There are reasons to buy active bookshelf speakers over an iPod/Bluetooth dock. What you lose in portability and convenience is immediately gained in true performance. The A2s from Paradigm Shift are a case in point – their cabinet size affords space for both a 5.5in woofer and 1in tweeter, and you can position them to get a real stereo spread.

Pros

The A2’s audio performance will leave a grin on your face – for smallish cabinets these pack serious punch, with enough low-end to snuffle out the basslines in your MP3 collection and a mellifluous mid-range. The overall sound is very easy on the ear, even at high volumes, which I’m assuming is down to the A2’s onboard DSP.

The build quality seems first-rate and they look great on your shelf. Premium colour options (which up the price to £330 each) include Vermillion Red and Polar White – I auditioned the latter and it made me wish I had a more stylish flat.

Hookup options extend to stereo audio and 3.5mm jack – the latter can be used to accommodate Apple’s AirPlay Express, Paradigm’s own BD1 Bluetooth receiver, or a smartphone/tablet/PC with a headphone output.

Cons

The optional Bluetooth receiver isn’t supplied with a USB AC adapter – so you’ll have to buy one of those, too.

If you opt for a pair of A2s, remember you’ll need to plug both the speakers into your mains, and run cabling between the two – which isn’t the tidiest of solutions.


HCC VERDICT

Paradigm Shift A2
Price:
£280 each approx

Overall: 5/5