Paradigm Founder 80F loudspeaker

Paradigm Founder 80F loudspeaker

Paradigm Founder 80FThis is a review of the Paradigm Founder 80F floorstanding loudspeakers. I actually had the 100Fs last year having previously experienced the stupendous Persona 3Fs. If I’m honest with myself the 100Fs were too big for my listening space at the time (I turned down the chance of reviewing the 120Hs!). I described the 100Fs as thunderous at certain points. These Paradigm Founder 80F, if I were spending my own money and was not reviewing, is where I would be looking with my room, the NAP 250 and the price.


The Paradigm Founder 80F is the smallest floorstanding loudspeaker of the Founder range. The Founder Series sits in the Paradigm range towards the higher end. It is, as I have commented before, more accessible price-wise than the flagship Persona range, whilst benefitting from the research of the higher end of the range.

The Paradigm Founder 80F has four drivers in a two and a halfway configuration. It features a 25mm Aluminium Magnesium and ceramic tweeter with a proprietary phase aligning lens and an OSW waveguide. The midrange driver is a 152mm Aluminium Magnesium cone with the familiar Paradigm phase alignment lens. With the 80F there is a bespoke shock-mounted isolation mounting system, designed to decouple the driver from the cabinet, and a slightly smaller voice coil to the others in the range.

Paradigm Founder 80F

The Paradigm Founder 80F has a down-firing bass port

The bass drivers are two 152mm (6”) single piece, low mass Carbon-X cones that have a ridge technology, to isolate them from the mounting. The cabinet is heavily braced with a ‘Fusion Bracing’ technology that Paradigm claims offers less resonance and vibration and improve the sound. There is a bass port on the very bottom of the cabinet, firing into the floor. The cabinet benefits from an isolated ‘shock mounted feet’ system that decouples the loudspeaker from the floor, this can be spikes or rubber feet depending on your floor, and it is very simple to set up.

Further details are available on the Paradigm site here.


It is a very good-looking loudspeaker

These Paradigm Founder 80F loudspeakers oose quality from arrival and unboxing to the super-smooth lacquered finish of the cabinets. All lovingly wrapped in a double-lined, black fabric top to toe sock, the speakers arrive upside down in the box so you can decide on how to arrange your ‘shock-mounted feet’ between spikes and a rubber base. Once you’re organised, you just pick up the box, put it upright, and slide it off the 80F.

The geometry on the reveal is one of the finest I have experienced, similar to the 100s. Rectangular-ish at the base, rising to a ‘coffin style’ flat top, there is a sleek, contemporary line from the base upwards. It is a very good-looking loudspeaker.

Paradigm Founder 80F

The Paradigm Founder 80F midrange phase alignment lens

The drivers are good to look at with the various phase aligning lenses. However, if you prefer there is a magnetic floor to top dust grille.

The speakers are rated at 93dBs, indicating ease in driving with a quoted 8 Ohms impedance. The speakers weigh in at 23.6kg each, which is solid. Smaller than the 100Fs the 80Fs are 97.1cm high x 29.8cm wide x 35.6cm deep, and they come in walnut, walnut black, midnight cherry and piano black.

These Paradigm Founder 80F loudspeakers are priced at RRP £ 3,800, in the UK.


Review Equipment

I am driving the Paradigm Founder 80F using my Naim NAP 250 (still not DR, I can’t afford it!). I have a NAC N-272 source powered by the still blinding XPS. I’m also using a Rega RP3 (the old one) with an Elys 2 cartridge into the NAC via a Rega ‘Fono’ stage. It’s a classic, lovely set-up that really does justice to speakers like these, there’s a real energy to the room with this arrangement. I’m using Atlas Mavros speaker cable as well as their Modular power distribution block and EOS dd power cables. It’s all small gains from incremental changes and it sounds great.


Paradigm Founder 80FI’ve actually got a decent soundstage without too much fussing about if I’m honest, I’m using the spikes on a wooden floor, and I have speakers toed in a fraction. I’m just using straight left/right cables, no bi-wiring. The binding posts are solid and reassuring with a solid steel interconnector screwed in between the HF and LF options. I have the midnight cherry and they look very stylish.


These Paradigm Founder 80F go big, fairly comfortably. With the likes of REM’s Nightswimming or Find The River on vinyl I’m getting a beautifully soft and warm presentation with vocals tight and centred, it creamy and the speakers are taking the edge of that sometimes angular but powerful Naim NAP performance.

I have got to say, listening to Paul Simon’s Homeless collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo gave me a startling soundstage and the track is absolutely stunning. It popped up on the ‘My Tidal Daily Discovery’ list and I have not looked back.


Time for a bit of energy and returning to my Tidal Paradigm 3F playlist I recall Zomboy’s EDM spectacular Terror Squad (Tidal, 16 bit,44.1kHz, explicit) being the ideal track for exploring dynamic performance. And KaBoom! What a performance, the speakers reveal their ace in the pack with the firm cabinet Cascade-Fusion Bracing delivering a thumping beat, the drivers are so fast. I looked closely at the Carbon-X drivers, and they barely move with the NAP 250 turned up to ‘40’, I was hardly able to go above 50% such was the noise, undistorted I should add.


Paradigm Founder 80F

Paradigm Founder 80F bass drivers

Calming things down a touch, it was time for some calmer listening, and, ironically, the Sound of Silence covered by The Chromatics (Tidal, 16-bit,44.1kHz). Here the bass line is perfectly controlled and just rolls out for the right amount of time, whilst being ready for the next pulse.

I’m very partial to the Whiskeytown back catalogue after recently converting to the Leema Acoustics Grid method for setting up speakers, which works for me very effectively. Here they offer a track called Dancing With the Women at the Bar and sure enough, the vocal is fixed dead centre with these very unfussy speakers. Adams’ voice comes across smoothly through the midrange and I hear no trace of sibilance which is what I’m checking here. My soundstage with this track is thrown beyond the width of the speakers and I have a fulsome delicate performance around me.

I also check in with a track called Taylor, by Jack Johnson. The resolution here is pinpoint with the guitar strings falling forward wonderfully supported by the bass line. I sign off, of course, with the fantastic detail from Banana Pancakes.

Some Thoughts After a Few Weeks (Months)

I really like these speakers, they’re smaller than the stunning 3F Paradigm loudspeakers, and the 100Fs. Where you could consider living with the 100Fs, they are still big, as big as my old KEF R700s. The Paradigm Founder 80Fs are easily more liveable in respect of size, contemporary style and most importantly performance.

Key Takeaways

These Paradigm Founder 80F speakers are well balanced and detailed, with a solid punchy bass supporting the resolution you’d expect from speakers of this quality. Additionally, they are very liveable, unfussy and they look gorgeous.

The idea from Paradigm that these are an ‘entry point into the world of high-end sound’ is underselling the fantastic performance these Paradigm Founder 80Fs deliver.

Dynamic performance
Unfussy placement
Good Looks
Bass control
Liveable size
They can go ‘big’ at a party
They were easier to photograph!


Paradigm Founder 80F

Paradigm Founder 80F with and without magnetic grille

Full details are on the company’s site

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