S3s (main and surround) and the LCR60 center, that I thought sounded pretty sweet.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Definitely try them out for yourself at home. The Studio 20 v.3 is one of the best speakers in its price class that I've heard, and has particular strengths in how it images and projects a big soundstage. Very impressive overall speaker.

    When I was auditioning speakers a few years, the previous versions of these speakers were among my finalists. The 600 series overall had a more balanced sound, but it was also less involving with home theater sources, which is why I opted for the Studios.

    These S3s are voiced somewhat differently than the previous versions that I heard, so that might have changed. However, the 20 v.3 versions are now better balanced than before, but still retain the involving character that I appreciated with the v.2 series (which I own) while adding a noticeable improvement in the imaging and ability to "disappear", which were already strengths to begin with. Like I said, try it for yourself. When I auditioned the two series for myself, the choice was pretty obvious for my preferences.

    As far as the center channels go, definitely take a careful listen and make sure that the levels are matched as closely as possible. And if you plan to add surround speakers, take a good listen to those as well, because the quality of the ancillary speakers can vary a lot from manufacturer to manufacturer. The new Studio v.3 center speakers are a good timbre match for the mains and use identical drivers to the rest of the Studio series. In general, Paradigm has done a good job making center and surround speakers that are up to the quality of their mains, and can voice match them. The surround speakers in particular give you a good option between the dipolar surrounds or going with another set of direct firing bookshelf speakers.

    B&W has had some missteps with their ancillary speakers, so I would watch out for which center and surround models you opt for. With the previous 600 series, their lower priced center speaker model was a less than adequate match for the mains, and the dipolar surround speakers were even worse. If you prefer dipolar surrounds, I'm not altogether sure that B&W's current surrounds improved upon the previous versions by much. If you go with B&W, you're probably better off going with another set of direct firing bookshelf speakers.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the all the input. Hopefully the local dealers will allow a home audition and the choice will be easier. Speaking of audio dealers, I've heard you should never pay retail at an audio store. How does one go about asking for a discount?

    Also can anyone recommend speaker stands for either the B&W or Studio speakers? Should I just go with whatever the dealer uses assuming it sounds good?

  8. #8
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    When I was auditioning main speakers, the B&W 602 S3's, the Focal-JM Labs Chorus 707S and the Paradigm Reference Studio 20 v.3's ended up being on my short list among those speakers that I could afford. I agree with brulaha that Paradigm's Studio series matches more closely with B&W's 700 series. In fact, I really liked the B&W 705's; they were the best looking and best sounding speakers I auditioned. But, alas, they were way out of my price range. So, among those three that made my short list, I opted for the 20's. To my ears, they are truly amazing speakers for their price point. They are designed and made in-house by Paradigm and seem to be solidly built. BTW, they are designed to be used with the grills on.

    I agree with all of the previous comments though about auditioning them, preferably in your home. It's what sounds best to you that's paramount.

    Can't help you with the stands; my 20's rest on bookshelves.

  9. #9
    RGA
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    For a deal just ask what the best price you can give me them for. You can of course draw it out by leaving your number - they may call you back after they have talked it over with the owner - ie just like car dealers - and they;ll usually come down - it does depend a bit on what you're buying. B&W and Paradigm should come down 15-20% maybe more.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yeti2003
    Thanks for the all the input. Hopefully the local dealers will allow a home audition and the choice will be easier. Speaking of audio dealers, I've heard you should never pay retail at an audio store. How does one go about asking for a discount?

    Also can anyone recommend speaker stands for either the B&W or Studio speakers? Should I just go with whatever the dealer uses assuming it sounds good?
    I purchased Studio 20s about four years ago and got the matching black Paradigm stands that I believe were around $100 at the time. The only reason that I can think of for not getting the Paradigm stands would be cosmetic IMHO. Also instead of buying the matching Paradigm center I got a third Studio 20 to use as my center. I use Paradigm Mini Monitors for my back speakers. I am very happy with the system which is used 50/50 music/movies.

