Paradigm Signature Sub 2 review at AH - AVS Forum
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Subwoofers, Bass, and Transducers > Paradigm Signature Sub 2 review at AH
SaviorMachine's Avatar SaviorMachine 10:13 AM 04-16-2012

nube's Avatar nube 10:43 AM 04-16-2012
I'm a little surprised that it gets such high marks in the performance and extension categories, as it doesn't appear to have very high levels of output below 20hz. For the weight, price, and size, I expected much more. Also, as an aside, why does it use grill pegs instead of magnets?
mastermaybe's Avatar mastermaybe 11:13 AM 04-16-2012
^ Output: pretty easily explained:

ONE microphone measuring a six sided subwoofer (with (6) opposing drivers on 3 of the faces), outdoors, no less.

I'm certain the potential in-room output of this thing has to lie beyond the tolerance level of most humans, in most rooms.

Extension? Well, I guess I don't know what you're looking for, but a -3db point at 13hz is pretty freaking solid, IMO.

And in reality, most folks' (and I'd guess Paradigm's) chief concerns with a subwoofer do not lie in the sub-12hz arena. Yes, even at this price-point. Never mind the fact that, again, I'm sure in-room extension drops down considerably for the "single-digit hz club".

It's easy (especially in this day and age of ~$1000, ID-only, fantastically-performing subs) to slice a piece like this up, but I'd be willing to bet that it performs at or above virtually anything available...even if it is Ferrari-priced.

Personally, I still find kit like this fascinating....god-bless those who have the means and insanity (lol) to pursue it.

Great review too.

James
warpdrive's Avatar warpdrive 11:22 AM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

^ Output: pretty easily explained:

ONE microphone measuring a six sided subwoofer (with (6) opposing drivers on 3 of the faces), outdoors, no less.

isn't the compensation curve supposed to fully take that into account? I'm surprised that the compensation only adds 2dB across the board.
eljaycanuck's Avatar eljaycanuck 11:37 AM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaviorMachine View Post

Josh Ricci says "It's OK, I guess"

I got the impression he liked it a lot more than that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricci @ AH View Post


Pros
  • Neutral sound
  • Loads of headroom
  • Subterranean deep bass extension
    ...
  • Easy to integrate
. . .

As can be seen the Paradigm Sub 2 build and components quality is through the roof. It is even evident in little things like the screws and small bits of hardware used which are of higher than average quality as well. Even the inside of the grilles, which are not meant to ever be seen by the end user, are over built and nicely finished. The amplifier is a cut above any other commercial plate amp I’ve yet seen attached to a subwoofer both in power and sophistication. There are other subwoofer manufacturers who have drivers of similar quality but they use one or perhaps two of them at the most, while the Sub 2 is shoehorning no less than six of them in. The finishing quality and packaging quality are the very best I have seen to date as well. It is a very expensive subwoofer but the build, finishing and component quality are certainly in line with that big sticker.

. . .

... the Sub 2 was completely unfazed even at volume levels that were starting to get uncomfortable to be in the same room with. Even at those levels everything was clear and uncongested sounding.

. . .

The Sub 2 sent a good sized tactile pulse through the furniture and floor which was impressive and tells me that the Sub 2 has response that extends very low in frequency with substantial power. During the pods emerge scene the Sub 2 produced room shuddering bass with impressive authority, shaking the couch and floor both. When the giant alien ship goes on the rampage and starts laser beaming people and houses the bass shifts a little higher in frequency to the 25-35Hz range at very loud levels. This is the section where most subwoofers would be over driven and the Sub 2 just cranked the bass out while sounding like it was completely in control the whole time. Again on the highway bridge collapse I listened for any sign that the Sub 2 was distorting or into the limiter but it was difficult to tell because it sounded like a bridge had just collapsed! This performance on extremely demanding material was about the point that the Sub 2’s output capabilities started to sink in. About a week later was when I finally had a chance to watch “How to Train Your Dragon”. I used the same volume level as used with War of the Worlds and again the Sub 2 seemed to have no problem at all with the myriad explosions, thumps and loud booms present in the soundtrack. This film also has a lot of very low frequency content below 20Hz and again it was readily apparent that the Sub 2 has deep extension producing what I like to refer to as the push or shove effect, which is where the bass is so low in frequency that it barely registers with your ears but you get a tactile or physical sensation of it on your body or through the furniture. It is a subtle effect that is a little eerie at first experience, but it takes a subwoofer or sub system with deep extension and a lot of headroom to pull this off. Apparently the Sub 2 qualifies.

