Looking for plans for the famous JBL Metregon Speaker System

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by richartistic, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. richartistic

    richartistic Member

    Messages:
    50
    Greetings fellow AudioKarma members. I am looking to locate the original plans for the world famous JBL Metregon Speaker System that JBL sold back in the 1950s and 1960s. I have been able to locate many nice photos of the system however I need some specs on the cabinetry (specific sizes of pieces of the unit) so that I can create an accurate reproduction of the Speaker enclosure, with all of its individual parts. I plan to manufacture several of these in Solid Walnut and Walnut veneers. I have the basic dimensions of the entire structure however I would love to locate the original drawings from 1958 so that I can know the radius of the front panel as well as the size of each part of the cabinetry. I can play around with the photos I have to extrapolate the sizes of the individual parts through measurements on the photos however it would be much easier simply to find the drawings of the unit so that I can begin construction. As I plan to make 3 or 4 of these, I would prefer to have the original architectural drawings for the case construction.
    Any help, even the smallest bit of information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for any direction you can point me.
     
  2. avguytx

    avguytx AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,837
    Location:
    Central AR
    Have you ever heard one of these or the Paragon? I've heard both....been a long time, back when my hearing was better, and neither sounded that great. They definitely look better than they sound and seems like they were designed to be nice looking furniture with sound an after thought. Nice looking, though. May have to do some serious reverse engineering.
     
    asilker likes this.
  3. boatdrinks77

    boatdrinks77 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    762
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Co.

    I always wondered about the sound of the Paragon / Metregon ----- I figured IF the sound was phenomenal, other manufacturers would have followed suit and manufactured speakers in one cabinet like the JBL's......


    That stated, I still would love to have a Metregon or Paragon in my living room.... not because they are rare of worth a fortune, but just because they look so damned cool. I'd sacrafice sound in one of my rooms for looks. Dan :music:
     
  4. Zonker92

    Zonker92 All shiny and chrome Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,798
    Location:
    Central CA
    Yeah, I definitely wouldn't do it for the sound, but I love the looks, also the Minigon.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
    asilker likes this.
  5. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan AK Member

    Messages:
    15,087
    Location:
    Here and there

    I guess that at the very least a Metragon or Paragon would have low distortion and excellent dynamics. Formidable virtues.

    I heard a Paragon at Allied Radio on Western Avenue back in the 60s but I didn't know anything at the time. I'd like those who have reliable recollections of the speakers to explain what about the sound was subpar, given that the same drivers in other cabinets often gave sound many consider excellent. Well, except for that skilsaw 075 tweeter the Paragon used.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  6. gdmoore28

    gdmoore28 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,475
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    I'd like to hear that, as well. There have been several speakers that have lackluster reputations on the internet that sounded just fine to me. I think we've all discovered that it takes only one or two negative testimonials for internet lore to develop and then spread like wildfire throughout the ranks. And, get worse with every telling.

    On the other hand, maybe "benchmark" speakers like the Paragon are being improperly judged against modern standards of speaker response and actual presentation. Which company today would produce such a speaker and then release it into the audio world of critics with analysis equipment that used to be available only to the "big boys" of yesteryear. Then there is the question of said critics' ability to properly analyse what they see with their RTA files and waterfall graphics.

    Maybe the Paragons do sound terrible. I don't know, but I doubt it. So I'd love to hear it straight from people who have actually heard them. Despite the fact that we all have audio "memory" of only a few minutes, I'm sure that speakers of such renown must have left a memorable impression.

    But, back to the OP's original question: any plans available for them? Seems I recall seeing them somewhere.

    GeeDeeEmm
     
  7. pdm4606

    pdm4606 Super Member

    Messages:
    2,646
    Location:
    Las Cruces, NM
    I heard a Paragon in 1957(1958??) for the first time. Never forget it. I was around 14 and the sound was nothing like I ever heard. Walking through the main showroom of Allied Radio Chicago on Western Ave.
    All of a sudden to my rear I heard music like I never heard before. Clean, clear and loud. Something maybe from Les Baxter in a tropical sound. Tape playback. In stereo. I haven't been the same since. Totally addicted. Still am. JBL forever.
     
    audiomagnate likes this.
  8. pdm4606

    pdm4606 Super Member

    Messages:
    2,646
    Location:
    Las Cruces, NM
    Check out "Lansing Heritage" for these and other plans.
     
