Surround Sound Speaker Systems
- Written by Brian Florian
- Published on 09 February 2012
The Paradigm Monitor 7 Series Speakers Review
Our particular review set consists of the very flexible Mini Monitor mains, the compact but very high performance Center 1 for the centre channel, and the Surround 1 task-specific dipole surrounds.
The Mini Monitor is the proverbial 2-way 6-incher, a format which has been seen in innumerable speakers over the years from affordable models for budding audiophiles to very high end ones worthy of reference status (and not always with an accompanying sub-woofer). The tweeter crosses over to the woofer at 2 kHz, this being somewhat below the typical. That avoids the inherent challenges a 6 inch driver faces with the upper end of its useful range, but it also means Paradigm has to make the tweeter that much more robust. As with virtually all of Paradigm's conventional speakers the Mini Monitor is a vented alignment with port at rear which we expect to exhibit the telltale deep but then sharp rolloff. The drivers are mounted from the inside of the cabinet which gives the front a very clean appearance with no screws visible. Neither are there fasteners for the included gills which instead attach by magnet so if you like the look of a grill-less speaker, these definitely will look like they were designed as such. In addition to the port, on the back we find a single pair of binding posts. At first glance the nuts appear plastic but they have a metal core so you can get a nice tight grip on a spade if you chose.
The Center 1, like so many other Paradigm center channel speakers, is a superb product: compact yet still a true 3-way. The tweeter in the middle crosses over to the midrange below it at 3 kHz, which in turn crosses over to the pair of woofers to either side at 550Hz. Not only does this embody all the virtues of a true 3-way, but it does so with virtually no off axis combing, the woofers being very close together to begin with and voicing only up to a relatively low frequency. The midrange is "protected" from the backpressure of the woofers by being in a sealed volume of its own.
The woofers themselves are a more traditional polypropylene versus the aluminium because the spectrum they play in does not benefit enough from the more expensive material. A pair of ports on the back reveal the vented nature of the design and like the Minis the front has the super clean appearance should you elect to forgo the grill.
The Surround 1 carries on a very long lineage of dedicated dipole surround speakers. Unlike my incumbent ADP-270s with their drivers a full 180 degrees from each other, the Surround 1s have a shallowed angle to the poles. Not only does this enable the attractive curved appearance, but in giving them a little more direct sound to their mix it may yield a more even presentation to multiple rows of seating. The pair of tweeters and 4 1/2" mid-bass drivers are squeezed into a remarkably compact enclosure, smaller than some sconce lights I've seen. Wall mount hardware is included, suitable for drywall attachment, though catching a stud is always preferred. The binding posts are suitably recessed for wall mounting but use of something like bananas will still require an accommodating hole in the wall. In addition half-sphere rubber feet are provided should you need to place them on a shelf or other horizontal surface.