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Paradigm Reference Review

Paradigm Reference Review


… very, very good … “ approached the awesome … I AM IMPRESSED … ”

Reprinted with permission from

STUDIO/100 by Dennis O. Wasnich

he Reference Series of loudspeaker model. They are “In some reviews I read, T from this Canadian manufacturer offered in a few finish is advertised (see their web site at alternatives of two the reviewer claimed the www.paradigm.com) as “extensively basic types: laminate designed and refined,”“taking a cost- and veneer; the Studio/100’s equaled or no-object approach.” Far be it from me laminates are nice, to dispute their claims, but I cannot though obviously outperformed speakers in think that cost considerations were “artificial,” and the the 5 - 10 kilobuck range. ignored in any speaker Paradigm makes. veneers are utilitarian On the other hand, Paradigm has a well- mostly, looking nice My experiences with these deserved reputation for offering excellent without the speakers at the price-points they represent. “richest” one could loudspeakers gave me no The Studio/100 v.2 is the top-of-the- imagine. In the case Reference Studio-line model, representing of the veneer finish, to doubt this claim.” the best that Paradigm can offer (at least wood panels are at this price point). There are four other actually added to the non-amplified models in the Studio line, sides of the units, the Studio/20, 40, 60, and 80. The “v.2” making them slightly is the second version of the Studio 100 larger and presumably (hence the name), and represents reinforcing the already-rock-solid improvements in nearly every area of the cabinet. The difference isn’t supposed to speaker components and design despite affect the sound, but it’s hard to imagine its close visual similarity to the original that extra stiffening not making the STUDIO/100 cabinet even more non-resonant–a good perfectly clear about mounting the feet, “There is only one way to thing to consider for the extra money. In it appears you have four options: put either type, there are only three “finishes” the pointed end of the spikes into the describe the midrange – available: Light Cherry, “Rosenut,” and bushings and using the locknuts for feet Black Ash. Of the three, the “Rosenut” is (tightening them while holding the spike “Sweet.” … sounds are the most “rich-looking”–my best guess with a screwdriver); or leave the pointy- reproduced very cleanly and from examining the grain is it’s actually end out (as spikes) and using the locknut an oak veneer, stained with Walnut and to hold them at a correct height or leave dynamically … Vocals (male Rosewood varnish/stain, making it a deep the screwdriver-end of the spike protruding or female) come through with burgundy color that looks nice, although for a less “sharp” spike, or turn the locknut I personally would have preferred the oak small-side down for a smaller foot. The lots of detail and … (if so) to remain unstained. problem with the second method is there’s guitars had the right amount no good way to hold the spike since now “ … I am impressed … the screwdriver slot is inside the speaker. of “ring” and presence to Knowing I was going to have to maneuver make them come alive … Those drivers can thump them, I them up in the first option, when the program source figuring it would be easier to move them Piano solo was – rich, warm if the spikes weren’t digging into the offers thumping material! … carpet. The next step in unpacking is to set and beautiful … Horns – great tautness … the the speaker (still in the box) on its feet clean and bright …” and then pull the box off over the top. Studio/100s seem to suck up When this is done, you finally get to see I gave them a quick audition–they were a watts and deliver more and the speaker in all of its glory. The top, bit “bright and tight” (“lean ’n mean”?) back, front and bottom are a dark gray, right out of the box (I had expected that more sound … showed impact, textured but plain finish while the sides as I have been told by everyone including are in the veneer (or laminate–mine are Paradigm that they need to be broken in weight and speed … full and the rosenut veneer, if that matters to you). for several hours before they sound their warm, solid and convincing The front is mostly covered by the dark sweetest—a I confirmed while cloth-covered grill which snaps against auditioning speakers in my dealer’s … exciting to listen to.” the front with several plastic pins. The showroom where they had a “new” unit manual says these speakers are designed and one with reportedly 150-hours of use Speaking of the cabinet, it is heavy! The to sound best with the grills on, so I on it, and there was a whole world of 110-pound weight, while possible to played them that way (after taking a difference!) Still, they didn’t sound too maneuver around your listening room, quick look at the