  9. bhunter

    bhunter The Spherical Cow

    Messages:
    1,522
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    I heard one here in San Diego and thought they sounded fine, but nothing spectacular IMHO. I tend to think of them as a background speaker and that's exactly what they were for in this gentleman's home. The sound in his theater with some Magicos was much better.

    Zilch owned one and here's some of his comments in this thread:
    http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/jbl-paragon.340340/page-2
     
  10. WaynerN

    WaynerN Super Member

    Messages:
    4,026
    Location:
    Minnesota
  11. richartistic

    richartistic Member

    Messages:
    50
    Hi Avguytx, I have never even seen one in person, let alone heard it, however I looked at the design of the Metregon vs. the Paragon and the Metregon looks fairly simple to construct. I just don't have the exact dimensions. I have found a couple of spec sheets that give specific dimensions at different places and I have seen the brochures put out by JBL that indicate it is precisely 73 11/16 wide (Why they chose to make it that specific size is a little odd) and 22 1/2 inches from the deepest point of the rear side of the curve to the back side of the console. It also indicates the height at 30 inches. I should be able to extrapolate the other dimensions from the photos, including the radius of the front panel which would be nice to get fairly close.
    Since I have read reviews that are all over the map, I figure that I'll try to locate some woofer components with heavy magnets and tweeters that have a good reputation.
    The prices that some of these audiophiles are asking for original parts, is stratospheric and I'm really interested in the furniture aspect of the piece. The Metregon is something that is reasonable in size, whereas the Paragon is just too much for a single space. One would need a really large room to give it the appropriate space it requires, is my guess.

    My guess as to the reason there were so few manufactured is that I've seen the price points for these systems back in the late 50s and the Paragon was selling for $2250, which was a boatload of cash at that time. A new car could be purchased for that price and the average music connoisseur just wasn't willing to plop down that kind of cash. Even the Metregon, empty of any audio speakers and crossovers was going for $594. According to an inflation calculator that I used that would be equivalent to spending about $4800 in today's dollars, for just the Metregon cabinet. The price had to be a big reason of why they never sold so many.

    Thanks to everyone so far for all the input. I'm still in the planning stages but hopefully in a few months I'll start manufacturing parts. I'll be sure to post photos all during construction.
     
    Zonker92 likes this.
  12. richartistic

    richartistic Member

    Messages:
    50
    Hi WaynerN,
    Thanks for the link. It seems like that might be the best option there. It sounds as if he sends out a large book with many pages of drawings. Not a bad one time investment. You have my gratitude for your help!!
     
  13. richartistic

    richartistic Member

    Messages:
    50
    Hi Zonker,
    My brother is interested in the Minigon. He said he likes that one the best. Maybe I'll build him one of those. Not much to it, relatively speaking, but it would be nice in Walnut.
     
    Zonker92 likes this.
  14. Marine0811

    Marine0811 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    If the sound from the Paragon is that bad, anyone that has one can give it to me for disposal.
     
    Outta Ammo likes this.
  15. WaynerN

    WaynerN Super Member

    Messages:
    4,026
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Your welcome. I've always been curious about these, never seen one in real life, nor heard one, but I think I understand the infatuation(s).

    If you build one, post pictures.
     
  16. hjames

    hjames Nabbed ... Subscriber

    Messages:
    10,421
    Location:
    VA near DC
    One of the guys in lansing Forum had a Paragon - He claimed he'd listen to talk radio with them ... (not sure if he meant Howard Stern or Rush ...)
    But they are iconic and have an very cool visual style, like sculpture,
    so even if they sound like poop, the look has kept them collectable for many years! (est $25k or so for a good one)
     
    greymatter likes this.
  17. dosmalo

    dosmalo T-Totaled Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,255
    Location:
    The Cult of Personality
    There are rumours that Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin acquired three Paragons each – one for each of left, center and right channels – with which they used to monitor their recordings from master tapes.[4]

    From Wikipedia
     
  18. greymatter

    greymatter AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    603
    Location:
    Royal Oak , Michigan
    You are correct a guy just outside of Lansing Michigan has 1.Have seen it touched it but did not hear it play . Thinking of our conversation we had he ( Bill ) turned that offer down and it was for 26K .
     
  19. WaynerN

    WaynerN Super Member

    Messages:
    4,026
    Location:
    Minnesota
    They are a stereo speaker in themselves............Like a console stereo ya know.......
     
  20. dosmalo

    dosmalo T-Totaled Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,255
    Location:
    The Cult of Personality
    That was my understanding.
    Perhaps Frank and Dean had customized units.
     

Share This Page