Paradigm Persona series


I'm beginning to poke around and gather opinions and information about a "super speaker" to replace my aging Thiel 2.4s.  I like the idea of bass dsp room correction and I am a bit of a point source type imaging nut (thus the Thiels).  So among other choices I've been looking at the Paradigm Persona series specifically the powered 9H with room correction for the bass.  However I'm skeptical of the "lenses" i.e. pierced metal covers on the midrange and tweeter specifically because of Paradigm's claim that such screens "screen out" "out of phase" musical information.  The technology in the design seems superlative but I just can't get past the claim re out of phase information and the midrange and tweeter covers.  What could possibly be the science behind this claim?  It just seems like its putting a halloween moustache on the mona lisa given the fact that the company is generally a technology driven company.
pwhinson
You've got to start with the practical fact that the drivers are beryllium, and therefore there's got to be something in front of them that in theory not even the tiniest of pinkie fingers can fit through.  What that something is, and how it's designed, and whether it really has a positive acoustic effect, or the company has to justify it somehow---that's far beyond my ken.
I have heard the Persona 5f.   Very clear and coherent sounding, whatever the technology it employs.  Other threads have described the series at some length.
Have a pair of the 9H's driven by Pass XA30.8 amp. Very clean sound, bass is simply phenomenal, and the amp will drive them to extremely loud levels without moving the meter. Well worth an audition. 

If you search my previous responses to Paradigm Personas I’d caution against them as a multi Paradigm customer and a brief experience with their Persona flagship at my familiar Paradigm retailer.

After living with my Avalon Acoustics Eidolons, original Thiel and Vandersteen are designs that simply sound right to me. I was able to compare my Paradigm Studio 100 v2s, a demo pair of S8s and the Eidolons at home at the same time. Both my wife and Son heard the striking difference within the first few minutes.

As mentioned in those previous responses the Personas are a huge Paradigm improvement yet they still lacked the cohesive rightness your Thiels may offer. At their price you should be able to audition them at home. Match the bass extension to your Thiels and you’ll hear the difference for yourself.

I’ve used my two subwoofers with the Avalons in three different homes and they never loaded those rooms very well located next to the speakers.

You should expect an experienced dealer response here soon.
I too an a Vandy guy. I never was until I spent time with all the other speakers out there in my range and found them to be the best compromise.  Every speaker is a compromise and you either like or don't like what is compromised.  

The Vandy is similar in design to the old Thiel in that it's time and phase correct.  No smearing and tons of micro and macro detail.  Paired with a zero feedback design amp, it can be magical.  I also have found that in MY room, it's been the best by far as I have a difficult room.  I have spoken to Richard V about how he designs them and it's in a real world environment.  No special chambers etc...  That's probably why it's been the best sounding in my room.

I personally have heard the Paradigm's in many venues and never liked them.  Just not my cup of tea.  I found their highs to be tipped up bit and that's fatiguing to me (maybe not to others).  I also found them to lack coherency to MY ears.  Again, there are different speakers for all our ears.  This is why going to listen is so important.  Many designers will produce these ultra dynamic speakers as they will stand out in a store, but they often lack the micro and macro details that give you the emotion in a song.  Again, just my opinion.
I've only heard the 3f's from that line with an Anthem front end and I expected them to be bright, even had dealer play diana schuur and they were smooth, but regardless what people say about speaker break in he/dealer said they sounded pretty harsh for a good week. I thought the Kanta'2 imaged better at the same price though I wouldn't say either speaker was better.
At this price range and since you value dsp correction you have to check out Legacy Focus XD and Legacy Aeris with Wavelet. They check all your boxes , active amplification, correction across the audio band with tailored parameters for your speaker at factory. And they have been doing this longer than Paradigm, as far as I know. The purchase comes with in-house setup.

I am a long time Paradigm Studo 40v3 owner. I was really impressed by Legacy at RMAF this year. I listened to many speakers around 20K and more. Quite a value but not a compromised sound at all. You can easily spend way more and get less.

