Paradigm is a word that can be defined as the example, or the norm of something. Paradigm as a company is an example of an audio company that rose from the depths of Canada in 1982 from Jerry VanderMarel and Scott Bagby, aiming to, as they quote on their site, “eh-hem, change the prevailing industrial paradigm.”

Paradigm Premier 5.1 Speaker System

Since then, they have been making speakers that push the boundaries of the price-to-performance, and this is Paradigm’s step up from a mass-market 5.1 speaker system consisting of the 700F tower speaker, the 500C center channel, the Surround 3 surround speakers and the Defiance X12 subwoofer. The 700F and 500C is priced at $799 a speaker, the Surround 3 are $429 and the Defiance X12 subwoofer is $1299. In the current industry standards, the 5.0 system without the sub would be a mid-low budget system, with the total for the 5.0 system coming to just above $3200. This is Paradigm’s next step up from the Monitor SE series, which they claim is the series for those who want to take the next step up from, “mass-market audio to a superior sound experience”. In this system, the 700F is just below the most expensive and larger floor stander in the family, the 800F.

Paradigm Premier 5.1 Speaker System Stand Alone

The 700F towers themselves are not your traditionally box-shaped towers either. The profile from the top is a little difficult to explain, but they are straight until about 4 inches in, and then they have a slight indent inwards as you go to the back of the speakers, so when toed in the speakers look shorter than they already are. Similarly, the 500c is similar on the top side, but is a simple flat on the bottom. All of the speakers have a magnetic grill, which is a growing trend in the industry that eliminates the cups that intrude on the face of the speakers when the grill is off. The magnets that hold on the grill on the speakers have appropriate strength, in my opinion, as these feel strong enough for you to comfortably snap them on and off without too much effort.

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Overall, first impressions of this system give me good vibes. They are very pleasing to look at, and this is an example of a speaker system that has both form and function. The woofers that are in all of the speakers except the surrounds are something that I really like, and the design is one that will raise eyebrows when you look at them closer. If you are used to the traditional speakers, or if you are used to listening to your speakers without the grill, you might notice that the drivers of these speakers are unusual. These unique Active Ridge Technology (ARTTM) woofers are something that you can marvel at, because I think they are subtly beautiful. Best part about it so far is that it’s a form as well as function, as Paradigm claims these design boosts the excursion of the woofer, which is a gain of about 3dB and 50% reduction in distortion. A more obvious unique characteristic presented in the 700F towers and the 500C center channel is another patented feature, the Perforated Phase-Aligning (PPATM) tweeter and midrange lens, which are the intricately shaped protective metal on both the tweeter and the midrange woofers. The Surround 3 employs the PPATM tweeter, without the midrange lens with the traditional cone woofer mid-bass. Only the materials are what seems non-traditional in the mid-bass woofers, with the X-PALTM satin-anodized pure aluminum mid-bass cones that claim to provide high stiffness-to-mass ratio with outstanding internal dampening for clear and extended bass response. There are two of them, as the Surround 3 has a semi-cylindrical design with bi-directional phase for the speakers. The gloss piano black looks elegant to stare at, but as usual, these are culprits for fingerprints if you handle them bare handed.

Paradigm Premier 5.1 Speaker System Closeup

From the short session of listening I have done, the system sounded awesome, but you will know more about it in the upcoming review.

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