While the soundbar category has definitely opened up the potential for audio performance superior to the anemic sound produced by flat panel TVs, most of soundbars still require using a separate, powered subwoofer to achieve full, rich sound. Many soundbars include a wireless sub of some caliber, or offer provisions for connecting one, but there is still the challenge of room placement and the customer not wanting the typical big, black box on the floor.
Paradigm’s new Soundscape is the company’s first foray into a powered 5.1-channel soundbar, and includes a built-in subwoofer for amazingly deep bass response. In fact, watching demo material from “The Art of Flight,” the Soundscape produced some of the lowest bass notes I’ve ever heard from a soundbar, with impact you could feel in your chest. In most bedrooms, this bar could totally stand on its own and deliver cinema audio impact.
The Soundscape is from Paradigm’s Monitor Series and includes two optical digital, one coaxial digital, and one analog stereo audio input for connecting a TV, Blu-ray/DVD, or gaming system. Additionally, Bluetooth aptX technology is on board for streaming from a mobile device. The Bluetooth includes AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control profile), which enables a user to control his or her Bluetooth sources directly from the Soundscape. Dolby Digital and DTS decoding are on board along with Paradigm’s proprietary Virtual Surround for multi-channel audio decoding, with specific EQ modes for on-wall or tabletop placement.
The soundbar features seven amplifiers that drive four 4-inch mineral-filled polypropylene woofers and three 1-inch satin-anodized pure-aluminum dome tweeters and can play down to 30 Hz. The amplifiers can deliver peaks of up to 50 watts, and supply 25 watts of sustained power.
If someone needs even more bass, the bar also ships with a wireless transmitter and receiver kit that will allow a user to add any powered subwoofer. When an external subwoofer is connected, the bar automatically adjusts its crossover points, ensuring more seamless integration.
Custom integrators will love that the Soundscape includes discrete IR commands for easy custom integration and the soundbar can learn commands from a TV remote to more easily interface with basic systems.