Paradigm Titan Version 2 Speakers



Two-way Bass Reflex Design


3/4" CMC Dome Tweeter, One 6 1/2" Polypropylene Mid/Bass Driver


60 Hz  - 20 kHz


86 dB/w/m


8 Ohms Nominal


13"H x 7"W x 10"D


10 1/2 Pounds Each


$219/Pair USA



Right off the bat, this feels like a product update rather than a product review.  Just about anyone interested in speakers is familiar with the Paradigm Titan.  Since 1991, it has earned praise upon praise, all with a re-occurring theme: Remarkable performance at a price that most would regard as shameful.  Since its introduction, the Titan has gone through some minor changes, but it is only this last year that the changes prompted Paradigm to use a "Version 2" to identify them.

The original Titans featured a Vifa high frequency transducer (tweeter) and a bass driver based on a good ol' stamped steel basket.  Around 1995, the speaker underwent a quiet revolution as its driver complement was replaced with all Paradigm-built units including a new bass driver sporting a cast metal chassis, which to this day, is a rarity at this price. Very, very late model Titans benefited from a connection upgrade, going from clips to binding posts, but again, this took place quietly.  Today's Version 2 has even more to offer, the specifics of which we'll get into here.

As I've already implied, the Titan has a very good reputation as perhaps the speaker in the under $250/pair (cnd) category.  This may not necessarily make it a miracle in terms of audiophile ecstasy, but it has achieved something mythical in terms of price vs. performance.  This new model has some tough shoes to fill.

At first glance, the Titan still seems to be a run of the mill "Two-way 6 incher bookshelf".  The mid/bass driver is a 6.5" cone made of polypropylene with foam surround and cast chassis.  The high-frequency  transducer though is very new.  The 3/4" polyamide dome has been replaced with a metal/ceramic (CMC - Ceramic - Metal - Ceramic Composite) one of the same size.  Integrated into its mount is a wave guide of sorts.  It looks astonishingly like a scaled down version of Paradigms 1" Titanium tweeter which has played a huge part in the success of their current Monitor line of speakers, a step up from where the Titan plays.  Whereas the original cabinet was all wood, we now have a molded plastic rear wall.

After allowing the Titans to work in for a couple of weeks, I gathered a stack of CDs and promptly got lost in the music, quite literally.  The soundstage presented by these modest speakers easily transcends the physical placement of the boxes by about 3 or 4 feet on either side when they are only 6 or 7 feet apart.  I have a real clean disc of Miles Davis where the drums are predominantly to the right and piano to the left.  The danger in such a recording is that these two instruments can sound as though they are coming precisely from their respective speaker and thus out of proportion (like two simultaneous mono recordings).  The Titan successfully circumnavigated this, delivering a drum set which surrounded the right speaker rather than emanating from it.  This wideness does not come at a cost of imaging which was resolute and sufficiently precise.  A man whose ears I particularly trust once said of the Titans, "they sound even better when played loud".  Indeed, when pushing the envelope with Dire Straits "On every Street", all the content was clear and clean with a good deal of bass which stressed only as I ducked behind the couch and went for broke.  Here is where I found a similarity with the version 1s: at the lower end of the Titan's capabilities, the bass can sound a little "fat" as evidenced by David Plitch's bass in some Holly Cole material.  His instrument was very musical but "loud".   It bears noting though that in certain situations where a budget speaker might find itself, this could be a welcome trait.  For those for whom an inexpensive speaker will have to tide them over, just a hair of  "fatness" in the bass can make up for the lack of a subwoofer on movie soundtracks.  Plus, when you do get a sub, rolling off the Titans should blend things into check.

The Titans have a good amount of detail.  Small sounds like fingers plucking stringed instruments or the rick-tick-a-tick of a hi-hat cymbal come through nicely.  On the quieter side of things, Tracey Chapman and her lone guitar I noted as being very real and "alive".  On the whole, the speakers are neutral.  Only the highest notes of soprano opera caused me to squint.

