Nice ad, but who cares when there are much better speakers here now? Paradigm makes some good speakers, but would I take them over the likes of Joseph Audio, Vandersteen, ProAc, Usher, QLN, Verity Audio, Boenicke, Fritz, Salk, etc. in the same price range? HELL no. But best of luck with that crystal ball.
Predicting the Next Paradigm Speaker Flagship...Persona v2?
With the new leadership at Paradigm and the 8 years of time since the unveiling of the current Paradigm Persona flagship speakers, I thought it'd be interesting to document my best guesses at some changes to expect in the new series. Rumblings indicate that we will hear something from Paradigm by High End Munich 2024 (if not before) so not a whole lot longer to wait. So without further ado, here are my thoughts of some of the changes we can expect:
- Oblate Spherical Waveguide (OSW™) Tweeter design - as seen in the recent Founders series, I would expect that the new Persona series will add a Waveguide to the tweeter housing to handle the dispersion. It may not be an identical design to that in the Founders, but I would expect some derivative of the OSW design for the new flagship
- Carbon-X Unibody Woofers- As seen in both the Founders series and the new XR subwoofers, I would expect the new Persona series to move away from Aluminum woofers to using the newer Carbon-X woofers which Paradigm claims is "the most powerful speaker drivers that Paradigm has ever created". Again there may be some more embellishments for the flagship in terms of it's construction and implementation (magnet, spider, voice coil etc), but I think it's safe to say bye bye to the X-PAL woofers on the Personas.
- Updated Crossover Design - given the new design philosophy of the current Paradigm leadership as well as the negative feedback on the current Personas that they can be overly bright and analytical with a tipped hot tweeter response, we can expect that the cross over design will be noticeably different for the new series. This current regime at Paradigm focuses more on the science and measurements so I expect they will work to ensure that the new Personas have a more even frequency response without the measured bump in the higher ranges
- Powered Bass For Flagship - ala the Persona 9H and the Founders 120H, I would expect Paradigm to continue with the powered bass section for their top model speaker. The benefit here is that they can pump out lots of air in a relative compact enclosure, something that Paradigm has always prioritized in their speakers. They want their speakers to be easy to place and fitting of a typical living space in a home. Given the remarkable bass performance in both the 9H and 120H, this seems like a no brainer
- Higher Price Point $$- I've mentioned this before on another thread here, but whatever Paradigm does to improve on the Persona's design we can expect an increase in the price across the line. Inflation, parts/material cost, and reduced spending all have contributed to increased prices on audio equipment across the board. Combined with more advancements in the driver, electronics, and cabinet designs and I wouldn't be surprised to see a minimum 20-30% bump in prices across the line.
- Coaxial Tweeter/Midrange Design - this is interesting! I wouldn't be surprised if Paradigm continued on with the design of the Founder 90C and use a Kef style coaxial design for the tweeter and midrange. This would be a great way to solve issues with time and phase alignment of the drivers to move toward that "Point Source" design ala Kef Blades or Mofi Sourcepoint speakers. Assuming they maintain Beryllium drivers for tweeter and midrange this would actually be very similar to the TAD Reference 1TX speakers which also have a beryllium tweeter + midrange in a coaxial design. I should add that the latest version of that speaker is nearly $150K for the floorstanding model!!
- New And Heavier Cabinet Bracing - while the current Personas are well built and inert cabinets, taking it to the next level would likely involve an even heavier and more robust design. We saw B&W add a bit more aluminum metal to their latest D4 800 series cabinets which has a noticeable impact on making those cabinets more inert (and heavier). Of course, Magico's claim to fame is their extensive use of metal/aluminum in all of their cabinets which they claim is the only way to build a fully inert cabinet. If Paradigm really wants to elevate their current flagship beyond the current Personas, the cabinet is one area where there is some room for improvement and I'd bet the result won't be a lighter cabinet than the 190lb 9H / 144lb 7F
- New Tweeter Material - Paradigm has been in the Beryllium business since the release of the Signature v2 back in 2007 and the current Personas are the cumulation of that effort. Now over 15 years later, where do they go from here? In terms of tweeter materials, beryllium is close to perfect but there are a couple of options that can take the performance even further. In terms of a single material that can be better than beryllium, the only option there would be diamond. Real diamond tweeters are extremely rare and expensive, pioneered by companies like Marten and Estelon among others. Those speakers are extremely expensive (i.e. $50K+) and with Paradigm's value oriented focus, that may put this new series uncomfortably out of range for their audience. That said there is another option that we've seen from companies like Magico and Sonus Faber Reference....and that's to combine diamond and beryllium in a "diamond coated" beryllium driver. The idea is to further increase the stiffness and push the breakup frequency of beryllium further with the addition of diamond on top of beryllium for improved sound. This also has the benefit of being far cheaper than a pure diamond tweeter. FWIW, I think Paradigm is likely to just with beryllium and improve on the design but I thought it fun to consider all of the possibilities.
- Stick with Beryllium Midrange? - another interesting one to explore as Paradigm is one of very few companies to use pure beryllium for the midrange. And how has that played out in the current Persona series? I'd say rather well as the midrange is considered one of the strongest points in the current Persona line. It enables an exceptionally clear and clean sound that is super fast ( unparalleled transient response). How can they improve on this? Well looking at what others in the ultra high end are doing, Ceramic is a highly desirable material for midrange cones (the aforementioned Marten uses Ceramic for their Coltrane series which is six figure $$$$$$). The reason I bring this up is which material did Paradigm add to their Founders series that was new compared to any series before it? Yep, Ceramic for their Aluminum Magnesium Ceramic (AL-MAC™) composite used in the tweeters. So they do have some experience with it and the current regime clearly sees value in it. I wouldn't be completely surprised to see Ceramic material used in either the midrange or tweeter for the new flagship line.
Given that it's been 8 years since the release of the Persona series and Paradigm has yet to officially announce a follow up, I'd say that speaks volumes to the superb job they've done with the Personas. Frankly, I'd say they are a hard act to follow. That time difference (~10 years by the time we see it) also tells me that the follow up won't just a simple v2 update. With the new leadership, it's likely that they've gone back to the drawing board to redesign the Persona series or even create a whole new flagship line althogether. It'll be very interesting to see and whatever they do we can be sure it will include a ton of innovative technologies, be a tremendous value, and deliver world class performance capable of further disrupting the ultra high end !
- 13 posts total
Nice @soix. Glad to see the love is being spread. Clearly this post is more geared to fans of Paradigm, but without saying what the use case is, I don't see how you can just completely dismiss one speaker brand over the other. If you're talking just pure music sound quality based on your ear and experiences, then OK. But there is a lot more to purchasing a speaker (especially at this price point) than just sound quality..
Thanks. Yes I've heard about the NS5000 but haven't heard them directly.
Frankly I've listened to dozens of brands of speakers over the years and at the price point of the Persona series, you'll find that most of the speakers are well built and engineered. It mostly comes down to preference and taste (that is subjective) there isn't an objective right/wrong for a speaker. The Persona is more than capable of being in the same sentence as any of the "big boy" high end brands but of course it's design won't appeal to everyone. No one speaker does for that matter.
- 13 posts total