Research & Development: Front Axis Performance

We've talked about dispersion, which describes a loudspeaker's ability to spread sound outward in a realistic way. This characteristic is especially important in a home theater's front-stage speaker array, and in a stereo pair.

In a home theater, the "front stage" is the left, center and right speakers, arrayed around the video screen. In a stereo pair, the "front stage" is the left and right speakers placed to replicate the stage presence of musicians in the listening space.

In both cases, audio engineers are concerned with avoiding "beaming," or overly focused midrange performance that can cause sound to become muddy or imprecise. "Beaming" effects can produce "holes" in the soundstage, where listeners may lose portions of the dynamic response if they are not in "the sweet spot."

In order to avoid beaming and sweet spots, Paradigm engineers take extra care when measuring output from what is called the speaker's "front axis." The front axis of a speaker's output is the horizontal and vertical dispersion pattern.

And whereas the industry standard is to measure only the most basic horizontal and vertical dispersion patterns, that's not good enough for us.

Using the most advanced testing and measurement tools, Paradigm engineers take additional frequency response measurements, starting at the speaker’s direct axis and continuing in 15° increments to 180° left-right and 180° up-down.

Fig 1.) Measurements are taken at many points about the front axis.

These precise measurements create a complete sonic image of a speaker’s total output, on extra-wide horizontal and vertical planes, across the entire front hemisphere.

This information helps us to design virtually diffraction-free enclosures and more neutral, wide dispersion drivers, which create a deep and more realistic soundstage with no "holes."

Fig. 2) Paradigm speakers have exceptionally neutral midrange response combined with smooth resonance-free off-axis response throughout their front hemisphere.

This measurably more accurate off-axis response has become a beloved characteristic of Paradigm loudspeakers. No matter where you're sitting in the listening area, you're in the Paradigm sweet spot, experiencing the lifelike illusion of detailed imaging and expansive soundstaging.