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Paradigm Founder 100F and 70LCR Loudspeakers Review

by January 09, 2022
Paradigm Founder 100F & 70LCR

Paradigm Founder 100F & 70LCR

  • Product Name: Founder 100F, 70LCR
  • Manufacturer: Paradigm
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Review Date: January 09, 2022 00:55
  • MSRP: $ 5,200/pair - Founder 100F, $1,700/each - 70LCR
  • Buy Now
    *For your convenience, we've included a link to Audio Advice to buy this product. As an Audio Advice associate, Audioholics.com benefits from qualifying purchases.

100F

  • Frequency Response: ±2dB from 42 Hz - 23 kHz
  • Drivers:

Tweeter: 1" (25mm) AL-MAC™ Ceramic Dome with Oblate Spheroid Waveguide (OSW™)

Midrange: 6” (152mm) AL-MAG™ Cone

Woofer: Three 7" (177mm) Ultra-HighExcursion CARBON-X™ Unibody Cone
  • Sensitivity: 90 dB
  • Design: 5-driver, 3-way floor standing, ported enclosure
  • Amplifier Output Compatibility: 8 ohms / 6 ohms / 4 ohms
  • Recommended Amplifier Power: 15 - 350 watts
  • Crossover: 2nd order electro-acoustic at 2.1 kHz (tweeter), 2nd order @ 500 Hz (bass)
  • Finish options: Piano Black, Black Walnut, Midnight Cherry, Walnut
  • Weight: 72 lbs
  • Size (HxWxD): 41.9” x 12.9” x 16.1” 

70LCR

  • Frequency Response: ±2dB from 79 Hz - 23 kHz
  • Drivers:

Tweeter: Coaxial 1" (25mm) AL-MAC™ Ceramic Dome with Oblate Spheroid Waveguide (OSW™)

Midrange: Coaxial 6” (152mm) AL-MAG™ Cone

Woofer: Two 5.5" (127mm Ultra-HighExcursion CARBON-X™ Unibody Cone
  • Sensitivity: 89 dB
  • Design: 4-driver, 3-way 70LCR, sealed enclosure
  • Amplifier Output Compatibility: 8 ohms / 6 ohms / 4 ohms
  • Recommended Amplifier Power: 15 - 220 watts
  • Crossover: 2nd order electro-acoustic at 2.2 kHz (tweeter), 2nd order @ 700 Hz (bass)
  • Finish options: Piano Black, Black Walnut, Midnight Cherry, Walnut
  • Weight: 30 lbs
  • Size (HxWxD): 8” x 18.9” x 12.3” 
Paradigm Founder YouTube Review Discussion

Pros

  • Nice neutral response from 100F
  • Gorgeous looks
  • Wide dynamic range
  • Good build quality
  • Wide dispersion center in 70LCR

Cons

  • Erratic on and off-axis response from 70LCR

 

Founder trio3Paradigm 100F and 70LCR Introduction

The famous loudspeaker manufacturer Paradigm Electronics was founded by Scott Bagby and Jerry Vendermarel in 1982. Jerry left in the early 2000s, and Scott partnered with the investment company Shoreview Industries to run the company, but eventually, Shoreview took on a controlling role as the majority shareholder in 2005. In 2019, Scott and his son John Bagby purchased Paradigm back from Shoreview, and to celebrate, they began work on a state-of-the-art speaker line to replace the aging Prestige line. This new line was appropriately branded the “Founder” series.

The Founder series incorporates a great deal of cutting-edge loudspeaker design that is both brand new for these models as well as evolutions on technology from previous models. Given how highly that some of their previous loudspeakers have performed, that bodes well for the Founders, although they still must prove themselves in practice instead of coasting on prior success. That brings us to today’s review of the Founder 100F floor-standing speaker and Founder 70LCR speaker where we look at how much that advanced design has added up to. Let’s dive in!

Appearance

The Founders speakers are not inexpensive, but they do look every penny of their price, if not more. They look like true luxury items.