high-tech-looking bad in their “virgin” state. After that quick makes it something that will stay put drivers under them). audition, mostly to make sure they when you get it there! I found that worked, I put them on a diet of Pink “walking” it into position was the best There are four five-way binding posts set Noise for about 20 hours over the next one-man method. Carrying the shipping in the lower portion of the back of the three nights while I slept, doing some boxes with the speakers inside though, units at an angle to offer better access. intermittent auditioning during the days is a two-man chore unless you have a cart. I’ve read complaints by some magazine- when I had the chance. After the first You unpack the speakers by opening reviewers about these binding posts, but night, they had smoothed out quite the bottoms of the cartons, removing found them easy to use, although I’m not noticeably, and continued to improve at the piece of 7-ply plywood and other switching them every five minutes to least through the second night–the third (cardboard) packing materials, including another speaker cable to find a “perfect” was just for ‘insurance” as I pretty much a small “box” attached to a filler. In that match. These posts are “shorted” together considered them “broken in” by then, box are the four “spikes” and “locknuts.” with two very light gauge metal pieces although the bass continued to improve The spikes are a threaded rod about two that appear to be gold-plated. The manual slightly over the next 20+ hours of use. inches long, sharply pointed on one end says they’re intended to be bi-wired, so I and with a screwdriver slot on the other. set them up that way with Monster Cable These thread into four bushings mounted Original speaker leads about 12 feet long. DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS: in the bottoms of the speakers. The The holes in the binding posts are easily locknuts are round, about two inches in large enough for such heavy cable leads The cabinet of the Studio/100 is what diameter and maybe an inch thick with (I didn’t use any kind of termination on Paradigm calls a “Cascade enclosure,” a step on one side, and apparently gold- them, figuring to let the strands of meaning there are multiple braces inside. plated. While the instructions aren’t copper smash down for better contact). Three vertical and three horizontal braces


“ … a cabinet that is solid— network. The design is claimed to be stiffened with some fibers, it looks like a phase-coherent, quasi-Butterworth Kevlar®, although I can’t find that stated rapping on them with your design using high-power Ceramic in the manual, so perhaps that’s the resistors, film capacitors in all signal Mica-fibers I’m seeing. I measured the knuckles results in a rather paths, and air-core and steel-core woofers because I couldn’t believe they muted, dull “thunk” that inductors. The crossover boards are were 8.5˝ in diameter–in my book, they separated inside the cabinet to reduce ain’t! I measure 7˝ at the outside edges gives no indication of any interaction, and they are set up for (the “moving part”) of the “surrounds,” anything moving as bi-amping or bi-wiring the speakers, making the area of two of them equivalent which Paradigm recommends. to a single, “real” 10˝ driver. I measured a result of the impact the midrange driver too, after my (and sore knuckles!)” The high-frequency driver, a PAL™ experience with the woofers, and I get (Pure-Aluminum-dome) tweeter is 5.5˝ at the outside of the surrounds. The grid the inside of the cabinet (at least mounted near the top of the cabinet tweeter looks like 1˝ in diameter, so I according to the brochure–I didn’t cut front. Its suspension uses a treated textile didn’t measure it. them open to look!) with large holes cut to ensure uniform, instantaneous power through each section to allow air to move response. The “High-Pressure Die-cast through without restriction. According Aluminum chassis” is said to eliminate ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT: to that brochure, “MDF construction is mechanical flexing and ringing while used throughout, front and rear baffles also providing a heatsink. The frame is I powered the Studio/100s with my use self-locking serpentine joints, and Waveguide™ coupled to promote a wide McIntosh MC-7270 solid-state power internal braces are arranged in a sequential dispersion and flat response while amplifier, which delivers well over 270 interlocking cascade–the first vertical oversized damping chambers smooth watts without clipping. I attached the brace is locked into the first horizontal extended lower frequency response. Dual Paradigms to the 4-ohm taps of the brace, which is then locked into the next magnets increase the energy of the magnetic Mac’s output transformer as reports vertical brace, etc.” The midrange unit is gap as well as provide thermal mass for (and my