Paradigm Cinema™ 110 CT 5.1 Speaker System

by | Oct 4, 2005 | Component Reviews | 0 comments

 Paradigm

Cinema™ 110

CT 5.1 Speaker
 
System  SRP: $799
 

When it comes to complete 5.1 speaker
systems in a single box (better known as Home Theater in a Box), much
is left to be desired. Most of these systems have cheap drivers and
poorly designed cabinets. Often the result is greatly compromised sound
quality. Having this in mind, we were quite happy to see that the new
Paradigm Cinema™ 110 CT (Compact Theater) v.3 System did not fall into
this trap. Instead, Paradigm created a reasonably priced 5.1 speaker
system with quality one might expect from a more expensive home theater
system. For example, Paradigm designed the mid/bass drivers using high
power ICP™ (Injection-Molded Co-Polymer) cones with rubber surrounds
instead of drivers with cheap paper cones and foam surrounds. Sure,
some may say big deal, but years from now you won’t be replacing the
surround material due to deterioration. The front and rear channel
cabinets are indeed plastic, but have an internal ribbed cabinet that
helps reduce resonances that result in sonic colorations. The subwoofer
is a compact design with solid build quality and controls for level,
phase and crossover frequency.

 
The Cinema™
110 CT v.3 system came well packaged with four layers of Styrofoam
separating and padding the satellite speakers and subwoofer. The system
includes two Cinema™ 110 L/R and one Cinema™ 110 C, each comprised of a
pair of 4.5″ bass/midrange drives and a 1″ tweeter. The Cinema™ 110 ADP
rear channels each include two 3.5″ bass/midrange drivers and two
tweeters. Finally, the Cinema™ 110 CT subwoofer packs a 10″ driver with
a 150 watts RMS amplifier. Amazingly all five channels and the
subwoofer were packaged into one box weighing nearly 70 pounds. The
powered subwoofer alone weighs almost 40 pounds with each of the front
channels weighing 6.4 pounds. The rear ADP surround channels weigh just
under 4 pounds each, making them manageable with most wall mounting
hardware. The Cinema™ 110 CT system is available in silver, white or
black finish to match virtually any decor.
 
The
Cinema™ 110 L/R v.3 and Cinema™ 110 C v.3 have the same speaker
configuration and cabinet dimensions. The only difference is the center
speaker is typically placed horizontally in most applications. The
3-Driver, 2-Way acoustic suspension design uses a mineral-filled
polymer enclosure and incorporates Paradigm’s MagneShield™ to prevent
stray magnetic fields from affecting CRT-based displays. The rear
binding posts can accommodate bare wire, lugs or banana plugs. We
usually like to use banana plugs for convenience, but we decided to use
some bulk Tributaries 14-gauge wire for the review. We noticed that the
binding post could easily accommodate wire as large as 12-gauge if
desired.
Our review system also included an optional pair of Premier™ LS-Series
(LS-30) speaker stands for the front Cinema™ 110 L/R speakers. The
hollow steel tube that supports the speaker allows the speaker cable to
run through it, eliminating unsightly cables. The weighted diecast
aluminum base is about 8″ wide and 11″ deep allowing the LS-30 stands
to be placed in tight areas. The heavy base keeps the stands from
falling over. In addition, locking spike feet or the optional rubber
feet are available for the stable mounting base.
 
Cinema™ ADP
 
The Cinema™ ADP (Adaptive DiPole) v.3 surround speakers are smaller
than the front speakers measuring just over 7 inches high and 5 inches
deep. Their lightweight design allows easy mounting on side walls with
the baffles slightly angled towards the front and back of the room.
This results in the front of the cabinet being about 3 inches wide and
the rear 5 inches wide. Sound radiates from the two sides of the
enclosure with a null directed at the listener. The dipole design
produces a diffused soundfield that works well with most home theater
rooms. Using two pairs of bass/tweeter drivers, the ADPs are designed
around a 2-way acoustic suspension enclosure. These surrounds have
smaller midrange drivers than those in the front channels. The result
is a speaker that produces less bass than the front channels with
emphasis on the diffused soundfield. In addition, these surround
speakers have significantly lower impedance according to our
measurements and reached levels as low as 4 ohms.