100F pair grilles3 100F pair14

The pair that I received came in a “Midnight Cherry” wood veneer that is one of the nicest I have seen to date. The veneer is a deep reddish color with dark grain and has a highly polished finish. The cabinet holds a black finely brushed aluminum front baffle that the drivers are mounted on. The drivers themselves are attractive and almost look like jewelry embedded in the front. All of the drivers have a polished brass trim ring that gleams in the light. The tweeter has an intricately patterned ‘PPA’ lens cover and is mounted in a satin black conical waveguide. The midrange driver also uses Paradigm’s signature PPA covering that gives it an elaborate geometric pattern that is quite eye-catching. The bass driver cones have a streaking that looks like they were marbled, and they are encircled by a ribbed surround that looks like beading all around the cone. Of course, with the grille on, this driver array is all hidden by a flat, black fabric, and the grille dulls the appearance of the speaker considerably.    

70lcr grille2 70lcr

The 100F speakers have a diagonal crease on the side which helps to make the speakers less boxy and more interesting. A small Paradigm badge hangs near the bottom of the front baffle and the speaker ends in black outriggers that are topped with metallic rings. I have to say that the industrial design of these speakers is outright beautiful, and they could fit in nicely even in a very high-end interior decor.

Design Overview: Founder 100F

100f tweeter

There is a lot going on with the Founders speakers. Both the speakers under this review have some significant differences, so we will just discuss the 100F speaker for now and then explain how the 70LCR differs afterward. To begin discussing the design, we will simply start at the top with the tweeter. The Founder speakers use a 1” dome tweeter made from aluminum, magnesium, and ceramic that they have termed AL-MAC.  The ceramic probably just comes from anodizing the aluminum which creates a thin layer of ceramic on the surface. In the past, Paradigm had been pretty insistent on using aluminum tweeters and even termed their pure aluminum diaphragms the X-PAL drivers, so the infusion of magnesium and ceramic is a slight departure for them. This combination of materials should push ‘break-up’ modes to higher frequencies with respect to pure aluminum. Break-up modes are when the driver diaphragm is moving so fast that it begins to deform and can not hold a stable shape. When the diaphragm loses its shape, the frequency response becomes very erratic and it can have negative audible consequences.

100f tweeter cut awayThe tweeter is covered by Paradigm’s PPA lens which looks like a small grille for the tweeter dome. PPA stands for “perforated phase-aligning” lens and it serves a function similar to phase plugs, in that they prevent frequencies generated by different areas of the cones from conflicting with each other which can happen at frequencies with a shorter wavelength than the diameter of the dome. In the pattern cut into these ‘driver lenses,’ we can see the larger holes start from the outer rim and become smaller as we move inward toward the center. Higher frequencies will be more affected by regions of the grille with smaller perforations, so they will be more greatly hindered by the central region of the driver lens. This means that the higher frequencies generated by the more recessed center of the dome will be blocked from interacting with those same frequencies that are generated by the more forward edges of the dome. Theoretically, this will help to keep all the sound generated by the dome to keep better phase-coherence which will make for a smoother frequency response.

The tweeter is mounted in a waveguide that Paradigm calls the “Oblate Spheroid Waveguide” (OSW). The naming and design of this waveguide draws from renowned loudspeaker engineer Earl Geddes’ research into waveguides. Earl Geddes is rightfully considered one of the world’s foremost experts in waveguide design, so Paradigm has turned to the right source in designing their waveguide. Given the source research used to derive this waveguide, we would expect the OSW to have a good degree of directivity control with a smooth off-axis response throughout the tweeter’s frequency band. With a smooth off-axis response, the speaker should have a more consistent sound over a wider area as well as lessening the need for acoustic treatments or equalization for optimal sound quality. 

Something else to note about the tweeter is the use of an iron ferrite magnet in the motor instead of a neodymium magnet. Neodymium may be smaller and more expensive than magnetized iron, but it is more subject to heat build-up since its smaller surface area cannot disperse heat as effectively. The greater surface area of the equivalently powerful iron magnet can radiate heat more efficiently so the tweeter will be less subject to thermal compression than a neodymium motor.

100f midrange  100f midrange ppa

Moving down to the midrange driver, we can see that it is also using a PPA lens but obviously a much larger one. Aside from sorting out phase conflicts, the PPA lens would also seem to be a good protective barrier for the midrange driver, much more so than most grilles. The midrange cone has a 6” diameter and is made from an aluminum and magnesium mixture that Paradigm calls “AL-MAG.” This is not to be confused with the tweeter material that they call AL-MAC which uses ceramic in addition to aluminum and magnesium. Other notable features of the midrange driver is the 2” diameter voice coil on a heat-resistant polyamide former, a cast aluminum basket, and a vented pole piece; all of that should add up to a fairly robust driver.  

