The Paradigm Founder Series is the first new range of speakers released by the Canadian manufacturer since founding father Scott Bagby returned in 2019 - hence the name. It’s a six-model line-up of premium loudspeakers, designed to bring high-end performance and a touch of luxury to home cinema systems by porting down tech from the company’s flagship speakers.
Of these new speakers the most interesting is the 70LCR, which is designed to be used horizontally as a compact centre speaker, or vertically for the front left and right channels or even the surrounds. However, for this review system the Founder 40B bookshelf speakers are at the rear, while the Paradigm Defiance V12 subwoofer rounds off the 5.1-channel setup.
The Paradigm Founder speakers really benefit from the clever innovation that’s gone into their design, and reveal a remarkable level of detail with music. Instruments are reproduced with excellent fidelity, and placed within the soundstage with exacting precision. The midrange is clear and the sparkling treble is free of any sibilance, ensuring these beauties never miss a beat.
When it comes to movie soundtracks the combination of the Founder 70LCRs and 40Bs create a system with an impressive ability to handle extreme dynamics with ease. There’s energy and control in this 5.1-channel configuration, resulting in a visceral realism to the delivery. It’s also a wonderfully nuanced performance that ensures the finer details aren’t lost in the overall scale.
The 70LCRs aren’t just flexible in terms of their installation, but also big enough to soak up the power from even the most well-endowed AV receiver or amplifier. This allows effects to be delivered with a pleasing amount of slam, and the entire soundstage to be fully energised. If you can afford to use 70LCRs for all the channels, you’ll be rewarded with a blow your pants off system.
However, the 70LCRs aren’t cheap and employing the capable 40Bs as rear speakers is almost as good because all the models in the Founder range use the same tweeters and woofers. The home cinema aspirations of the 70LCRs are demonstrated by these three speakers creating a balanced front soundstage, and the 40Bs blend in perfectly to create a cohesive surround sound system.
This overall tonal balance allows sound effects to be seamlessly steered from speaker to speaker without any noticeable change in timbre. In addition, the centre 70LCR handles dialogue with exceptional accuracy, ensuring that every syllable is clearly defined and focused on the action. As an added bonus, this speaker is equally as effective in either a vertical or horizontal orientation.
While the Founders have some fairly decent bass extension, the Paradigm Defiance V12 subwoofer is perfect for adding some serious low-end impact. The 12-inch driver has plenty of depth, and there’s a solid amount of amplification. There’s even built-in room correction to smooth out the bass and ensure this subwoofer is perfectly integrated with the 70LCR and 40B speakers.
The Founder 70LCR and 40B keep things simple when it comes to cosmetics, with unassuming cabinets and magnetic black fabric grilles. However these cabinets are incredibly inert, with walls that are folded around a frame as a single piece, and then reinforced by additional braces. The drivers are then mounted so they remain isolated from the cabinet, further reducing vibrations.
The overall build quality is excellent, and the 70LCRs are deceptively heavy compared to their size. All the speakers in the Founder range offer a choice of four gorgeous finishes: Walnut, Black Walnut, Midnight Cherry, and Piano Black. This goes some way towards justifying their price tag, but this range also incorporates proprietary tech from Paradigm’s ultra-high-end Persona Series.
This tech includes Paradigm’s AL-MAC tweeter, which uses a material composed of aluminium, magnesium and ceramic, making it resistant to uncontrolled resonances. There’s also an AL-MAG mid/bass driver that employs an aluminium and magnesium alloy cone for better bass extension.
Other features include the Oblate Spherical Waveguide (OSW) for improved sonic focus, a Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) lens for better overall efficiency and accuracy, plus the Gen3 Active Ridge Technology (ART) driver surround to ensure a precise and detailed delivery.
The 70LCR uses a 6-inch mid/bass driver with a 1-inch tweeter mounted in the middle, plus two 5.5-inch bass cones to boost the low-end performance. The result is a speaker that can be used vertically or horizontal, and with relatively low height when employed as a centre speaker. The 40B sports the same mid/bass driver and tweeter, but in a more traditional configuration.
This sci-fi epic has a masterful soundtrack that brings this futuristic world vividly to life, and gives the action a visceral quality. The scene where our heroes fly into a violent dust storm ensures the channels get a thorough workout, while the roar of the giant sand worms will drive the sub hard.
This space-based thriller follows a desperate astronaut’s attempts to get safely back to Earth after an accident, and the highly directional soundtrack will demonstrate the cohesion and tonal balance of the Founder system, seamlessly moving audio effects from speaker to speaker.
This powerful recreation of the famous WWII evacuation uses a dynamic sound mix to amplify the tension – from the ear-piercing screech off the Stuka dive bombers to the deep bass rumble of a sinking destroyer, this soundtrack sorts the men from the boys and allows the Founders to shine.
The Paradigm Founder 70LCR and 40B speakers deliver an exceptional performance, resulting in a powerful but refined multichannel system that’s supported by a solid foundation of bass from the Defiance V12 subwoofer. There’s genuine scale, but never at the expense of fine detail, and the overall cohesion is ideal for anyone looking to build their own home cinema. These speakers aren’t cheap, but anyone with the budget will be rewarded by a system that combines classic design and cutting-edge technology to produce precision, control, and superior dynamics.