Marantz, JBL and Altec Audio Equipment
JBL D44000 Paragon Speaker circa 1966... The Most Collectable Audio Piece on Earth
Another Paragon Link
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Hi-Fi from the 60's and 70's is an ongoing part time hobby for me. Since I am more into cars than Hi-Fi, I simply have chosen to collect what the market "says" is the best equipment, and it has been a very good investment at that. I wish I could listen to the market on cars, but I know them too well and and I am not into the "programmed" popular cars due to my knowledge of the way they really are from hands on experience. Like the 67 435 corvette, 67 GTO and things from that era that bring back a memory for many that is much greater than reality, this old equipment is no different. The difference for me is that I cannot tolerate the poor driving and poor performance from the overrated, and overstated 60's "performance" cars, thus I do not own any today. I can however tolerate the very respectable sound and incredible build quality from certain audio equipment from that era. Thus in reality, I know cars better than audio equipment, so I can be happy with this stuff.... Ignorance is bliss....
Anyway, after than analogy, I have an appreciation for this equipment that started when I was a kid. Before I ever turned a wrench or drove a car, I was burning myself on tubes from old "Voice of Music" Lo-Fi equipment from the 50's. I got my start in my true profession in electronics from that age and got a Amateur radio license too. When I was a teen, I worked at a Hi-Fi shop and dreamed about owning the equipment that was sold there.... Well I got it now, just 25 years later....
This system is one of two big "collectors" setups I have put together from things I have owned a long time combined with things I have acquired from the wonderful world of the internet. This one is for audio media only.. The second one is a HT setup using a combo of modern and 70's equipment... The one pictured here is a Marantz/JBL Stereo System but with 4 Channels.. Not quad.. Stereo with 4 channels... This equipment is considered by many "experts" to be some of the best equipment ever built, even by today's standards.... Well, I think they are exaggerating a bit, just as a 67 435HP corvette is really about a 220HP car today that cant turn a corner. One thing though, that is not ever going to be the same today, is the build quality of this old stuff. It really is art work if you know electronics a little. It was all hand built WITH PRIDE in THE USA... Something we have totally forgotten.... Modern form-factor equipment may work well, but it is nothing like this, will not last 40+ years like this and is just cheap plastic stuff as the rest of the world has become... Including new Mercedes cars.......
Unlike 60's muscle cars, that were in reality not that expensive when they were new, this equipment was. In order to purchase a system like this in the 60's, it would have been well over $12,000 then just for the 60's vintage pieces, thus making most of this equipment very rare today due to the fact that only the extremely wealthy could afford to spend that for a "stereo". Because of that, it has become almost like "art" and has appreciated over time and becomes even more valuable when the artists behind its creation passes away, like Saul Marantz and James Lansing. I wish I had more of this stuff than cars in reality as its far less maintenance, takes up less space, and has appreciated a bit better.
As far as this system being from the 60's makes the obvious fact that it is tube driven. This makes for a great natural sound only produced by equipment like this. The 4 JBL speaker systems (paragon and S8R's) combined have 6 LE15 LF 15" drivers, 4 375 mid drivers and 4 075 VHF drivers. Add it up and you have 90" of bass drivers..... If 90" of bass drivers were not enough driven by the Marantz 9's and 8B... (it was not for me) I complemented the 60's vintage speaker systems with 70's commercial pro line stuff using 18" JBL 2245 subs to make up for the lacking sub bass that ALL systems have. The JBL 2245 is the industry standard LF driver in most IMAX theaters use today. Driving those subs are two bridged Marantz 510M's from 1975 to keep with the genre... Bridged this amp produces over 1000 watts each, combines two of them and thats 2000 REAL watts of power driving the 80HZ and below signal. The Marantz 510M is simply one of the best and most powerful SS amplifiers ever built and works better than expected. In fact it is the single most impressive piece of classic gear there is to me. All in all, there is 126" of bass drivers in this room, very tastefully hidden by the classic enclosures of the era. To power all this, takes 3 30amp 120V dedicated circuits and two massive power relays so the 7C can switch it all on at one time.
This system will play anything from Mozart to Led Zeppelin, Stan Kenton to the Bee Gees with live presence. It will move the leaves on the plants, your hair and pants, but will not make you scream "turn it down". The room is set up for this too, all the paintings you see are triple hung to keep from tilting and all 4 walls surrounding are over insulated and are solid brick outsides. The Paragon makes piano pieces by such artists and Erroll Garner and Gene Harris absolutely stage live quality. Old Louis and Ella make you think you really are Stompin at the Savoy.... It really is kind of nice when I have the time to listen...
This System consists of the following;
Marantz 7C Tube Pre circa 1964
Marantz 10b Tube Tuner circa 1965
Marantz Model 9 Tube Amplifiers circa 1966 (2)
Marantz Model 510M Amplifiers circa 1975 (2)
JBL D44000 Paragon Loudspeaker System circa 1966
JBL Sovereign I S8R Spearker Systems circa 1967 (2)
JBL Delphi Equipment Cabinet circa 1967
2 JBL 2245 18" Subwoofers in Custom Built Enclosures
5 Marantz RA2 Rack Mount Units
1 Marantz modern professional CD player with 12AX7 outputs
1 professional Tube Parametric (modern Behringer)
1 professional Electronic Crossover (moden Behringer)
1 Creek remote motor (modern volume control)
Not Seen in these photos but are part of this system are;
Marantz SLT Linear Turntable circa 1966
Marantz 8B Amplifier circa 1966
Akai 747 Tape Deck circa 1977
New Cheapo Motorola MP3 receiver (kinda cool)
A wide array of cooling fans in the cabinet
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