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Alan Fletcher
10-12-2005, 10:00 AM
And it sounds AWFUL!

I would have expected this speaker to come to life after putting some real gear in front of it. Here is what we did:

-Removed LE15's and replaced with original 150-4c's
-Triamped the speaker using:

Hafler 9505 -low
Hafler 9300 -mid
Hafler P-3000 - high
Ashly XR-2001 for active network

After dialing in the crossover points and matching levels, the speaker certainly sounded better than it did before (it had the wrong x-overs installed) but it certainly fell way below expectations. :banghead:

First of all, it produces almost NO bottom end whatsoever, appearing to begin rolling off around 70Hz. Second, although it produces alot of detail and is extremely efficient, and although it does cover the room well from all listening positions, classical is a stretch and pop is out of the question. I went home with a headache last night.

Is this the way the beloved Paragon is supposed to sound? Is there a way to make this speaker sound right, or is it destined for eBay? :(

-A

paragon
10-12-2005, 10:08 AM
I think the rolloff at 70 Hz is ok because of the small dimensions of this bass horn. I tried to sim this horn a time ago. Don`t know dimensions are correct.
Sim is made standing on the ground and at the wall.

Robh3606
10-12-2005, 10:16 AM
What happened to the passive networks??? You using 24DB slopes??? You can't expect below 40Hz out of those horns. Is it up against the wall for the best LF loading??

Rob:)

paragon
10-12-2005, 10:21 AM
I heared a rebuild Paragon a few monts ago with original Le15A and 375 and 075.
There was no spectacullar Sound at all. Off course no deep bass, but loading to 50 Hz, and very well mid and highs and top stereo imag.
It was driven by a simple low cost stereo equipment.
If i have the money, i will buy this. It is a very nice speaker, nobody will know,
very good looking enclosure.
Output with low power amps is very high and free of distortion.
If you want more low try a (high efficient) sub. This is my ultimate dream speaker.:)

Steve Schell
10-12-2005, 10:31 AM
Hi Alan,

Don't give up on the Paragon just yet. It is a nice design, with fine components, and can certainly sound much better than you have described it.

Flame suit on here... I recommend that you begin again by using the stock crossover and a good vacuum tube amp and preamp. This will give you a baseline of how the speaker sounded originally. Highly efficient drivers do not do so well with high damping factor solid state amps; they are overdamped and can sound sluggish and compressed in the bass and grating in the highs. 70Hz. actually sounds about right on the low end, as the Paragon bass horns are fairly short with small mouths. They will sound fuller with a tube amp though, especially a single ended design with a reasonably high output impedance. You can sample this effect now by placing some resisance in series with your woofer, perhaps a 15 or 20 ohm resistor of at least 5W rating. The bass should sound fuller, more relaxed and perhaps a bit more extended, as the amplifier's grip on the cone is lessened somewhat.

Triamping may eventually be the way to go, but again I would do it with tube components, preferably built with simple circuits and high quality parts. Just ask Ken Pachkowsky how he likes his new tube preamp!

scott fitlin
10-12-2005, 10:48 AM
And it sounds AWFUL!

I would have expected this speaker to come to life after putting some real gear in front of it. Here is what we did:

-Removed LE15's and replaced with original 150-4c's
-Triamped the speaker using:

Hafler 9505 -low
Hafler 9300 -mid
Hafler P-3000 - high
Ashly XR-2001 for active network

After dialing in the crossover points and matching levels, the speaker certainly sounded better than it did before (it had the wrong x-overs installed) but it certainly fell way below expectations. :banghead:

First of all, it produces almost NO bottom end whatsoever, appearing to begin rolling off around 70Hz. Second, although it produces alot of detail and is extremely efficient, and although it does cover the room well from all listening positions, classical is a stretch and pop is out of the question. I went home with a headache last night.

Is this the way the beloved Paragon is supposed to sound? Is there a way to make this speaker sound right, or is it destined for eBay? :(

-AOlder high efficiency designs do better with lower power amps! Your tweeterr being driven by the Hafler P-3000 rated for 150wpc@8ohms, when you could have used a Hafler Trans Nova 1000 rated for 50wpc@8ohms, older high efficiency horn loaded speakers were designed to produce alot of output with the available power of the day, now you go and properly power the drivers according to todays standards, and the sound becomes thin, hard, etched, and shrill!

If you had amps like the crown D-75, or D-60 on tweeters, and a put the P-3000 on the mid horns, I think you would hear the Paragon calm down, and the image balance out alot better! This is not to suggest that crown is the only brand you should use, but more of a map of the amounts of power you actually need for the paragons drivers! Even the 150-4C doent need the muscle of the hafler 9500!

Low power tube amps on the HF ranges would also be nice!

paragon
10-12-2005, 11:00 AM
Isn`t it placed in the New York Museum of Modern Art ?:)

Jan Daugaard
10-12-2005, 11:14 AM
Could we have some photos...?

Alan Fletcher
10-12-2005, 11:33 AM
As far as I can tell, the system needs to be balanced around the 375/H5038, as it is the most prevalent driver/horn combination in the compliment. We did alot of testing, starting by running the 150-4c's full range through the horns. It was immediately apparent that the horns are doing quite a bit of eq of their own. Nothing above 250-300Hz comes through, and what ever little else gets through is simply bounced around, out of phase and essentially ridiculous sounding.

