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.

JohnnyR's picture

Price no object. How about some reasonably priced systems? Hard to find out there or you just don't care?

john abramson's picture

stephen, i am 'shocked' that you did not, once again, sexualize your description of the set up. thanks for  provided a plain, non superflous, informative product description. it is really possible to write effective prose without, as the british say, "sexing up" your work.

it would be a real pleasure to see you continur to flex your writing 'chops' in thi vein.

mrplankton2u's picture

I've been  regular follower/reader of Stereophile for years. As someone that has worked in a home theater related business, I've relied on it as a source of credible and useful information. And on the occasions in which I've had the opportunity to verify some of what's been published by attending trade shows across the country, it's been a satisfying and reaffirming experience to know there are people in the review industry who can be trusted to provide useful, accurate information. 

Unfortunately though, there has been a disturbing trend in Stereophile to hype and support products without making any discernible effort to objectively back up that hype and support. I noticed in this particular blurb that the price and model of the Transparent Cables used in this demo has been left out. Could it be that the sincere questions  I posed in another thread about the "value" and substance of Transparent Products (which btw have been deleted) have finally struck a chord with the folks at Stereophile?

I recently attempted to find out if any of the speaker cables listed on the market were "reviewed" by the magazine. A couple of mouse clicks revealed that yes - in fact Stereophile has actually posted "reviews" of speaker cables. Unfortunately though, what I found has thoroughly enforced what I've come to know about the "cable debate" and sadly - the connection between marketing hype and the truth. Do yourself a favor - Stereophile readers. Compare any loudspeaker review to a cable "review". See anything in the way of measurements for the cable review?

Exactly, there are none and there is no attempt at objective evaluation. To me this is a credibility problem that can't be ignored. Forget about a pair of speaker cables that cost more than $100,000. Maybe they are made with 50 ounces of 18 K gold. The point is - if you give up on any attempt at objectively evaluating something - a method of analysis that anyone else can reproduce to satisfy their doubts or suspicions, you have given up on your own credibility. I used to take this magazine seriously. Given what I now know about the cable business and Stereophile's part in that business, I regretfully can no longer take Stereophile seriously.

JohnnyR's picture

JA would NEVER do cable tests. That would mean the truth coming out about what people think they hear and what is actually going on. Might hurt profits a bit. They prefer the mystique of cables instead of the truth. Don't EVEN mention SBT or DBT either.