Product Review - Paradigm CC-350 Center Channel Loudspeaker - August, 1998 Brian Florian
Paradigm - a Canadian Company - has been a key player in the "bang for your buck loudspeaker" field since 1982, and they continue to generate good press with a recurring theme: Value. As you will see, their key center channel speaker, the CC-350, keeps the faith well. Why review a center channel speaker by itself? Because the center channel gets most of the audio signal, so it is VERY important!
The CC-350 gets its drivers from the continually evolving Paradigm
Monitor series. The exact same Titanium tweeter and a size variant of the mid/bass unit
can be found in no less than seven different Monitor models, one dipolar surround model,
and of course the LCR-350, the CC-350's upright mates. This makes the
CC-350 an extremely versatile recommendation for Paradigm to combine with any of its main
line speakers. Replacing the CC-300 as Paradigm's staple center, the 350 did more than
just update the driver technology. It benefits from better looks by abandoning the
"square box" appearance for the sculpted edges and seemingly continuous grille
cloth, giving it a slightly more at-home look when on top of the TV. The translucent
driver material is also very mesmerizing, and it permits you to witness the diecast frame,
an all too rare feature in this price range. Few can blindly detect the ringing artifact
of a stamped steel frame (I confess I am not among these chosen), but the pleasure of
knowing it is in check goes a long way. It should go without saying that this speaker,
like its LCR counterparts, is magnetically shielded.
Keeping with this affordable theme, I tested the CC-350 primarily with a pair of Paradigm Mini-Monitors up front and a pair of their respected Titans for the rear channel, all of which were supported by one of the company's PS-1000 Subs. A Yamaha RX-V592 provided the signal for the majority of the evaluation. AudioStream AC-50 Speaker Cable and UltraLink Discovery interconnects were used throughout. Source components were numerous.
I found the 350 to be tight, fast, and above all, neutral. It never
jumped out and called attention to itself (a good speaker shouldn't). The 350 does not add
its own character to the sound, whether it be dialogue, music, effects, or all of these at
once. Its response drops noticeably below 70 Hz, but that is typical for a center channel
speaker that fits on top of a TV, and a center is always accompanied by mains and usually
a subwooferl. For those who like the "wide" mode on their processor, feel free.
The two 6.5" drivers will accept the signal without distress, even though it does not
voice the deepest frequencies that the amplifier may be sending to it.