"Outstanding, with Exceptional Clarity"
Paradigm's top-of-the-line E3i in-ear headphones are dazzling the audiophile press and listeners alike. These are the headphones of choice if you want the ultimate full-frequency sonic experience from a pair of earbuds, including impressively intensive bass. In fact, frequency response is an astonishing 8 Hz to 19 kHz.
The E3i is also for listeners who like to listen to music on their mobile devices. It's identical to the E3m, but it is specially designed for use with the Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPods. The cable incorporates a handy remote with a built-in mike boasting smart phone functionality for the iPhone. The earpieces are crafted from CNC precision-machined aluminum, so these 'phones look every bit as good as they sound.
"The sound from the E3m earbuds is outstanding, with exceptional clarity and a laid-back quality that makes them really addictive to listen to," raves Robert Kozel in his August 30, 2012 review for Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity. "The bass response was deep but not so much as to take away from the enjoyment of the music."
"Put These on Your Short List"
"The Paradigm Reference Signature speakers can run near $10,000 a pair and the E3m's are tuned to sound like them," reports Tom Andry in his Audioholics.com review for January 13, 2012. "If you are looking for a pair of earbuds, you'd be crazy not to put these on your short list."
"Not only does the e3m offer exemplary bass response with articulate but powerful lows, but there is never any distortion," reports Tim Gideon in his PCmag.com review for January 13, 2012.
"The presentation of the E3m is probably its best trait – it is wholesome and well-rounded. The soundstage is above-average in size and has very good on-center feel," notes ljokerl in a Head-fi.org review posted March 23, 2012.
"Paradigm put considerable thought and engineering experience behind the voicing of these headphones," says Caleb Denison in a March 19, 2012 post at DigitalTrends.com. "There’s nothing phoned in about the e3m and we can really appreciate that."
Faithfully Reproducing Freestanding Loudspeaker Performance
Paradigm's unique understanding of what makes a speaker sound magical in a listening room is applied to the design of its in-ear headphones. Paradigm uses sophisticated measurement tools and proprietary algorithms while accounting for the psycho-acoustic effects of the ear structure in developing its design. This allowed the company to faithfully reproduce the performance of its freestanding loudspeakers in an in-ear headphone.
Meet Angie, the Perfect Listener
Angie, Paradigm's 'Head and Torso Simulator,' was the middle man (okay, middle woman) in the quest to critically tune each earbud to sound like the company's loudspeaker lines. Paradigm put her in the anechoic chamber with a microphone in each ear and a Paradigm speaker in the chamber. Then the engineers measured sound pressure levels, the speaker's frequency response, and total sound power (the actual summed output that is heard). They looked for any coloration or distortion at various power levels, all of it according to what Angie was actually hearing. Then they took the results and began to design.
Canada's National Research Council Findings
While everyone's ears are different, extensive research with Canada's National Research Council revealed that all listeners clearly favor three things: a flat midrange, a smooth total energy response and low distortion. Through Angie's ears, Paradigm was able to so precisely tune the headphones to its speakers that listening to an E3m earbud presents the sound quality of Paradigm's ultimate high-end Signature series speakers.
In-Ear Headphones That Sound as Good as High-End Speakers
Paradigm SHIFT series products are the result of 30 years of sound research and product development. Paradigm took the expertise used to produce hundreds of award-winning loudspeakers and adapted it for music on the go. What you hear when you plug in with Paradigm SHIFT series is exactly what you should hear – a faithful reproduction of the original source, no different than if you were listening to a Paradigm loudspeaker.
If you're listening to a live concert recording, your SHIFT headphones will make it feel 'live.' When you turn up the volume there will be no loss in sound quality. And because Paradigm headphones have superb noise isolation, even at low volumes you will still hear the full spectrum of sound clearly.
"The Paradigm Reference Signature speakers can run near $10,000 a pair and the E3m's are tuned to sound like them. That's a pretty intriguing notion. Given the wide variety of offerings on the market, we might have expected Paradigm to lean on their name and fans to sell much higher priced offerings. Even at double the price, we could see these selling. Needless to say, at these price points, the Paradigm SHIFT earbuds are sure to be a hit. If you are looking for a pair of earbuds, you'd be crazy not to put these on your short list."
- Tom Andry, Audioholics.com, January 13, 2012
"The sound from the E3m earbuds is outstanding, with exceptional clarity and a laid-back quality that makes them really addictive to listen to. The E3m aren't overly bright and I appreciated how much incredible detail I could hear in the music. It was really easy to make out individual instruments and subtle nuances in voices. The bass response was deep but not so much as to take away from the enjoyment of the music."
"For $129.99, the E3m offer excellent audio performance and let you enjoy the sound of the Paradigm Signature Series speakers anywhere you go."
- Robert Kozel, Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, August 30, 2012
"One thing newcomers to the earphone realm often get wrong is bass performance ¬ not just how much or how little bass to include in the earphones' sound signature, but also how well the drivers will handle deep bass at higher volumes. It's refreshing to see Paradigm get this right on the first try. Not only does the e3m offer exemplary bass response with articulate but powerful lows, but there is never any distortion."
- Tim Gideon, PCmag.com magazine, January 13, 2012
"The presentation of the E3m is probably its best trait – it is wholesome and well-rounded. The soundstage is above-average in size and has very good on-center feel compared to sets like the Velodyne vPulse. While the bass tends to dominate the sonic space when present, the E3m doesn’t sound particularly congested and has good instrument separation and layering."
- ljokerl, Head-fi.org , March 23, 2012
"Paradigm put considerable thought and engineering experience behind the voicing of these headphones. There’s nothing phoned in about the e3m and we can really appreciate that. We feel the e3m’s performance fit their price point to a T."
- Caleb Denison, DigitalTrends.com, March 19, 2012
"Thanks to the machined metal earpieces, the E3M have a quality build you rarely find in this price class. Paradigm claims the rigid connection between the silicone tip and the earbud body enhances bass performances by lessening the loss of low frequencies, and each bud houses an 8mm super-neodymium driver."
- CNET.com, October 20, 2012
"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."
- Steven Stone, Playback magazine, August 12, 2012