The History of Paradigm
The History of Paradigm

The History of Paradigm

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Better Sound by Paradigm
The History of Great Sound in Canada, and Beyond

Did you know that Paradigm loudspeakers are still designed, engineered, and crafted right here, in our headquarters just outside Toronto, Canada? It’s been that way since 1982. That’s when co-founders Jerry VanderMarel and Scott Bagby decided to, eh-hem, change the prevailing industry paradigm. They wanted to build high performance loudspeakers right here at home. They wanted to custom-design their speaker components based on science, not speculation. And they wanted to make them available at prices that everyone would appreciate.

In 1982, Jerry VanderMarel, a seasoned veteran of consumer electronics and loudspeaker sales, teamed with Scott Bagby, a loudspeaker designer with a long history of innovative ideas. Together, they went back to the drawing board and developed a radical new speaker. To find the sweet spot, they tapped university audio researchers and detailed scientific findings from the audio studies conducted by the National Research Council of Canada.

The point was to achieve a level of performance that would erase the speaker itself from the equation. Pure, lifelike audio, uninhibited by coloration, unrestrained in its ability to translate power into sound. And to do it at a price that would allow anyone to experience this magic.

The Paradigm Models 7 & 9 were unveiled at the Toronto Audio Show that year. Immediately, a dozen dealers signed on to carry the line. (Many of these loyal charter dealers remain proud Paradigm dealers even today!)

Key Dates in the History of Paradigm

1982 The founding of Paradigm Electronics with a mission to, of course, change the paradigm.
1984 Initiation of the innovative "Show, Tell, Demo" training and sales tool for charter Paradigm dealers.
1985 First use of die cast chassis.
1986 AudioStream formed by founder Bill VanderMarel to streamline marketing of Paradigm products in the United States.
1989 First Paradigm in-wall produced (AMS 200).
1990 Paradigm wins its first Best Price/Value Award from prestigous "Inside Track" magazine.
1992 Introduction of the Atom, Paradigm’s #1 selling speaker model.
1993 Paradigm Advanced Research Center (PARC) opens in Ottawa. Run by former-National Research Council audio researchers Peter Schuck and Marc Bonneville, PARC reinforces the Athena Project, a foundation for "The Paradigm Sound.”
1996 Introduction of Paradigm Reference, launch of Studio Series and the Servo 15.
1999 Introduction of Stylus Series high performance outdoor loudspeakers.
2001 Opening of the 225,000 sq foot Mississauga manufacturing facility.
2004 Introduction of the Signature Series.


Initially, Jerry managed Paradigm’s sales, marketing and advertising departments, while Scott oversaw design and manufacturing. They gathered a team of dedicated audiophiles and engineers (and engineers who were audiophiles), and from these humble beginnings, Paradigm was born. With wave after wave of innovation, Paradigm quickly grew to become a significant player in the burgeoning Canadian consumer electronics and speaker market.

By 1990, Paradigm had won its first “Best Price/Value” award from the prestigious “Inside Track” Magazine. It would be the first of many awards to come.

State-Of-The-Art Manufacturing

On-Site Control = Better Products

The Paradigm manufacturing facility in Toronto features state-of-the-art manufacturing tools.

...And more!

  • CNC (Computer Numerical Control) cabinet construction and finishing, from wood cutting and assembly to veneering, painting and polishing.
  • Injection molding for plastic components, such as baskets, baffles and bases.
  • Grille design and manufacturing on-site, including molding, heat pressing, and finishing.
  • Unique CIM (Custom Injection Molding) capabilities to fabricate cone molding and durable over-molded surrounds on both plastic and aluminum cones.
  • Complete driver and crossover CAD design and assembly facilities.
  • Voice coil winding and assembly.
  • Inductor winding to +/- 0.1 turn precision (several turns beyond the industry standard).
  • PCB through-hole and SMT assembly.
  • The Paradigm Advanced Research Center (PARC) for electronics and software design.
  • Complete painting, powder coating and furniture-grade finishing facilities.

Today, Paradigm’s North American manufacturing facility features the hemisphere’s largest privately owned anechoic chamber (33,000 cubic feet), two double-blind listening rooms and a proprietary loudspeaker testing and measurement system that is one of the most advanced in the industry, if not the world. In all areas, our standards meet and exceed those specified by the National Research Council of Canada.

Our state-of-the-art on-site computer controlled process lets us control the whole manufacturing process, from cabinet manufacturing and finishing, precision injection molding, to driver, crossover and voice coil assembly. We do all the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining of our production parts, prototyping elements and tooling. Finally, we assemble our products here, and do end-of-line testing that exceeds the audio industry’s tightest tolerances.

This incredible manufacturing space, and the people who work here, have made Paradigm the premier large-scale driver manufacturer on the continent. And it is here that we still do hands-on design, and produce all the woofers and tweeters for Paradigm’s award-winning speaker systems.

Paradigm Today

Now, Paradigm is a world leader in the competitive high performance loudspeaker market. In fact, we’ve been “Inside Track” Magazine’s #1 Best Price/Value product for the past 10 consecutive years! Award-winning Paradigm products are now carried by more than 25 international distributors and are available in over 55 countries around the world. It goes without saying that Paradigm loudspeakers are one of the best-selling high performance loudspeakers in North America. It’s a home-grown success story.

Now that you know we’re here for you, explore our current lines of superior performance loudspeakers. If you have questions, contact us. We encourage you to be informed. The more you know about high performance loudspeakers, the better Paradigm looks (and sounds).

From Canada with love!

Pure & Simple: Performance

The founders of Paradigm—Jerry, Scott and Bill—and the people who work at Paradigm, are all hard core audiophiles. We have a fundamental love of music and sound, and the pleasure that it brings to ourselves, our families and friends. So it stands to reason that Paradigm has always been a company obsessed with product performance. Our quest has been to produce reasonably priced real wood loudspeakers that bring our listeners as close as possible to the experience of the live audio event. Along the way, we've tried not to get sidetracked. It's easy (and tempting) to isolate one or another single detail or specific performance parameter, to the detriment of the array of other parameters that go into making a loudspeaker sound natural and engaging.

We prevent this with computer controlled design specifications and extensive double-blind screen testing. Our initial speaker designs are not based on some esoteric inner feeling, but on the far-reaching scientific research conducted right here in Canada by the world-renowned National Research Council. Their exploration of audio resulted in hard and fast ("sound") science on the elements that go into pleasurable and realistic sound. Once we've designed the speaker, we subject it to unique and insightful double-blind screening evaluations. These "tests" don't help us “make better speakers,” but they do confirm (or refute) our original scientific design specifications. We know pretty quickly whether a loudspeaker makes the grade!

While all this extensive and advanced design and testing does dramatically increase our production timeline, it also ensures that, in the end, our products not only look great; they also reveal the superb high-end performance and uncanny timbrel consistency people the world over recognize as The Paradigm Sound.

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