The PARADIGM legends!
This year marks the 41e anniversary of the brand, whose origins lie in Canada and whose market has long been international. To celebrate this event, we're looking forward to an autumn of discounts of all kinds, as well as a commemorative Founders series to be unveiled at the end of the fall. Needless to say, if you want some Paradigm, now's the time! You're probably wondering: who's behind this Canadian success story with world-renowned speakers? Here's the answer!
Many electronics get off to a flying start and then disappear. The list would be long, believe me! Not so for Paradigm and its three founders, Jerry VanderMarel, assisted by his brother Bill and Scott Bagby, who set out from the suburbs of Toronto with a concept that was new at the time. Create loudspeakers by first studying the science of acoustics, then perfecting them by listening to prototypes by music lovers.
The three founders Jerry and Bill VanderMarel, and Scott Bagby.
Today, this seems obvious, but back then, most manufacturers decided to give their products a particular flavor. Some companies sought to offer a grandiloquent, pompous sound, while others favored crystalline highs and so on.
In short, it was impossible to ensure that we heard the sound as it had been created in the studios by our artists. Jerry and Scott were convinced that the public would prefer a more neutral and realistic sound, and to achieve this, they had to ensure that the product offered neutrality in reproduction; the loudspeaker had to become almost invisible, reproducing only the sounds of the source without artifact.
In 1982, the first Mississauga-built Paradigm 7 and 9 models were presented to a dozen retailers in the Greater Toronto Area.
Prototype Model 7
Scott was convinced that research was needed to succeed where others had failed, so he approached Dr. Floyd Toole of the National Research Council of Canada to participate in the advanced loudspeaker studies of the day...
The idea of consulting the detailed scientific results of audio studies conducted by NRC was already reflected in this product, and in a very short time, as early as 1985, after only 3 years of existence, Paradigm made its debut on the American market!
Jerry, with the help of his brother Bill, was in charge of marketing the brand. It was not uncommon to see "Bill" touring America with a pair of "9s" or "7s" and demonstrating them. Paradigm's first steps in the United States were the fruit of Bill's efforts with his younger brother Jerry.
The remainder of the '80s laid the foundations for this unusual company. Rigidity was improved with a die-cast chassis to retain certain key parts. In 1988, the company also acquired an anechoic chamber for more precise testing and product refinement. Two production plants were in operation by the end of the decade!
First production Model 9.
Paradigm began the decade by winning its first "Best Price/Value" award from the prestigious Inside Track magazine, back in 1990.
Although today's product range includes high-performance, high-end models, the company's aim has always been to offer high-fidelity at a very good price. It was in the early 90s that the Monitor model series was born, still in the catalog today, and renowned for its value for money. The first Monitor Atom models featured some of the best audio technology available today, including satin-finish anodized aluminum tweeter domes, powerful neodymium magnet structures cooled by ferromagnetic fluids, and a crossover circuit, all at a surprisingly reasonable price. Atom became Paradigm's number-one selling model.
First Atom model
Despite the encouraging success, Scott and Jerry weren't resting on their laurels. With their unique scientific approach having served them so well up to that point, the two pioneers decided to approach two of the engineers working for the NRC (National Research Council Canada) agency to found, with them, a new division. Fueled by passion, the PARC division - which stands for "Paradigm Advanced Research Center" - was launched in 1993 , and would become the place for software development and manufacturing techniques to analyze and correct products under development for low distortion, zero coloration and pure audio realism.
The use of a test room, a "must" for scientific results.
In 1996, the fruit of this research produced the first range of reference products. The "Reference Studio Series" was born.
In my opinion, the '96 Reference Studio range was the brand's first world-class product.
The first Studios 100 were impeccably finished in pale cherry, with massive feet for speaker stability. All components were manufactured on site, from the cabinetry to elements such as the cast aluminum salad bowl for better heat dissipation. A cascade construction of partitions isolating each element from the others ensured interference-free performance. While the standard format called for 8" drivers, Paradigm opted for 8?", achieving the same result, but with less distortion-generating stress. In short, we had a loudspeaker that combined power with sonic purity.
Studio 100 Gen 1
By the turn of the millennium, Paradigm was already recognized as a major player, offering standard components, amplified subwoofers (Subwoofer) and a new range of 4-season outdoor loudspeakers, the STYLUS. Paradigm had also acquired Sonic Frontiers , an audio company offering a product called Anthem , in 1998. Scott and Jerry now owned two household names in the Canadian and American audiophile community, PARADIGM and Anthem.
The turn of the millennium, international caliber.
After 5 years of preparation, and now with impressive sales figures, Paradigm built one of the largest factories in North America in 2001, with a surface area of 225,000 square feet!!!!