This leads me to the 375/H5038. Since any attempt to play the LF horns below approx. 350Hz leads to a balky, resonant bump in the low mid, the need to play the 375/H5038's down low enough to meet them results in a very noticeable hole and odd phase characteristics at the crossover point.

Although power handling at those frequencies is not a problem for the 375, the characteristics of the 5038 horn do not allow for a smooth transition. There seems to be an unbridgeable gap between the LF and MF horns. Play that LF section too high and you get a bulky, heavy nastiness. Play the MF too low and you get a major dip in response along with funky phase characteristics.

Also, everyone seems to refer to the LE15 as stock LF drivers for the Paragon. The Paragon in question is an early one, serial #212. It was supplied with 150-4c bass drivers (which have now been reinstalled) and then "upgraded" to the LE15. The original LX-5 xovers were changed out with N500H. This is one of the reasons we thought it would sound better with a custom setup such as the one described in my original post.

I'm curious and intrigued by some of the amplifier recommendations made here, but I do not believe the amplifiers being solid or hollow state is the cause or solution to the problem. If I wished to augment the sound of the speaker artificially, I have plenty of signal processing gear which I could employ, including EQ, phase delays, and distortion emulators. However, I wish to bring this speaker to a decent ballpark before I start playing around with the electronics that power it.

I'm not seeing that happening.

More comments more than welcome.

-A

Zilch
10-12-2005, 11:47 AM
Y'know, I intentionally keep my opinions about "vintage icon" JBL's to myself here, generally, respecting others' prerogative to like what they like, and acknowledging that listening tastes vary.

However, I have heard three Paragons, and own one myself. As speakers, they suck by contemporary standards. Like you, I will eventually get around to "playing with" my Paragon in a proper space, but I'm not optimistic about the eventual outcome.

I suspect it'll make a decent conversation-piece center channel, is about all.

My heirs will no doubt appreciate that I held onto it.

[I traded S8R's (which also suck, in my view,) and some cash for it about 10 years ago. It may eventually be worth more than the house.... ;)]

paragon
10-12-2005, 12:01 PM
I don`t know what you want? The Paragon is a well listening speaker.
I always know there is not enough low bass, high limit is off course by the 075.
But i doen`t miss highs. Where is the problem ?

Alan Fletcher
10-12-2005, 12:02 PM
>>However, I have heard three Paragons, and own one myself. As speakers, they suck by contemporary standards. Like you, I will eventually get around to "playing with" my Paragon in a proper space, but I'm not optimistic about the eventual outcome.<<

Well said. I'm hoping for some encouragement here-- I'm hoping I'm wrong....

But so far, :barf:

paragon
10-12-2005, 12:10 PM
Braucht Ihr alle nicht arbeiten, erstaunt mich das manche immer noch antworten.
Sorry, try to translate.
Does anybody have to work tomorrow ? Its very late (in USA).
I have to work at 6 o`clock in the morning.
Think, i have the wrong job !

Eckhard

Alan Fletcher
10-12-2005, 12:15 PM
To Paragon,

I fear my friend that you may have unrealistic expectations from this old and venerable loudspeaker. True, it does not lack highs. It does not lack midrange, either. The question is how to get the components to integrate seamlessly. It seems an impossible task. Perhaps with a nice Velodyne 18" sub you could obscure some of the faults of the speaker's low-high transition, but you still have to make the top end of that frontloaded horn meet the low end of the 375/H5038.

I remember this speaker from my childhood, and it is a disappointment now when once it was wonderful.

Either I'm crazy, or there are an awful lot of deaf rich people in Japan... -- or maybe that's just "culture" :blink:

-A

Steve Schell
10-12-2005, 12:25 PM
Hi Alan,

I'm concerned about your running the 375s down to 350Hz. Don't think there would be much driver loading from the Paragon mid horn down that low, and that resonant bump you've heard is probably the diaphragm going into large excursions at its resonant frequency. I'd stay with at least 500Hz. and 12 dB/octave to protect the diaphragms.

This is a common problem with front loaded horn systems, getting output from the bass horns up to a high enough frequency to cross over to the mids. Many bass horns poop out by 300Hz. unless the driver mass is very low. The LE-15 drivers may give a little more low bass, but if their cones are heavier then the 150-4C they will probably will have even less top end. Perhaps you could employ some EQ to flatten response to 500Hz. This would not stress the bass drivers, and might allow you to bridge the gap.

I still recommend that you try some tube gear. Signal processing will not accomplish anything like the same result. Interpreting your comments, I suspect that you may regard the different sound of tubes as resulting from higher distortion or some other defect; there are certainly many people who hold that opinion. My findings have been that good tube gear offers higher resolution, greater dynamic linearity and proper damping with high sensitivity speakers. To me it is a difference not of degree but in kind, a more lifelike listening experience... YMMV.

paragon
10-12-2005, 12:45 PM
Hmm, i `ve herad them with her original crossovers and Le15a, 375, 075 components. I doen`t miss anything exept low bass, really.
Heared them against the big Lowther enclosure.

frank23
10-12-2005, 01:03 PM
hi alan,

I don't read it in your post, but could it be that you had the bass drivers reconed? My experience is that they have too loosen up over some time [say a month or more] before they settle in their intended characteristics. Especiallly resonance frequency will be higher when just reconed and as we know, the response drops of at about that frequency.

greetings, Frank

Mr. Widget
10-12-2005, 01:37 PM
Most of you have probably seen this letter as it was posted on a similar thread some months ago.