    Nick

  11. #11
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Everybody has fav's that sound right on THERE system. Thats why its important for you to hear them on the same or as close of a system as you are using. Make sure you bring along your music/movie to here. My B&W's sound great on my Denon as they might sould like crap on a Kenwood.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Everybody has fav's that sound right on THERE system. Thats why its important for you to hear them on the same or as close of a system as you are using. Make sure you bring along your music/movie to here. My B&W's sound great on my Denon as they might sould like crap on a Kenwood.
    And I'm sure that YOU'RE [sic] favorite sound is on YOU'RE system too.

    Until you actually hear the B&Ws on a Kenwood, you have no idea if they would sound like "crap." Typically, the characteristics of the speakers are by far the biggest variable, then comes the room acoustics, then further down on the list is the amplification. Most of the differences I've heard, except with difficult to drive speakers, are subtle when the amplification gets switched out. The acoustical variations between demo rooms can be more than enough to negate any differences that you might detect in the amplification, so it's actually more important to make sure the listening comparisons take place in the same room than it is to make sure that the system components are comparable.

  13. #13
    RGA
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    Actually I disagree - my Wharfedales are 95db snesitive horn speakers 8ohm - adding a Bryston Power amp - and nothing else no changing rooms no repositioning.

    This made more of a substantial change to the sound than moving the speakers around a bit. But then there is a reason Bryston has been selling so long - it's not the everyone is delusional or that they're running impossible to drive loudspeakers - it's because receivers suck donkey balls.

    Interestingly Arcam made the 600 series sound a lot better than the Denon flagship 5200?? it's been a while.

    Then there is the OTO SE I recently heard again - they carry some nice SS amps from MF and Bryston among many others. I thank Bryston for getting me interested in better gear - the OTO unfortunately makes the Bryston unlistenable with those speakers anyway.

  14. #14
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    Well, back to the subject at hand...

    I was wondering if anyone here has compared the Paradigm Studio 20 and the B&W DM602S3 with the Monitor Audio Silver S2? Could be a contender for the original poster.

    http://www.monitoraudio.com/products.../series/s2.htm

  15. #15
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Actually I disagree - my Wharfedales are 95db snesitive horn speakers 8ohm - adding a Bryston Power amp - and nothing else no changing rooms no repositioning.

    This made more of a substantial change to the sound than moving the speakers around a bit. But then there is a reason Bryston has been selling so long - it's not the everyone is delusional or that they're running impossible to drive loudspeakers - it's because receivers suck donkey balls.
    And the post that I was responding to had to do with comparing a Denon and a Kenwood. I'm simply pointing out that doing comparisons in the same room is more important than making sure that the amplification is comparable to what you got at home. Given a choice between auditioning speakers in different rooms with the same amp versus auditioning speakers in the same room using a different amp than you use at home, sorry but the most meaningful comparison will be in the same room because the tonal variations between rooms are much larger and more audible.

    Besides, in your view, they would both "suck donkey balls" so therefore ANY speakers would sound like crap on ANY receivers, right? As I've pointed out before, many manufacturers make both integrated amps and receivers. The only difference is the presence of the tuner in the receiver. So, Yamaha, Rotel, and Arcam's receivers "suck donkey balls" and the integrated amp versions (with otherwise identical transformers, preamp electronics, and controls) would not. Nice bit of nonsensical generalizing.

    If you want to suggest that someone add a $2,000+ amp to a $500 receiver, fine. I'll go along with it making an audible improvement, but you still cannot generalize that these improvements will have the same effect from room to room because a bad room will result in bad sound regardless of what's playing.

    A Bryston amp making a pair of speakers "unlistenable"? Well, whatever your want to believe for yourself.

  16. #16
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    And I'm sure that YOU'RE [sic] favorite sound is on YOU'RE system too.

    Until you actually hear the B&Ws on a Kenwood, you have no idea if they would sound like "crap." Typically, the characteristics of the speakers are by far the biggest variable, then comes the room acoustics, then further down on the list is the amplification. Most of the differences I've heard, except with difficult to drive speakers, are subtle when the amplification gets switched out. The acoustical variations between demo rooms can be more than enough to negate any differences that you might detect in the amplification, so it's actually more important to make sure the listening comparisons take place in the same room than it is to make sure that the system components are comparable.
    I said they might and i was just throwing kenwood out as an example,could have used emerson. Hard to judge on demo room setups. There is a high end place by me that has 3 or 4 rooms set up like a living room,its nice.
    Look & Listen

  17. #17
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Here's another option, do what I just did...