100f woofer

Moving on to the bass drivers, they look to be using a very large magnet around a 1.5” diameter voice coil that has plenty of room for excursion. The 7” diameter cones are made from a material that Paradigm calls CARBON-X (yes, it is all capitalized). CARBON-X is a single-piece cone construction that uses carbon infused with minerals, and the minerals must be what gives it that streaking color. Paradigm claims this material is very stiff, and it seems to be quite stiff in touching it. The CARBON-X cone is attached to a cast aluminum basket with a pleated surround that Paradigm calls the ART surround system, where ART stands for “Active Ridge Technology.”  Paradigm says the ART system allows for more headroom than conventional half-roll designs. When typical surrounds are stretched at high excursions, particularly in the inward-stroke, deformations can occur from the high tension, and these deformations can cause distortion or even tears in the surround. This ridged surround design by Paradigm supposedly reduces these deformations by directing material stress to points that can better cope with it due to the shape of the surround. Paradigm claims that ART allows 1.5 times the excursion for the same surround roll which can result in a 3 dB increase in headroom. 

100f rear

The crossover circuit uses 2nd order electroacoustic slopes for both the bass driver/midrange crossover and midrange/tweeter crossover.  The crossover frequencies are 500Hz and 2.1kHz. 2.1kHz is a somewhat low frequency for a 1” dome tweeter, but such a low crossover frequency ensures a better directivity match with the 6” midrange driver. The tweeter has a pretty beefy motor and it is also assisted by a waveguide so it should be able to deal with that low crossover frequency. The 100F has dual binding posts and so has the option of bi-amplification. In most home audio loudspeakers, I think that the bi-amplification ability is nonsense, but I am almost willing to give the 100Fs a pass here since three heavy-duty 7” bass drivers should be capable of a lot of power handling. Paradigm’s “Maximum Input Power” spec for the 100F is 250 watts. That is a fair bit more than what most AVRs are capable of. For those who want a bit more dynamic range and have the extra amplifiers handy, bi-amping looks to be a reasonable choice, although if possible I would just get one serious amp to drive the entire speaker as one circuit and avoid the complications of bi-amplification.

The enclosure is made from ¾” MDF paneling. As was mentioned before, there is a ¼” thick brushed aluminum plate mounted on the front baffle that holds the drivers. Window braces provide lateral support and there is a large diagonal brace running the length of the exterior crease. Paradigm seems to have a name for everything, and they call their bracing system “cascade fusion bracing.” One of the ideas of the diagonal brace is that it can help break up standing waves since it is not a parallel surface to anything else in the cabinet. It also adds a great deal of rigidity on the vertical plane which is a good idea for an enclosure with a 16” depth. Additionally, it helps to seal off the compartment that houses the midrange driver so that it isn’t affected by the internal pressure waves caused by the bass drivers. The cabinet is packed with acoustic stuffing to damp backwave pressure from the drivers. Overall, the cabinet is a very sturdy construction, and it should be very inert at any drive level.

100f port

A 7 ½” deep port with a 4” diameter is mounted on the bottom of the speaker to give provide deep bass. That kind of length-to-width ratio would not suggest an extremely deep tuning point, and I wouldn’t guess that the 100F speakers would extend below 30Hz from just knowing those dimensions, but we shall see the port tuning frequency in the measurements section. The decision to mount the port on the bottom would help to give it some additional loading from the floor boundary.

The feet are some very sharp spikes mounted on metal outriggers that have to be assembled upon unpacking. The user can omit the spiked feet and just use the rubber discs above the spiked feet. The spiked feet are only useful for carpeted surfaces unless you use the discs that protect hard flooring. If the user slipped with lifting the speakers, the spikes could leave a significant gash in any hard flooring. I wish loudspeaker manufacturers would stop using spikes like these. Their only advantage is that they don’t leave an impression on the carpet from a long-term placement. Spikes haven’t been shown to lead to any acoustic advantage whatsoever (read our article: Speaker Spikes and Cones - What’s the Point?). They just make the speaker more unwieldy to set up and a potential hazard to homes that have children. However, one thing I do like about the feet is that their depth can be adjusted by a knob on top of the feet so that all four feet can make solid contact on the floor even if the floor is uneven.

