Paradigm Persona 3 vs 5 vs Monitor Audio


I just spent a couple of hours comparing the Paradigm Persona 3 and 5. The 3 sounded very good and I was sceptical about whether the 5, for one additional speaker, was really worth 70% more. I expected it to be very similar to the 3 with some added bass. After hearing the 5, I think it offers more than the additional bass. As good as the 3 sounded, the 5 had added depth and realism, even on music without that much bass. I listened to St. Saens 3rd Symphony and Beethoven’s 7th (2nd movement) to hear the bass and Eva Cassidy, Cecilia Bartoli and Brahms Piano Trio #1 for other characteristics.

The 3 is well priced compared the competition and certainly is a good choice. If you can afford the extra $7000, the 5 is definitely better--to me worth the significant price differential.

 To complicate my choice, we then visited another dealer to hear the Monitor Audio pl300ii and it’s an excellent speaker too if you like what I do--wide soundstage, good imaging, realistic rendition of individual instruments. It’s not an easy decision between the Paradigm 5 and the Monitor. To confuse myself further, I’m going tomorrow to hear the third speaker on my short list--the KEF Reference 3 which I’ve liked in prior hearings. I hope to make a decision after that.



brownsf
Looking forward to you feedback. I was also thinking for these speakers if I went passive.
Keep up the good work!
I was in your own shoes. KEF won.
Just heard the KEF 3 again.  Again I liked the wide soundstage, the tight bass, the positioning of solo instruments, the fact that the speakers disappeared and the sound seemed to be coming from a wide stage a couple of feet behind the speakers.  
But...my wife, who has better hearing than me, felt that the KEFs were harsh at times and that violins in particular didn't sound natural. I noticed these things too.  Help!! Someone tell me what to do with the three speakers on my short list--KEF Reference 3, Monitor Audio PL300ii and paradigm Persona 5 (just kidding).  I'm not sure what to do next but, at the risk of wearing out my welcome at the store, I may go back to hear  the Persona 5's one more time.  

I've heard all extensively, and I'd say Persona for sure. 

There is something special about having the exact same material mid and tweeter as on the personas.  Once you spend a lot of time with them, you start to realize how much of an advantage that is.  It's hard to appreciate with short auditions.
Anyone compared the Persona 3F against the ELAC Adante AF-61 or the Revel f208be?  I'll likely purchase one of these if 100 tube watts is a good match.
Electroslacker the Elacs will sound great for the money but don't have the tremendous resolution of the pure Beryillium drivers for sheer bang for the buck the Adante's are great. 

Bownsf, 

As mentioned before we sell both the Kefs, and the Paradigm Personas, and we sell the Legacy's which use AMT drivers.

Personally I would go with the Personas, setup correctly nothing under $25-30k can beat them.

In 30 years of professional audio never heard a set of speakers that were this affordable yet offered the highest level of resolution, with unbelievable imaging, compound that with stunning cabinetry, small footprint, and high efficiency makes the Personas hard to beat.

Brownsf, your wife is correct, the Ref 3 are a bit more forward then the Personas, which have a slightly silkier top end with an overall clearer midrange, the KEF's do offer a very wide soundstage, we use our Ref 3 with a matching Kef Ref 2 center channel in a dedicated Home Theater that rocks. 

Your obsevations about the Pesona 5F are correct, the large cabinet makes the entire presenation bigger and more effortless. 

If you match them with good electronics, and cabling, you will have a speaker that is very hard to beat at 2-3 times the price, the Personas are really that good!

If we can be of any further guidance please feel free to PM us. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor  NJ


 Dave you said in another thread that the the Legacy Aeris will beat out speakers costing 50k I believe. Now you are saying nothing under 25-30k can beat the Persona 3? Which you sell both. You never say IMO or anything of the like. It's obvious you have an agenda. Please don't respond with a novel. 
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Mofo lets me clarify. The Legacy Aeris are amazing but different then the Personas, the Aeris has that big warm sound, yet with good detail, like that you get out of a physically large speaker such as a Wilson Maxx or Alexia, so in terms of image size, height of image and deep bass they sound close to a mega speaker which is why we said the Aeris can compare with speakers like a pair of Wilson Alexia II which are $58k and other similar types of products.

The Persona not the 3 but a 5, which is under discussion and consideration by Brownsf, sounds smaller then the Legacy’s but in terms of midrange clarity and creating a more focused soundstage, the Personas are better, they do sound physically smaller, also their bass is deep and tight but not as room filling as the Aeris.