    Buy the Studio 20's for $800, then buy the EFE AR.com DIY kit by Ed Frias from Madisound or Speaker city for $300 (pre-built, cheaper if you DIY) and compare them in your room.

    The Studio's look a bit better than my humble woodworking skills, butmy DIY's have a much nicer, real veneer.
    Sound wise it isn't even close. I've already sold a pair of 20's, when I've got the other 4 built, the othe pair of Studio 20's and 40's are going too.

    I don't care if they the Studio 20 v.3's, B&W 700's or 600's sound a wee bitbetter than the Studio 20 v.2's at this point, the EFE DIY's destroy my Studio 40's v2's, especially in the midrange, and are dirt cheap!!!

    Once I figure out my new digital camera and build the next pair, I'll snap some pics and post a more thorough review of the head-to-head...

    Geez, I can build a whole 7 speaker HT system for what I paid for my Studio 40's...I feel hosed now.

  18. #18
    RGA
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    Wooch

    Actually the Arcam receivers in two channel were quite good very close to the Delta 290 I had - theproblem was that Arcam's surround features att hat time wasn't as good and they charged a healthy premium over competitors. Some of the Flagship receivers sound OK - but you pay $5,000.00+ for them up here and I want more than OK. But then music isn;t really what people are buying them for so no knock on them.

    As for alternatives to the B&W and Paradigm speakers - instead of a "like" speaker in the Monitor Audios why not try and listen to spekaers with different design approaches - AN, Magnepan, --- and stuff like Spendor etc.

  19. #19
    RGA
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    Kex- for you DIYers of the world http://users.ece.gatech.edu/~mleach/beraneklaw.html

  20. #20
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    I just posted similarily in a different thread but I own a pair of 602's and before I bought them I listened to Monitor audio and was far less impressed. IMO the Monitor's featured harsh almost tinny highs and lackluster lows. Granted I listened at different stores with obviously different rooms, but I feel the 602's are a better deal. And hey, I got $50 knocked off the price so you could give that a shot as well. Also I've heard Magnepans before but not immediately after either of the other two so I can't accurately compare but I found them to be a little lacking in low end although overall I was impressed. They are a commitment to place well in a room though due to the large size but that's also not a bad road to travel.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    it's because receivers suck donkey balls..
    I reckon everyone that owns a receiver should now chuck it because YOU (RGA god of all audio) say it sucks DONKEY BALLS..Maybe you ought to do a poll to see if all these receiver owners think there unit sucks DONKEY BALLS.I Myself dont think receivers suck DONKEY BALLS.I however think you do though...

  22. #22
    RGA
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    I've owned several receivers over the last 12 years - I've heard the top models from Yamaha, Denon, Marantz, Pioneer Elite, Sony, NAD among others over the years as well.

    I currently own a Donkey ball sucking receiver in the Marantz 4300. Which I recently bought even with my Donkey Ball sucking sentiment towards receivers. Receivers are quite handy little boxes I have found and I greatly enjoyed watching the new Spidey Flick with the big booms and cool little train screeches and the neato sound effects Doc Ock crushing everything as he goes by. Quite a fun and might I say relatively inespensive receiver - musically? Sucks Donkey Balls - but having heard a lot better this is very easy to notice - not having heard better - well I might foolishly think that my Marantz was remotely competant for music replay - or the top Yammaha or Denon or Marantz - which are a "little" better musically - though a lot better moviely.

