Paradigm Shows Concept, Demos Prestige

You couldn't even approach the Paradigm sound room without noticing the imposing Concept 4F speaker standing mutely outside.

Not yet in the ears-on stage, this hybrid active-passive tower has four 8.5-inch aluminum "balanced" woofers—which means two in front and two in back—plus a seven-inch midrange and one-inch tweeter, both pure beryllium. The balanced woofers are designed to eliminate internal vibrations and standing waves. The front and back woofers get 700 watts of internal amplification each while the amp of your choice has the easier job of running the mid and tweet. The Paradigm folks said a 30-watt tube amp has worked fine in practice. Sensitivity is rated at a high 97 dB. The speaker uses Paradigm's ARC room correction, which is defeatable with a switch on the back.

Paradigm also showed its three DTS Play-Fi wireless products, including two self-contained speakers, the 600 and 800, plus the PW Play-Fi amp (see link for prices). The 800 was demoed, and it sounded pretty clean and dynamic for a self-contained speaker, doubtless benefiting from ARC room correction.

The Atmos demo featured Prestige 95 towers, the 55 center, and Elite in-wall and in-ceiling speakers plus Anthem's new AVM60 processor. Bass was full and tight, the top end was crisp, and the system (total cost $35 grand) held up well under the dynamic challenges of the motorized assault of the new version of Max Max and the warplane battle of Unbroken.