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100 v.2's to Signature S4's - it's all good.

957 Views 13 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Karp
I was very happy with my Paradigm Studio 100 v.2's, and I never thought I'd ever upgrade. I even bet my wife and son that I was done, no more upgrades, because it just can't get any better. Oops.

The catalyst was the new HT I'm going to build. I didn't relish the thought of having the big black monoliths up front. The S8's would have been my first choice, but the budget wouldn't permit that.

(I want to say a big thank-you to Levesque and Tim who both gave me some valuable advice via PM's)

Fortunately I came upon a dealer that had S4's and a C3 that he had on demo and that he was willing to sell. He also gave me a great trade in on my v.2's. Prior to pulling the trigger on the deal I obviously spent some time listening to the S4's, and to be honest while they were noticably better, were it not for the finish, the difference would not have been enough for me to make the change. Well as you already know I went through with the deal.

The showroom simply did not do these speakers justice. In my own room it became quickly evident why everyone that owns these puppies is so happy with them. They are significantly better than the v.2's in every respect. The tweeters are the best I've ever heard. The vocals are so natural it gives me goose bumps. And as is typical with Paradigms they can play loud without being stressed. Am I ever glad I didn't base my decision solely on my impressions at the store. I would have missed out on something special.

Just call me a happy camper.
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Originally posted by rnrgagne
Am I ever glad I didn't base my decision solely on my impressions at the store. I would have missed out on something special.
Congrats! The Sigs are awesome speakers.

That's exactly what I'm always saying. Don't believe everything you read in here. Bring them in your room and try them. It's the only way to know for sure.

When I did try my Reference v3 full set-up side-by-side with my Signature set-up, in my room, the differences were clearly evident. The Signatures were simply better sounding to my ears, in my room.

So now sit back, relax, and enjoy some good music! ;)

I don't remember what you will be using to power them. Amp? Pre/pro?
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I'm using a Yamaha Z9, and on the surface it doesn't seem like I'll need external amplification. I'll know better when I get these into my new "treated" room. One thing for sure is that I'll bring home whatever I decide to try before committing.

I'm taking a leap of faith with the infinite baffle subs I'll be building into the room. But I'm hanging on to my Seismic 12 just to be on the safe side.

Needless to say, now I'm motivated to get my butt in gear and get this project off the ground.
Congratulations on your new signatures! I too have decided that these will soon be my next speakers. However, I am having a difficult time deciding between the S4 and S8. I do know for sure, that I will be getting the C3, as there is no possible way my television could support the weight of the C5.

I'm curious if you have felt the absence in the low end, when you made the transition from the full-size (tower) studio 100, to the smaller S4? Or, have you dialed them in to your Sub in a way that you don't notice the integration? unfortunately, my home theater is in a very small room (10 by13), so I'm wondering if the S8 is overkill.

Enjoy your new monitors, and good luck with the new project.

P.S. Levesque, the photos of your incredible HT are my ultimate wet dream ( included in this fantasy is Pamela Anderson , as my adoring HT obsessed wife).

I had the same dilema choosing between the S8 and S4, but budget made that an easy decision. I probably could have streched it to get the S8's but everyone I spoke to said that with a good sub, there wasn't a lot to loose between the two. I can't verify that first hand but I can tell you that I'm not missing anything at all from my 100's. When I got the Sigs home I simply had my Z9's YPAO equalize in the "front" mode which leaves the front flat with whatever crossover you set it it at and matches the rest of your system to them, including the sub. The integration is seamless. In my mind the midbass in the S4's is significantly better than the 100's. I've never heard drums sound so real. I had my 100's crossed over at 80hz and let my Seismic 12 handle the rest. I'm doing the same with the S4's.

My room is 14X24 with big openings on one side wall that open into a 10x10 foyer with an 18 ft ceiling. No problem at all for the S4's

In a room your size, you may even want to consider the S2's and a good sub.
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Thank you for the feedback rnrgagne, it is helpful in my decision-making. I'm not sure if I'm reading the specifications correctly, but it seems to me that on the signature web site, it states the S2 actually reaches down deeper into the bass regions, then then the S4. How could this be? This makes no sense to me. Perhaps I am misunderstanding the figures.

