Paradigm speakers

Does anyone know why Paradigm speakers do not get many reviews in most audiophile magazines or websites with all the awards they have. I was told by a dealer that they've been bought a few years back and quality isn't the same. Any feedback on their Prestige 85f speakers and do they require much break in time? 
How do these compare to Revel performa line ,Dynaudio, Focal and Golden Ear. 
Also before a speaker is broke in around 100 or 200 hours can they be damaged by playing loud or does break in matter as far as pushing them or playing loud. On the same note will speakers play a little louder after break in period ?

Thanks for your replies. 
I think the reason they don’t get reviewed or held in high esteem by the press has more to do with the fact that they have focused their marketing and product development efforts on mass market mid-fi and ht product. A bit similar to when Volkswagen tried to go up market with Pheaton--just too hard to convience people you can do several things really well.

add to this their house sound really seems to polarize people (either too brittle/bright or too strained and analytical).

as to ownership, don’t think that is accurate re: they’ve been owned by the same folks a long time (private equity out of Minneapolis). These are the same folks who also own MartinLogin and Anthem. However I believe the founders of Paridgm are still actively running the company.

ive owned three pairs of their speakers in the past ten years--big Studio 5s and two sets of Signatures (S2 and S8). Try as I might I never really loved them and eventually went another direction. But in all three cases their build quality was first rate. In fact for all the neutral to bad wrap Paradigm gets from the "audiophile" press, poor build quality or lack of fit and finish isn’t one of them.
JSL you can’t be more wrong, "the fact that they have focused their marketing and product development efforts on mass market and mid-fi and ht products."

Paradigm has for years been getting rave reviews on both the Signature series and the Studio series.

We had the Signature S6 as well as the Studio 100, and both were good speakers. the Signatures actually sounded extremely good in their price range especially when driven by real high end electronics.

I would have to agree with you that they were good but were not amazing, they were competitive with the KEF and B&W and other similar products.

Paradigm realized that this series was getting long in the tooth and replaced both the Signature series and the Studios. The Studios were replaced by the Prestige series and the Signatures were replaced by the Persona series.

The Persona series are a dramatic step up from the Signatures, and in fact are the first time Paradigm has moved into the uber speaker class in a direct bid to challange the big players, the WIlsons, Magicos, YG etc

The Persona are full of remarkable technology: The line starts at a $7,000.00 set of bookshelf speakers, a $10,000.00 set of small floorstanders, a $17,000.00 set of larger floorstanders, and a $25,000.00 set of large floorstanders, going up to a $35,000.00 set of flagship floor standing loudspeakers with active bass drivers and on board room correction.

Paradigm spent $4 million dollars to develop this line, and it shows, from a state of the art custom painting facility, state of the art pure Beryilum drivers for both the tweeter and the midrange, unique long throw bass drivers, a phase aligning lens system.

(This is the only pure 7 inch Beryilum driver currently on the market. )

The top of the line floorstander the 9H uses four, long throw woofers, two which face out, and two which are internal which vent out through a real grill.

The bass drivers are powered by 2 sets of amplifiers, each being 700 watt digital amplifiers, the real kicker is that the speakers utilize the Anthem Room Correction system to flaten bass humps and eliminate valleys with the idea being to create a totally flat in room bass response.

The 9H have alot of really wonderful advantages:

1: They are reasonably sized
2: They play loud
3: They are 96db efficient
4: They have bass down to 19HZ
5: They have self amplified bass with room correction
6: They have pure Beryilum drivers for the midrange and tweeter

This is a fantastic line of speakers and the press is acknowledging it:

as well as receiving a similar accolade in the Absolute Sound.

When driven by great electronics these are some of the most transparent and holographic sounding speakers you will ever hear.

We have the 9H, the 3F and the B or bookself models on display in Audio Doctor showroom in NJ.

Dave owner
Audio Doctor NJ

Not sure what you think I couldn’t be more wrong about? The majority of their product has been positioned as mid-fi and HT. Nothing wrong with that, they are damn good at it.

Their Signature series was the exception I guess, and while it got a couple of very good reviews (S2 and S6 v3 in particular), the Signatures were never held as a best in class audiophile speaker by the majority of the press that I can recall.

Like I said, I owned three pairs of Paradigm speakers over the past ten years--all three were great and were impressive compared to anything near their price point. The Studios in particular were a tremendous speaker--they are probably still missed in the market by many folks.

