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Paradigm Reference Active 20
28 Reviews
rating  4.82 of 5
MSRP  1600.00
Description: 


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Reviews 1 - 5 (28 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by audioaddict a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 8, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I am still thrilled to listen to these speakers after 3 years of ownership. Now that I have a DVD-Audio player in the chain these speakers are really playing up to their potential.
I am using a Paradigm X-30 subwoofer control unit to high-pass the speakers and low-pass my subwoofer at 50Hz. The end result is deeper, more defined bass and it seems to let the Actives play a bit louder as well. Running the Actives full range produces powerful, but slightly boomy bass (at least in my room).
They may no longer be on Stereophile Magazines list of recommended components, but they're on mine and that's all that matters.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $1600.00



Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Mark a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 2, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Purchased these speakers nearly 2 years ago as a close-out new in factory-sealed boxes. Hooked them up to the variable audio output of my 10-year old Philips CD changer. WOW. This must be the best two-channel audio system on the planet for $700.

However, one of the speakers does not auto-shutoff. Not a big deal in my book. Just lived with it until about a six months later when the tweeter in same speaker began working only about half the time.

Took it to the local Paradigm service center. They had it for 3 or 4 weeks. Could find nothing wrong with the tweeter or the auto shut-off. They insisted that the little green light on the front of the speaker stayed on even when the speaker was turned off (that's not true of the other speaker). "Check your cables" they said--which I had already done by switching the left and right cables. It made no difference.

Now (another six months later) the tweeter in the OTHER speaker is cutting in and out. I dread taking it back but these guys are the only warranty service center around.

I primarily listen to soft jazz, never have the level control on the back of the speaker above 1/2, have never seen the red light on the front that would indicate clipping (then again, I have no way of knowing if the red light actually works), and have both speakers and the CD changer plugged in to a good surge protector.

For those Active 20 owners who take offense at the two-star rating just be thankful that you have two speakers that work.


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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $700.00

Purchased At:   authorized Paradigm dealer



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tom Winter a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: May 7, 2001

Bottom Line:   
no problems so far these are the greatest speaker in the sub 1000 range

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $750.00

Purchased At:   Springfield Central Systems



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tim a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 29, 2000

Bottom Line:   
The only real negative I can find is that there is no phase switch . Therefore, the phase cannot be inverted by reversing speaker wires (there are none), this can be a problem if for example, your preamp is phase reverse. Only solution - a source with phase inverting capability.

Otherwise, there is nothing at all negative to say about these speakers! they do demand high quality components upstream, and they sound absolutely marvelous when used with a tube preamp. I also tried a few high quality SS passive pre's and was not impressed. Paradigm released version 2 sometime this year, but many people actually prefer the sound and aesthetics of the version 1. There are 2 different editions of the "version 1" out there and here is how to tell which one you are buying:

Early V1 - basic box with amp/heatsink/controls on back. fins of heatsink are all equally deep. Some users have had speakers cut out during extended periods of loud play because too much heat will trip a shutoff switch until they cool down, you are dead in the water.

later V1 - same except they have the heatsink from the V2.On this heatsink, The fins form a convex pattern with the deepest fins in the center, gradually tapering to shorter fins on the edges. The driver/amp/cabinets are the same as the earlier version, but the better heat dispersion from the better heatsink will prevent shutdowns.

ver 2 - havent heard them - the are supposed to have an improved bass driver, but the consensus is that there was little real improvement over the ver 1 - One thing I can vouch for - the new ones (ver 2) are uglier.

You would only have a problem if using at high volume for a long time.
If you can find either variations of the ver 1 or a ver 2 for much less than $1K, don't pass them up - you will not be disappointed!!

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $850.00

Purchased At:   used from audioreview classified



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by James a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 11, 2000

Bottom Line:   
These speakers are, in a word, "sweethearts". Naturally blooming high frequencies, fantastic midrange (eg piano, acoustic guitar, vocals), nice tight and energetic bass. These speakers DO NOT cease to amaze me after a couple of years of ownership, these are one of those products that just keep the music experience fresh and true. Smooth yet detailed, ultra-dynamic without being too forward, etc.etc.etc.!!! Any kind of music such as Santana, Hawaii Music, Beethoven, U2, Sting, Chris Isaak, etc. sound lively and natural...DVD's bring the movie experience to life! A bargain at 1500 given the performance, no need for amps, etc.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $1350.00

Purchased At:   Pyramid Audio (Anchorage)




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