shock mount bracingAnother design decision that I have to question the efficacy of is Paradigm’s “Advanced SHOCK-MOUNT Isolating Mounting System” - and yes, the capitalization is again from Paradigm. In this system, the drivers are mounted to the cabinet with a bracket that has an elastomer cushioning which provides a layer of damping so that the movement of the drivers is not mechanically transmitted to the cabinet. The problem with this system is that now the drivers are not going to have as rigid of a mounting system as they would have had otherwise; the cabinet is supposed to absorb the vibrations caused by the drivers. The cabinet should be constructed well enough so that those vibrations do not become a problem, and the Founders cabinetry definitely looks good enough in that regard. But by having a soft-mounting system for a driver, the driver itself would be vibrating more, which is far from ideal. This looks to be a solution for a problem that can potentially be much worse than the problem itself - and I don’t think there was really an existing problem to begin with.

 

Editorial Note by Gene DellaSala

Speaker manufacturers often gasket their drivers to create a better seal while also minimizing conductive resonances on the front baffle so I can appreciate Paradigm’s unconventional approach here. If we put aside the argument about the isolation benefits of Paradigms new “Advanced SHOCK-MOUNT” system, there are two-fold benefits from serviceability and assembly standpoints.  The weight of high-quality drivers like the ones used in the Founder series have a tendency to strip lesser threaded inserts upon assembly or servicing. Paradigms approach should minimize this concern and in fact upon speaking with them, they did tell me it does prevent over tightening of the drivers during assembly.

 

Design Overview: Founder 70LCR

70lcr4

The 70LCR is an interesting and uncommon design that deserves a separate discussion. It can be used as a center or front left/right speaker, hence the name ‘LCR.’ There are other speakers that have been designed with that use in mind, but the 70LCR’s design holds an advantage that makes it better for this type of use than most other LCR speakers: it is a 3-way design instead of a 2-way design. The reason why that is advantageous is that the dispersion pattern will not change as much from laying it down horizontally or standing it up vertically. That is not at all the case with most MTM (midwoofer-tweeter-midwoofer) speakers, because they change their character a great deal just from this simple orientation switch.  Essentially, if you change the orientation of a normal MTM speaker in this manner, it can’t really be considered the same speaker.

The Founder 70LCR achieves a 3-way design by using a coaxial driver for the tweeter and midrange driver. Sometimes also called concentric or coincidental drivers, coaxials work by nesting the tweeter in the center of a woofer. The advantage here is that there is no distance difference between the points of acoustic emission of the tweeter and woofer, so there are no off-axis points where they are not in phase with each other. Any time drivers are separated by distance, there will be a phase conflict relative to the wavelength of the distance difference. This manifests itself in major gaps in the frequency response at off-axis frequencies where the distance difference between the drivers can become substantial. In other words, if you are listening to a speaker where the drivers do not have equal spacing to your listening position, you could be missing big chunks of the sound. We mostly see this as an issue in horizontal center speakers that simply place a tweeter between two woofers (the above-mentioned “MTM” design). With such speakers, if you are not seated in a dead-ahead direction with respect to the speaker, you could be missing a great deal of sound, especially in the critical speech band which can really hurt dialogue intelligibility. The 70LCR shouldn’t have this problem at all.

70lcr coaxialMuch of the driver technology is the same as the rest of the Founder series, including the CARBON-X woofers, the AL-MAG midrange cone, the AL-MAC tweeter dome, and so on. The major change is the motor topology of the midrange driver and tweeter; the magnetic fields of the driver motors being so close to each other is bound to be a source of complication. Paradigm says they have addressed this with something that they call the Dual-Sync Continuous Flux Motor, but they haven’t explained how it works. Another change is that the midrange cone serves as the waveguide for the tweeter, so it takes on Paradigm’s OSW geometry to do so.

Since the enclosure is intended to be used in either a vertical or horizontal orientation, there is no front badging that would make it visually awkward for either set-up. The binding post plate is aligned for horizontal orientation, but that doesn’t affect the operation of the speaker at all. The 70LCR is a sealed enclosure design, and that is a sensible choice considering this speaker will probably mostly be used as a center speaker. Most center speakers are placed in a quarter-space placement where they are near two surfaces, and that can induce a lot of boundary gain in low-frequencies, so the speaker isn’t likely to miss the extra bass from a port. What is more, using a ported design would necessarily make the speaker larger, and many people have trouble finding space for their center speakers as it is. The sealed design makes the 70LCR more versatile for placement. However, it probably would stand to benefit from the addition of a subwoofer more than a ported design for those looking to use it as a full front-stage set.

