Paradigm Studio SUB 12 Subwoofer Review Columbia SC
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Paradigm Studio SUB 12 Subwoofer Review
October 1, 2009 By Dennis Burger
It has to be stressful for hardware manufacturers to send their products out for review. They don’t know the environment in which their gear will be evaluated.
They have no way of knowing if the reviewer will grok the product. It has to feel a bit like sending your kid off to school for the first time.
So when Anthem sends me their D2v Audio/Video Processor for review, it’s hard to blame them for wanting to ensure the rest of my system measures up. They ask to send a full complement of Paradigm loudspeakers.
I decline because I know my own reference speakers extremely well, and prefer to evaluate processors and amps using speakers with which I’m intimately familiar.
When they offered to send a pair of Paradigm SUB 12 subwoofers, though, I take them up on it. My system only had one subwoofer at the time—a veritable anachronism these days—and the D2v is designed to work with multiple subs.
The intent, as I said, was simply to make sure the D2v performed to its fullest potential in my room. But the more I listened to the SUB 12s, the more convinced I became that they deserve attention in their own right.
Especially when the first thing the missus says upon seeing them is, “Wow, what pretty subwoofers!”
She’s right. As soon as I un-box the SUB 12s, I find myself admiring their slight but significant deviations from the typical boxy subwoofer aesthetic. Gentle curves along each side and four ovoid feet at the corners give the SUB 12 a rather graceful look that most subs simply lack.
I’m far more interested in how the subs sound, though, and delighted by the fact that it doesn’t take me long to find out. Even with the addition of the Paradigm Perfect Bass Kit (PBK-1)—a sophisticated room correction tool designed just for the company’s subs—setting up the SUB 12s is ridiculously easy. To really put the PBK-1 to the test, I skip the usual method of finding the perfect spot for the subs. That is to say, I don’t put a SUB 12 in my primary listening position and crawl around on the floor at the front and sides of the room listening for the location with the best bass.
Instead, I position the SUB 12s where they’ll look the best—to the left and right of my main front speakers—and figure if the bass is even slightly lacking, I’ll reposition them. In fact, I assume from the get-go that I'll end up repositioning them several times.
Spoiler Warning: The subs are still right where I originally put them.
Paradigm’s Perfect Bass Kit works pretty much exactly the way the Anthem Room Correction does. The Kit comes with a microphone, mic stand, and software for Windows XP or Vista. The biggest difference is that the connection between PC and subwoofer is made via USB, not RS-232, as with the ARC-1 system and the Anthem D2v.
Operation is also nearly identical: place the microphone at the primary listening position in the room, run the software, move the mic to secondary and tertiary positions,...