Paradigm SIG-LCR 5 In-Wall Speakers Reviewed

Paradigm_LCR5_image.gifFor over a year, Paradigm Signature S8 v.2s have served as my reference floor-standing speakers, for I’ve been unable to find other loudspeakers that mate superb sonic performance with affordability quite the way the S8s do. However, I’m an in-wall speaker fan and have always wondered if Paradigm could in some way take the performance of their Signature line of loudspeakers and package it in an in-wall speaker. Well, my prayers have been answered as Paradigm now has an in-wall speaker that takes its cues from their Signature floor-standing loudspeakers, as evident in the SIG-LCR 5 reviewed here.
Additional Resources

• Read a review of the PSB CW800e in-wall speaker system
• Read dozens more in-wall speaker reviews from Niles, Paradigm, B&W, Noble Fidelity, Wisdom Audio and many others.

Retailing for $2,999 each, plus an additional $399 each for the required Backbox, the SIG-LCR 5s are not cheap, though they are cheaper than my reference Meridian 350 series in-walls and possess most if not all of their performance. The SIG-LCR 5 features six drivers, consisting of a single one-inch pure Beryllium dome tweeter, a four-and-a-half-inch midrange driver, two seven-inch bass/midrange drivers and two seven-inch bass drivers, giving the SIG-LCR 5 a reported frequency response of 58Hz-45kHz. While the SIG-LCR 5 may have a number of drivers requiring several crossover points, it is still an efficient design, with a 94dB rating into an eight-ohm load, allowing it to be powered by as little as a mid-fi receiver, though this is a reference speaker, so you’ll want to surround it with similar gear for best results.

The SIG-LCR 5s themselves are rather narrow and, at first glance, appear as if they’ll fit into a standard wall cavity, though these are not traditional in-walls, for they require the use of a separate Backbox for in-wall mounting. Because of the SA-LCR 5s’ need for Paradigm’s own Backbox, they are not technically retrofit in-walls like most other brands, including Paradigm’s other in-wall offerings. You’re going to need to expose the studs and framework of your wall(s) in order to install the SA-LCR 5s, which makes them ideal for new construction projects or heavy renovations. For best results, a professional custom installer should install the SA-LCR 5s.

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Paradigm_LCR5_image.gifHigh Points

• The SIG-LCR 5s get closer to blurring the line between traditional floor-standing loudspeakers and in-wall speakers than anything else I’ve encountered, save maybe the Meridian 300 series and PSB’s reference in-walls. 
• The purity and naturalness of the SIG-LCR 5s is remarkable. From the top down, I found them to be nearly indistinguishable from my reference Signature S8s, with the exception of overall bass extension. The pure beryllium tweeter is among the best high-frequency transducers money can buy and the fact that it’s in a sub-$5,000 in-wall is amazing. The SIG-LCR 5’s midrange and lower midrange is rich, pure and natural, with zero artificial warmth or bloat to it, making it suitable for a wider range of musical and cinematic tastes. When it comes to film dialogue or female vocals, you’ll be hard-pressed to beat the SIG-LCR 5s.
• Because of the LCR design, the seamless nature of having three SA-LCR 5s across the front of your listening room or theater is astonishing. I was unable to discern where one speaker ended and the next began. The surround sound performance is staggering and more dimensional than that of almost any in-wall on the market today. 
• Dynamically, the SIG-LCR 5s are class leaders, going louder with less power and doing it with more finesse than any in-walls I’ve heard to date. I was able to make the SIG-LCR 5s dance and sing beautifully with a $1,000 receiver, though if you mate them to, say, a pair of Anthem separates or the like, you’ll have a weapons-grade music and movie system for the price of some floor-standing two-channel speakers. 
• The Backbox, while cumbersome during installation, basically changes the SIG-LCR 5s from sounding like in-walls to sounding like true floor-standing speakers, isolating them from the wall, providing them with a ridged skeleton and adding to their overall musicality. 

Low Points

• While the SIG-LCR 5s plunge very low, a system of this caliber deserves a subwoofer or two. You can go for Paradigm’s own in-wall subs and have a truly hidden, cost-no-object home theater. Only it won’t cost you as much as you think. 
• I don’t like it that Paradigm doesn’t just include the Backbox in the SIG-LCR 5’s asking price. I know it probably looks good to have a speaker priced below $3,000, but it’s not the true cost of the speaker when you have to purchase a $400 add-on box just to install it. Just call it $3,500 out the door and be done, Paradigm, you’re still cheaper than the competition and far better-sounding. 
• Due to their complex installation and need for professional help, be it a contractor or installer, you have to figure construction costs into the total system price when configuring your budget.

Though not the least expensive in-walls on the market today at roughly $3,500 each (including the required Backbox), the SIG-LCR 5s are among the best-sounding in-walls money can buy. If you’re looking for a true audiophile-sounding loudspeaker in an in-wall package and have the budget for some decent electronics to go with it, then you’ll be hard-pressed to do better than the Paradigm SIG-LCR 5s, for they’re simply that good.

Additional Resources
• Read a review of the PSB CW800e in-wall speaker system
• Read dozens more in-wall speaker reviews from Niles, Paradigm, B&W, Noble Fidelity, Wisdom Audio and many others.