Dealer) tell me they run in enclosed in its own separate “box” of greater power handling. High temperature that impedance range. The Mac was MDF mounted to the front baffle to isolate voice-coils, ventilated aluminum formers, fed with my B&K Components it from the woofers. What Paradigm calls and ferro-fluid cooling/damping are to Reference 20 Preamp/Processor with “UHP” (Ultra-Fine High-Loft Polyfiber) increase power handling, lower distortion Phillips/Magnavox CD and DVD players damping material fills the chambers and improve reliability. for source material. As stated previously, inside the cabinet to absorb rear wave the Studio/100s were connected to and internal standing waves while The bass and midrange drivers use the Mac with Original Monster Cable allowing low frequency waves to reach MLP™ (Mica-Loaded Polymer) cones speaker wires in bi-wire arrangement. the port at the lower front of the cabinet. for high stiffness to mass ratio with The port has flared edges on both ends internal damping for smooth response. Sorry, I don’t do “analog” anymore, so I to reduce turbulence. All drivers are Internal/external heatsinks and AVS™ won’t list that equipment here. My turn- mounted extending through the front cooling are to provide high power table is gone from the system, never to the same thickness as the baffle frame handling and low distortion while again return. If you’re an “analogue freak” and so that when the frame is attached, the increasing reliability. Oversized magnetic are offended, sorry, but that’s it. I gave drivers end up acoustically “flush- assemblies use “symmetrically-focused- up the tweaking, fiddling, cleaning, mounted” to reduce reflections. The end ” geometry to ensure low distortion adjusting, swearing, crinkling cellophane- result is a cabinet that is solid—rapping and greater linearity. The chassis is again sound, pops, clicks, ticks, skips, warps on them with your knuckles results in a a “high-pressure die-cast” type to control and rumbles of LPs some while back. rather muted, dull “thunk” that gives no mechanical flexing and ringing. Synthetic I’m not criticizing you if you’re still indication of any-thing moving as a butyl suspensions for high hysteresis and putting up with that, and I won’t argue result of the impact (and sore knuckles!) progressive damping are used to eliminate that when they’re working, properly, LPs distortions. High-temperature, multi- sound great. (The same can be said for Paradigm claims to utilize “ideal response” layer voice-coils with ventilated Apical® CDs and DVDs: When they’re done right, drivers (which they manufacture them- formers are used to increase accuracy they sound great.) The difference is, on selves), allowing them to use simpler and reliability while extended voice-coils average, it takes far less effort for me to crossovers, in turn allowing them to are claimed to provide excellent liner be happy with CDs and I am happier minimize the components in the crossover response. The woofers are left shiny with them a greater amount of than black, but the midrange driver is obviously with LPs.


I have Home Theater equipment, and am “pointing” straight ahead, and got good driving it with plenty of watts, (270+ per set up for that, but to me, if a speaker results, but ended up toeing them in channel) and the Studio/100s seem to reproduces music correctly, and has toward the listening seat in an effort to suck up watts and deliver more and more sufficient dynamic ability, it can easily make the imaging better for others who sound, so if you are under-powered, you perform Home Theater. The only thing aren’t seated optimally in the room. The might not get the bass results I got. When that would cause this to not be true is a only real effect on the sound at the “hot- the Mac’s meters told me there was 200+ speaker’s ability to handle dynamics, which seat” was to (very slightly) tighten up and watts going to the Paradigms, the bass is why I made that qualification in the narrow the soundstage, while the effect output was very impressive. The Acoustic previous statement. Therefore, I will not elsewhere was to allow a better reception Drum Solo from the Stereophile Test even address the “Movie Sound” of the “far” speaker. The dispersion CD-2 showed impact, weight and speed experience in this review as it is only pattern of the Studio/100s is good that was very much appropriate to the concerned with music reproduction. enough that this technique is only recording. Bass guitar on Lee Ritenour’s marginally necessary and therefore only Rit Special DVD and drums on Fleetwood “ … Paradigm’s tweeters give makes a marginal improvement. Your Mac’s The Dance DVD was full and warm, room, of course, might differ considerably, solid and convincing as well as exciting out all of the I can only report what I found to be true to listen to. After they had broken in for necessary to let you visualize in