As for the sound of the Paragon... you may find it fun to listen to with tube amps and a vintage turntable etc. but it isn't going to sound as accurate as any contemporary $2K a pair speakers.

It is a beautiful piece of sculpture. It is a wonderful piece of history, but it is not a contemporary piece of high end audio reproduction equipment. This isn't to say you can't find it fun to listen to, but don't expect B+W Nautilus performance.


Widget

Rolf
10-12-2005, 01:40 PM
Hi Allan. As an former owner of the Paragon I like to say a few words. I am not as tecnical as many other members, but I have good ears.


And it sounds AWFUL!

I would have expected this speaker to come to life after putting some real gear in front of it. Here is what we did:

-Removed LE15's and replaced with original 150-4c's
-Triamped the speaker using:

Hafler 9505 -low
Hafler 9300 -mid
Hafler P-3000 - high
Ashly XR-2001 for active network-A

First you got to get your hands of somthing that matches the Paragon. Not the abowe amps. The crossover you use I know noting about.

I used at first a brand you probably never heard about, The Sonotron, made in Norway, 100w pc 8ohm. (Company gone for years ago). Then 2 Kenwood L09 mono poweramps using MOSFETS, 300w pc 8ohm. Both sounds very good, but with the Kenwoods I could play at concert levels...if I wanted to.

On both power-amps I used a DB-Systems Pre-Amp.

I never tried to use electronic crossovers, and I believe it not a good idea on this system.




First of all, it produces almost NO bottom end whatsoever, appearing to begin rolling off around 70Hz. Second, although it produces alot of detail and is extremely efficient, and although it does cover the room well from all listening positions, classical is a stretch and pop is out of the question. I went home with a headache last night.
-A

What you have done to make the Paragon sound as you descibe, I do not know, but from LISTENIGS test with Audio Tecnica Audio CD I found the respons of the woofer usefull to about 30-35 Hz. My Paragon was equiped with the LE15A woofer.



Is this the way the beloved Paragon is supposed to sound? Is there a way to make this speaker sound right, or is it destined for eBay? http://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/images/smilies/frown.gif
-A

Do not put it on eBay...If you think is sounds like crap...Give it to me, I'll take it for the shiping price.http://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/images/icons/icon7.gif

Regards

Rolf

scott fitlin
10-12-2005, 03:16 PM
I have to agree with Rolf and Steve Shcell! The JBL 075, or 2402, does not need alot of power, 1 watt will make them sing. The Hafler P-3000 is too big for those tweeters! Same thing applies to the 375! I wish I were near you, so I could bring over what I consider a suitable amp for those tweets! I use bullet tweeters in my place, and whenever I go to bigger and better amps, even though i may not be pushing them more than a couple of watts, they get harsh sounding! As well as my bass becomes anemic and thin sounding ( lack of deepness ), but those old speakers like to be mated to amps that are low power, and preferably of a vintage at or around their time of manufacture. Horn systems are funny this way!I agree if you tried the right tube amps, or SS amps, you might hear a completely different sonic landscape! Will it make you love the paragon? I dont know, but I am sure there is better to get out of it, than what you getting right now!

I would move the P-3000 to the 375,s and try a crown D-75 on the JBL 075,s! The P-3000 is slightly more power than the D-150 I use on my 2441,s! And I run SIX 2441/2395,s on 1 crown D-150! I have plenty of midrange! Nothing lacking in terms of output here, but I have tried to increase the amp size to todays proper standards, and always without success! Horns become irritating sounding!

I run my 2402,s on Crown Power Line-2,s rated at 50wpc@8ohms, and have four 2402,s per channel of each amp, nominal 12.5 watts per tweeter, and they sound great! I have tried Bryston 3B,s on my tweeters, Crown D-150,s and BGW 350,s and always I go back to my little Crown PL-2,s, as the bullets just become too loud and harsh sounding! Those 075,s are efficient, and dont need much power at all to put out high SPL.

I might also tend to think that 12db slopes on the woofers and 18db slopes on the 375,s and 075,s will make for a better sounding Paragon!

Ken Pachkowsky
10-12-2005, 03:23 PM
Hi Alan,

Don't give up on the Paragon just yet. It is a nice design, with fine components, and can certainly sound much better than you have described it.

Triamping may eventually be the way to go, but again I would do it with tube components, preferably built with simple circuits and high quality parts. Just ask Ken Pachkowsky how he likes his new tube preamp!

Thats for sure. My only complaint was a lack of inputs. I have solved that problem by getting a high end audio switch made by Extron. The switch has 6 pair of rca inputs. That gives me all the line inputs I could possibly need. The MM/MC phono stage is excellent as well.

I am surprised no one else here has tried the Signature Tad 150 preamps?

Good luck on your quest with the Paragon!

Ken

mikebake
10-12-2005, 03:56 PM
>>However, I have heard three Paragons, and own one myself. As speakers, they suck by contemporary standards. Like you, I will eventually get around to "playing with" my Paragon in a proper space, but I'm not optimistic about the eventual outcome.<<

Well said. I'm hoping for some encouragement here-- I'm hoping I'm wrong....

