Paradigm Premier 800F Tower Speaker and 500C Center Speaker Review

Matthew J Poes

Matthew J Poes

Full Audioholic
Ratings
302
#21
This has already been hammered here, but I would add that I don’t consider a speakers bass extension as an indicator of its value. A large main could have relatively poor bass extension and excellent performance above that point and I would consider it an excellent speaker regardless of price. My own reference speakers, the Gedlee Abbeys don’t have much bass below around 60hz at all and we’re quite expensive. Their performance is nearly unrivaled in terms of the flat controlled directivity. They handle a ton of power (as in a kilowatt),and can play far louder than most speakers (far louder). Who cares about the bass, that’s what subwoofers are for and it’s precisely how Geddes designed them. A main speaker is typically not placed where would be optimal for bass anyway.

Even if your going for a top tier 2-channel system, I would still suggest using a pair of subwoofers placed against the walls either behind or to the side of the mains. It’s a far better location for bass reproduction.
 
B

Beave

Full Audioholic
Ratings
281 2
#22
It just says “Continuous power handling (IEC 268-5 weighted pink noise, 150Hz high pass filter)”.
Thanks - but I know what the specs say. It's not enough information to cast such harsh judgment, given that Dennis's design only uses it over the range of about 500Hz to 4kHz (if I remember correctly). I would guess it can handle more than 20 watts in that limited bandwidth. And since music isn't as demanding as continuous weighted pink noise, I'd guess in real world applications its power handling is higher still.

(All of which is rehashing a discussion from a few months ago.)
 
Last edited:
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,843 22 38
#23
This has already been hammered here, but I would add that I don’t consider a speakers bass extension as an indicator of its value. A large main could have relatively poor bass extension and excellent performance above that point and I would consider it an excellent speaker regardless of price. My own reference speakers, the Gedlee Abbeys don’t have much bass below around 60hz at all and we’re quite expensive. Their performance is nearly unrivaled in terms of the flat controlled directivity. They handle a ton of power (as in a kilowatt),and can play far louder than most speakers (far louder). Who cares about the bass, that’s what subwoofers are for and it’s precisely how Geddes designed them. A main speaker is typically not placed where would be optimal for bass anyway.

Even if your going for a top tier 2-channel system, I would still suggest using a pair of subwoofers placed against the walls either behind or to the side of the mains. It’s a far better location for bass reproduction.
Valid points, however I fail to understand why speaker playing louder is "better"?
This isn't a loudness racing (PA speakers would like a word).
If you listen at say 85db with 20db short bursts, then why would want speakers which play at 120db continously..?
I mean, I get it, in large rooms speakers with high sensitivity would be very useful, but in smaller room (vast majority) not as much.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,622 17 25
#24
20 watts power handling at what frequency? And for what duration?
They are marketed as a full range driver, but they roll off at 170 Hz. From roll off to 20 KHz they have a very uniform nice frequency response. They are only $18 a pop and are probably the widest bandwidth drivers around. You actually don't really need a tweeter. I have a feeling panels of those would compare very favorably to electrostatics.

Anyway there is an awful lot of power in the midrange. It really would be fun to make a couple of panels with 100 drivers on each panel.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,622 17 25
#25
Valid points, however I fail to understand why speaker playing louder is "better"?
This isn't a loudness racing (PA speakers would like a word).
If you listen at say 85db with 20db short bursts, then why would want speakers which play at 120db continously..?
I mean, I get it, in large rooms speakers with high sensitivity would be very useful, but in smaller room (vast majority) not as much.
I can just tell you from personal experience that a good speaker able to produce high spl, sounds much better and effortless than one nearing limits. When you have over 100 instrumentalist on stage a couple of huge choirs flanking a huge auditorium organ it takes a lot of horsepower. Reserve of power at those point is a huge attribute. That is why I build powerful overkill speakers. There is nothing else quite like it.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,622 17 25
#26
I think that a CBT array of BMR drivers would be pretty killer. Such a speaker should be supplemented by a subwoofer at the low end. If you positioned the subs at the centers of the CBT arcs and added a phase delay that accounted for the distance of sub to speakers, you would have really good integration as well.

Interesting that Pete Walker had involvement in the BMRs. If that is so, he is quite an audio polymath. Regarding the BMR power handling, obviously that is not going to be reflective of the entire speaker's power handling. Most tweeters don't handle much power, but that doesn't mean they don't have good dynamic range or will have to eat all of the power that the speaker gets fed. They can just be padded down in the crossover for protection.
I know for a fact that was his last project before he had to go home and be on oxygen. He sold the patent and they have been resold a few times. I have lost track. His aim was to produce the benefits of electrostatics without the power limitation of arcing and blowing panels. He had the project to an advanced state of development.
 
Matthew J Poes

Matthew J Poes

Full Audioholic
Ratings
302
#27
Valid points, however I fail to understand why speaker playing louder is "better"?
This isn't a loudness racing (PA speakers would like a word).
If you listen at say 85db with 20db short bursts, then why would want speakers which play at 120db continously..?
I mean, I get it, in large rooms speakers with high sensitivity would be very useful, but in smaller room (vast majority) not as much.
That is 120dB at 1 meter. I listen in a room that is 30 feet long and 12 feet from the speakers. I watch movies as much as listen to music and I like realistic levels. Even using your example, which is probably about right for me, you are talking about a speaker with a 95dB sensitivity at 1w/1m needing 200 watts to hit 105dB at 4 meters. If said speaker is only 85db at 1w/1m would require 1300 watts to achieve that same 105dB dynamic peak (an impossible number for any reasonable speaker). So I like speakers that are efficient, have a high power handling and are capable of high output. It's part of what makes the experience feel real for me.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,843 22 38
#28
That is 120dB at 1 meter. I listen in a room that is 30 feet long and 12 feet from the speakers. I watch movies as much as listen to music and I like realistic levels. Even using your example, which is probably about right for me, you are talking about a speaker with a 95dB sensitivity at 1w/1m needing 200 watts to hit 105dB at 4 meters. If said speaker is only 85db at 1w/1m would require 1300 watts to achieve that same 105dB dynamic peak (an impossible number for any reasonable speaker). So I like speakers that are efficient, have a high power handling and are capable of high output. It's part of what makes the experience feel real for me.
I see that you're saying thou your math could be a bit improved. a Pair of speakers with 85db sensitivity (near a wall) and 4m/13ft away would require 400w handling, which bit a more realistic, but still stretching reality. However, the same scenario but with 3 front speakers would only need 260w peak power handling.
Now tell me that this is an unrealistic number.
 