mine. several more hours, the bass leaned ever- so-slightly toward “warm,” and I then the brass discs bouncing and reversed the feet to utilize the spikes— ringing away when the BASS: this tightened up (and slightly lessened) the apparent bass level from the speakers. drummer smacks them with his First of all, I am impressed with the bass response from such small woofers (even stick. Horns … punch through though there are a total of four in the MIDRANGE: the other music in a live-like two speakers). I went from twin 10˝ woofers in each speaker (I replaced an There is only one way to describe the fashion, … no coloration or old pair of Infinity RS-III-Bs with the midrange of the Studio/100: “Sweet.” By overly-bright output … ” Paradigms) to these approximately 7˝ that, I mean the sounds are reproduced drivers, and figured the bass response very cleanly and dynamically while at the would be reduced. If it was, it was not by same time never becoming strident or PLACEMENT: much, and the bass was so much tighter harsh. Vocals (male or female) come and cleaner than in my old speakers that through with lots of detail and emotion Actually, placing the Studio/100s was the trade-off was to the Paradigm’s to the point I could almost guess the fairly easy. They don’t seem to be too advantage. Those drivers can thump when expression on the face of the performer finicky about where they sit as long as the program source offers thumping as they “got into” their songs. Acoustic or you don’t crowd the side walls (where material! Using test CDs and DVDs, I electric guitars had the right amount of you’d get reflections which would smear determined that the Studio/100s offer “ring” and presence to make them come the imaging). They are definitely not useful bass energy to about 30 Hz, which alive in the listening room. Piano solo shielded, as my first location was too is more than adequate for almost anything (from the Stereophile Test CD-2, on the close to my video monitor and degaussing you’re likely to through them. There Brahms Intermezzo cut) was as rich was obviously required! They ended up was audible output at 25 Hz, but at a and warm and beautiful as it should be. about 2.5–3 feet from the monitor where greatly reduced volume; 20 Hz was audible, Horns came through clean and bright the magnets don’t effect the video tube but barely. I am considering whether or without being overwhelming. As any leaving them about 8´ apart and 7´ in not I will want to add a subwoofer just audiophile knows, the midrange is where front of my listening seat. I tried them for Home Theater sound. It certainly isn’t the “rubber meets the road,” so to speak. well away from the wall behind them (the necessary for music-listening, and my This is where the sounds being reproduced “front” wall), and pushed back to where fear is that, unless I buy a really good become music to your ears. The Paradigms’ the rears of them were within 6˝ of the subwoofer, that great tautness to the bass midrange driver does a nice job of wall (making the drivers about 2´ from would be hidden. Fortunately, my processor presenting the warmth and emotion of the wall), and they didn’t seem to care allows me to set up the subwoofer to the music (read below for more details much (other than a slight added warmth work only on “surround sound” audio, on that!) while still being honest with the to the bass response) either way in my and that would automatically eliminate information on the recording itself. If fairly “dead” approximately 18´ W by 12´ D its use for music (stereo-only) listening, there’s one criticism about the midrange by 9´ H listening room. I tried them so it is an option I am considering still. of the Studio/100s, it’s that at lower One thought though about the bass: I am volumes it is almost (but not quite, in my

PAGE 4 STUDIO/100 opinion) too laid-back; it’s not until you at higher volumes, perhaps just a touch source medium would allow, and the crank the volume up and give the too “easy” with the sounds. When played tones were about as neutral as one could Paradigms the wattage they demand that at near-live levels (which is as close as hope for in a speaker of this caliber. the midrange comes alive completely. At anyone can get within reason in their the higher volumes, the details of the homes—over 100 dB), the Paradigm’s recorded sounds begin to be heard clearly tweeters give out all of the information IMAGING: and the presence and “live-ness” of the necessary to let you visualize the brass sound (if appropriately recorded) wakes discs bouncing and ringing away when By “Imaging,” I mean a combination of up and gets your attention fully, although the drummer smacks them with his stick. “soundstage” and “precise location” of the sound never gets over-bright, and Horns (again from Stereophile’s Test CDs) instruments across the stereo presentation there is no detectable coloration. punch