I have now had the Persona 5Fs for 3 mos and after a cable loom change and some fantastic tuning footers from Combak Harmonix I can say these speakers are worth heavy consideration.
They are replacing  a set of Magico S3. The Magico's weren't  bad but just got a little boring after the year I had them. I wanted something a little more lively. 
The Audience Au24Sx cable loom  was a great match for the Magico's but not so much for the Persons. I went with Cerious Technologies Matrix line of IC and Speaker cables. Bob even made me custom jumpers so all was good.
All the upper midrange glare was gone and after the loom was broke in for about 3 weeks the Personas really blossomed.  But when they really showed off their best in class midrange was when adding the tuning bases under the spikes of the Persona's. Vocals have unbelievable texture, Front to back layering of the players are some of the best I have heard anywhere.  You can follow the piano players fingers down the piano in front of you. Notes just float away with fantastic decay. Bob's speakers wires are friggin awesome!!.
I have heard the Personas at Dealers and I would not buy them either.   
They need to be synergized in your room, for your tastes.  
I take professional reviews with a grain of salt but these guys have had the speakers usually for a couple of months and can tweak them. All the reviews are very positive.
I have always considered Paradigm a solid HT speaker and not much more.  The Persona's have changed all that.!!
Aurender A10> Micro Zotl 2.0s> Hot Rodded  Odyssey Kismets Monos> 5fs , Stillpoints under everything. 
personally i am a bit jaded with paradigm for jumping into high end so hard, so quickly. the prestige series was already significantly more expensive than anything they ever did beforehand, now we got the persona series... i never considered the paradigm brand synonymous with ultra high end, guess theyve made it to the big leagues now.
They have been making the Signature series for about 15 years. Very well built great sounding speakers IMO. 
Agreed, but they have usually been a quarter of the cost of the persona series.
I have owned Paradigms practically since the company was founded in 1982.
d2 I agree with you that Paradigm's did  not have the  reputation of being "high end" .Neither were PSB ,Energy and other excellent Canadian speakers.
That's what I liked about them.Most of their speakers to me sounded pretty close to other  very $$$ "high end" speakers.

Had a pair of Studio reference 100s in 2000 which to me sounded much better than some of the "sterile" high end British boxes back then.

Just bought a set of Prestige 85fs and they too sound great.
Paying over $15 grand for speakers,well I just won't budget that high for 'em.not even for Paradigm....
Folks, all speakers have a house sound.  That's due to the compromise that the designer makes.  This is why we either like or dislike specific brands.  I do try to go in with an open mind when any company changes a design practice.  I couldn't listen to Wilson's until Darrel took over and started to use a soft dome tweeter.  Uber dynamic and easier to listen to.  I could easily own pair now, but personally feel they are not detailed enough for my tastes and I don't get the emotion that I hear out of other speakers (including other's not named Vandersteen, lol).  

If you like Paradigm, then you will like these new speakers.  They are very well extended on top, so system matching is more crucial than other speakers (IMHO).  They are just too bright for my ears (as well as many folks I've spoken with) no matter what room they are in.  As I have stated, I've heard them many times in many situations.  That includes a friends house where the room sounds great.  Not overly damped as many are and his electronics are top notch tubes (AR ref gear).  It's the best I've heard them sound, but still just not my cup of tea. His either as he returned them adn is still looking.

That's not a cut at all. It's just that they have a house sound that is Paradigm's.  As I ahvce stated, I own an older pair still.  My daughter uses them for her parties at college (as I had their former top sub with them).  There are a ton of choices in the 35k and under range and of all varieties.  Now, more than ever, it's important to audition in stores and get advice from folks who actually match speakers to various electronics and cables.  System matching is as critical as ever.  There is a market for most gear (some stuff just universally sucks).
If the Personas are matched with Cerious Technologies speaker cables you will get a glorious midrange and delicate highs. All the brightness will disappear.
The Personas take 300 hrs of break in. I highly doubt any dealer has them even broken in properly. Beryllium midranges are brutally honest and you need matching electronics and cabling. Tubes somewhere in the chain sure help.
This is a great speaker but needs time and patience to get the best out of them.  
I still don't understand how you can use a cable to take something away from any speaker and not lose information.  Honest question and it goes for anything.  I am very surprised that if that specific cable needs to be used with the Paradigm in order to tame their high end.  I've never seen them offered at any of their stores I've been to and that's many.  


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Kost 

It all depends on setup. Just because the "factory rep" set them up doesn't mean a lot.  