 
Subwoofer

The Cinema™ CT v.3 subwoofer is a dream come true for those looking for
a quality product in an all in one 5.1 system. The compact design is
both functional and attractive and based on our tests quite capable of
producing deep tight bass. The 10″ driver with the advanced
fiber-reinforced cone powered by the high-current discrete power
amplifier produced plenty of high level unstrained and controllable
bass in our moderately sized theater room. The cabinet design uses a
high-density hardboard enclosure that greatly reduces resonances and
colorations. A pair of high-velocity tuned ports with flared openings
in the rear, maximizes bass extension while minimizing port noise. A
status light located in the lower front of the subwoofer illuminates
red when in standby and green when operating. The 37 pound subwoofer
design delivers performance that exceeds any subwoofer we have seen in
this class.
 
Subwoofer Controls
The rear panel of the Cinema™ CT v.3 subwoofer offers the user
flexibility for an optimal setup. A three position power switch turns
the unit on, off, or allows the subwoofer to be automatically powered
based on the audio signal sensing circuit. We chose the automatic
turn-on feature for convenience. For those who prefer to keep the unit
always powered for sonic reasons, it can be left in the always-on
position. A pair of left and right RCA (unbalanced) audio jacks are
available for line level inputs. There are two analog controls for
setting the subwoofer Level and Cutoff Frequency. The Level control
offers additional flexibility to the subwoofer level adjustment found
in most receivers and preamplifiers. The Cutoff Frequency control is
basically a variable low-pass filter ranging from 50 Hz to 200 Hz. In
our setup, we used the highest frequency and let the preamplifier or
receiver determine the crossover frequency. The Phase switch allows the
user to switch between 0º and 180º to help compensate for subwoofer
placement and room acoustics. The large heatsink provides adequate
cooling of the output electronics.
 
Setup
Two audio systems were available to test the Cinema™ 110 CT v.3 speaker
package. Our reference system consisted of a Parasound AVC-2500u
processor and Parasound HCA-2205AT five-channel THX-Ultra power
amplifier. These components have been in our reference setup for years,
so naturally we were interested in hearing these speakers with this
system. We connected a Sony DVP-NS900V for SACD and a Kenwood DV-5900M
for DVD-Audio sources. We also had a relatively low priced Kenwood
VR-8050 receiver, which would be more typical of what customers might
use with these speakers. A Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai DVD player was
connected to the receiver for DVD and CD audio playback. Since the DVD
player had a built-in DTS and Dolby Digital decoder, we connected the
analog outputs on the DVD player to the receiver’s analog 5.1 inputs.
This proved to have the best sound quality when using this low-cost
receiver.
Performance
The design of the Paradigm Cinema™ 110 CT v.3 system accomplishes a
compact design for each of the individual speakers while maintaining a
level of performance not commonly found in a typical HTiB system. Our
dts version of Apollo 13 has always been one of our favorite test DVDs
with excellent audio including deep bass during the rocket launch
scene. The dialogue was clear and intelligible at a variety of levels
on our reference set of electronics. The subwoofer integrated well with
the satellite speakers producing a full range frequency response. We
would have liked to keep the crossover frequency ideally around 80 Hz,
but due to the design of the satellites, we had to increase the
crossover frequency to around 100Hz to prevent nulls in the frequency
response. We played the audio at relatively high levels to create a
cinematic experience when viewing DVDs. Much to our surprise, the
Paradigm Cinema™ 110 CT had the ability to create a sense of being
there despite the moderate $800 price tag.
Until high definition DVD hits the market, we will continue to enjoy
our D-VHS D-Theater™ movie collection capable of producing stunning
audio and HD video. The release of The Transporter from 20th Century
Fox is a great example of high impact action with excellent sound and
aggressive surround material. The chase scene in the beginning of the
film has sound that pans throughout the room and the Paradigm Cinema™
110 CT v.3 system transitioned seamlessly from channel to channel. In
addition, the D-Theater™ source material never sounded strained or
overloaded using this system. However, we must admit that our audio
preference goes to those D-Theater movies that contain dts 5.1, such as
X-Men2 and Moulin Rouge played on our Marantz MV8300 D-Theater™ VCR.
With this in mind, we watched scenes from these movies as well as some
material from True Lies. Audio is such an important aspect of the
theatrical presentation of any film and the Cinema™ 110 CT v.3 system
delivers the goods on a budget.
Musically, these speakers are capable of producing good sound quality
and we put them through the test with both 2-channel as well as 5.1
audio. Given the price of this speaker system, it is an excellent
performer, producing a well defined image with an impressive amount of
depth. It lacked the subtle transparency of more expensive speakers,
but given the cost of the system and its ability to produce powerful
home theater sound, we still recommend it. Our 5.1 DVD-Audio sources
sounded wonderful with these speakers without distracting colorations
often heard on HTiB systems.
Conclusion
The Paradigm Cinema™ 110 CT v.3 has achieved an impressive sounding 5.1
speaker system well below $1000. This is indeed a compact design, but
will surprise those who desire quality sound on a budget. We found
movie dialogue to be excellent and sound moved seamlessly through the
room with matched timbre. Even at relatively high volume levels the
Paradigm Cinema™ 110 CT speakers held their own without experiencing
significant breakup or distortion. As with many surround speakers, the
ADP satellites lack deep bass and rely on the subwoofer for any low
frequencies sent to the rear channels.
 
