Are the Paradigm Founder Series really, really good speakers?

I'm considering them as a replacement for my beloved Phase Technology PC 3.5's. I'm looking at the 80f or the 100f. 

I've listened to them but can't help but think that they sound really good but do they really sound good or just different than what I'm used to even though I'm very happy with them but feel like I want something new/different. 
Last week I was visiting my brother and we visited a hi fi shop and I heard the Founder 120H and I was impressed with how they sounded....I previously had been underwhelmed with Paradigm speakers
I have the 80f's at the house now auditioning them and I'm very impressed for a small floor standing speaker these things produce some nice clean bass and they don't distort at high volume. I'm digging them so far. 

However I think the 100f's would be a better suite for me. A real mid range driver is nice with a bigger cabinet, one more woofer plug each of them are a little bigger. 
I only heard the stand mount model and I thought it was pretty bad honesty. Not the best room but on electronics costing well over $15,000.
The highs seemed wrong (unnatural) to me and the bass was pretty meh for me. I would honestly take a pair of Klipsch RP6000m over them and I am not a klipsch fan. I disliked them enough I don’t remember the details. Five minutes later I heard the B&W 805d3 on a Mac 275 and it was on another level entirely so to me the founders are not giant killers, just another speaker option.
The powered models could be interesting but the passive models would be a total pass for me without a very long demo. First impressions are often right.
The Revel Performa3 F208 is probably a much better speaker than the 100F. You can get a 60 day return from a few places online with them too (crutchfield etc). As always use your own ears.
Reading between the lines I don’t think Steve liked them that well either.

The bookshelf speakers are meant to be surrounds or used in stereo with subs.  They have very little bass extension which is disappointing.  If used in those two scenarios, they're great.  Basing your opinions off that unusual bookshelf is quite unwise.

The 80F and 120H are the stars of the line as far as stereo listening goes.  The 120H are just unreal.  I feel bad for anyone who would very foolishly dismiss them for any reason including hearing just the 40b.
My point is their $2000 dollar stand mount could not outperform a $600 stand mount. They were not good at any price and no way a giant killer the marketing would lead you to believe.

They had JL subs running with them.

Revel, focal, Kef, B&w, all make stand mounts that have the same house sound as their floor standers in the mids and highs. What would make one think the 40b is any different?
If you only heard the stand mounts which I have the floor standing ones produce some nice low end. I'm actually quite surprised how much bass these things made compared to some other speakers in this price range. 
todd, you need to stifle the urge to scratch that itch. This would be a sideways move from one mid fi speaker to another. Make sure you are climbing the ladder when you spend your money and save until you can comfortably get to the next rung. If your intension is to get to a really great system you need to do more research so you know exactly where you are going and how far you are willing to go. For instance, what is your very favorite speaker cost no object? What speakers are available that use the same technology but at a more reasonable price? Go to audio shows. Learn exactly what you want in a system then head in that direction one piece of equipment at a time until you get there. You should not have to ask us what you want to hear.
With semi active speakers you have some flexibility with placement and components, I get it. Paradigm offers a lot for the money no doubt, but dynaudio makes some semi actives also and if you want to be sure you’re doing the right thing listen to the competition. 
I listened to a floorstander in their range yesterday for an hour in a dealer yesterday.  Forgot the model number but it was priced just under 4 K.  I currently use B&W 803D, which cost me about 9K 15 years ago.  There is nothing wrong with my current speakers but I just want a change after all this time.  I was figuring on at least 15K to get something that I could live with but I was amazed at these Founders, which also have a more favorable footprint for my room and aren’t rear ported, which is my biggest issue with the B&Ws.  I’ve just started looking, but I’m wondering what other value for money speakers are out there.
@mahler123 did you happen to listen to anything else in the same session?  Curious if you have any comparisons.  Also was that $4K per or for the pair?  
The small floor standers are 80s 3500 a pair and they are unbelievable for that price

Theonitors need to be on stands close to a rear wall to sound their best when setup well the monitors are very good

Dave and troy

I listened to a pair of Sonus Faber , again can’t remember the model name but around the same price and size, and thought they were a bit small scaled and colored.  And I agree with Audiotroy, the Founder 80s seem like a steal
Thanks @mahler123.  Was trying to ensure you didn't listen to the big self powered ones ($4k ea) vs. the smaller ones. My guess is you heard SF Sonetto, similar $$.  

These are sneaking into my consciousness as an upgrade option, same notion as you.  I could spend more but learning I may not need to.  Also chasing the same rear port fix you mentioned.  Good luck, keep us posted.  
The dealer that played me the founder 120's also played a $2500 pair of Dali's that were impressive at the price.

The Founder 100's are amazing, I demod them for a few hours and was blown away by them. They honestly have me 2nd guessing my Paradigm Tributes that I use for my front left/right. At ~5k for the pair its a no brainer when comparing to 10k pairs, I can see them undercutting the lower end persona models on bang for buck(the personas are better...but are they really 10-12k better?).

I'm not sure the founders center channel 90c(which I own)is better than the cc-690 v5(which I also own), the highs/mids are definitely better on the 90c but the 690 digs juuuust a little bit deeper which I notice on deeper baritone voices in movies. The 690 also has a much beefier enclosure, like 35lbs heavier over the founders. The founders is gorgeous with the grills on or off.  

