Paradigm Monitor SE Atom Bookshelf Speaker Review

4.25 Mixed Usages
4.3 Dialogue & Vocal Accuracy:
4.3 Treble Accuracy:
4.2 Bass Accuracy:
4.3 Imaging & Soundstage:
4.2 Dynamic Range:
Release year: 2018 Rating: 4.4 Warranty: 5 years 1" tweeter 5.5" woofer

Paradigm Monitor SE Atom delivers a balanced sound. It is great for music but for movies we suggest a basic 3.1 system. The speakers are ideal for compact spaces. You can place them in home or at office. It has an articulate mids, precise highs and powerful lows. Paradigm focuses on tuning the sound along with keeping an eye on room layout. For bass lovers, subwoofer is a great inclusion via an amplifier or AV receiver.

Our Verdict

Paradigm Monitor SE Atom is a budget-friendly speaker that produces smooth and detailed performance. With audio tracks, the speaker sounds musical. Although the bass is not room-shaking, it is enough to enjoy low effects in movies and music. Make sure to match an appropriate amplifier. Crank up the volume without worrying about distortion. Use EQ option if your amp or receiver supports it. This will allow you to tweak and alter the sound slightly as per your taste.

PROS
  • Great sounding speaker
  • Affordable
  • Clear and loud
  • Detailed performance
  • Well built
CONS
  • 2.0 setup is not ideal for large rooms
Where to buy

Specification

GENERAL:

Speaker Type Bookshelf Speaker
Number Of Channels 2.0 way speaker
Amplification Type Passive Speaker (External Amp)
Power Source AC Powered

DRIVERS

Drive Unit 2x2
Tweeter Type X-PAL™ dome
Tweeter Size (inches) 1
Midrange Size (inches) N/A
Midrange Type N/A
Woofer Size (inches) 5.5
Woofer Type mineral-filled polypropylene cone
Other

SPECS

Power Range 15 - 100 watts
Sensitivity 89 dB
Impedance 8 ohms
Frequency Range ±3dB from 61 Hz - 21 kHz
Crossover Frequencies 2300Hz

CONNECTIVITY:

Speaker Level Input N/A
Speaker Wire Input: Yes
Line Level Input N/A
Digital Input (Optical) N/A
Digital Input (Coaxial) N/A
RCA Input N/A
3.5mm Stereo Analog Input N/A
Aux Input N/A
HDMI Input N/A
Bi-amp Input: N/A
USB Port N/A
Subwoofer Output N/A

WIRELESS FEATURES

Bluetooth N/A
Wi-Fi N/A
Other

CONNECTOR:

Connector Type Binding post
Compatible Connector Types bare wire, pin-connectors, spade-lugs, and banana-plugs
Speaker Wire Compatibility 12-16 AWG

AUDIO QUALITY ( TESTED )

Bass Accuracy: Low ends are even, tight and adequate for compact spaces
Dialogue & Vocal Accuracy: Good vocal clarity
Treble Accuracy Highs are rich, clear and natural
Imaging & Soundstage: It has powerful imaging and focused soundstage
Dynamic Range: Great dynamic range
Power Handling: Good power handling
Frequency Response: Wide frequency response
Transient Response: Good transient response

BUILD MATERIAL

Enclosure Ported
Finish MDF
Color Matte black, Gloss white

SIZE & WEIGHT

Height (inches) 12.75
Width (inches) 7.125
Depth (inches) 11
Weight (pounds) 12lbs
Recommended Stand Height (inches) 26-28

CONTROL

Handheld Remote N/A
Control by app N/A
Amazon Alexa N/A
Google Assistant N/A

IN THE BOX

Accessories: 2 Bookshelf speakers, Grilles, Rubber feet, Owner's Manual, Online Registration Card
User manual: Yes
Where to buy

Details Review

Design:

The Paradigm Monitor SE Atom has an MDF body. Use the included self-adhesive rubber feet when placing them on any surface or stand. It comes with a removable grille but even without any grille, a small grille covers the tweeter. Build quality is quite good at this price point.