Production plan No 1
Equipped with nothing less than the largest privately-owned anechoic chamber in the northern hemisphere, computer-controlled machinery, a finishing and paint shop and a state-of-the-art R&D department, innovations were introduced at a rapid pace.
Paradigm has taken full control of its manufacturing process, from planning, tooling and prototyping, through final packaging and finishing, to assembly of the spinning braids on the crossover circuit.
Let's digress for a moment to note that domestic speaker manufacturing is a rarity even today, as many reputable brands develop their products and then have them assembled in China. Examples are few and far between, but one French company offers similar products, but at several times the price of the Paradigm. There's no better value for money for both the amateur and the demanding audiophile...
Finds from 2000 to 2009 at Paradigm.
2003 With the advent of the HTIB (Home Theater In a Box) home theater, which was an easy and inexpensive solution to home theater, people only had inexpensive products to buy to have a compact set, it was the buzz of the time. Paradigm then developed a compact set, the "Cinéma 70 CT", so that lovers of good sound could afford a high quality set that lived up to their expectations, and was easy to configure like those famous HTIBs sold in the big chains...
It was also in 2003 that Scott Bagby experienced his first disappointment when Jerry VanderMarel announced he was leaving the company. With no one to take over at the time, Scott was forced to join forces with an investment firm, Shoreview Industries. At this point, many industry observers had doubts about Paradigm's future as a market-leading manufacturer. As a rule, companies that come under investor control lose their souls, as investors are more motivated by monetary return than passion for the product.
It was also in 2003 that a third company, Martin Logan, fell under the Bagby/Shoreview alliance. Martin Logan, the Kansas-based manufacturer of electrostatic loudspeakers, was now under Canadian control.
2004 The Référence Studio series passed the torch to the brand's new flagship"signature"models. This series will feature Tweeters (treble) with Beryllium diaphragms. Beryllium is lighter and six times stronger than aluminum. It resists heat better than all light metals, making it ideal for the fine-tuned use required of a fine high-frequency driver. To prevent degradation, the high dome was anodized with a gold film... In fact, this award-winning series incorporated a score of avant-garde innovations too numerous to list here...5th generation reference studio. Can it get any better?
5th generation reference studio.
2007 PBK is born!? Ah! of course, explanations are required!!! The PBK is a software program for analyzing the subwoofer user's room, so that a correction can be applied to the subwoofer to obtain the reference output obtained in the PARC listening room (Paradigm research and development). This system has been perfected to this day for use in Anthem cinema receivers, Defiance subwoofers and the extraordinary Founder 120 hybrid...e...
2009 To round off the decade, speaking of Subwoofers... Take a seat! The 9000-watt Signature SUB2, yes, nine thousand watts! The world's most powerful subwoofer for home use. To obtain this output, it must be powered from a 220-volt outlet, but it can be used on 120 volts at a lower speed. Decidedly, this Canadian flagship ended 2000-10 with a bang! That's the way it should be!
2010-2019 the years of ultimate conquest.
For almost 15 years, Paradigm has been the company to beat for its competitors. Every category of loudspeaker product is represented. Indoor/outdoor, cinema application, wireless PA, all in different ranges from affordable to high-performance. Let's get on with it!
In 2012, Paradigm now offered 21 of the best-selling subwoofer models, from the compact Ultra Cube (one foot square) to the customized Seismic 110, which offered peak power of 1,700 watts. Right up to the largest of all subwoofers, the SUB 2 and the new SUB 1, with a combined total peak power of over 12,000 watts. Critics had called it a "military-grade" bass!!!!
Seismic 110 1700 watts in a compact format!
2014 Launches the "Prestige" range, a line of enhanced products with the performance sought by audiophiles at a fraction of the price of its competition. Not only did these products seduce with their perfect sonorities, but the quality of finish enhanced the décor in the home! We're talking black or white lacquered piano finish, or the ever-popular Midnight Cherry hand-polished finish!
Prestige Series 2014
2016 Came the Persona range, which rewrites history with a new level of technology and innovation, new materials and manufacturing techniques, new power and control, and a bold, colorful, avant-garde all-new look.
Here we are talking about Berylium used both in the treble horn and the midrange diaphragm. Only the best boxes in the world use this exotic material of great lightness and rigidity. The culmination of every Paradigm engineering objective, Persona has achieved near-total transparency, an unprecedented level of audio realism, with an appearance that makes an authentic statement of purpose-driven, organic design.
Even the most hard-to-please professional audiophile critics have been won over. A true jewel of harmonious form, it is now possible to place an order in the color or two-tone color combination of your choice. Not only does Paradigm offer us an exceptional product, but for a few hundred dollars more, the connoisseur can have a unique "Custom" piece.
