Paradigm Atom Monitor v.5 loudspeaker Manufacturer Comment

Manufacturers' Comment

Editor: We'd like to thank Wes Phillips and Stereophile for the extensive and thoroughly enjoyable review of our latest incarnation of the Paradigm Atom, the Atom Monitor v.5. Reading Wes's comments as he auditioned the Atom serves as a great reminder of why we're all in this business. The joy that comes from listening to a great performance reproduced in our homes by a high-fidelity system was clearly evident in Wes's enthusiasm during the product review.

But it was his comment that the sound of the Atom "was what the High End is all about" that really strikes the important chord. Our goal as an industry has got to be to expose more people to high-end sound, and this can happen only at prices that make sense to non-enthusiasts. And we all know that, once bitten by the audiophile bug, they are led down that path, because once someone has been exposed to high-end sound, there's no going back. How many times have we all thought, "They just don't know what they're missing!" Once exposed to them, a $5000/pair of loudspeakers makes perfect sense, but to the uninitiated, well, we must all be crazy. You can't get people started down the path if they can't justify the cost to enter. The Atom was designed to expose people to high-end sound at a price that makes sense to not-yet-audiophiles.

Another aspect of making high-end sound available to a larger audience means making affordable speakers that are also compatible with less-than-audiophile-quality electronics. In John Atkinson's "Measurements" section, he correctly notes that "the little Atom is surprisingly sensitive" (actually, a full 3dB more efficient than the PSB it was being compared with). Over three years of extensive R&D went into the creation of the new Monitor v.5 super-drive(tm) driver technology, with the goal of producing products with ultra-high efficiency to allow for "surprising" output and fidelity even with receivers and amplifiers with modest power ratings (the kinds of electronics soon-to-be enthusiasts are likely to use). As we all know, up until now, audiophile sound and high efficiency have often been mutually exclusive.

Notwithstanding JA's comment that the Atom v.5's "in-room balance is extraordinarily flat," Stereophile has taught us for years (and founder J. Gordon Holt reminded me on several occasions in my earlier days in the industry) that what we hear is what matters, and that if measurements dictate design, true fidelity and the enjoyment that comes with it will surely suffer. Designing cost-no-object loudspeakers (such as our Paradigm Reference Signature products, at about 20 times the Atom v.5's cost) is very different from designing highly affordable loudspeakers like the Atom. Tradeoffs have to be made, and the true art of speaker design is trading off things that don't matter for the things that do. Even though Paradigm has the most advanced R&D facility in the world for loudspeaker design, with the most advanced measurement facilities and techniques, it is the listening-room results that ultimately determine a speaker's final design. Wes's comments, based on listening, are the proof that this is what matters most—measurements alone can't tell the story, and often tell the wrong story. We have proven this time after time in our lab, and the design of the Atom is no exception.

Lastly, although the Atom makes a great full-range speaker system for listening at reasonable levels in a room of reasonable size, the addition of a powered subwoofer and a high-pass crossover will turn the Atom system from "polite" into "hold on to your hat." And, of course, the Atom is the smallest model in the new Monitor v.5 series; the larger models add the extra output and bass that larger rooms and higher levels demand.

Thanks again for your enthusiastic endorsement of the Atom Monitor v.5.—Jack Shafton, Director of Sales & Marketing, Paradigm Electronics

Paradigm Electronics Inc.
11-919 Fraser Drive
Burlington, Ontario L7L 4X8
(905) 632-0180