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Paradigm Reference Signature S2
3 Reviews
rating  5 of 5
MSRP  1900.00
Description: 52Hz-22kHz ±2dB, -3dB at 38Hz, 1" gold-anodized pure-aluminum dome tweeter, 7" mica-loaded polymer cone driver, 91dB sensitivity, 8 ohm compatible impedence, 56lb/pair.


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Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Pat D a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 18, 2010

Bottom Line:   
I put the model year as 2004, as that is when Soundstage reviewed them, but we got them in 2005. There are a couple of new iterations of the Signature Series speakers but I have not heard any of them.

We had to travel quite a bit because my wife had to take care of her mother, who was dying. I was in the market for new speakers because the old Quad ESL-63 speakers were having problems and our house is not really a suitable place for them. I looked mostly at forward radiating speakers since I figured they would work better than dipoles in our house: and I was right. My dealer liked the Mirage OM-7 bipolar speaker, and we actually had a pair for a home audition. They sounded heavy and didn't really sound right no matter where I put them. Here and elsewhere, I was able to audition quite a few speakers. The following are some I liked.

PSB Stratus Mini -- neutral and pleasant, not as smooth as the best, and the treble dispersion was not as even as with the Paradigm Signatures. They played music well and we got them as an interim speaker with a view to putting them in the family room for home theater, where they are perfect for dialogue and non-fatiguing listening.

Totem Mani-2 Signature--very fine, deep bass but also insensitive. Fairly expensive. I did find an anomaly with one recording.

Dali Helicon 400 -- nice, but a little colored, overpriced.

Dynaudio Contour 1.3 MK II -- very nice indeed, but slightly tizzy on top

PSB Platinum M2 -- quite good, but seemed somewhat forward

B & W 705-- nicely balanced, wide image, but a bit rough in the upper midrange

Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor -- excellent, very smooth, beautifully styled, and costly. With a 6 dB crossover, their off axis dispersion would not be as even as with the Dyns, the Totems, or the Paradigm Signatures.

The Paradigm Signature S2 is among the finest small speakers. I had seen announcements that Paradigm was coming out with a new top line so I wanted to hear them. It measures very well, and there are rave reviews on the Stereophile and Soundstage sites. The measurements show there is useful bass to below 40 Hz (-10 dB), but a subwoofer is helpful for deeper bass. The Signature S8 has pretty deep bass and also sounds excellent for those who wish to forgo a subwoofer. They are less flexible for placement though, and are of course more expensive.

I heard the Signature S2 in a number of different cities when we traveled, and we also had a home trial before buying a pair. With a Denon symphony recording, they always threw a huge image, with lots of depth. The massed violins were smooth and natural sounding. A lot of speakers seem to have difficulty with massed strings, so I like to check the integration of the woofer with the tweeter. I tried some different recordings of Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony which has an extended passage with the violins playing above the staff starting about 1:45 into the first movement. Alexander Anissimov and the New Zealand SO on Naxos 8.554230 will do fine though I also tried the old classic Ormandy on Sony and Previn on Telarc. Most speakers show some unevenness and diffraction effects with long lines of massed violins playing above the staff, but not the Signature S2.

Female vocalists such as Diana Krall, Patricia Barber, Angele Arsenault sound great; so do male vocalists such as Roger Whittaker and Mark Knopfler. Real singers such as George London, Jussi Bjoerling, Jard van Nes, and Renee Fleming sound just fine.

Choral recordings are often difficult for speakers, but they sounded excellent, for example, Handel's Messiah with Robert Shaw and the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Telarc CD-80093.

The S2 reproduces piano very well, too. Chopin, 4 Ballades, 4 Scherzos, with Earl Wild on Chesky CD44 presents a sonic image very much like a piano being played up on the virtual stage.

I got the excellent recording of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies by Arthur Fagen and the Weimar Staatskapelle on Naxos 8.570230. I decided to compare it in detail with the classic Dorati recording on LPs. The old Dorati recordings on Mercury were pretty good, but the strings especially were forward. When I turned the Quad Tilt control down a notch, the depth improved, but still the sound was still not as spacious and smooth as the newer Naxos recordings. The performances are different but about equal, but the sound is clearly better with the newer Naxos CD. And that's the basic story: with really good speakers, I tend to talk about the music rather the speakers or the system. They don't get in the way of the music.


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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by edlchiang62 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 20, 2005

Bottom Line:   
The Paradigm Signature S2 speakers are superb bookshelf speakers, especially for the price. I bought these pair at the discounted price of $1500 from Spearit Sound (normally $2200). They are the high gloss Rosenut finish and they were on sale because they are discontinuing that particular wood finish. The store was authorized to mail me the speakers with the full five year warranty. After I discovered a scatch on the bottom of one speaker they gave me another $100 discount. The finish of these speakers are stunning. I am pleased with my dealings with Spearit Sound, especially Jack who is the internet/mail order salesperson there. Well enough with the history of the purchase.

The are an incredible sounding pair of speakers. They have a stunning midrange and treble. They have a very wide and deep soundstage!! I feel they go well with my other equipment.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2005

Price Paid:    $1400.00

Purchased At:   Spearit Sound in MA



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by aomcm a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 18, 2004

Bottom Line:   
Just a note based on a demo at a dealer. These are VERY impressive speakers, a clear step beyond anything Paradigm has done before. I felt the sound of the S2's was very close to the S4, making this an excellent bargain high end speaker.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $1900.00




Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

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