At the 2016 New York Audio SHow we heard the YG Carmels $20k+ as well as the Magico S1 MK II also $18k and both of those speakers were not better than the Persona 3F.

As per the Persona B don’t know how or what this gentleman heard but we have the Persona B the LS 50 and the KEF Ref 1 in the same demo room.

The Persona B have way deeper bass then the LS 50, and in many ways outperform the Ref 1 which are one of the top rated $8k sets of monitors, so the Persona B are absolutely worth $7k for an incredible monitor that offers some of the same qualities and is built the same way as the floor standers of the line.

Most people will take the Persona 3F at for $10k vs $7k plus stands for the B the 3F are screaming good and are a steal for a loudspeaker with this kind of speed, detail, and image specificity. The only issue with the 3F is that they are not as big sounding as some other speakers.

In our shop we use the Persona B on a set of Target stands $400.00 so we have $7.4k vs $10k however, the 3F is just the better way to go unless you have to have a monitor.

Hope that clarifiies the points I raised in other posts. Long story short, one of the reason’s we love both Legacy and the Personas is that both of these lines represent incredible value and sound quality and both of these companies products challenge much more expensive loudpeakers.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ


Audiotroy-Appreciate your input.  After hearing the Persona 3 and 5, the Monitor Audio PL300ii and the KEF Reference 3 multiple times,  I narrowed it down to the Persona 5 (despite the big up charge). and the KEF.  Wish I could hear the KEF Reference 5 but it's not displayed anywhere in my area.  Tough call for me among the remaining two.  I do like the wide soundstage and imaging of the KEF.  Seems that I like whichever I'm hearing at the time.   I'd say that I'm leaning toward the KEF right now (and I'm not listening to anything) despite the positive things about the Persona 5.  I checked out the Aeris and it appears to be an active speaker which requires AC power, which won't work for me.  
I’m sorry, but anyone who thinks the LS50’s sound anywhere near the Persona B... 

Speechless.  
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Interesting that AudioTroy likes the Persona B over the KEF REF 1 (I know you sell both). I need to check out the B's. I love the REF 1 and leaning toward the REF 3 if I go passive. All dependent on room size I end up with.
brownsf,

I heard the REF 5 at a show in a big room driven by super expensive tube gear. I hate tubes but nevertheless I spent about an hour listening to the REF 5’s. I was rather disappointed in the speaker. The speaker did not disappear that well from the soundstage. I also had a bad initial listen at a dealer with the REF 1 (a different place and time). The room was terrible. However, at the same show I heard the REF 1 in a better room and it sounded amazing. So I am attributing my bad impression of the REF 5 to the tubes or room.

If you are to willing to pay the price of the REF 5 I would seriously look at a used KEF BLADE(2) for about similar or lower price. If you have room for the side firing woofers of the BLADES there is nothing in the REFERENCE line that can compete with the BLADES. I have heard them with all type of gear, cheap to mega expensive and I have never been disappointed.
Just saw demo Blades--not Blades 2-- for sale at a dealer for 20,000.  Problem is the WAF.  Some say that the KEF Reference 3 actually sounds better than the more expensive Reference 5.  As mentioned, I haven't been able to hear the 5.  My equipment is Audio Research tube amp and preamp. 
Yysantabarbera, you are correct sir. The Blades do sound better then the Reference series.  The Blades are more open and have a cleaner midrange. 

The Ref 3 vs the 5 is not much of an issue, the Ref 3 and the Ref 5 sound identical expect for the larger feeling and deepr bass of the Ref 5.

We also have a demo pair of Kef Blade 1 in the upgraded paint with a few minor scratches and dings for $18k.

The Ref 1 are fantastic and sound amazing when setup in certain scenarios, the Beryilium drivers are cleaner then the Aluminium and the soundstage on the Persona's is just more holographic. 

The Ref 1 do have a deeper bass then the Persona B, the $1k difference gets a Persona B close to the cost of adding a JL Audio E110 which is a fast sub. 

Bownsf, you can't go wrong with either the KEF or the Paradigms, to bad you are not visiting the New York tristate area, as we have both lines on display and can easily demo both under the same circumstances.