. . .

As expected the CEA-2010 maximum short term distortion limited output results are impressive with over 120dB recorded at 50Hz and above. In the sub bass frequencies the six 10” drivers and amplifier combine for some heavy lifting with just shy of 100dB of maximum peak output at 12.5Hz and almost 97dB at 10Hz. Remember this is a quasi anechoic outdoor result. In room with the help of pressure vessel gain, output in these bands could easily be boosted by 10dB or more

. . .

Paradigm has produced a tour de force with the Signature Sub 2. It is overall the highest performing and most thoroughly impressive subwoofer that I have encountered. The msrp of $8,999 is undoubtedly a large chunk of cash but with the amount of development, technology and hardware packed into each Sub 2 coupled with the attention to detail, high tech look, beautiful finish and high performance, that big sticker starts to look more reasonable. The performance basics are well covered with a linear response, deep extension, low distortion and plenty of headroom.


mastermaybe's Avatar mastermaybe 11:46 AM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

isn't the compensation curve supposed to fully take that into account? I'm surprised that the compensation only adds 2dB across the board.

Not sure, to be honest. good question.


James
mastermaybe's Avatar mastermaybe 11:50 AM 04-16-2012
To me this is just one of those "stupid" products that exist for reasons other than "bang for buck" factor.

That said, I can easily see these figures/specs- coupled with a $9k price-tag- to be enough to drive many on AVS out of their minds.

Get the popcorn ready for the obligatory: "do you have any idea how you can crush this with $2,000 (or less) and a couple of weekends in your garage?" rebukes.


James
bfreedma's Avatar bfreedma 11:54 AM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

To me this is just one of those "stupid" products that exist for reasons other than "bang for buck" factor.


James

So any criteria other than "bang for the buck" is now "stupid"?
mastermaybe's Avatar mastermaybe 11:57 AM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post

So any criteria other than "bang for the buck" is now "stupid"?

No, that is not what my text literally- or even (remotely) figuratively implies. It is a "stupid" (stress the quotes) product from a perspective of: price. mass. dimension (although relatively compact for it's ability). etc.

You can spend less and get more (while almost certainly making sacrifices elsewhere with the majority of options), but that's not who this product is aimed at.

I think the review sums it all up quite nicely, actually.


James
warpdrive's Avatar warpdrive 11:59 AM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

To me this is just one of those "stupid" products that exist for reasons other than "bang for buck" factor.

That said, I can easily see these figures/specs- coupled with a $9k price-tag- to be enough to drive many on AVS out of their minds.

Get the popcorn ready for the obligatory: "do you have any idea how you can crush this with $2,000 (or less) and a couple of weekends in your garage?" rebukes.

agreed....it's pretty predictable what's going to transpire.

who's going to be the first to mention that they'd rather spend their money on Submersives or Captivators?
bfreedma's Avatar bfreedma 12:00 PM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

No, that is not what my text literally- or even (remotely) figuratively implies.


James

My apologies then, though it read that way to me. Rereading it, I see where you are heading.
bfreedma's Avatar bfreedma 12:02 PM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

agreed....it's pretty predictable what's going to transpire.

who's going to be the first to mention that they'd rather spend their money on Submersives or Captivators?

