So Many Wonderful Choices Today For Home Theater System Loudspeakers!

When we first started designing home theaters for our clients, we had limited choices for what to use for speakers. Today, our designs are augmented by solutions for every facet of the speaker choices. With today’s movies, the need for multiple speakers becomes an important option. Full implementation of the popular Dolby Atmos encoded soundtracks typically include 15 speakers and multiple subwoofers. However a compact theater can be scaled down to 5 speakers and a single subwoofer.

The front or main speakers can be in several formats. They can be free-standing, or behind the screen in a cavity or as in-wall speakers, or even in-ceiling in some designs. The rear channels and surround channels are typically in-ceiling and in-wall but sometimes are on-wall. The subwoofers can be free-standing, hidden, or in-wall. We will examine each of these solutions below.

Paradigm Founder 120H Loudspeaker and matching Founder 90C Center Channel Loudspeaker

Floor-standing Left and Right Speakers

Floor-standing speakers are typically a tower design. Some are very high performance while others can be more modest. An example of a high performance model would be the Paradigm Founder 120H. It is a modern shaped tower with great lines. The cabinet is available in Gloss Black, Matte Black Walnut, Matte Walnut and Gloss Midnight Cherry. The speaker’s technology is unique and is the sum of years of research into creating the highest performance. Included in the speaker is an active bass section with Anthem Room Correction. We always implement this to enhance our clients experience with the Founder 120H. Hearing the precision of this speaker is simply exciting. The other components of the speaker include the latest technology in reducing any possible distortions and revealing an exacting performance for the listener. Paradigm also make a matching Center Channel speaker that can fit below the screen, above or behind it.

Paradigm Surround 3 on-wall surround speaker

On-Wall Surround Speakers

For surround speakers that need to go on-wall for construction purposes like limited in-wall or in-ceiling space availability, we often look to compact surround specific speakers. These speakers can be placed on the wall where they will not interfere with movement around the room. A great example is the Paradigm Surround 3. The Surround 3 speakers add size and dimension to the movie or music soundstage, which envelopes you in non-localized sound to create the depth of sound field for added realism. Their design ensures maximum placement flexibility – even in rooms where dimensions and configuration are not ideal.

Paradigm CI Elite E80-A v2 speaker

In-Ceiling Speakers Fit Many Needs

In-Ceiling Speakers are used for main left and right, center, surrounds and Dolby Atmos height surround sound. They have become very sophisticated and can deliver surprising clarity and realism. In some designs, they are capable of being aimed to enhance directed sound to the listener or aimed to a reflective surface like a wall to created an ambient sound to reduce localization of the speaker. Others are designed to be directly radiating into the listening area.

An example of an aimed in-ceiling speaker is the Paradigm CI Elite E80-A v2 speaker. It has an 8” woofer with a tweeter mounted above it all at a 30 degree angle so as it is installed the placement can aim the speaker at the listener or at a reflecting wall surface depending on the need.

Another version is the Paradigm CI Elite E80-R v2 speaker which radiates down from the ceiling without directly aiming at the listener. This allows this speaker to be used to augment Dolby Atmos channels for height where its added performance brings action and clarity to the maximum.

These high performance in-ceiling choices allow our clients to gain every possible detail from the soundtrack of the movie, concert, or any programming!

In-Wall Left Center Right LCR Speakers

The In-wall loudspeaker choices give our clients options for flush-mounted Left, Center and Right speakers as well as flush-mounted surround speakers. The Paradigm CI Elite E7 LCR v2 is an in-wall Left / Center / Right speaker we can use to flank a screen or hide behind an acoustically transparent screen. It has similar technology to their floor standing speakers but optimized for in-wall use. It even has a compensation circuit for whether it is mounted flanking or behind a screen to assure optimum sound performance. The high performance of this speaker is easily equal to many free-standing loudspeakers.

Paradigm CI Elite E7 LCR v2 Front L/C/R Speaker

Paradigm CI Elite E80-IW v2 In-Wall Speaker

In-Wall Rear Channel Loudspeakers

The Paradigm CI Elite E80-IW v2 is an in-wall speaker that we often deploy in our designs as a rear channel surround speaker. In many systems it would serve as left and right surrounds and rear left and right surrounds. It’s compact size allows high performance in a modest wall space. It technology is similar again the the free-standing speakers and the performance mates together well.

Systems that employ the full Dolby Atmos performance could be easily accomplished using these in-wall and in-ceiling speaker systems. They can also be mixed and matched with the free-standing speakers to meet the design criteria of the space and the engineers solutions. The good news is there are many options. But it doesn’t end there – we also have subwoofer options.

Subwoofers For Great Bass!

Todays equipment can make use of multiple subwoofers. It is not uncommon to see four subwoofers in a home theater or in a more compact theater, one or two. Subwoofers offer impact while actually lowering distortion and increasing the performance of the other speakers. The most difficult and demanding range of sounds in a movie is typically the dramatic impact and speaker excursion of the bass sounds. In fact movies have a special channel of sound they call LFE or Low Frequency Effects. These are the bass sound portions of a soundtrack like the impact of a cannon or an explosion. The sounds are in the lowest bass range and having a specialized speaker system like subwoofers increases the possibility of accurately reproducing these sounds. They are important speakers because they dramatically assist in creating realism in the movies action or dramatic music.

Paradigm XR13 free-standing Subwoofer

Free-Standing Or Hidden Subwoofers

A great example of a free-standing subwoofer is the Paradigm XR13. It is an under 20” cube in dimensions. They are typically in theaters in their darker finishes to prevent reflections in a darkened room but they are available in found finishes; Gloss: Piano Black & Midnight Cherry Satin: Walnut & Black Walnut. Technically these speakers are very advanced. The XR13 has a powerful 2200 watt amplifier dedicated to its 13” speaker. The speaker itself is a mechanical marvel and shows the ingenuity of the design engineers. Its 13” Ultra-High-Excursion CARBON-X Unibody woofer has a Trilinear Suspension System and Active Ridge Technology, and a 2” high-temperature voice coil. What all of that simply means is that it is built to deliver the maximum output from its size. Also included is the high performing Anthem Room Correction circuitry that can establish a linear response at the listeners seats. These can be used in multiples with many theaters using four while smaller theaters may use only 1 or 2. In some designs where spaces allow, we also can locate these in an adjacent space and fire them from a hidden position in the wall near the floor.

Paradigm DCS-208FR3 In-Wall Subwoofer

In-Wall Subwoofers

We more recently have wonderful in-wall options available for subwoofers. A good example is the Paradigm DCS-208FR3. This in-wall subwoofer fits in standard stud space and depth walls allowing our designers to deliver your bass without using your floorspace. These unique subwoofers perform similarly to a free standing subwoofer and in multiples and be uniquely located in a wall wherever needed – even stacked on top of each other – so to speak. They use a companion amplifier called an X-500. It powers up the subwoofer with 500 watts of amplifier and also includes Anthem Room Correction to assure maximum performance at the listeners seats.


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