As I agreeded with your wife the Persona's are the cleaner of the two speakers and those Beryilium drivers are just extraordinary, your dealer may have the Personas too close together we have found that moving them far apart and then towing them in works like magic. 

https://www.facebook.com/122499304489958/photos/pcb.1632190780187462/1632198643520009/?type=3&th

You don't get a huge image it is fantastic for one or two listeners but boy is it magical. 

If you visit your dealer maybe have him move the speakers further apart and then play with the toe in to focus the image. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ


The dealer did move the Persona 5s further apart and it made a positive difference in the soundstage.  As for my wife's comments about the strings sounding harsh on the KEF Reference 3, we played the same CDs on several other speakers--Gamut, Persona 5 and my current Proacs.  Guess what?  Same issue.  Clearly that problem is with the source material. Maybe I should use different CDs or vinyl for auditions. Wish I were a little closer to NY but I'm not and have no planned trips.  
Well Brownsf, we would have relished the opportunity to work with you.

We are one of the very few dealers to sell the Kef, and the Personas and of course with our other favorites, Dali, Legacy, ATC. 

The Personas are really amazing, but can be a little more finiky to work with. The clarity of those Beryilium drivers is just remarkable. 

If you use good matching electronics, cabling and a source you will be amazed at just how close to the real thing the Personas can come to.

We had a client with a Steinway in the same room, we played the same piece on both systems and the Personas were very close to the real Piano.

If you remember we were the dealers that had you slow down and not jump on the Wilson's that you were being offered. 

The reaility is that the system you are looking at now with either the KEF's or the Personas are just fantastic. The Persona's I think are the more magical of the two speakers, but the KEF Ref series are pretty awesome. 

If you ever are in our neck of the woods, please stop in for a visit.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
brownsf,

I should backtrack on my "I hate tubes" comment. I forgot that I heard my buddy's Spendor D7's with an Audio Research tube amp and it sounded great. So I should just state tubes are have not been my first choice.
I concur with the statements regarding the Persona 5F’s. They are a big step up from the 3F’s ...and im told its because of the larger cabinet. Well i was sold on the 5f’s ...but then heard the 9H’s which came in for a week-long stint at my dealer. I had two auditions with the 9Hs’ - each three hours. I brought in my own amps and cable each time.
Well all bets are off now. The Persona 9H’s are painfully expensive but an almost attainable level of perfection. You get stunning mids and highs coupled with just honest and controlled lows. There is so much information and enjoyment below 30Hz and the 9H’s presented it to me plain as day. I honestly have not enjoyed my home system since that audition - just paralyzed by the 9H's competence.
Dmance... curious how it all turned out!
@ brownsf,

"I checked out the Aeris and it appears to be an active speaker which requires AC power, which won't work for me."

Not sure if you're still looking, but I'll put this out there.  I spoke the other day with Legacy, and he indicated that they could build a passive set of Aeris.  The reason I asked him about that is that I'm having a hard time figuring out how I would integrate the Aeris with my AVR based system.  I just want a "plug and play" set of speakers.  I love the mid range and lower mid range sound capability of the Aeris, which is the result of that  "8 inch titanium encrusted, accordion edge with 6 lb magnetic structure" driver.  I'm planning to stop by the Legacy home office on the way back from AXPONA and discuss this further.

I'm in the market for a Persona pair of speakers. My room is 6x4 m, and I don't know what would fit better, 3F or 5 F. Unfortunately my dealer doesn't demo Persona, so I have to buy them blindly... :)

Any info would help. Thanks!


If you can afford the 5, get the 5.  However the 3 is 80% as good for a lot less money.  Diminishing returns.  When you step up to the 7F, you reverse that curve and I think you get a TON more speaker for only 7 grand more.

I have spent a tremendous amount of time with the entire line.  My good friend has a full 9H surround based system with the matching center and it’s staggering.  Using Anthem STR separates and home theater bypass.  Incredible stereo which happens to also be the best home theater I’ve ever heard.
@ kmicamei

