Canadian sister brands Paradigm and Anthem are hi-fi powerhouses, with extensive manufacturing and design capabilities. Both brands have roots in the advanced loudspeaker research done at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC). In fact, some Paradigm and Anthem employees worked at the NRC and conducted some of that research. As a result, both brands offer high-performing hi-fi products with unique features that allow users to set up their systems in interesting ways.
Polish distributor Polpak Systemy AV had prime examples of products from both brands on active display in a room at the PGE Narodowy stadium.
For the main speakers, Polpak used a pair of 70LCRs from Paradigm’s Founder lineup. Priced in Poland at zł11,600 each, the 70LCR is a three-way design with a coaxial driver comprising a 6″ aluminum-magnesium midrange unit and 1″ ceramic dome tweeter. The coaxial driver is flanked by two 5.5″ woofers. Because of the coaxial driver, the 70LCR can be placed vertically or horizontally. The system also included two XR 11 subwoofers. Along with the larger XR 13, the XR 11 (zł24,500) is among Paradigm’s newest product offerings.
Electronics were all from Anthem. On the top part of the rack in the photos above and below is the AVM 90 Gen 2 15.4-channel audio/video processor (zł41,800). Polpak was using the processor for stereo output and also to demonstrate some of its advanced features. Below the processor is an MCA 225 Gen 2 stereo amplifier (zł11,700), which is capable of outputting 225Wpc into 8 ohms.
Two features of the AVM 90 made it possible for Polpak to seamlessly integrate the subwoofers with the main speakers: its support for up to four subwoofers and its inclusion of Anthem Room Correction (ARC) Genesis. ARC’s origins date back to more than 30 years ago, when some of Paradigm’s and Anthem’s employees were working at NRC. As a result, ARC Genesis is a mature product. Over the years, I’ve used ARC in various forms in many Anthem products. I have always found its ability to integrate one or more subwoofers with the main speakers and to smooth the subwoofers‘ and main speakers’ outputs for the evenest in-room response to be second to none. So the fact that this system exhibited such deep bass without exciting room modes wasn’t surprising—at least not to me.
What was surprising was how refined this system sounded. I’d always viewed the 70LCR as a bit of an oddball in the Founder lineup—sort of a problem-solving product that would be used only when another Founder-series speaker wasn’t practical. In other words, I thought the 70LCR might be compromised sonically. Clearly, those were my own biases talking, because the sound I heard from the two LCR70s (aided, of course, by the dual subs and Anthem electronics) was superbly balanced, eminently smooth, and highly detailed. In fact, it was some of the best sound of the day at PGE Narodowy.