The 70LCR has dual binding posts, so the user can opt to separately amplify the bass drivers if they wanted. I don’t think the bi-amping ability is warranted in this case. Given the specs of this speaker, it isn’t likely to be able to take more than a couple of hundred watts continuously. If you need that kind of headroom, there are a lot of amps that can put out that much, so why get into the extra complexity and thus potential problems of bi-amping? And don’t even get me started on “bi-wiring.”

70lcr rear

Since subwoofers are so ubiquitous, speakers like the 70LCR are something I would like to see more of: high-output stand-mount speakers that leave deep bass duties to the subs. These types of speakers have most of the dynamic range of tower speakers without the size or extra cost. Most people, especially in the home theater hobby, already have subwoofers and are likely crossing over the deep bass around 80Hz, and that negates the need for the bass extension advantage that towers have over stand-mount speakers. With no need for the extra bass extension, the only advantage that tower speakers have over stand-mounts is the extra dynamic range, but the 70LCR isn’t likely to be at a serious disadvantage against the Founder tower speakers or most other home audio tower speakers when bass below 80Hz isn’t being considered.

Listening Sessions

In my 24’ by 13’ (approximately) listening room, I set up the speakers with a few feet of stand-off distances between the back wall and sidewall and equal distance between speakers and listening position. I angled the speakers to face the listening position. The listening distance from the speakers was about 8 feet. Amplification was handled by a Pioneer SC-55. No room correction equalization or subwoofers was used.

Music Listening

adele 30Looking for something that could really show off a nicely recorded vocal, I had a stroke of luck as Adele’s new album “30” had just dropped and landed on Qobuz. Adele’s fusion of pop and R&B always had a high level of sound engineering that managed a wide array of instruments yet never lost Adele’s distinctive voice in the mix. “30” sees more maturity from Adele and thus less reliance on studio gimmicks for musicality. Because of this, we get a more straightforward experience with Adele’s singing and an intimate recording of her voice. This makes it a great demonstration of a sound system’s ability to reproduce some well-recorded vocals, and so I put it on to see what the Founders speakers would do for Adele.

The 100F's rendered Adele’s voice with rich detail, and precise holographic imaging.

From the first track onward, the 100F speakers were able to position Adele’s voice squarely in the center of the soundstage. One attribute that I noticed was that the speakers needed to be a bit further back than where I normally position them for the sweet spot to ‘open up’ so that a small change in my listening position didn’t result in a large swing in imaging. Once I repositioned the speakers, the area in which I could listen without the imaging being so sensitive to the listening position broadened considerably. Adele’s voice was rendered with detail, and the richness of her voice combined with the precise imaging enabled the 100F speakers to project her out in my room like an aural hologram. The speakers gave a tonally balanced presentation that had a strong bass sound without it becoming overbearing. Likewise for treble, the 100Fs provided detail and articulation without being sibilant or hot. As a test to see how naturally the 100Fs could reproduce a human voice, they passed with flying colors on Adele’s “30.”  

A stunning new release from the Glossa label features performances of Josquin des Prez’s late period compositions, a period of melancholy and lamentations as Josquin contemplated his own mortality. While the subject matter may be sorrowful, the music is undeniably beautiful. This release, titled “Josquin, the Undead: Laments, Deplorations & Dances of Death,“ is performed by the Graindelavoix, an experimental early music ensemble under the direction of Bjorn Schmelzer. The music is all-male choral singing with some light accompaniment by a lute and a cittern. The 96kHz/24bit streaming quality befits the pristine recording quality, and the superb production quality here is appropriate for the masterful artistry. This gorgeous album would make for a fine exhibition of the fidelity of any sound system.

The 100F's sounded as if I had a live choir in my home theater room.

