I work part time for Audio Doctor, in Jersey City NJ, which was the first dealer to display Persona to the public, at the New York Audio Show. Our room was consistently mobbed and many show goers thought our room was considerably better than any of the other rooms as the show and that was in direct comparison to YG and Magico speakers.
We now have three models on display the Bookshelf, B, $7,000.00 a pair, the 3F floor stander at $10,000.00 a pair and the flagship at 9H at $35,000.00.
After spending time with all three models, I can say without a shadow of a doubt Paradigm has built one of the world's best performing loudspeaker lines that can easily compete with the best high end speakers on the market and in many ways easily outperform speakers two to three times the price of each individual model they are that good!
Persona raises the bar dramatically and offers a level of performance not seen before in affordable speakers, all speakers in the series use the exact same pure Beryilium tweeter and 7 inch pure Beryillium midrange driver.
What makes this so special is not one of the companies many people in this industry consider the best speakers on the market do not use the exact same material for both the tweeter and midrange driver, not Magico, not Rockport, not Wilson, not B&W.
When you have exactly the same material for the tweeter and midrange the speaker sounds 100% coherent, there is no issue in getting the drivers to blend.
Beryillium is one of most exotic and expensive materials to make a driver out of and very few companies have the capacity and pocketbook required to harness Beryillium, Paradigm has the financial capability to invest several million dollars in the Persona project to bring these speakers to market.
Beryillim is twice as stiff as Titanium and 1/2 as light and it is also self damped to it doesn't ring like other metals do so you get the incredible speed and transparency of the best drivers and you also get a natural midrange and treble without any artificial brightness of other driver technologies.
So what you are getting in Persona is the first time an affordable line of speakers which use driver technology and materials normally seen in $25k speakers.
The flagship 9H is comparable to a $70k pair of loudspeakers, this compact elegant tower employs four 8.5 inch bass drivers with 2 inches of linear throw coupled with 1,400 watts of amplification and active room correction its bass is thunderous and due to active room correction the speaker can work in room's way smaller than you can normally fit speakers with true 28 hz bass.
You will be hearing a lot more about the Persona line, as review samples start to flow out of Paradigm. In terms of Signature vs Persona there is no comparison, the Signature line was very competitive compared to many outstanding loudspeakers but fell short in terms of ultimate resolution and performance compared to a Focal or B&W Diamond speaker, with Persona Paradigm has built a line of speakers than can compare with the most expensive speakers from the best marque brands and in many ways will outperform a B&W a Wilson a Magico a YG and that was something they couldn't do before
Thanks for the prompt response. Sounds like something I need to hear. I thought the signature series already competed well especially with the high dollar b&w series and revel so I'll be sure to check them out.
"When you have exactly the same material for the tweeter and midrange the speaker sounds 100% coherent, there is no issue in getting the drivers to blend."
I’m not a speaker designer nor an engineer by any stretch, but there’d seem to still be several issues left to deal with, in addition to driver material, that would determine how coherent individual drivers and/or a speaker sounds. You’re also talking pretty tough about outperforming some pretty good speaker manufacturers. Sound like interesting speakers though.
Our setup at the New York audio show was with the superlative T+A gear,
at the shop we have been playing the 3F and B with all sorts of gear, the Naim amps sound wonderful, so does the T+A Dac 8 amp 8 combo, the Unison Research does a great job as well.
They seem to reflect perfectly whatever you put through them.
The image size is quite spooky extremely holographic, the clarity is astonishing the 3f's bass is rather extraordinary especially for the size of the speakers.
In terms of design, yes a good crossover is also crucial, you guys have to remember that Paradigm is one of the world's largest speaker manufacturers their factory is 250,000 sq. feet, the 200 ton press needed to bond the panels of the Persona costs hundred of thousands of dollars and Paradigm has the financial resources to invest several million dollars in developing a very sophisticated line of speakers with completely proprietary in house made drivers.
Very few of the world's top loudspeaker brands have the technical skill or funds to do this, you can pretty much count them on one hand: B&W, Focal, Magico, Rockport, Dynaudio, ATC, YG, KEF, come to mind.
When you then breakdown that list into who can make really high tech drivers with truly exotic construction and materials, you get B&W, Magico, Focal, Rockport.
With Persona Paradigm has clearly arrived with speakers that can be considered the best in the world.
I have heard the Persona 3F and I was blown away. First off, I thought they looked hideous in photos and was not excited about that aspect of them at all. However, when I saw them in person (the steel gray or whatever, which looks like a slight blue gray), I was stunned. Completely gorgeous and elegant looking. The phase aligning grilles on the tweeter and mid look like jewelry in person. They look expensive.
Anyway, I was expecting to not like the sound in some way, or at least be turned off completely by some aspect of the sound. I never have thought of Paradigm as "high end" at all. The Signature series have always greatly disappointed me every time I heard them, and to be honest, made me wonder if Paradigm really understood good sound when designing higher priced stuff (their low end monitor series are great).
To say that I was impressed would be an under statement. I want a pair now. I think Paradigm is making a huge mistake showing off those big 9F’s at all the shows, because that’s a really high price point for most people, and it was astonishing how good (and full range sounding in a modestly sized common room) the 3F sounded for "only" 10 grand. I think and hope Paradigm will have great success with this line. So taken back by how much I liked them.
If I had to sum up the sound in some simplified way -- I’d say they sound most like Focal Sopra/Utopia, Magico... and less like Dynaudio/Sonus Faber/Revel/Vienna etc.
VERY open and lively without ever being harsh.
Ok I’ll stop ranting -- just wanted to chime in with my enthusiasm. Take this product seriously. :)
Thank you for posting your response, I will say the better the setup the better they perform! I am curious what you heard them on?
We are running the 3F on a Naim 272 preamp and 250Dr amp and the sound is glorious!
Both myself and Dave, are blown away by the speakers, to say the 3F is a good value is an understatement.
I would be willing to bet that if you put a $20k price tag on these you could get that much for them, I think these will be the speaker that will put Paradigm on the map in terms of performance to price!
At the Audio Doctor show room we have the 3F floor stander, the B bookshelf and the 9H and all three are impressive in their own right.
I would say that unless someone has to have a bookshelf speaker the 3F is the way to go.
I am sure that the 5 and 7 floor standers are going to be contenders in their price points for those folks with larger rooms and who are craving an even larger sound stage and more bass.
If anyone is in our neck of the woods give us a ring and ask for Dave who is in the shop most of the time, I am there on some weekends and you will be in for a treat.
I have loved Paradigm for 20 years (being Canadian its a given....) and for the last 8 years have had the privilege of owning S8v2s. They are exemplary speakers at a real world price. Moreover, as audiotroy points out, Paradigm is a big company and economy of scale is such they can do things others cannot; moreover, it also keeps the price down. They are also one of the few whom totally design and manufacture everything about their speakers, which gives the company greater flexibility in design and execution. All being said, the 9H's give me concern.
Being the top model it obviously is going to be the best, but the fact it is active in the bass worries me. At the price point it is targeted for, it is going to be a given the buyer will have "commensurate gear" to accommodate the speaker. And it is a given the amplifiers are going to be "good". Essentially, with the 9H, you are being told to buy them plus the Anthem class D amps that power the bass speakers (Anthem is Paradigm's sister company). There are going to be some whom take issue with that, especially those whom are steadfast Class A fans or those whom prefer more robust amps of tube origin. I think had the OPTION of powered or not would of been better, and the non-powered version would of been cheaper. Moreover, adding electronics causes more points to go wrong down the road......you don't see this with Magico, Rockport et al. It remains to be seen but on an intuitive level, if the powered bass section were ideal, the aforementioned coompanies would be doing it. Only subs get a powered option since the application of class D amps are ideal on this. But on a $35K speaker? Paradigm is not supposed to be competing with DefTech. This line is suppossed to be far above it.
Granted, I suspect I love a pair, but most likely the 7Fs since I already have 2 good JL Audio subs. Can't wait to hear them.
Just visited a Paradigm dealer today . They had a large floor standing model . The dealer said it was the same as the $30k flagship model but not active . It was $25k . So you can get the top model un active .
Blackfly, you have an interesting take on the 9H but are missing what Paradigm is doing and the reason why they are doing it.
The 9H is employing very good Class D amplifiers with high damping factor to enable the speaker to employ active room correction.
