Surround Sound Speaker Systems

Paradigm Mini-Monitor 5.1 Speaker System

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

The system was selected to fit within a budget constraint of $2,000, so can be considered a very reasonable mid-level system for someone looking to fill out a home theater system. The system is comprised of the Mini Monitor, CC-190, ADP-190 and DSP-3100. The entire Monitor line is available in a selection of finishes including: cherry, rosenut, black ash and wengé. The DSP subwoofer line is only available in black, and the ADP line is optionally black or white. My system was provided in the rosenut finish. As would be expected in the price range, it is an MDF cabinet with a faux woodgrain applique.

I distinctly recall looking at the first iteration of the Titan with its polypropylene woofer. A white woofer seemed such a peculiar thing, why not black like everyone else? The Titan was certainly not in the price range where you could get away with whimsy while espousing the acoustic benefits of such. After almost two decades of white woofers, it would seem strange to see anything else gracing the front of a Paradigm. The Monitor line has since moved beyond the polypropylene cones to what is presumably a higher performing co-polymer. There is little detail as to the composition of the co-polymer but it is christened the M-ICP, short for Minimum-Mass Injection-Molded Co-Polymer. The entire Monitor line utilizes M-ICP drivers for the mid or mid/bass. Dedicated bass drivers in the larger speakers use carbon-infused polypropylene cones. The same H-PTD (High-Efficiency Pure-Titanium Dome) tweeter is used across the line. The shared tweeter designs between the models in the line should result in tonal consistency throughout the lineup.

The Mini Monitor is third largest bookshelf speaker in the lineup, but I would hesitate to characterize the speaker as large. The Mini Monitor is built with a 6 ½" mid/bass and the aforementioned 1" H-PTD in a bass reflex enclosure. The center and surrounds are the smallest within their respective lines.

Although, I would like to note that the CC-190 is one of the larger center channels I have tested. Given the number of drivers that Paradigm stuffs into the CC-190, the size is understandable. The CC-190 is a 4-driver, 3-way bass reflex design. Given the driver count, it is obviously not a standard MTM or D'Appolito array. Rather, the CC-190 positions the mid and tweet at the centerline of the speaker, vertically aligned. The vertical mid/tweet array is flanked by two bass drivers. Given the content, and directional considerations of mid versus bass frequencies, it would seem a good array configuration.

The ADP-190 maintains the same basic configuration and design of its predecessors while incorporating the new drivers. It is a dipolar mid/tweet array housed in a molded cabinet. The driver arrays are angled somewhat relative to each other, which one might think would reduce the dipolar effect somewhat as the radiation patterns could be misaligned. Further consideration of the design leads me to think the angle has been introduced to account for the boundary effects of the wall. A strong reflection off the wall should be evident when a driver fires coplanar with the wall in such close proximity. The slight angle away from the wall should mitigate some of the reflections and potentially allow for a cleaner overall output by reducing the ratio of early reflections to direct output from the driver.

Rounding out the system is the DSP-3100. The subwoofer line has been overhauled over the past several years, with the PS and PW lines having been phased out in favor of the DSP line, and the addition of the SE and UltraCube lines. Recently, as well, the Perfect Bass Kit has expanded its support of the subwoofer lineup to include the DSP series. Regrettably, I did not have access to a Windows machine to run the necessary software. The DSP-3100 is the smallest unit the DSP series, with a single 10" driver. The cabinet is a bass reflex design with a prominent pair of flared ports on the front of the unit. The subwoofer driver receives its own material acronym Advanced CAP, short for Carbon Aramid-Fiber Polypropylene. The reinforced polymer is touted to have a high stiffness to weight ratio. Carbon fiber and aramid (aka Kevlar) are certainly commonplace in applications requiring a high stiffness to weight ratio. The subwoofer is powered by a Class D amplifier.