Paradigm Reference Active/20 loudspeaker System & Setup
After some experimentation, I placed the active Paradigms about 45" from my listening room's rear wall (which is faced with books and LPs) and approximately 60" from the side walls (which also have bookshelves covering some of their surfaces). The three cylindrical pillars of each of the matching 25" AudioStream stands were filled to the brim with a mixture of lead shot and dry sand. Digital source was a Mark Levinson No.30.5 HDCD D/A processor driven by a Mark Levinson No.31.5 transport via an Illuminati AES/EBU cable, or by a Panasonic SV-3700 DAT recorder via Madrigal AES/EBU cables and a Meridian 518 jitter-reduction unit. A Mod Squad Phono Drive EPS was used to amplify LP signals from a Linn Sondek/Cirkus/Trampolin/Lingo/Ekos/Arkiv setup on an ArchiDee table. The preamplifier was the new Mark Levinson No.380S.
Other than for the phono preamp, the interconnects used were all balanced: first AudioQuest's AudioTruth Lapis X3, then Madrigal's CZ Gel-1. All source components and preamps used in my listening room were plugged into a Power Wedge 116 Mk.II, itself plugged into a dedicated AC circuit and fitted with the Power Enhancer option. The Paradigm speakers were plugged into the wall.
The speakers were broken-in by being placed face to face and driven out-of-phase with the "Special Burn-In Noise" track on Stereophile's Test CD 3.—John Atkinson