Paradigm Reference Review
P R O D U C T
review
“
STUDIO/20 • STUDIO/CC
S T U D I O / A D P • S E RV O - 1 5
…transparent imaging,
t i m b r a l a c c u r a c y, d e p t h , p r e c i s i o n
and
SHEER POTENCY…”
Reprinted with permission from
The New STUDIO/20
by Éric Lavoie
“… these speakers
performed far beyond
what they cost. … This
is, without a doubt, a
high-end system that offers
tremendous value over the
competition – it is destined
for a brilliant future.”
M
ore than any other Canadian speaker
manufacturer, Paradigm Electronics
is well on its way to carving out a niche in
the international Home Theater market
because of the value it places on the
research and development of its products.
At the last Sound and Image Festival
in Montréal, attendees were given a
demonstration of the impressive
Paradigm® Reference line of speakers,
and they could see that the company’s
expertise easily rivals other big
international names.
For this review, Paradigm gave us a
complete set of Paradigm® Reference
speakers that are sure to please the
uncompromising Home Theater lover
who demands serious surround sound
with spectacular, ultra-low bass, and who
refuses to give up sound quality or have
his listening room invaded by huge
boxes. This system uses a pair of small
Studio/20s and a center-channel CC-450
VOL. 4, NO. 3
(Improved over version
reviewed for even
better sound.)
for the fronts, a pair of ADP-450
surrounds for rear effects and a
Servo-15 powered subwoofer.
Unusually, the surround speakers
cost more than we’d normally
expect. Until now, with Dolby®
Pro Logic, surround channels were
neither discrete nor did they utilize
a full bandwidth. To date it has been
rare to see the price of the surrounds
surpass that of the fronts. This is,
however, the case here, and recent
developments in the
digital encoding and
decoding of movie
soundtracks seem to justify
the price difference—with the advent of
AC-3 and DVD players, surrounds that
aren’t bandwidth-limited merit as much
attention as the fronts. This kind of price
shift will likely become the norm as movie
sound engineers make more use of DVD’s
surround potential.
STUDIO/20 • STUDIO/CC • STUDIO/ADP • SERVO-15
“The dialogue was crystal clear,
the spatial representation was
superb with a heightened
sense of realism, and
this system never left an
impression of overloading or
confusion, even in passages
bursting with sound.”
enclosure construction. The highfrequency driver has a 25-mm aluminum
dome with treated textile suspension
that uses a ferro-fluid cooled aluminum
former and good-sized magnets. The
driver’s aluminum chassis dissipates heat
while promoting wide sonic dispersion.
The bass/midrange driver’s cone, suspended
in a robust aluminum chassis, is made of
mica-loaded polymer (giving it low mass
and high stiffness). This assembly uses an
oversized magnet and a high-temperature,
multi-layer voice coil. The enclosure is
made from high-density hardboard and
forms a very rigid reinforcing structure
filled with damping material. Finally, it’s
worth noting that all these speakers come
equipped with two pairs of superb-quality
“five-way” binding posts that permit
bi-wiring and bi-amplification.
The ADP-450 surrounds are a pair of
2-way, 4-driver adapted dipole speakers.
An identical pair of drivers is placed in
the front and the back of the enclosure,
ensuring a much more dispersed and
reverberant soundfield than can be
achieved with a front radiating speaker.
This configuration also makes the speaker
much harder to detect by ear. The two
types of drivers in the CC-450 are also
the same as the ones in the fronts—this
similarity between elements, combined
with these surrounds, makes for hyperrealistic effects that seamlessly travel
from front to back.
“ … the extraordinary
Servo-15, whose lowfrequency extension makes
a movie not only a visual
and aural experience, but
also a physical one.”
The three fronts look sharp, have impeccable finishes, and are available in a
number of laminate and wood veneers.
To the left and right sit the Studio/20s,
on optional elegant metal stands. Their
companion, the CC-450, responsible
for dialogue, is a magnetically shielded
center-channel speaker that is designed
horizontally to prevent the formation of
standing waves that can color sound. Just
like the Studio/20, the CC-450 is a 2-way
speaker but it adds a supplemental
bass/midrange driver.
Like all Paradigm® Reference speakers, the
Studio/20 and CC-450 are timbre
matched. They use similar drivers,
similar crossover points and the same
Our test system arrived with the Servo-15
active subwoofer, the newest Paradigm®
Reference speaker. Brought to market in
the early part of 1997 it has an internal
volume of 97 litres, is powered by a
400-watt RMS amplifier and has a
15˝ driver that risks waking up the
neighbours. In fact, it’s capable of
The New STUDIO/CC
(Improved over version
reviewed for even
better sound.)
SERVO-15
PAGE 2
reproducing bass down to an
unbelievable 14 Hz at a level of 90 dB.
Not for the faint of heart! The Servo-15
takes its name from the “Servo Controller
Comparator Circuit” system that checks
the output of the subwoofer against the
input signal and makes the necessary
corrections. The circuit acts directly and
instantaneously on the speaker cone to
enable more precise bass reproduction
and to eliminate audible
distortion. Finally, contrary
to what you normally find
in this type of system, the
Servo-15 relies on an external
control unit, the X-30, with
three controls. The first
allows phase correction, the
second sets the crossover
frequency, and the third
changes the subwoofer
The New STUDIO/ADP
level according to the
(Improved over version
listener’s taste and the
reviewed for even
type and the size of the
better sound.)
listening room.
All it takes is a few minutes to get a
good idea of the acoustic and imaging
qualities of this system. The stand-out
has to be the extraordinary Servo-15,
whose low-frequency extension makes a
movie not only a visual and aural
experience, but also a physical one. You
feel the explosions in your chest … more
so than in the theater! Furthermore, for
transparent imaging, timbral accuracy,
depth, precision, and sheer potency, these
speakers performed far beyond what they
cost. The dialogue was crystal clear, the
spatial representation was superb with a
heightened sense of realism, and this
system never left an impression of overloading or confusion, even in passages
bursting with sound. This is, without a
doubt, a high-end system that offers
tremendous value over the competition—
it is destined for a brilliant future.
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