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Thread: Mini Review: Paradigm Powered Atom speakers

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Seattle, WA
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Listener View Post
    I'm not sure why you are reacting to my earlier posts in this way. I remarked on the existence of powered speaker alternatives by which I meant both active crossover speakers and those with a passive crossover after the amplifier.

    I also remarked that I owned the Audioengine A5s and liked them. I made no comparison to the active Paradigm Atom speakers. I did not mention the price of the A5s in my first post and offered a clarification to your reference to the price as having gone up.

    I don't see that your remark about MSRP for the Paradigm speakers has much practical value to a consumer. Paradigm sells through dealers so the price a consumer pays will be what a dealer charges. Audioengine sells direct or through some internet based dealers at prices chosen by the sellers. It is up to the purchaser to decide whether a product seems to be good value and to decide whether he or she wants to buy from a dealer or from an internet based seller.
    Since this is a thread about Paradigm powered atoms, I assumed your mention of other speakers in $500 range and the brand you owned as competitive alternatives. In that light, I tried to do a comparison of the two based on what I could glean from the web site. To the extent they are different in some respects, it is useful information for folks reading this thread. If all was known to you, that's cool. We write for everyone else who is also reading these threads .

    My memory is that NHT used to recommend the S-00 subwoofer but it isn't listed on their website for sale now. If you were using some other NHT sub-woofer, I might learn how that that subwoofer worked with the M-00 monitors.

    As you may know, NHT as a company has been going through many changes. They shut down and then re-opened the company. So maybe they cut out the sub because it was not a money maker for them. I have not kept up with their recent going ons as I worry about the longevity of the company as few have survived such transformations.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by amirm View Post
    Paradigm announced a while ago the powered version of their Atom speaker ( Alas, it has long been delayed. But I had an opportunity to listen to them for a couple of hours.

    The product is being marketed under the subbrand "shift" which has their hip products such as headphones. In other words, the target market is younger crowd, introducing them to better sound.

    The units look just like the current Atom. Here is a picture of them if you have not seen them:

    But internally, the new unit has two 50 watt amplifiers in each speaker, one driving the woofer and the other, the tweeter. Despite all that, they are very attractively priced at $249 each.

    We hooked them up to our high-end music system which has the Berkeley DAC and such. This is in a large showroom so I expected the sound to be anemic. To my surprise, it was not. You could easily go as loud as you wanted. The bi-amp configuration keeps high frequency distortion under control so you don't get the traditional clipping effect with single (small) outboard amplifier.

    The bass performance was quite good. It was tight and belied the size of the speakers. That said, I would probably get a small sub to go with them for deep bass.

    I think the goal here for any speaker of this sort is to outperform the plastic junk speakers that are computer accessories. On that front, the mission is accomplished. These speakers sound better and look better than most offerings there.

    Our rep had a nice demo scenario. He plugged in the Apple Airport Express to the AC plug and then simply pulled out his iPhone (or was it iPod Touch?) and started to play music! The audio went out of the Express into the speaker input jack and that was it! Talk about a great way to play music at parties and such. And wonderful way to attract the new generation to better sound.

    For grins, we powered on our Mark Levinson 53 and Revel combo that is normally in that setting. Well, the difference was immense. The combo had so much less distortion and better fidelity. For $75K, I was relieved that it could do that . So this article is not about audio alchemy. The powered atom is about getting lots of sound for little money and not doing it in a cheaply looking and sounding device. If you have more money, you can do better. But for a compact device with no wires and so little money, it is a nice solution.
    Nice review, I bought one to use as my VOG channel. I tested it out on my desktop compared to the Paradigm Reference Active 20 as a stereo pair. The Active 20's cost $800 each. In comparison I would guess the active atom cost at least $400 each. It has a perfect timber match for my HT. You can see the white speaker pointing down on my sofa and the active 20 on the tall stand.

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    Last edited by witchdoctor; 11-05-2016 at 10:10 AM.

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