- Design MagneShieldTM optional for Black Ash only, 4-driver, 2-1/2-way bass reflex, quasi-3rd-order resistive port
- Crossover 3rd-order electro-acoustic at 2.0 kHz, 2nd-order electro-acoustic at 700 Hz (lower bass drivers)
- High-Frequency Driver 25-mm (1 in) H-PTDTM dome, ferrofluid cooled
- Bass / Midrange Driver(s) 140-mm (5-1/2 in) M-ICPTM cone, 25-mm (1 in) voice coil, GRIPTM chassis
- Bass Driver Two 140-mm (5-1/2 in) carbon-infused polypropylene cones, 25-mm (1 in) voice coils, GRIPTM chassis Low Frequency Extension 41 Hz (DIN) Frequency Response:
- On-Axis ±2 dB from 54 Hz -20 kHz
- 30° Off-Axis ±2 dB from 54 Hz – 15 kHz Sensitivity – Room / Anechoic 94 dB / 91 dB Suitable Amplifier Power Range 15 – 180 watts Maximum Input Power 130 watts
- Impedance Compatible with 8 ohms
- Internal Volume 25.7 L / 0.90 cu ft
- Height, Width, Depth 93.8 cm x 16.5 cm x 29.8 cm
- 36-15/16 in x 6-1/2 in x 11-3/4 in
- Weight (Unpacked) 33.6 kg / 74 lb per pair Finishes Wengé, Cherry, Rosenut, Black Ash Price: $750
Many years ago, I owned a pair of Paradigm Export Monitors that I bought from a college student. He had done a bit too much partying and discovered that you can’t pay rent with deposit money from beer cans. I remember being very pleased with my purchase and I enjoyed them right up to the day they went into storage. I never saw them again, as my locker, along with a few others, was broken into while I was on a 6 month job site out of state. Wanting to start fresh, I went with another brand of speakers and equipment when I got the insurance money. Since then, much has happened with both Paradigm and myself.
Fast-forward to today: Paradigm has grown tremendously, gaining all sorts of awards as well as consistent recognition from the audio press. In late November, I was offered the opportunity to review the Paradigm Monitor 7’s, after mentioning to the publisher about my previous experience with the Exports. I knew the 7’s were floor standers and I was expecting the traditional wide front of that line from yesteryear. Instead, I was greeted by a very fresh 21st century slim tower. Long gone is the 10-12 inch wide front, and in it’s place is a very svelt, seven inch facing. I knew at that point that I needed to think very differently about the 7’s. As I remembered back to the Exports, they had more of an east coast sound, similar to Boston Acoustics. That impression was soon to change.
Paradigm Monitor 7 v6 reivew
The Monitor 7 V6 cabinet is constructed of ¾ MDF with a vinyl finish imitation wood in 4 choices. The review pair came in a black ash finish. With the black ash you can get Paradigm’s “MagnaShield” for home theater application. The vinyl has a satin sheen to it, which keeps the eye from locking in on the fact that it isn’t real. The fact that the Monitor line is Paradigm’s budget speaker grouping deflects criticism from those that demand veneer. The grill employs my favorite style of attachment: the hidden magnet. No broken tabs with these speakers. The top of the grill and the baffle behind it have a slight arch like all Paradigm speakers. This gives a look of the top of the letter “P”. The baffle is the anchor for all the drivers. Manufacturers who use the raised baffle all make the same point–that by doing this wider dispersion is created. Paradigm calls it an “Advanced Wave Guide Chassis”.
Paradigm manufactures all of its drivers in-house. The Monitor 7 tweeters use a titanium dome, and the bass drivers chassis use die-cast aluminum and polymer with glass injected for reinforcement of the cone. Advanced materials is an area Paradigm has been known to be a leader in research for many years now. The bass driver cones use a carbon infused process. All of this technology put together is one reason why Paradigm speakers operate at such high efficiency levels, the Monitor 7’s are rated at 92db.
The tweeter and three drivers work in a 2 ½ way design. The ivory-colored driver acts as an upper mid playing down to 700hz, there dual mid bass drivers kick in, taking the speaker down to 50hz. The forward full nature of the 7’s creates a fine illusion of a speaker that plays down to the upper 30hz level.
On the back-side, there are two fairly large ports; one located behind the tweeter, and the second just above the speaker terminals. Even with two ports this size, I found placement from the rear wall to be a quick process, although slightly dangerous, due to the extremely sharp floor spikes that attach to the missile-shaped outrigger feet. Without thinking during the placement process, I managed to impale the webbing of my hand on one of the points. Therefore, be conscious when moving the 7’s, the spikes are quite nasty.
