Paradigm 3f vs 120h

Hi all,

I've got a pair of prestige 75f which I love but looking for a speaker that fills my 18x22 foot room a bit more. I'm considering the persona 3f but am intrigued by the new founder 120h, which is about the same price.  Has anyone compared the two?


Hi Joe,

I own the Persona 3F's and have listened to the Founder series.  Without elaborating, the basic differences I noticed are that the Personas  impress with their presence, uniform response, soundstage and imaging.  But the Founders were close and also give you great bass integration and response with active room correction built in.

It also depends largely upon the rest of your system.  But if you love your Prestige 75F, imo it's likely that the Founder 120H will work well for you.  Any chance that you can audition these yourself?

The persona’s have a much higher ceiling with superior detail, resolution, and soundstaging, but need more tlc. You can stick the founders into the corners and point them at the listening position and jam.

@steve59 What type of TLC does the Persona need? I have a small room and now have electronics in this room that are ideally suited for the Persona. I am thinking of getting the 3F and letting my Thiel CS3.7 go. Just for the sake of change.

I listened to the 7f at the dealer for a year b4 buying them and they were so sensitive to components! They were the only speakers I could reliably hear a difference between dac's. I also noticed when the speakers were moved into a room that had a tv monitor off to the side but within a few feet and I heard some midrange glare from the reflected sound. I loved them with the pathos logos mk2 but not so much with my hegel h360. 

If you have room from the sidewalls you should be fine. I had a pair of blades come up locally I wanted to try so sold the persona's. If your room is small the 7f is probably more bass than you need, the 3f can fill a room with tight deep bass and you can eq the drivers all you want they're bulletproof.

My room is not big, but I have it acoustically treated and my current Thiel CS3.7 work fine in there. The speaker would sound even better if I was not killing that first reflection so early but that is what I have to work with. I was thinking that the Persona 3F maybe even better in a small room.

My warm gear that I would use are the following:

Musetec 005 DAC

CODA 07x preamp


I have this combo with my very bright headphones and it sound amazing. The Persona will be much easier to get right with these electronics. I was just wondering about placement.

TV monitors are the worst for audio systems. I tried to make it work in my space and it was instantly evident how things went pear shaped.

BTW - Do you have a preference between the Blade and Persona 7F?

@yyzsantabarbara ,

You have some great source and amp gear that should allow the Personas  to shine.  But given your amplification and smaller room size, with the much more efficient Personas, you may end up playing at lower volume settings than usual.  Not a problem if Krell sounds good at lower vols, but something to be aware of.  

In a 16 x 24 ft room (more similar to OP's room) and an Ayre Acoustics AX-5 TWENTY,  the Persona 3F's have space to open up and yet still can provide plenty of compression. I can get  to a max reasonable volume with the Ayre set at only about 25%.  

Another factor is the Persona's rather wide dispersion profiles for midrange and highs.  Its's uncanny, but my  " sweetspot" ended up being broad and pronounced.

Hope it works out for you and @average_joe .

Blade and persona with my Hegel h360 driving them are quite different in presentation with the soundstage and imaging being much larger thru the blades, but the appeal of the persona's was that pinpoint imaging so both excellent in the way they get it done. The dual 8 1/4 woofers of the persona are maybe the best in the business tho' and now that I've upgraded my hegel to the h590 the blades might be as tight, but I don't have them to compare anymore. The best results with the persona is with them along the long wall and your Krell should be great. If I could undo the deal that got me the blades I wouldn't but that's not a knock on the persona 7f, more like I had the kef R105/3 for 25 years making the blades tone familiar. TBH both speakers probably sound better than i'll ever get out of them.

Thanks for the feedback, very useful.

The Persona 3F will be more detailed than my Thiel CS3.7, which also needs space to breath. I have demoed the 3F, 5F, and the 9H. The 9H was the worst since the dealer had the bass cranked up to 11 on the speaker and the sound was so disjointed. A shame that I never heard the 9H setup properly. The 3F and 5F sounded great in 2 large rooms. However, the gear that was used was not ideally suited for them.