I have the 5fs in a similar sized room to yours and they are just perfect. 
Cabling is very important with these speakers.   Make sure you have Speaker cables that tend to be voiced toward the warmer side. 
Also  Budget for a $ 700.00 set of Harmonix tuning footers if your are on a solid surface. Take the Personas to a whole new level!!
I listen to the paradigm persona 7h here in Vancouver and as good as they sounded they just weren't as 3D and open and the high-end was not as good with the Berlin Tweeter as was the monitor audio Platinum 300 generation 2 that MPD Twitter is so much more open and more real sounding than the beryllium Tweeter it's not even funny. The monitor audio beats the paradigm in every area and it's only 18,000 compared to the 7H which is 25,000 for that money you can buy the Platinum 500 ll for 38000 and it'll absolutely trounce the 9h.
So weird that someone who casually listened to a pair of speakers would go out of their way to seek out threads to talk them down.  Pathetic BS post.  FIVE posts, all anti persona.  This forum is a joke.
What’s a joke is not respecting an opinion that’s different than yours. It’s a subjective "hobby", we hear differently and have different preferences. So, if I post a lot highlighting how great Personas are that’s great, but post five bad things about Personas the forum’s a joke. Why participate in something that you feel is a joke? I’ve actually heard the 7Fs and 9Hs. I can hear why some love them, but I can also hear why some don’t.
He has found nearly every Persona thread and added his opinion. Nothing wrong with respecting his opinion but it’s obvious he is targeting Paradigm on purpose to make some point. That is unethical. 
There are several that have found every Persona, Magico, Wilson, etc thread and said they're the best thing since slice bread. Are they unethical also? An opinion that's different from yours or mine doesn't mean it's unethical. 
This should be common sense, but the fact that he just joined and only posted these things is more than obvious.  

Also, simple industry knowledge tells you that companies/stores do stuff like this all the time.

Even weirder is how you have always been anti persona and HAPPEN to piggyback off all of his posts.  
I'm not anti anything in audio. I have as much a right to post my opinion as you do. I'll count how many positive post you have about personas compared to my negative post about them. I think we both know how the numbers will look. I don't trash a company because I don't like the sound of something they make. I just posted, " I’ve actually heard the 7Fs and 9Hs. I can hear why some love them, but I can also hear why some don’t." I actually think they're good at what they do, but requires careful matching of components, just like all speakers do. Doesn't sound anti-persona to me:). I just don't believe in absolutes in audio, as you appear to believe. 
Are you kidding? It’s blatant. I have no problem with someone coming here with sincere love for a brand or model. But when they also make it a point in the same posts (and by doing this in multiple older threads) to run down a competitive product than their intent is less than honorable. 
either marketing or juvenile, either way it’s out of left field and hard to take seriously.
Putin is likely behind some of these posts.
Pick the monitor audio 200 or 300 generation 2 they throw a wider deeper more real sound stage than anything paradigm makes the voice piano instruments sound way more natural with the monitors, the paradigms with that beryllium Tweeter and midrange are very bright and edgy and in your face and the bass is much tighter deeper and faster with the monitors.
First of all I didn't run it down, I just said what I heard and the monitor  was much more three-dimensional.The soundstages wider deeper the cymbals sound more brassy and real The voice piano, instruments sound more natural. The bass was faster tighter deeper more articulate with the monitor platinum's.
And since I'm the one that started this forum I can say anything I like I didn't say the paradigm were bad I just said I didn't like them cuz it to my ears the mid-range and the Tweeter are bright and forward sounding I prefer a more natural sound that the monitor has I don't like cymbals that sound metallic because symbols are brassy not metallic soundingand I like the human voice to some warm like a dozen real life not hard and cold and the sounds they just more three-dimensional wider and deeper and the layering of the different instruments is a lot better you can hear the space between the instruments better just look at the postage a worth put up here he has both of them and he said the same thing unfortunately spend a lot of money in the paradigms and the platinum's were better in every area.
Longest sentence I ever read. Lol
Yes definitely the personas are very bright and forward sounding if that's what you like.and their three-dimensionality is nowhere near as good as the monitor audio Platinum and the depth and imaging is also not as good the air and space between the instruments it's much better defined with the monitors. The bass is faster tighter more articulate as well. The Platinum is Will beat anything that paradigm makes and we'll leave them in the dust. For the money the paradigms are not worth it you'll get better performance from speakers that are not as overpriced. Monitor audio driver technology is way ahead of paradigm.
The persona series is a very bright forward sounding speaker series. The monitor audio Platinum are very neutral so everything sounds natural like a dozen real life like the human voice, piano violins all have that woodiness, cymbals have that brassy shimmer not a hard metallic sound like through that beryllium tweeter. Pick the Platinum 200 or 300 you will not be disappointed they are Head and shoulders above paradigm in three-dimensionality in soundstage width and depth in the space between the instruments.