Listening Monitor 7 v6
My listening space consists of a great room for lack of a better term. It is 21 feet in length and 14 feet wide. It is divided into a sitting and office area. The ceiling is a surprising 10 feet, which creates much more volume for any speaker to fill. There are three windows all of which have fabric draperies to soften the sound waves. The floor is carpeted. Final placement was 36 inches from the back wall. Distance between the speakers was eight feet, which allowed for a balanced placement distance between the side and rear walls. I did find that I preferred them firing straight-ahead; the result was a more balanced and wider soundstage.
The Monitor 7 V6’s are a high efficiency speaker from Paradigm’s “budget” line. I felt that using my Yamaha DR 840 receiver would be a fair match. For a source, I chose my new-to-me Cambridge 540v2 cdp that I snagged off of Craigslist while on a recent business trip. For those of you new to Paradigm or any speakers running above 90db efficiency, make sure to have the volume turned way down. I thought I had that knob low enough. Well it wasn’t! Let me inform all readers right now, the Monitor 7’s have no problem playing loud, and I do mean loud. Thankfully, the neighbors with whom I share a common wall were at work, though their cat, Prissy, was not happy I’m sure. Just as impressive was the overall clarity during the times I cranked the volume way up. What I have noticed over the years when speaker volume raises into the mid-nineties decibel level is that especially female vocals can become brittle, for lack of a better term. The Monitor 7’s never broadcast that problem.
One characteristic I noticed right away with the Monitor 7 V6’s was the obvious forward-sound they presented. This was not the Paradigm sonic signature I remembered from my time with the Export Monitors. Usually when I hear such forwardness, I prepare myself for listener fatigue, as the in-your-face sound has a tendency to wear on me rather quickly. But not with the 7’s. It took me a while to figure out why, but I finally think I found my answer; the bass response on the 7’s, though pronounced, wasn’t sloppy with 95% with the music I played through them.
Recently, I’ve been listening to quite a bit of female vocals. My favorite cd currently is Norah Jones’ tremendous Come Away With Me. The sultry-sexiness of her voice and relaxed presentation matched up well to the characteristics of the Monitor 7’s. Over the years, Paradigm’s tweeters have been known to not shy away from the highest frequencies. The 7’s are no different, and they add a bit of fresh crispiness to her vocals that more subdued tweeters would miss.
When it comes to female vocals in the past six months, I have come to believe that Alison Krauss is as good as it gets. Her duet album with Robert Plant, Raising Sand, may just be about as unique as any collaboration in the past 20 years, but it works really, really well. The song, “Trampled Rose”, highlights not only the purity of her voice, but the range and detail that the Monitor 7’s can reproduce. Nuanced within the song are short riffs by various instruments that add so much beauty to the song. Thankfully, the 7’s give those bits their own place in the soundstage.
As our publisher MM and others in the review field try to remind everyone, at this price level nothing is perfect, tradeoffs are made. I must be fair and mention them. I made a trip to a local Paradigm dealer and was able to compare the Monitor 7 V6’s to their next higher line, the Studio Reference 60’s. The biggest difference is richness and depth that adds so much to vocals. But at a cost difference of over a thousand dollars, which makes what the Monitor 7’s do offer all the more impressive.
A second honest weakness involves heavy reverberation of a few songs involving electric lead and bass guitars. At higher volumes the 7’s do begin to stress and become a bit sloppy. Individual notes blur and a hazy quality settles in on the sound. When I first heard this anomaly I thought that I wouldn’t want to listen to any Rush albums as they do employ this style in so many of their songs. I was pleasantly wrong, I only found 3 tracks that presented this issue. Considering the enormity of Rush songs, this is a very small percentage to say the least.
If I have one irritation with Paradigm, it’s their use of cardboard rather than styrofoam for their padded packing. Bluntly put, it’s a royal pain in the butt. The cardboard is folded several times to create the protective buffers, but they aren’t glued into place, leaving the owner a bit confused as the necessary shape and placement.
Final Thoughts about Paradigm Monitor 7 v6
Buying speakers is like purchasing a car: you never get everything you want (unless you’re Warren Buffet). The Paradigm Monitor 7’s offer so very much for such a reasonable price that it amazes me that more speaker companies don’t try to model their budget floorstanders to resemble their sonic signature. Their wide soundstage, coupled with tremendous efficiency and near full-range sonic signature make them very hard to beat. The fact that lower-powered amps and receivers would act like a power player matched up with the 7’s should intrigue many.
I was asked by a friend after hearing them and talking about my enthusiasm if I would buy them. I replied absolutely, if the review pair was in Rosenut or Cherry. They made my current speakers sound rather primitive. Guess I’m going on a speaker hunt and guess what is going to be my reference point…you guessed it! The Paradigm Monitor 7’s.
- Yamaha DR 840 receiver
- Cambridge 540v2 cdp
from aﬀordableaudio, By Dan Nielsen