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Paradigm SHIFT™ A2

Powered speaker (Ash Black Grain)

8 Reviews | 1 question - 5 answers

Item # 819A2BKASH

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Our take on the Paradigm SHIFT™ A2

Whether you play them on your desktop as near-field monitors or crank 'em up to fill your entire room, Paradigm's A2 powered speakers deliver powerful, engaging sound that brings your music to life. From crisp, clear guitar notes, to breathy saxophone solos and smooth, accurate vocals, the A2s will place you right in the middle of your favorite recordings. They're a great choice for plugging in an iPod®, or pairing up with your PC. (To really show off what they can do with your digital music sources, we recommend adding an outboard digital-to-analog converter.) Or add Paradigm's BD1 Bluetooth® audio receiver to play music wirelessly from your tablet, smartphone, or compatible portable player.

Rock your desktop, or your entire room

Whether you play them on your desktop as near-field monitors or crank 'em up to fill your entire room, Paradigm's A2 powered speakers deliver powerful, engaging sound that brings your music to life. From crisp, clear guitar notes, to breathy saxophone solos and smooth, accurate vocals, the A2s will place you right in the middle of your favorite recordings. They're a great choice for plugging in an iPod®, or pairing up with your PC. (To really show off what they can do with your digital music sources, we recommend adding an outboard digital-to-analog converter.) Or add Paradigm's BD1 Bluetooth® audio receiver to play music wirelessly from your tablet, smartphone, or compatible portable player.

Paradigm A2 in red

Praise for the Paradigm A2 from The Absolute Sound

"A 2012 Golden Ear recipient, the [Paradigm] Shift A2 is more than just a cleverly named loudspeaker. Compact, internally powered, and equipped with DSP bass management and enough back-panel inputs to connect to almost any source, this is what 21st century entry-level high end is all about. A combination of sound and value, it extends the welcome mat to budding high-enders who may have felt they couldn't afford the entrance fee."

The Absolute Sound 2013 Guide to high-performance loudspeakers

"The Paradigm Shift A2 represents a very high order of value and performance — incredibly versatile for small-room, family-on-the-go, and impromptu listening anywhere there's an outlet."

— From Neil Gader's review in The Absolute Sound, July/August, 2012

Great looks and a solid build

The A2's 1" pure aluminum dome tweeter and 5-1/2" satin-anodized pure aluminum cone woofer are each powered by their own separate 50 watt RMS amplifier for impressive control and output. Sophisticated built-in digital signal processing helps ensure the utmost accuracy and clarity, even when you're listening to your music at high volume levels. All components are housed in solidly built wood cabinet with your choice of beautiful finishes.

Versatile connections for your setup

Connections built into the back of the speaker make it easy to hook up a portable music player like an iPod, iPhone®, or the headphone output of a computer. Rear RCA line inputs let you connect another audio source, such as a network music streamer, CD player, or DAC. The A2 can be used alone as a single mono speaker, but they sound so good you'll want at least a pair. Rear-panel RCA and minijack outputs let you daisy chain two or more together for an incredible high-performance sound system. A built-in AC outlet lets you power up accessories like a charger for your player or Paradigm's Bluetooth audio receiver.

Product Highlights:

  • powered bookshelf speaker
  • bi-amplified operation with two built-in 50-watt RMS amplifiers
  • sophisticated digital signal processing keeps sound accurate, clear, and musical
  • frequency response: 55-20,000 Hz (±2 dB)
  • each speaker features:
    • one 1" anodized pure-aluminum dome tweeter
    • one 5-1/2" satin-anodized pure-aluminum woofer
  • back-panel volume control
  • RCA and minijack inputs for connecting audio sources
  • RCA and minijack outputs for connecting additional A2 powered speakers
  • AC convenience outlet for powering accessories such as USB chargers and Bluetooth receivers
  • compatible with optional Paradigm A2 stainless steel desktop stand for enhanced looks and performance
  • weight: 11.6 pounds
  • 6-11/16"W x 11-1/8"H x 10-5/8"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Powered speaker
  • Detachable grille
  • 69" AC power cord
  • 6.5' Stereo audio minijack cable
  • 4 Self-adhesive rubber feet
  • Owners Manual
  • Quick Start Guide
  • "Using An Airport Express" instructions
  • Paradigm Shift brochure card

Paradigm SHIFT™ A2 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(8 Reviews)

Get it!

