To give you some idea of just how nuanced the Monitor 11’s are, let me say that they are revealing enough to make child’s play of side-by-side comparisons between different DACs, making even very subtle differences between competing DACs easy to hear (which is more than can be said for many mid-priced speakers).
Next, I found the speakers remarkably easy to drive. I decided to power them with Peachtree Audio’s terrific new iNova integrated amp/DAC/dock, and found that, if anything, the iNova seemed to have more clout than the Monitors really required. In truth, Peachtree’s lower-output iDecco amp would probably have been more than enough to make the Monitor 11s “sing.” The high apparent sensitivity of the Monitor range bodes well for those who may want to drive it with a comparatively low-powered (though for obvious reasons, high-quality) AVR in a home theater setting.
Finally, I could not help but note that the Monitor 11’s offer a really nice combination of bass extension, power and control. The only potential “hitch” I can see is that the 11’s, which feature dual rear-firing ducted ports, may actually have more bass oomph than is necessary (or even desirable) for some rooms. The good news, here, is that I think you could build a perfectly satisfying Monitor 11-based surround rig without needing a subwoofer. Nevertheless, I do think Paradigm might to well to borrow a trick from the Monitor Audio game and thus to supply the Monitor 11’s with foam port-damping plugs (Monitor calls them by the British term, “bungs”) to help trim bass output in smaller room settings.
As I get more experience with the speakers, and then try them in a full-on surround system, I’ll report my findings in a full-length review soon to appear on this site. But until then, just know that the new Monitor Series 7 models are the best yet from Paradigm, and carry forward their tradition of sonic sophistication and value for money.