Last year Paradigm’s new personal audio-oriented Paradigm SHIFT brand launched a family of E-series earphones (click here to read the Playback review of the Paradigm SHIFT E1, E2m, and E3m), but for this year’s show the brand extended its reach to include full-size headphones to be called the H15 ($199) and the H15NC ($299). The H15 is a passive model sporting 40mm Mylar drivers with 15mm voice coils and Neodymium magnets. The H15 also is set up for headset use in conjunction with cellphones and thus provides an iPhone compatible in-line mic/remote module. According to Paradigm SHIFT, voicing for the H15 was created in the firm’s R&D facilities, which include “an advanced Bruel and Kjaer Head and Torso Simulator); Paradigm SHIFT that voicing insights gleaned from development of Paradigm’s famous loudspeakers help guide the H15 design effort.
The H15NC, in turn, is an active, noise-cancelling version of the H15, and according sports a dual-microphone-equipped, onboard noise cancelling system said to “cancel up to 97.6% of ambient background noise.” In keeping with its top-model status, the H15NC also comes with a somewhat nicer set of accessories and detail finishing touches not found on the lower-cost H15. Attention Christmas shoppers: Both the H15 and H15NC should arrive in late November or early December 2012.
Also new in the Paradigm SHIFT repertoire is the cool new Aera Airplay Speaker System ($599), which the Paradigm SHIFT folks describe as a “no installation, no set up, just plug’n’play … wireless sound solution for every room in the house.” The gist of things is that Aera promises expected levels of Paradigm performance, but—more importantly—also introduces a major leap in ease of use (no IT network certifications required for set-up, etc., etc.). Techies will want to know that the driver complement includes two 1-inch “soft-balanced” aluminum dome tweeters with Neodymium magnets and two 4-inch mid/bass drivers with composite cone woofers and ceramic/ferrite magnets. The Aera can be controlled via a wireless remote or via control buttons found on the top of its chassis. As you might expect, Aera also serves as a means of building comparatively inexpensive whole home audio systems.
PSB’s Paul Barton is a man on a mission and that mission appears to entail creating ever more affordable ways for music lovers to get a good, big taste of high-end sound. A perfect case in point would be PSB’s new Alpha PS1 self-powered desktop monitor ($300/pair) as rolled out at CEDIA. In a sense, the Alpha PS1 looks—and to an extent sounds—like a miniaturized version of PSB’s critically acclaimed Imagine Mini loudspeaker, but one that is presented in a polycarbonate bass reflex enclosure finished in gloss black. The Alpha PS1 features 1 3.5-inch “metallized polypropylene” mid/bass driver and a ¾-inch aluminum tweeter, and incorporates a built-in 2 x 20-watt amplifier. Rear panel stereo inputs include a 3.5mm mini-jack and a pair of traditional RCA-jacks, while a distinctive touch is a built-in subwoofer output that allows listeners to make an easy transition from 2-channel to 2.1-channel listening, simply by adding a good powered sub such as PSB’s Sub 125 ($450).