James from Tennessee on 2/6/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought the bundle and loved it. After a few weeks I bought a single A2 for the kitchen. These speakers ended my search for a small full-voiced, dynamic speaker. The bass mix and the clarity on the high end is wonderfully separate and articulate for a single speaker. There is a stereo input for a two speaker system. My bundle speakers do have a slight hiss on one speaker, but the kitchen single speaker is silent. The hiss is not noticeable when the music is playing. You can get the accesory speaker-stand that does have some sharp edging on the metal, but it up-tilts the speakers slightly for an improved sound.

Pros: Best sound for the size

Cons: May experience a hiss

Crutchfield response on 2/7/2017 James, we're sorry you're hearing a slight hiss from one of your speakers. If the problem continues, please just reach out to our tech support team. They can either help you troubleshoot the problem, or possibly send out a replacement. Lifetime tech support comes with every Crutchfield purchase.


Matthew from Wisconsin on 7/2/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Please refer to the audioengine a5+ speakers for a more detailed review. These speakers are absolutely great! They hit amazingly low tones 35-30hz is where the low end cuts out, soundstage is phenomenal. I love the magnetic covers. The highs are crisp and clean, lows smooth and punchy when needed but not doggy or boomy. Just an absolutely great sounding speaker! Small hiss from both but thats so minor compaired to what you get when you buy a different type of speaker its easy to look past it. Plus when music is playing its VERY hard to hear it. Thumbs up Paradigm you did good. Audio components associated are Computer to Schiit audio modi dac to the speakers by audioquest cinnamon cables. Also tried my Oppo blueray to them using the same cinnamon cables and WOW!

Pros: Everything. Just great sound! Even compared to my main system.

Cons: Volume knob on back, No way to tell if both left and right are set perfectly besides trial and error on adjustments. And like I said minor but the hiss could be possibly addressed.


YenkoZL1 from Phoenix on 6/21/2014

I purchased the Paradigm Shift A2's for music on my computer. The sound is great. You can always tell when you have a good speaker when you can here a difference in a recording through them. I paired the A2s with the Cambridge Magic DAC XS, and they're a match made in heaven. Especially the price of the Cambridge DAC compared to others. This setup is completely portable if you choose. I don't think there is a better DAC out there for the money that is as small at the Cambridge. I do have the HISS sound coming from only the right speaker. The instructions in the box talk about this. Dimmers, fans, static, routers, and bad grounds can cause this. So I am still trying to rectify the problem. Once the music is playing it isn't as noticeable. The tweeters are bright. But with 8hrs of play on them they have mellowed out a little. Paradigm says there is an extensive break in period but they don't specify how long. These speakers sound great regardless of the type of music you listen to. I give 50% of the credit to the Cambridge DAC. These speakers wont disappoint. Bi 50watt RMS amps built into each?! The cost difference versus other non-active speakers is about $160 savings. And you don't need a separate amp which I have priced on average $499 for a 2 channel setup for computer use or other portable uses. These speaker are worth the $$$ to performance ratio.



paradigm shift a2

bob b. from albuquerque nm on 6/17/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

terrific little speakers

Pros: audiophile sound

Cons: none

Paradigm Shift A2 up grade

MLD from Stratford CT. on 10/29/2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I received my Paradigm Shift A2's Monday 10-28-2013. They are replacing a pair of Audioengine A5+'s that I have been using as my computer speakers for the last two years. I have been listening to computer audio more lately and I wanted to get a pair of speakers that have more detail than my Audioengines. I read good reviews on the Paradigm Shift A2's so I ordered them from Crutchfield. I got the Ash Black Grain speaker finish because I could not see spending for a special finish even though they look to be very nice. They sound the same. When I opened the speaker shipping box I was happy to see that the Ash Black finish looks great. Not cheap looking at all. If you want to save money on the speakers and opt for the Ash Black. You will not be sorry. I noticed an immediate improvement in music detail and richness over the Audioengines. I do not hear any hiss coming from the speakers as I read from some of the reviews. I think the A2's will benefit from some break in time to smooth out the top end a little. They only have about 5 hours playing time on them now. But as they are now they sound great. They are a big improvement over my Audioengines. If all you want to do is listen to music while on your computer the Audioengines will do a fine job. But if you want to do any serious listening to music you should consider the Paradigm Shift A2's. For me the upgrade from the Audioengines to the Paradigm Shift A2's was money well spent.

Pros: Audiophile sound for a great price. I find myself pushing back from the computer and just listening to music.

Cons: None as of now.

