Ask any audio/video reviewer for a list of best bang-for-the-buck, under-$500 speakers and I am betting each and every one of them will have Paradigm's Atom speakers on it. Since its inception, the Atom Monitor has been a value-for-dollar juggernaut, packing insane levels of performance into a small, attractive cabinet that even a kid with a paper route could afford. Just how affordable are the Paradigm Atom Monitors? Try $250 for the pair.
The Atom Monitor is an attractive, compact speaker with a fit and finish that on its own defies its asking price. The Atom Monitor comes in a variety of finishes, including Wenge, Cherry, Rosenut, Black Ash and even White. The cabinet is solidly constructed and has a few design cues that class the Atom up nicely, making it a much more expensive-looking speaker.
The Atom is a two-way speaker, featuring a one-inch H-PTD tweeter mated to a single five-and-a-half-inch bass/midrange driver. The bass/midrange driver is a bit unique-looking by traditional loudspeaker standards in that it bears a striking resemblance to a condom. Paradigm says the speakers are "ribbed for your aural pleasure," and I have to agree, for the driver produces magic throughout the midrange and upper bass frequencies. The Atom Monitor has a reported frequency response of 90Hz-20kHz, meaning a sub is all but required for full-range listening. The Atom isn't a pig for power, needing as little as 15 watts to come alive, due to its rather efficient 90dB sensitivity into an eight-ohm load.
Read about the high points and the low points of the Atom Monitor V.5 on Page 2.