The 100F’s soundstage for “Josquin, the Undead” had excellent demarcation between the singers, so each of the singers had sharply defined positions. The soundstage spread from the left to right speaker with ambient reverberations from the recording space seemingly expanding beyond the width of the speaker’s placement. While the singers were individually identifiable, the harmony of the whole ensemble was beautifully woven into a singular performance. The voices were eloquently recreated and the speakers gave this recording the kind of realism that one hopes for from a high-fidelity sound system. Indeed, I briefly left the room, and, from an upper floor of my home, it sounded as if I had a live choir in my home theater room. Again, the tonal balance was spot on, and the tenors, altos, and baritones of the Graindelavoix sounded even and proportionate. The moroseness of the music gave the serious-looking 100F speakers the aura of a cenotaph. However, there was no question that the fidelity of the speakers was a great match for the beauty of this recording. 

Josquin the Undead     electron birth

For something more deeply rooted in the future rather than the past, I listened to “Electron Birth” by Steve Roach. “Electron Birth” is one of Roach’s forays into ‘Berlin School’ style electronic music reminiscent of older Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze records except done with much more modern production techniques along with Roach’s inimitable ‘voice.’ This album is an arpeggiated swirl of analog synthesizer sounds that weave in and out to create a soundscape that is at once futuristic yet with unmistakable nods to the past. It was performed and recorded live at a concert in Tucson in 2018, an amazing feat for such a complex work. The otherworldly soundstage of this album makes for a fun listening experience as well as a display of how a loudspeaker can image something that is cohesive yet wholly artificial. 

The 100F speakers had no problem tracking the multitude of synthesizers that could be running at any given moment nor did they ever blur the synths together. The various strands of sound were kept distinct from each other but not at the expense of the overall composition. Nothing sounded over-emphasized nor did anything sound like it became lost in the labyrinthine swirl of electronics. The soundstage was a spinning vortex held together by a bass melody at the center of the structure, and it extended well past the boundaries of the speakers’ placement. The effect was the musical equivalent of endlessly falling into a fractal zoom with the 100F speakers supplying the vivid imagery that a hallucinogen would normally have delivered. The 100Fs provided the immersion that headphones can have with this sort of music but keeps it anchored in front of the listener instead of all over the place like a headphone would do. “Electron Birth” was a fun journey to take with the 100F speakers, and I think anyone into this progressive type of electronic music would have a great appreciation for what these speakers bring to this genre.

For something that could show off the Founder 100F’s dynamic range as well as their bass extension, I found a killer dubstep album in “Collapse” by Levitate. This is another terrific release from Division Recordings that explores new sounds and new ideas in music within the context of electronic bass music. As would be expected from this genre, these tracks are heavy on bass and utilize substantial compression for loud playback. While it is a bit on the experimental side, it still is intended to be played loud, and so that is what I did in order to see how the Founder speakers would react to a high drive level.

One thing I found out right away was that the 100Fs can easily get louder than I can tolerate. My amplifier can only put out 120 watts per channel but that was more than enough to blast me out of my seat like the guy in the Maxell advertisement. Even at these elevated levels, I didn’t hear anything unintended such as distortion or compression. While these aren’t huge tower speakers, I do think they have sufficient dynamic range to handle a large room. Their bass extension seemed to be fine, but I do think that subwoofers would have brought a bit more lower-end grunt to the deeper notes in some of these tracks. There is deep bass output, but not quite on the level of mid-bass output. My guess is that the speakers are a bit over-damped in the low end in order to prevent too much boost from boundary gain. Unfortunately, the stand-off distances that I have for these speakers (about 4’ from the backwall and 3’ from the side walls) leave them a bit dry for music with substantial deep bass. I also think they give up a bit of extension for more dynamic range which isn’t a bad trade-off depending on the circumstances and  intended use. We will get a closer look at their extension in the measurements section.  

Movie Watching

PossessorOne movie I had an interest in that looked to have a unique sound mix was the 2020 science-fiction thriller “Possessor.” In this movie, an assassin is able to telepathically take over other people’s bodies for the purpose of murder without getting caught or for getting closer to highly protected individuals that would be difficult to kill otherwise. This high-concept sci-fi plot looked to have a mixture of dialogue, action, and more far-out effects sounds as bodies and minds become invaded through technology. It looked to be a good showcase for the abilities of a front-stage speaker system to reproduce a modern science fiction production.

