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Paradigm Signature Sub 2 Subwoofer Review

by October 31, 2006
Paradigm Sub2

Paradigm Sub2

  • Product Name: Signature Sub 2 Subwoofer
  • Manufacturer: Paradigm
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStar
  • Review Date: October 31, 2006 08:25
  • MSRP: $ 10,500
  • Buy Now

Six 10” long throw woofers in a radial arrangement

Hexagonal sealed enclosure

Non-removable grilles

Amplifier: 4,500 watts rms, 9000 watts dynamic power (When connected to a 240v AC main)

Paradigm PBK interface

Frequency Extension: 7Hz DIN (Indicates -3dB in a typical listening room)

Finishes: Black ash, Cherry, Piano Black

Dimensions (H/W/D): 24.5” x 23.75” x 22.375” (23.75” Hexagonal cabinet diameter)

Weight: 230 lbs. (310 lbs shipped)

Warranty: 3 years bumper to bumper

Designed, Engineered and Manufactured in North America

Driver features

Mineral filled co-polymer polypropylene cone with RCR (Resonance Control Ribbing)

25.2lb FEA optimized triple stacked ferrite magnet structure

3” diameter 10 layer aluminum voice coil

AVS (Airflow Ventilation System) die-cast aluminum frame

Dual large diameter Nomex cloth spiders

Oversized pole piece with integrated aluminum heat sink

Through pole voice coil leads

Amplifier Features

Efficient Ultra-Class-D technology

PFC (Power Factor Correction)

Extreme output capabilities 4,500w rms, 9,000w dynamic power

Universal Input Power (Connects to any line voltage 108-265v)

Internal DSP (Digital Signal Processing)

Solid 5/8” thick machined aluminum plate for strength and heat sinking

Adjustable input gain

35-150Hz variable low pass crossover with bypass

Phase: Adjustable from 0-180 degrees

Auto on/off

Detachable AC cord set

Inputs/Outputs

Unbalanced (RCA) inputs

Balanced XLR input

1/8” 12V trigger

PBK interface port (USB)

 

Pros

  • Neutral sound
  • Loads of headroom
  • Subterranean deep bass extension
  • Impeccable finish
  • Dummy proof
  • Top shelf design and parts quality
  • Easy to integrate

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Very heavy

 

Paradigm Sub 2 Introduction

sig sub 2.jpgParadigm is a name that is probably familiar to most audio enthusiasts as a manufacturer of bookshelf and floor standing speakers, center channels and subwoofers. Over the last 25 years Paradigm has stuck to a core model of offering audio related products that are well engineered, subjectively pleasing to the ear and reasonably priced. Today Paradigm has a broad range of products and full speaker lines at a couple of different price points. At the top of the heap is the Signature series, which offers a few subwoofer models to choose from including the Signature Sub 2, which is the subject of note for this review. Sitting at the very top of the Paradigm subwoofer mountain the Sub 2 is in many ways a statement level product and the $8,999 msrp certainly suggests that it is, being the single most expensive product in the Paradigm catalog or that Paradigm has ever produced to my knowledge. However for that rather substantial sum of money the Sub 2 delivers an almost comical amount of hardware that on the surface sounds like it sprouted from some bass obsessed teenagers dreams, including specs like: Six 10” drivers, a total motor assembly weight of over 150 lbs, an amplifier that needs a 240v line to develop its full peak output of 9,000 watts short term and an unpacked weight of 230lbs. Firepower is obviously not in short supply here. But can all of this hardware be turned into accurate sound reproduction with equal parts finesse and bludgeoning force if needed, the veritable iron fist in a velvet glove? Read on…

Unpacking and Initial Thoughts

Sub2 HeroThe Paradigm Signature Sub 2, being a very expensive and heavy piece of equipment, was delivered via a freight carrier and arrived wrapped and strapped to a large pallet with the small box containing the PBK kit (Perfect Bass Kit) riding on top. The shipping documentation listed a shipping weight of 310 lbs. Needless to say the box itself is very large and a full sized pallet will not fit through most domestic door frames. This necessitated removing the main box from the pallet prior to bringing it into the house. Additionally I have a couple of steps to go up to enter the doorway so the act of getting the Sub 2 into the house took some amount of effort from a couple people in concert, one of which was the delivery driver who seemed curious as to just what sort of “speaker” was this big and heavy. Either that or he was simply feeling sorry for us. Once we had the Sub 2 to the door it wasn’t too hard to slide it on in. The box just barely squeezes through a regular sized door frame. Since this unit came directly from Paradigm I am not sure what arrangements would be made when purchasing through an authorized dealer, but I assume that there would be some after sale support to get it into the home and in place in your room. A single person job it is not.

