Canadian loudspeaker manufacturer Paradigm Electronics Inc. has launched the Persona series of loudspeakers in Singapore in an event at the Tower Club Singapore.
The Persona series leverages Paradigm’s over 34 years of acoustic development, vertical integrated manufacturing and state-of-the-art design and engineering to create a new level of performance in loudspeakers. Being an owner of a pair of (albeit lower-end) Paradigm speakers, I am excited to check out what the new Persona series has to offer.
At the start of the launch event, Paradigm’s AVP of International Sales and Marketing, Mr. John Soden, gave us a short introduction of the design and technology behind the Persona series.
A lot of engineering went into each part, which are all designed and made in-house in Paradigm’s factories. This is quite unlike the trend of sourcing and using ready-made parts from other manufacturers, or getting a 3rd-party contractor to make them to your specifications. And for such a premium product like the Persona series, this is to be expected.
One of the key feature of the Persona series is the use of Beryllium drivers, which are found only in the best high-end speakers. Owing to its strength and lightness compared to other materials, Beryllium is considered to be the best material for speaker diaphragms.
While most such speaker manufacturers make use of Beryllium drivers only in their tweeters, Paradigm’s Persona series incorporates Beryllium diaphragms for both the mid-range and tweeter drivers to deliver a high level of detail resolution, depth and dynamics.
Other notable features of the Persona series include:
Perforated Phase-Aligning Driver lenses—A patent pending technology for Beryllium tweeter and mid-range drivers, this exclusive design actively blocks out-of-phase frequencies to smooth output without coloring the sound.
Ultra-High-Excursion X-PAL™Woofer Drivers–Mounted in a dual-directional array within isolated chambers, efficiently damped to eliminate internal standing waves. Differential Drive motors exhibit more efficient heat dissipation for extreme power handling. The unique low-profile two-part construction, with I-beam cross-sectional support arms that lock the flat outer cone to the voice-coil, and overmolded ART Surrounds, bonded to the outer cone, produce truly huge bass with no threat of flexing or distortion.
Active Ridge Technology (ART™) Surrounds–Crafted in-house using audiophile-grade injection-molded thermoplastic elastomer, and then overmolded directly onto driver cones, the exclusive ART Surround design achieves greater excursion than any standard surround. With ART Surrounds, Persona drivers generate a 3dB gain in distortion-free output (50 per cent greater output).
Elegantly Curved Waveguide Cabinet–Designed, engineered and Crafted in Canada, this heavy duty, non-resonant cabinet is an intricate system of rigid enclosures, braced and damped to defeat vibrations an d internal standing waves. Offered in a variety of beautiful finishes, its presence makes a forceful statement, but its performance remains utterly transparent.
Additionally, the Persona 9H also has the following technologies:-
Dual 700W Ultra-Class D Amplifiers–Two powerful onboard amplifiers deliver an astonishing 1400W RMS of clean, continuous power even at lifelike performance levels. Adaptive PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) optimizes amplifier efficiency and smooths supply variations, for instantaneous
reactions and reference-quality performance with bulletproof reliability.
ARC™(Anthem Room Correction)–
The powered woofer section of the Persona 9H Hybrid includes exclusive Anthem Room Correction (ARC) Technology. ARC measures low-frequency sound output in your room and compares it to optimal response curves that account for spatial anomalies. The advanced algorithms of ARC then effectively remove these anomalies, leaving only the ideal standard: realistically blended, natural-sounding bass performance, in any listening space.
Inverse Differential Mid-Range Drive Unit–This exclusive design utilizes a compact voice coil and powerful dual magnets to achieveexponential levels of output with vanishingly low distortion.
Advanced Dual Voice Coil Systems–The Persona 9H Hybrid features dual voice coil systems with high-temp wire (tolerances to 600°F) wound on resilient Kapton formers, supported by high-excursion Nomex spiders. This 1.5-inch motor design packs the effects of a super-extended throw into a compact enclosure. In addition, the die-cast woofer baskets feature integrated heat sinks and AVS™ Airflow Ventilation System Cooling, for higher power handling with less power compression.
