Bookshelf Speakers

Paradigm Signature S2, Version 3 Bookshelf Speakers and Anthem Integrated 225 Amplifier


Design and Setup

The Signature line is the pinnacle of Paradigm’s lineup and in person it certainly looks that way. The S2s arrived in their piano black finish looking wonderful, though they are an absolute magnet for fingerprints. The S2 is made up of a 1 inch Beryllium dome tweeter and a 7 inch bass / midrange made of Cobalt-Infused Anodized Pure-Aluminum that crosses over at 1.8 kHz. The speakers are relatively easy to drive with a 91db in-room sensitivity and 8 ohm nominal impedance, allowing you to use even a tube amp and obtaining decent output levels. The speakers were larger than I expected them to be when I removed them and certainly solid at a hefty 28 lbs. each. I removed each from their box and set them atop my Sanus Ultimate Foundation speaker stands.

As much as the weight of the S2s was surprising, the Integrated 225 was a completely different beast. The last integrated amp I had reviewed had been a Class D model that was fairly easy to pack around, but trying to move the box for the Anthem let me know that I was back to Class A/B again. Unpacked, this monster weighs in at almost 43 lbs. and a peek under the hood lets you quickly see why. A good-sized toroidal transformer is inside, along with two massive Nichicon filter capacitors in the middle of the board. Two massive heatsinks, one per channel, are visible through cut-outs in the bottom of the chassis which add to the weight, but also allow it to run without any fans to dissipate heat and interfere with the music.

The Integrated has a good selection of inputs as well, with 5 pairs of gold plated RCA inputs, a MM phono input, and a pair of XLR inputs. There are a pair of line level outputs for connecting to a recording device or to an amplifier, and two pairs of binding posts that will accept bare wire, bananas, and most spade lugs. There is also a an RS232 port, 12V triggers, and IR ports for easy integration with all control systems. The included remote has a nice rubberized surface with a nice feel to it and can be programmed to control your source devices in addition to the 225.

Setting up the Integrated was a nice change from a receiver or processor, as I simply connected the two channel sources I would be using over analog (MMF-2.1 and Clearaudio Concept turntables, Sony XA-5400ES SACD player, Oppo BDP-83SE and 95 Universal players, Olive 03HD Music Server), connected the speakers to their binding posts, and was ready to go. I positioned the speakers with the front tweeters 3 feet away from the back and side walls, with around 7 feet between them, and around 7 feet from my listening couch, with the speakers toed in.