Performance:

 

Paradigm Monitor SE Atom has 1” tweeter and 5.5” woofer. The aluminum dome tweeter has Perforated Phase-Aligning (PPA) Lens. This design saves the tweeter from any wear and tear. It can deliver smooth, rich, and uncolored treble. Low ends from 5.5” woofer did not sound tinny or weak. Rather, it sounds clean and tight that is adequate for tight spaces. The woofer has mineral-filled polypropylene cone, it is lightweight and can deliver accurate mid-range and bass.

For compact spaces like 11x15’ rooms, you can even feel the bass. With a rear bass port, the efficiency increases while the bass is boosted further. It has great imaging and soundstage. Although out of the box accuracy is good, the speakers should still be played for long hours of break-in. Room layout and things in it will have an impact on sound.

The speakers sound clean and clear even at high volumes. It uses computer optimized crossover so better integration between drivers. It shows average performance. This entry-level speaker performs quite well with music. It delivers engaging performance with clear vocals and good clarity in instruments.

Speaker placement:

 

The distance between the speakers should be 0.75 times the distance between the speaker and user. Elevate them at ear level. Leave a gap of 8” or more from rear walls. Angle them inward towards the listener and find the best spot. Paradigm focuses on tuning for optimized performance. For instance, increase or decrease the angle of toe-in to change the depth and width of stereo image.

You can also use them as surround or rear speakers. For that, place the surround speakers beside the user seat or behind them. The distance between rear speakers should be wider.

Compatible device:

You will need an amplifier or AC receiver like Pioneer SX-680, Hegel Music Systems H360, etc. to connect the speakers. There are other well known brands like Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo, Marantz, Cambridge Audio, Sonos, Sony, etc.

Upgrade to a full home theater system when you can afford: floorstanding speakers (8000F / 6000F / 3000F), a bookshelf speaker (Atom), and a center-channel speaker (2000C). Then pair a powered subwoofer. You can pair subwoofers from other brands like Polk, SVS, etc.

Use case:

These passive speakers are great for small to medium sized rooms. In mid to large sized rooms, you can pair a subwoofer. Play music from different genres with these speakers or watch a movie. They will give you a satisfying experience.

Cost:

The SE Atom speakers from Paradigm are one of the best passive bookshelf speakers under $300. Since the cost is affordable, you can easily spend after an amplifier and a subwoofer.

FAQ

 

How to correctly connect the Paradigm Monitor SE Atom to an amplifier?

Although the speaker might work in different polarity, it is ideal to match the polarity for better soundstage and bass. To correctly connect the speakers to the amplifier, match red to red and black to black.

Who is Paradigm Monitor SE Atom best for?

If you have a tight budget and a small space, then this Paradigm Monitor SE Atom is best for you. It will act as an all-in-one speaker that goes great performance compared to its size. The user manual is quite serious about room layout and placement. So, simply follow the instructions to improve performance.

 