The one thing I felt was always lacking in the original Titan was a sense of front-to-back imaging in addition to left and right.   I'm happy to report that the new V.2 is one step closer to where I wished the old Titan would have been.  The new tweeter is simply faster and more accurate than the previous, and able to reach, maybe not fully into, but at least one step into three dimensions.

Within the context of its price, the Titan is a tremendous sounding speaker.

How do they make such an inexpensive speaker sound so good?  A wise man once said: "It costs just as much to do it right as it does to do it wrong".  While it would be beyond the scope of this review to attempt such a topic, I will share with you some of the more interesting ideas I got from a man in the know.  Keep in mind that at this price point, a mass produced speaker's price is greatly affected by every little thing right down to ounces of manpower and shipping costs.  The first thing you are likely to notice when handling a Titan it that the grille does not come off.  The grille cloth you see is stretched and secured directly to the front baffle.  So, cost is reduced by not having the extra piece of wood or plastic or the normal grille mounting hardware.  More interestingly though, for a given fixed set of external dimensions, Paradigm has maximized the internal volume, and we all know how valuable volume can be.  Also of note is the new plastic rear baffle.  The old Titans required one piece of wood, the tube for the port, and a plastic mount for the clips or binding posts.  The new plastic baffle lets Paradigm mount the terminals right on the back as well as get a flared mouth for the port molded right in.  Less parts, less labor, less cost (and a flared mouth for the port to boot).  Finally, the crossover is simple (see photo above).  No expensive circuit board here.  The parts are assembled in a cluster and then attached to an inside wall.  Will you notice an audible difference?  At this price, shame on you for even trying!  It may sound like nitpicking, but at a couple hundred bucks, every dollar counts.

There is something in each one of our journeys as audio diehards that I call a religious experience, and you will hear me talk of it more in an upcoming article.  Although I am not quite prepared to lump the Titan in with this sacred circle of products, I begin to wonder:  has Paradigm bent down an ear from heaven to make a miracle like the Titan possible?  I cannot think of a person, of generous or modest means, who shouldn't have a pair of these around the house.  If you are a budding audiophile, this is a great place to get your feet wet while you develop your personal tastes.  I currently use a pair of version 1 Titans as surround speakers.  What about the kids going to college?  You want to send them off with quality sound but at a price you can afford for an overzealous roommate to abuse.  And I have seen countless retail and restaurant locations using multiple pairs with great satisfaction.

Should my life take on a simpler financial style, I think I could still wake up with a smile if I had a roof over my head, Kraft Dinner in the pantry, and a pair of Titans to soothe my soul.

Brian Florian

Post Script

Our review set of Titans arrived with a pair of unsolicited Premier C-50 speaker stands.  Besides being a nice gesture, this exudes a sort of confidence by Paradigm that one will want to really listen to the Titan, not just shove it on a bookshelf somewhere.  Where did we come up with that term "bookshelf" anyway?  It may have made sense at one time, but I can't understand why some manufacturers label a $3,000 monitor as "bookshelf".  I prefer the term "stand-mounted" or even "mini-monitor" if those haven't been trademarked yet.

A Titan, or any other "bookshelf" speaker, will only be its best on a decent stand.  The C-50 is just right at $90cnd and has everything I'd want:

  • It elevates the speaker to the correct height.

  • It does so without a lot of frontal surfaces.

  • It comes with adjustable spike feet, making it easy to get the speakers level (the floorboards under my carpet aren't exactly perfect if you know what I mean) .

  • One can opt to either run the speaker cable through the stand post (for a "stealthy" appearance) or plug the bottom hole and fill the post with whatever you can get (sand, lead, cat litter...) to improve stability and kill any metallic resonance.

  • A decent stand not only does the above but, if solid enough, it can help a speaker in areas of dynamics and bass.  A poor stand which is not solid will actually "rock" with the speaker, absorbing some of its energy.

The C-50:  A good mate for the Titan; and probably a good mate for your other speakers.

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