Matthew J Poes

Matthew J Poes

Full Audioholic
Ratings
302
#29
I see that you're saying thou your math could be a bit improved. a Pair of speakers with 85db sensitivity (near a wall) and 4m/13ft away would require 400w handling, which bit a more realistic, but still stretching reality. However, the same scenario but with 3 front speakers would only need 260w peak power handling.
Now tell me that this is an unrealistic number.
That’s not the standard for that dynamic. THX is for one speaker to achieve that, not all three at the same time. In addition, your assuming co-locates speakers. They wouldn’t be, they would operate in random phase. The wall only emphasizes the bass. Your giving extra credit that isn’t due. Sure my approach may be very conservative but I think it’s quite a bit closer.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Ratings
8,029 23 6
#30
That's why there is 2D profile views of the 3D graphs. The 2D profile views lets you see what a particular angle is doing better, but the 3D view lets you see differences that can be confusing or hidden by the 2D graph, such as diffraction effects.
Is there a ~ 10dB drop from about 9kHz to 10kHz?
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Ratings
8,029 23 6
#33
I would guess it can handle more than 20 watts in that limited bandwidth. And since music isn't as demanding as continuous weighted pink noise, I'd guess in real world applications its power handling is higher still.
Probably. Who knows exactly what these spec really say. But I’m guessing most people would feel better if the specs say 100W or 200W for the midrange and tweeter, instead of 20W.
 
B

Beave

Full Audioholic
Ratings
281 2
#35
I see what you're talking about - there is a deep, sharp dip in the response from 9 to 10kHz in the off-axis response, with it hitting a max depth of about 10dB.

I doubt it's all that important in terms of audibility. Too narrow and too high in frequency.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,622 17 25
#36
That is 120dB at 1 meter. I listen in a room that is 30 feet long and 12 feet from the speakers. I watch movies as much as listen to music and I like realistic levels. Even using your example, which is probably about right for me, you are talking about a speaker with a 95dB sensitivity at 1w/1m needing 200 watts to hit 105dB at 4 meters. If said speaker is only 85db at 1w/1m would require 1300 watts to achieve that same 105dB dynamic peak (an impossible number for any reasonable speaker). So I like speakers that are efficient, have a high power handling and are capable of high output. It's part of what makes the experience feel real for me.
Well said young man!
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,622 17 25
#37
I see that you're saying thou your math could be a bit improved. a Pair of speakers with 85db sensitivity (near a wall) and 4m/13ft away would require 400w handling, which bit a more realistic, but still stretching reality. However, the same scenario but with 3 front speakers would only need 260w peak power handling.
Now tell me that this is an unrealistic number.
Power to my fronts is 550 (150 + 150 + 250) watts each, and 300 (150 + 150) to the center. So 1400 watts on the front three.
 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
Ratings
3,006 18 1
#39
That’s not the standard for that dynamic. THX is for one speaker to achieve that, not all three at the same time. In addition, your assuming co-locates speakers. They wouldn’t be, they would operate in random phase. The wall only emphasizes the bass. Your giving extra credit that isn’t due. Sure my approach may be very conservative but I think it’s quite a bit closer.
While I appreciate being conservative in such estimates as much as anyone, I'd reckon for a 12' distance in an actual room, the THX Ultra certification might be a fair place to start for a minimum requirement given that it's specifically for a 3000 cubic foot theater / 12'+ viewing distance (and distance to the front speakers presuming they are adjacent to the screen). Going by that, you could have a 90dB sensitive loudspeaker like the Atlantic Tech 6200e paired with a 150W (2ch driven into 8 ohms) amp like the Integra DTA-70.1 (measurements),and THX would expect that to get the job done.

Regarding the 105dB figure, one should also keep in mind that isn't intended to be a continuous RMS value. 105dB at the seats is expected to correlate with 0dBFS on the digital side of things, i.e. the absolute maximum/peak level available to a channel. Used properly when producing a soundtrack (not always the case),that level should ideally never be reached by the loudest short term peaks in a film to ensure there isn't any clipping of the waveform on the soundtrack.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
4,868 34 17
#40
It looks like ~73dB at 9kHz and ~ 63dB at 10kHz. :D

I guess I’m not used to the way the graph looks.
I see what you're talking about - there is a deep, sharp dip in the response from 9 to 10kHz in the off-axis response, with it hitting a max depth of about 10dB.

I doubt it's all that important in terms of audibility. Too narrow and too high in frequency.
Ah I see now. Yeah, the dip centered around 10 kHz is occurring way off axis. It is likely a diffraction effect, since it moves down from around 14 kHz on direct axis to about 10 kHz at a 90 degree angle. It does grow a bit deeper off axis too. It is technically an imperfection, but it wouldn't be very audible. It's too high in frequency and too high of a Q to care about on-axis, and it's not going to affect much as a reflection at that high of a frequency that far off axis either. That dip is a blemish on a graph certainly but in reality it would be very difficult to discern.
 

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis