I’m pretty familiar with Paradigm Loudspeakers, having heard various models from this Canadian company over the years I’ve spent on the edge of the AV game but I wasn’t really expecting a range of computer and portable audio products to be announced.
On reflection, I don’t quite see why this took me by surprise. Computer audio is a growing segment, especially at the audiophile level where enthusiasts want better desktop sound quality than they can get from $5 plastic speakers and the USB DAC segment is going ballistic. As far as portable audio goes, there are untold millions of people wandering around listening to their portable players via the earphones that were shipped with said devices (horror of horrors, it’s true), so that’s another market that’s open for tapping, albeit one that’s now being focused on by every company capable of producing or outsourcing a set of ‘phones.
Paradigm’s Shift range covers powered desktop speakers, gaming headsets and earphones with headphones coming soon. I’ve got two of the three available pairs of earphones in for review at the moment, having grabbed the top of the range E3m and the ‘entry level’ E1 models ($249 and $89 respectively). The midrange E2m version sells for $169.Each set of ‘phones has been tuned to a specific range of Paradigm loudspeakers – the E1’s are modeled after the more affordable Series 7 Monitor range, the E2m’s are voiced to reflect the sound of the Studio series, while the characteristics of the E3m model are pointed at the Signature series speakers. I always get a bit nervous when any audio product besides a subwoofer is branded as having extra bass, mega bass, bass boost or any kind of extra-special bass. The Paradigm Shift ‘phones all get attention in this area, going from HD Bass through HD Deep Bass to HD Intense Bass but I’ll refrain from editorialising until I’ve spent some quality time with both sets – I wouldn’t expect a loudspeaker company that prides itself on flat frequency response to get carried away in this area though.
I’ve also had a very brief look at the A2 powered desktop speakers and the finish is immaculate but that’s to be expected from what are definitely premium products ($499 or $549 each depending on the finish). Drivers are a 1” aluminium dome tweeter and a 5.5” aluminium mid/bass driven by a 50 watt amp in each speaker, aided by Digital Signal Processing (DSP). A review on these units will be forthcoming in due time.
For more information on Paradigm Shift, contact the local agents at www.pqimports.co.nz