After getting the Sub 2 into the house and having a moment of reflection I set about reading the unpacking instructions furnished by Paradigm, which were attached to the top of the box and boldly labeled ATTENTION! READ FIRST. The instructions were not that different from most other large subwoofers. Open the top and then tilt the box over onto the top using the plastic handles integrated into it. Lift the box up and off of the subwoofer, remove packing materials, plastic wrapping, accessories, etc. This leaves the Sub 2 sitting on two large pieces of thick foam cut to fit over the cabinet bottom and protect it. At this point you tilt the Sub 2 slightly so that one of its three feet is off of the floor and remove the foam piece from under that foot then repeat for the other two until it is sitting on the floor. Obviously due to the weight of the Sub 2 you would want to unpack it as close to your final placement for it as possible. The packaging and materials used are robust and high quality. This coupled with the freight shipping ensure that there is little chance of a Sub 2 sustaining damage during shipping. Other than the Sub 2 itself, contained in the package were: Two owner manuals, one in French and one in English, the power cords, one for 120v and the other for 240v operation, threaded adjustable feet for the Sub 2, the PBK kit, etc.

Once the Sub 2 was sitting alone and I had my first chance to inspect it in person I was immediately given the impression of very high quality. All of the joints were tight, the grills were solidly attached and the piano gloss black finish of the review unit was simply stunning. The cabinet exterior was mirror polished and very deep to such an extent that you could easily see distortion free reflections in it. Additionally the unusual hexagon shape, the large milled aluminum amplifier plate and the nicely contoured top and bottom panels which blend into the grilles and amplifier offer a somewhat more exotic than usual profile for a subwoofer. I was also a little surprised at the size of the Sub 2. After viewing the size of the outer box and feeling the weight I expected the Sub 2 to be somewhat bigger than it actually is once unpacked. In person it is much smaller than you would think and one compact, massive slab of speaker. To be sure it is no shoebox subwoofer but it is no giant either. It is actually smaller in volume and with less of a footprint than some other subwoofers that I have reviewed lately.

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Attached Files

Recent Forum Posts:

haraldo posts on August 26, 2013 07:33
gene, post: 984673
That's a huge measurement difference. Ours is an industry standard controlled practice for accurately measuring subwoofers. In addition, we use CEA2010 test patterns for distortion and max output.

I will see if I can line up a review of the M&K with Josh.

Gene… Ken Kreisel is not with M&K anymore, Ken Kreisel stepped out of M&K and now made his own company Kreisel Sound, as far as is claimed, the subs he now makes betters the M&K models, but still true to the original M&K push&pull geometry concept….
gene posts on August 26, 2013 07:24
haraldo, post: 984664
Yes I know… it's a bit like comparing orange vs grapefruit, but still….
There's a big difference in measuring conditions while hometheaterhifi measures in room 3 feet from the wall and with mic distance at 2 metres
While AH measures outdoors, so of course….

My point is that the Kreisel is a very well measuring sub and it would be interesting to get proper comparable measures

That's a huge measurement difference. Ours is an industry standard controlled practice for accurately measuring subwoofers. In addition, we use CEA2010 test patterns for distortion and max output.

I will see if I can line up a review of the M&K with Josh.
haraldo posts on August 26, 2013 04:23
its phillip, post: 984547
those measurements cannot be properly compared against the ones taken by ricci

Yes I know… it's a bit like comparing orange vs grapefruit, but still….
There's a big difference in measuring conditions while hometheaterhifi measures in room 3 feet from the wall and with mic distance at 2 metres
While AH measures outdoors, so of course….

My point is that the Kreisel is a very well measuring sub and it would be interesting to get proper comparable measures
its phillip posts on August 25, 2013 20:30
those measurements cannot be properly compared against the ones taken by ricci
haraldo posts on August 25, 2013 15:16
If you look at measurements of distortions from Paradigm Sub2 and then look at the Kreisel DXD 12012
KEN KREISEL DXD-12012 Dual 12" Push-Pull Subwoofer - Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity














And in room response of DXD 12012, measuered by Hometheatershack, almost flat to 4 Hz
http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9888

Then compare pricetags

If you set aside the price…. I don't see any reason to pick Sub2 over the DXD-12012
When you also look at pricetags…..

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