Paradigm 100 v.3 – B&W 804 dilemma… please help

I was almost set to buy Paradigm 100 v.3 after auditioning them (well I auditioned 60’s and just assumed that the 100s will be better) last week but auditioned some B&W 804’s speakers today and now I am CONFUSED!

The B&W 804’s sounded really good. Clear and smooth but was powered by an 80 watt amp whereas the Paradigms were powered by a 200 watt Sunfire amp. Thus, I need to ask for advice from you experts again. How good are the Paradigm 100 v.3 compared to B&W 804? Has anyone auditioned for these two speakers and which one did you end up getting… why? I read somewhere that the Paradigm 100 v.3 are as good as the high end B&W Nautilus line. Is this true?

Additional question… what system would be better for 70% movies 30% movies system
1) Paradigm 100’s and studio cc + 20 side surrounds + studio cc rear
2) B&W 804 fronts and nautilus HTM 2 center + B&W CM or 600 series bookshelf speakers for my surrounds and rear.

Finally… for people who are familiar with B&W. How big is the difference between 804 and CDM 9NT?

I can see why you want to ask someone who you think knows better, but I'm telling ya', no one here knows any better than you. Go back, listen some more, for a long time if you need it. Maybe try to land a B&W audition with a more powerful amp. And maybe, listen to more speakers. Don't worry, you're the boss.
Not much difference from CDM-9NTs to N804, to my ear anyway.

I auditioned Studio 100s vs CDM-9NTs. B & W won by a wide margin, the gap would only be wider with the N804s.

My preference is 2 channel music performance though.

For the cost of one pair of N804s you can buy the entire Paradigm setup with several hundred left over. So maybe that will be a factor as well. Use the savings torwards a better TV/Projector???

B & W (used) 2400+700+400=3500
Pardigm(used) 1100+350+350=1800

I am partial to B & W. However my next mains are up in the air, maybe Dynaudio, Silverline, or maybe some more B & Ws. I will begin auditioning when I recover from my last purchase.

All this of course is just my humble opinion, their your ears get what you like best. I would add that Paradigm studio series are quite good for the money.

Thanks for your advice. I will try to reply one by one.

1) I wish I could audition using the same system but I live in the Philippines and the dealers here just wont allow home auditioning. Thus it is difficult to audition both speakers with the same variables. :( That is also why I am asking you experts.

2) The funny thing is the pricing structure here in the Philippines. The B&W 804's cost 2700 (NEW) the CDM9NT 2000 (new) and Studio 100 2200 (new). The surround set-up of the studio series is roughly similar to the CDM line that is why I am opting to save some money and use the B&W 600 series for my surrounds if I get the 804's since the midrange drivers are the same and I reckon will be timbre matched. BTW I will be using rotel 1066 and 1080 amp (200 watts) to drive them.

Listening will be 70% movies and 30% music and music taste is classical, jazz and pop. nothing hard. I prefer a smooth and clear sound.
You make a good point. I'd still take the non-equalized audition over some jerk's (like me:) advice, though. But if opinions are what you are looking for, I can respect that. Unlike most people, I don't think Paradigms are competitive in the $2k range for music (I don't do HT), while B&Ws would serve me pretty well.

Since you mention classical, jazz and pop, I feel a little more objective in thinking the B&W are more appropriate. They are more refined than the Studios and they especially portray classical um, better. The impression I get from others and past threads is that most people who have heard the two feel the same. Have fun, my man.
I know i go against the grain by saying this, as there are many Canadian speaker "devotie's" on board, but besides bass extension, there's not a single area soincally that the Paradigms best the 804's in my opinion! Yes, the 100's will play possibly harder and deeper in the bass, with bigger woofers and cabinet. But that's where the competition ends in my experiences. The refinement is assuredly on the side of ANY OF THE B&W Nautilus(or even older Matrix for that matte) over the Paradigms! And I've never owned either brand, but have sold them extensively.
Trying is the only test for your preference however. Everyon's got a different oppinion of course
I agree with both Ohlala and Foreverhifi.

I listen to a lot of Classical as well and the B & W's do a great job. (I use CDM-9NTs)

It is curious that the B & W's are lower priced there, while the Paradigms are inflated. Seems that the distance from England or Canada isnt that big of a deal. Could be some trade tariffs or other factors in play that I am unaware of.

Anywho, if it is only a 500 difference from S100s to N804s, I can tell you simply, that the N804s would be in my trunk on the way home.

I was using a Rotel 976 and 1075 to power my CDM-9NTs, I liked the setup well.