through the other music in a live- stage. I realize to many they are two like fashion, but again, only at the higher separate issues, but in my mind they “ … these speakers can volumes. Again, no coloration or overly- interrelate so completely it is impossible bright output was detected–after break-in. to totally separate them. For those who indeed image “beyond their want them separated, I’ll quickly describe location” … Up-front vocals them that way: Soundstage is excellent for FREQUENCY BALANCE: the size of the speakers and very good for are right in-your-face … any size. Location of instruments is very Background sounds (vocals, Sure, it plays bass, midrange and treble good, with a fairly precise, stable location fine, but do the three integrate together presented to most voices or instruments. echoes, synthesized effects) well? I pondered that question several The exceptions appear to be conditions while auditioning in the middle of on the source material rather than the the break-in period. On certain songs, I fall back behind and far to Paradigms. Now for my real evaluation, thought the bass was too heavy, slightly based upon the overall condition of the sides … The sense of obscuring the detail of the mid- and high- the imaging: depth imaging approached frequencies, then another song or another CD (or DVD) would be playing, and the the awesome on some bass was just perfect. At other times, I With recordings that were valid attempts to capture the true soundstage of a material simply blowing me thought the bass might be slightly weak, then another song or CD would convince recording, these speakers can indeed away with the effects … me otherwise. I never thought there was image “beyond their location,” (although any noticeable unbalance at the midrange- by only about 20-30% of the total sound- quite impressive.” treble area, however. After complete break- stage width, which is all one can expect in, (and switching to the “spiked” feet) I without using “tricks” of electronics or decided they were about right as far as acoustics–both of which I have enjoyed TREBLE: bass-to-midrange-to-treble was concerned. in the past, but ultimately found to be I don’t have the ability to measure unrealistic; for example: the Carver Sonic The aluminum-dome tweeter of the accurately the frequency response, so I Hologram Generator which was able to Studio/100 doesn’t show a trace of the have to take the graphs published by throw images completely out to the sides metallic-edge many of the aluminum- Paradigm and a handful of magazines as in an amazing effect, but only useful to domes of earlier years displayed. The fact. And those graphs show a pretty flat one person siftting in one “sweet” spot). treble is clean and dynamic, yet never (for a speaker) response across the 40 Hz Instruments in the far right or left appear strident (after the break-in, that is–right –20 kHz range, just like Paradigm says to be located beyond the speakers and out of the box, they lean toward bright) they are (Paradigm has a very large that location is stable, those “inside” or “metallic.”With solid-state electronics, anechoic chamber they use in evaluating (between) the speakers are stable as well the tweeter seems to have appropriate their speaker designs, and according to with accurate placement. Depth of the roll-off to keep away any brittleness or them, this was used in conjunction with soundstage is amazingly good with excessive brightness while still retaining listening tests to tweak the response of sounds ranging from well behind to sufficient detail. I haven’t heard them with the Studio/100s to the flattest sound. All well in front of the speakers. On the tubed amps, but it is possible one would I know is I couldn’t detect any signs of Stereophile Test CDs (again) where find them too “soft” for the already-rolled- consistent dips, unevenness, peaks or someone walks from side-to-side across off treble from the tube power output–if colorations anywhere across the audio the stage, talking or clapping or ringing you’re thinking of driving them thus, you spectrum–or at least that part of it a bell, there is the “acoustic phenomenon” should audition them carefully to see if my ears hear!). Voicing of singers or of turning the linear path into the this is true or not. Cymbals are clean and instruments seemed as natural as the “U-shape” that bends away from you ringing like they should, but again, until

