Paradigm Shift A2 Active Bookshelf Speakers Review

14 Oct, 2013, 5:27 pm IST | by Aaron Saldanha | Speakers








How we test




There’s always a first time for everything. And it’s the first time for the Canadian manufacturer Paradigm to enter the Active Speaker segment.  Certainly, this is a good move and it would be a welcome move to see more audio manufacturers to enter into the active segment. You would ask, why actives? Well, who could overlook the benefits of its size, ability and versatility and most importantly the sound it renders, the advantages will just outweigh the disadvantages (if there could ever be one). As for Paradigm, they have set out on their maiden voyage and we here at AV MAX are all aboard this ship to see if Paradigm’s foray into the active speaker segment gets rough seas or bright sunny skies.


The cabinet design and the form factor of the A2 stands out quite distinctly from the rest of the speakers that we reviewed this month. The compactness of the A2 and its built-in amplifiers surely are one step ahead from a number of bookshelf speakers in the market. We received the speakers in two different finishes --- one with a contemporary glossy white finish that would give any metropolitan home a match for its décor and the other in a storm black satin finish that will easily compliment other black coloured AV gear in any home. The front baffle of the speakers couldn’t have been any prettier than they are, as the charm of these bookshelf speakers is their monolithic mid-bass drivers. The tweeter has a protective grille over it to keep it away from harm’s way which adds to the longevity of the bookshelf speakers. Once you switch on the A2 you will be greeted by a blue colour LED which indicates that they are ready for use.


Paradigm engineers have surely put in a lot of effort to make an entry into the Active speaker segment. The A2s should not be looked upon as studio monitors but as any other home-entertainment speakers. The only fact that will separate them from other speakers is their built-in power amplifiers which are rated at 2x50 watts. This equates to a simple fact that each A2 bookshelf speaker is capable of delivering 100 watts of pure audio power. For active speakers, the built-in amplifiers are like an engine to a car; just as a car needs tyres to move ahead the A2 needs dynamic cones to reproduce sound. The A2 has 5.5” satin anodized pure aluminium mid-bass driver and a 1” anodized pure aluminium dome tweeter. Together these drivers aim to deliver a well-timed sonic output, where the mid-bass driver is capable of reaching audio frequency right down up to 55Hz while the tweeter aims at creating a well defined high-frequency performance. The tweeter has an upper limit of 20 kHz.


One thing unique about the A2s is their channel select switch that is placed at the rear of each speaker. Through this switch you can assign each A2 to reproduce a left channel or a right channel or a centre output. This feature is indeed unique as with it you can toggle between the assignments of each A2 speaker. In case, you connect them in an inverted setup you need not go around changing the RCA cables; the channel select switch instantly comes to your rescue.  However, one thing that the A2s should learn from studio monitor is that the gain control (Volume knob) should be placed at the front of the speakers. With the volume control knob placed behind each speaker one always finds it cumbersome to adjust the volume level of the speaker, and if markers or clicking points were provided for the volume knob it would easily help one set the same volume level for both the bookshelf speakers. Thus, eliminating the guess work required in getting the right adjustment for the knobs on both the speakers.

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Intro-Out Of The Box Technology


Paradigm Shift A2 , Active speakers , Active Bookshelf speakers , Paradigm

Would you buy it?


How We Test

The Tech2 Labs receives many products every single week and each of them is tested with the utmost care and highest level of objectivity. There’s a constant effort to reduce and totally eliminate subjectivity. Each product is tested according to set test processes so the same test scenario is used.

The ratings awarded to a product are derived from a number of tests and calculations, keeping certain important factors in mind. These factors consist of features, performance, quality and value for money. In case of software and some other categories, build quality might be replaced with ease of use or ease of installation. Products are compared with other products in a similar price range or product category.

The features component of the score is rated based on the kind of features present on a particular product. Features are a big part of what people look for when they’re buying a new product such as a phone or a camera.

The performance score is derived from the benchmarks and tests run on the product. In case of the subjective scores, an average of the scores given by the group of reviewers is considered.

Build Quality
The build quality of a product is important so that it doesn’t fall apart after some use. The build quality scores from the way the product is designed and the kind of materials used in the product.

Value for money comes from the fact that a cheap product is able to provide most of the performance of a higher priced product. Once again, value for money is judged by comparing pricing and performance of products in a particular price range or category. 

There are many other aspects of the product that are looked at such as the bundled software and accessories. All of these scores are aggregated together to form the final score.

What do the ratings mean?

Ratings are simple - higher the score, the better the product. A brief listing of the features and what they mean are given below.

1 - 3

The product is bad in almost every aspect. We strongly advise against purchasing this product.

4 - 6

An average product that isn't the best you can buy, but isn't the worst either.

7 - 8

Product with this rating is highly recommended because it's priced sensibly, has a good set of features and performs well.

9 - 10

Exceptionally excellent product with features and performance unlike any we've seen in the past. A must-have for everyone!

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We at Tech2 take product reviewing very seriously and every product is tested with the utmost care and level of objectivity. The end user who buys a particular product and uses it over an extended period of time has his own take on a product and there might be nuances that he or she can shed light on. The Average User Rating is present to help readers get the complete picture of how good or bad a product is. The Average User Rating is calculated by averaging the ratings by the thousands of readers visiting every single day. To record your own rating of a product, simply click on the user rating bar. If you disagree with our ratings or our community's product rating, please don't hesitate from voicing your opinion in the comments section below the review.

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