Last but definately not least, these are just my opinions, you would be best served by letting your own ears decide.
I used to own B&W N804s - for two years. I liked them, they looked good, and they were as good as I could hope for the crazy deal I got on them. Then I came across the Paradigm 100.2 (i.e. v2) and was very impressed. I compared them to the 804s with the same (all McIntosh) system and kept the Paradigms. They had a more balanced sound to my ear, more coherent and the decay was outstanding. The soundstage expanded and cleared up with the 100.2. Their bass stomped the N804s very badly (perfect for bass-insensive movies too). I was amazed. I bought the 100.2 and have never looked back. Sold the 804s for the same price! Anyway, IMO, the Paradigms sound better. Your ear and system may make the outcome different however. I will be auditioning the 100.3 soon. Take care and good luck! Arthur
Go for Studio 100..I am in UK..I even chose Studio 100 over B&W..although the B&W is a local brand for me it was never as good as Studio 100..People talk as if bass is never important..for me it is and Studio 100 has some deep and powerful bass..look at the is only 24 what does that mean??not enough bracing..a good cabinet contributes a lot to the sound. means heavy bracing..better sound..they have not even braced the 804 inside(24 kg..ridiculously light) looks so..but what about Studio 100??,,55kg each..heavy bracing and a stiff cabinet..result?better sound..And still B&W asks more than Paradigm does..and the V3 is almost out now..I would definitely buy the Studio 100 V3...
If you are looking for a clean, refined speaker, go with the B&W's. The Paradigms, while a great bargain, are outclassed by the speakers in the Nautilus series and the CDM 9NT.

If you are looking to "jam out with some kickin', phat bass" follow the advise of the previous two posts or go with some Cerwin Vegas with a 15 inch Bass driver.
By the way, "kickin phat bass" is good - especially when you can have all the rest as well. Arthur
For the same money (USD), I personally preferred the sound of the B&W Nautilus 805 + a REL Strata III sub over the Nautilus 804.

B&W N804 ($3500 USD) = $3500
B&W N805 ($2000 USD) + REL Strata III ($1500 USD) = $3500

FWIW, I drive (4) N805, (1) HTM-2, and a REL Strata III with a Rotel RMB-1095 / RSP-1066 setup.
I guess that's where our taste in music and speakers differ. I like clean, tight bass with no distortion or muddiness.

However, in my college days I probably would have prefered the Paradigm's (My taste in music was different then). These days I listen to mostly jazz and classical so I look for a more refined speaker. Plus, teaching and performing music is my only source of income and my ears are spoiled.
Grr... I am dying to hear the studio 100s v.3 but the dealer over here wont get them until end Aug. Just frustrated because I cannot do a side by side unlike you guys from North America :(

In any case, here is one additional question. Will the 804's timbre match with 601 surrounds? If I go with the 804 I wont have the budget for two pairs of 805's for my surround speakers and will go with the smaller 601's. I reckon they will work well because the use the same 6.5" kevlar midrange or am I mistaken?

How important are rear channels? I havent tried SACD or surround DVD's nor do I have the machine to play the SACD.

Finally... just wondering how old are the 804's? Have they been in market for a long time. It will just feel bad if B&W changes models after I buy a set. Besides, I might have plans to udgrade my rear to 805's in the future.

My room is 18 x 21 will a 7.1 system work since I might position the fronts far from the wall to get better depth for stereo.

Thanks again!
I also agree with Nrenter about using the 805's and a sub. That, too, would be a really nice sounding setup.
Sounds like I have an additional option to confuse my decision lol.

805 fronts and I can add a velodyne sub (its the only good sub we have here and I hope it matches the B&W set-up).

How are the 805's compared to the CDM9NT? I might still use 601's as side and rear surrounds. Will they timbre match with the 800 series?
Both of these speakers have good and bad points as described above. They are compareable but different speakers depending on one's taste. Whichever sounds best to you is right. But I certainly don't think that the B&W's are worth almost twice as much as the paradigms. For the price of the paradigms new you're not going to do a lot better but the price of 804's new opens up a lot of other options.
The Paradigms are very revealing of upstream components. With a good solid state amp like the Bryston 4B-ST the bass isn't fat but tight, well controlled and deep. The top end also becomes fairly well refined and overall the speaker definately competes with the 804's and even the 803's. They are a little sweeter on the top end but when you compare the difference in price it's really pretty amazing. Paradigm is also about to introduce a new signature series which might be a true statement product.
Sorry to bring this thread back to life... Just one final question.

My system will have 804's for my fronts HTM2 for center and 601 for side surround and rear surround. Will that system work (i.e. timbre match)? I do not listen much to SACD or DVD-A for my music. I know ideally i'd be better with 805's as surrounds but they are SOOOO expensive :)

Good choice Dboy. For what you listen to I'm sure you'll like the B&W's a lot more than the Paradigms. They are to my ears, a lot more accurate, especially in the mid-bass whereas the 100's tended so smear. I auditioned using a Dave Weckl track with a walking bass and the difference was astonishing.

As for your timbre matching question, the panning from front to rear isn't nearly as noticeable on most movies as it is from left to right. That said, if you want to be absolutely sure, get some CDM 1NT's as they use the same Nautilus tweeter as the N804's. I'm running a 7NT/CNT/1NT set-up and absolutely love the sound.

