Snell Reference A Tower v. Paradigm Studio 100 v2

I'm facing a choice here, and I'd greatly appreciate the group's input. For the past few years I've owned the Snell A Reference Towers, and have used them in my stereo system. These are large and tall floor-standing speakers with outboard crossovers. I've always thought these were beautiful sounding speakers, with little distortin and great detail. But ... I never felt the sound staging and imaging were very solid or precise.

A few weeks ago a friend asked me for recommendations for a moderately priced system. I recommended the Paradigm Studio Reference 100 ver2 speakers, powered by a Plinius 8200mkII integrated amp. Well, the other day I went to this friend's house to hear his system, and to let him try some Blue Heaven cables and Vibrabods.

I was blown away by his sytem, which cost half or less than mine. The Paradigms threw up a powerful, unshakable and very stable sound stage and imaging. The imaging was stable throughout quite a large listening area. Now I'm thinking of selling my Snells (which listed for $14k new), and getting the Paradigms ... which can be bought new for around $1900.

I will ask my friend if I can borrow his Paradigms for a few hours and see if I get the sam esults here as we did at his place. One potential problem I have is the ceiling in the listening room. Above the speakers, it's about 20' high; but at the listening position it's 9' high. I've been thinking of gluing sound absorbing panels to an area comprising about 1/3 of the ceiling's total area.

But (and here's the question), am I off my rocker for considerng selling $14,000 speakers and buying $2200 speakers?

BTW, I've already put sound absorbing panels on the wal behind the speakers because they're fairly close to the walls. Rest of system:

Plinius CD-LAD preamp
Adcom 555II amps, bridged to mono
heavily modified DP59L 'table with The Statemtn by Grado
Sony XA7ES
Lieder interconnecs
Bear Labs speaker cable
Plinius Jarrah phono stage
Snell SUB 1800 powered by Hsu 250 watt amp
homemade turntable isolation platform
homemade record cleaning machine (blows ... err, sucks away the competition ... i.e., Disc Doctor and VPI)

So, gentlemen (and ladies) ... please, weigh-in with your comments on this dilemma I face. Thanks in advance!

Best regards to all,
Paul Frumkin
You need to really try them in your room - I would try room acoustics with the Snell's before making such a move also. With the high ceilings the Paradigm will not produce the sound in your room that it seemed to in your friends.
I agree, try the paradigm first. I think they are an excellent value, but I haven't heard them be able to keep up with very high end speakers such as yours. I would honestly question the ability of the paradigms to be as accurate and natural sounding as the Snells.

Then again, I'm all about downsizing. If you can go from a 20,000 dollar system down to a 5000 dollar system and be happy, by all means, step up to the plate and make the trade. Take the rest of the cash and throw it towards a down payment on a Porche Carrera!
If you don't have a problem with Adcom amps driving your Snell Reference A's, then you shouldn't have a problem downgrading the Snells to a lower pricepoint speaker. However, as you asked for opinions, I say keep the Snells and upgrade the electronics, provided the cash is available.
Some brands offer more for your money and get hammered by some in the process. I have never heard the Snell's, but own a pair of Paradigm Reference 100v2s which replaced Thiel 3.5s. in my system. I auditioned a small number of speakers. Really liked Dynaudio 3.3s but could not justify 12Ks vs. 2.5Ks. Many people told me that after having owned Thiels I would not be satisfied with Paradigms. Well, I have had them for a number of months now and am satisfied. Their main problem is that they have no snob appeal. Not the greatest speakers in the world, but so good that their low price puts them at a disadvantage in the opinion of many. You can't lose in giving them a listen in your own room. Newer designs by a large , well integrated producer can trounce older designs built with no economies of scale. If you drink by the label though, you will certainly pass on the Paradigms. Whether the difference in sound between the two justifies the switch is your call. Keeping to Canadian products leading the bang for the buck crowd, you may want to audition Bryston amps with your Snell speakers. I went from Adcom 565s (which are very good amps to this day) to 7 B STs with no regrets and more respect for what amps can do soundwise, all other components remaining the same in the system.
Keep the Snells and gun the Adcoms. Find yourself some better amps, the choices are many but you can do much better than adcom.
Pbb, you are right on target, as I find you often are. I rarely allow folks who aren't my friends to audition my systems but on the occasions I do, they tend to say really nice things about my Mezzo Utopias and then look at my Paradigm 100s and say something like, "I can't believe you have (shudder) THOSE in your house, even for HT."

My usual response is to say, "Tell you what, I'll put a blindfold on you and twist you and turn you around in the hallway until you're thoroughly disoriented. Then I'll put you in front of one or the other sets of speakers and bet you a hundred bucks you can't tell me which is which."

I've never had a single person take me up on it.

Are the Paradigms as good as the Utopias? Nope. Are they 95% as good for 1/8 the cost? You bet your ass they are.

But then, you gotta remember they are Mass Produced by a Big Corporation. Therefore, by definition, "audiophiles" won't take them seriously.

I find a glass of vinho verde is a convenient companion to these listening sessions. It helps to hide the grin.

Price doesn't matter ;it does not show that an expensive speaker would be better than a cheaper one.. I wonder how those companies put those high prices on their speakers.!!.there are so many exorbitantly priced speakers out there..Snell must be one of them..for God's sake for 14 000 $ you can buy a Dunlavy V..and don't tell me that your Snells are better than Dunlavy V!!
I am also using Paradigm's..I listened to B&W as well..Paradigm Reference Studio 100 beat all the B&W's which were priced up to 7000 $ but people still would not believe that Paradigm is better than the B&W.We could do a blind test with Nautilus 802 and Paradigm Studio 100.At the end there would not be a difference..and B&W is at least 3 or 4 times more expensive than the Paradigm.Please folks don't pay money to the brand.!!In my opinion even if the Paradigm does not sound better than but if it sounds as good as the Snell(you say so) then it is an upgrade from Snell to Paradigm..
I am expecting a real master reference product from Paradigm ..something with two 12 " woofers and double 5" midranges and around 90 kg...then we will see which 20 000 k speakers will Paradigm beat!!
I've owned different Snell products for over 15 years, and I love them. For my needs and tastes, they make an outstanding product. But using Adcoms to drive Snell Reference A's is like using a lawnmower engine to power an Porsche...definitely a different class of gear.
hope you found what you are looking for in a system!
i have the monitor 9 and and have compared it to everything
under $6000. i also own the studio 80. these speakers are
awesome! while brands like b&w are good for certain kinds of music i.e. classical and acoustic. the paradigms are satisfactory in all catigories. i found that good cables
actually can make these sound incredible! hey if it sounds
good it sounds good. i suggest using a brighter sounding
speaker wire with darker sounding interconnects.
I second Aram, Bishopwill, and Pbb. My 100.2s have replaced B&W N804s. The Paradigm 100.2s are simply an outstanding speaker in nearly every way. What you are hearing at your friend's house is what you are hearing indeed. I would try them first just to make sure the room is still ok for them but in my experience the 100.2s are incredibly easy to position - put them anywhere you want and they sound great with little sound difference - so I think you will get similar results as your friend. Also, I would upgrade your electronics with the money saved on the 100.2s. Many Paradigm dealers pair the 100.2s with subpar electronics and the sound is, well, subpar and so they get brushed off by many. With great electronics you will discover amazing sound from these speakers. Forget the price and trust your ears. Get them and try them - you may sell your Snells afterall. Arthur
I've learned through the years to disregard the snob appeal factor. I refuse to buy a speaker that only sounds good with this type of music, or needs this kind of cable, etc., etc. I've found the speakers I'm happiest with are those that "always" sound good. I looked long and hard a couple of years ago and the Sudio 100's were runner up to the PSB Stratus Gold i's I purchased. Both are very good and I often question wheter I made the correct choice, but I'm sure had I bought the 100's I would have asked the same quesion. Either of these heavy hitters will do the job on all kind of music.