Paradigm Monitor Series 7
Paradigms Classic Monitor Series represents the companys bid to win over entry-level buyers and future audiophiles with their house sound, and the Series 7 is their gateway model at $450 per speaker. It gives the listener an accurate taste of what the companys higher end speakers have to offer, but doesnt quite undercut the pricier models in the range.
While not quite as lively sounding as the JBLs, the Series 7 are more natural and effortless, and scale better with higher end equipment; they are excellent as front speakers, but also have the poise and detail to be used as surrounds to compliment truly high-end front speakers if you plan on upgrading in the future. They are balanced and neutral; while they have enough bass to be used on their own, you'll probably want to invest in a subwoofer if you want real thump. Their midrange is clean and full, with good definition and noticeably better micro-detailing than the cheaper speakers listed here. While most of these could be considered "good normal speakers," the Paradigms are entry level audiophile speakers, and the difference is obvious, both in their tonality and levels of detail presented. Their soundscape is equally impressive, creating a wide, well-separated image that sounds equally coherent for both movies and music.
The Series 7 are a step above the rest listed here, and your wallet will know it, but so will your ears. If you're just looking for a decent pair of speakers and want to be done with it, you will probably be satisfied with something a bit cheaper. But if you have the cash to really play, and want to test your toes in the audiophile waters before jumping all the way in, the Series 7 are a great place to start.