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Prior to the SE 1 arriving, I had hooked up my Spendor S35R’s, which were around $1500 a pair. While not identical in size and specification, they are very similar. The Spendors have no port, but they are both two way designs. The Paradigms were more dynamic, created a larger musical picture, and were more articulate in the lower frequencies, and produced more bass weight. They both produced clean, pure treble, but I felt the Paradigms were a bit more extended. Spendors, like other well known British monitors are known for their magical midrange qualities, and indeed both speakers were superb in this area, but the SE 1’s were more transparent.
I listened to a variety of musical genres and source material through the SE 1 and it shined across the board. Everything from nicely recorded acoustic ensembles like the classic Buena Vista Social Club, or great early 70’s psychedelic soul like Curtis Mayfields’s Roots, to live recordings of the great saxophone player Wayne Shorter, the SE 1 was up the task. As a matter of fact I found my self enjoying a bunch of jazz CDs, since the SE 1 was so good at untangling complex harmonic interplay.
I made no bones about my admiration for Paradigm. In the company’s long history they have continually improved their products, and have been a beacon of light for audiophiles and music lovers who want great speakers but can’t justify the prices of some manufacturers. They design and make most of their products at their large facility in Canada. I have owned and auditioned several Paradigm products and have always appreciated their performance, especially in light of their sane pricing. Even their top of the line Signature models easily seem under priced when compared to competing models.
The SE 1 monitors are in my opinion a great achievement. With an unlimited budget, and the intention to charge a king’s ransom, just about every existing speaker company could produce a dynamite sounding product. I don’t believe most of them could produce a speaker that sounds as good as the SE 1 and sell it for $700 a pair. Not even close. The SE 1 not only sounds good, it could fool a lot of folks into thinking it costs five times as much. No kidding.
It is probably not an accident the SE 1 sounds as good as it does. Paradigm has great designers, and the company is well established enough with its state of the art manufacturing facility that technologies from its premium products find their way down the line. And thank goodness for that. The SE 1 is the easiest recommendation I have ever made. It looks great, produces nicely balanced and musical sound, yet it still offers up plenty of low level detail. It is easy to drive, and will fill up anything but a very large room with plenty of volume. I must admit, it would have been interesting to audition the SE 1 with the matching Special Edition subwoofer, but none the less, I had no complaints in the bass department. As a matter of fact, I have no complaints about the SE 1.
- Name: Paradigm Special Edition SE 1 Loudspeakers
- Price: $698 USD per pair
- Type: Two-way, monitor
- Tweeter (size in inches, type): 1, G-PAL dome
- Woofer (size in inches, type): 5.5, S-PAL cone
- Nominal Impedance (ohms): 8
- Frequence Response: ±2 dB from 70 Hz - 20 kHz
- Sensivity- Room/Anechoic: 88 dB / 85 dB
- Recommended Amp Power (watts): 15–120
- Available Finishes: Rosenut, Black Gloss
- Dimensions (W x H x D, inches): 6.5 x 11 x 8.5
- Weight (pounds): 12.9
Paradigm Electronics, Inc.
205 Annagem Blvd.
Mississauga, Ontario L5T 2V1
Phone: (905) 564-1994
Fax: (905) 564-8726
- CD Player: Marantz 5003
- Music Server: Squeezebox 3
- DAC: CIA VDA-2 with VAC-1 Power Supply
- Tape Deck: Revox A77
- Preamp: Belles Soloist 3
- Amplifier: Belles Soloist 5, Revox A722
- Speaker: Spendor S3/5R
- Cables: Kimber/QED/Transparant/Shunyata(AC)/PS Audio(AC), Pangea Audio, RS Cables, Element Cables, Audience AU24 e.