Feature Article

Paradigm Factory Tour - 2005

Part I

December, 2005

Colin Miller



As a member of the press, it's typical at trade shows to attend a dinner or reception hosted by various manufacturers. They might present a new product or two among the glasses of wine and cheese platters. It's a lot of fun for everyone.

But, getting treated to a factory tour by one of the larger, more prominent loudspeaker manufacturers in the serious audio market made me feel like I was covering an automotive press event.

The idea that a real company would take the time to show me around and otherwise lend the time of Mark Aling, and some of their most important marketing muscle, in addition to a good portion of Paradigm and Anthemís engineering staff, so as to provide a gloss-free, truly in-depth look at real operations, 'under the hood', so to speak, relating to the production of what I consider superb products, from concept, through design and R&D, to production and distribution, blew my mind so far out of the water that I had trouble ending sentences.

I had received an invitation a couple years ago, but had passed, as I thought they were kidding. Who, in the audio industry, does that? The usual route for press relations is to have the PR guy arrange a dinner, and then fill any open ear with pleasantries and fluffy claims. Following that, like a scorned woman post affair, theyíll send you annoying press releases, remind you how great it was to bask in their presence. They rarely invite you to look behind the curtain. And theyíre letting me in? I'm the guy who doesnít have the sense to not ask stupid questions.

For those who donít remember, Brian Florian has already taken a look at the Paradigm facilities back in 2001.  Please read this first. Brian's better with certain details, to be sure.

I'll try not to beat to death what heís already mentioned, but forgive me if what I found worth stating carries some degree of redundancy. Most of what was true then remains true now, with some degree of evolution, and the direction of evolution, combined with the lack of radical change, is telling.

At that time, the now established and still supported AVM-20 SSP was a work in creation, and Sonic Frontiers was still a brand which had equipment with its name on it (as opposed to the current situation, where all current equipment is under the Anthem name.) It's illuminating that the promises made about the AVM-20, including the ability to upgrade hardware as well as software, were followed to the letter, and then some. While the latest iteration of the product is the AVM-30, the AVM-20 is still fully supported with updated features available on the AVM-30.

From that platform evolved the Statement D-1, and most recently, the D-2, which incorporates video processing/scaling, etc. I need to figure out a way to wrangle one of those for play time. Spending more time doing product reviews would probably be a good start. Then again, after spending a good deal of time with their AVM-20 and then AVM-30, Iíve lost my motivation to keep looking, but I digress . . . .

Since Brian's visit, manufacturing has been unified under one location, and their bigger, better anechoic chamber has been completed.

What first impressed me most about the whole operation was the degree of professionalism within the organization. Everybody seemed to love Mark, but I didnít notice anybody goofing off. Everybody in design and technical support really seemed to love their jobs, perhaps to the point of being a little creepy, but Canadian Creepy, like South Park, so you can always just laugh and point. This isnít merely a bunch of cheap labor stuffing boxes with OEM parts. Paradigm (and when I say Paradigm, it applies to Anthem as well) controls the entire process, start to finish, and the place is clean as well. You will NEVER see my house as tidy as their factory.

Click Here to Go to Part II.

© Copyright 2005 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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