- Core: all MIA, premium woods, carves, and hardware
- S2: great quality wood, cheaper parts, no-name pickups like the SE's
- SE: MIK imports
- SE Standard: MII imports
The Core series, IMO, are amazing guitars. Everyone I've seen and handled has been flawless and played and sounded amazing. I love them. They are, however, $3000+ guitars, so they should be fantastic.
The S2 series are MIA, however they're very much "SE" in appearance, as most already know. They're well-built, have decent quality woods, are resonant, and sound good. They do come stock with nice locking tuners, better-than-SE nut, though similar sounding pickups.
The SE's we are already all familiar with, and the Standards are really solid, G&L import quality MII guitars.
The S2's are an interesting bridge for someone who wants an American made PRS, but doesn't want to/can't swing $3000+. The Mira is awesome, as are the other mainstream derivatives. The problem I have with them is this: they start at $1400, more or less. The top end 30th Anni CU24 SE is $760, and yet the latter is an amazing guitar.
To me, the S2 series really is exactly like an American SE, in every measure, save the nut and tuners. Once those are swapped on an SE CU24, you've got S2 quality, for still a lower price.
So for me, I'm conflicted. I think the S2's are well built, play great, and sound great. They still need new pups though. However, the SE's are also well built, play great, and sound great, and anecdotally seem to get better every year in terms of quality and consistency.
That's my takeaway, based on my experience with these lines. I still covet a Core CU22, but even with my discount, damn they're expensive!