Paradigm Monitor SE 6000F 3-Way Tower Speakers
Tower speakers are the go-to form factor for AV enthusiasts who like their music loud. The large enclosure means you can pack a tower with drivers and port the woofers, necessary ingredients if you want to play it loud.
The new Paradigm Monitor SE 6000F tower is the Canadian loudspeaker maker’s affordable premium 3-way tower with an MSRP of $449. Refined 3-way towers for under a grand a pair? That’s always interesting, so let’s get on with this review.
Features and Specifications
This is a 3-way tower speaker with five drivers total. The tweeter is described as a 1” (25mm) ferro-fluid damped & cooled aluminum dome and sits behind a “perforated phase-aligning tweeter (PPA) lens.”
The crossover to the 5.5″ polypropylene midrange is set at 3000 Hz, and three 5.5″ woofers (sporting inverted dust caps and “downroll” rubber surrounds) take care of bass, with a crossover from midrange set at 800 Hz.
The tweeter of the Paradigm Monitor SE 6000F .
Paradigm’s SE 6000F has a rated sensitivity of 93 dB/W/m in-room and 90 dB anechoic. Rated power handling is 100 watts and the anechoic frequency response is rated as +/-3 dB from 53 Hz – 21 kHz measured on-axis and +/-3 dB from 40 Hz – 17 kHz measured 30 degrees off-axis.
A Monitor SE 6000F tower weighs 44 pound and measures 41.25″ (H) × 9″ (W) × 14.125″ (D). This models comes in matte black and gloss white, the review units were black.
The cabinets have pre-attached plastic feet that accommodate the spikes and rubber pads Paradigm provides for use with the speaker, depending on your floor type. These feet add welcome stability to the somewhat narrow-profile tower.
Here’s the woofer with the inverted dust cap and “downroll” rubber surround.
This speaker pair is actually part of a larger 7.1 Monitor system Paradigm sent me to review, but the towers are obvious candidates for a quick standalone review because they are of at least equal interest to 2-channel music listeners as they are to home theater enthusiasts.
For setups I kept it simple, dropping them in exactly where I had the last speakers I reviewed (Shinola Bookshelf) and subjecting them to the same treatment running Dirac Live room correction on an NAD T777 V3 AVR and using a pair of GoldenEar ForceField 5 subs when I ran the system with bass management. I’ll review the new Paradigm subs when they arrive, I don’t have ’em yet.
For this review, the speakers flanked my home entertainment system, which contains a 75″ Samsung Q8FN TV, a Xbox One X, and a PC running Roon and equipped with a GTX1080 video card for gaming. It’s all good gear, and these are some of the most affordable towers I’ve hooked up to it. The speakers are 7′ apart and my seat is about 8 feet back and centered, which works well in the room for soundstage and imaging.
The easiest way for a speaker to endear itself to me is for it to just slide into my system with no drama and put a smile on my face. I know that’s not exactly scientific, but it’s a fact of life. First impressions matter, which is why these Paradigm Monitor SE 6000F towers earn my highest praise; they delivered a smooth, balanced, catchy sound from the very first note. Not only that, the all-black look of these speakers plus the matte-black finish and sharp angles look contemporary and are an aesthetic match for modern TVs and Scandinavian-style furniture (i.e. IKEA).
The reason I mention the looks here is that cabinets and wood finishes and such add a lot to the price of speakers. If there’s one misstep, it’s that Paradigm did not include magnetic grills. I don’t use grills and the sockets are visible on the baffle, but I suppose if the decision saved a few bucks that went toward audio fidelity instead, that’s a worthy tradeoff.
Dirac Live measurements revealed speakers with reasonably well-controlled frequency response for a passive 3-way model. Universally, I have found you have to spend more to get a better-looking response curve than these offer, or else go active. There’s a bit of a hump in the upper treble when measured on-axis, one I see in many other speakers. Dirac did not have to do much work to create an optimal house curve for the Monitor SE 6000F towers.
In my room, Dirac saw the -3dB point for bass at right around 40 Hz, with a steep roll-off after that. This is consistent with the specs and music lovers will find that these provide plenty of punch on their own for some genres although there’s plenty of electronica that can use all the bass you can supply. And for home theater, there’s no question you will want a subwoofer to two to take care of that bottommost octave. But for jazz and much pop/rock/classical/blues and numerous other genres, extension to 40 Hz covers what you need.
My official position will always be that you should add a sub regardless, 40 Hz extension simply means you can use an 80 Hz crossover properly because you’ve got plenty of overlap.
What’s outstanding about these speakers is the neutral presentation that’s cohesive and balanced. I didn’t sense any unnecessary exaggeration, nor anything that could be described as an egregious omission. This is the recipe that allows you to listen to the music, or the movie soundtrack, instead of listening to the speaker itself.
With the subwoofer turned off, I played several favorite albums that don’t require a sub for maximal effect. Doolittle by The Pixies remains a fierce listen that was parked out in texture-filled chunks of guitar. And I got a lock out of how good Laurie Anderson’s Home of the Brave soundtrack sounds on these speakers, with Laurie’s voice rendered faithfully and holographically by these towers.
New Order also sounds great without subs, revisiting Power, Corruption, and Lies reminded me why the group was such a sensation to begin with, yeah it’s electronic music but it’s also a real band with a very distinct sound that these speaker rendered well.
Turning on the sub unleashes the full potential of these towers. Switching to my review standby, the Tron Legacy soundtrack by Daft Punk, I heard the power of the London Symphony Orchestra working in conjunction with Daft Punk’s unsparing synth bass-related synth work. Without the sub, played in these speakers, the album lacks gravitas. With the subs, it transforms into an epic listening experience.
I will not get into how the speakers did for movies and playing video games because this is not the last you’ve heard of these towers as they will form the foundation of a 7.1 setup that will incorporate four Paradigm Monitor SE Atom speakers as surrounds and a Monitor SE 2000C center channel, and a (to be announced) Paradigm sub. I fully expect these speakers will perform well in that context and look forward to putting together that system.
I can report that as a two channel solution, with its Monitor SE 6000F, Paradigm offers speakers that will please stereo aficionados who appreciate neutrality as well as notably good soundstage and imaging. These are not exactly “bass monster” speakers, but they do seem perfectly suited for pairing with a competent sub using an 80 Hz crossover.
One thing about tower speakers near the $1000/pair price point is there are a ton of options out there, including a number of really good competing models. But Paradigm’s rise to fame was built on its mastery of midrange, and that could be why these Paradigms subjectively seem to handle vocals extremely well, even with the volume turned up high.
There’s nothing explicitly extravagant about the Monitor SE 6000F tower speakers, they simply look sharp and deliver the sonic goods. What more can you ask for! Highly recommended.