Paradigm Atom review:

Paradigm Atom

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Tiny satellites with audiophile credibility; 0.75-inch dome tweeter and 5-inch woofer; wall-mountable.

The Bad The faux-wood veneer breaks the high-end spell.

The Bottom Line These spunky satellites set the performance benchmark for budget speakers.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.8 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 8.0

<p>Paradigm's awesome Atom speakers, which retail for a mere $189 per pair, have earned quite a reputation among aspiring audiophiles on a budget. While the Atoms don't cost all that much, a lot of effort went into their creation: Paradigm's engineers logged countless hours measuring prototypes in a special acoustic chamber, and the company invests a lot of time in scientifically controlled, double-blind listening tests. You're certainly getting a lot of bang for your buck. </p><p class="a2">The Atom's look is nothing fancy; the speaker is just a simple, 10-inch-tall, seven-pound box with a molded rear panel. You can get yours in light cherry, rosenut, black ash, or white laminate. The accountants saved a little money by making the Atom's grilles nonremovable. Oh well, at least it was a benign decision that didn't affect the speaker's performance or appearance.</p> <p class="a2">Paradigm recommends placing your Atoms so that their tweeters are at ear height and angled in toward the sweet spot (the listening position). The rear-mounted port nixes any possibility of jamming the sats into a bookcase, but you can wall-mount them with a pair of Paradigm's MB 60 swivel brackets, which will cost you $25. </p> <div id="incontent-ad-58ab9515806fc" class="ad-incontent-ad" data-ad="incontent-ad" > <script> window.console && console.log && console.log("ADS: queuing incontent-ad-58ab9515806fc for display"); var cbsiGptDivIds = cbsiGptDivIds || []; cbsiGptDivIds.push("incontent-ad-58ab9515806fc"); </script> </div> <p class="a2">The Atom is at the low end of Paradigm's Performance series. The Micro satellite is even more compact, while the Titan and the Focus are larger bookshelf models.</p> <p class="a2">The Atom's 0.75-inch dome tweeter is made of a ceramic-and-metal composite; its 5.5-inch polypropylene woofer has a die-cast frame. The key to the outstanding value of Paradigm speakers is the company's ability to make all the parts in Canada: by eliminating subcontractors' margins, Paradigm keeps the quality up and the prices down. In contrast, the vast majority of North American speaker manufacturers build their affordable models offshore.</p>

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