Persona of great beauty, custom finish
In fact, the prestigious magazine "Soundstage" uses Persona as a reference in their tests of loudspeakers of all brands!
2018 If you're wondering now whether Paradigm has become the golden calf for the audiophile who can only adore it, being overpriced, you can be sure it hasn't. In 2018, the Atom Monitor SE won the award for loudspeaker product of the year.
Monitor Atom SE 2021
2019 The great return of the "Bagby
You'll recall that Scott Bagby, following the departure of second founder VanderMarel in 2003, sold his shares to Shoreview Industrie in 2005. He now held a minority stake in his own company. Scott had to make this sacrifice to keep his creation alive, as he couldn't find Canadian investors to join him, and his children weren't ready to join forces with their father. Passionate like few others, Scott in 2019, with the support of his son John, decided on a family partnership and bought the company back!
Today, John is General Manager of Paradigm, while his father is CEO. In addition to his titles, Scott will be found around the R&D department, as he's a product guy (a bit like the author of these lines!) I.e. people who are more focused on products than on the company's monetary success. And yet, those who seek to create the best products generally have the best chances of commercial success. That's what some observers feared when finance came to PARADIGM, that it would lose its creative soul, but they didn't know Scott's insight.
Anyone who knows Scott knows that he's a proud, determined perfectionist. He's back, by his own admission, to perfect his company's offering to the market, and it hasn't taken long...
Following the return of the founder and his son, the news burst forth!
2019 Launch of the Premier range, as Scott felt there was a gap in its product range. Consumers had to move from the entry-level Monitor to the high-end Prestige, and then make the leap to the very expensive Persona. The Premier range will therefore be between $1,100 and $2,700, and will offer superior performance to the Monitor, using technology derived from the Prestige and Persona models. Once again, there's too much innovation to go into here. I do, however, invite the reader to visit the Paradigm web page and find out all about it!
The founder's perfectionist philosophy doesn't always go well with commercial objectives, but the consumer will always come out a winner!
2021 In preparation since early 2020, not only due to the pandemic, but above all to founder Scott Bagby's obsession with the perfect product, the Founder series' worthy successor, Prestige, was finally delivered in April 2021 to the series' exclusive retailers.
The range Founder range offers the very best that today's technology has to offer. In fact, when listening to an excellent recording reproduced on high-quality equipment, we'll have the illusion, with our eyes closed, that we're in the presence of the musicians...
2023 Always improving their product range, Scot and John are literally on fire! Remember the "Premier", designed to offer a middle ground between the economical Monitor and the top-of-the-range Prestige? Well, the slot between the affordable "Defiance" subwoofers and the ultimate"SUB 1"series has just been filled with XR series subwoofers.
The all-new XR subwoofers are a master class in design and technical refinement that challenge what's possible from a compact, sealed subwoofer design. The XR11 features an 11-inch driver to do the job of a 10 with greater ease, resulting in sound without hiss or distortion. The same applies to the XR13 (13 vs. 12).
The finish is impeccable, including the famous "Midnight Cherry" high-gloss lacquer finish. The housing is heavily reinforced and the diaphragm is ART, with ribs that reduce distortion and increase capacity. The diaphragm is made of Carbon X to combine lightness and rigidity. The magnets and coils are MASSIVE! Power ratings are 2200 watts Peak for the XR11 and 4400 watts for the XR13!
Collector models Founder 41
Introduced just two years ago, the Founder series is a worldwide benchmark. To thank the community of premium-quality enthusiasts, Scott has decided to offer 3 limited-production finishes starting this fall. In keeping with the high-end automotive trend, the finishes will be matte, allowing a better view of the angular contours of this unusual soundbox. Satin shades will be offered in Ruby Red Frost,Azure Blue Frost and Winter Ice Grey. Although official prices have yet to be announced, a slight surcharge is to be expected, but nothing major.
The final word
So, Scott Bagby and his son John are back at the helm of the company. Scott, first and foremost a visionary, foresees great years of growth and development, and new technologies for his three brands (Paradigm, Anthem, Martin Logan).
As Scott indicated in a press conference, the audio market is once again at the forefront of human habits. With easy access to music via the Internet and the sale of very high-resolution files, listening levels are said to have increased by several hundred times compared with habits 7 years ago. The more affordable solutions there are, the more people will embrace this lifestyle, making music a key part of everyone's life.
Finally, we'd like to give you some statistics on this home-grown success!
Paradigm is the world's sixth-largest vendor, with a 27% market share.
Anthem is No. 1 for preamplifiers and cinema processors. No. 4 for receivers, with market shares of 30% and 31% respectively.
Martin Logan is in 10th place with a 15% market share.
Bagby's are here to stay!
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