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Paradigm Monitor 7 Loudspeaker Series Preview

Paradigm Monitor 7 Series

Paradigm Monitor 7 Series


  • Product Name: Monitor 7
  • Manufacturer: Paradigm
  • Review Date: September 11, 2011 20:15
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

Paradigm proudly announces their new Monitor Series 7 loudspeakers which are said to be a complete redesign of their classic Monitor lineup while still preserving the acoustical signature of its predecessors. 

Paul Wojciechowski, Manager of Product Development says, “The goal for Monitor Series 7 was to further improve acoustic integrity while presenting a more streamlined aesthetic within a (slightly) smaller footprint, particularly on the floor standing speakers and center channels. “7” is a direct response to today’s consumers’ desire for a good size without sacrificing good sound.” In a nutshell says Paul, “We wanted the highest possible performance in the smallest physical envelope while maintaining the important Paradigm affordability difference.”

Paradigm GrilleMonitor Series 7 design highlights:  

  •   Self-aligning magnetic grille design. Honeycomb interior corner architecture ensures a more spacious and transparent sound since the new architecture prevents sound capture in grille corners … acoustic integrity remains in tact whether speakers are played with grilles on or grilles off.
  •  Complete baffle redesign:  ¾˝ MDF baffles across the board for further increased solidity and cabinet resonance reduction; A cleaner, fastener-free front-panel aesthetic; Magnetic baffle design makes it easier to remove should servicing ever be necessary; Baffle has been FEA-optimized to remove resonances and vibrations and critically tuned to the rest of the cabinet.
  •  Elegant plinth (base) provides stability for the narrower floor standing footprints and a stylistically cleaner, less intrusive alternative to outrigger feet.
  •  20% overall reduction in model footprints – floor standers and center channels.
  •  Monitor 7 is a new size and a 3-driver model (vs. 4 drivers in previous iterations) covering the spectrum through a tweeter, mid/bass and bass driver with audible improvements in sensitivity and extension.
  •  Monitor 11 is now the size of the original Monitor 9 v.6 but a 5-driver model (vs. 4 drivers in previous iterations) covering the spectrum through a tweeter, dedicated midrange driver and three bass drivers with audible improvements in sensitivity and extension
  •  Two new center channels have been introduced to replace the original CC-190, CC-290 and CC-390 – the new centers are known as Center 1 and Center 3 and both acknowledge acoustic refinements over earlier center channels including decreased footprints to better fit today’s a/v furniture sizes.
  •  Monitor Surround 1 and Surround 3 have replaced the ADP’s of the previous Monitor Series and feature revised design and technology in keeping with the way sound is being mastered and mixed in today’s recording studios.

Trickle-Down Technology from Paradigm’s Reference lineups includes:

  • 1˝ S-PAL satin-anodized pure-aluminum dome tweeter (vs. titanium in earlier versions):
  •  Waveguide design offers improved high-frequency dispersion
  • Mesh guard offers added protection for the dome tweeter
  • S-PAL satin-anodized pure-aluminum cones (vs. injection-molded co-polymer in earlier versions):
  •  New lightweight foam-rubber surround geometry (from Studio Series) with exceptional damping   properties and much higher excursion capability
  • New high-temperature voice coils (aluminum or copper) wound on Kapton® formers
  •  Large ferrite magnets; super neodymium magnets in Monitor 11 dedicated midrange driver
  •  Carbon-infused co-polymer polypropylene bass cones with motor structures tweaked as per bass/mid drivers
  • Greater sensitivity and deeper bass extension on floor standing models and center channels

Paradigm’s Director of Marketing, Mark Aling is most enthusiastic about this new lineup of value priced high-performance Paradigm speakers: “Monitor Series 7 goes further in terms of aesthetics, technology and design than almost any speaker series update we’ve done in our history. Our track record of producing high-value high-performance speakers is reinforced yet again with the launch of this fabulous new Monitor generation. For those who want real, concrete, audible value for their audio dollars, it won’t get better than this affordable new generation.”

Monitor Series 7 is available in Black Ash and a new Heritage Cherry finish. Surrounds are in Black. Model lineup and estimated US FMV pricing for the series is as follows:

  • Atom Monitor:         $199/ea
  • Mini Monitor:           $279/ea
  • Monitor 7:                $449/ea
  • Monitor 9:                $599/ea
  • Monitor 11:              $799/ea
  • Center 1:                 $379/ea
  • Center 3:                $599/ea
  • Surround 1:            $279/ea
  • Surround 3             $399/ea


Our First Impression

Last night as I was sitting in my CEDIA hotel room perusing manufacturer websites for more product info I skyped Paul Apollonio about a tech article we are co-authoring on loudspeakers and had him weigh on his opinion based on the information and pics regarding these new Paradigm Monitor 7 loudspeakers.

Comments from Paul Apollonio
At the request of Gene Dellasala, I have been asked to review the marketing materials and photos of the Paradigm monitor series seven loudspeakers.  I first need to say without equivocation I have not heard them, or measured them or even seen these loudspeakers outside of the photos provided in the online PDF.  Because I have been a driver and system designer for many years now, it was thought my trained eye might cull some information from the brochure that would be pertinent to a measured evaluation.  I noted the following:

  • The driver baffle design is integrated with the drivers to minimize edge diffraction around the driver mounting point.  The job done on the tweeter was especially nice, and that is the driver which is most critical to address, as it is most sensitive to these flaws.
  • The grille design appears to be very well thought out and sophisticated in its design, built in a way to prevent reflections and minimize diffraction
  • Nothing was done with the edge of the cabinet to minimize diffraction as far as I can tell from the photos alone, perhaps to minimize the baffle width.
  • These floorstanding speakers use a plinth to add weight at the bottom, increasing both the footprint and cabinet stability
  • The tweeter dome is hailed as pure aluminum, which sadly does not tell us much.  There are at least 100 alloys of aluminum, and several ways to form aluminum into a dome.  There are also at least a dozen different ways to heat treat aluminum to maximize its performance.  None of these approaches are mentioned.
  • The tweeter edge is NOT aluminum, which is a good thing.
  • The brochure claims ferrofluid damping is employed.  While sounding like a good thing, this could mean the damping can be modulated by the temperature of the ferrofluid, as its viscosity (heavy viscous oils produce mechanical damping, lowering Qms) can change when the fluid gets hot, which means the performance is more variable, not less so.  A ferrofluid without damping is preferable in my personal design experience.
  • The speaker frames are plastic - Has the advantage of more stability than steel, can be stressed without deforming where a cast basket might simply crack, but also does nothing to carry heat away from the top plate, which can get hot at high power input levels.
  • The brochure says the crossover inductors can be air core (can be good IF the diameter, shape, and wire size are picked right, and it is wound right and on the right bobbin.)  Those are a lot of "ifs"

My overall judgment of the product is that it appears to be well engineered, and value oriented.  It has gone through several iterations, and is someone's labor of love.  It looks like a value oriented product, and is likely worth giving them a listen and a formal review. 

We got a chance to briefly get up close with these new speakers at CEDIA today.  Overall I was quite impressed with the build quality and design.  The actual baffle is magnetically held in place and can be removed.  The compact form factor has a lot of appeal for those wanting good sound in a small footprint.  Paradigm was very straightforward about their design goals with these speakers to produce a compact, high value, high performance series of loudspeakers.  Based on what we are seeing so far, we have little reason to doubt their objectives were met.  We look forward to reviewing these products in the near future.

For more information on Paradigm, please visit www.paradigm.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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