Nearly all reviews of Paradigm speakers through the years that I have read are positive. They are considered to be natural sounding, affordable and well-engineered speakers. I own 2 models, atom and another I cant recall. They were purchased for a SS about 15 years ago, and they still sound good. My wife just got them out of storage and is using them in her office in a 2 channel system.
I had been looking for some bookshelf speakers recently. The Paradigms, no matter the price catagories, were always on the top of my list in comparison to the competion. I ended up purchasing the Signature S1s. The Signature S1and S2 are both amazing speakers for the money.
Paradigm was where I started my journey. I've gone back to them a few times since and have always been impressed. I can't remember all the models I've owned, but I've had every version of the studio 20 except the v5. Dollar for dollar, they are very good speakers.
I've already cast my vote for the Paradigm S8s (v2) numerous times in other threads. For the benefit of others who are looking to buy great speakers for a reasonable price, I suggest that you audition the S8s. The S8s have been reviewed time after time over the years and have garnered top accolades.
I've said it many times, don't be fooled by the pricing. Paradigm manufactures pretty much every component in house at its factory in Ontario. Only the cabinents are made in China. In addition, R&D and fixed costs are spread over a huge product offering, which means total absorption costs per speaker very well may be less than other so called premier brands. Well, if you took basic econ and accounting in college, this would not be such a mystery.
Btw, Paradigm owns its own world class testing chamber which other manufacturers use.
IMO, the real issue here is that many audiophiles believe that something that good just can't be so reasonably priced. Again, just my opinion, but if I was to switch out for a better sounding speaker - which I may do one day -- the next speaker will probably cost a heck of a lot more than my S8s.
Final thoughts. I have read some comments that say the S8s have a hot/tipped top end. Others have retorted that a lot has to do with system synergy. I agree with the later views.
I drive my S8s with ARC tube gear. I find the sound to be very mellow and balanced. Detail is spectactular. For example, I have a Norah Jones CD where she does duets with other vocalists (e.g., Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, etc). I can actually hear the two voices separated in 3-D space. Another factor may be my listening room, which is a finished basement that is carpeted and furnished. I'm sure that has something to do with the presentation as well.
Folks, I repeat again, just my opinion, I'm not saying the S8s are the best speakers in the world. All I'm saying is that they are worth a serious listen with good equipment. As an aside, I suspect that the S8s are not pushed by a lot of high end dealers because the profit margin may not be the same as other super "high-end" speakers.
Paradigms, are of course one of the great value leaders in quality audio. Another is another Canadian, PSB. I think both should be auditioned when one's in the market for that sort of speaker. For example, although I acknowledge the quality and value of Paradigm, my personal taste runs to PSB. Not saying it's better, but to my ears (or taste) it sounds a bit more linear with a very natural and transparent midrange. Another one I'd check in this price category are the Monitor Audio Silver and Gold lines, or the Bronze line if you're really on a budget.
The Gold series is a bit of a bargain compared to most other speakers out there with ribbon tweeters. I have my eye on it for the future.
Thanks everyone for the input. Mostly confirmed my own sentiments.
I've owned Paradigm Atom and Studio (20 and 60) speakers. Can't comment and the Sig series. I think the Atoms are one of the best value speakers in their class.
The Studio series, IMO, does everything well, better suited for HT but also very good for rock music. What they lack, IMO, is a "wow" factor. Rarely a moment, in my experience, where a certain instrument, vocal, track produces a sound that makes you want to hear that again. Really no soulful or emotional connection - at least musically.
My only issue with Paradigm is they go shrill when pushed 89+ db in my medium room. Even with first class gear. IMO there are better for the price, and I have had a ton of studio, sig models. I think the best Paradigm value is in a used pair of Studio 20 V2's
See, I did experience the wow factor to some degree when auditioning a pair of Monitor 11s. The wow came when we were comparing to a couple other brands in the same price class. Totally different level of seperation. We could hear stuff with the Paradigms that were inaudible with the other brands. This was at a very moderate volume. Didn't get the chance to hear what they sounded like at higher volume levels.
To Sthomas12321 and others: trust me folks -- my ears will bleed and distort before my S8s go shrill, if they ever do. Right now I am listening to the original soundtrack of Jersey Boys. The only thing "shrill" I will hear is my wife screaming at me to turn the da*n stereo off!!
I've said it 100 times before and I'll say it again, the S8s are the best kept secret in HI-FI and HI-END speakers on the market. The real problem isn't the speakers. It's the dealers. The profit margin on HI-END high priced speakers is greater than on the S8s. So you do the math. If you were a dealer, what would you rather sell?? A speaker priced liked a Chevy that drives like a Rolls Royce or a Rolls Royce that is priced . . . well like a Rolls Royce??
And for the record, I didn't research my speaker selection. I have no emotional attachment to a personal judgment call. I just fell into the S8s through dumb luck. But . . . if you A/B the S8s in a pure blind test set-up, you will be surprised, assuming of course that the amps and sound rooms are compatible with the S8s and the other brand "X" speaker.
I had the Studio 100v2 For a few years with some very decent gear.Never was happy with the sound,worked very good for HT,but not 2 ch w/tube pre.Heard the Monitor Audio Silvers and thought they were nicer .IMHO.Ive not heard the Sigs so I cannot comment on them.
Ray, the Sig 8s (w/ Be dome tweeter) are in another league compared to Paradigms lower end speakers. If you are interested or just curious, check the reviews. Mark Mickelson, TAB, loves the S8s.
Also Steven Stone did an unofficial unscientific survey of the top 25 speakers on the market last October. I think the article is in Audio Review or something to that effect. I almost fell out of my chair when I read that the S8s ranked 7 out of 25. And when you consider the competition, that says something! Not sure what, but it's something. FWIW
I owned Studio 100s versions one and two. I auditioned in home versions 3 and the S8. In hindsight they were simply affordable speakers that measured fairly well with highs that were never comfortable and decent bass. For me they never had any continuity, rather a distinct three way system.
During that time I was swapping electronics anticipating some magic synergy that never happened. As it turns out the electronics were just fine.
For the same money I bought a pair of old and used Avalon Acoustics Eclipse and my system finally began to play music. It wasn't until I had the Eclipse that I understood the shortcomings of the other speakers. I've been listening to Avalon speakers for almost twelve years.
My personal taste also tends towards the PSB at each price level. both are Canadian speakers and both have the benefit of using the National Labratory's anechoic chamber to test and tune their speakers. However, they do sound different. I also like the appearance of the PSB over the Paradigm, but could live with either. I currently use PSB Synchrony One, Stratus Gold, Stratus Silver, Image 65t and Image 4t and C9.
the totl paradigm signature and psb synchrony are equally great speakers. at the lower levels, i also prefer psb's offerings, which tend to be more neutral--the imagine line is almost as good as the synchrony and the image line also very good. among other peers, i'd look at energy (another canuck)--their veritas and rc lines, for whatever reason, are heavily discounted and very good--coherent and detailed.
Hey Loomis, PSB Synchrony or Paradigm Signature - all Canadian made. I love the Canadians --- even married a lovely Canadian gal about 6 years ago.
The sad shame is that folks can't believe that the top of the line PSB or Paradigm speakers can really compete with the big name and big price tag so called hi-end speakers. Steven Stone dashed that misconception last October in Audiophile Review.
Oh well. . . too bad for the other folks. I've sunk my bucks into the electronics and my S8s sing. In a side bar conversation with Mark Mickelson of TAB, he said that I'd have to sink more than 3 times the cost of my S8s to make a real difference. One speaker he suggested was the Wilson Sophia III. Maybe tomorrow, but not today.