I also demod the founders 40B(bookshelf stand mounts) as my rear 6th and 7th channel in my system for a month, which were replacing my studio 40 v3. They had a cleaner upper range, but I thought they were a bit underwhelming in the lower end, the studios were for sure a better all around speaker, but if you crossover at 80hz I didn't really notice much of a difference between the two, and the 40Bs just seemed quieter/smaller vs the 40s. The founders bookshelfs again were absolutely gorgeous though with the grills off. 

Hope that helps?

daaajester,The persona's are true destination speakers that thrive in a system built around them. The founder line is more affordable and will likely sound better in a multi purpose room/system.

Steve59, No disagreement from me. I listened to the 7f in their own room being driven by 1.2kw Mcintosh amps, and I forget the source(equally impressive). In a dedicated 2ch setup, for that price point they are some of the best speakers I have ever experienced, but at 26k I wouldn’t say they are worth 3x what the founders 120hs are.. or 6 times the 100f’s.

The founders line is really really impressive for its price point. You could literally have a 6 speaker founder 120h setup in 5.1 config for the price of 1 pair of persona 7f’s.

Overall: I just added the 40b's to my desk set up and have been blown away! They're paired with a Naim Uniti Atom and Paradigm Defiance V10 sub.

Bass: Bass was okay with just the pair of 40b's, but I have yet to hear any bookshelf speakers that don't cost $2500+ each that didn't require a sub in the system for proper bass response. Proper bass requires volume. The Defiance V10 was an easy addition to the system. My home theater system has dual SVS PB-16 Ultra' you could say bass is important to me!

Sound Quality: They sound great! Really nice soundstage too. Fills my space easily without losing any resolution or separation. I've been listening to them 4-8 hours a day as my desk and haven't experienced any listening fatigue either. I've been playing all kinds of music and enjoyed them for all of it. 

Appearance: They also look great in person, much better than in pictures. Since I have them on my desk just a few feet away from my face looks are important. Without the speaker grills they look really premium and interesting. The lower driver has a great geometric laser cut design that looks superb

Before buying I auditioned them against comparably priced Sonus Faber, B&W, and Focal speakers. To me the Paradigms were the best. 

I don't often like Paradigm, or agree with @audiotroy.

But I've demo'd the 100's a couple times now.  Easily the most impressed I've been with a Paradigm speaker in years, maybe ever.  Not perfect, but even the bass from those triple 7's - damn good.

I imagine those 120H's are awfully good.

I'm actually quite interested to somehow demo the active Legacy Signature XD and Focus XD vs the 120H.  

The founders did indeed have a huge soundstage which I like.  They are more forgiving than the Persona's also.

While my current speakers do not have active woofers, I'm pretty convinced it's the way to go in the future.

I am interested to compare soundstage size of the Founder 120H vs the Legacy Speakers. (I admit to liking a huge, almost exaggerated soundstage at times).



I heard the Paradigm 120H speakers at Axpona. I am now lusting after them. They sounded phenomenal to my ears. Just excellent.

Well, it looks like a toss up between the 100f and the 120H. I have a really big space 25 by 40 and would be interested in hearing from this group about experiences in a bigger space with either of these two speakers?

I am curious how the Founders compare to the older TOTL Signature V.3 speakers? Anyone have 1st hand experience?

@mdhowes I have the 120H, it is an excellent speaker.  It should fill a pretty big room without much of an issue.  Great speaker, I really dig mine.  Huge soundstage, excellent imaging and the EQ'd bass with the big class D amps is tremendous.  


I would tell you they put you in the front 10 rows of a concert so to speak, some like to sit a little further back. So, I would give you that as the caveat.  But I really like them.  I've not loved most paradigm in the past, but these are excellent and don't take much to drive them.  I'm using a solid state amp to push the mids and highs, if you wanted to play with that part of the sound a bit, you could easily use a tube amp, or integrated amp also.  They are not EQ'd up top.  Just 300hz down with the class D amps.

@dep14 . Thank you for your input. I am auditioning the 100 and 120 this week. I have at my disposal my beloved 4B Bryston and should I crave even more power I also have 2 Hypex Ncore500 mono blocks that I could use in a Bi amp configuration to pick up the low end on the 100fs. Alternatively I could keep the D class amps to power my whole home in ceiling speakers and keep the Bryston to use exclusively for use with either the 100Fs or the 120Hs. I will be auditioning a pair of Focal Kanta 2 as well although I have been hearing less favourable reviews  lately. Cheers



The demo is relatively worthless if they haven't properly EQ'd the woofers.  Without it, you will hear prodigious bass out put with the 120's, but just know that the EQ works really well.


While the woofers look the same, I believe the 120H woofers are larger also.

if my system was 2 channel only these days, I would probably play around with integrated amps to slightly shape the mids and highs that way.  That said, using a Paradigm A31 and they sound great.


If you like the sound but want more bottom end support, moving up to the 100F would be a good idea if the additional cost is worth it to “you”.  Simpler and probably cheaper than adding subs.