Paragon Sight and Sound
Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Paragon Sight & Sound put together another high-performance, cost-no-object system: Wilson Audio MAXX Series 3 loudspeakers ($69,500/pair); Doshi Audio (“Audio Products for Music Lovers”) Alaap v3.0 NAB tape preamp ($10,995), Alaap v3.0 line stage ($14,995), Alaap v2.1 phono stage ($10,995), and Jhor 160 monoblock power amplifier ($28,995/pair); SME 20/3 turntable ($15,500 with SME’s Series V tonearm) and Koetsu Urushi Vermillion cartridge ($5850); and Transparent Audio cables. The gear was supported by Harmonic Resolutions Systems racks. I didn’t listen to any digital while I was in the room, but digital was being handled by a Wadia S7i CD player and a Playback Designs MPD-5 Reference DAC.
The Doshi Audio equipment was relatively new to me. The Jhor 160 monoblock is rated to deliver 160W into 6 ohms; it uses KT120 output tubes and a 26-lb custom output transformer built by Sowter. The handsome Alaap tubed line stage has four inputs and a 31-position transformer volume control.
Wilson’s MAXX 3 seemed pleased. I thought the sound was a bit bottom-heavy at times, but with a very fine midrange and clean, delicate highs. Even at very high volumes and during complex passages of music, the amps had no problem driving the big MAXX 3s, the system showing off stable imaging and producing no signs of distortion.