“Possessor” turned out to be a good deal darker than I was expecting. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable movie and benefited from the capabilities of the 100F and 70LCR. The focal point of the sound design was undoubtedly the music score from Jim Williams which had double-duty of not only setting the mood but relaying the state of mind of the characters. The music was a complex mixture of neoclassical and ambient electronics, and it would undoubtedly suffer from playback on a subpar sound system, but luckily the Paradigms Founders speakers are in no way a subpar sound system. The dialogue was always clear, and effects sounds were beautifully reproduced, although the sound mix, as well as the movie as a whole, did not put much emphasis on effects scenes as a typical Hollywood movie might have. “Possessor” is not a movie for everyone, but those who want to take the plunge into a relatively disturbing science fiction movie ought to do so with loudspeakers as good as the Founders. The movie deserves that level of treatment.

For a lengthier test of the Founder’s sound, I checked out the AppleTV science fiction series “Foundation,” which is based on the great Isaac Asimov’s epic novels. In this big-budget series, a mathematician’s model shows that the galaxy-spanning empire is about to collapse leaving civilization in ruins and potentially on the brink of extinction. He sets out to start an organization that can withstand this calamity and saves mankind’s collective knowledge of science, art, and other intellectual achievements. This big-budget show set in the far future should make for a fine demonstration of a sound system’s capabilities if the sound engineers are allowed to unwind their creativity a bit and put in some really ear-catching sound design of exotic future technologies.

FoundationWhile the drama of “Foundation” was somewhat disappointing, the sound mix helped to make it watchable, and the Founders speakers helped the sound mix. There were many scenes with extravagant sound effects such as the collapse of the gigantic Star Bridge, the activation of the gyroscopic warp drive, and the breach of a planet-destroying battleship. The Founders speakers helped to realize the colossal scale of the show’s setting that spans a 12,000-year-old empire that is composed of thousands of worlds and trillions of citizens. Much of the action takes place on a fully mechanized planet called “Trantor,” which has its own sonic palette that resembles “Blade Runner” taken to an extreme. The 70LCR’s dialogue intelligibility was always very good even across the many accents of the various cultures in the show. Bear McCreary’s generic but bombastic score was given an appropriate amount of verve by the Founder speakers, and the occasional action scene was also given a good amount of thump and punch. The show may not have lived up to the reputation of Asimov’s book series, but the visual and audio effects were a big-budget distraction at least, so a good sound system can help to make it more palatable. 

About the author:

James Larson is Audioholics' primary loudspeaker and subwoofer reviewer on account of his deep knowledge of loudspeaker functioning and performance and also his overall enthusiasm toward moving the state of audio science forward.

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Recent Forum Posts:

shadyJ posts on May 16, 2022 13:46
buckchester, post: 1557465, member: 78944
I agree with you.

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/measurements/paradigm_signature_s8/

I'm not sure if these are v.3, but these do appear to be the best measurements I have seen for a Paradigm speaker.
That is a very good measurement set. Those don't look like V.3s though.
buckchester posts on May 16, 2022 07:33
Spock, post: 1557442, member: 34356
In your opinion, how does the Founder series compare with the Signatue v. 3 series?

I believe the Sigs measured better than the 100F, and are still the most accurate/flat speakers Paradigm has made. In my opinion, none of the later Paradigm speakers measured up to the Sigs, pun intended.

l’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the Sigs v. 3 versus the Founder series.

I agree with you.

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/measurements/paradigm_signature_s8/

I'm not sure if these are v.3, but these do appear to be the best measurements I have seen for a Paradigm speaker.
shadyJ posts on May 16, 2022 02:07
Spock, post: 1557442, member: 34356
In your opinion, how does the Founder series compare with the Signatue v. 3 series?

I believe the Sigs measured better than the 100F, and are still the most accurate/flat speakers Paradigm has made. In my opinion, none of the later Paradigm speakers measured up to the Sigs, pun intended.

l’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the Sigs v. 3 versus the Founder series.
Where do you see measurements for the Signature 3s? I haven't seen any.
Spock posts on May 16, 2022 00:37
In your opinion, how does the Founder series compare with the Signatue v. 3 series?

I believe the Sigs measured better than the 100F, and are still the most accurate/flat speakers Paradigm has made. In my opinion, none of the later Paradigm speakers measured up to the Sigs, pun intended.

l’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the Sigs v. 3 versus the Founder series.
lc6 posts on March 17, 2022 16:25
“I had a stroke of luck as Adele’s new album “30” had just dropped and landed on Qobuz”

What piece of equipment did you use to play this album for speaker testing?
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