The 9H also includes the amazing Anthem room-correction ARC software. While there are other speakers available in the line including the Persona B monitor, the C, center-channel and Persona Sub, I asked for the Persona 3F because it’s perfectly sized for my listening space.
Paradigm Persona 3F Floorstanding Loudspeaker
- Beautiful design with a luxurious feel
- Beryllium tweeter and mid-range driver
- Excellent dynamics
Paradigm has always made award-winning, affordable speakers through a variety of lines. I’d admired during the audio shows the Signature S8, it offered a smooth and dynamic range. I’d even enjoyed listening to an entire Reference Studio Series surround package. I did manage to review and enjoy their Prestige Series.
4-driver, 3 way floorstanding bass reflex
3rd order electro-acoustic at 2.4 kHz(tweeter/mid), 3rd order @ 450 Hz
On-Axis +/- 2dB from 48Hz – 45kHz
30° Off-Axis +/- 2dB from 48Hz – 20kHz
High Frequency Driver:
1” (25mm) Truextent® Beryllium dome, ferro-fluid damped/cooled, Perforated Phase-Aligning (PPA™) Tweeter Lens
Mid/Bass Frequency Driver:
7” (178mm) Truextent® Beryllium driver with Inverse Differential Drive Neodymium motor, Perforated Phase-Aligning (PPA™) Lens
Low Frequency Driver:
Two 7″ (178 mm) high-excursion X-PAL™ drivers
Low Frequency Extension:
Room / Anechoic: 92 dB / 89 dB
Compatible with 8 ohms
75 lbs. (34 kg)
44.125” × 9.5″ × 16.875″(112.6cm × 24.1cm × 42.7cm)
Paradigm, Persona, Floorstanding speaker, Beryllium, 3-way, bass reflex, Loudspeaker Review 2018
You may say the culmination is the Persona line that has been in development for several years. Back in 2015 Paradigm introduced the Concept 4, the predecessor to the Persona line. Clearly Paradigm had its sights on competing in the realm of even high(er) end loudspeakers. Setting style aside, of which the Persona line should win awards purely on industrial design, Paradigm has unequivocally produced a reference level speaker.
Do read Carlo Lo Raso’s excellent review of the larger Persona 7F. You may find me overlapping what Carlo describes in his review as the speakers share the same Persona platform.
The Persona 3F is a three-way, 4 driver design which includes two-7” bass drivers, a 1” Truextent® Beryllium dome tweeter and uniquely, a 7″ Truextent® Beryllium mid-range/bass driver. Although many special features define the Persona line, the use of Beryllium is a highlight, but not new to Paradigm – the newness is the use of Beryllium in the midrange driver.
It’s highly unusual to compliment the Beryllium tweeter, rare in itself, with a Beryllium mid-range driver as Paradigm has done. Beryllium provides a rigidity and stiffness greater than that of aluminum or titanium, and therefore reduces the coloration and potential distortion, while increasing the high frequency output. But it’s expensive, produced specifically and to spec for Paradigm by Materion, metals manufacturers based in California.
Paradigm further developed for each Beryllium driver, their Perforated Phase-Aligning Lens, a beautiful spider-web design, which varies slightly from their past Studio line. The lens was designed to “smoothen and widen out dispersion”.
The 3F stands over 44 inches tall and weighs a hefty 75 pounds. The overall design is refined and elegant; some perhaps may think it too slick. I’d say it is very “Danish” in design, but I mean that as a compliment. Is Canadian Crafted similar? The multi-layered curved, elliptically-shaped shell not only minimizes the profile of the speaker visually, it also controls internal resonance. The speaker top is sloped. The chassis is also highly braced internally with miff spacers and isolators between driver chambers. Paradigm prides itself on the hand-crafted aspect of each Persona speaker.
Don’t look for speaker grille covers on the face of these speakers; they’re simply just too pretty to hide. In addition to the phase lens for each of the Beryllium drivers, the aluminum cone and bass drivers compliment the aluminum faceplate of the speaker covering most of the chassis front. The bass driver is their high-excursion X-PAL designed with their ART (Active Ridge Technology) surround which gives the cone the ability to produce about 3dB more output then a conventional surround.