In order to use active room correction you have to be able to use dsp to eq the speakers output to compensate for the irregularities of the room, you can't do this unless you insert some kind of processor into the system and by just adjusting the bass you can put the eq where it needs to be.
Another advantage of this approach is that the heavy lifting is done by the bass amp and you are free to use any kind of amp to now power the easy to drive and 96db efficient top half of the speaker.
The active room correction ensures that you will get very good tight bass in any room.
As per why other companies don't take this approach is simple, they don't have all the parts necessary to do this. Anthem invested heavily in creating their own room correction system and it is one of the best, ARC, and they also did create their own line of high powered amplifiers which were perfect for the bass amplifier for their sister company Paradigm.
However, you are free to explore the line either way the 9h at $35,000.00 has the Active Room Correction and self amplified bass, the 7F at $25,000.00 uses the same drivers without the room correction and amplification.
The 5F is a smaller version of that speaker which is priced at $17,000.00 a pair and the smallest 3F starts at a $10k price point.
We have the 9H and they are indeed awesome, we also have the 3F and they too are awesome and for the price a truly amazing speaker.
I am aware of how biamping works. In fact, I was hoping, in my system, to use a Class A amp for the mids/highs and a Bryston for the bottom end. Turned out the Class A amp was running the highs only. So I went for dual mono bridged.
Again, I understand what Paradigm is doing; JL Audio, among others, is using active room EQ to flatten out room resonances/peaks etc so if they have access to incorporate it (with ARC) I can see why it was done.
Don't get me wrong; I am not knocking the 9H, I would love them just as anyone else, but all I am saying is that they could of easily had a 9H and 9F version (for less money). Most don't care about the Class D amps in subs since the bandwidth is so narrow anyway, but on speakers I could see some raised eyebrows about it. The reason I find this significant is that, at the time, I had the option of choosing the S8 or S6 (analogy to the 9H or 7F for number of bass drivers) and I chose the S8 for the same reasons: it is not just the fact there is more bass but a bigger cabinet and more air to work with.
Regardless, I think it is a fabulous step up for Paradigm, although realistically I couldn't see myself with either; the S8's I have a still newer, with lots of life left in them, and with the addition of two JL Audio subs, provides a beautiful window on the music. Of course, on financial matters, there is always random chance once a week.....
And Legacy now has the Focus XD with active bass for less $ than the Aeris. That is the one I have my eye on. And I think it will also be offered with the Wavelet room correction unit. Word is that, with the room correction, you can get it to 80 to 90% of the Aeris.
Hey Mtrot, we sell the Legacy's as well, the Aeris is still a considerably better speaker, the Focus XD is an awesome speaker for the price and an amazing amount of performance for the money and you are right that that Focus XD does get you close, the Aeris still have a more open midrange and an overall larger presentation.
The fact that Paradigm has made a way to get both the tweeter and mid made of Beryllium is going to be a game changer. The only other speaker I know of like this is the TAD system, and it is not cheap. Although a little under the radar, funny enough this is the other speaker that "if I could" I would. Since the tweeter and mid are made of the same thing the inherent sonic resonances are the same, making for more uniform sound.
Sadly, and this is an old audio reality, you tend to buy what you are exposed to, and in Vancouver, BC, you will see the Paradigms. I have never seen Von Schweikerts, Legacy or Magicos. You don't buy what you cannot try out, or at least see and touch. I am eager to await for any reviews, especially if it is in print. I would like to think Stereophile or TAS would do it, but......In any case, Bravo Paradigm. Considering the evolution, the next iteration could be interesting, to say nothing of the trick down effect. But I don't see the Beryllium part doing that.
The NS 1000 was one of the first speakers to use vapor deposition so the layer of Beryilium was just a coating, their are very few speakers which employ pure Beryillium drivers, with the Personas being one of them.
Be does have a specific advantage in having the highest specific modulus of all the most commonly used materials. It also has a lower specific density and a high propagation speed. It also has terrible elongation performance, but that isn't likely ever to be an issue for almost any driver.
Its likely one of the best materials we can use for driver cones and domes, just remember it costs 200 times more to produce over aluminium due to its rarity and challenge to bring into a usable shape. Don't expect trickle down anytime soon, unless they begin pushing AlBeMet. As you can guess, its a alloy of aluminum and beryllium, but doesn't perform as well. It is easier to work with and does cost notably less, but possibly not enough to justify its cost over more common alloys.
