Speakers

Paradigm’s new $299 SE 1 Speaker Beats $1,000+ Model in Blind Listening Tests

At CEDIA Expo, Paradigm will showcase an affordable line of speakers that rivals some of the hottest brands in the business.


Paradigm SE 1 ($299 each) will debut at CEDIA Expo 2009
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Paradigm’s new $299 (each) SE 1 bookshelf speakers sound better than $1,000+ speakers from a marquis brand.

That’s the verdict from 50 CE pros (49 dealers + me) who participated in Paradigm’s blind listening test during a three-day training session at the company’s Toronto, Ont., headquarters last month.

During the test, 40 dealers selected the speaker that turned out to be the Paradigm SE. Six were split; three picked the expensive speaker and one picked the cheap one.

And our group was an outlier. Paradigm has conducted this particular listening test hundreds of times. In all, 492 picked the SE 1, six picked the expensive brand, and two picked the cheapies, according to marketing manager Mark Aling.

The test is all part of Paradigm’s effort to prep its new SE line for shipment, some time after CEDIA 2009 (Booth 3325), where it will demonstrate the product for the first time.

Paradigm performs these tests on all of its speakers from the most affordable Monitor series to the top-of-the-line Signature Series.

“We spend just as much energy on our entry-level products,” says acoustic manager Paul McLain.

Is the Listening Test Rigged?

Well, of course Paradigm’s speakers won the listening test. Paradigm conducted the tests!

Aling responds to this natural skepticism: “These are scientific tests. We use the same process with our own engineers. All of the speakers are level matched. They’re all coming out of the same source with the same amplification.”

Paradigm moves the three speakers around in its testing to eliminate potential biases in the position of the speakers.


  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]

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