Paradigm Signature S4: Any info please

Hi All,

I am trying to get any info, input, opinions, comparisons etc. about the Paradigm Signature S4. It seems like a magnificent speaker but it is not available in my country yet and won't be for a while. I thus can't demo it. Anyone here it at dealers? Anyone owners? How do you compare it to others (such as large bookshelves or small floorstanders)? How is the bass extension?

Any input appreciated,
I heard it at my local dealer while they were demoing it to decided if they wanted to include the signature line in their inventory. I am a huge fan of paradigm speakers and have owned multiple pairs. I thought the signature line sucked. They were way too bright, had no bottom end, and didn't image the way I'm used to Paradigm speakers imaging. They were powered by my own Musical Fidelity A308 integrated and also the brand new classe amp and pre amp. (About 7500 dollars worth of equipment) With both sets of electronics, it sounded bad. It sounded better with the classe, but still not good. I know that both electronics and speakers were broken in. I had great hope for this line and was interested in trying it out until I heard these. Quite a let down.
And I had the exact opposite experience & opinion. I went listening Paradigm Studios & even some B&Ws - had absolutely no expectation to see much less hear Signatures, and very bluntly I thought they were all hype and a grab at the upper-scale $$$ market. Spent easily an hour going through parts of some reference CDs, then the sales dude led me downstairs to their basement audition room with SIGs, B&Ws, etc. Heard little Signature 2s powered by McIntosh electronics - and was stunned by the soundstage, presence, whatever you want to call it. I did not find them too bright or tricked out - they were simply exceptional. They did not have 4's at that time (and I really can't explain away the $$$ for 8's) so I wound up leaving with the 2's as a new entry on the short list of wants (but no, not on order).

I did get back to the place when they had 4's out and hooked up, but there must have been a busload of tourists that heard about them 'cause the downstairs room (the one that I've decided is just 12 steps closer to Hell ;~) was packed and not too condusive to a decent audition (and certainly no 2-vs-4-vs-8's comparison was going to get done that day).

Ah, well - we're all different, and I probably have beans in my ears or else some degree of hearing loss, 'cause even w/ the whole busload crammed into that room the 4's sounded darned decent to me. YMMV...
i spemt a couple of months auditioning different speakers in the mid price level-$1500-3000/pr. i listened to kef's, definitive tech, b&w 700 and 800 series polk audio and infinity.i was leaning toward the def tech or b&w 800 series but found a dealer that carried paradigm. i listened to their studio series and thought they were comparible to b&w 700's and much less $$. then i made the mistake of auditioning the paradigm signature series s-8's.they were simply the best speakers i had ever heard. they didn't have any s4's in to audtion until a month later, so i went back and auditioned s4's with sub crossover at 40 hz vs the s8's with and without sub. i couldn't hear a difference. the paradigm signatures are to my ears the best speakers i have ever heard. so good that i figured out a way to talk myself into beleiving i could afford them.i bought 4 s4's (front and rear) signature c3 center and signature adp surrounds. it cost about $8500 for the complete setup, but i couldn't be happier. music and movies sound great.
speakers are very subjective so you should listen to as many different brands in your price range as possible, but i do recommend listening to the paradigms. i found the signatures to be irresistable.
I have to agree with "tngjsv" ... I had a friend purchase an entire home theater setup with the Paradigm Studio V3's. For the money I was amazed at the V3’s and gave him my thumbs up. I was looking at upgrading from my Klipsch La Scala’s to something smaller and a little smoother. I went and listened to the B&W Nat 804’s and then JM Lab’s Cobalt and Electra series, Proac and Thiel 2.4’s. I was ready to BUY the 804’s when I thought I would look at a few other pairs … man, am I glad I did. Just for fun I thought I would head back and compare what I had heard to the Paradigm’s. I brought my own music each time and had them set each speaker system up with and without a sub. I tried for an “apples to apples” comparison as much as possible. I listened to the Paradigm Studio 40’s and was amazed at how good they sounded in comparison to the much more expensive speaker systems. THEN I HEARD THE SIGNATURE S4’s … It was pure love! Everything was better. With the seismic sub hooked in it was quite possibly the best I have ever heard. I was a diehard Klipsch fan but these little speakers changed my mind. Jazz, Blues, Classical and Rock … all forms of music I played seemed more detailed and much clearer. I moved the speakers around looking for bad placement or dropouts – they sounded great. The price was in line with what I have been looking at but I was hoping to find a demo set or a slightly used set. NOTHING …. It’s been three months and I have sold off all my other equipment. I’m not a person who buys new very often – I have had NO problems buying used equipment and I have bought and sold a TON over the years with great luck. I think this will be my first NEW purchase in a decade and I am going full 5.1. I will set the s4’s in the front, S2’s in the rear and go with the C3 center. The sub will have to be a seismic … I just cant quite fork out for the signature sub and the 12” seismic is more than enough.