That wouldn't be too bad - I'm waiting for someone to say they would rather have DTS-10's

Pretty similar size/fit/finish.....
mastermaybe's Avatar mastermaybe 12:03 PM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post

My apologies then, though it read that way to me. Rereading it, I see where you are heading.

No problem. Sorry if I overstepped it a bit above, then.

James
warpdrive's Avatar warpdrive 12:07 PM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post

That wouldn't be too bad - I'm waiting for someone to say they would rather have DTS-10's

Pretty similar size/fit/finish.....

I was giving the benefit of the doubt that the AVS crowd would never do an apples to oranges comparison like that (the cap S and SubM are sealed like this Paradigm)...errr wait......
mastermaybe's Avatar mastermaybe 12:08 PM 04-16-2012
As a guy who (likes to think, anyway ) pursues and embraces value like nothing else, I really have zero issues with these products. They're simply not made for me.

But even so, they can almost always (like so many other things in life) be had substantially below their msrp's, so the playing field is skewed even more when comparing them (in their MSRP dress) to ID (and DYI) offerings.

Like a powered Submersive or Cap is a few hundred bucks anyway, lol.

James
bfreedma's Avatar bfreedma 12:13 PM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

No problem. Sorry if I overstepped it a bit above, then.

James

No problem - pretty mild stuff for AVS.
bfreedma's Avatar bfreedma 12:14 PM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

I was giving the benefit of the doubt that the AVS crowd would never do an apples to oranges comparison like that (the cap S and SubM are sealed like this Paradigm)...errr wait......



Like you haven't been around here long enough to know what to expect.
spyboy's Avatar spyboy 12:58 PM 04-16-2012
Just in time for my tax refund...

I am surpised the 240 volt operation made such a small amount of difference.

Also, I expect the Sub 2 to be a special order item with most Paradigm dealers and that significant discounts may not be readily available. Of course if someone were to buy a suite of Studio speakers like Studio 100's and the appropriate Paradigm center and surrounds, a good discount should be available on the Sub 2.
Kini62's Avatar Kini62 03:38 PM 04-16-2012
This-

[i]Remember this is a quasi anechoic outdoor result. In room with the help of pressure vessel gain, output in these bands could easily be boosted by 10dB or more[/I]

Sounds pretty impressive.
SaviorMachine's Avatar SaviorMachine 04:43 PM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

I got the impression he liked it a lot more than that.

"It's OK I guess" <--comical understatement
eljaycanuck's Avatar eljaycanuck 05:16 PM 04-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaviorMachine View Post

"It's OK I guess" <--comical understatement

Lack of "smiley" or "winky" emoticon = misunderstanding.

But I'm all better now.
capecodorthopod's Avatar capecodorthopod 06:13 PM 04-16-2012
Very cool looking, well performing sub. The Sub2 is for those that value cool form factor and small footprint with excellent performance rather than absolute performance per dollar.
I wonder if they could have made it lighter with all Neo magnets? Might justify the cost if it's easier to move around.
That said I still can't see myself dropping that much $$ on a couple of Sub2's rather than dual or quad SubM's or Cap S' (sorry, someone had to say it).
Tim
Edit: I can't believe I didn't mention the fantastic job Josh Ricci did on the review but I guess we've come to expect this level of work from him.
shadyJ's Avatar shadyJ 07:07 PM 04-16-2012
Looks like a great sub, but my concern would be reliability. That is a lot of moving parts and a lot of current (ie potential for heat issues) for a relatively compact size. I see a lot of potential for things to break. I think the prior comparison with a Ferrari is even more apt in this respect, as as they need frequent repairs also. Probably is not a big deal though, as very few owners will ever push this thing anywhere near its limits, and won't be driven hard enough to take a toll on its parts. As with Ferraris, I wouldn't hold its poor price/performance ratio against it, that is not what its about, its an engineering feat, and a nice sub for people who have more money than real estate for a larger sub which could accomplish the same performance for less $.

btw, for the same money, give me a ULS octo-drive in two stacks of four sub line arrays!
spyboy's Avatar spyboy 09:29 AM 04-17-2012
^^
If I had the funds to buy a Sub 2 I wouldn't worry about reliability. According to Josh the Sub 2 is perhaps the most overbuilt sub he has ever seen.

