Jump to content

Khorn vs. Bozak vs. JBL Paragon Review 1963 Memories in 1999


ClaudeJ1
 Share

Recommended Posts

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 pair 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 The K-horns had a slightly "withdrawn" in the low bass range, but then this is not a direct radiator and there is a lot of wood between you and the 15WK's. The paragon did not appear to go down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 problem 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 piece of wood across the front seemed 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 typically 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 performance 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 the 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.

 

In  TV  and Printed interviews, PWK even said you can never reproduce sound perfectly accurately, Khorns come as close as possible, and are the optimum size for a speaker.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • ClaudeJ1 changed the title to Khorn vs. Bozak vs. JBL Paragon Review 1963 Memories in 1999

    Fascinating insight into the state of the art 60 years ago!  Thanks for posting.  I love the vintage stuff, and collect it a bit.  However, I'm with you Claude.  The modern stuff is orders of magnitude better than stuff from 1963. 

    In the end, I'd love to have a Paragon in my living room.  They are so pretty, my wife might even allow it!  I'm certainly not going to get rid of the modern stuff to get one though.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Tarheel TJ said:

    Fascinating insight into the state of the art 60 years ago!  Thanks for posting.  I love the vintage stuff, and collect it a bit.  However, I'm with you Claude.  The modern stuff is orders of magnitude better than stuff from 1963. 

    In the end, I'd love to have a Paragon in my living room.  They are so pretty, my wife might even allow it!  I'm certainly not going to get rid of the modern stuff to get one though.

 

 

There's one for sale on US Audio Mart for only about $10,000, which less than half of typical used price of 20-25 Kilobux.

 

I still think that a Paragon would sound much better than 95% of the Cheap Direct Radiator Speakers of today because it's an ALL HORN system after all as well as a work of ART.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just read somewhere else that Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin owned 3 Paragons EACH to listen to their own Master Tapes. Since a Single Paragon is Stereo, they had to be using a Paragon as a single speaker instead of stereo (effectively 6 speakers systems in 3 cabinets.

 

They used 3 channels, as championed by Paul W. Klipsch, and, I presume wired each Paragon's R and L together as a single channel, for R C L for each cabinet.

 

Pretty cool when you consider the cost and required space in the late Fifties! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Claude,

 

Are there other pages to this story I am not seeing? You refer to a couple of things in a context that would lead me to believe they were discussed earlier in the story. Or, am I just blind as a bat?

 

One that caught my attention was when you said "At the time I believe Woody invoiced the doctor $2,900 for the Paragon". Would that be Woody Jackson by any chance?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...
1 minute ago, Jazzboy said:

Sorry newbie here. I would to get a PM to ClaudeJ1 directly. How can  I  do that. 

Jazzboy

Make 3 or 4 more public posts.

It will enable you to PM.

Welcome!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Jazzboy said:

Sorry newbie here. I would to get a PM to ClaudeJ1 directly. How can  I  do that. 

Jazzboy

You''ll need at least 5 posts to activate the PM .............PRIVATE MESSAGE feature , but I think you can send a PM ,as we speak  , but you cant receive PM's until you reach 5-6 posts , 

 

-move your cursor over your avatar .........which is your user name , and bottom left is ............message , click on message ,  write your message and add @ClaudeJ1 as  the recipient ........easy , simple

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Heard the Paragon in the 60's only because a classmate's Dad owned a TV shop here in Duckburg.  He bought enough of those L100's or whatever they were and also a Paragon for himself.  We were in his shop one day and I was looking for albums he had for sale.  No rock or Beatles just Julie London stuff hahaha.  He was talking about his Paragon and asked if I wanted to hear it so I said sure.  The high school DJ followed him upstairs to his apartment above the store and sat down.  I was amazed til he told me how much one cost.  Yea, he had the bragging rights then and died some years later.  Neither of his daughters or his son know what happened to it.  I never heard anything Klipsch back then but that Paragon sounded amazing.  Think he was running a McIntosh playing Julie London for me.  It really did sound amazing though.  Even if I had the money it wouldn't fit in my bedroom.  lol

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...