But so far, :barf:

Frankly, didn't you do the research before trying to make a modern project out of an old design? You certainly didn't expect these to be competitive with modern efforts, did you? An analysis of the drivers and their application in the Paragon design should have prepared you. You don't really see anyone after seriously good (and bang-for-the-buck) sound trying to DIY these much, cabinet complexity notwithstanding. There are far easier ways to get far better sound. To me these things are like some big 50's Buick Roadmaster; not much that can't be easily bettered today for less. But still cool.

Mr. Widget
10-12-2005, 04:51 PM
To me these things are like some big 50's Buick Roadmaster; not much that can't be easily bettered today for less. But still cool.

Exactly! :coolness:


Widget

pelly3s
10-12-2005, 05:00 PM
Al do I have to drive down there someday and play with the thing and see what I can make it do. I'll bring a pair of my double 18" cabs with the 2258's in them. :applaud: lol. I bet a pair of 2245's on the sides of that thing would round out the bottom very nicely.

Totally off the subject, I should have those foams in a couple days for you.

Alan Fletcher
10-12-2005, 05:23 PM
Thanks, Bob.

Can't wait to get the L250's running :)

Anyway, keep in mind, guys, that these are just the amps we have on hand, they were not chosen specifically for use on the Paragon. And somebody mentioned I shouldn't run 375 down to 350Hz-- I'm not. However, at the listening levels we are talking about, assuming the thing could do it properly, it wouldn't do anything to harm the drivers.

All crossovers are 24db/oct. fixed. That may be too tight. In any case, we will probably put it back to factory using the proper factory crossovers and let it be at that. The L250's will be in need of some ampage soon.. :)

Thanks for all the input guys!

-A

pelly3s
10-12-2005, 09:21 PM
if you want to play with the paragon some more i can probably make a trip with a DBX Driverack and get all kinds of control. Just an option but lets see what you can do with L250's first

Steve Schell
10-13-2005, 01:16 AM
In defense of the Paragon, I will say that I believe it can be made to sound very good indeed. I only heard one on one occasion, but it played large orchestral works with effortless majesty, despite being driven by an inexpensive solid scrape (sorry) rack system. The bass horns, while not reaching that low, portrayed tympani and the like with realism. Dynamic range from lows to highs was very uniform and effortless, better than almost all modern systems.

Sure, the imaging is kind of strange and an acquired taste. I wish the bass horns were longer and larger, ditto for the midrange horns. Still, the Paragon is one of the few examples of a fully front loaded horn system ever to be sold into fine homes in any real quantity. It is tough to design a big horn system that doesn't look like plumber's butt- believe me, I know. The Paragon was well regarded for both its looks and sound, and its creators deserve much credit for this.

Alan Fletcher
10-13-2005, 04:07 AM
To Steve:

You definitely have good points there. Don't get me wrong, I love the Paragon, and would be sad to see it go. Let me go into some deeper explanation about my relationship with the Paragon:

(Be warned, some embellishment follows)

The Paragon was my first introduction to JBL. This particular one belongs to my best friend's father, who is now elderly and almost an invalid at this point (which allows us to finally play with it). Through the years, the Paragon was modified, the 150-4C's removed and replaced with LE15's, the original crossovers removed and replaced with N500H's. Fortunately, the original 150-4C's were safely stored in the attic.

In subsequent years, the thing became a home for the cats, who crawled into the bass horns and clawed the surrounds of the LE15 bass drivers. Since as kids, due to circumstances I will not get into here, we had little or no access to the Paragon, I was only able to hear it once or twice as a kid (we're talking 5th grade here). My friend used to talk about the thing like it was descended directly from God Himself, and the first time I saw and heard it, I believed it. Now, with more experienced ears and minds, and better equipment, we wished to make it sound the way we remembered it and bring it back to life. That is the subject of this thread and the result, to our ears, was a great dissappointment.

There you have it...

To Pelly3s:

When we come up to your shop with the drivers, we will probably talk in great detail. Perhaps you can come down sometime and play with the Paragon with us. That's really not my call as it's not my Paragon and it's not my house. I'm sure Bob wouldn't have a problem with that though and I think it would be a heckuvalotta fun!

-A

Maron Horonzakz
10-13-2005, 07:01 AM
My Paragon has been around along time. It has 150-4c ,LX-5 xovers , 375 mids 075 tweets. One thing it needed after many years of use. Was to replace those old worn out diaphrams in the mids & tweets. What an improvement that made. The only design flaw in the Paragon is ONLY the 375 mids reflect across the curved panel. A special bracket I made mounted the 075 on the same plane with the mid horn & driver. Rather than spitting out of the bass horn cavity with all its diffraction problems. This really opened up the top octive. Both drivers reflecting off the panel will give better imageing. A TAD 1601a woofer placed in the bottom end gave some improvement. IM not shure changing out TAD 4001 & 703 tweets would help. But for the deep pockets on this forum I would encourage it.;)

57BELAIRE
10-13-2005, 08:25 AM
In my experience, the Paragon seems to be very "placement dependent".

Though my home is predominantly ceramic tile (which adds a whole host of gremlins), I found that simply moving it to another location, against a long wall, improved it's performance.

While it may have been compared to a ''50's Buick" in these pages...that suites me fine....I've got a soft spot for nostalgia :D

Jan Daugaard
10-13-2005, 11:33 AM
A German member of this forum, Rafael, is applying time delay to the woofers of the Paragon such that they are in phase with the 375 compression drivers.