Have fun and buy what moves you!
I'd go with the Green Mountain Eauropa's. Listened to them last summer in Mpls vs the studio 100 Paradigm. No comparison. Europa's were better in everyway that is musical. Less money too. Under $900.00/pair retail. Do a search here for Europa and see what others are saying about these amazing speakers
Good listening, Dale
My goodness, there's a new "Mr Angry" on audiogon ! Could we have an expletive filter please, moderators ?
Or should I call you Mr. recording/producing artist? You may very well know how musical equipment "sounds from the get go", but your point was smothered by your unintelligible rant, poor grammar, and very poor choice of some words. If you wish to weigh in on a subject, please do so without insulting people and name calling.

That behavior might work at AA, but please don't bring it to these forums.
More information on the new Paradigm 100v.3's...... I just purchased the new Studio 100s v.3 a week ago and per the dealer, it was the first pair sold here in the DFW area. I have previously owned the Studio 60 v.1, and Studio 100 v.2., and there was not too much of a difference between the v.1 series and v.2 series sonically, but there is now a huge improvement with the new v.3s. The new v.3 100s are phenominal, the cabinet is totally redesigned and all the drivers have changed, most notably the mid-range. The 100 v.3s are physically a little smaller than the 100 v.2's and are much narrower (the look a lot like the Monitor 11s). As far as the sound, they image much better, so good in fact they completely disappear - the boxes are simply non-locatable. I was always somewhat aware of the 100 v.2's location, but not now. The new S-PAL tweeter sounds just as good, if not better, than the Nautilus tweeter. The midrange is where the v.3 is most improved, it is almost electrostatic in speed. The v.2s were a little laid back in the mid-range, but the new Studios have world-class mid-range, I wouldn't say there's more mid-range, but the quality is exponentially better & faster - more detailed and defined - vocals and drum rimshots are startling. The quality of bass seems to be slightly better as the new 100's have three 7" woofers per cabinet vs. the older two 8". Bottom line, the new Paradigms have slightly better bass (which was already outstanding), *much* better (again near electrostatic quality) mids and the top end has more air and is slightly sweeter, but not harsh. It does seem that they do now take slightly more power (or just can handle more power) than the v.2 as my Rotel 100W X 5 AMP now runs out of steam as it never did previously. To conclude, IMO, the new v.3's have the combined the sonic attributes of both the Natilus and 100 V.2 stengths. Previously rated as a class-B speaker, I think that it could now be near class-A rating. Good luck all.
Forget about Paradigm 100 v.3 if your going for B&W 804s.I have the complete v.3 set for the last 2 months.I also read reviews like you. Finally i want to get rid of of my V3's,and go for a better home theater.I dont say they are bad.I am not satisfied.Listen to all the flagship model in the market with your personal CD's & DVD's you will surely find a better one.Paradigm does good marketting.if you like them,i wont say no.
I just replaced Studio 100 V2's with the new V3's and for all of you who haven't given a good listen to the 100 V3's please don't compare them to the V2's. They are quite simply better... The 50hz. hump that existed in the V2's is virtually gone, meaning for most people no more subwoofer with the V3's. Although the factory ratings on the V2's(25 hz extension) is slightly lower than the V3's 28 hz I can tell you most assuredly that the bass produced by the V3's is overall much more refined and substantial than the V2's. I use SS amps on the bottom of the V3's with a damping factor of 1000 and the control and quantity of bass produced by the V3's far eclipses the previous version. in regard to the midrange of the two, I can again tell you (IMHO) that the V3's represent a tremendous increase in the already substantial qualities of the V2's. Much more detailed,unrivaled in this price range clarity and liquidity. The tweeter in the V3's has been totally redesigned as well and the improvement is superb. I will agree with a previous post that the V3's may utilize more power than the V2's as that is my experience as well. I'm currently running 300WPC monoblocks on the bottoms of my V3's and 250 WPC SS on the tops with arousing results. I also utilize a tube preamp and tube CD player with Kimber Hero IC's throughout with Audioquest Slate true bi-wire (2 full pairs of cables) with great success. The imaging and three dimensionality of these speakers is awesome in my system.The speakers virtually disappear and I'm treated to an accurate and well defined sounstage that's hard to find in almost any system I've heard in over 30+ years of trial and error in this hobby. Of course there are better speakers out there for SUBSTANTIALLY MORE $$$ but for the amount of money I personally can afford to invest I'm thoroughly intrigued and impressed with my Paradigm Reference Studio 100 V3's. Keep in mind this is how MY system sounds to ME (and my audio hobbyist friends...) in my listening environment with MY residual components. To me, that's what this is all about, how it sounds to the individual that puts their system together. Forget the $$$ and EGO arguements that some posters utilize in their posts, that's not important. What is important is how YOUR system sounds to YOU. Not the amount of money you've spent or all the various reviews and opinions posted by rag mags and people like me. It's about "Enjoying the MUSIC"!