INTRODUCTION: MY 2 CENTS
Recommend this product?
Regardless of what anyone tells you, the center channel speaker is the most important speaker in home theater. When it comes time to build a quality home theater setup, if there's one place to skimp, it's definitely not the center channel. More than 85% of the movie's soundtrack will play in this one speaker, so putting all your resources into the front left and right speakers, in my opinion, isnt the right strategy. Whats great about Paradigm, is that they deliver great sound at affordable prices. So, it makes it easy for someone to assemble a high quality home theater setup without dishing over a ton of money. I think thats the best argument I can give to persuade people to look at the Canadian manufacturer when its time to spend money on audiophile-grade loudspeakers.
Before I purchased the CC-370 to compliment my Paradigm Mini Monitors in the front, I auditioned the CC-170. I have to say that the 170 disappointed me. At mid-to-high listening levels, high frequency sounds were shrill and harsh. I quickly returned that center and upgraded to the 370. I must stress that this speaker never has problems with highs. It consistently reproduces movie soundtracks and multi-channel sound well. Unlike the 170, I have never had problems with its performance. Female voices are airy and smooth, while the dual 6.5 woofers can do justice to even the most bold male voices.
One thing to note, however, is that Paradigm speakers tend to take a very long time to break in. Such is the case with the CC-370. Give the speaker a couple months and it should match most Paradigm speakers well. The center really does become transparent with the fronts.
APPEARANCE AND CONSTRUCTION
The CC-370 won't win any beauty contests. It's quite a boxy speaker and there isn't anything real attractive about it. It is, however, large. Now, while some people enjoy small speakers, others will like its size. I recommend using a center channel speaker stand below the TV because the speaker's drivers are pointing slightly upwards.
I own eight Paradigm speakers and have never had a problem with any of them. Out of the box they have all been in perfect condition. And after two years from my first Paradigm purchase, all the speakers are working as they did when I first got them.
THE PARADIGM SOUND: BORING?
Some comment that Paradigm speakers are "laid back" or have a "boring" sound. In my opinion, Paradigm speakers are quite active. Because they are some of the flattest speakers on the market, they don't emphasize certain parts of the frequency range. Other speaker companies care less about diagnostic tests. They produce speakers that, while less accurate sonically, might be more rewarding for certain types of listeners.
So, if you're in the market for a center channel, try this out at an authorized dealer and, if possible, perform an A/B test. See if the CC-370 offers the type of sound you're looking for. I think you'll be happy with this speaker regardless, but I recommend you listen to it before you buy.
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Amount Paid (US$): 329