Judging by a drawing of the Paragon (I don't own one myself), the distance between the woofer and the 375 is 110-120 cm, so a 3 ms delay of the signal to the woofers should be about right.

Jan D.

slxrti
10-13-2005, 09:13 PM
Hi-fidelity did a review way back, if my memory serves me correctly they received a very good review.

JBL produced an energizer amp I believe this provided the necessary
eq to flatten the response.

slxrti

Rafael
10-14-2005, 03:27 AM
After trying to “improve” the sound of the paragon with active x-overs (rane), digital crossovers (dbx driverack) and playing around with different amps (including the JBL energizer with the eq-cards for the paragon but mostly SE DH tube amps) here is my actual recommendation:

1. The room. You MUST absolutely use a relative big room with a listening distance of about 5-6 meters. As you know, good room acoustic is FAR more important than the quality of the amps.
2. When using a good active x-over (no cheap behringers please), try not to use big solid state monster amps. 1-2 watts are more than enough for the 375´s or 075. Try to use similar circuits of the different amps to get a coherent characteristic of the sound.
3. Measuring the response of the speakers in your room and compensation with a very good parametric EQ is essential. A correctly set EQ nearly cures all flaws of this speaker. This is simple made with the driverack series and you have all options like time delay and you can play around with different filter types. Sadly, I finally didn´t liked the sound of the digital units so I tried different types of parametric analog EQ´s. I finally ended with a massenburg 8200 unit- expensive but very good.
4. I tried the 150-4C, the LE 15 A and finally the 2235´s. In my opinion, the 150-4C´s have a bit more “attack” and “speed” but the LE 15 A´s –reconed or refoamed correctly- are more natural and “relaxed” sounding.
5. BTW, I have a good pair of L 250 ti´s. Most people who heard them in direct comparison with the paragon clearly prefered the paragon´s sound. When EQ´ed correctly, the paragon´s coloration is gone and you have the smooth and relaxed sound JBL was famous for.

Regards, Rafael

Rolf
10-14-2005, 11:38 AM
Hi Rafael. I have some comments regarding your post.



The room. You MUST absolutely use a relative big room with a listening distance of about 5-6 meters. As you know, good room acoustic is FAR more important than the quality of the amps.

I agree, but good amps DO help.



1-2 watts are more than enough for the 375´s or 075.


In this I do NOT agree. You need about 20w for the 375's and 10 for 075. Any much less and you do not have enough headroom. (If you want to play loud) [/QUOTE]



Measuring the response of the speakers in your room and compensation with a very good parametric EQ is essential. A correctly set EQ nearly cures all flaws of this speaker.


Agreed. Paragon without EQ is difficult, BUT not impossible. (Room, room, room)

Regards

Rolf

57BELAIRE
10-15-2005, 06:49 AM
As far as I can tell, the system needs to be balanced around the 375/H5038, as it is the most prevalent driver/horn combination in the compliment. We did alot of testing, starting by running the 150-4c's full range through the horns. It was immediately apparent that the horns are doing quite a bit of eq of their own. Nothing above 250-300Hz comes through, and what ever little else gets through is simply bounced around, out of phase and essentially ridiculous sounding.

This leads me to the 375/H5038. Since any attempt to play the LF horns below approx. 350Hz leads to a balky, resonant bump in the low mid, the need to play the 375/H5038's down low enough to meet them results in a very noticeable hole and odd phase characteristics at the crossover point.

Although power handling at those frequencies is not a problem for the 375, the characteristics of the 5038 horn do not allow for a smooth transition. There seems to be an unbridgeable gap between the LF and MF horns. Play that LF section too high and you get a bulky, heavy nastiness. Play the MF too low and you get a major dip in response along with funky phase characteristics.

Also, everyone seems to refer to the LE15 as stock LF drivers for the Paragon. The Paragon in question is an early one, serial #212. It was supplied with 150-4c bass drivers (which have now been reinstalled) and then "upgraded" to the LE15. The original LX-5 xovers were changed out with N500H. This is one of the reasons we thought it would sound better with a custom setup such as the one described in my original post.

I'm curious and intrigued by some of the amplifier recommendations made here, but I do not believe the amplifiers being solid or hollow state is the cause or solution to the problem. If I wished to augment the sound of the speaker artificially, I have plenty of signal processing gear which I could employ, including EQ, phase delays, and distortion emulators. However, I wish to bring this speaker to a decent ballpark before I start playing around with the electronics that power it.

I'm not seeing that happening.

More comments more than welcome.

-A

I may be wrong but, Paragon #212 predates mine (#278) and is claimed to have an LX-5 as it's "original " component.

I thought the LX-5 was used in the latter versions along with the LE-15 while the earlier 150-4c's utilized the N400.:blink:

johnhb
10-21-2005, 08:16 PM
I have owned one for over eight years. Everyone who hears it loves it as to I. The alnico drivers lose some some of their magnetic field over time. Orange County Speaker has a remagnetizer and can bring them back to original sound and the bass punch will be back.

NewZenith
06-09-2006, 01:36 AM
In defense of the Paragon, I will say that I believe it can be made to sound very good indeed. I only heard one on one occasion, but it played large orchestral works with effortless majesty, despite being driven by an inexpensive solid scrape (sorry) rack system. The bass horns, while not reaching that low, portrayed tympani and the like with realism. Dynamic range from lows to highs was very uniform and effortless, better than almost all modern systems.

