JBL Minigon Floorstanding Speakers


Stereophonic smaller version of the famous JBL Pragon

User Reviews (1)

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David L. Winebrenner   an Audiophile [May 19, 1999]

This is really ancient history. I worked for Audio Center in Houston back in the early-mid 60's during college. Many unusual things can happen working for a Very high end audio dealer near the affluent River Oaks area in (then) Oil rich Houston. one afternoon on a really hot steamy July day a sort of disheveled looking fellow who needed a shave and a change of clothes came lazily walking in (even then the idle rich dressed poorly) and asked if we would sell a speaker system for him on consignment. I told him that it would probably not sell well if it was not a "high-end" well known system in a place like this. He said he had paid well over a thousand for these. (A fairly substantial sum back when 104 octane premium gas was only 24 cents a gallon). So I said "OK" and he said "could you help me get them out of the car". So I went out and was suprised to find a JBL stereophonic JBL minigon system in two pieces in the back of this (what we would now call really enonormous) old red Chrysler 300J convertible. It was so hot I worked up a pretty good sweat carrying this rig in.

I hooked them up to a Marantz 8b power amp. (Woody had sold the demo Model 9's
again), and fired them up. The sound coming from them was so muffled I thought maybe a tweeter or two were blown,....but....no, upon close examination they were working (barely). This thing is actually a two channel speaker in what looks like a single cabinet about 60+ inches long, about 15 inches high, and 17 inches deep. The cabinet styling was a little reminiscent of the JBL Paragon and it too had a (much larger) curved panel on the front designed for reflected sound off of the wood front. There were some wooden loovers acting as grills in front of where the drivers were mounted to the left and righ of thecurved panel. No real low, low-end, plenty of mid-range, (but withdrawn and somewhat muffled). and nothing much abve 4-5KHZ, (c.p.s then), sort of like what you get if you mount an old 12" Electro Voice SP12B (with "whizzer-cone" in the center) in a too-small box with no mid-range or tweeter drivers. They were however in excellent cosmetic condition so I sort of smiled at this fellow and didn't say much and wrote him a receipt. Our resident ultra high-end audio freak, Woody, came in later and was appalled at the pitful performance of this nice looking system and was convinced someone had blown the drivers or had tampered with it. So he took 'em apart and hauled the tweeters back to the shop. The next morning Ronny was on duty since he had all late classes that day and he didn't know anything about all this.

A little blue haired lady came in before lunch and was looking for something for her remodeled library. Ronny had played AR's, Bozaks, K-horns, and KLH electrostats and she said that none of these had a very nice "tone". She asked what these were and he said they were not new, and had just come in on consignment according to the tag and were high for used equipment ($500.00 in those days was rare for any used speakers). She asked to hear them and Ronny rustled up some cables and hooked them back up. All sorts of "toneful" stuff must have come out with the tweeter missing and the hole in the cabinet behind the slats where it mounted pouring forth like some newly found reflex port. The lady said that these were perfect and wrote out a check very quickly. She asked to have them delivered so Ronny had them put on a truck that came back in right after lunch. Now....at 3PM: Enter, Woody from his lst class at UT and he asked me where the Minigon was and I told him Ronnie had sold it to a lady before lunch and they had been delivered. Woody, being horrified, looked up the invoice and got the ladies name and no. and called to tell her that there wer some pieces missing inside and that he would be glad to have them brought out and put back in. The lady said that would be fine.

So time passed and none of the field service guys came back in by closing time
so he called back and told her his plight and the the lady asked if he could bring bring the parts by on his way home. Woody finally agreed and took the tweeters out to this really nice place with 4 white columns out front and proceeded to reinstall the tweeters and upon getting them both in, turned on her old Fisher receiver and cranked them up. It tuns out that apparently someone had "fiddled" around with these before and the tweeters had not been
hooked up to the correct terminals or whaterver on the crossover. All at once
all this somewhat more brilliant sound poured forth. Woody smiled really big and went to tell her he was finished. He left and all seemed OK.

The next morning the lady called the shop and I talked to her. She complained that Woody had been over to put something back in to her Minigon but that something was terribly wrong and that they sounded very "tinney" to her. son I
sent a service guy pout and he later called back and said there was nothing wrong. They were working just fine. So he left. The lady came in a couple of days later and talked to JRC the owner about all this. So JRC lit a fire under
Woody to go and return her Minigon to its original "wonderful-tone". Ok....here is the most avid, (read rabid) high end JBL and Marantz freak that had ever lived, (up to that time, of course), going out to do this ugly deed.

He arrived and talked with the lady for a long time and tried to plead with her not to do this terrible thing. She wouldn't have any part of that and threatened to call the owner back. So Woody "clipped" the wires and left this
gaping hole (geriatrically re-engineered reflex port) where the tweeter had been and left with his tail tucked between his legs.

You can imagine how none of us would EVER let him forget the "downgraded Minigon" episode. There are many, many other crazy stories from those days too.

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