Surround Sound Speaker Systems

Paradigm Reference Signature S8v2, C5v2, ADP3v2 Speakers and Signature Servo Subwoofer

ARTICLE INDEX

In Use

I set the Paradigm system up in our home theater lab, with Denon players (one for SACD and one for Blu-ray movies), Denon AVP-A1HDCI SSP, and Classé CA-5200 power amplifier. Cables were Nordost.

I toed the S8s in slightly, the C5 on a stand in the middle, and put the ADP3s on shelves in the rear of the room. There were no shelves above the ADP3 speakers, and the shelves were about head-height.

I watched a number of movies using the Paradigm system and also listened to a lot of SACDs, such as those shown below. I was rewarded with some of the most breathtaking surround sound I have yet heard. It is great to finally have high resolution movie sound tracks, such as DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD, because speakers like these Paradigms thrive on high rez.

I cranked up the movies to say the least, and the Reference Signature v2 speakers can take any sound level you want to have it throw at you. Crystal clear, no chestiness, no boominess, no nasality, and no over-sibilance. I did configure them with the Audyssey Room Correction in the Denon AVP-A1HDCI, but most of the time, I just listened with Audyssey turned off. Frankly, the speakers sounded very neutral even with no room correction.

When watching action movies, the sound was never strained, and when listening to chamber music, each instrument came through with all of its delicate overtones.

The C5v2 is the largest center channel speaker I have had in the lab, and the payoff is delivery of sound that has tremendous weight and depth. Transition of sound that moved across the sound stage was smooth, no obvious change when the sound hit the center channel vs. the left or right front during the sound panning.

The ADP3v2s in the rear are something that your ears have to behold to believe. In fact, they are so good, I ran a little experiment. The S8s were about eight feet apart, so I placed the two ADP3s about three feet apart in the middle and played some two-channel SACD music. The ADP3s were good enough to use as front speakers, and the sound stage was absolutely huge. It sounded like the music was still coming from the farther apart S8s. For those of you who have small rooms, you might consider using a pair of these in the front instead of large direct radiating speakers. You will end up with a sound stage much larger than you can imagine. Of course, the subwoofer would still be required.

Speaking of subwoofers, the Paradigm Servo Sub produced amazing bass. The servo consists of a solid state accelerometer chip that is attached to the voice coil. It senses the movement of the cone and feeds electrical signals back to the power amplifier. The difference between what the power amplifier originally sent to the woofer driver and how the driver actually moved (the distortion) is inverted and fed back into the power amplifier circuit, cancelling the distorted movement.

Anyway, the Servo Sub is powerful enough to deliver any action sequence from any movie that I know of, but also of low enough distortion that it will play music without noticeable distortion that might otherwise ruin the musical experience.

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