Sure, the imaging is kind of strange and an acquired taste. I wish the bass horns were longer and larger, ditto for the midrange horns. Still, the Paragon is one of the few examples of a fully front loaded horn system ever to be sold into fine homes in any real quantity. It is tough to design a big horn system that doesn't look like plumber's butt- believe me, I know. The Paragon was well regarded for both its looks and sound, and its creators deserve much credit for this.

Steve, I was gust reviewing this thread, many many months after it was started and I must say truer words have never been spoken!

At that time I did not have a working Lansing heritage membership and Alan was posting on my behalf, I did not necessarily share the same opinion on the system at that time.

Update,
I have since re installed the LE15A bass drivers and added some LX5 crossovers, Alan and I flopped phase on the drivers until acoustic output was the highest and the system sounded most natural to us.
The Ashley XR2001 crossover and hafler amp experiment was a disaster! Even after extensive tweaking, those components are now much better used for my current direct radiator XPL250 copies.
One of the big problems incurred with those large transistor amps was noise, I now use an old Kenwood KA9100 integrated amplifier, it's a sweetheart and also extremely quiet as well as having a relatively low damping factor compared to the haflers.
As far as LF extension is concerned the speaker is adequate for orchestral work and most pop/rock,
but falls short on movie soundtracks and electronica, oh yeah and pipe organ stuff, I have temporarily solve this problem by adding a pair of SR4718's on each side, not my first choice but the price was right, they are crossed over at 60 Hz and blend in seamlessly.
As far as my contemporary impression of the system, it is more then I care to comment on right now, although if there is renewed interest in this thread I will definitely share everything that I have experienced thus far in regards to its acoustic properties. Suffice to say it is a very interesting loudspeaker that can do things other systems just can't, as with anything it's all about what compromises you can live with and what attributes you can't live without.
In conclusion I think the paragon is cool just because it is fully horn loaded, I love horns! and I love direct radiators. To me horns are for big spaces and direct radiators are for up-close, and or horns are for rich and eccentric people and direct radiators are for apartment dwellers. Of course there are exceptions! lol
future plans for this system include tube amplification, that I am currently needing to resurrect some nice old Brooks tryode amplifiers, some small parts missing.

Although it is a little late I want to thank everyone who participated in this most enlightening and well-meaning thread, in time I will try many different things to help that old system sound as good as it can.

NewZenith

Jan Daugaard
06-09-2006, 02:57 AM
I'm considering cloning the Paragon in collaboration with MatthiasA.

While we all now what the Paragon looks like, we know less about its acoustic properties, so please share your experiences with us and the other forum members.

E.g., have you tried eliminating the bullet? Letting the 376s (2441s) cover the entire range above 500 Hz could have a beneficial effect on the imaging.

Maron Horonzakz
06-09-2006, 06:03 AM
One point about the 375/376 The high frequencies take a fast nose dive reflecting off the curved panel and the tweeter is in the wrong place. The 075 or even better 2405 should also reflect off the curved panel. I made a special bracket to place tweeter at the panel. This helped in imaging. Over all I prefer the Metragon. All drivers reflect off the curved surface giveng a more cohearent sound field.

Jan Daugaard
06-09-2006, 07:51 AM
Hi Maron,

how come the high frequencies take a fast nose dive when reflected off the curved panel of the Paragon, but not when reflected off the curved panel of the Metregon?

Isn't the problem rather that the 375 is dead above 9 KHz?

Ian Mackenzie
06-09-2006, 08:14 AM
Interesting thread.

I am not surprised the Ashley and Halfer were a write-off and I have no doubt a large room is the order of the day.

I heard a pair of very well built Paragons built by a local JBL dealer some 25 years ago and they really are a cult speaker system...not for everyone.

A lot of people complain about Lowthers and Coral Beta 8s and 604-8G's but its really about complimentry equipment. Wilson Watts can also sound amazing or total crap in the right or wrong scene.

As I recall they were also very room dependant regards placement and furnishings.

My choice of vintage source and equipment would be ... Sota turntable, Sumiko cartridge, Passlabs Ono, P1.7 preamp and Aleph 5 or a Cary 35+35 SET most of which can be found on in the better classifieds.

Mr. Widget
06-09-2006, 12:01 PM
In defense of the Paragon, I will say that I believe it can be made to sound very good indeed.I have been mulling the question of what really sounds good over lately...

For years I have thought that the main reason that there were so many types of speakers out there was due to the fact that loudspeakers are the least accurate and most difficult portion of the recorded music chain to create. While I am sure this is a contributing factor, having spent years reading people's posts about speakers that I've personally heard, listening to friend's systems, and having friends come by and listen to mine, I think there are many flavors for many tastes.

At the low end of the market the goal is to make something listenable for cheap... sure whatever, a noble goal and I am sure not at all a trivial exercise, but with so many excellent speakers available very reasonably on the used market I have no interest in them. At the high end of the market, there are so many different flavors it seems hard to believe we all hear the same way... and maybe we don't. Some people like highs that sizzle, or bass that booms. Some like a system that exaggerates the mids. Some people like a large diffuse sound field and others a very intimate small image. Some people want a pleasant tonal quality and will likely never listen to stereo from the sweet spot and others want a system that cranks and pounds at their bones.