PAGE 5 STUDIO/100 when they’re in the far left or right. I’ve completely to the sides of the listening soundstage, but possibly one which a never heard a speaker that didn’t do this, room, a full 180º apart, even though the classical-lover would find less awesome as “distance” to a microphone is translated effective angle from me to the speakers than that from a rock-pop-jazz into “depth” to the speaker–it’s just the was about 60º. The sense of depth presentation. For this reason, I’d have way these things work. But with the imaging approached the awesome on to repeat that the imaging of the Paradigms, the “U” is wider and the some material, simply blowing me away Studio/100s is good to very-good “legs” of the U (the farthest distances) with the effects. (I realize that such an overall, and even excellent for its size, are bent “outward” more than in most effect isn’t “natural,” or “real,” but it is as stated above. In all cases, imaging speakers (more like “\_/”). In other words, quite impressive, and the dramatic effect was stable and precise (where the when the person is to the far left in of this separation is delightful when it recording presented it that way), and actuality, they sound as if they are “back” works.) “Studio” jazz and rock record- thus, “very good.” and “slightly left” of the speaker instead ings sometimes were presented on a of just “behind” the speaker as is usually soundstage almost equivalent to the case. I understand that in the (huge, headphone listening or which rivaled DYNAMICS: expensive) high-end speakers, this effect what I used to hear with the Carver Sonic is more pronounced and therefore Hologram Generator, except that the This is a category which I think most considered a “better” soundstage, which “sweet-spot” for the effect was several directly relates to the sense of a “live” is why I say the Paradigms’ soundstage is feet wide in my listening room instead presentation when listening to recorded “excellent for the size” of the Studio/100. of the inches required by the Carver box. music. Live music is dynamic, and to make To all practical considerations, the Sitting off-center by a yard or so left the you “believe” that what you’re listening to Studio/100s offer imaging that is very effect intact, although the “far” side’s is a real musical event, recreating those good, precise and stable and one can effect was reduced in such a case. dynamics is important. Without spending easily separate instruments or vocalists a fortune in amplification and speaker who were sufficiently separated in the “Goosebumps: This is my most drivers, it isn’t possible to re-create the full recording. AlI of these comments relate dynamic presentation of a live band in to recordings that were intended to be “telling” test for a loudspeaker. your listening room, so what we get is “natural” in that they weren’t close- … Does the music “get to” an approximation in every case. The miked, studio-mixed, recording engineer’s “approximation” presented by the playthings. So what about such recordings me? Do I feel the emotion of Studio/100 is very, very good. When the which are inevitably out there, especially the song? Does my heart stir, volume is up and they’re getting double- in popular release? Read on. or triple-digits of watts driving them, they swell, ache or beat with punch through with correct speed and The Paradigm Reference Studio/100 authority. Again, I have given that loudspeakers seem to be made for close- excitement while listening …? “volume” qualification when describing miked, studio-mixed, “up-front,” and … When all else is said the sound of the Paradigms. I feel dynamic presentations, meaning “rock,” compelled to go more deeply into that “pop,” and “theater” music/sounds. With about a speaker, this is the subject here: These speakers are meant these types of recordings, the Paradigms first and final test which tells to be played at “solid” (meaning loud, but come alive and you with great not necessarily maximum –approximately sound and imaging (again, at higher me if the speaker is a “good” 25-100 Wpc on the peak hold Mac meters) volumes, which is the way to play this one … the Studio/100s listening levels. In all cases, playing them stuff anyway). When the engineers have at low levels doesn’t show what they are used their “gee-whiz” boxes in the studios passed – with flying colors!” capable of doing. I guess each potential to give that “artificial” ambience and purchaser of the Studio/100s will have to effects on the recording, the Studio/100s On the other hand, listening to “chamber decide if this is a plus or a minus to them. do an excellent job of imaging: Up-front music” or full orchestral passages gave a In my case, it’s a plus. If I want to vocals are right in-your-face, seemingly “good” soundstage/imaging effect. On turn the volume down and have just only a foot or two before you. Background such recordings, the soundstage was “background” music playing, the sounds (vocals, echoes, synthesized generally behind the speakers and spread Paradigms fall into the background and effects) fall back behind and far to the in about a 90º wide arc, with only an reproduce the sounds in a way that makes sides of the speakers (I even heard some occasional “lead” instrument (which was them clearly audible, but not attention- echoes, etc. on such recordings–but not probably close-miked) jumping out getting (which is what I mean by all of them, as it depended upon what the in front of the speakers. Listening to “background” listening!) But then, when engineer did in the studio–coming from “classical” recordings resulted in a good you want to “get into” the music and