I read the two persona reviews and yes, the reviewers are impressed. Only time will tell however if the marketplace accepts them for how Paradigm has positioned them (I don’t think the Signatures ever did, although I could be wrong about that).
Well my question is specifically about the Prestige 85f, versus Revel Performa 3 line or other $4=5000 range floorstanders. My opinion in listening is Revels are a little smoother and less grainy in midrange and treble but can't play as loud or as effortless as Paradigm. Paradigm 85f sounds great with more bass but more forward and grainy , slightly more bright. These are both new so break in may change some of that. 
Second question is during break in period of 100 or more hours can the speakers be hurt playing loud or " pushing" them before fully broke in ?

Audiotroy, What is your take on Prestige 85F ? How much break in time before the slight graininess and bright/forward sound smooths out or goes away or is this just Paradigm sound ? 
I had the Monitor 11's for about 2 plus years, they sounded better over time. 

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I'm running an Anthem MRX 510 receiver as preamp with Mark Levinson 532h amplifier and Oppo BDP105D as cd and music player, so my electronics are pretty good to excellent for refinement and sound quality. 

James_w514 what speakers you currently using?
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Appreciate you are asking about the Prestige. I thought you also asked  ownership and quality carried away....

I auditioned the Prestige and felt that like the previous versions of Paradigms I've owned, their upper end presentation was too bright and strained for my tastes. While I tend to prefer detailed and reveling speakers (vs "warm" and "lush" I guess), I've come to feel the Paradigms lack good balance and integration between the mid and upper range drivers. Of course this is all personal preference and not science-- you should buy what sounds good to you. 

Don't you dare tell Audiotroy that you perceive the sound of Paradigm as less than perfect or especially as bright (as I do). Don't you know he'll tell you that he hears better than you and he loves them, that Paradigm spent $4M developing the line and there are reviewers that thought they were good--so you must be wrong. You, in fact did not hear what you heard--or they were not set up right.
Initm, Paradigm gets a fair share of reviews. Their flagship 9H had a kind cover story review and a few, more realistic comments from audio show reviewers. While reviews can be descriptively helpful how most things audio react and compare in your listening space can be worlds different.

Like jsl1234 I'm a previous owner (Paradigm Studio 100s versions 1 and 2 and in home audition their S8s). In MY subjective opinion and with respect to the Audio Doctor's, Dave, Paradigm has a definite house sound that I continued to hear with the 9H at a brick and mortar store detailed in the 9H thread below. Yes, in MY opinion they are a bit bright but more importantly, FOR ME, they didn't make music FOR ME.

I didn't understand speaker presentation until the Paradigm V2s, S8s, and my current and more expensive used Avalon Eidolons were in the house to compare at the same time. How one comes to the rationale of listening to the music and not the system simply must be experienced. For everybody in my family and I it was a night and day difference.  Beware of what retailers and fanboys may have to say and most importantly beware of your own listening ability especially in an unfamiliar environment.

I would trust a manufactures suggestion of run in time at least as a baseline. In the end I find the whole system needs to settle in with any change.

As to your questions regarding playing loud, most will agree there are many factors that can damage speakers. Keep in mind this is home audio not extreme duty pro (public address) audio.  You may want to consider powered speakers which may have a more tailored design between amplifier and drivers and consequently may be more durable. These might be interesting to you.

The Prestige series is a bit bright, so are Rahido, Monitor Audio Platinum Series I, B&W, and many others high performance and high resolution speakers. 

As usual, speakers don't have a sound unto themselves, the sound you get has to do with the entire system, unless you are talking about fully active speakders with built in amps and dac, this is what is called the art of system matching, which is something I am particularly good at.

I am not saying there isn't a house sound, there is, and you can't make a bright speaker sound dull nor can you make a dull speaker sound bright, but you can find matching components that will compliment the things that you like about speaker x and minimize the things that you don't.

Grpgr4blu obviously doesn't know a damm thing about  this, or he wouldn't make sure ridiculous comments, he would know this as a fact.

If you have a speaker system which tends to favor upper octaves over more of a midrange centric system with a downward shelved treble such as a Vandersteen, then you need to add a warmer digital front end or a tube preamp or both along with neutral to wamer sounding cables, have you wondered why so many people talk about the Vandersteen/Ayre combo?

