Paradigm System 8 Home Theater Speaker System Page 5

In Chapter 3, Ryder and company perform an exorcism on mental patient John Diehl, who clearly needs one. The scene contains a flashback to Ryder's own exorcism. Quite literally, all hell breaks loose, with ungodly shrieks, demonic voices, and thoroughly modern music crashing in from all around. Fire sprinklers let go, and the water is as drenching as the sonic assault.

Chapter 4 changes gears, switching to a courtroom scene, and the soundtrack calms down several notches. Dialogue is placed solely in the center channel, smothered by reverberation that is also delayed and directed to the surrounds. Meanwhile, the front L/R channels carry a clutter of ambient room sounds like papers shuffling and people coughing. Both of these soundscapes were convincingly conveyed by the Paradigm speakers. The initial assault was appropriately immersive, even room-shaking when the sub kicked in. The courtroom dialogue was clearly intelligible despite the reverberation, and the surrounds supplied realistic room ambience.

I've visited some distressing restrooms, but none can compare with Ryder's experience in the john in Chapter 7. Water swirling down a drain is depicted as a maelstrom of watery horror, and sounds swirl all around as God knows what shoots from the toilets and flows across the tiled floor. Property values plummet as plaster walls crack and the lights go dark, then Diehl reappears and presses a knifepoint toward Ryder's eye. Dark, horrible sound effects and orchestral climaxes erupt from all channels. The System 8 handled all this quite nicely, even when I tempted intervention from the church across the street by cranking up my volume to nearly full blast. It achieved the goal of every playback system: after a while, I forgot about listening to the speakers and was simply drawn into the action.

High Points Excellent sound quality. Great bass and more from front L/R pair. Dipole surrounds are fantastic for movies. Terrific bang for the buck.
Low Points Ordinary styling. Front L/R pair needs extra-cost magnetic shielding. Dipole surrounds give vague imaging for multichannel music. Not cheap.

I liked Paradigm's System 8. Its complement of 22 drivers will fill any listening room or home theater with loads of excellent sound. It's certainly up to any evening at the movies, with its dipole surrounds particularly adept at enveloping you in the action, and it won't disappoint you for more critical music listening. The Monitor 11 is a serious speaker in its own right, used alone as a stereo pair. This is not the cheapest speaker system in the world, but it does deliver exceptional sonic value. You might wonder if you should spend this much for speakers. The answer is easy: if you like them and can afford it, sure! Life is too short for bad speakers.

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