Your idea about going with the S2 was also shared by one of the professional reviewers (I can't remember which one). He believed you would get much of the performance of the big boys (S8), and save some serious cash.
Originally posted by Evanfew
it seems to me that on the signature web site, it states the S2 actually reaches down deeper into the bass regions, then then the S4. How could this be? This makes no sense to me. Perhaps I am misunderstanding the figures.
I think you are misunderstanding the figures. The lower number (36 in the case of the S4, vs. the S2's 38) represents a lower frequency extension.

I loved the S4s when I auditioned them, and would have opted to spend my money on them rather than the S8s I did buy had it not been for the fact that 95% of their use is for 2-channel stereo listening. I prefer not to use my sub when listening to music, so I chose the S8s because of their low frequency extension. I have a smallish room, so if home theater were a higher priority for me than music, I would have definitely gone with the S4s.
I went from studio 100s v2 to s2s and c3 center and I thought there was a big difference in every aspect. a signifigant upgrade Imo

Thank you for the clarification on those figures. I was reading the frequency response (S2= 52 hz-22 khz, and S4= 62 hz-22 khz), when I guess I should have been looking at the Low-Frequency Extension (S2=38 hz Din and S4=36 hz Din). what the heck is Din?

As I have already displayed my impressive level of ignorance, I might as well go further, and ask yet another question. I will use these speakers for 50% HT and 50% Music. However, all the music I will be listening to will be high-resolution (SACD or DVD-Audio). Since the manner in which this music was mastered utilizes a direct and isolated channel for the bass, is it then less of an issue when not using a full-range speaker (S8), and instead going with smaller speakers and a crossover, implementing the use of a Sub? Will this still leave me in a position where I will most likely be missing a small amount of sonic information (perhaps between the low end, and the midrange)?
Most quality subs are accurate to well over 100hz (There tends to be more distortion when the sub gets near it's max low-end extension. - The FR drops like a rock.) Since you won't be crossing over any of your speakers that high, being that the S2's are flat to 52hz, there shouldn't be any "gaps" if set up properly. Also keep in mind that crossovers aren't exactly brick walls, they don't just cut-off every frequency over or under a certain point they "roll" them off.

Midd-bass accuracy I don't think will be an issue with any of the Signatures. There is no question if you weren't running a good sub the S8's would have it over the others in the bottom end. But even they aren't the last word in bass extention.

I think what sets the Sigs apart is the quality of the tweeters and midrange drivers and also the seamless way they were able to integrate all the drivers. Regardless of which model.
I think you'd be fine with the S4s for multichannel music, especially if they more closely match your other 3 speakers. The only way I could see the S8s being more beneficial is if you had 5 of them (wouldn't that be cool!).
Just a furhter thought, if the sub signal is LFE only or "isolated" from DVD-A and SACD and you set the crossover on your processor to lets say 80hz, all signals below that should be still be sent to the sub along with

the "dedicated" signal. (That may be more of an answer to your question now that I think about it.)
Five S8's, now that is a cool fantasy! I have not actually had the pleasure of hearing the S8's. I was planning on driving an hour north this coming week, to hear them at a store that has them. I have listened to the S4's, and I was so utterly blown away, that I can hardly wait to have them in my home.

Thank you for the information guys, it would appear that for my needs, and my small space, the S8's are just not required. This of course, will save me some serious money. I was just realizing, I could consider spending the money saved, on upgrading my soon-to-be purchased Anthem AVM 30, to a D1. perhaps this would be money better spent on increased sound performance.

On the other hand, I could take the money and put it in an IRA for my retirement. Oh, never mind, I'll just spend it on audio equipment instead!
The DIN is the -3db point for the speaker. Paradigm is flat to +/-2b within thier stated frequency range, which is generally flatter than most speakers. Most manufacturer's show the +/-3db range, so Paradigm is showing the -3db point for bass. There is no +3db point since there are no peaks greater than 2db within their range.
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