Vandersteens tend to sound warm and a bit rolled off in the top end, Ayre is neutral to a bit dry sounding, therfore, the match elevates both,

Same thing with the current Wilsons and ARC for example. ARC has always been neutral to a tad more forward compared to such tube brands like CJ, and the current Wilsons are less forward then past years with the Focal tweeter, get my point, it is finding a synergistic match of components.

The Personas have superb driver integration more so than the last series where you had a Beryilium tweeter coupled with an aluminum hybrid woofer. 

Dave owner
Audio Doctor NJ

What you should be doing when listening to a set of speakers is to identify what is the sound of the speaker vs what is the sound of the components.

Ideally you will find a set of speakers which work for you and then build around them.

Our philsophy is always start with the speakers, then match the electronics to the speakers, and then match the analog and digital front ends to those components.

You use the cables that will complement all of the components. 

Sometimes you have to experiment by changing to a tube preamp, or changing a digital front end etc.

Dave owner
Audio Doctor
m-db where did you hear the Personas and what were they setup with?

I have sold Avalons in the past, and do find them to sound excellent. I have always had tremendous respect for Avalons, but boy have they gotten pricey for what you are getting these days. 

I am not going to disagree with you that the Personas can sound a bit bright if you don't have them with the right gear. They are definatly tuned to sound neutral, but are definately not recessed, I would say they remind me a tad like the B&W Diamonds but with a more intergrated midrange, and a bit less agreesive top end then the new B&Ws. 

Again, we have one of the best Personas setups in the country and are using some of the best possible gear with them in an acoutically neutral room. 

Your opinion of them might be radically different if you heard our setup.

As I mentioned in some of the previous posts it has taken us years to come up with this system.  The funny thing is what worked with the remarkably high resolution Polymers pure Diamond tweete and midrange, worked splendily with the Personas.

For the record: T+A electronics, Aqua Hif, T+A PDP 3000 or Light Harmonic Davinci MK II, Enklekin cables with Audio Magico power conditioning. 

Dave owner
Audio Doctor NJ
Is anybody going to answer the question about break in time and not playing too loudly out of the box, can you hurt them until broke in given same playing levels before/after break in using a great Mark Levinson amp and no clipping. I know clipping an amp can damage speakers. 
Enough of the opinions and who knows what's best, geez everyone has their own tastes and hearing and what they prefer! 
Can we agree there are a lot of great products from different manufacturers and obviously some better than others, without spending $100,000.00!!
Anyone who has seen their product line transition over the past few years could see there has been a change in their operation, and honestly to be expected of any firm. But for a very long period, it was an example of value engineering and build, but not so much in terms of aesthetics. You could certainly see the desire to differentiate themselves with a large degree of in house build and specific design for the product line. This has changed somewhat, as aesthetic value is obviously greater and may have taken a bit out of the tank like build quality they had been known for. That dealer might have taken note of that and didn't find it quite the product he'd known.

As for the sound, the best description I should provide is something easy to admire, but harder to love. In a technical manor, Paradigm would achieve a great deal of speed, resolution, and clarity. Sound stage width was typically good but the depth and layering would be a shortened. Exciting, visceral, energetic. Where it fell a bit short was engagement, emotion, or what many consider its musicality. Its more than an elevated treble alone, its the overall presentation of the music. But for some who prize transparency over all else, it was especially good at it considering the price. I know the Revel line quite well as I've listened to entire line and they are notably different. Its a relaxed presentation that in my opinion, is a bit easier love. It also has wide image width, but notably better depth. What they often lack is a bit of treble air and on certain music genre, might not sound as exciting. I still prefer them over the long haul as they far more often allow engagement to the music and let the speakers fall behind the music. 
Oh and I forgot my main question with all the bantering. 
If you have experience with both Paradigm Prestige and Revel Performa 3 series mainly F85 and Performa F206 over the long term and after break in is there much difference, I guess it's probably just what one prefers. Like I stated the Revels seem more neutral, natural and smoother mids/highs and Paradigm more richer bass and slightly more forward and grainy.  That would be grainy as compared to Revels but probably not noticeable if you haven't heard the Revels. 
Thanks for the replies, tough to decide between the two. 
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Thanks mmeysarosh. I like the Revels overall sound although Paradigms certainly good, it's the lower sensitivity of the Revels that keeps them from being "jamming out" without strain compared to the Paradigms love to be played loud and seem to wake up, sound even better when just pushing them. If I could combine the two would be perfect speaker! 
James, pretty close the2 you had. 

