Defiance V Series Subwoofer Overview
All Performance. No Gimmicks.
$449 - $699
THE HIGH NOTES
- App Control
- ARC On Board
- High Value Subwoofer
Company & Product Overview
Since its humble beginnings way back in 1982, Paradigm has become one of the top innovators in the worldwide speaker market. With the help of the NRC, it's no wonder this Canadian company continues to crank out really high-value products that cater to music lovers all over the planet.
If you are not familiar with the NRC, it's worth going into what this means. When Jerry VanderMarel and Scott Bagby founded Paradigm, they wanted to use science to help them not only create better products but also to use a logical method for listening tests. The NRC stands for the National Research Center. This is a facility full of state of the art test equipment that gives those who take advantage of it a substantial leg up in terms of research and development. It is open to any Canadian business that sells products outside of Canada to help them be more competitive.
From an audio standpoint, the NRC is an audio engineers dream come true. They have a huge arsenal of audio test gear along with a massive anechoic chamber for testing speaker designs. Better yet, they also have a great method for conducting blind listening tests to see if a new design or concept actually sounds more pleasing to the human ear, rather than a piece of test equipment.
The advantages of this type of facility became so obvious to Paradigm that they have actually built their own to avoid any slow down from the facility being unavailable. At their factory in Canada, they have built the largest anechoic chamber in the Northern Hemisphere and have actually surpassed the testing and listening facilities at the NRC with two blind testing listening rooms and more high tech speaker testing equipment than the NRC currently has.
Paradigm’s sister company is Anthem, an Audio Advice favorite in home theater receivers. Anthem Room Correction or ARC was developed through their R&D and is one of the best room correction systems on the market today, and they keep improving it!
This partnership is one of the things that makes the Defiance V series so cool. Paradigm is able to draw on the electronic and room correction expertise of Anthem to create a subwoofer lineup that as the name implies, defies what you might think you should get for the money in a subwoofer.
The V series consists of three models, a 12” sub, 10” sub, and 8” model, all with super reasonable with the pricing under $1000!
Tech and Features the Defiance Models Share
Paradigm has been producing subwoofers for decades, currently making models over $10,000 each. When you give your engineers a somewhat unlimited budget to make the best they can, you tend to learn a lot of things. If a company is smart, they take this tech and let it filter down into their more affordable products. This is the case with Paradigm and the Defiance V series subwoofers.
Within the V series, the V12 and V10 are very similar except for the driver and amp size, while the V8 is designed to be more of an entry-level subwoofer for a starter home theater system or be coupled with a small pair of powered desktop or small bookshelf speakers.
With the V series of Defiance, Paradigm wanted to come up with a size that was easier to fit into a room while offering excellent deep bass performance. These models all have a downward-firing port which gives you a lot of placement flexibility and enhances the deep bass out of the smaller cabinet. All three models use very rigid MDF cabinets that went through a lot of R&D to come up with the right size and internal bracing to remove any resonances. These things are super solid with even the smaller 8” model weighing in at over 26 pounds.
For the bass drivers, Paradigm chose a carbon loaded polypropylene cone. Paradigm felt this type of cone material was perfect when they were balancing value and performance. Each of the three models uses a specially developed Class D amplifier designed to be a great match to the subwoofer driver. With Paradigms sister company Anthem being in the business of making great amps and with all of the R&D tech they have available, this is not just some off the shelf amp but built specifically for the best performance.
At this price point, there is only one color choice, basic black, but the finish is quite nice. We also like the flush look Paradigm deployed with the woofer drivers. Each of the subs is pretty close to a cube in size running from about 14” square for the small one to about 18” square on the largest.
The Defiance V10 and V12 share a lot of the same features, while the V8 is more about keeping Paradigm quality under $450 with a few less features.
As the name implies, the Defiance V8 uses an 8” driver. Even though this is a budget-priced sub, the feature set Paradigm included in terms of adjustability is very impressive for its cost.
Many subwoofers in this price category give you just a set of inputs and a volume control, but the V8 does far more. We suspect they were thinking about all of the people who like to add a powered sub to their all in one powered desktop speakers which have become a very large category. A lot of those speakers have subwoofer out, but most of them just send a full-range signal out from their subwoofer out jacks.
The V8 gives you a fully variable crossover so you can tell the sub what frequencies it should cover. If your system’s subwoofer out does not specify that it sends a filtered signal from its sub out, you should definitely play around with this, starting at around 80hz. If you are using the subwoofer with a home theater receiver, the sub also has a bypass setting for the crossover, so you don’t cross things over twice.
Another nice feature is the phase switch. We see this on more expensive subs, but rarely in this price range. If your sub is on the same wall as your main speakers, leave it at zero, but if it’s on the other side of the room, you should experiment to see if flipping the phase gives you more perceived bass at your listening position.
To save energy use, the V8 has a switch you can engage to have it turn on when it sees a signal rather than sitting there at full power at all times.