In short … BUY THE S4’s …. If you’re worried about the cost vs. appeal take the chance – you wont be disappointed. As a testament check ALL the used sites. No one is unloading these speakers. You usually see a few pairs than where bought and NOT liked but I have had my eye out for three months and nothing. Read the reviews - there are a ton of them ... all are very positive.

If you don’t like them post the on Audiogon and I’ll buy them! If I can find them in the midst of all the dozens of pairs of B&W 804's that now litter the sites. What a disappointment they turned out to be ...
Horseface , let me see if I understand . The B&W 804s have turned out to be a disappointment -"...dozens of pairs ... that now litter the sites ". However , you had been ready to buy the 804s after listening to JMLabs , Proacs and Thiels but before you listened to Paradigm 40s . Am I missing something ?
Does this site allow promotion of brands disguised as a layman's "search and listening"of various brands and posting his recommendation in direct contradiction to other posts ?

I refer to the 10-3-04 post by "Horseface" and his 9-7-04 post (see under his Answers). A direct contradiction of when he listened to Paradigm 40s - before or after listening to B&W 804s.

Isn't it obvious what the intent is? Do dealers need to hide their identity as such ?

So, I'm a dealer? How many sales to I have on AG? Check ...

I picked the B&W 804's originally because of the many positive reviews that I had read, and the fact that there were bargains to be had on-line. I wanted (and still want) a good deal on a great speaker ($2000-$4000). I listened to the 804's FIRST before anything else and didn’t like them at all. I would have stayed with the LaScala's if the B&W's were my only option.

I cant honestly see why anyone with ears would pay $4000 for a pair of 804's Everything I read about the detail in the midrange was WRONG... they had a shrill tweeter and the mid's sounded muffled. Frankly ... I hated them.

Still confused?
Personally, the Sig 4 were not my cup of tea and I knew it immediately. I was listening to them in comparsion to Linn Espek and JM Lab 927. I prefered the Linn's and JM Labs to the Paradigms.

In my opinion, the Paradigm's looked great & did well in individual areas, but failed to have a cohesive sound. It was hard to described, but it just didn't work for me. Of the three speakers mentioned, I found the JM Lab 927 to be the most enjoyeable. They were very dynamic with a great mid range. The Espeks were very nice & probably a great speaker if you want a more forgiving setup.

The best advice is to go hear them & trust your own ears. If you like them at the dealer, try to audition them at home. I also questioned something mentioned above bothers me that someone indicates he is going out listening to various speakers & later states about great values on line. If you are using dealers to hear their products, ethically you should be buying from one of these dealers.
I agree with Macct assesment. They were wonderful at certain things, but were not as musical to my ears. They were wonderful at the things they did well like detail, neutrality etc.
I heard the S4 setup side by side with the 805 Signature and the Dali Helicon 300 all driven by classe gear, and I thought the S4 was in third place. It has nice clarity and separation, but soundstage was limited and just didnt move me.
I love the S2's and the S4's, hadn't had a chance to listen to the S8 yet. They are hands down the best (monitor) value for the money. They even beat out some floor standers I've listened to B&W 805's, MBL 121 compact, Thiel 1.6,and 2.4.
I think they have a best over all sound than all of the above.

They also need the right equipment. I've had the benifit of
trying different cables in my system(I own the S2) by renting them from I's amazing how the wrong cable combination can affect the sound.