I'm assuming the build quality is equal ( both seems very well made) and is the reliability the same between Revel and Paradigm? 
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can't imagine preferring paradigm to revel. have had 206's , 208's and Salon 2's... all are up to the task of great partnering equipment. imho you just can't go wrong here if musicality is the goal. and they are seriously underpriced.
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4425, After more and more listening I think you are correct, Revel much smoother, more cohesive sound and more life like to actual voicing. I had Paradigm Monitor 11 and for the money they sounded great, seems Prestige is not as cohesive though better drivers and more clarity. 
As you know Troy, I know a lot about speakers, especially Paradigms and how you push them on people relentlessly on this forum. I hear them as on the bright side. I am not the only one.
Grgr4blu, we don't push the Prestiges they are very good speakers, actually for $3,000k the 75F and 85F  are very nice speakers, so are the Kef R 700 and 900 in that price range. If you like to rock out these are great speakers. 

The Prestiges are voiced for clean, dynamic sound with tight deep punchy bass, they are not laid back they can sound fanatastic if you match them correctly. 

We actually prefer the Dali Rubicon at $6k and the Legacy Focus Sig at $7,000.00 over the Prestige series. If you like Movies the Prestiges are fantastic. 

The Prestige series is a good value for dollar system which does somethings very well, big soundstage, deep tight bass, and a lot of clarity.

The Personas are a different animal they are a remarkable acchievements and compete with much more expensive market leaders, the Prestiges are not  in that same vain. As good as most of the speakers in that price range, but they have their strengths as well as their weaknesses.

Again you speak without having ever been to my store, and actually working with me. Your observations are based on not liking my salesmenship, if you had ever worked with me you would see how I craft my systems. 

We tend to focus on hybrid systems, great cables, power conditioning, warmer sounding digital, and carefully matching the client's sonic flavors and preferences  to our products hence our large selection in each price range. 

As per break in, play any speakers at moderate volume for 2-4 days, and then play bass heavy music at a big greater volume and the speakers will sound optimum. They will get a bit more refinded and the bass will get even better. 

Dave owner
Audio Doctor NJ

Very good summary. That is exactly how I felt listening to the Personas. 
Speakers are a very personal topic. Asking others for their opinion really doesn't tell you much. I enjoy the crystal clear highs and brilliant mid-range of my Paradigm Studio 100 Reference speakers.  They give amazing presence to acoustic music, as well as an excellent sound stage.

After listening to "Fire & Rain", guests have told me that James Taylor sounded like he was live in my living room. However, if you put on a tune like Pink Floyd's "Money", with it's driving signature bass line and you might swear that these were horrible speakers.

Each of us have our own individual tastes in music and in what sounds good. Asking me, you are going to get a completely different answer than you would from people who love loud punchy bass in their music. You really need to audition them yourself, because your opinion is the only one that matters. Especially at the price level of audiophile quality speakers.

I love my Studio 100's.  I also love my self powered office speakers, Paradigm's Shift A2's. These speakers are well made, sound great  and they don't break the bank like so many other options, who's price is inflated due to the high cost of branding. I'm sure if you spend 30K on speakers, you sure as Hell are going to believe they are the best on the planet. Then after the glory and prestige of owning them wear off in six to nine months, are we going to see them listed here on Audiogon?

