Paradigm Persona the right source matters!

As one of the top Paradigm Personas dealers, we have been following with some hilarity a particular poster who is going on all the Paradigm Personas threads and wiillfully lambasting the speakers in the pursuit of making his speaker choice the superior performer.

After reading his posts a few points we would like to point out:

Every loudspeaker in this industry is not perfect.

Although speaker X may do certain things like much more expensive loudspeakers it all comes down to personal taste and what you value over other qualites, imaging, tonality, bass response, etc.

Just because a "dealer" or rep has setup a system doesn’t mean that that is a good setup.

Many dealers don’t have the right matching gear, correctly sized sound room or experience with the product to make a great sounding setup.

Some background, Audio Doctor our compnay was founded by me, a man with over 30 years of professional audio sales and design experience. In the trenches for 30 years you get to hear a lot of different gear and play with many combinations of prodoucts you learn a lot about system matching, your also learn a lot by working at two ot the largest and most prolific high end dealers in NYC.

Our approach is to start with the loudspeakers, then find matching electronics, and cabing and then use the choice of digital or analog components flavor the sound to create the overall result.

Our reference Persona setup is one of the best in the country, a blending of T+A electronics, Enkelin Cables, Audio Magic power conditioning, room tunning and system tunning, Critical Mass rack and footers, NCF boosters, etc.

With the right source this system has been magical and with the wrong source good but not inspiring or when thing s were really off just plain bad.

We have had a love hate relationship with Aqua Hifi, we love the overall sound, and the 100% modularity, except that the Formula XHD had a lot going for it, huge soundstage, good depth, good overall resolution but had a bit of an opaque quality to it in the upper midrange that precluded the dac from being to our ears the right match to this lofty system.

Then we heard about the new analog board that is supposed to transform the Aqua. We ordered the board which looked identical to the previous board, so we were initially concerned. Then after firing up the dac, wow that sounds different the new Formula now went from being recesssed to being much more forward, after a few days of playing the dac now sounded spectacular and digital started really giving analog a run for its money.

The point of this story is many times audiophiles throw the baby out with the bath water. sometimes, just changing your dac, transport, cables, adding power conditioning, repositioning, footers etc can totally transform a system.

We went from a really expensive system that wasn’t making magic to one that was just by chaning a board in the dac and again just by looking at the board there was no apparent differences, so many people might have been skeptical

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Persona and Aqua dealers


I have the Persona B speakers and with the right equipment, they’re magic.  The Pass XA-25 is sublime with the Personas, as is the Dennis Had 2A3 (7 watts with JJ2a3-40) and VT-80SE.  As far as preamps, the LTA MZ3 is my favorite, followed closely by the Don Sachs. Clarity approaches that of Lowthers but without any harshness or fatigue.
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So bright speakers need a smooth source and electronics.  Got it.

You are on of the best alchemists of magical source and speaker matching in the country.  Got it.

You find it more important to be right than sell, got it.

Thank you for clarifying.  As for the other threads started by that individual. Regardless of my feelings about those speakers, I would hope no one is taking his threads seriously.  
Our approach is to start with the loudspeakers, then find matching electronics, and cabing and then use the choice of digital or analog components flavor the sound to create the overall result.
Which is the wrong approach. Your approach is no different than every other dealers approach and thats why most audiophiles and dealers have no clue what good sound is. If you look at professioal mastering or recording studios, where good sound is really important you will find that a large amount of effort goes into the design of the room rather than the cables or electronics. Whereas audiophiles will shove their systems in a spare room and think they are hearing high end sound.

@trudat I am actually taking these Persona threads seriously since I am looking to get a DAC to pair well with the 3F or 9H.  My local dealers are not well versed in the Persona compared to other speakers they carry. So these discussions by a Persona dealer and the educated feedback from Persona owners world-wide is one of the most valuable audio resources for me.

BTW - 25 years ago when I was not aware of the sonic characteristics of various gear (not an audiophile) I paired my first speaker, a NHT 2.5i with a Bryston amp. Not a good combo and if I had done some edumacation on A'gon I would have saved the $$$ and listener fatigue.

@ricwa I am going with the Luxman m900u amp, Benchmark LA4 preamp (a little concerned about this choice but will do a 30 day home trial), DAC (not sure) with the Persona. Are you using a DAC?

The Pass 250 integrated was one I was considering before the Luxman. Never got to test with Pass even though the store had both Luxman and Pass. The amp store did not carry Persona so I demoed with TAD.

"Our approach is to start with the loudspeakers, then find matching electronics, and cabling and then use the choice of digital or analog components flavor the sound to create the overall result".

This is of course the most sound way to approach buying equipment, or in Troy's case, to demo equipment. It is not about buying the best A-rated components, it is about system matching and the all vital loudspeaker/amp interface. Get it wrong, and you won't want to listen to the system. Get it right and you'll be happy to sit for many many hours. Of course finding that source and cabling that also synergize is also of great importance. I wholeheartedly agree with you statement Troy.


