New Speaks: Paradigm Atom V4


Paradigm Atom V4. Not much to see, really

Paradigm Atom V4. Not much to see, really

I picked these up off of the local Craigslist at a very nice price. My intention is to hang them in my basement and use them as my rear surround speakers for the HT.

I don’t know much about Paradigm, other than that they make a long line of nice speakers that start at very reasonable prices and get quite expensive. There are lots of them on my local Craigslist and some are quite pricey.

The Atoms here are one of their smallest models. They are maybe 11″ tall and 7″ wide and weigh less than 5lb each. They have MDF enclosures with a black ash finish (vinyl or veneer, can’t tell) with a molded plastic back and non-removable cloth grilles on the front which hide a tweeter and 5.25″ woofer. I think new they cost about $200/pair retail. I also read that after the V4s the V5s became part of the ‘monitor’ series and were EQ’d differently, with a cutoff around 80hz with the expectation that they would be tied in to a subwoofer.

I guess that these go down to about 50hz, though while the enclosure is rear-ported the speaker’s small size means that there’s not likely much juice down that low. When I originally demo’d them through the Yamaha CA-1010 I’m playing with that assessment held – good sound but missing that lower octave. The bass that’s there, mid- and upper bass, is good and well-resolved. I really couldn’t tell that much in my short initial demo.

A couple days later I perched them on top of my modified Polk Monitor 7Bs and did some A/B tests through my Pioneer VSX-823K, along with my B&W ASW600 sub. Pairing the Paradigms with the sub, I thought, would allow them to focus on their strengths and me to determine how they performed in my typical 2.1 setup.

On top of the Polks and a few inches from the wall may not be the ideal placement for the Paradigms but they did a good job. Integrated with the sub, they provided a pretty seamless sound spectrum. There was however a strange resonance or honk in the midbass. I don’t know whether that was from the speakers themselves, the placement, or some resonance from sitting on the Polks. But it was noticeable.

Overall however I really liked them. The tweeters shine a little brighter than the Polks’ Peerless, which is not surprising given the Peerless’ laid-back character. Imaging was more precise than the Polks but the soundstage was very similar. I am also experimenting with speaker placement and toe-in which heavily influences these things so my impressions are not totally definitive, but I can say that the Paradigms, despite their small size, filled my room with very good sound and didn’t give up much to the Polks, which are much bigger and carry a lot more ammunition in the form of a massive 10″ passive radiator.

The Paradigms will serve excellently as my rear surrounds. I’m actually a tiny bit sad that I’m going to hang them back there and not really enjoy them to their full potential – they have a lot to give. They are also piquing my interest in trying more small-size monitors for my front surrounds and 2-channel music listening – I continue to be impressed with the accuracy and quality of modern smaller 2-way speakers, and I feel that a good and well-integrated sub negates the need for full-range speakers, at least for my purposes.


~ by silverfacestereo on April 21, 2014.

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