Paradigm Cinema 100 CT Home Theater Speaker System - Review

Style, Compactness, Great Sound and Affordability From Paradigm

Paradigm Cinema 100 CT Home Theater Speaker System
Paradigm Cinema 100 CT Home Theater Speaker System. Image provided by Paradigm

It isn't an easy task to find the right loudspeakers, but if you are looking for new set of compact home theater loudspeakers that are stylish, sound great and are affordable, consider the Paradigm Cinema 100 CT.

The system consists of five compact bookshelf speakers for the center, left, and right front and surrounds, and a 100 watt 8-inch powered subwoofer.

Audio Performance

How a speaker system sounds is the most important consideration, and with that in mind, the Paradigm Cinema 100 CT Home Theater Speaker System did not disappoint. The speakers assigned to the main and surround channels performed their job very well.

Clean, undistorted, sound was delivered across a wide frequency range and dispersed widely into the room. When sound was intended to be immersive it was. When precise direction and location accuracy was important it was. Also, in cases where sounds panned from one speaker to the next, the "dipping" that is sometimes noticeable was minimal.

Center channel dialog and vocals, which emphasize the midrange frequencies, were clear, distinct, and had good depth. Good examples of mid-range vocal reproduction were on Norah Jones' distinctive rendition of "Don't Know Why", the Dave Matthews/Blue Man Group's "Sing Along", and Sade's distinctive vocals in "Soldier of Love".

Surround effects in several notable with movie scenes, such as the train wreck scene in "Super 8", the first battle scene from "Master and Commander", the arrow assault scene in "Hero", the echo game scene from "House of the Flying Daggers", the Tyrannosaurus scenes in "Jurassic Park", as well as the surround content from music sources, such as the SACD version of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" and the surround harmonies in the DVD-Audio version of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" were all reproduced well, with excellent detail.

The powered subwoofer to be an excellent match for the rest of the speakers. With its 8-inch front facing driver and dual rear ports, the subwoofer provided very good lower frequency response. The bass response was fairly tight and complemented both music and movie tracks appropriately, providing a good bass effect, without unnecessary boominess.

In two tests, the Cinema 100 CT Sub performed well, with only a slight drop-off in the extreme low end with Heart's "Magic Man", and Sade's bass-heavy "Soldier of Love", both of which are challenging low-frequency cuts for any subwoofer.

Cinema 100  CT - Pros

  • Overall system sound is very good to near excellent with both movie and music content.
  • The center channel provided great vocal presence, detail, and depth in the mid-range frequencies.
  • The speakers assigned to the main and surround channels project a much larger sound image that their size would indicate, which is perfect for surround sound listening.
  • The subwoofer provides excellent, tight, deep bass response especially considering its size.
  • There was a very smooth transition and blending between the subwoofer and rest of system.
  • All of the Cinema 100 CT speakers can be either mounted on the provided table stands, or wall mounted. Hardware for both options is provided.
  • The magnetically attached speaker grills make them easy to remove or reattach is desired.

Cinema 100 CT- Cons

  • The Cinema 100 CT Sub rolls off slightly at the lowest frequencies, but more than holds its own with other subs of its size and even some that are larger.
  • Although table stands were provided, they were a little awkward to attach to the speakers because you need to thread your speaker wire through the stand and attach the wire to the speaker terminals before you screw the stand to the speaker. The table stand covers the entire speaker terminal area.
  • Since the provided speaker table stands cover the entire speaker terminal area, you cannot remove or attach speaker wire unless the stand is removed first.

Paradigm Cinema 100 CT Specifications - Center and Satellite Speakers

  • Drivers: Two Drivers/2-Way Acoustic Suspension Design (this means the speakers inside of a sealed cabinet). Bass/Midrange: (4 in) S-PAL (satin anodized pure-aluminum) cone. Tweeter: 25-mm (1 in) S-PAL dome, ferro-fluid damped and cooled.
  • Frequency Response: ±2 dB from 125 Hz - 20 kHz (on axis), ±2 dB from 125 Hz - 15 kHz (at 30 degree off-axis). On-axis refers to a listening position directly facing the speaker, off-axis refers to listening position + or - 30 degrees to either side or above/below the speaker.
  • Sensitivity: 85db (represents how loud the speaker is at a distance of one meter with an input of one watt).
  • Impedance: 8 ohms (can be used with amplifiers that have 8-ohm speaker connections)
  • Power Handling: 15 to 100 watts, maximum continuous input power: 50 watts.
  • Crossover Frequency: 1.8 kHz
  • Dimensions: (HWD) 8-3/8 in x 4-13/16 in x 6-13/16 in (21.2 cm x 12.2 cm x 15.7 cm)
  • Weight: 4.0 lb/1.8 kg each
  • Finish: Black Gloss.
  • Placement: Speakers can be table or wall-mounted (hardware options for both provided).

    Paradigm Cinema 100 CT Specifications - Subwoofer

    • Driver: Bass Reflex with dual rear ports, 8-inch polypropylene driver.
    • Frequency Response: 35 Hz - 150 Hz, Low-Frequency extension to 32Hz.
    • Phase: 0 or 180 degrees (synchronizes in-out motion of sub speaker with in-out motion of other speakers in system).
    • Amplifier Power Output: 100 watts RMS (continuous power output capability).
    • Crossover Frequency (frequencies below this point are passed to the subwoofer): Variable 35 Hz - 150 Hz (continuously variable), Bypass mode.
    • Power On/Off Toggle: On, Auto, or Standby mode.
    • Dimensions: (HWD) 13-7/16 in x 12-11/6 in x 12-11/16 in (34.2 cm x 32.2 cm x 32.2 cm).
    • Weight: 21.4 lb/9.7 kg
    • Connections: RCA Line inputs (Mono, Stereo, or LFE - Low-Frequency Effects).

    The Bottom Line

    The Paradigm Cinema 100 CT is a great example of well-styled and engineered speaker system, that delivers great sound for a reasonable price.

    One thing that presented initial doubts was that the center and satellite speakers were all physically identical. In many speaker systems, the center channel speaker that is provided has a different physical design and driver makeup than the rest of the satellite speakers, usually incorporating an extra mid-range/woofer to provide a wider sound field and body for the center channel.

    However, the dual driver horizontal design approach can also cause problems with wave interference between the two horizontal midrange/woofers the further you move off-axis. In other words, Paradigm's design strategy to use the same single driver speaker for the center channel as the satellites for 100 CT system was not such a bad idea, especially since all the speakers are identically matched, both sonically and physically.

    The Cinema 100 CT does a great job with both movies and music and, unlike many compact systems available at big-box stores, does a respectable job in the bass department.

    The Cinema 100 CT includes both the table mounts and wall mounting hardware, making it a great value. If you are shopping for a compact speaker system for a modestly powered setup in a small or medium-size room, you definitely have to give the 100 CT a listen.

    Although Paradigm Cinema CT100 was introduced in 2011, it is still available through authorized Paradigm dealers as of 2018. Check out the Official Product Page for more info and current pricing. Paradigm also offers 3-Channel and 2-Channel versions as well.

    Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer and return upon completion of the review.