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Paradigm Premier 800F Tower Speakers

January 5, 2020

I have had a pair of Paradigm bookshelf speakers for many years (Monitor SE Atom) and I have enjoyed them immensely.  I appreciate their accurate representation of sound. So when it was time to go shopping for some tower speakers (when your wife suggests buying new speakers – get busy), Paradigm was on top of my list of speakers to check out.

We live in a loft-like space (open concept and high ceilings) and we wanted a speaker that would fill that space. Some of the checkboxes were:

  • The speakers would be used for stereo music vs. a home theater situation.
  • They needed to have a wide soundstage – these would not be sitting in sweet spot speakers.
  • They need to sound good at low volume – they will be primarily enjoyed passively (AKA background music).
  • They needed to be efficient as they will be powered by a small amp (NAD 7240PE which is conservatively rated at 40 watts).
  • They need to have adequate bass as they will not be augmented by a subwoofer.
  • They need to look good in a nonintrusive way.
  • They need a moderate footprint.

We went to Stereoland and listened to their Paradigm, KEF, and Golden Ear speaker lines.  We fell in love with Paradigm’s Premier 800F speakers despite the fact they were over our price point. The 800Fs checked all the boxes above and so we walked out with a pair with an espresso grain finish.

No speaker can be judged until you get them home. The components that will feed them matter, but the biggest wild card is the room. The 800Fs sound great from all angles of our listening space. Like their smaller cousins (my old Monitor SE Atom speakers), they accurately reproduce sound. But, because they are so much bigger than the Atoms they fill the space and cover you with a warm blanket of beautiful noise.

On the technical side, the 800F has four drivers: a tweeter for high sounds, a midrange for middle sounds and two woofers for bass. The bass is a 3-way bass reflex. Bass reflex means, that in addition to the two woofers, there is a port on the rear of the speaker cabinet. This port enables the sound from the rear side of the woofers to escape the speaker’s enclosure. This increases the efficiency of the speaker at low frequencies (bass) as compared to a typical closed-box speaker. This is a standard feature of Paradigms – even my little bookshelf Atom Paradigms had this feature. I love the bass on these speakers – it packs a punch without booming. The tweeter and midrange use Paradigm’s patented PPA lens, which stands for Perforated Phase-Aligning Driver Lenses. Per Paradigm: “high frequencies tend to congregate, and can sound muddled, obscuring details and shrouding image clarity.” PPA resolves that. I don’t really understand all of that (bass reflex and PPA), but the 800Fs are the best sounding speakers I have ever owned (including my beloved Klipsch KG2s).

Speakers are the most personal audio choice you can make. I would be hard-pressed to recommend speakers to someone. The only way to make a decision is to work with a good dealer like Stereoland who has a brick and mortar presence.  Then you can audition the speakers in the store and ultimately test drive them at home. My wife and I love these speakers – they are a good match to our home both visually and most importantly sonically. We are pleased with our choice and look forward to many years of enjoyment.

(Above) This gives you a sense of how the Paradigms visually fit our home.

(Above) this gives you a sense of the sonic challenges of our listening space: long room, 10′ ceilings on the left channel and 20′ on the right.

Links to some more reviews:

From → Audio

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