Paradigm Prestige 1000SW Subwoofer Review

Paradigm has released two subwoofers in its Reference Collection Prestige Series, the 1000SW and 2000SW. In for review is the smaller 1000SW which features a 1000 watt amp and 12” driver compared to the 2000SW’s 2000 watt amp and 15” driver. Each Prestige Series subwoofer includes the Paradigm PBK (Perfect Bass Kit) for automated room tuning and optimal bass performance.

Solid construction, a great looking design, and powerful bass you can hear and feel translate into a top performing subwoofer. The extra investment pays off when you hear how tight and detailed the low end sonics are from the Paradigm Prestige 1000SW.

Build Quality / Looks

18710622869_8ffafb3763_bThe Paradigm Prestige 1000SW is available in four finishes: glossy Midnight Cherry and Piano Black, and matte Walnut and Black Walnut. The matte Walnut was sent to me and it is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. The build quality shows the benefits of  Paradigm setting up a process where all design, engineering and construction is done in Canada. I can feel that extra time and care in the seams of the wood finish, the rock solid cabinet, and the machined aluminum feet.

Specs
Manufacturer: Paradigm
Model: Prestige 1000SW
Drivers: 12"
Amplifier: 1,700 Watts Peak; 1,000 Watts RMS
Inputs: RCA (S/E) Left and Right or Sub-Out / LFE or Balanced XLR, From Sub-Out / LFE-Out of preamp, processor or other line level source.
Sub Type: Sealed
EQ: Yes
Dimensions: 18.3" H × 18.3" W × 16.6" D
Weight: 91 lbs.
Review Date: September 21, 2015
Price: 3000
Company Website
The 1000SW bundles two footing options: rubber for hard flooring and spikes for carpet. These screw into the aluminum feet that hold up the beastly subwoofer. Those aluminum feet take the Prestige 1000SW to another level of elegance that most subwoofers do not attain.

Features

Inside the 1000SW is a new Paradigm-designed driver featuring patented technologies like the X-PAL aluminum woofer cone and Active Ridge Technology. Powering the 1000SW is a Class-D digital amplifier rated at 1000 watts of sustained power. Class-D amps are efficient and this particular amp is rated at 90% efficiency. Plenty of available power allows the subwoofer to quickly move the driver resulting in tighter, more impactful bass.

There are a few more noteworthy features on this brand new subwoofer. For convenience, the controls are located on the front of the cabinet. Access to the gain, phase, crossover, PBK on/off, and tone sweep is easy and, as someone who has fumbled with a flashlight in a dark home theater trying to adjust the gain and not the phase on the back of a subwoofer, this is a welcome feature. The tone sweep button can be pressed to run a frequency sweep in order to find pesky room vibrations, allowing for easier location of that rattling picture frame. Lastly, since the Prestige subwoofers include the Perfect Bass Kit, there is an on/off button that will toggle your customized room response curve.

Having the PBK included makes the Paradigm Prestige line stand out amongst the competition. The Paradigm Perfect Bass Kit comes with a stand, calibrated microphone, 2 USB cables, and a software disc. Having a Windows laptop is pretty essential to the process as the software isn’t currently compatible with Mac OS and you will probably need the portability of a laptop to take measurements. It is a straightforward and simple calibration to run after you have the PBK software installed. You may also need to download the latest calibration file, found on the website by using the serial on the microphone, to get everything working. Each bundled microphone’s frequency response is measured in order to create the individual calibration file. Simply connect the USB cables from the microphone and subwoofer to the PC and run the software. It takes a minimum of 5 seating positions to create a profile. For each position, the software runs a sweep on the sub and records the room response. After each sample is captured, a profile for that room’s response is delivered to the subwoofer. From then on, it can be toggled on and off with the button on the 1000SW. I placed the Prestige 1000SW in the front of the home theater, between the center channel and the right main. In the past this has yielded the best results as I run bass traps in the corners.

You can see my room had some peaks and valleys to smooth out. The subwoofer adjusts gain for those peaks and valleys in order to smooth out the response.

Performance

For music the Paradigm Prestige 1000SW performs fast and tight on the bass lines from Dave Brubeck’s Time Out. On “Take Five” the Prestige 1000SW blends well with the full range Revel F208’s, providing that additional bass “feel”. That is, it isn’t so much what I could hear from the Prestige 1000SW, as what I can feel. The Prestige 1000SW does an excellent job and engaging your whole body in the listening experience. The key to good bass is the ability to move a lot of air quickly and as effortlessly as possible. The larger a driver gets the harder it is to move accurately, leading to more distortion in the low end. The light 12” aluminum woofer paired with ample power allows for this quick low distortion bass.

Movies are where a sub is really needed and the Paradigm Prestige 1000SW is a beast when it comes to explosions, gun fire, and rumbling rocket engines. On Interstellar, the launch sequence has a constant low rumble that can either be extremely annoying, or, in the Paradigm’s case, satisfying. Low end frequencies require a lot of air to be moved and in doing so, distortion is often added in the process, mucking up the sound. A lot of design and engineering went into the Prestige 1000SW to limit the distortion as much as possible and this sequence in Interstellar is the perfect example of that. I felt no need to turn the volume down for relief, I just sat back and enjoyed the rumbling.

If you are looking for a sub to handle the bombastic bass of Sex B-Bomb from Scott Pilgrim vs The World, then the Paradigm Prestige 1000SW fits the bill. This sub pounds the kick drum and bass line with proper oomph. My home theater is roughly 2700 cubic feet and the Prestige 1000SW had zero issues pumping out the bass at HALF GAIN. This is a highly capable sealed subwoofer especially given its 18”x16” footprint.

The gun fire and mech movements in Edge of Tomorrow have a visceral impact that affects your body along with your ears. It is impressive that all this is coming from a mid-sized subwoofer. It may not be the smallest subwoofer, but compared to some of the others on the market that perform at this level, it is an impressive feat.

Toggling the PBK profile on and off for Edge of Tomorrow and Time Out, there was no subtle difference. The calibrated Prestige 1000SW delivered a fuller, more impactful sound with explosions and gunfire and smoother response for the bass work of Eugene Wright.

You have two different approaches to subwoofer design between the previously reviewed SVS PC-2000 and the Paradigm Prestige 1000SW. With the SVS, spending $800 gets you a no-frills, black cylinder that looks great in the corner of a dark home theater. It provides excellent low-end punch and plenty of output for most rooms. Spending $2999 for the Paradigm Prestige 1000SW gets you a beautiful wood finish in a compact box cabinet that looks good in any room. It yields top notch bass performance where the ear starts to hear different textures to each note. Finally, the extra investment provides a subwoofer with built in room EQ using the included Paradigm Perfect Bass Kit.

Conclusion

The Paradigm Prestige 1000SW performs brilliantly, especially given its smaller stature, is beautiful to look at and comes with their Perfect Bass Kit. Having the PBK included allows for simple, near automatic room tuning. Certainly not something you get with cheaper subwoofers.  The Paradigm Prestige 1000SW is a reference quality subwoofer and comes highly recommended from Reference Home Theater.

Review Summary
Product: Paradigm Prestige 1000SW
Reviewer:
Pros: Beautiful build, impressive performance, relatively small package
Cons: High performance comes at a cost..
Summary: Great looks between optional finishes and aluminum feet, PBK for easy room tuning, and reference quality low end sonics. High on quantity AND quality.
Value: 3/5
Performance: 5/5
Overall: 4/5