Finally, there is a set of speaker level subwoofer inputs. These will be handy if you are using a vintage receiver or amp with no subwoofer out but what to add a sub to your system. Simply either parallel the sub to your main speakers or use the “B” speakers on your receiver. Used this way, you will want to engage the V8’s built-in crossover.
We found the Defiance V8 to be a really great sounding small subwoofer. For modest-sized home theater rooms, two of them would give you pretty amazing performance for under $1,000 for the pair. However, when you jump up to the V10 and V12, there is a pretty big performance improvement due to the fact they can do the ARC room correction.
Defiance V10 and V12
The V10 and V12 are the 10” and 12” Defiance V series models. They both have a larger power amp and obviously bigger drivers than the V8.
When you look at the back of the V10 and V12 compared to the V8 you might wonder why Paradigm removed so many features. The backs of these two do not have the control functions found on the V8, but you will see both speaker and audio level inputs along with a volume control. However, what you also may notice is a little switch where you can engage app control and that is where the real magic happens!
The app is free and connects you up to the subwoofer via Bluetooth. In our testing, this was instant and super simple, you just need to make sure the little switch on the back is in app control. You get all kinds of neat adjustments and control through this app. In addition to app control, the V10 and V12 also give you an optional wireless connection. You can purchase an additional kit from Paradigm for $199 that is a transmitter and receiver if you need to place your sub in a location its impossible to get wiring to, pretty cool!
We love the fact that with the app you can make all of the adjustments right from your chair to easily hear the change without having to jump out and back as you do with many subwoofers. The adjustments you’ll have access to are the volume control of the subwoofer, the type of filter and frequency setting (yes you can change slope type for you subwoofer audio experts out there), instead of just 0 or 180 on the phase you get the complete range, and finally, deep bass level output which only boosts the lowest tones.
In addition to this, Paradigm includes three listening presets, Movie, Music, and Night. Music is flat response, Movie adds some boost to the deepest bass notes, while Night cuts back the deep bass to keep you from shaking the house if everyone else has gone to bed. Another cool feature they have is a sweep control. When you add a sub like the V10 or V12 to your room, it may expose some rattling shelves or light fixtures. Usually, these are very hard to track down as the rattle only occurs at a very specific frequency in a movie. Paradigm lets you turn on a sweep so you can track them down and fix the rattles in your room these more powerful subs might excite.
Finally, there is ARC or Anthem Room Correction. This is a system Paradigms sister company Anthem developed in conjunction with the NRC to fix room problems. Every room unless it is perfect acoustically is going to have some frequencies play much louder than others. When you look at a plot of the deep bass of most rooms rather than the flat curve you might think you would see, it looks more like the Swiss Alps with all kinds of dips and peaks. There is nothing unusual about this, it happens in almost any room. The good news is, room correction has gotten so much better that these issues can be corrected. Anthem’s ARC is one of the best room correction systems on the market and works with the Defiance V10 and V12 subwoofers.
There are two ways to run ARC with the V series. You can download a free app on your phone and run it that way, which in our opinion on an iPhone works really well as their microphones are consistent. The other option is to purchase a kit from Paradigm for $100 that comes with a calibrated microphone you plug into the back of the Defiance subwoofer.
We can not overstate how much of a difference using ARC can mean for a lot of rooms. The way it cleans up the bass is just astounding allowing you to hear many more details in the deep bass, which in turn also helps the midrange frequencies sound cleaner as well. The reason is, those bass tones that are either too high or too low also have harmonics that travel well into the midrange. The Paradigm app even lets you turn ARC on or off. We will warn you, since ARC is knocking down a lot of peaks, things usually sound louder with ARC off so try and compensate for the volume of your sub if you decide to compare. And for setting levels, be sure and reset them after you run ARC.
At Audio Advice, we firmly believe in the fact that two subs are better than one. With these Defiance subs being so affordable and feature-packed, they make building a rockin’ home theater much more affordable. Normally you would expect a subwoofer in this price range to be more of a boom box, but these Defiance subs truly defy logic and deliver great performance for the money. We will say in a very large room, you could run out of amp power and in that case, the Defiance X series with its much more powerful amps might be a better choice, but they do cost more.
The Defiance V series of subwoofers is another example of how Paradigm always seems to deliver on amazing performance for budget prices. They have been doing this for years and continue to do so! The V8 is a great first subwoofer, especially for a small powered speaker system, while the V10 and V12 are great choices for your home theater. And they are such a good value, why not get two!
HIGH NOTES UNPACKED
Imagine being able to fine-tune your subwoofer from your listening chair or easily change to Night mode to keep the family happy. We love the Paradigm subwoofer app!
ARC On Board
Anthem’s ARC is one of the best room correction systems on the market and the fact you can get it in a subwoofer starting at $599 for the V10 is just amazing.
High Value Subwoofer
It’s not very often we see a subwoofer with as much value packed into the package as the V series from Paradigm. These are so good for the money, it makes sense to go ahead and get two!