LET ME SUMMARIES
Soundscapes polished high frequencies add an incisive leading edge to these bangs and crashes, and a clear rustle as the debris rains down onto the ground. The cramped display panel means many of the words are truncated but youll get the hang of it.Paradigm Soundscape FeaturesThe lack of HD audio decoding aside, Soundscape offers a healthy range of features, although its target audience will be most interested in the impressive speaker technology on board.The Class-D amplifiers digital signal processing not only shapes the soundbars frequency response but is also responsible for the Paradigm Virtual Surround mode. The soundbar can also be programmed to learn commands from other remotes if you want to stick with what you know.
Paradigm has made it easy to add an external subwoofer, but such is the slam generated by units four woofers that you really dont need one trust us.SEE ALSO: Best Soundbars Round-upParadigm Soundscape Design and ConnectionsAs you might expect at this price, Soundscape is a beautifully engineered unit, blending debonair design with outstanding build quality.Taking a look at the rear panel, the first thing we noticed was the lack of HDMI inputs, which seems stingy given the price. Its bright and distracting, but thankfully you can dim it in the setup menu.
The clues are there when you first haul it from the box at 9.Paradigm Soundscape OperationDespite its audiophile leanings, Soundscape is as easy to install and use as any mass-market soundbar.VerdictStaggeringly good sound quality and debonair design make Paradigms Soundscape an impressive soundbar, but a lack of HDMI ports and HD audio might scupper the deal for some.5mm minijack input.
The lack of HDMI inputs rule out ARC, but the digital ports offer a simple one-cable connection between TV and soundbar. Flexible touches like this are a godsend if you only have limited space to play with. Its a bass reflex design, with airflow being managed through ports at both ends of the soundbar. Its a stunning soundbar that exudes luxury.
There are also Music and Movie modes, the former offering two-channel playback.Next, read our Monitor Audio ASB-2 Review. On the front is an LED display, which gives all the relevant information in large blue digits. It also nails the light metallic jangle of Lokis chains and the gentle hissing when Jane first encounters the Aether.
On the downside there are no HDMI inputs and by extension no HD audio decoding, which might disappoint listeners looking for the very best movie sound quality. Hit the white menu key at the top and the setup menu appears on the front display. These allow you to navigate the menu, adjust volume and skip through inputs. Play a movie and its like Paradigm has set up a full-size speaker system at the front of your room, blasting out a huge, powerful soundstage that has no right to emerge from such a compact unit.
As the battle rages at Vanaheim, thunderous explosions and pounding horse hooves flood the room, plus theres a potent yet well-controlled impact when Thor slams his hammer into the ground. A black cloth grille runs the length of the soundbar, which can be removed from the plug fixings if you want to see the driver array lurking behind more on that later.Inevitably, this potential step-up in performance comes with a big step-up in price, putting it in the same bracket as other luxury soundbars like the Monitor Audio ASB-2 and B&W Panorama 2. The volume keys could have been bigger and more prominent but otherwise its a very likeable zapper.
Bass is tightly integrated too, so all you hear is a solid wall of sound that you can just lose yourself in. Odins voiceover, for example, has a warm, authoritative tone yet the Paradigm teases out the subtle husk in his voice and locks the whole thing to the centre of the soundstage. This proprietary platform distributes effects in a way that creates the illusion of surround sound, in a bid to make up for the lack of physical rear speakers.Elsewhere theres built-in Bluetooth with apt-X support for high-quality music playback, as well as Dolby Digital and DTS decoding.
Soundscape is a premium soundbar from Paradigm, a Canadian company with serious audiophile chops.If you opt for shelf placement over wall mounting then youll find rubber feet on the bottom for added stability.The left and right channels each employ a 4in composite cone bass/midrange woofer and a 1in aluminium dome tweeter, while the centre channel uses two 4in cones, which flank the 1in tweeter. Music also sounds fantastic through Soundscapes high-end driver array.
