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Paradigm Studio 100 vs. S4

821 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  BobDole
Hi! I have been using a pair of Studio 100s (version 2) in my system for almost 4 years and have enjoyed them very much. However, I find myself, as usual, anxious to upgrade. My system is, unfortunately, in a small room ( I sit approx 7 feet from the speakers). I love the sound of the Studio 100s, but the soundstage isn't great. I have done as much as I can with respect to speaker placement and am looking into room treatments. I listen to about 80% 2-ch and 20% HT.

I was thinking of selling the Studio 100s and buying a pair of S4s. Has anyone compared the 2? My sub isn't very good for music (paradigm PS-1000), so I only listen to music with the L/R speakers. The rest of my gear is below. thanks in advance for any advice and opinions.

Speakers: Paradigm Studio 100s, CC, ADPs.

Pre/pro: Krell Showcase

Amp: Krell Showcase

Digital Front end: Sony ES cd changers (transport); Perpetual Tech P-1A / P-3A (modded) / Monolithic Power Supply

Cable: MIT T-2 bi-wire

Thanks again!
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I would guess that you're on the ragged edge at 7' of having the sound integrate and that smaller speakers would be better. What are the overall dimensions of your room, and fow far are the S100s from the rear and side walls.
My opinion before upgrading is to treat your room first BobDole. Build or buy at the very least....

(2) 2x4x2" panels and place them directly behind your 100's.

(2) 2x4x4" panels and place them in your front corners.

(2) 2x4x2" panels and place them at your 1st relection points on your side walls

(1,or 2) 2x4x2" panels and place on wall directly behind listening area.

Now that you have out your tape measure and level.....

Experiment with the placement of your 100's. Try placing them pointing straight out (no toe-in).

Give them more space behind them versus the sidewall difference measuring from the front center of your woofers.

If the space between the front center of your woofers is say 6 to 7 feet, then try to sit at least 8 to 10 feet away from them.

Now grab a cold one, sit back and listen for a few days before you change anything.

Good Luck!... and have fun.
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I had a similar challenge with larger speakers that I then had to have in a smaller space. I wasn't happy with the imaging. Knowing what those speakers were capable of in a larger space I was disappointed but saw the opportunity to give a smaller speaker a try :) . That's what I did and it was like rediscovering my music collection. The S4 is a nice sounding speaker, I say give 'em a try. Room treatments are next...
I went from the 100's v2's to the S4's and to my ears there's no comparison. I find the S4's to have a much superior top end. There's also no doubt in my mind that the S4's imaging is far superior. You might notice a slight difference in bass extension, with the 100's winning that battle, but I would say that the S4's have more accurate bass down to where they start to loose out to the 100's in extension.

Careful placement of your sub combined with not asking it to do more than it's capable of should net you similar bass extension to the 100s for two channel. Your sub isn't that bad - I would guess that its bass extension would be similar to that of the 100's - it shouldn't be taken out of the 2 ch equation if you go to the S4's.

Room treatments are a definite must regardless of what you do - IMHO that's one of the best bang for the buck things you can do in audio. A close second is getting the bass right, which has a big impact on soundstage and imaging.
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I've owned the 100s and I've heard both the S2 and S4 at my local dealer on a couple of occasions. I had my 100s in a large, open room with a 12-18' ceiling. They were very good for music but AWESOME for HT. When I moved into a different place and had to put them into a smaller room, 16x25, they lost a lot of their magic. They sounded much more congested and they had a very hard time disappearing even a little. I had some Studio/20s that I was using for surrounds in the first room, so I hooked them up as mains in the 16x25 room and I enjoyed it much more, even with no subwoofer. If you can swing it, I'd definitely go with a smaller speaker, but I'd also consider other brands than just the Paradigm. The paradigm sigs are very good, but they aren't at the top of their class in terms of value like the studio line is. You may want to consider the following: The Salk HT-1 or HT-2; The SP Technology Timepiece; The Merlin Music TSM-MM or TSM-MX; The DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 3. You may or may not have heard of those speakers, but they are among the absolute best in their class.

Good luck
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I stopped by the local hi-fi shop today to check out the S4s. WOW! I was able to A/B them against the Studio 100s on the same pre/pro and amp that I have (Krell Showcase). There was simply no comparison. The S4s were superior in every way. Of course, the 100s can go lower, but I preferred the bass of the S4s to the 100s. It was much faster and tighter.

I put my Studio 100s on Audiogon tonight and will be buying the S4s as soon as they sell!

I know there are other great speakers at this price point, but I'm in a bit of a tight spot for my HT setup because all of my other speakers are Paradigm Reference. I'm looking for a 2-ch upgrade but I don't want to cause too many problems with the HT. The S4s should tide me over for the next year or so until I buy a new place and set up a "real" system!!
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