Paradigm Defiance V8 Subwoofer Review

Manufacturer & Model
Paradigm Defiance V8 Subwoofer
MSRP
$399
Link
https://www.paradigm.com/en/ported/defiance-v8
Highlights
A compact entry-level sub, with 8" driver, ported cabinet, 75 W rms and 150 W peak dynamic power from a class-D amplifier, soft-clip limiter that prevents overdriving.
Summary
The Paradigm Defiance V8 Subwoofer is a capable sub for two-channel applications or smaller systems needing help down to the 30 Hz range. Not a cinema foundation-shaker, the V8 can deliver peak levels of 104 dB at 40 Hz and 110 dB at 80 Hz @ 1 m. Its soft-clip feature ensures clean performance under any condition.
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The Paradigm Defiance V8 Subwoofer is a recent entry-level addition to the Paradigm loudspeaker line. I received a unit for review and have been tickled with its performance. At the under-$400-clam price point, the unit appears surprisingly similar to an under-$100 popular cheapo sub that many listeners start out with. Until you look and listen closely, that is.


Appearance and Features
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The Paradigm Defiance V8 is a ported subwoofer with an 8-inch driver, dressed in a plain satin-black woodgrain finish, with a detachable black grille, a tuned port on the bottom, and the standard complement of controls and inputs on the rear-mounted amplifier. As one would expect with a manufacturer like Paradigm, the fit and finish were excellent. The V8 is not going to steal the show with its appearance, but its sound performance will not be easily forgotten.

The grille is built a little tougher than one might expect. I have seen grilles flimsy enough to break if mishandled even slightly, but that is not a worry with the little V8. Not that grille strength is a major concern, but I see it as a sign of the overall toughness of the unit. Knocking on the wood surfaces revealed no troubling resonances.

The control panel includes LFE and Line inputs, plus L & R speaker level inputs for the user who wants to add a sub to a smaller system without a receiver and bass management, Auto/On for power, a Phase switch, Volume and Crossover Frequency controls, power cable attachment, and a Status LED.


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The V8 is designed to cover the range of 34-200 Hz +/- 3 dB, with -10 dB extension down to 28 Hz. This will not impress the cinema buffs, but the 2-channel user who wants another octave of bass from his system might find it to be just right for the task. The power amplifier is a Class-D design, with 75 W rms and 150 W dynamic peak capability. The bigger units in the series allow the option for Anthem Room Technology, room correction for the low frequencies covered by the sub, but the feature is not available on the budget-targeted V8.

The V8 weighs in at an easy 26.5 lb, and will fit in almost any small spot in your listening room with its 14 3/16” x 12 3/4” x 14 1/8 “ dimensions.

Special Applications
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It is well-established fact that more subs are better than fewer when it comes to evening out those dreaded room modes and reflections/cancellations that plague most systems in the LF range. The addition of a third sub, a v8, to a system with 2 subs already (of roughly the same capability level) is a good option for evening out those lows. Or, for a new system, a duet or trio of V8 subs might be an approach to consider, although for the money a user might consider moving up the line to a more capable subwoofer with some room correction, either the optional ARC or a system-level package like Dirac Live.

Having two subs already, with some of the aforementioned bass unevenness with my unequalized system, I briefly tried the addition of a V8 to even out the modes. The result was quite effective, although chasing room modes is not my idea of a good time. I lean more toward two better subs plus room correction for my room.

The CEA-2010 Subwoofer Test standard helps us determine what amounts to the beginning clip level for the sub under test, but a feature of the Paradigm Defiance V8 prevents the standard from being followed to the letter. A soft clip feature in the subwoofer amplifier design, which amounts to a limiter of sorts, limits the volume level at just below the point where the distortion harmonics would trigger the thresholds in the CEA-2010 spec. The soft clip levels that approach those thresholds are documented below. You can see that the V8 is capable of putting out 104 dB at 40 Hz and 110 dB at 80 Hz at 1 meter distance.

Music Listening Tests
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(Chemical Brothers, Astralwerks)

Listening was all done with no room correction and with only the one V8 and an 80 Hz crossover setting.

The B-52’s: "Good Stuff"
The walking bass line through this track is a good listening test for LF response. All the notes of that line sound smooth and even through this track with the V8 subwoofer. The bass sound in general is solid and quick.

The B-52’s: "Revolution Earth"
The bass had an almost tonal quality about it, like some frequency response resonance is influencing every note. This was the only track where I heard that effect.

The B-52’s: "Vision Of A Kiss"
The bass and kick drum through this track sound right on target, exactly as they should.

The Chemical Brothers: "Reflexion"
The lows in this electronic track go nice and deep and the V8 handled them with ease. The V8’s built-in soft-clip limiter will hold back on the lows rather than let them distort, a protection for the sub itself and rarely noticeable if ever in normal use.

The Faint: "Child Asleep" and "Chameleon Nights"
Solid bass, easy to forget one is reviewing one. Nice.

Chiara String Quartet: "Bartok String Quartet No. 2, Op. 17, Sz. 67: II. Allegro molto capriccioso"
Only the lowest cello notes reach the range covered by the V8, with the crossover at 80 Hz. Nothing standing out, nothing missing, just right.