The rep may or may not know the store's gear, and may have setup a system that may or may not have worked for the speakers or for your tastes for any number of reasons. 

Then you have the other variables which is the room's  acoustics and the collection of gear that they have to work with. 

The Persona are incredible speakers if you set them up correctly, one of the most important issues is system tuning. The Personas have a very neutral tonal balance, therefore, they tend to need warmer electronics to not sound sterile.

So perhaps the Personas you heard you might have really liked setup totally differently or perhaps not. 

We have found that the Personas  respond very favorably with Isoacoustics Gaia footers, add some of the Furutech NCF boosters to your system and  just by adding those two items your tonal balance will be a bit on the fuller side.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ


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Many of us are in the Most camp.  You can't fix broken, but many chase their tails trying. I'm making a point and not saying that the speakers are broken.  Not by any means. Many folks value what they do.  Many of us have the same issues of coherency and being too bright.  This is why they are successful.  

I've heard the same speaker(9H) in multiple sets ups, with top gear of different companies of both SS and tube and come away with the same issues for my ears.  I'm blessed that I have friends I can go to stores with or I'd never physically be able to, but I do when I feel up to it.  

If you need such specific details to make something listenable, then the basic concept it broken IMHO.  I've heard Rockport Lyra's in a few systems over the last year.  totally different size rooms. One was a poor set up and another had way too many things going on.  The cabling was inexpensive to uber expensive.  One had a great reel set up (oh man....just oh man) and one was vinyl.  One had vinyl, digital and a rebuilt Studer Revox.  That was a holy cow system.   

The bottom line is that the speakers had the exact same basic sound.  The base sound was outstanding in so many ways and the differences went from there.  I agree that most dealers show rooms are not the best sounding.  many reasons for this and some dedicated rooms have too much dampening as they are trying to sell the stuff, lol.  I have a local high end dealer who has a terrible 50hz vibration and it hurts the sound terribly, but his Wilson Alexa mk2's sound like any other Alexa I've heard in other's homes or stores.  

Many folks love the Paradigm's, but honestly, they are one of the most polarizing speakers on the market.  The threads on any board point that out and I even own a pair of older Paradigm's, lol.
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Kosst,

Sorry you feel that way but there are way too many positive reviews and people who feel the way that we do that the Personas are amazing loudspeakers and represent some of the best sound for the money at their price points. 

We have had a client come to our store demoed the Persona 9H and he said the system was spooky who real it sounded and was totally blown away by our setup. 

I will give you a similar demoing experience. Personally we feel that the current Wilson lineup are good but not exceptional loudspeakers and whose models are ridiculously overpriced for the money in terms of what you are actually getting for the price point in terms of driver quality and technology. 

I have heard many expensive Wilson setups at shows and at stores including one setup that was with XLF, Dagastino, DCS Vivladi and Nordost Odin that system was close a million dollars and it sounded absolutuly awful heard  that setup in a famous Washington area store. 

Lo and behold heard a similar but less expensive setup this weekend with Wilson Alex, Nordost Odin, Krell mono blocks, Krell preamp and Vpi new $15k table and $8k phono cartridge and it was magical with realistic sized images and a very three dimensional sound stage this system had room lock and was expertly setup and voiced by a very respected setup guru. 

Kosst, the point is polarizing products are polarizing for a reason, if some people love product x while others do not, and the reviews are all very positive then it is totally possible the store, doesn't know what they are doing with the product or that even if they are setup correctly the product isn't for you.

Some people look for a musical setup that we would say sounds muted or unnaturally warm and romantic, while others crave detail, speed and articulation that real live music has. 

Too many systems sound like systems and not like real music, real live music especially brass instruments, and high hats tend to sound bright and harsh, go to a live wedding and see if you can tolerate the sound of a live band with horns and brass, especially when played a normal room size and distances. 

Please describe the size of the room and what gear this store was using. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ


As per Ctsooner comment about Rockport, totally disagree, and we like Rockport speakers alot. 

Over the years we have heard numerous Rockport setups some where very good, while others were extremely disappointing which did not do justice to the loudspeakers. 

A really transparent speaker system will show exactly how it is being setup and driven, the Rockport is voiced warmer then the Personas so CT who likes warmer loudspeakers will find them more enjoyable no matter what the setup is as the speakers will usually sound good no matter how they are setup. 