Very Pleased

TsT from Ocala,Fl on 4/5/2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

To tell the truth . Everyone who comes into my house goes straight for my music room . How does such sound come from something so small and cheap ! Music , sound has always been that way since i was a kid . Money to burn or band 4 the buck u can acquire very good sound . HT-Omega Claro Halo pci sound card . Paradigm Shift A2 and Klipsch SW308 on Auralex mopar stands gave me what i wanted . Clean ,clear and detailed sound. I honestly give 50% of the credit to HT-Omega for a fine SC with exceptional software . The signal is so clean i have 'No' hiss ,hum or pop . But i do also have everything plugged into 1 Belkins surge protector . I wanted a metal tweeter as 'Rocky' would tell you (Great help Rocky was). 80 to 100 hours break-in ,no joke . The Klipsch also . This setup tells you as it burns in when to flatten it out and a gentle adjustment of the sound stage . No Chit man it's that righteous .The Omega software lets me do anything i care to do . No way this old man goes for a USB Dac . Thanks but ya'll use them . People hear my sound and they don't want to leave . Want else you got Tom . Hmmm throw down some 'Sade' and let the drums and deep clean bass steal their souls . Ya , GOOD Sounds

Pros: Break them in 100 hr's and fill your room with fine sound . Loud or soft the A2's will do it ..I've seen ,read . Some reviewers stone the A2 for the imo very sweet magnetic grill cover .Which i do use cause I like'em . Quality of build . Second to none . The power of the Paradigms is very clean . I fill a 16x18 rm with clean volume you can't speak over . Course i have the SW308 Kicking azz also ..

Cons: ??? I'm very Happy . Txs Rocky . Good advice

Great sound if you can ignore the hiss

Darin P from Kirkland WA on 3/19/2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Right out of the box these speakers had an impressive presence. The smooth finish and attractive looking drivers really set off the look. The sound is also very nicely composed compared to the Audioengine A5's which I tried just before these. The A2's have significantly clearer highs, but they are almost too "bright" for my tastes and leave my ears feeling fatigued after extended listening. In that regard, I highly prefer the fabric domes of the Audioengine speakers. For bass and mids, the Paradigms are much more refined and extended, hitting a good 2 octaves lower than the Audioengine speakers with enough authority to not need a sub for most applications. I ran my sound through a NuForce DAC from my iMac using the RCA outputs which significantly improved the sound quality. However, I'm torn on the harshness and bright sounding tweeters. I hope they smooth out over the next few days of break-in. Also, you may have read reviews of a hiss from the tweeters tied to internal amps. It's definitely there and changing gain levels across the DAC, audio card, and the speakers produced no change. If they're on, they're hissing. Only sound output at moderate levels drowns it out. The Audioengine A5's had no hiss and a much warmer sound for my tastes. I'll give these a few more days to smooth out, but unless they do they're going back. It comes down to taste usually, and the bright sound combined with the hissing might just do me in despite the otherwise great sound.

Pros: Amazing mid range and bass extension for such a small speaker. Very attractive with nice material finishes and driver composition. Easy and flexible connectivity.

Cons: The ever-present hiss. Bright blue indicator light. Putting the grilles on dims it somewhat, but not by enough. Harsh and bright tweeter. It makes for very clear definition in the music, but at a cost to my ears.

Paradigm shift

KerryC from Ft Worth Tx on 10/18/2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Having had paradigm speakers in my home theater setup for the last 11 years I was confident these particular speakers would not disappoint and I was correct! I have them connected to my PC with an audioengine DAC and an audioquest cinnamon cable and the performance is great!. Like anything else in audio you need to tweak things to make them perform and the same goes here. I could not be more happier and the more they get played the better they will sound!

Pros: Sound and Performance!

Cons: Price, but you pay for what you get.


Hands-on research

Product Research



Powered Speaker: The Paradigm Shift A2 Powered Speaker features a two-way speaker design and a built-in amplifier with digital signal processing. With two analog inputs you can connect your TV, computer, laptop, tablet, or portable MP3 device. The two analog outputs allow you to daisy chain multiple A2 powered speakers for a stereo speaker configuration in one room or a mono speaker configuration in multiple rooms.

Digital Signal Processing (DSP): Sophisticated mathematical algorithms shape the Paradigm Shift A2's frequency response so that even when you're listening at loud levels not only is the bass intense, the overall sound from the A2 is unbelievably accurate, clear, and musical.

Bi-Amplified: The Paradigm Shift A2 features a built-in 100 watt (RMS) amplifier. The amplifier sends 50 watts (RMS) to the tweeter and 50 watts (RMS) to the woofer.

Two-Way Speaker Design: The Paradigm Shift A2 Powered Speaker features a two-way driver design for exceptional sound.