The limiting circuitry worked as designed. When pushed really hard the limiting circuitry shut the amp down for a couple minutes.

It's not like there are really all that many moving parts. 6 highly overbuilt drivers cared for by a very effective limiter.

Also projecting Ferrari like reliability has no basis in fact. Despite pushing the Sub 2 to its (considerable) limits, it came through with flying colors. I would take the build quality of the Sub 2 over any Internet Direct sub(s) in a heartbeat.
mastermaybe's Avatar mastermaybe 09:59 AM 04-17-2012
^ agreed. Probably all but bulletproof in most regards. Overpriced or not, you simply do not arrive at a figure like $9k for a sub without incorporating some serious, serious, materials and cabinetry/workmanship.



James
warpdrive's Avatar warpdrive 12:12 PM 04-17-2012
this is an neat product, the kind I would expect as a statement product where some engineers said...."with cost out of the way, what if we....".

Like all high end retail subs, it's as much a conversation piece (fine build, cool looks, high tech factor) as well as a top class performer for its relatively WAF friendly size (slightly bigger than a submersive).
nube's Avatar nube 12:56 PM 04-17-2012
What I was getting at, mastermaybe, is that its limiter kicks in at a point that I thought was overly conservative for the price and materials used, creating a situation where output at and below 20hz is limited to ~105db, dropping significantly thereafter. I'm specifically referring to the compression sweeps. Of course I read the entire article (including everything else you pasted) prior to making my original comment.

The implication was that, given the price and size/shape targets, do you not think a dual-opposed system with larger drivers could be engineered to have higher dB at lower extension output, fewer mechanical parts, the same vibration cancellation, and the same feature set, perhaps even an enhanced feature set due to simplified engineering?

By all accounts, it looks to be a fairly serious performer, but I wonder how much more could have been accomplished within the engineering targets given a slightly different design philosophy.

As to your commentary on "how much is enough," well, no offense, but I think we've all read it enough times in enough threads that we get your perspective. I think it's time to let that one go, bud. It's tiresome to have pedantry so forcefully and frequently put before us and, most importantly, it stifles debate. You set up your opinion as unfalsifiable; how could/would anyone deign to argue with you? Have you considered that people will have their own perspectives that differ from yours, and that no amount of browbeating will (or should) change that?
mojomike's Avatar mojomike 01:13 PM 04-17-2012
I think a natural apples-to-apples sort of comparison here would between the Sub 2 and a pair of Velodyne DD18+'s. Costs should be similar and I would think performance should be close with perhaps an output edge going to the Velodyne pair based on comparing the Ricci tests.
Kini62's Avatar Kini62 02:59 PM 04-17-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike View Post

I think a natural apples-to-apples sort of comparison here would between the Sub 2 and a pair of Velodyne DD18+'s. Costs should be similar and I would think performance should be close with perhaps an output edge going to the Velodyne pair based on comparing the Ricci tests.

I would be interesting cost wise, but try and put both DD18+ in the same amount of space.

That's a key feature of the Sub1. The ability to produce some really serious bass from a relatively small cabinet that is much more easily placed than one or two monster subs.

Maybe compare with a pair of Sub2s?
spyboy's Avatar spyboy 03:06 PM 04-17-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike View Post

I think a natural apples-to-apples sort of comparison here would between the Sub 2 and a pair of Velodyne DD18+'s. Costs should be similar and I would think performance should be close with perhaps an output edge going to the Velodyne pair based on comparing the Ricci tests.

^^^

That's exactly what I was thinking. It's just too bad that I don't have to make such a difficult decision...
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