Certain loudspeakers designs will sound good no matter what the setup is while others are very picky and tend to sound more bad then good unless all the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed.

Heard the Vandy 7 at Capital Audio Fest and they sounded very good but were hardly a contender for any best sound awards at that show. 

Now I know that CT is going to say they are the greatest speakers in the world and when they are setup correctly will blow away the Alexx that I heard at the show, which in our opinion was one of the best setups at that show and we sell none of the gear in that room by the way!

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
The Personas and Mcintosh amps are a terrible match. Flat and   Uninvolving. A lot of dealers have them matched up together. 
I have had friends over that have Martin Logan Clx, Wilson Sophia, Merlin Mxm Black magic  and they love the Personas . They absolutely kill the Magico S3 that I had. The cabling made all the difference in the world.  Cerious Technologies Matrix is a world class cable that nobody knows about  I am in north of Detroit a few miles of anybody would like to hear what a properly synergized pair really sounds like. 
The speaker gets great reviews that has a midrange that is up there with the best. 
To say you have heard speakers that cost 5% of the cost of the Personas sound better is just plain ignorant. 
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“Too many systems sound like systems and not like real music, real live music especially brass instruments, and high hats tend to sound bright and harsh, go to a live wedding and see if you can tolerate the sound of a live band with horns and brass, especially when played a normal room size and distances.”

Why are you still saying this a year later... I’m convinced you don’t know what real music sounds like based on this comment that you’ve said before as well.
Obviously there are many variables that can alter and/or detract from any speakers presentation. Audio shows and brick and mortar stores offer variables in spades just like end users listening rooms.

I never fail to be impressed by just how well many show participants manage to get great sound in such dramatically unfamiliar environments and in such a short amount of time.  

I strongly considered Paradigm's all inclusive design and manufacturing when I purchased pairs of their speakers. I think it safe to assume that their factory representative, and most dealers, would have the listening chops to know when their product is under preforming.

The Persona line has been out long enough for those periodical reviewers who are constantly accused of biasing on the positive side of their advertisers as well as folks like us. The combined continuity of those listening experiences is undeniable.
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Dave, thanks for posting my thoughts and views.  Makes it easier for me to post as I guess I don't need to anymore.  I posted my thoughts and views, but you decided to tell me what I am going to post and then even told me why 'I' am wrong, lol.  

I stand by what I hear and what my personal thoughts are.  I have no dog in the fight as you do, so folks can make their own judgements as they should anyways.  I get to hear a lot of gear.  Show conditions are just that.  Most systems don't even sound good until Sunday.  This is why I have never been to a 2 channel show.  

As for anyone making a point about something being great because of a review, again it's just someone's opinion.  Fun to read and I do love to read them.  Still that argument over anything, including gear I love and or own, doesn't mean a thing.  

BTW, I don't like warm music.  I like accurate music in my own room.  You don't have to have a hot running speaker for it to be detailed and give you micro and macro detail.  Just because you like something also doesn't mean it's great.  You make many posts as though you know more than I or others and honestly you don't.  We all have our own ears to listen to make up our own minds on systems and matching.  

Thanks for no longer making posts telling me and others how I feel and what I like adn here.  Thanks.  Hope you are well.
No CT you can post whatever you like, the point is that your always stating that Vandy model whatever is always the best sounding, time coherent, blather is just like the Tekton guys always extolling their speaker as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

We have heard Personas sound good, and bad, and just okay, the point was that the Vandy 7 which is probably the only Vandy speaker that if we were ever to sell Vandy we would actually really get behind in this setup sounded okay not good not bad but not inspiring enough for the price of the speaker and quite frankly the room was way too big for the Vandys was probably part of the problem. 

We also acknowledge that the Persona will not be for everyone, any uber transparent speaker will ruthlessly show you flaws and are very setup dependent,  over the years we have catagorized loudspeakers as uber high resolution camp which are super demanding, vs drop and plop speakers which usually sound decent to good no matter what you play them with, Harbeths are a perffect example, so are Vandy 1C and 2Ce.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
"No CT you can post whatever you like"

Gee, thanks for the permission.  Appreciate that.