Even then, this still may not be the ultimate material possible as some pitch based carbon could exceed this performance. Its extremely costly and only over the past few years have more of these products were used in consumer products over aerospace and NASA being primary customers. Recently some patents have been submitted that intend to allow pitch to be produced at lower costs, but for now we continue to see PAN based products. But even with this potential super material, the challenges I'm curios to see is how Paradigm's solution to integrating dispersion of typical tweeter and somewhat larger driver. Usually there are some dispersion compromises in such a configuration, but these acoustic lenses are claimed to aid and even resolve the matter. We have seen acoustic lenses in the past, but I'm not quite as sure the complexity of shape is comparable to what we find here.
In any case, lets hope to notable evolution in design as Paradigm had not been to my ears something I would describe as a great speaker. At best they were fair values with heroic build quality at the price, but in the end the package hadn't quite delivered. So I'll wait with bated breath and when life gives me a moment take a chance to hear them since they would be in my next speaker upgrade range.
I heard the entire Legacy line for the first time at
RMAF. I have to say they offer amazing
value for the money. I tend to agree with
you assessment of the Focus XD’s. These
are truly killer for the money and offer a full range experience. The Aeris is definitely a step up, but with
most things in audio, it is diminishing returns. I think it could come down to personal preferences. The Focus will play very loud and give you a
more balance sound with ample bass, while the 3F (about the same price) will
give you very clear and precise highs and mids at the expense of impactful bass. What I did not like about the focus is they
are very large and heavy and the tweeters seem to beam a bit. In the sweat spot, they are wonderful, but
outside of it, they roll off significantly.
I have not read this in reviews of the Focus or Aeris, and it could be
more of a set up issue in the huge room at RMAF. Just my opinion.
The Legacy speakers are fantastically musical and they represent fantastic value for the money. We have the Persona 3F $10,000.00 and the Legacy Focus Signature, $6,800.00 in the same sound room.
The Persona's have a more extended treble, and a more holographic sense of imaging, the Legacy's have killer deep bass, and are a warmer overall speaker.
So if you crave unbelievable imagery, speed,and very deep bass out of a compact speaker the Persona's are very hard to beat they have one of the most transparent presentations of any speaker at any price, they also present all this detail yet are very smooth.
If you prefer a more laid back, speaker with a big although less defined sound stage, a super smooth midrange and treble in a beautiful wooden design then the Legacy speakers are for you.
The big Focus are just terrific if space isn't an issue and you want even more deep bass and greater spl output then the smaller Signatures.
I will say that since we've become Legacy dealers the Focus Signature is one of my favorite speakers in the shop.
Thanks for the input Mr. Audiotroy. I am very interested in buying a pair of persona B's given the feedback in this forum. I may have to buy blindly due to the fact that the closest dealer is over 300 miles away from me. How would you stack up the paradigm persona B against the best monitors out there. Like the sonus faber guarneri evolution, Raidho monitors, vivid 1.5, Harbeth 30.1 etc. Do they go as deep in the bass as the sonus guarneri?natural midrange as the harbeth? are they as transparent and "boxless" as the vivids? and are they as musical as the Raidho?
I went to Audio Doctor yesterday to drop of my Manley snappers for repatriation. . I had the opertunity to listen to the Paradigm 9h speakers through a T+A system. I was awe struck I own Wilson watt 8's and audio research sp20 an pass x250.5 and wa so impressed I'm working on a deal. I found the owner David a very specialized representive of high end products. In fact 15.+ years ago I herd the best system of my life I only remember the speakers they were Seaena with woofers and tweeter towers. He is an honest guy and a train ride from NYC. I hope anyone who likes music will visit an deal with him. He is honest and likes to talk about the products he represents.
Macintosh separates....usually always warm sounding. I've owned some of the other speakers you mentioned. These are just not voiced for music...maybe for the hard of hearing, but not for lovers of music.
Again something is not right with the setup the speakers are accurate but hardly bright or non musical. What did the dealer say about the setup? Were they thrilled with it or where they saying we just got these in do you want to check them out and perhaps they were not finished with the setup or the speakers weren't fully broken in?