So does the Paragon sound good? Sure... if it has the sound you like, and no way in hell if you are after a different sort of thing.


Widget

edgewound
06-09-2006, 12:11 PM
I have been mulling the question of what really sounds good over lately...

For years I have thought that the main reason that there were so many types of speakers out there was due to the fact that loudspeakers are the least accurate and most difficult portion of the recorded music chain to create. While I am sure this is a contributing factor, having spent years reading people's posts about speakers that I've personally heard, listening to friend's systems, and having friends come by and listen to mine, I think there are many flavors for many tastes.

At the low end of the market the goal is to make something listenable for cheap... sure whatever, a noble goal and I am sure not at all a trivial exercise, but with so many excellent speakers available very reasonably on the used market I have no interest in them. At the high end of the market, there are so many different flavors it seems hard to believe we all hear the same way... and maybe we don't. Some people like highs that sizzle, or bass that booms. Some like a system that exaggerates the mids. Some people like a large diffuse sound field and others a very intimate small image. Some people want a pleasant tonal quality and will likely never listen to stereo from the sweet spot and others want a system that cranks and pounds at their bones.

So does the Paragon sound good? Sure... if it has the sound you like, and no way in hell if you are after a different sort of thing.


Widget

Mr. Widget,

You just brilliantly synopsized why the loudspeaker industry will never go out of business.

That is...unless we all go deaf and review cochlear implants.

NewZenith
06-09-2006, 03:05 PM
So does the Paragon sound good? Sure... if it has the sound you like, and no way in hell if you are after a different sort of thing.


Widget[/quote]


That being said all things relative, what makes one speaker system worth so much more money than another? rarity and bragging rights aside.
I'm going to try and have a good listen to the paragon tonight, I will take some of my best recordings and a good deal of diverse material so I may audition it objectively. A couple of things the paragon does pretty well. Dynamics, having that large bass horn driven by a pair of powerful LE15a driver's gives it quite a bit of slam, the same kind of macro dynamics that horn midrange and tweeters give the upper ranges. For example the crash of symbols or the strike of a drum stick on the rim of a drum. Imagine that same dynamic sound carried all the way down to 70 Hz.
I'm quite sure that most of you are more familiar with different types of horn loaded bass drivers that I am, that being said I still think the paragon has more impact or slam the most systems I've heard, even medium format pro gear with thousands of watts behind them.
About the room, the paragon I will be auditioning is in a large room with sliding doors that open up to yet another large space, I find the paragon to be most listenable from about 25 feet back. At that distance all the different sounds and ranges seem to blend perfectly together and you are left with a big warm and powerful presentation.
I have to give a lot of credit to the 375 drivers for they are a big part of what I like about the system, they give a clean projecting sound that brings voices to life, if only they could be crossed at 300 Hz.
I still find the midbass region to be a little anemic and I feel this is where I will try and bring the system together, I know that may sound contradictory to what I just said earlier but what I speak of is a matter of balance, I feel the warm overtones of singers and string instruments are little disconnected and lacking warmth.
My XPL250 prototype clones are my benchmark at this point although they too are flawed like anything, just the same I've managed to do what I feel is a remarkable job at getting that critical midbass region sounding warm but not heavy or bulky so it is quite a contrast for me to walk downstairs and listen to the 50s Buick!
I cannot decide whether or not I like the 075 ring radiators where they are, on orchestral/classical material they seem disconnected but not necessarily in a bad way, they seem to add air or space to the presentation almost like a cheesy super tweeter, unfortunately they are still playing overtones and residences of instruments and therefore I expect them to be connected and seamless with the rest of the presentation.
I plan on bypassing N7000 and going straight into the LX5 with the 375's and let them play all the way up, just for shits, should be interesting.
Newzenith.

Ian Mackenzie
06-09-2006, 03:39 PM
Yeah but some people can never seem to get a driver or a great system to sound right no matter advice they are given. Go figure.:barf:

Getting 99 % out of what you've got is perhaps the hard part and it's the 1% (the impurities and little differences) that piss you off, drive you around the bend and keep the industry afloat.

I find it odd that a really good modern hifi loudspeaker and a so called really good vintage loudspeaker can both sound excellent in a proper acoustic theatre seating 500 people.

I tried that once with a pair of 4343's but unfortunately the house system an Altec VOTT was totally blown away according to the house engineer.... He hated me that the first year but the client (The Victorian Ballet School) insisted on having the 4343's back for the next 5 annual concerts.

Maron Horonzakz
06-09-2006, 04:28 PM
JAn....I never said Metregons reflection off curved panel was better than the Paragon. The 375 takes a down turn at 9k... The 376 is a little bit better though. I keep my Paragon around for its good cabinet design but sonicly it.s not that great. The 075 is dated (15k);)

Ken Pachkowsky
06-09-2006, 07:55 PM
Thanks guys, a good read.

Ken

nrwjbl
06-13-2006, 03:54 AM
....when EQ´ed correctly, the paragon´s coloration is gone and you have the smooth and relaxed sound JBL was famous for.
Regards, Rafael

I tried a lot of things to reach satisfying performance of my paragon. Now I reached a level that nearly satisfies me. I agree to most of Rafael's recommendations as I tried them out.