Dave, you don't read all my posts, so your statement holds no water.  You are a dealer and are using this forum to sell your products.  I guess that's ok with AG, but since you are selling, I and others take anything you post with a grain of salt as your income depends on what you post.  It's as simple as that.  

Many of us laugh at your posts about what you like and don't like.  You don't get out and listen like many hobbyists.  Maybe at a show and maybe some folks bring gear in for you to audition at your house/store, but in the end, I bet you haven't heard the newest Steen's, possibly Wilson's, Magico's etc....  You just aren't able to.  As anyone will tell you, show conditions are not a way to make any true impression about how things sound.  

YOU (not the we that you always post) can say what you want about how YOU categorize speakers or any other piece of equipment for that matter, but that's to your ears etc...  There are plenty of speakers that have as much resolution as the electronics can feed them and are not as demanding as you say.  To say that a speaker that is easy to set up (is that what drop and plop means? Trying to figure that one out) so it's not high resolution is painting with the broadest of brushes and highly unfair to many great designers.  

You mention Harbeth's.  I promise you that you haven't heard the latest Steen's and you haven't heard the newer Harbeth Anniversary 40.whatever it is.  I got to hear them with the newest top MSB electronics, including their new multi box DAC served by a simple Aurender N10.  Power cords were Audioquest Dragons and Hurricane's going through the Niagara 7000 power deal.  The room was as good as any room at a store that I've ever heard.  It ws magical.  A bit on the warm side of neutral as most Harbeth's are, but not 'warm' in the audiophile sense.  It had as much micro and macro detail as anything I heard in your store (Legacy and Persona).  As with any great speaker they scaled with better products feeding them.  The set up was very simple and easy, so I guess they are drop and plop???  I could easily live with that set up and love them daily.  

My Ears and Mike's system (Sarasota's Suncoast Audio)
@ctsooner 
 I agree with what you said about Harbeth. I don’t know what Alan Shaw’s deal is (warped ears perhaps) but the Harbeths scale with gear and most especially the room. I owned the 30.2 for a few months it was by far the best speaker I ever owned before I heard the JBL 4367, but it was limited by my room which is too small for anything at the m30 series size.

as you said, everything sounds different in room. But I would not recommend Harbeth 30.2 in a room smaller then 40m3
Let clarify, because I now own speakers that are bigger than the 30.2: a traditional loudspeaker design bigger than the 30.2 wouldn’t work for me. The Jbl 4367 is far from a “traditional” design with its large woofer and unique horn
Funny story.  My buddy Matt just got back from the NYC Show and told me how much he liked the Harbeth anniversary 40.2....those are the ones I just posted about loving.  He totally agreed with me.  Funny as we both are hard on other speakers.  We know what he like.  The other thing that happened yesterday is that I heard a story from a good friend.,  They were all being shown the 9H's and to a person they had the same reaction and it wasn't positive is all I'll say.  Again, maybe all of these guys (who are in the industry and have no dog in the fight if you would) have the same hearing problems.  I found that interesting though.  Again, if you like the sound, that's awesome, but this is why I read and enjoy reviews and don't listen to them.  (and yes, I have posted links about Vandy 7' s and then Quatro's getting best in show reward for most shows and the Quatro got a best for the money or something like that), but I even posted that I don't go with reviews.  

Just interesting stuff.  

The 40.2's sounded very, very good with CJ preamp and amp at CAF.

The Vinnie Rossi preamp+monoblock combo is by all accounts very good (and should be, at its price), so I'm sure this is right.