Where to buy

ADVANCE COMPARE ENGINE

Select Two Audio / Video System for Detailed Comparison

ADVANCE SEARCH ENGINE

Find Your Sound System by Any Desire Specification

similar Product Reviews

Demand D11

Design: The Definitive Technology Demand Series D11 has modern looks. It is made of high quality MDF and has aluminum front baffle. We love the white color other than the usual black one. Also, removable acoustic transparent grille is available. Place them as on tables, desks or stands. It also comes with integrated rubber pads to improve stability. Performance: Definitive Technology Demand Series D11 are full-range speakers that can produce room-filling sound. The tweeters deliver crisp highs and precise mids. Offset tweeter is designed to lower any unwanted diffraction. It has well-built crossover and the manual suggests to set the receiver at 60Hz.Allow the speakers to go through 30 hours of break-in time. The speakers can produce warm and non-fatiguing sound. It has clear and natural highs and very precise midrange. The top passive radiators work on producing deeper bass. Low ends are great and powerful with adequate oomph. You can connect sub from Definitive Technologies brand or some other brand like SVS, Polk, etc. We suggest to use a powered sub for tighter bass response. Although they are bookshelf speakers, they sound like floorstanding speaker. If you want to improve the bass and treble, go for bi-wiring or bi-amping. Speaker placement process is written in details in the manual. After placing, you can change the position and see how the sound works for you. Connectivity: The connectivity of this passive speaker will depend on the amp ports. It supports bi-wiring and bi-amping with amplifiers. Use case: Definitive Technology Demand Series D11 is best for mid to large sized rooms. Create a 3.1 system and connect the speakers to your TV. Or, connect it to PC, turntable, etc. It can handle music genre like Jazz, classical or tracks that have too much instrumental sounds. Movie sounds, vocals and effects are handled very well too. Compatible device:  You can pair it with Sonos amp, Parasound Halo amp, or from any other brand. Definitive Technology Demand Series D11 bookshelf speaker can be connected to floorstanding loudspeakers (D15/D17), bookshelf loudspeakers (D7/D9), and a center-channel loudspeaker (D5C). Ease of use: This depends on the amplifier connected to the speaker. Cost: The cost of Definitive Technology Demand Series D11 isn’t cheap. However, we think the cost is compensated with brilliant performance. FAQ Do I need professional help to connect D11 to amplifiers? Even if you are a newbie, you might not need professional help to pair these speakers with an amp. The manual gives detailed instruction for setup. Can I use Definitive Technology D11 as rear speakers? The D11 model can be used as front, rear or surround speakers. They can be used alone or as a part of theater system.
-Read More

Debut 2.0 B6.2

Design: Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 is a modern looking bookshelf speaker that has black ash vinyl finish. The enclosure is made of MDF and the speaker has internal bracing to minimize vibration while improving stiffness. Since it has a port on the front side, placement near walls is flexible. It has a removable cloth grille. Build quality is good and feels durable. Performance: The soft dome tweeter ensures the highs are realistic and lively. It minimizes any diffraction and enhances directivity. It has dual flared port and the 6.5” aramid woofer is much better than polypropylene used in other speakers. With higher stiffness and damping, it can deliver smoother low ends. Since the speakers can get as low as 44Hz, low ends are cleaner and deeper to suit most users. Music, movies, shows or games, you name it. The speaker can be used for any type of content with ease. That said it is better to add additional equipment for specific purpose. Like, create a 5.1 system for movie theater, add a center channel with TV or sub for music listening purpose. Sensitivity and impedance of the speaker is chosen such that it is easy to drive even with a center channel. Allow the speakers to go through long hours of break-in and make sure you give attention to room acoustics. These additional features affect the performance more than we think. For placing the speakers on the front side, create an equilateral triangle between speakers and speaker to user. Alter the position by ‘toe-in’ and like other speakers, it should be at the ear level. If you use them as rear speakers, place them far away compared to front side placement. Keep the speakers at a height that is a bit higher than ear level. Connectivity: Connectivity will depend on the amplifier you choose. Make sure it has your preferred ports like HDMI for TV or built-in preamp for turntable. Use case: Use the Elac Debut B6.2 speaker as a stereo speaker, as front or rear speakers. Or, include them in a home theater. The Debut B6.2 is great for playing music and movies. For audiophiles, we suggest a powered subwoofer. It is best for medium sizes rooms but you can also use it in large spaces. However we suggest to expand it to 3.1 or 5.1 in large spaces. Compatible device: Connect the speaker with a matching amplifier by using high quality speaker wires. You can use Amazon Basics speaker wire. You can use Marantz PM 8006, Peachtree Nova 300, Yamaha r-n303, Onkyo tx-8140, Marantz PM-6007, Yamaha A-S501, Yamaha R-S202, Denon PMA-600NE. Simply choose one that matches your budget and have your desired features. Pair the Debut B6.2 with floorstanding loudspeakers (DF52/DF62), bookshelf loudspeakers (DB52/DB62), center-channel loudspeakers (DC52/DC62), a Dolby Atmos enabled loudspeaker (DA42), and powered subs (S10EQ/S12EQ). Ease of use: This will depend on the amplifier. Most of them are easy to use with good controls. Cost: Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 sounds bigger than its cost. The price is reasonable and budget-friendly. However, if you add an amp and sub, the total price will increase. FAQ: How to connect a center channel with Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2? In order to pair a center channel with Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2, you need to look for ports on the rear side of your amplifier. You can’t connect them directly as they are passive speakers. Are Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 reliable speakers? Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 is one of the best bookshelf speakers for everyday use. It shows brilliant performance, can handle most of the contents and the price is reasonable.
-Read More

