For all the spectacle and big talk, CES is a show of few surprises. But I have to say, I left Paradigm’s suite at the Venetian genuinely surprised.
Not by the company’s new Millenia LP on-wall speakers, mind you. They’re sexy, to be sure, and promise to deliver a rich level of midrange that’s missing from so many ultra-thin LCRs, but that’s exactly what you’d expect from Paradigm.
Nor was the company’s new PDR-W100 — its first wireless subwoofer — any great shock. As an undeniable industry leader in sub design, it’s about time the company introduced a wireless model, and the PDR-W100, with its 10-inch cone, 360 watts Dynamic Peak/120 watts RMS power, 29 Hz low-frequency extension, and $499 price point, is a solid and logical introduction.
No, the real shocker was Paradigm Shift, a new sub brand designed to broaden the company’s reach and appeal to a younger, more digitally connected audience with products specifically created for personal audio, PC and gaming. On display in the suite was the Active Atom, a bookshelf speaker “designed to be used alone, as a left/right audio system or in stereo pairs with devices such as iPods and other music players, desktop computers, home DJ decks, videogame consoles and so much more.” Each speaker boasts 100 watts of power, mini jack and RCA inputs, as well as a built-in interface for the Airport Express. Estimated pricing is $250 each, with a target ship date of sometime in the spring… but this is Paradigm we’re talking about, so don’t be surprised if that date slips a little while the company tinkers to the point of perfection.
Not on display, but announced nonetheless, were plans to expand the Paradigm Shift line with earbuds and headphones in the $79 to $299 price range, as well as ultra high-quality gaming headsets. I’m not even going to mention the projected street dates for those, because I don’t believe a word of it, but you can bet I’ll be begging for the first review samples!