Skip to main content

Paradigm’s Soundtrack is a Paradigm Shift in sound bars

Paradigm Soundtrack sound bar cropCheck out our review of the Paradigm Soundtrack soundbar.

With all of the attention being paid to tablets, headphones, and smart phones, you would never know that one category of home audio has been growing rather steadily for more than two years while other segments have leveled off or declined. Sound bars have become an important product for loudspeaker manufacturers; so much so that larger players such as B&W, Polk Audio, and MartinLogan have invested a lot of R&D into producing models that cost as much as an entry level surround system.

Related Videos

The logic is simple: If consumers are leery of spending a lot of money on a dedicated 5.1 home theater system and don’t have the room for large speakers, an affordable 2.1 set-up with a minimal number of cables is likely to be the answer to their prayers. Paradigm has been manufacturing some of the best loudspeakers for years up at its facility in the Great White North, but when it launched its Shift brand, it moved the bar. The MilleniaOne CT 2.1 system has been universally praised and the first generation of headphones have been sonic killers.

The Shift brand is about offering high-end sound at an affordable price and so far it has more than delivered. Paradigm rarely rushes a product into the market, so it should come as no surprise that it took it this long to release the Soundtrack which retails for $800. Apartment dwellers and college students should take a hard look at this one.
At only 36-inches wide, the Soundtrack is on the small side compared to some of its competition which have been designed to work with 42-50-inch  HDTVs, but just like Master Yoda – judge it not by its size. The 6-driver Paradigm Soundtrack subwoofersound bar features two bass/midrange drivers, two passive radiators, and two high-frequency drivers. The Soundtrack also comes with a dual-ported wireless subwoofer featuring an 8˝ laminated composite cone driver with a 1-1/2-inch, high-temperature aluminum-wire voice coil. The sub’s Class-D amplifier delivers 100 watts RMS sustained and 300 watts dynamic peak power. If there is one thing that Paradigm knows how to do really well, it’s build potent subwoofers in very small enclosures. And if its subwoofer sounds anything like the Millenia sub, this thing is already a bargain.

The Soundtrack has three inputs: 1 optical digital input, 1 RCA analog input, and 1 aux input for your iPod, smart phone, or tablet. The Soundtrack has one analog output if you wish to run a wired connection to the subwoofer. One way to deal with a multitude of sources is to run them through your HDTV and use one optical cable from the HDTV to the sound bar. Just remember to turn the HDTV’s internal loudspeakers off or you’ll experience a rather weird echo. The unit does come with a remote control, but it is designed to work with your television remote which you can program to raise/lower the volume, change the input, and mute the sound. The Soundtrack can be wall mounted or placed on a surface in front of your HDTV with supplied feet.

While we have yet to hear a soundbar that truly reproduces the immersive sound of a 5.1 system, a well-designed product like the Soundtrack is likely to get you remarkably close for a lot less money.

Editors' Recommendations

The Lucid Air EV becomes the first car with Dolby Atmos sound
Lucid Air

March 2021 is, apparently, a big month for car audio. Audi kicked things off with its announcement that its 2022 Q4 E-Tron will be the first vehicle with a Sonos-tuned sound system, then McIntosh trumpeted its return to car audio with the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and now Dolby Labs is taking the wraps off of a partnership with Lucid Motors that will make the Lucid Air the first car to feature a Dolby Atmos sound system.

It's a 21-speaker, 800-watt, dual-amplifier system that Lucid has dubbed "Surreal Sound."  It will be standard equipment in every Lucid Air Dream Edition and Grand Touring trim models, and optional equipment for the Touring and Pure trim levels.

Read more
McIntosh brings huge, 24-channel sound to 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
McIntosh in-car audio system inside the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Despite the fact that the ongoing pandemic means more of us are leaving our cars parked at home, there appears to be a surge in partnerships between audio companies and carmakers. Yesterday brought the unexpected news that Sonos will make its automotive debut in the 2022 Audi Q4 E-Tron, and today, legendary audio brand, McIntosh, has announced its return to the automotive world with new systems that will appear in the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

McIntosh has a reputation for building some of the most powerful and precise hi-fi amplifiers and speakers for discerning audiophiles, and its new MX1375 Reference Entertainment System -- a Jeep Grand Wagoneer exclusive -- sounds like it will do for car audio what McIntosh has done for home audio.

Read more
Denon’s Dolby Atmos Home Sound Bar 550 takes versatility to a new level
Denon Home Sound Bar 550

When it comes to soundbars, there's no lack of awesome options right now, and CES 2021 is showing us that many more are on the way. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for new products, especially when they fill a previously empty niche. Denon's new $599 Home Sound Bar 550, which will be available in February 2021, seems to do just that.

The key to the Home Sound Bar 550's potential appeal is its vast array of features, combined with a price that places it between bedroom-sized soundbars like the $400 Sonos Beam and $400 Bose Smart Soundbar 300, and their larger cousins, the $800 Sonos Arc and the $800 Bose Soundbar 700.

Read more