The other possibility is that this dealer just doesn't know how to setup a good system. I have seen it before in many dealerships. I am not saying that we are necessarily better, but lets face facts just because you can put out an expensive system doesn't mean you have the experience to make a great sounding one.
I have seen dealers with sound rooms without a lick of acoustical treatments, with sound rooms that had slap echo, no power conditioners, stock power cords, wrong or inexpensive cabling, no vibration control etc.
I will also say that your Krell Resolution speakers are a bit dull in the top end, I am not saying the speakers aren't good, I have heard them and many other speakers with the ring radiator tweeter and although the tweeter is rated to go to 20k and above they don't sound that way they sound way more recessed than the current generation of metal tweeters.
So one person's musical is another persons dull.
Anyone who thinks that Paradigm one of North America's biggest and most successful companies can't make a world class speaker is smoking something.
If the sound isn't to your liking I can understand that, however, if I was getting the same results like you were getting in your demo I wouldn't jump to such hasty conclusions, but question what is going on with the setup, and were the speakers broken in?
Yes and I am sure the same thing can be said about B&W and KEF.
B&W didn't start with the 801 nor did KEF start with their Reference lines. Both of these companies started with affordable models first.
Look at PSB the T3 which has been universally heralded as a fantastic speaker got the same smirks when they went up market with the T3.
Paradigm has always played it safe and even their last line of high end speakers the Signature line was compared very favorably to speakers from Wilson and B&W whose models cost considerably more.
And yes if you have a lot of money you can hire the best minds and use the best technologies, and Paradigm has very talented staff.
Your logic is fallacious, the larger the company the more resources they can throw at a project, Do you think if Bose wanted to build literally the world's best speakers that they couldn't?
The problem in the industry is that their is inherent snobbery and way too much brand passion that borders on insanity.
There are Wilson guys, Vandersteen guys. Magico guys.etc.
We have tried a lot of very expensive speakers and the Paradigm's are really, really good, and are very competitive with anything out there.
Are we brand loyal not really, as we have moved in and out of a number of speakers before we settled on the Persona's as one of our top picks, we are adventurous and willing to move to new brands and products that we feel offer our customers the best performance possible.
So with that said Oaky have you even heard the new Personas?
We heard the paradigm 9h at your show in Ny, even with the bad acoustical room conditions, let me appreciate the wonderful caracteristics of the paradigms, and it is truly right their coherence compete easily with esl loudspeakers, speed too, we did later listen 2 types of wilson loudspeakers with nordost cables ( by the way, worst choices) and jm labs utopias and preferred the paradigms over thoses.
Thank you for the kind words. Both Dave and Myself love the Persona line, if you set them up carefully and use great electronics, the speakers perform magnificently!
I have a feeling that some of the doubters have heard the speakers with the wrong electronics or the speakers were not broken in.
I was amazed at the quality of sound we were getting out of that way too small room at the show.
In terms of your comments vs the Wilson, and Utopia product, again I feel the same. It is not that the Persona's are so much better, it is that they offer some of the best qualities of those speakers yet cost considerably less.
The Personas have a level of transparency that is just so remarkable and the imaging is just spooky one of the best imaging speakers i have ever heard
If you are in our neck of the woods you should come in for a visit.
I had a chance to hear the Persona 3F's today at our Paradigm Dealer here in town. They were driven by Moon Evolution Series Pre-amp and Amp. Source was a Moon Neo CD and DAC. I have to be honest in saying I didn't love them. I found the Mid-range and highs somewhat bright and to forward sounding. Almost irritating for lack of a better description. I found the image hard to centre even with toed in versus wider. The bass was very strong. Perhaps the electronics are not a good match for the Persona's. I think they would have sounded better with tubes or pure class A since the speakers are so efficient. Beautiful build quality and pleasing to the eyes esthetically.
I am sooo sceptical about comparisons - most of which come from shibboleths posted on reviewer sites. I owned Paradigm Signature S8 v2s for 30 months and I loved them. Then I heard the Revel Salon 2s that the Sigs are said to rival. Nope stop there, the Sigs do not rival the Revels - period. This comparison has been repeated endlessly - it has been conjoured into being something real.
