TAF2023: Paradigm, Anthem, AudioQuest

TAF2023: Paradigm, Anthem, AudioQuest


Prices in CA$.

When it comes to audio companies that offer great price-performance value along with cutting-edge technology and style, very few can do it better than Paradigm and Anthem. This year at the Toronto Audiofest, the two companies partnered up to present two rooms: One for music, which included a relatively minimalist 2.1 system that was far from minimal in terms of technology, and one to present an Anthem ARC (Anthem Room Correction) seminar and demo for guests who signed up for it, and which featured the Paradigm Founder series 40B standmount speakers ($2,899/pair). Because of my long history with Anthem products, I by-passed the ARC seminar in favour of hearing the two companies’ offering in room 2.

Displayed front and center was a silver-finished, 200Wpc Anthem STR integrated amp ($5,999) connected to a pair of 93db-sensitive, 2.5 way floor standing Paradigm Founder 80F speakers in walnut finish ($4,799/pair). The 80F features a 1″ AL-MAC (Aluminum, Magnesium, Ceramic) dome tweeter and a 6″ AL-MAG (Aluminum, Magnesium) mid/woofer driver. Two 6″ woofers complete the driver count.

The system also included a sealed Paradigm XR 11 subwoofer ($4999) featuring an 11″ driver coupled to a 1,100W amp. A tri-linear suspension is said to keep this subwoofer in pistonic motion even at a 14Hz frequency (!). With their robust bracing, angled cabinet side panels to avoid standing waves, and proprietary Shock-Mount isolation mounting system for their drivers and cabinet feet, these technology-packed towers and subwoofer stood ready to perform. Both systems used AudioQuest cabling.

And perform they did. With the Anthem STR’s ARC room calibration software activated, the overall sound I heard was very coherent and balanced, while the XR 11 subwoofer projected deep, textured, controlled, and tactile bass throughout the listening space. At no point could I identify the sub’s location based on sound, or when the cross-over to the sub took place. The mids and treble were well defined, articulate, and detailed. Vocals and instruments across the well-delineated soundstage had a rich tonal character. Central imaging was tightly focused even when I changed seats.

There was no doubt — the engineers and team at Paradigm and Anthem have successfully poured their decades-long “Crafted in Canada” history and knowledge into these very capable hifi products. Kudos to them, and lucky for us!

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