I still think paragon is a fantastic speaker-system with an extraordinary performance - you may like it or not. Always again I'm impressed by its dynamics and even stressless reproduction - if adjusted correctly.
Not optimized by EQ's it may strain your ears and let you think about selling it for a good price. Indeed I thought about it sometimes and I'm happy I never did.

After trying different types of transistor pre- and poweramps, tubes, speaker cables etc. I found out that there are mainly two things that helped me fully accept and love the speaker.

I first tried different "power"-amps in combination with paragon - Mark Levinson 333, Lexicon LX 7, BAT VK 1000, Burmester 956, Brinkmann Monos etc. all of them were too powerful for the speaker. I got some older amps Crown D 45, D 60 and run them with paragon. I must admit that was really much better performance as with all those pretty expensive "power-houses". I tried different tubes and they worked very well, must say I prefer transistors because of easier handling and integrating into racks. In the end I connected paragon with Audio Research SP 11 and classic crown amps. So far I am much more satisfied than before.

Rafael recommended dbx driverack to me which I tried intensively. Running paragon with active X-over and "small amps" was another step in "optimizing" the speaker. EQ'ing and room measurement brought most effects. After listening some time I found sound performance was massive and impressing but I missed in the end the warmth and timbre that made JBL and paragon famous. By using digital dbx driverack 260 that certainly offers you loads of adjustments you receive that special "cold and clean digital sound" that is technically optimized but missing the "analogue feeling".

After all I will try again with a really high-quality analogue PEQ and forget about digital components, I'm sure paragon will love it and give performance that will satisfy me most. I had not the chance running a Massenburg PEQ, but I'm trying.
Some times ago I listened to a - rebuilt - paragon, forum member PARAGON told about. Performance was fine, the dealer did not invest much and used "low-fi" amps that proves paragon does'nt need high power. Unfortunately he prevented maximum performance quality by using Behringer EQ's. Keep you informed about my experience with analogue EQ's.
My conclusion:
I run my paragon with high-quality preamp, low power-amps and highest-quality equalizer. By integrating a really fine EQ (recommendations welcome) I can run the speaker by using built in x-overs and forget about activating.

regards nrwjbl

Mr. Widget
06-13-2006, 10:43 AM
By integrating a really fine EQ (recommendations welcome)...They have been recommended before, but my favorite analog EQ is still the White 4400. They are really transparent. I have hated digital from the start but now use the DEQX which I couldn't be happier with sonically... it is a bit of a pain to set up and use as you must use a computer to make most of the initial setups.

I've never tried one, but reading that who's who list of electronics that you have tried, you might try a Cello Palette preamp or better yet the Audio Palette dedicated EQ.

Your Paragon is really beautiful, I am skeptical that I could ever consider one as part of my primary system, but I'd love to have a piece of musical furniture that was that beautiful.


Widget

Rafael
07-05-2006, 03:14 AM
Hi all,

thanks for the nice reading. As I wrote in a former thread, I tried the dbx driverack series and I was quite happy with this device. It is absolutely necessary to feed the driveracks with the highest possible input level and to attenuate the level at the power amps. To make adjustments easy, a nice device with a 8-way pot is now made by SPL, called volume 8. With the driveracks you can easily change nearly all parameters and cure some faults of the original speaker. I must confess that I spend much more time measuring and changing parameters than listening to music. The problem with the digital gear is that you always want to “improve” and change some settings. In the end, when eq´ed, time delay adjusted and with the proper x/o´s some of the warm and relaxed sound of the speaker has gone and I must confess it sounded a bit like a B&W 801- this means not a fault but some of the magic has gone. My ideas may change but at the time I´m sure the best way is to leave the speaker original and to make some equalising with a good parametric device. The idea is to control some faults like JBL did with their EQ cards on the energizers but to make exact correction depending on the room. When equalized the right way there´s no comparison with an unequalized mode. A word on parametrics: I found out that some cheap items sound really disappointing and you will not reach a satisfying result if you use such a device. A good parametric is sonically “invisible” and just does its job without adding a colouration. Since a parametric EQ is a really complex and difficult thing, please buy a really pro item. I´ve made good experiences with the Klark PEQ and the massenburg 8200. Look at the professional mastering studios and the lots of records which were mastered using this parametrics.

Thanks and a good time,

Rafael

clif
07-06-2006, 02:43 PM
My Paragon, serial 179, is equipped with LE15's. I am driving it with a Dynakit Stereo 70 ( 35 watts/channel) and to my ear it sounds very good indeed. By the way, in June of 2005 I posted a note in the Product General Info. section ( page 38.) with a copy of a letter from G.L.Augspurger of JBL. In it he states the LE15 replaced the 150 because it added a little more emphasis in the bass and it had slightly less distortion at very high power levels.

57BELAIRE
07-19-2006, 08:55 AM
My Paragon, serial 179, is equipped with LE15's. I am driving it with a Dynakit Stereo 70 ( 35 watts/channel) and to my ear it sounds very good indeed. By the way, in June of 2005 I posted a note in the Product General Info. section ( page 38.) with a copy of a letter from G.L.Augspurger of JBL. In it he states the LE15 replaced the 150 because it added a little more emphasis in the bass and it had slightly less distortion at very high power levels.

Curiously, your Paragon predates mine (#278) and should have been 150-4C equipped.

Were the LE15's already installed when you got it?

Also, do you have the N400 or LX5?