ELAC Debut Reference DBR62 Bookshelf Speakers

Design: The DBR62 belongs to the ELAC Debut Reference line of speakers. It is compact is size and uses similar MDF material for enclosure. Instead of usual black, we love the white color and blends with our décor easily. It has ‘full perimeter brace’ for top and side panels. This is done to minimize any cabinet vibration. Build quality is good and it comes with a removable acoustically transparent cloth grille. Performance: ELAC Debut Reference DBR62 has one tweeter and one woofer in each cabinet. Along with decent build quality, the drivers are well-designed. There is cast chassis woofer that improves stiffness while minimizing any resonance. To boost up the bass and minimize any noise, it has dual flared slot ports. This also makes placement easier. The speaker has wide-open soundstage and they sound quite musical. Trebles and mids are good, low ends pack a punch. Mids are clean, clear and gives you a sweet listening experience. Compared to its compact size, bass is full and impressive. If you want to go lower than 44Hz, easily pair an 8” subwoofer via the amp. Allow the bass to open up by connecting an Elac Sub 1010. While 2200Hz crossover is listed for the speaker, keep it to 70 to 80 Hz for the subwoofer given that you are creating a 2.1 system. Allow the speakers to go through break-in period so that you can listen to rich and warm sound. For placement, Elac wants users to follow basic rule where you need to place the speaker 1 to 2 feet away from walls and corners. Place them, then toe-in to get the best position for optimum performance. Instrumental sounds are clear and accurate. Use it for music and movies or connect it to your PC via an amp to play games. Connectivity and control: Connection ports and controlling the speaker volume will depend on the amp you are using. If the amp allows, you can connect the speaker to PC, laptop, turntable, mobile, TC, CD player, etc. Use case: You can use it in average sized living room, kitchen or small office spaces. If you can compromise the sound, you can also place it in large spaces, then expand when you have the budget. It can handle music very well; we suggest pairing a sub for audiophiles. For movies, create a 3.1 system with a center channel. Compatible device: Pair the Elac Debut Reference DBR62 with Denon PMA-600NE, Rega Brio, Cambridge CXA61, Optonica SA-5905, Yamaha A-801, etc. Or, simply choose as per your own preference. Connect the floorstanding loudspeaker (DFR52), bookshelf loudspeaker (DBR62), and center-channel loudspeaker (DCR52) from Debut Reference series and create home theater system. Some compatible subs are Elac powered subwoofer (SUB310 or SUB312). Cost: Going above $500, Elac Debut Reference DBR62 isn’t the cheapest speaker in the market. Consider this a mid-priced model. We suggest going for it if you already have a sub, otherwise the total cost will increase further. FAQ: How to improve Elac Debut Refernce DBR62 performance? In order to improve Elac Debut Refernce DBR62 sound quality, you can use damping pads under the speaker. Allow the speakers to go through long hours of break-in. Lastly be aware of the fact that room acoustics play important role in audio performance. Use EQ options or room calibration in the amp. For home theaters, make sure to use materials to improve room acoustics. Is it mandatory to use a speaker stand with Elac Debut Reference DBR62? Speaker stands are not mandatory at all. As long as you can place the speakers on table or shelves making sure they are at user’s ear level, you are good to go.
-Read More