The KRELL does sound great at low volumes. I have been listening at low volume lately late at night since my headphone amp has not arrived yet. I was using the Benchmark LA4 preamp with the KRELL and that may have something to do with the quality since it is also great at low volume.


we sell both the blades and the personna 9hs 


the 3fs plus the paradigm sw 200 sub is a killer combo


the blades throw a bigger soundstage the personnas are cleaner and more holographic the prrsonnas are trickier  to get right as the Beryillium drivers tend to be a biit more forward


both of these are killer reference loudspeakers


Dave and Troy

Audio intellect nj

kef and paradigm dealers



I'm interested in this comparison also, specifically which of the two models would throw a larger soundstage


The 120 likely will throw a larger stage, the persona'a present a tighter picture

we sell both the founders are excellent the personas are far better the only area the 120s are  better only in deep bass


Dave and Troy

audio intellect nj

Paradigm dealers

@perryleros Yes, they are more laid back.  I own the 120s, they are outstanding.  I found the personas very bright. 


I figured I would elaborate a bit more.

In the past I’ve not loved Paradigm Speakers. There have been some I’ve liked, but found something that bothered me, typically in the high end. But I always like to keep an open mind.


The Founder series to me are easily the best they have produced. The soundstage is huge, they are detailed and accurate but are not bright, nor metallic. The dynamics are outstanding. I find the personas to just be way too bright for any extended listening.


With the 120’s… the bass, the bass, the bass. After running ARC it’s deep, accurate, punchy etc. Plus, it really cleans up the mids and highs (by cleaning up the low end, the mids and highs just seem to follow). I’m very impressed with these speakers.

I would however say they put you in the first 10 rows of a concert (but I tend to listen a tad loud). They are not bright or aggressive, but they are a bit forward.

@dep14 Thanks for taking the time to describe your experience with these.
I might be off topic a bit but I had a similar experience to you but with Klipsch.

I always had Klipsch my whole life, and something kept bothering me. Specifically the latest RF7 iii. They are never harsh or bright. Suprisingly it seems really toned down and you can never say they are bright or harsh but somehow after listening for more than 10-15minutes I get tired. Fatiguing but couldn’t tell why. Only in music.


Decided to sell and ordered a pair of the Paradigm Founder 100f.
auditioned them recently with an STR integrated, and was shocked at how much better music sounded! Decided to go with the 100f since I already have 2 high end subwoofers and also a strong amplifier to handle their bass drivers (Parasound JC5).

I haven’t received my founders yet. I really hope they keep up at really loud volumes for movie watching. Regardless, for music they are the best sounding speakers I ever heard.

(And I have also compared them to B&W 700 series, Martin Logan Motion XT F200, KEF R11 Meta)

Can’t wait.

Op the personnas with a good subwoofer is the better way to go


the personnas are far more transparent with far better techmology


Dave ane Troy

audio intellect nj

formerpersonna dealer

I wouldn’t necessarily say the Personnas and a sub are the better way to go.  

Many (including me) do not like the Personnas.  It’s different horses for different courses.

Integrating a sub with a 2 channel system can be very tricky, rooms, space etc can all be a challenge.  

Many of us do not listen to audiophile recordings all of the time.  Rock recordings in particular, listened to loudly can be bright, to harsh on the Personas.  It’s not like I’m the only one out there that feels this way.

I have no problem acknowledging that the Personas are very, very transparent. You do indeed hear everything.  For some, that’s not always good.

That said, I think we are in agreement that the 120H is a heck of a speaker for the money.

The 120s are are a lot of peaker they just dont have the spoky imaging of the 3f orthe sam magic there's a reason the Personnaa are Paradigms flagship


As per bright with the right gear naim unison krell they can be magically setting up a sub is not hard

DAVE and Troy

Audio intellect nj

I have AT’s back here, the 120 will boogie and don’t do anything wrong. The persona’s get a bad rap because they’re very sensitive to component matching and placement, but having spent so much time with the persona 7f in different rooms and with different components I would recommend them on the condition that you either know how to set up a system or have a dealer familiar with the line that will tell you what you need to make them sing. The f120 is easier to get good sound from but have a lower ceiling. 