Literally, during the first minute that my wife heard the Revels, we had a deal and I replaced the paradigms with them. On every level, the Revels beat the Sigs.
Personally I find the whole Persona thing really really weird.
People should be flooding the posts with interest about wanting to audition the speakers, yet we keep on hearing the same litenany of brands, Magico, Wilson, Rockport etc.
I know of no other speaker system in recent memory that is offering this level of technology, build quality and sound for this kind of money and in the case of the 9H how many other loudspeakers have built in room correction?
What I don't find suprising is the polarizing nature of speakers with basically 0 coloration. I have seen many of the setups that people are hearing and they are not good, hence the speakers are not blowing away all listeners and some of the comments are the speakers are bright.
We have found that if you spend the time to setup them up carefully the speakers can sound magical.
I heard either the 3F or 5F at the Los Angeles Audio Show. They were paired with Rogue Audio (tubes I believe). The sound was full top to bottom but a bit harsh even with the tubes. I freely admit it may have been the electronics did not synergize well with the Personas. But you'd think that every effort had been made to put their best foot forward at this West Coast show. I was there with a Paradigm owner and he was not impressed either.
I think most would admit that synergy is very important. I heard that with the Wilson Sabrina/Audio Research gear, Mbl - with its own gear, Marten and Zesto I believe, Hegel and KEF Blade 2, and maybe a few others. I was there all day Saturday and certainly did not have the time to hear/see all rooms. But Paradigm was on that list. I know my friend had high hopes. I don't mention these brands to bash, but rather to show that some rooms that I heard were exemplary while many others struggled. I can also say that a few of the pairings I mentioned above have sounded very good every time I've heard them and I've heard them a number of times in different venues. Maybe I just heard the Personas with gear that didn't suit them well.
It was the Persona 5F. The problem with the speakers was that the room was way too small. I also did not like the tube electronics used (not a tube fan) nor did I like the long wall placement of the speakers. The drivers were way too close to your face. A shame they could not have gotten a bigger room such as the Magico S3 MKII room. I had the same feeling about the PMC speaker room. The only rooms I liked were the medium to large sized rooms. My favorite being the KEF Blade 2 room.
A few years back I heard the KEF Reference 1 at dealer and it sounded pretty bad. The reviews in the mag and internet were glowing. The dealers room I heard it had a large glass window in the back. So I put it up to a terrible room.
I heard the KEF Reference 1 again with the new Wired4Sound monoblocks at the show in a room I liked (it was circular where the speaker was setup). Now I could see why people raved about the KEF Reference 1. It was awesome and a real fun listen. So there you go,
mofojo, I went into more detail here in a previous Persona thread and was immediately schooled by the Audiogon's resident Paradigm retailer who has at least thirteen responses in this thread alone. I should applaud him/them on his sales persistence and wish him success within our little industry.
I feel Paradigm has a terrific business plan and has the potential to offer sensible quality at an affordable price which is why I owned three different Paradigm products and auditioned their S8s in home.
In MY opinion the Persona's sound way better than any other previous Paradigm offering and their technology is interesting but they're plagued by what I now consider to be the Paradigm house sound. They go high and they go low and I'm sure they'll measure perfectly. Along with the brightness or harshness others have mentioned I was still able to hear every driver discreetly as with my previous Paradigms consequently they didn't make music for me.
Wow that is interesteing that you owned three different sets before it dawned on you that you had issues with them.
I am not suprised that the Rogue audio setup wasn't good, it is not a tube thing, it is a complete system matching thing.
When you have a cool speaker, ie one with very low levels of coloration and you want them to sound musical you have to add some warmth and body to the sound somewhere. Just because you use a tube doesn't mean you have solved the problem.
Yzsantabarbera commented that the room was way too small, I wonder what the reset of the chain was, were they using Audioquest or Nordost cabling? Did they have a suitable digital front end? Did they employ any room treatment or was the room ringing with slap echo.
That is one reason why we invite people over to our showrooms, we dial in our display systems and we use all the tuning tools and accessories to make our systems sound musical.
So before you bash the speakers perhaps blaim the setup.
As per hearing individual drivers I find that remarkably strange, the Persona use the exact same material for the tweeter and midrange, what you may be having an issue with in terms of integration can happen if your sitting distance is not correct or your rake angle is wrong.