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Reviewer: Paul Candy
Financial Interests: click here
Digital Source: CEC TL51X transport, Audiomat Tempo 2.6 DAC, Windows XP based laptop, M2Tech hiFace USB-S/PDIF interface
Analog Source: Well-Tempered Lab Amadeus, Pro-Ject Tube Box SE phono stage, Ortofon Rondo Blue cartridge
Amps: Audiomat Opéra Référence integrated
Speakers: Green Mountain Audio Callisto (on sand-filled Skylan stands), 2 x REL Q108 Mk II subwoofers.
Cables: MIT Magnum M1.3 interconnects & speaker cables, MIT Magnum digital cable, Wireworld Equinox 6 interconnects & speaker cables, Sablon Audio Panatela interconnect [in for review]
AC Cables: MIT Magnum AC1, Wireworld Aurora 5² & Silver Electra 5², Sablon Audio Robusto & Gran Corona [in for review]
Stands: Grand Prix Audio Monaco four-tier rack on Apex footers with silicon nitride bearings
Powerline conditioning: BPT Pure Power Center with Wattgate, Bybee Quantum Purifier and ERS cloth options, GutWire MaxCon
Sundry accessories: Acoustic Revive RR-77, Auric Illuminator, Audio Magic/Quantum Physics Noise Disruptors, Caig Pro Gold, Echo Busters acoustic room treatments, Isoclean fuses, HiFi Tuning Disc Demagnetizer, Nitty Gritty record cleaning machine, Soundcare Superspikes (on speaker stands), dedicated AC line with Wattgate 381 outlet, CruzeFIRST Audio Maestro outlets [in for review]
Room size: 11 x 18 x 8’, long wall setup, suspended hardwood floors with large area sisal rug, walls are standard drywall over fiberglas insulation
Review component retail: $5.998/pr in Cherry; $6.598/pr in Piano Black.

Allow me to briefly transport you back thirty years ago to some ground-breaking research at the National Research Council (NRC) of Ottawa, Canada. The NRC is the Canadian Government’s principal research and development organization. It covers a wide range of disciplines like biotech, astrophysics, fuel cell innovation, transportation technology and nanotech. This organization has helped Canada become one of the top research and development leaders in the world.

One of their programs involved psycho-acoustic research led by Canadian physicist Dr. Floyd Toole. The point of this research was to determine what design criteria and measured performance were crucial to creating a good loudspeaker which a majority of listeners would prefer. Several young Canadian speaker designers worked with Toole and developed new speaker measurements and listening tests.

Many of these participants used the fruits of the research for their own products. Some even formed their own companies. Firms such as PSB, Axiom, API (Energy, Mirage, Sound Dynamics, and Athena), Harmon International (Revel, Infinity) and Paradigm used this data as the basis for their overall design methodology. My tax dollars helped design better loudspeakers? Cool!

While all this research produced a ton of interesting data, three aspects were found to be consistent in good-sounding speakers: wide bandwidth, low distortion and wide yet controlled dispersion. Having access to the NRC’s facilities and body of research gave many a budding domestic speaker manufacturer of limited means a huge advantage over foreign competitors who would require considerable investment to build their own equivalent testing facilities. To this day Canadians can access these facilities and data. Canadian-based online audio magazine site Soundstage! uses the NRC’s anechoic chamber and test equipment to measure speakers under review.

What I have found over many years of listening to speakers based on this research is a certain predictability/likeness in performance. To a certain extent I know what to expect. While I hear obvious differences between price-comparable models from Paradigm and PSB for example, the overall musical presentation is quite similar. To varying degrees I hear transparency, smoothness, openness and a wide stable listening area without any weird tonal shift regardless of where in the room I am. The specific differences I hear between them pales in comparison to speakers using very different design criteria such as Zu Audio or Harbeth.

Today Paradigm is the largest speaker manufacturer in Canada and also one of the largest in the world. They are predominantly known for high-value affordable products. Paradigm's speaker lineup is huge. It consists of several different series each with multiple models including home theater systems and a number of by all accounts impressive subwoofers. A few years ago Paradigm unveiled their statement Signature series. Essentially it contains everything their engineers learnt over 30 years in the business. The Signature S6 v.3 is in its third iteration and the second from the top in this premium or best line from Paradigm.