Soundbar

Paradigm Shift Soundtrack 2 (Soundbar and Subwoofer) Review

ARTICLE INDEX

Design and Setup of the Paradigm Shift Soundtrack 2

Consisting of the proverbial bar plus base module, the system arrives in an ample box with all the pieces well protected in good quality (and recyclable) #6 styrene.

The bar itself takes on a tall but thin stature.: Wall mounting is facilitated by supplied brackets while for placement on a surface a pair of snap-in feet are provided. Behind a removable, magnet fastened grill we find a decidedly sensible driver compliment: a strait forward left/right channel arrangement. Working from the outside in, each channel consists of a 1” dome tweeter, 4” poly cone midrange, and 4” poly passive radiator.: These are driven by TI TAS series Class D amp chips. The exact model is not disclosed but Paradigm quotes the power as “2 x 25watts RMS” (25watts being asymmetrically shared between the tweeter and woofer which each have their own channel off the amp chip). On the back, in addition to the requisite power cable jack we find an optical digital S/PDIF type input, and both RCA and 3.5mm type stereo analogue inputs. A woofer output is also provided. On the top of the bar control facilities include the power button, vol+/-, input select, and woofer sync.

The woofer unit has a unique, sculpted profile to it. For horizontal placement, rubber feet are provided, for vertical a plastic stand. The ported enclosure is mated with a single 8” poly cone driver powered by another TI class D chip, this one quoted as “100 Watts RMS”. Anecdotally there is precious little internal volume and even less potential for air displacement so clearly some DSP is at work, something we will delve into later.: The crossover to the soundbar is specified as 130Hz nominal so the only control facility on the unit is a solid old-school gain knob.: There is also a tiny “wireless/wired” selection switch: the woofer unit is designed with a wireless connection to the soundbar, though a wired option is also provided. The wireless connection we are told incurs 10ms latency (roughly equivalent to the sub being 10 feet further back from the soundbar). This is likely of little consequence given the fixed crossover and lack of any sort of phase or time alignment control, but the wired option is there for completeness.

The remote is actually one of the more visceral changes in this 2nd iteration of the Soundtrack. With it Paradigm has eshued the credit card sized mushy button version for something a little more substantial. Facilities include power, Vol+/-/mute, input select, Bluetooth select, Play/Pause/Forward/Back, and Movie/Music mode select.: You can of course teach the Paradigm codes to a learning remote if you have one, though the Soundtrack 2 can also be taught the codes from your existing remote: a couple of button presses and the Soundtrack 2 will respond to your TVs remote instead of its own (at which point the Soundtrack 2 will no longer respond to the corresponding code from its own remote). This can be a double edge sword in that some TVs (like our Sharp) can't not respond to their own remote code so your millage may vary. Interestingly, on our stand, the Soundtrack 2 was just tall enough that it blocked the TVs IR receiver making it work despite the Sharp’s shortcoming in this respect.

Paradigm has elected to use an Intersil D2Audio DAE-3 SoC for the Soundtrack 2 which handles all the bistream decoding, audio processing (including crossover), and outputs PWM to the Class D amps. Paradigm has customized it with DSP routines similar to what they have done on their other Shift brand products, namely EQ’ing out both electrical and mechanical non-linearity's, output limiting and compression routines, as well as Paradigm’s own take on “virtual surround”.

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