Astounding finds: a JBL Metregon speaker system alongside a JBL Paragon system. Currently located at Audio Classics, owner Steve Rowell noted, “finding either of these is extremely rare. To have both at one time is unbelievable.” In fact, they’re so rare that we’re devoting all of this month’s column to these incredible examples of audio art.

 

The JBL Metregon. Wow, just…wow.

 

The JBL Paragon. From The JBL Book by John M. Eargle: “the 1957 Paragon was based on a direct-reflecting design by Richard Ranger originally intended for application in motion picture stereophonic reproduction. A mid-size version, the Metregon, was introduced later, as was a smaller bookshelf design, the Minigon. The curved cylindrical section balanced direct and reflected signals to produce a broad stereo soundstage for listeners over a fairly wide listening angle. Arnold Wolf was the industrial designer of the original Paragon.”

 

Original JBL Paragon brochure, page one.

 

Illustration from the original JBL Metregon brochure.

6 comments on “In Rare Form”

  1. I was living outside of Tokyo in the early 80’s and was just getting into audio. I, and my likeminded friends, made many of trip to the Akihabara section of the city to visit high end audio shops.

    I had the good fortune to see the Paragons up and running. During that period, the Japanese had a love affair with Tannoy’s. As a fan of acoustic Jazz, I fell under the spell of a pair of Tannoy SRM-12B’s, which I still have and use as nearfield monitors.

  2. Hi Tom, Yes, these are at Audio Classics in Vestal. They were still there as of a couple of weeks ago but I don’t know if they still are. I’m tempted to make a trip up just to listen.

  3. Hi!
    I always see articles about the Paragon and how rare they are and how special they are and how much they cost new, etc., etc.
    But, -and this is a really big question- how does it sound? If I have a modern low coloration speaker next to it, what impression will I have. If it is highly coloured, I don’t care about efficiency, dynamic range etc.
    Leon

  4. Interesting article; heard the Paragon in Japan (seems there is a certain type of fan base in Nippon for every exotic speaker design). Then I also heard a pair of old Klipschorns… today I’m a proud owner of a new pair of Klipschorns; AK6 iteration; they just sound more refined to my ears than the Paragon. On the other hand the Paragon represents the unique innovative power that’s unfortunately lost in JBL today… Thanks for the article!

  5. Frank, my summer job in 1960 before starting college was in a business accounting office with machines run with punch cards. One of the regular staff was a younger guy, married but without children. His wife also had a good job so they had what came to be called disposable income.

    With talk at work he learned of my interest in music and ask if I’d like to come hear his “stereo”? My parents had a Motorola console stereo so when I walked into this couple’s living room I assumed the large wooden cabinet along one wall was their console. Except it was bigger and had a beautiful curved wood panel across most of the front. He then told me that was just the speaker system. Nearby was another wooden cabinet, that one stacked with chrome and glass electronics with large blue meters.

    So the very first component stereo system I heard was the JBL Paragon driven by Mac electronics. After hearing nothing better than modest consoles prior to that you can imagine how overwhelmed I was by the music that evening. What a way to get exposed to the hobby!

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