are you looking for a complete set-up for $2K or just your mains?
9 responses Add your response
I would also consider the Legacy Classics or Signatures IIIs. I auditioned the Paradigm Reference Studio 100s, v2 at the same time as the Legacies and wound up going with the Legacy Classics. I was very lucky and snagged four of them with the finish I wanted used at the same time. The Signatures are even better. In my opinion the sound was much better and they have a gorgeous finish unlike the Paradigms which are pretty drab.
I personally wouldn't go much over 1400 for the Classics or 1800 for the Signatures though (plus shipping). And it'll take a lot longer to find them used than it will with the Paradigms, the 100s are almost always available for sale. The classics make a nice HT speaker though, without a subwoofer in my room the extend down to the low 20s for frequency response. (They're about -4 dB at 20Hz at 90 dB). They also sound very good at low volumes which is one of the complaints I had with the Paradigm, which seemed to polite at low volumes.
I would agree that the Legacy Signature 3's are a step up in performance over the Studio 100's(at $3800 they should be!) but for the price of the used legacy's you can get brand new studio 100's. Also, this is a HT set-up he is putting together here. I really doubt anyone could tell much of a difference at all between these 2 in a properly set-up HT. They are both state-of-the art. Good choices either way.
I'm not sure that the pricing for new Paradigms you are thinking of is still available, I think it went up last year. When I looked at the Reference Studio 100s they were around $2200 or more for them new (forget the exact price), well over what I got my Classics for (under 1400 with shipping for both pair) and what I have seen the Signature IIIs going for used. The dealer wasn't a friend though, and they were hot enough he would only give me about an 10% discount which was made up for by the taxes, so you might have been figuring a better discount into the price.
The used prices I have seen run pretty much the same for the 100s and Classics. I would say the Classics probably have a $100-200 premium over the Paradigms. A new set of Paradigm 100s seem to keep their resale value better than a new set of Legacy speakers. The Signature IIIs tend to run a bit more but still around 1800-2000 depending on age/condition, which is within his price range. Sorry if I came off as bashing the 100s, generally speaking I like Paradigm speakers and they have many fans so the resale is pretty easy. Quite honestly, I wonder if my experience with the 100s was tainted by bad setup.
I'll tell you what greg, the studio 100 (as well as most other Paradigms) do need a while to break in and sound their best. Possibly the set up you listened to wasn't broken-in or set up right, who knows. For the longest time I was a HUGE Legacy fan, went to the factory and the whole nine yards. I really like the signature 3's. Probably the model I would buy if I were to buy a set of Legacy's. I found, however, that Paradigm is a real sleeper in HI-Fi. Most people overlook them as being low-mid Fi at best but properly set-up with good cables and amps and they can sound REAL nice. Don't worry about bashing any speaker brands, I know you weren't but I do respect you opinion (and agree for the most part). There isn't too much bashing on audiogon anymore, not like the old days. :]