In my current system even with the same music every listen is a revelation, I think the persona’s have that ability also while the founder line is less refined.

@perryleros . Did you get your F100s? The following was posted to a YouTube channel this morning (Reviewing the 120Hs) I too come from a Klipsch background and am looking for something comparable but a little less fatiguing. Please update with your findings. "Perilously close to pulling the pin on these beauties. I have a rather huge open spaced area to fill and although the Founder 100 is much better suited to my budget, I cant help to think the Class powered 120H model might have to be the one I go with. My room is approximately 20 by 36 feet by 16 feet high as it is a room that opens up to a loft above. I am (for the moment) Powering my existing speakers with a Bryston 4b and also have at my disposal 2 Hypex Ncore500 Monoblock amps if needed in a bi amping 2 channel configuration. At some point I may opt to change or add some Mcintosh tube gear (MA 352 is on the short list). I have also considered Monitor audio Silver 500 7Gs as well as Polk Audio R700 and Revel F208s with the latter probably being a better option for my Bigger space. What are your thoughts on my speaker considerations? Auditioning all of these probably isn't a real option here on Vancouver Island. Cheers"

@mdhowes Yes I ve had the 100F for a few months now. They are nothing like the Klpsch RF7 iii I had before.Both have their strengths and weaknesses.

The klipsch sounded much more airy, think live concert feeling. Tweeter was much more direct and seemed nice but overtime I felt fatigue when listening to music. No fatigue in movies or TV though and I watch movies close to reference level.
Anyway, I felt the midrange was lacking in music with the klipsch so I decided to try the Founder 100f.


So in comparison, the founder are much more laid back/mellow. Stronger bass for sure and now there is a nice midrange presence!!! Vocals sound amazing in music.


The only downside for me is the tweeter. It’s not bad by any means, it just seems too laid back and doesn’t have that sparkle that the Klipsch horn had.
It’s never fatiguing which is nice but to me it seems it like the ’s’ is sizzling in the highs. Sounds more like sizzling instead of sparkling. Really hard for me to explain.

KEF tweeter has a nice sparkling sound, same as Klipsch but the Founders sizzle the highs. I must sound crazy lol.

The Klipsch could play much much louder without compressing or sounding stressed. The paradigm can play loud yes but its obvious there is a limit much sooner. I don’t think its my amplifier or equipment, I run them with an AVM90 and Parasound JC5 (600W into 4Ohm)

In general it’s more enjoyable to listen to music with the Paradigm, hence why I stuck with them. If I only cared about movies or playing super loud then definitely the Klipsch RF7 were the better pick. But for mixed usage or only music I would say the Paradigm are more balanced and sound nicer.
Also they look fantastic, like piece of art.

Note: I demoed the Martin Logan Motion XT F100 and those had the best tweeter I ever heard!! Airy and lively like the Klipsch but never fatiguing!! Also have a midrange driver and strong bass response.

I did not go for them because the front baffle seems so cheap in person.. like cheap plastic.

@perryleros . Thanks. Do you think the Founder 120H with its room correction and some EQ for the highs may help?


@mdhowes The 120h is the exact same thing but would have more headroom since the bass is handled by internal amplifier. Stronger bass/mid bass too.
If you have good external subwoofers then not sure if its worth going for the 120h over 100f. The tweeter is identical and the midrange but have slightly different crossover points.

I would assume the persona have a much better tweeter. Some people love them but some think they are too forward sounding. I have no experience with them

You really need to listen to a founder series speaker to decide if you like the tweeter sound characteristics. Maybe try a smaller bookshelf one and possibly have the option to return after you demo.


@perryleros Thanks again. Have scheduled an audition for later in the week . Might try some Focal Kata 2s while I am there. Cheers


@mdhowes also KEF R11 meta is a nice speaker. Really balanced/neutral sound if that is what you are after.