The best cable combination (for me)
Audio Qwest Granite speaker
Audio Qwest Jaguar(DBS)interconnect
I myself have purchased the S8 and am waiting for them to arrive and for my move into a house at the end of the month where I get my own sound room. For music only. The S8 is going to be driven by a new Bryston 14B SST. Frankly, I cannot wait.

The B+W 803D was the most direct competitor, but I found the cost to be absurd. I got the S8 on sale, and the 803D was almost TWICE the price, and the salesman was not going to dicker on the price. The sound was nice, but the Paradigm, to my ears, was better. I have had Paradigms for 15 years (but a modest, entry level pair) that has done well. If an entry level speaker can last 15 years through university parties, then the S8's will hold up as long as the amp.

Paradigm is made all in house. So cost is minimized. Shipping for B+W is a factor. Gas is not cheap nor is shipping anymore (and you can bet it is being passed on...). I tried other brands, Energy, Mordundt Short, etc.. but nothing was as pleasing as the S8. I intend to run it full range as the amp I have is more than low-end capable. The idea of running the S4 came up, but I do not use a sub now and decided that if I spent the difference on the mains, then I would not need one. I do not think I will. But if I do, then oh well.

The only downside to the S4 is the fact you need a sub, and crossing one over is not going to be easy or seamless unless done right and with careful testing and gear. The tower systems allow for seamlessness in this regard. But for the money, I cannot see many competing. Paradigm is not the most high end name you think of, but my old towers are made of particle board and I have yet to have a screw back out, rubber surround pack it in or any part fail in the 15 years I have had it. Makes me happy knowing they will last and sound good for a long time.

I am deliberately not making any comments on sound peticulars, in the sense that sound perception is just that, perception. What I find pleasing someone else will find horrid, but based on fit and finish and quality, the S4 is well worth the money.
I've owned the S2 and S4's and I much preferred the S2. The S4 muddied what the S2 did so right. I have neither now as I stepped up to the Dynaudio C1 monitors. But, the S2 is still a favorite of mine in the $2K price category, though.
It's funny to read my review from way back and to think about how far I have come and how little I knew then.  I've since owned a set of B&W 802's and loved them along with Dynaudio C1's shortly after and ultimately Proac D Two's. All of which I feel were superior to the Paradigm S4's in my system.  The B&W 802's had one of the sweetest mid-range signatures I have found but I just couldn't keep them.  My listening space went from 25 X 20 living room, to a smaller converted bedroom. What a difference time has made ...

I felt like the problem I originally had with the 804's was the system I evaluated them with and room I evaluated them in.  It was a B&W/Rotel dealer and the amplifier was a mid-line Rotel.  For some reason I just didnt feel the love - in fact the system sounded pretty bad as I recall.  The S4's were powered with a Music Fidelity KW 500 in a nice big room which, in my opinion was the reason for my instant fondness of the Paradigm S4. I did get them home and paired them with a Modwright pre and Levinson amplifier which kept me happy for years,  I ultimately upgraded as my tastes changed. 

I felt like the Levinson 23.5 I had back then, did much better with the B&W's. I have since demoed the 800D and was astonished at how good they sounded powered with ARC REF 600 amplifiers.  I guess what I didnt understand at the time, is the speakers are just part of a system and if you combine the wrong components, no mater what the price tag the result can be quite disappointing. Yet any one of those components can be placed in a different system with fantastic results.   

I have to apologize for my post, as it shows a rather defensive posture.  In the years following that post I bought and sold many, many pieces and have learned a lot about synergy and the importance room size and speaker placement make.  There are very few absolutes in high end audio.  The 804 setup I demoed all those years back, was less than optimal.  They were stuffed in a tiny room and setup for aesthetics, that's too bad.  Had they been placed in a proper room with an amplifier that fit my tastes ... I may have very well fallen in love but thats just my opinion.      

PS - I have have been a dealer, just a big fan of the S4.  

A quick note to say that I appreciate the maturity of your last post, @horseface .  I think we all strive to become better as people and it seems you have been quite successful.  Cheers!