The
subwoofer is indeed a part of the system where the Paradigm Cinema™ 110
CT system truly stands out. The compact, yet well designed unit
complemented the sound quality of the main channels. This speaker
system requires that the crossover frequency be set near 100 Hz. This
is due to the smaller mid-bass drivers used in the main satellite
speakers. Setting the crossover frequency lower may result in a small
gap in the frequency response. The downside to having the crossover
frequency much above 80Hz is the subwoofer becomes more localized and
no longer integrates invisibly into the audio system. However, even at
100Hz the system sounded great in our listening room. If you are on a
budget, need a compact 5.1 speaker system and want quality home theater
sound, you owe it to yourself to audition the Paradigm Cinema™ 110 CT
v.3 speaker system.
 
– Kevin Nakano
 
[Reprinted
with permission from the L.A. Audio File.  Any comments or
questions regarding the LAAF Web Site should be forwarded to laaudiofile@socal.rr.com

Copyright © 1985-2005 L.A. Audio File.]

 
Company Information
The Paradigm Group
919-11 Fraser Drive
Burlington, Ontario, N L7L 4X8
Canada
Phone 905-632-0180
Fax: 905-632-0183
Tech Support: techsup@paradigm.ca
Source: Manufacture supplied
MSRP: $799
URL: www.paradigm.com


Review System 
Projector: Sharp XV-Z2000 High-Definition DLP™ ProjectorScreen: Stewart Filmscreen 100″ Luxus Deluxe FireHawk Screenwall
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Receiver: Kenwood VR-8050 DTS/DD 6-Channel Receiver
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box: Samsung SIR-T165 Terrestrial HDTV Receiver with DVI
HDTV Receiver/Controller: Mitsubishi HD-5000 Receiver
D-VHS VCR: Marantz MV8300 D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
Laserdisc Player: Pioneer CLD-D704 CD/VCD/LD Player
A/V Cables: Ethereal A/V Cables
DVI Cable: Transparent Audio High Performance 30-foot DVI-D Cable
DVI Extender: Gefen DVI 1000HD DVI Extender Systsem
Video Generator: Sencore VP300 SDTV/HDTV Video Pattern Generator
Video Signal Analyzer: Sencore VSA794 NTSC Video Signal Analyzer
Color Analyzer #1: Sencore CP5000 Multi-Display Color Analyzer
Color Analyzer #2: GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro with ColorFacts Software
 
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