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Setup was a snap. The S6s ended up pretty much in the same two square feet that every speaker ends up in. The speakers ship with a set of removable rubber footers that were a blessing to obtain ideal position and toe-in. Once I was satisfied I swapped the rubber footers for the spikes, then ensured both speakers were perfectly level vertically and horizontally and got down to serious listening. I used a stethoscope to detect any untoward resonances. The speakers were remarkably inert with just a trace of vibratory action at the rear, not surprisingly right behind the drivers. None of this was audible from the listening position. Regarding cabinet resonances, I’ve never understood the notion of creating cabinets that are tuned to sound like an instrument. The instruments are already on the recordings. It’s them I want to hear, not my speaker cabinets. To me that’s distortion - adding something that wasn’t there to begin with.

Not having biwire cables I ran the S6 single-wired though I did swap out the stock jumpers for some custom-made DH Labs silver-plated copper wires terminated with Cardas spades which I preferred. Suggested break-in time is "several hours". Paradigm has actually measured the effects of break-in which every card-carrying audiophile knows exists. However their research shows that it doesn't take hundreds of hours like others suggest. Nevertheless, I let my obsessive-compulsive nature get the best and with my handy Isotek break-in disc ran in the Siggies for two days straight. Amplifier power was never an issue. My 30wpc Audiomat Opera Reference drove the S6 v.3s with ease. I’d say that 91dB sensitivity spec is probably accurate.

The Signature S6 v.3 was wonderfully transparent and easily one of the least colored most revealing speakers I have tried. This resulted in a crystal—no squeaky—clean presentation not unlike electronics with vanishingly low noise levels. But don’t confuse this transparency and clarity with thin and threadbare. There was plenty of weight and texture. Still, some might find this slightly dry or even cool. They might be right especially when compared to something like a Tannoy or Zu. Truth of timbre was spot on. Instruments sounded natural and correct. I heard an enormous amount of inner musical detail that was startling in its clarity, immediacy, transient snap and fluidity. Albums that usually have me searching for lyric sheets or librettos were easily intelligible. In other words they were an open window to the music. Sibilance, hash or grain was nonexistent unless on the recording. There was no sign of chestiness or nasality on vocals. I tried everything from Tom Jones to Maria Callas and could not find anything to kvetch over other than a hint of occasional coolness. At times I was somewhat overwhelmed by the amount detail. I was hearing so many new things in familiar albums that I struggled to keep up.

Furthermore poor recordings had nowhere to hide. A great but lousy sounding album like Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend [Volcano/Legacy 78549-2] was actually painful to listen to. The flat, thin and brittle quality of the recording was laid out on the vivisectionist table in excruciating detail. I’m a big fan of XTC but Andy Partridge’s over-processed vocals on the terrific Apple Venus Vol. 1 [TVT 3250-2] were more annoying and distracting than usual. However the various clever sonic effects and dense instrumental layers were wonderfully delineated and there was a real sense of forward motion.

Music projected clear of the enclosures. I wasn’t aware of the speakers at all. It’s not uncommon—usually on speakers with excessive phase shift or noisy cabinets—to hear certain frequency ranges and images shift to and fro the speakers. I’d listen to a solo violin for example and as it climbs up and down the registers, certain notes will suddenly emanate from the speakers rather than from the space between them. This ruins the suspension of disbelief. I end up more aware of the speaker’s sound rather than what’s on the recording. Here transition from one driver to the next was seamless. Try as I might, I couldn’t get a hint of anything emitting from a specific driver. The front-mounted port didn’t announce its presence either even at high levels.

Audiophile obsessions such as imaging and soundstaging were excellent with a good well-proportioned sense of space and precisely placed vocal and instrumental images. No 50’ wide pianos or anything overly etched or hyper real. Depth was quite good if not to the degree I get from my Green Mountain Audio Callistos or the larger Calypso. I also wouldn’t say the S6 was upfront or unnaturally aggressive but rather easy, relaxed and slightly laid back unless the recording was a sonic dog. Bass depth and weight were excellent and more than sufficient for small to mid-sized rooms. There was terrific articulation and pitch definition down low.

Bass notes came and went with little sense of bloat or overhang. Drums were full, real and visceral. The leading edge and sheer punch of kick drum were invigorating. The Signatures ably captured the lovely luxurious translucent singing tone of the Staatskapelle Dresden on such classic recordings as Karajan’s Die Meistersinger [EMI 5-67086-2] and Sir Colin Davis’s portrayal of Mozart’s latter symphonies [Philips 470-540-2]. High strings soared and seemed to go on forever with awesome extension and silkiness but no hint of edge or wiriness.