Paradigm: Legend v.3 Home Theater Speaker System Page 4

I was favorably impressed by the Paradigm ADP-170 v.3 surround speakers. They did a great job of conveying the ambient and spatial cues that pepper the soundtrack of Unbreakable (Vista Series) - as far as I'm concerned, that's job No. 1 for the surround channels of any movie soundtrack. For example, in the opening scene, the train and tunnel noises were believably enveloping, yet the train rushed by with sufficient precision for a fully realistic effect.

Even though they're dipoles, the ADP-170 v.3s also did a nice job conveying discrete sound effects. Toward the end of Unbreakable, there's a scene in which Bruce Willis falls into a pool and thrashes about while tangled within a pool cover. The underwater swishings included a number of gurgles "hard-panned" into the surround channels, but they didn't pull the ear excessively rearward - which is a good thing.

As expected, the dipole surrounds didn't deliver the crisp localization that direct-radiating speakers can give discretely located instruments in multichannel music recordings. For instance, the banjo in the left surround that helps open "When Joy Kills Sorrow" on Béla Fleck's The Bluegrass Sessions DVD-Audio disc didn't sound quite as focused and natural as the fiddle that's heard in the front right speaker - but it didn't sound bad, either. Overall, it's a tradeoff I'm happy to make, and one I would endorse for anyone whose first priority is movies rather than music.