But if you dont have room for a full speaker system and dont want to compromise on sound quality then it could be money well spent.Paradigm Virtual Surround expands effects beyond the confines of the soundbar, which can be heard clearly when the rain starts lashing down as Thor visits Jane.Still, Soundscape makes up for it with the inclusion of two optical digital inputs, a coaxial input and analogue stereo input. But as mentioned, you can add an external sub if you want even more oomph.
We tried out a few blockbuster Blu-rays and Soundscape blew us away with its amazing sense of scale, huge dynamics and crisp, attacking character.The soundbars full-size remote falls short of the main units build quality, but its easy to use.The mid/bass drivers handle the low-frequency channel, working together as a subwoofer for frequencies below 120Hz. As such, its being billed as a step-up from your average soundbar, drawing on the companys enviable engineering heritage to deliver high-end performance from a single clutter-free cabinet.
Theres a lot to play with here, including bass, treble, loudness and surround settings, display options, subwoofer settings wired, wireless or internal and a choice of two EQ settings for on-wall and shelf placement. The rubber buttons are logically arranged, with Bluetooth controls in the centre and dedicated buttons for Movie and Music modes at the bottom.Soundbars dont have a reputation for being particularly musical but we were blown away by Soundscapes two-channel performance. Some provision for hi-res audio would have been welcome at this price too.
Should I buy the Paradigm SoundscapeIf youre in the market for a soundbar and have a big budget to play with, the Soundscape is a worthy purchase thanks primarily to its sumptuous design and outstanding sound quality, which help justify the hefty price tag and earn it a Recommended badge. Additionally Paradigm supplies a wireless subwoofer receiver, which can be connected to any external subwoofer and allows you to place it anywhere in the room. But what seals the deal is the outstanding bass reproduction the woofers have the agility to keep pace with Lawsons complex bass grooves and it gels everything together beautifully.That pays dividends with the frequent fight scenes in Thor: The Dark World on Blu-ray, which sound exciting and visceral.
A subwoofer output is provided should you feel the on-board subs simply arent enough. Howev er, its output is so big and loud that you kind of get swallowed up in the sound anyway. Dialogue is beautifully handled thanks to the soundbars subtle bass depth and top-end clarity. Size-wise its 1067mm width and 127mm depth make it most suitable for use with 50in TVs upwards.
Its housed in a gleaming gloss-black cabinet with an alluringly curved back end and angled sides. Streaming Jarrod Lawsons jazzy debut album via Bluetooth, the drums sound snappy and energetic, hi-hats and strings have a silky, airy quality and theres a warmth and purity to the Rhodes and piano chords that imbues everything with soul and emotion. It delivers the sort of big, room-filling sound stage youd expect from bigger speakers, with huge bass output, masses of detail and authoritative dialogue. It also rules out the possibility of Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio decoding, which a high-end soundbar like this is made for.
Its also missing a USB port for hi-res music playback and a 3. But what really separates it from lesser soundbars is its outstanding bass performance, which lends effortless richness and punch to action scenes without overstepping the mark. Monitor Audios incredible ASB-2 offers three HDMI inputs, AirPlay and DLNA support for over 200 less, which makes it a better buy overall, but Paradigm packs a bigger punch for movie playback.Paradigm Soundscape PerformanceSensational isnt a word we bandy about willy nilly, but its an adjective that the Soundscapes performance richly deserves.
1kg its reassuringly heavy, which means youll need some heavy duty fixings when mounting it on the wall using the supplied bracket.SEE ALSO: Our pick of the Best Surround Sound SystemsTheres a remote in the box, but you can control it up-close using the buttons on top. That said, the effects are still localised to the front of the room, with no suggestion that theyre behind or beside you. There are three isolated channels left, right and centre and a total of seven drivers, each one powered by a separate amplifier channel 7 x 50W peak power. Finally hope you enjoy reading my article. Leave your comment if you have any.