  23. #23
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    I've owned several receivers over the last 12 years - I've heard the top models from Yamaha, Denon, Marantz, Pioneer Elite, Sony, NAD among others over the years as well.
    Several? You've only mentioned two that you actually owned, a Pro Logic Pioneer Elite and your current entry level Marantz, which you earlier said that you primarily use as a headphone amp. I guess your usage of "several" has the same validity as your assessment of "sucking donkey balls"? Given that none of us (at least that I'm aware of) have an obsession with donkeys, their balls, and/or sucking things that approximate them, I guess you're making up a point of reference that nobody else can relate to, or wants to for that matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    I currently own a Donkey ball sucking receiver in the Marantz 4300. Which I recently bought even with my Donkey Ball sucking sentiment towards receivers. Receivers are quite handy little boxes I have found and I greatly enjoyed watching the new Spidey Flick with the big booms and cool little train screeches and the neato sound effects Doc Ock crushing everything as he goes by. Quite a fun and might I say relatively inespensive receiver - musically? Sucks Donkey Balls - but having heard a lot better this is very easy to notice - not having heard better - well I might foolishly think that my Marantz was remotely competant for music replay - or the top Yammaha or Denon or Marantz - which are a "little" better musically - though a lot better moviely.
    Oh yeah, you've heard better, therefore everything else is a donkey ball sucker. Interesting that you enjoyed watching the Spidey flick through your receiver, given that you don't even have the thing set up for multichannel or to accommodate the LFE channel for that matter (assuming that you use an analog audio connection between the DVD player and the receiver). Indeed, I guess with how you have your receiver set up, you "might foolishly think" that it was "remotely competant [sp] for" movie playback! Playing a 5.1 soundtrack through a two-channel mixdown at the source? No LFE accommodation? You haven't even optimized your multichannel playback, yet you enjoy it. Yet again, by castigating an entire class of product, you accuse others of having low standards because they enjoy playing music through their receivers?

  24. #24
    RGA
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    I owned a regualr Pioneer receiver which was first before the Elite and a Sony(but very briefly before that.

    If you don't like the Ace ventura kind of humour - then I can just say they're terrble at the reproduction of music 2 channel cd music - relative to what else I have heard.

    I am far less critical of home theater because the reference points are less demanding in my view one T-rex scream on one set-up versus another t-rex scream on another system is of zero use to me. Nor frankly do I much care. I can enjoy Spiderman 2 on 2 channel just as I can enjoy films on tv with the crap tv speakers - because I watch movies for the story. I also have a problem that my firends and I would be amused by that I had a big surround system with a 27 inch tv. Frankly, just as when I was starting to builf a car stereo I realised that with the car - that no amount of money was going to make that work for me - and for movies - the amount of times I re-watch a film(and the TYPES of films that I would rewatch) the amount of money I would need to invest to make me happy would not be feasable. Movie prices have gone way up - but I enjoy the movie going experience(which is not just about the sound) more-so than any home theater system can hope to provide for me. I would need at least a 70 preferably 100 inch screen - without the kind of picture offerred up by LCD and Plasma. The though of buying two more sets of Audio Note speakers to have E's in the corners J's as centers and K's in rear - to be able to bypass the receiver out of the loop completely when i want to listen to music and the front projection system - is a bit much. And a receiver capable of real bass response not one that is "Expecting" the customer to buy a subwoofer when all channels are being driven.

    But all of that is another issue - Home theater is not a major priority for me so a cheap H/T receiver is acceptable especially since the vast majority of films that I would re-watch don't make much if any real use out of surround channels or subwoofers - and I've had no trouble with any of my 200+ movies in 2 channel - mix downs they may be.

    Even a film like Spiderman 2 - I liked it not because of the cheesey special effects - but because it's a pretty smart and human story. I agree with Roger Ebert - it's the best comic book movie I've seen - Superman II next.

    I'm not a fan of the action genres of films, if I loved deafeningly stupid Michael Bay films with car chases and planes blowing up I might care more - I prefer mostly story telling films that requires thinking about subject matter which needs two crappy tv speakers and a viewable tv screen. I'm willing to enhance those films a bit - but i won't throw the minimum $10k on sound alone(that would make me happy) to ge me more "into" this week's movie for morons action blow up cop buddy movie. Though I suppose paying attention to the little noises in the rear would help me take my mind off virtually every hollywood pice of crap that rolls out into video stores - give me pyrotechnics to show off on my grear rather than force me to listen to banal dialogue and formula story.

  25. #25
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    I own a Yamaha RXV-800.........

    which I use for home cinema and sometime for music. The two main speakers are B&W DM -602 S2 and the rears are Monitor Audio Silver S2. The Yamaha does a very good job playing music. Only opening a door is my main audio system which is Paradigm Studio 100 V2, NAD 521i cd player and NAD-370 integrated amplifier. Is there a big difference between these two systems? Probably yes but when you are listening to the Yammy, you don't turn off this to turn on the Nad staff. What I mean is my family and I enjoy both systems without be looking which is playing.
    Jorge.

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