Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

Have You Seen?


Here's what I was thinking earlier today: The life of a full-time audio writer can be pretty great because of all the cool gear we review. What's more, you actually look forward to the doorbell ringing because chances are it's UPS, FedEx, or some other delivery service dropping off something new. The only downside to this gig is that you have to unpack and repack this stuff, which can be a hassle. But that's a small price to pay, particularly when a day is as inspiring as mine was today.

Paradigm Inspiration boxes

This morning my doorbell rang at 10:30 a.m. -- it was FedEx dropping off a pair of Paradigm Reference Inspiration stand-mounted loudspeakers. These aren't ordinary Paradigms, but a special anniversary model created to celebrate the company's 30 years of being in business. This and the floorstanding Tribute are the only two models in this line, and they're both being made in limited-edition runs (300 pairs of Inspirations and 200 pairs of Tributes, from what the reps there tell me). Furthermore, they're being made entirely in Canada, including the cabinets, which makes the pride of ownership for these models that much higher than if they came off an assembly line in the Far East. The Inspirations sell for $1299.99 each, while the Tributes sell for $2999.99 each.

Speakers in CR-V

You'd think that the first thing I would do is unpack the Inspirations and set them up in my listening room. You'd think. But what I did was immediately haul both boxes into the back of my Honda CR-V and drive to Canada's National Research Council (NRC) so that they could be measured in the chamber right away. The folks at Paradigm told me they were already well broken in, so it was the most efficient thing to do.

Paradigm Inspiration in chamber

After they were measured, I brought them home, but I still didn't listen to them right away. Instead, I set the pair up on the floor of my unfurnished living room (aka my kids' playroom) and shot pictures of them to show some of the features here (see gallery below). The Inspiration is a really nifty speaker that certainly shares a family resemblance with Paradigm's other models, but it also has some features that no other Paradigm model has, including a special finish that the company calls Dark Garnet Gloss. Look for a full review of this speaker to show up in SoundStage! Hi-Fi in June.

Doug Schneider
Publisher, The SoundStage! Network