There are a lot of folks who get sucked in by the branding and marketing speak, and the illusion of prestige they create.  Then, you also have the "purchased" reviews, that cloud the dilemma further. I really believe that these contribute to so many people recycling one year old gear through sites like Audiogon. Place your trust into your own ears. Let them be your guide.
I'll add my two cents on Paradigm, at least for the two pair that I have heard and owned. First was a pair of Studio 10's, I thought they were very good from day one. These were driven by a vintage Pioneer receiver, so nothing state of the art, by any means. All near-field listening, and very enjoyable. My current speakers are a pair of Signature S6's, the last version before they were discontinued. While I initially thought they weren't bad, I also was pretty sure that the old Pioneer wasn't really up to the task at hand. Most notably, the bass just seemed sloppy and not well controlled. I retired the Pioneer, and bought a Luxman L590 and couldn't believe the difference. The amp and speakers seem to match up very well, and the overall detail is amazing. I've never heard anything even remotely harsh, metallic, or fatiguing, to the point that I can only speculate that those who do must have been driving their speakers with something entirely unsuitable. Certainly I'm no expert, nor someone that has gone through dozens of pieces of gear. Quite the opposite, in fact. But I'm still pretty confident in my opinion of how good my set-up sounds. Just my opinion.
Paradigm speakers run with Anthem gear sound fantastic. Have never heard that combo sound harsh in the dealers showrooms here in Minnesota .
@initm I have owned a pair of S8 V3's and killed a number of tweeters. I too like my music loud. The Beryilum tweeters were, in my opinion a bit too bright, and fragile. On the other hand, the customer service at Paradigm is fantastic. I live less than an hour away from their facility in Mississauga, and would show up with tweeter in hand, and replaced on the spot. If I remember correctly, this happened 4 - 5 times. By the way, it was my heavy handedness with the volume control that was the culprit, not the speaker. My pair of Bryston 28 B SST.2's can do a lot of damage quite quickly, if not carful.
The Prestige 85F sounds really bright and tinny to me, not at all like the old Studio series. I’ve had the 20v1, 100v3, 60v2, v3 and I currently have the v5. All sound more natural to my ears even though later versions have progressively been voiced brighter (I.e. v5 is brighter than v3 but still has a nice midrange). The midrange in particular of the 85F sounds pinched and lean, not musical at all. IMO the speaker industry is in a brightness war; everybody is trying to outbright each other. The result is that with all their new technology they’re building speakers that don’t sound any better than those made 30 years ago. I can’t understand it.
Hey JSL you're right they do have state-of-the-art brightness all right the symbol sound so metallic and hard instead of brassy The voice hasn't got that warm human sound and piano and violin and string bass anything that has wood in it doesn't have that Woody sound to it the monitor audio Platinum is will leave these speakers well behind for a lot less money you can get the Platinum 500 which will eat the nine h's for breakfast lunch and dinner for 27000 US.and audio Troy is a paradigm dealer and he doesn't know what he's talking about he's trying to push paradigm he thinks that the Platinum 500s are crap, he's full of crap and lying.
Wow.  You’re going out of your way to find 6+ month old posts just to down talk Paradigm and talk up Monitor Audio.

How boring is your life?  You are truly pathetic, and this forum is a joke for allowing this.
Are you a dealer? How many post have you made praising Paradigm? 
Send a PM if you feel the need to attack individuals because you don’t like what they post.

Strange to hear such wildly different interpretations and perspective on Paradigm. The one thing I will agree with, is that they don’t seem to be talked about nearly as much as they should on these types of forums (here, audiokarma, etc).

But that said, they’ve certainly been reviewed extensively. Most notably, Stereophile always gave detailed reviews of every iteration in the studio line, starting with their first/v1 review: where they note it’s "by a wide margin, the finest speaker ... ever heard under $1,000." Certainly subjective, but I personally think that’s a fair statement. Each follow-up review, as they released the v2, v3, and so on, held similar sentiments, focusing more on upgrades and changes made compared to the previous version.

Now, me personally? I grabbed a used pair of the v3, and absolutely LOVE them. To me, they simply sound fantastic. I recently grabbed a pair of KEF LS50s on sale for $1,000, thinking they may change my mind, and I’d stick with those. Nope. Didn’t care for them at all and returned (they get a lot of love on these boards, and some criticisms as well, of course), and to me, the Paradigm studio 20 v3s destroyed them. As stereophile noted years ago, I don’t think I’ll ever touch the sound quality of these for $1000. In fact, I think I’d have to drop at least $3k to get similar sound quality.

As for those who don’t like the high-end/treble of them? Idk, me personally, I find myself turning off my pre-amps "tone" bypass so I can up the treble on these when listening to music. Not enough for me. It’s super clear, very refined, but I like a bit more treble. Perhaps it’s my pre-amp/amp combo being on the warmer side? (parasound halo p6 and A23+  — But then again, I'm also usually listening on my Rega with an Ania MC, which is pretty up there as far as treble. Who knows). All things said, I think Paradigm makes some fantastic products. Even just grabbed a 2.1 powered unit from them just for a small office setup without even demoing them, because I love the sound so much (paradigm 2.1 millenia CT, for any interested). Nothing mindblowing, but used for $100 was certainly worth it, and definitely can’t be beat for a decent computer w/ DAC setup.

Anyways, just my 2 cents on Paradigm. I’m personally a big fan.

What is a good price for a pair of piano black 85F and 55C speakers. I am thinking of upgrading to the Focus line