Danish String Quartet: "J.S. Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier: Book 2: BWV 870-893 - Fugue in E-Flat Major, BWV 876"
Another example of smooth, even bass from the cello.

F. Reiner: "Chicago Symphony Orchestra: "Beethoven, Symphony No. 7, in A, Op. 92-2 - Allegretto"
This recording was made with a stronger bass balance than many orchestral performances, and begs to be played with energy, especially in the more climactic passages. Even when pushing the volume, the V8 never gave a complaint, it played smooth and even all the way through.

The three passages mentioned above, plus the rock and electronic tracks, confirmed the V8 can handle subwoofer duties in a variety-centric two-channel system.

Cinema Listening Tests
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(Universal Studios)

U-571 (Blu-ray)
The depth charges push the low frequencies mainly in the 40 Hz range, perfect for a little LFE impact action by the V8. Designed to never bottom out or clip or turn to fuzz, the V8 helped deliver respectable explosions.

Conclusions
The Paradigm Defiance V8 Subwoofer strikes me as an excellent addition to a small- to mid-sized 2-channel system or a humdinger of a sub for a desktop computer music system. It will never clip or overdrive with its built-in soft-clip protection. With extension down to 28 Hz, it simply will not put out the lows needed for a kick-your-seat cinema system, like its bigger brothers in the Defiance Series. But at the price point, with moderate volumes and mainly music to deliver, the V8 is a steal of a deal of a subwoofer.


Click to watch a short YouTube version of the this review:




Measurements
Compression Indicted By CEA-2010 Test

With the built-in soft-clip protection, the V8 can not be tested to the CEA-2010 standard. The distortion level determined during the test is never reached. The measured input and output levels and the resulting compression are as follows:

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Defiance V8 Subwoofer Specifications
  • Design: 8" (203 mm) Driver, 75W RMS (150W Dynamic Peak), Class-D power amplifier
  • Amplier: 150 watts Dynamic Peak; 75 watts RMS
  • Amplifier Features: Auto-On / Off, improved soft-clipping circuitry
  • Frequency Response: ON-AXIS ±3 dB from 34Hz – 200Hz
  • Low Frequency Driver: 8" (203 mm) carbon-loaded polypropylene cone
  • Sensitivity Room/Anechoic: 100mV mono (max. volume) /
  • Impedance RCA: 8.3k ohms
  • Finishes: Satin Black
  • Weight: 26.5 lbs. (12.05 kg)
  • Low Frequency Extension: 28 Hz (DIN)
  • Low Pass Frequency Filter: Variable 35 Hz - 120 Hz; Bypass Option
  • Sub/Sat Phase Alignment: Variable select 0° or 180° via panel switch
  • Inputs: Two RCA (Left and Right/LFE) for left/right lineout or Sub-Out from receiver/processor or other line-level source, Two Speaker Level (Left and Right) for input from amplifier or other speaker level source
  • Dimensions (includes grille): 14 3/16" × 12 3/4" × 14 1/8" (36.1cm × 32.4cm × 35.8cm)
 
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Comments

Todd Anderson

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Wayne, this sounds like fantastic small sub option. I like the size factor: 26.5 lbs... makes it easy to move around. And it's low frequency extension makes it perfect for music... or a computer system looking for an extra kick!
 

AudiocRaver

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I have really enjoyed it for music delivery.
 

Asere

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Thank you for the review. At $399 I may get one for my son that's 16. I gave him my Onkyo 805 and he will love the combination with 2 CH especially for playing games in a small room.
 

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. As a proud owner of Paradigm subs, I am happy to read they are doing well in the review. :)
 

Grayson Dere

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AudiocRaver

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I have not really thought of Paradigm as a go-to source for subs, but I sure think differently about them now.
 

Grayson Dere

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I have not really thought of Paradigm as a go-to source for subs, but I sure think differently about them now.
Curious, I remember thinking of Sunfire as a pretty solid brand when it came to a compact line of subs over a decade ago. Is that brand still what they used to be?
 

Todd Anderson

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Emotiva XPA Gen 2 4xStereo 2XSingle
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VSX-1016THX
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SVS Ultra Towers
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SVS Ultra Center
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SVS Ultra Surround
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SVS Prime Elevation
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dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
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Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
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JVC RS520
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I've always heard good things about Sunfire, also. Haven't heard much recently, tho. Might be time to do some web surfing :T
 

AudiocRaver

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Location
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My AV System  
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Crown XLS 1502 DriveCore-2 (x2 as monoblock)
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Behringer A500 Reference Power Amplifier
Front Speakers
MartinLogan Electromotion ESL Electrostatic (x2)
Center Channel Speaker
Phantom Center
Surround Speakers
NSM Audio Model 5 2-Way (x2)
Subwoofers
JBL ES150P Powered Subwoofer (x2)
Here is a link to a short YouTube version of the this review. This link was also added early in the review.

 

tripplej

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Nintendo Wii U Gaming Console
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Universal Remote MX-450
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Sony PS4 Gaming Console, Panamax MR-5100 Surge
Nice. Thanks for the video. Great work guys. :)
 

tesseract

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Looks like a decent budget offering.
 
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