Very different sound. Vandys well suited to jazz. Many find them laid back, but IMO, its due to their non-high-fi nature and flat response. Paradigms (in general, never heard the 100 v3) will sound more detailed at first, but IMO its due to an over-cooked upper mid and treble.
In addition to Swampwalker, I think the Vandersteens are going to be more enviroment affected. I think the Vandy has the ability to sound better than the Paradigm's.. I have heard both at different times and it never would have been comparison I would have been drawn to make. Two very different theories. Richard Vandersteen's concept and a large companies speaker. Paradigm put's out a great product for the money, I think they are somewhat under priced for thier quality.
I have the 2ce sigs and I have heard the paradigms but in less than ideal conditions to be fair. For Jazz, you will love the vandys for the timbre and naturalness with the right amount of detail which won't give you a headache after long listening sessions. The paradigms seemed too bright for my taste.
IMO the Vandersteen's are a much better speaker. As Swampwalker said "Very different sound" I use to own Paradigm Studio 40's v.2 and ended up getting rid of them due to their hot upper end. I do beleive that Paradigm is a above average value but, one must carefully choice what equipment to match with them. My neighbor has the 2CE sigs and if it weren't for the low WAF I would have a pair too.
I won't weigh in on the sonic differences, as they are so pronounced that one usually can figure out if they want chocolate or cheese. But the sensitivity issue is real, the Paradigms being roughly 6db more sensitive will require approximately one fourth the wattage for a given loudness level. As Jim Thiel, another 6db crossover champion pointed out, "Watts is cheap.", but then again, he gets manufacturers accomodation.
both are well designed and highly listenable......the vandy more laidback, the studio...well,more like a monitor style with gobs of detail. both speakers play all music catagories well,with the paradigms having the edge on classic rock. both speakers play well with a wide variety of components. ifyou have a dedicated listening room(without kids or cats) the vandy.....otherwise the studio.
This is an excellent thread and many Audiogoners know my positive position on timbral accuracy that Thiel and Vandersteen provide.
I owned the original Studio 100s back in 1997 for about a year powered by Parasound and then Bryston electronics. They were my first high end speaker. I now have the Vandersteen 2Ce Sigs and have been thoroughly enjoying them for about a year. IMO there is no comparison for accuracy of timbre and timing; the Vandersteens are truly superior in this regard as well as in the areas of extension and especially imaging. It takes awhile at first to get used to them simply because they sonically reveal so much initially, and, at first, this may seem disconcerting, but after a short time they pull you deep into the music with a natural and detailed sound. Their presentation begins at the plane of the speakers and moves back into a deep soundstage. The Paradigms, on the other hand, present forward of the speaker plane, and tend to push the music toward you. The Paradigms present; the Vandersteens invite. These are very different sonic experiences, but for me the invitation aspect of the Vandersteens, coupled to the fact that they are not degrading timbral accuracy, makes them my choice.
I owned the 2CE's for twelve years during which time I used Audible Illusions, Audio Research, Krell and others with varying results. Throughout all the equipment changes, the Vandies remained and held their own every time. As Stevecham says, the soundstage goes way behind the speakers. I listen to Jazz primarily along with some Country and Rock and Roll, all at fairly low levels. My vote goes to the Vandersteens.
The Vandersteens are far more refined, more listenable for long periods and they offer a true taste of what high-end audio is all about. They're not the most revealing speaker in the world, and they don't have the clarity of some of the competition, but you can't go wrong with the 2Ce Signature.
I would think long and hard about the Paradigms, they are very detailed, to a fault and I think they are very fatiguey (sp?). I think if you listen to the difference in the timbre of cymbals on both the choice will be clear for the Vandy's, especially if you listen to a lot of jazz.
Also agree strongly with the present v. invite comment by Stevecham.
Don't rule out Thiels.
Ditto Cwoll: Thiels are also to be considered.
A friend of mine drives 2Ces with Adcom electronics. My impression is that the Vandersteens are timbrally very accurate, if not the most exciting speaker. Of course most "exciting" speakers become fatigueing in the long haul. Ultimately Vandersteens, like Thiels, are about coherence and even response, which at the end of the day, provides a cleaner window on the music, IMHO.
Hard to imagine two speakers that sound more different than these. I auditioned both the 2ce's and the S100V3's side by side driven by Theta gear.
Vandy's, perhaps more than any other speaker, foster a real love 'em/hate 'em response from most listeners. There is no middle ground. They are the epitome of laid back, very cohesive ('stat like), and about as fatiguing as a summer breeze. However, they aren't the most engaging speaker in the world.
The V3's Studio's are considerably better than their forebears, which had a very hot top end. The treble has been smoothed considerably and they are engaging, dynamic, and love to rock. The didn't exhibit the best control in the lower octaves however, exhibited by a walking bass line that tended to confuse them. IOW, it became a bit smeared whereas the 2ce's kept each pluck of the strings intact. This wasn't a major glare and you'd have to be comparing them side by side to notice the deficiency.
Honestly tho, when you hear both of these speakers, whichever one you prefer should be readily obvious.
You may also want to consider the Von Schweikert VR2's, a speaker that I felt bettered both. Or go whole hog and get a used 4jr that will flat smoke either the 2ce or 100V3.