  • Tweeter: A 1" anodized pure-aluminum dome tweeter provides a high frequency response up to 20,000 Hz.
  • Woofer: A 5.5" satin-anodized pure-aluminum cone woofer provides a low frequency response down to 55 Hz.

Acoustic Suspension Cabinet: The Paradigm Shift A2 features an acoustic suspension (sealed) cabinet for tight, accurate bass response.

Rubber Feet: The powered speaker comes with 4 self-adhesive rubber feet for added stability. The rubber feet add approximately 0.375" to the height of the speaker.

Optional Stainless Steel Stand: You can add the Paradigm Shift Stainless Steel Stand (819STAND, sold separately) to the A2 powered speakers for a more sophisticated, sculpted look.


Power Switch: The Paradigm Shift A2 Powered Speaker's main power switch is located on its rear-panel.

Volume Control: The A2 is designed for use with various audio devices. However, audio sources have different output levels. The A2's rear-panel rotary volume control allows you to adjust the powered speaker's input level to match the output level of your device. Once you have set the A2's volume level, you can use your connected source's volume control to raise and lower the volume of the system.

Stereo/Mono Switch: The Paradigm Shift A2 can be used as a mono speaker, or as a stereo pair when connected to another A2 powered speaker (sold separately). There is a rear-panel switch to designate weather its being used as a mono speaker or a left/right stereo speaker.


Analog Inputs: The Paradigm Shift A2 Powered Speaker features two rear-panel analog inputs; a stereo RCA input and a stereo minijack (3.5mm) input for connecting your external audio devices.

Analog Outputs: The A2 Powered Speaker features two rear-panel analog outputs; a stereo RCA output and a stereo minijack (3.5mm) output. These outputs can be used to connect multiple A2 speakers and/or a powered subwoofer.

Optional Bluetooth Receiver: The optional Paradigm Shift BD1 Bluetooth Receiver (819BD1, sold separately) allows you to wirelessly stream music from your Bluetooth-enabled device to the A2 powered speaker. The BD1 Bluetooth receiver connects to the A2's rear-panel 3.5mm input.

Auxiliary AC Input: The Paradigm Shift A2 is fitted with a rear-panel two-prong AC power input to power an external portable audio source, such as an Apple Airport Express (sold separately).

AC Power: The Paradigm Shift A2 Powered Speaker operates off of standard household AC current (100-240V~50/60Hz, 1.5W) using the supplied 69" detachable AC power cord.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

Reputation of Paradigm, the beauty of the product and the desire for a powered speaker. The Shift A2 fit my needs, perfectly. [ Scott  Jun 12, 2017 ]

1 question already asked

are they a pair at that price or a piece? [ matthew  Aug 20, 2014 ]
I will say I was pleasantly surprised with lower frequency response. And for now, they suit my set-up fine. I do feel these would be best paired with a small sub and will probably do that in the near future however. For the size, and power, they do put out a generous level of sound. The design, fit & finish, flexibility of inputs and quality is pretty outstanding. They are a beautiful addition to my office! I'm happy with the purchase [ robert  Mar 29, 2014 ]
I am really enjoying the Paradigm A2's, for me the base is just fine. Don't think you can go wrong with these. Enjoy [ Harry  Mar 26, 2014 ]
The bass is better than the audio engine 5 More detailed than most bookshelf speaker. You can follow the rhythm and an intricate bass line. The bass hits you about chest level. So, it is just fun to listen to by getting a peak into .the drive and attack of the bass. Imaging of drums is very good giving you a sense of the drive and attack. I mostly hook my Squeezebox to it via a DAC. Instead of using the stereo mini-plug between the I use Wireworld rca cable between them using a 16 ft run so that I can have my equipment on the side close to my desk. Don't think it made much of a difference in bass response over the mini stereo plug wire. May hook up a pre-amp to adjust bass and treble. The squeeze box has a volume bar.. May upgrade to Wireworld OASIS rca cable for better bass. But good as it is. The woofers have a fast .excursion rate,so the music is not layed back. Has a fun live feel. Presents a stage. Read the review on Hometheaterreview for more info. The music sticks in your head because it's more digital than tubelike. The DSP digital amp might provode more base than hooking up a good amp to a plain paradym or similar bookshelf. Sound is more moving and fun than something to enjoy quietly while working. [ JAMES  Mar 24, 2014 ]
No need for a separate sub. Trust me. These little guys are champs. Most my music is bottom heavy and these preform. [ JOHN  Mar 24, 2014 ]