Yea, he's like I am, very very selective.  I haven't heard their other models, but I bet they are also very good for their prices.
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. I have heard enough about the overall tilted up balance on the Personas to discern that particular problem might be something that has to be dealt with by Paradigm. Those references are literally everywhere. I think I’ve now removed them from consideration for various reasons...that might change if I get an opportunity to hear them but I’m not going to seek out that opportunity. Rockports are particularly interesting to me, as are the Revel Salon 2 and Studio 2, the revels as possibly a good shot at the best compromises made with regard to design and technology. I love the technology and care that goes into the manufacturing of the Rockports. Again, I’m pretty early in this game ... just trying to zero in on speakers I want to seek out for opportunities to audition. One thing that appeals to me about the Revels is that they are everywhere used at reasonable prices...I don’t think that necessarily means people trade out of Revels but rather that they are simply made and purchased in greater volumes than many others. Open to other comments re Rockport and Revels (and anything else you might want to add). The one thing I perhaps didn't make clear is that I still LOVE the micro (and macro) detail the Thiels provide but I moved into a larger house and a larger listening room 2 years ago and I'd like something that can be driven a bit louder than the Thiel 2.4s.  Pass on the power amp side and an Aesthetix Janus for the preamp.  Thanks to all.
Op . I really think you should disregard ctsooners negative response to the Paradigm Speakers . I have noticed he is quick to speak of how he disliked them every chance he gets . I wonder why he feels he must impart his dislike every chance he gets . You couldn't pay me to own Vandersteen speakers he so greatly endorses . Ctsooner , are you on some kind of Paradigm bashing mission ? . OP , Listen to speakers and come to your own conclusion 


pwhinson,
After being around this hobby for a little while I've grown to regret fighting with people over something so subjective. Component choice is about preference, not absolutes where one component will be universally praised. You need to develop thick skin in this hobby, because no matter what you own someone will criticize it. That being said, I've heard  Paradigm 7Fs and submit they weren't excessively bright. Remember you are listening to a system, not just speakers. Finding a good dealer should allow you to build a "system" to your liking. My advice is to listen to as many speakers as you can within your price range and let your own ears decide. 
pwhinson
I enjoyed reading your thread here. We both know that replacing those 2.4s is going to be a very tall order. Since you are in a larger room/space, consider the Thiel CS 2.7 or 3.7 for best effect and outcome. I look forward in seeing you back in the Thiel Owners thread.
Happy Listening!
Maple,your post was actually kind of mean, but whatever.  Not bashing, just sharing my thoughts. I've always told folks to go listen.  Especially at this level.  Many like that sound and they are selling well I"m sure. I'm happy for Paradigm. I have owned a pair of their speakers for years now.  Kids use them for dorm room. No animosity. 

BTW, I've heard many Rockports in many systems and rooms and never not liked them.  Some of my fav's are Vandy 7 mk2, Rockports and Tidal's.  Also enjoyed Magico's for the first time.  M3 I think they were.  You have lot's of great choices out there in the price range you are playing in.
ctsooner - I disagree anything I stated was in mean spirit . This is not the first Persona thread I have read where you go on and on how you don't care for Paradigm Persona . You are trying to talk someone out of a brand based on your preferences . The Personas are like any other speaker out there in regards to if people like or dislike them . So I am trying to understand why you are trying to stop anyone from considering them ? Because you found them bright ? I find Vandersteen to sound dull and would not consider any of their models , but I do not feel the need to go on threads and state that opinion . 
The major problem with the Persona is just plain physics. I’ve always said they should’ve used the 4" mid from the center channel with the rest of the lineup instead of the 7" midrange.

A 2.4KHz crossover with a 7" driver is just too high, and will cause a hole in the sound radiation profile of the speakers in the mids, which you can see in sound and vision measurements, consistently across all models the 1-2KHz range is scooped. Now I understand WHY these speakers crossed over high, generally retail brands do this reduce costs for warranty coverage because lowering power input to the tweeter significantly reduces the chances of a blown tweeter, and most speakers are blown due to overdriven amplifiers which overloads the tweeter. But really 1700-1800Hz is a much better place to cross over with a 7", giving a generally good trade-off between directivity and power handling.

https://www.soundandvision.com/images/717parad.meas.jpg

This matched my own listening experience while a owner of the Persona B. There was no heft or dynamics in the midrange. They are a little on the brighter side but no brighter than other high end brands like TAD or B&W.
In all the speaker threads I've read here (maybe not enough yet), I've never seen any mention of what I would think would be a very important factor. How good is the owner's hearing? I mean, it's not like our hearing remains constant throughout our lives. Mine certainly isn't what it once was, and I suspect a brighter speaker is what I need to hear some of the material that I otherwise might not. I doubt if I'm alone here.
Try a Omega Super Alnico Monitor , single driver truth .
Hello,

I have Paradigm Persona 9H with Triode TRX-M845 SET amps and i can assure you this setup is not bright...natural sound and a fantastic controlled bass.
ctsooner is always bashing Paradigm speakers...sincerely i don´t know why.