Sounds like you have an ax to grind. And perhaps you have also not had the opportunity to work with many different speakers, amps, pre's, sources, etc. This is truly one of the only ways to get to a combination that sings together. In the case of MBL and a few other brands that make all their own components and speakers, you can fairly easily assemble a system that will sound good. Of course you will have to like the house sound of that particular brand. I dig on MBL, but don't own it. And I don't know Troy from Adam except to say that I've read a number of his comments or threads, which usually are of high value. In some cases I've had the opportunity to listen to the items he references and feel the same as he does. Doesn't make me right, just corroborates his findings.

In before the posse!
In a way audiotroy is contradicting himself. First he says

it all comes down to personal taste and what you value over other qualites, imaging, tonality, bass response, etc

Then he says

Many dealers don’t have the right matching gear, correctly sized sound room or experience with the product to make a great sounding setup.
if its personal taste then the second statement cant be true.
 When I bought my Paradigm Studio 60s (v3) I purposely auditioned them with several amplifiers. I liked the Rotels, but they made the speakers sound a bit forward. I settled on the Marantz PM 7200 because its warmer sound just worked with the potentially edgy speakers. The combination sounds far better than the cost would indicate. Picking the right gear has always been critical. Otherwise we could all just go to the top of our budget and spend away. And we'd all have the same gear. Gawd, how boring would that be?
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Kenjit you are a tool that doesn't understand context.

The first part pertains to the fact that even with a well setup set of loudspeakers you still have to appreciate that  loudspeakers set of attributes. 

So for example you may hear a well setup set of Harbeths, and you may not like their imaging for example, or you may not like their amount of bass or their dynamic capabilities, or whatever vs another set of speakers which is also well setup. 

The other issue is lets say you hear a set of Harbeths on a $300.00  Sony receiver you may not be hearing what the loudspeaker is capable of vs a good dealer driving the speakers with the right matching gear.

So you have the following variables:

Particular set of speakers overall qualities, ie intrinsic attributes.

Did you get a demo of said speakers on suitable class or equipment?

Did you get a demo of said speakers with other possible more pleasing voiced alternative components vs the original setup which you didn't like?

Another example a really bright super detailed set of loudspeakers being run with Halcro for example with all silver cables, and a high resolution dac, do you think this combination of bright detailed loudspeakers, bright detailed electronics, bright detailed cabling and a bright detailed source is going to sound


Bright detailed speakers, coupled with a warm sounding Tube or amplifier such as a CJ, or Naim, coupled with warmer cables Kubala or Cardas and a warm sounding tubed front end such as a Lampitzator is going to sound?

We are sure you are going to claim that DSP can overcome all of these limitations and equipment matching is a myth.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ


Kenjit you are a tool that doesn't understand context.

While we all run the risk of getting all sorts of feedback when we place a post, is it really necessary to engage in name calling? Taking the high road has good karma ;-)
Three easy payments Kenjit's posts are usually combative and dismissive of the entire audiophile process.

Not to mention a Tool is usually a good thing, he could be a pneumatic  drill for example a totally useful tool or not.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
It´s true that Paradigm Persona (9H in my case) is a speaker on the bright side who values clarity and transparency, but is a speaker that adapts incredible well to the amps and source.

My actual amps are Triode TRX-M845 and CD/DAC is Ayon CD35-HF, and the sound is fantastic, but I have in my home to demo a full Aries Cerat system (Concero 25 amps, Incito S preamp and Helene DAC).

What cam I say ?! ... the Personas really sing with this, full bodied sound, fatigue free, no hardness at all !!

I am really in love with Aries Cerat / Persona 9h combination.


@yyzsantabarbara I’m using a Mojo Mystique 3 and also an MHDT balanced Pagoda. About 20% of the time I listen to vinyl.
Has anyone else found that Personas respond significantly to speaker cables?  

I was told that speaker cables would make the smallest difference of all components, but was very surprised when I installed a new pair of Audio Sensibility Testament Bi-Wire cables.   The midrange filled out a lot and overall the sound was much more tonally balanced.  

I knew that these speakers like to be Bi-Wired before hand, having noticed some differences before, but nothing like the Testaments.
I had Audience Au 24Sx on my 5f’s prior and switched to Cerious Technologies Matrix line. CT Matrix jumpers,but was told not a lot of improvement from bi-wiring. Please don’t tell me there is......
a year later and I bought a pair of persona 7f after over a year of listening to them with different components, and on one day we spent an afternoon listening to the speakers with different source and it was this speakers ability to change so profoundly, the presentation that I pulled the trigger. I don’t care for subs, find them more distracting for stereo than useful so the 7f was the one, although I spent about 6 months considering the b with stands to save coin. I’ve had some pretty well regarded speakers down here and these raise the bar.