JBL Paragon Floorstanding Speakers

4.33/5 (3 Reviews)

Product Description

one of the most startling things I've ever heard

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Philip Stein a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: December 28, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I have owned or installed hundreds of speaker systems for friends, customers, and myself, and have been an audio professional for over 40 years. This is the best system I have ever heard. the $2600.00 price is circa 1976. The integrated system consists of three front-loaded horns for each channel. A 15 inch cone driver (LE15), a midrange driver with elliptical horn (238) and a 'ring radiator' tweeter (075). The single 11 foot wide cabinet has the bass throats at each side of the front. The midrange horns are aimed sideways at an elliptical reflecting/radiator panel which in turn produces a 120-degree uniformly dispersed sound field. You can stand anywhere that even vaguely qualifies as 'in front' and hear a symmetric sound stage (you are always equidistant from the two midrange speakers no matter where you are, because of the reflector panel.

Bass has few 'bumps' all the way down to 20Hz, and 30W/ch is enough to drive all the level you will ever want. The room resonance contributes most of the nonuniformity, and if your room is normal size, you may want to damp this resonance. Remarkably, knick-knacks, even two wine glasses gently touching each other, will not rattle when placed decoratively on the cabinet and music played at very high levels. Since the cabinet is part of a horn, and since it is very well braced, it is stable and will never buzz or add coloration.

The high-mid and treble are very bright and 'horn-ish'. Crossover controls are available to take the edge off if your ears are not comfortable with the very top.

The most amazing feature of this system is the very low level of audible distortion and speaker artifacts. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon will ruin lesser speakers as full-level bass plays sustained notes while high energy pulses of drum traps play twice per measure (most of the time the drum is quiet). This is a rugged intermodulation test as most systems will come close to bottoming out or clipping on the powerful bass, and the drum treble will push the system over the edge into very audible crackle/clip sounds. The JBL paragon will handle this at painful sound pressure levels without even a hint of distortion.

I repeat. The best system I have ever heard.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $2600.00

Purchased At:   Audio Center, Bethesda, MD

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Quincy Leslie a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 18, 2000

Bottom Line:   
Driven by my McIntosh MA6100, the sound level is impressive, and friends enjoy piping football games through. Also, I enjoy steam railroad tapes, which are quite impressive on these units. These appear to be efficient, such as horns are, and the volume level is too high, when rolled to full volume on the 75W/channel 6100.

The bass is very good, and highs quite clear. Although old, I have no great desire for newer or different units.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995

Overall Rating:4
Submitted by David L. Winebrenner a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: May 14, 1999

Bottom Line:   
In the 1963, I worked for a Houston HIFI dealer on Westheimer that had a JBL franchise while I was going to U of H. Woody, a friend that also worked there was a major HIGH END audio freak and he loved Marantz and JBL. He ended up convincing a wealthy doctor that used to come in all the time to special order a pair of marantz model 9's, a 7c preamp, a 10B tuner and a James B. Lansing Paragon speaker stereophonic speaker system. Some weeks later when the stuff rrived I couldn't get any where near it 'cause Woody was all over it, He was such a neatness freak he carefully opened all the boxes and crates in such a way that that you could reseal them and not be able to tell that they had ever been opened. He finally asked for help on the Paragon which was shipped in 3 big pieces as I remember. We finally got everything placed and hooked up. By then it was closing time, so we stayed late, since the boss was gone and listed to this pricey system for about 2 or 3 hours. This was in the large soundroom at Audio Center, 1424 Westheimer. It was about 28 feet long, 17 feet wide and had a 10 foot ceiling. in the corners on either side were a pare of Klipschorns with the now somewhat older tan fiberglass 500HZ mid range and EV 15WK woofers. on the other end of the room was a pair of Bozak B410 4 woofer systems with large tweeter array. A very....uh....unique setup I would think. Obviously comparisons were made dring this time. Of course the paragon system was far and away the most impressive looking and also in terms of construction quality. The Paragon had a VERY distinctive sound "signature" that mad it sound radically different than anything else in the soundroom. Klipschorns have a little of this unique "like-no-other" quality also. The Paragon would play louder than the Bozaks but maybe about 3db softer than the K-horns. The extreme low endwas a litlle "boomy" on the Bozaks. Mutual coupling between th woofers I suppose. The K-horns had a slightly "withdrawn" in the low bass range, but then this is not a direct radiator and there is a lot of wood between you and the 15WK's. The paragon did not appear to go down quite a bit as low in frequency as either the K-horn's or the B-410's, although well struck drums and tympani were extremely "hard", "dynamic" and lively with a hint of some kind of "hollowness" un the upper bass range. The mid range was very "spitty" and occasionally strident on some brass band master tapes I had played. The Bozak
B410 mid range from 2 6 or so inch aluminum or composite cones was somewhat smoother but no where near as dynamic or as "hot" sounding as the paragon. The K-horn mid range was probably its best feature but with some sort of obvious discontinuity between the midrange and the bass horn. (Some of this "dis-jointed" feeling on the K-horn goes away in a room 2 to 3 times larger I have
noticed before). The upper mid range had a nice kind of "Bite" on the K-horns on Jazz trumpet stuff. There was also a definite proble with the transition between bass and mid range on the Paragon but the unique placement with all the drivers aimed at this wonderful convex curved piec of wood accros the front dseemed to help smooth some of this out. Again the Paragon definitely sounded stranger the closer you got to it and far better and smoother as you got further away. The tweeter on the Paragon was a little raggedy and rough on some things. The EV tweeter on the K-horn didn't seem to go any higher but it was a tad smoother. The Bozak system didn't go as high as either one of these others but you could stand at almost any angle and the Bozak high end was about the same. I suppose large tweeter arrays are typicallly going to be like this.

So, what was the bottom line? I finally used one of Bill's orchestral master tapes of 88 pieces and with an 'Aeolean-Skinner' pipe organ and chorus playing the Mahler 2nd symphony to make final judgements. The pipe organ bass pedals at the end were far more impressive on the K-horns, The voices of the chorus were nicely coherent on the Paragon, if you stood at least 15 feet away, with a better geometry and more coherent image across than the others. (Klipsch recommends a center channel to eliminate the "hole in the middle", but we didn't have that). The B-410's were nice and smooth in the large sweeping string passages. All in all, none of these sounded exactly like it sounded at the large church where this perfornmance was recorded. (I was there).

Ultimately the Paragon is an architechtural statement much like the Van-Der Rohe Barcelona chair. It makes you really feel special when you walk into a room and you see it and touch the wonderful curved, thick wood panel the front. At teh time I beleive Woody invoiced the doctor $2,900 for the Paragon, but I don't remember the manufacturers price. This was an incredible amount of money then. A Full size Chevrolet Impala in 63 was about $2,800, (bought at 250.00 over invoice cost). Now an Impala pushes $26-30,000 depending on variables, so this gives you some idea of what the magnitude is here. All the above listening tests were conducted with the Marantz model 9's in triode mode (about 40 watts each) except the last one on the Mahler and we went to pentode mode to get 70 watts per channel for the pipe organ pedal range. Of course the Paragon and the K-horns didn't seem to care but the B-410's really needed the power badly on that big final smashing end on the Mahler. I doubt that I could live with any of these as my "only sound system" for the rest of my life.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile

Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating