When I was a kid I used to read the Sears and Roebuck catalog from cover to cover. I saved up for months to buy the “good” fishing rod while still lusting after the Ted Williams signature “Best “ rod. Looking over the information on the new Paradigm Shift series of headphones gave me powerful feelings of déjà vu. Paradigm also uses the good, better, best method to differentiate the earphones in the Paradigm Shift line-up.
According to their product information all three Paradigm Shift earbuds use similar 8mm super neodymium drivers. But the E2m and E3m have slightly greater sensitivity than the E1 earbuds. I suspect that some of the specification and sonic differences can be linked to the different enclosures. The E1 uses plastic while the E2m employs two-piece sealed aluminum. The E3m has a solid one-piece aluminum housing.
Paradigm claims that each of the three earphones in the Shift stable is modeled after a particular series or line of Paradigm speakers. The E1s are based on the Monitor Series 7, the E2ms are based on the Studio Series and the E3ms are based on the Signature Series of loudspeakers. While I suspect this is as much about marketing as virtual modeling, it does raise questions, unanswered in their product literature about how this was accomplished.
Of the three earphones E-series, the least expensive $49.95 E1 will be the biggest hit with athletes or anyone who wears their earbuds with the cables routed above their ears and down their backs. The E1 are also had more bass than most in-ears I’ve heard. Paradigm’s top-of-the-line E3ms are aimed squarely at listeners who want bass, more bass, and for variation, a little more bass. The E2ms are for more temperate, but they’re still for listeners who like bass a lot.