PAGE 6 STUDIO/100 crank the volume up, they come alive way it has to for me to “believe” the music spike-locknuts if desired), there were and present you with all of being reproduced for me. This has less to subtle differences to these changes, and the detail and dynamics you’re looking do with “fidelity” than with “presentation” I think one could “tweak” these for the for. In my mind, that’s exactly what I of the music, but my point here is that precise sound you want–at least to want them to do, although some might with the Studio/100, you get both.The some degree. criticize their slightly-laid-back present- ability of the Paradigms to bring me into ation (and slightly subdued response) at the music was more than adequate in my I think one would have to spend at the lower levels, I don’t think anything opinion, and while they’re not the only least double the price to begin to find which is sufficiently “dynamic” at low speaker capable of that feat, they certainly something that is noticeably “better,” levels would be at all “listenable” at higher were able to do the trick. I was sifting in and even then, it might only be better ones. That’s my opinion and why I like the the “hot-seat,” listening to the song of the in one or two specific areas which might Paradigms, although they’re not alone by moment, thinking “Oh, my God!” It was not fully justify the price difference. any means in this set of characteristics. warm in the room, but the goosebump In some reviews I read, the reviewer chills wouldn’t go away easily, and almost claimed the Studio/100’s equaled or as soon as they had, they came back at the outperformed speakers in the 5-10- GOOSEBUMPS: next stirring moment of the recording. kilobuck range. My experiences with In short, the Studio/100s passed the these loudspeakers gave me no reason to This is my most “telling” test for a “Goosebump Test” with flying colors! doubt this claim. For a Home Theater loudspeaker (or a stereo system in setup, I suspect a subwoofer and matching general). Does the music “get to” me? Paradigm center and surround speakers Do I feel the emotion of the song? Does my CONCLUSION: would make the system a very satisfying heart stir, swell, ache or beat with one (although at present, that is not what excitement while listening to the music? The “bottom line” is, I am happy with I have running, so I’m just extrapolating). these speakers. They seem to be a good I hope this review makes it clear to you “fit” with my amplification (I would fear why I bought them over the other choices “ … I am happy with these overpowering them with a bigger amp, out there in Audio Land, and why I am speakers … one would and something less than 200 Wpc might not disappointed in that decision. not give you enough power to make have to spend at least them come alive), my room (a larger double the price to begin room, up to double the size might be the maximum that could be “filled” with the to find something that is sound from these speakers, a much smaller noticeably “better” …” room would be too small to let them “reach their stride”), and my tastes in When all else is said about a speaker, this music (mostly rock, jazz, folk and small is the first and final test which tells me if instrumental groups–seldom full orchestra the speaker is a “good” one or not. Several works, and I suspect this might be a slight times while auditioning these speakers— problem-area with the Paradigms for both in my Dealer’s showroom and in my Classical Buffs). For the price, I don’t know home–the songs that “get to” me, definitely how one could do significantly better “got to” me! (I don’t need to list them here than the Paradigm Reference Studio/100 for you, everyone has their own “buttons” loudspeakers. Listen to the rest of the that get pushed by different songs, and you Reference Studio series speakers as well know what those are for you, and that’s all –they have the same basic drivers in that matters.) When I heard those, I got slightly different arrangements and lesser goosebumps! I don’t mean just a little numbers, at lower price-points. While chill that quickly ran down my spine they sounded good no what (although I got that too). On some songs, variation of setup I tried, there were I had goosebumps on my arms and even subtle differences to straight vs. toe-in, on my legs, the hair stood up on the back feet vs. spikes, distance from front wall, of my neck and I even shivered as the bi- vs. single-wiring, etc. (I didn’t try emotion of the song washed over me, tilting them, but that would easily be involving me with the music in just the possible by careful adjustment of the