The main body of the speaker sits on a cast aluminum base that elevates the speaker for the concealed bottom bass port. This is typically done on the rear of the speakers behind the base driver.
On the rear nearest the floor Paradigm located sturdy bi-ampable speaker binding posts. I like how large they are, making it very easy to turn with your fingers, some biding posts require a tool to tighten the cable connections.
My last set of large floorstanding speakers in for review were the GoldenEar Triton Reference that occupied a greater footprint than the Paradigm Persona 3F, but my experience with the Triton was the room placement – I’m beginning to appreciate a much wider spread and significantly toed-in arrangement. I find the bass a bit richer and the soundstage greater, wider. In my room, it places the speakers about 18” from the sidewalls and about 24” from the rear with about 9 feet between them. My sitting position is about 9-10 feet back. If I change the toe-in slightly outwards from this position I find I lose a bit of articulation. Convention has me placing them closer together with much less toe-in.
I strongly recommend anyone to try playing with this arrangement, you may be surprised how the sound changes.
My equipment includes a Parasound P5 preamplifier and A21 amplifier, with sources from a Marantz TT-15S1 Reference turntable with a Sumiko Reference Songbird MC cartridge and an Oppo UDP-205 player. All my cables including power, interconnects and speaker, are from Transparent Audio.
Evaluating speakers always boils down to several key issues, dynamics and resolution for example. Tonality, would include; bass, can the speaker play deep enough for me to feel it in my gut without sounding “boomy” or worse, too thin. Mid-range clarity and depth for most musical instruments and voices. And finally, the highs giving me top end sparkle.
The spec has the Paradigm Persona 3F playing down to 24Hz, I can tell you running a test CD that plays tracks down to 20Hz, I can confirm that at 25Hz my room shook, the drivers bounced visibly of the speaker face, I have no concerns that in my listening space, the 3F is inadequately producing bass extension and depth.
For me bass is not just about percussions, the 3F handles bass drums cleanly, rich and deep, but also how voices bottom out. Johnny Hartman for example, has the Persona filling his deep undertones superbly. You’d be hard-pressed to find a singer who reaches those lower levels as he does. Clearly his voice is the heart of his albums, to which the Paradigm seems to extract nuances and subtleties.
Playing a DVD-Audio disk (yes some of us still play those), of Lyle Lovett’s Joshua Judges Ruth, you get a sense of the dynamic power of the Persona 3F. The music is richly recorded, the piano has a fluid and naturally acoustic presence, probably the highlight of the entire album. I digress as I wanted to make another point about the rich undertones of Lovett’s voice, chesty and heartfelt. Yet the full, deep richness of the choir behind him is so expressive, life-like and tonally beautiful.
This also says a lot about the mid-range from the 3F.
Rene Marie, Live at Jazz Standard features a track I use often, Marie scatting her version of Balero that evolves into Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne. It’s a bit spell-binding frankly, her voice is perfectly centered and her breathing is clear as she sings through the track.
For a larger orchestral music, recommended to me was, Count Basie & His Atomic Band Live at Crescendo 1958. I still haven’t heard it all, it is 5 CD’s! But the dynamics are unreal, musicianship unparalleled.
The tracks jump off the 3F, startling highs, the warm piano compliments the rich trombone and brassy trumpets and clarinet and flute. A great speaker will give you everything, the Persona 3F does. The sound is uncompromising considering this live performance.
The PARADIGM PERSONA 3F sounds big – sound comes off the speaker wide and deep. The dispersion is excellent, voices are articulate and instruments tonally believable. It makes me wonder what the Persona 5, 7 or even 9H would improve upon!? But let’s not lose perspective here; at $10,000 for a pair of speakers the 3F is in the realm of affordability of a mid-level system, while the larger units will set you back $17k, $25k and $35k for the 9H.
The entire Persona is a beautifully conceived and executed speaker line. The Persona 3F sounds as good as it looks, and I have no insecurity in saying it competes in the higher-end landscape. But I also believe that Paradigm wanted to accomplish more with the Persona line, to achieve a level of sophistication through years of patient development. Paradigm spared no time and expense to achieve this company-wide vision.
I cannot give more of a recommendation than to say I’m likely to make these speakers my reference.