Paradigm Founder 120H Loudspeaker Lab Report

Lab Report

Paradigm's very generous 92dB sensitivity rating for the Founder 120H is on the money, these flagship speakers delivering a thundering 93dB (2.83V/1kHz/1m). However, sensitivity does fall to 91.1dB across 500Hz-8kHz thanks to a loss in axial output around the 2.4kHz crossover between the AL-MAG mid and AL-MAC tweeter, the 1-4kHz dip being more obvious in one of our pair [see Graph 1, below] and entirely responsible for the 5.7dB matching error. Either side of this region the 120H's pair matching is a deeply impressive 0.8dB but the dip also magnifies the response errors to ±6.0dB and ±5.1dB, respectively. Listening slightly off-axis, beyond 2m, will provide a far smoother response than is illustrated here, while the low ~0.2% bass/midrange THD (all re. 90dB/1m SPL) also bodes well for a 'clean' sound.

Bass is equally thunderous with the trio of DSP/actively-driven 'Carbon-X' woofers unified in their 31Hz-340Hz (–6dB) bandpass, supplemented at 29Hz by the downward-firing port to realise a rib-tickling 18Hz extension [–6dB re. 200Hz – green shaded area, Graph 1]. As the 120H is 'active' below ~300Hz it does not present a tough/high current load for the partnering amplifier, the –85° to –37° phase angle (20Hz-300Hz) largely irrelevant in the face of the high 100-6.4ohm impedance. In practice the mild misterminations at 790Hz and 1.05kHz – visible as peaks on the forward trace and lobes/ripples on the CSD waterfall [see Graph 2] – may contribute more to the 'character' of the speaker. At ultrasonic frequencies, the alloy/ceramic tweeter's primary mode is at 26.6kHz and secondaries at 35-50kHz, all +7dB above the audioband [pink shaded area, Graph 1]. PM


Response inc. nearfield summed drivers/port [green], freefield corrected to 1m at 2.83V [yellow], ultrasonic [pink]. Left, black; right, red; w grille, blue


Short-lived resonances at 7.2kHz, 11kHz and 15kHz, but midband modes potentially more audible

Sensitivity (SPL/1m/2.83V – 1kHz/Mean/IEC) 93.3dB / 91.1dB / 88.9dB
Impedance modulus: minimum & maximum (20Hz–20kHz) 3.5ohm @ 630Hz, 100ohm @ 20Hz
Impedance phase: minimum & maximum (20Hz–20kHz) –85° @ 28Hz, +37° @ 1.4kHz
Pair matching/Resp. error (200Hz–20kHz) 5.7dB/ ±6.0dB/±5.1dB
LF/HF extension (–6dB ref 200Hz/10kHz) 18Hz / 53.3kHz/50.5kHz
THD 100Hz/1kHz/10kHz (for 90dB SPL/1m) 0.2% / 0.25% / 0.55%
Dimensions (HWD) / Weight (each) 1153x354x441mm / 42kg
Price £8600

Paradigm Electronics Inc.
Supplied by: Pulse Cinemas Ltd, Essex, UK
01279 647 039