How Do They Sound?
The first demo begins on a Home Theatre comprising a pair of Persona 9H for the main L/R speakers, Persona C centre channel speaker, Persona SUB subwoofer and a pair of surround speakers which I forgot to check what they are. After a minor hiccup, we are treated to a trailer of the Last Witch Hunter. The trailer shown was a clip inside an aircraft and the inherently pressurized cabin was replicated exactly as it would sound. Dialogue was crisp and focused while the special audio effects mix that oodles of details that were exceptionally handled. This trailer allowed the Persona system to display its technical prowess while handling delicate movie audio mixes to a great degree.
There’s some bass flaring in the smallish room that demo was held in, but otherwise the whole setup sounded pretty balanced overall, with an excellent playback of the dialogue thanks to the Persona 5C centre speaker. The sound effects from the movie are played back very well without any distortion.
Moving on to stereo music playback using the song, Somewhere, Somebody from Jennifer Warnes’sThe Hunter album, the vocals are warm and clear. The shaker, guiro and triangles accompanying the music can be clearly heard, without calling attention to themselves. They reside in the back of the soundstage where it should be. The sensation of space was impressive given the moderately low playback volume and the layout of the room where the demo resides in. Despite not utilising the Persona SUB on this demo, the bass line of the track sounded deep and tight.
Outside the home theatre room was another stereo setup comprising an Onkyo C-7000R CD Player, an Anthem 225 Integrated amplifier driving a pair of Persona B bookshelf speakers and a Robertson Audio FortyTen 2 pre-amp/power amp combo driving a pair of Persona 7H floorstanders. I was quite surprised to see the classic Robertson Audio amp, which was made in Singapore and was popular in the 80s and 90s.
We were played small selection of music, mainly vocals and percussions and the 7H played them with aplomb. The advantages of lightweight and stiff Beryllium drivers are evident when playing percussive music, with the 7Hs sounding very “fast”. You can easily feel the PRAT (Pace, Rhythm, Attack and Tempo) of the whole system, engaging you with the musicality that gets you into the rhythm.
With the speakers sounding so good, I’d very much like to audition how they would sound like when playing the O’Zone Percussion Group’s Jazz Variants. The huge dynamic range and the variety of percussion instruments ranging from triangles to bass drums would surely show off the Persona series’s prowess. Additionally, I’d love to try out a couple of tracks with deep pipe organ sounds, like the tracks from the Cantate Domino album from Proprius, or Saint-Saen’s Symphony No. 3 “Organ” on the Reference Recordings label. Unfortunately, I only have them on my iPhone and Sony NW-A25 digital audio player and they didn’t have the necessary cable to make this happen.
I never took a liking to bright-sounding audio equipment, and the Paradigm Persona series has none of that. Everything just sounded right. Of course sounding right isn’t enough for Paradigm to sell these speakers at the price they are asking for. The technical brilliance of the acoustic know-hows, aesthetics and synergy of the system are the crux of the picture. You don’t just buy speakers. You buy a system that moves your soul.
So how much for all these goodness?
Persona is comprised of 7 models:
Persona 9H Flagship–S$25,000/each
Hybrid Floorstanding Loudspeaker, with Four 8.5 Active Bass Drivers & AnthemRoom Correction (ARC™).
Passive Floorstanding Loudspeaker, with Two 8.5” Bass Drivers.
Passive Floorstanding Loudspeaker, with Three 7” Bass Drivers.
Passive Floorstanding Loudspeaker, with Two 7” Bass Drivers.
Passive Bookshelf / Stand-Mount Loudspeaker.
Persona C–S$10,800/each Passive Center Channel Loudspeaker.
Six 8” Driver Subwoofer with 1700W Continuous / 3400W Peak Power