Folks have been asking me to examine these speakers for months. The claim is that there surely is something special here, a fresh bargain, a fresh answer for music perfection on the cheap. Well this is actually the review, let’s see what each of the buzz is about.
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Note: There were a good amount of write ups on the advantages and disadvantages of using these speakers as studio monitors. This review is from the perspective of a target audiophile tall on expectations and short on budget, so make an effort to keep up.
They just barely fit on my tiny desk, and yeah they needed stands. At just a little over 10 pounds a bit the random garbage collection was sagging somewhat under the weight of the monsters.
Merica for scale.
My wife said they are the nicest looking speakers that I’ve tested. I believe they appear to be Batman’s speakers.
I really do my listening before I pull a speaker apart, but I find you need to clarify the parts in order that readers really know what I’m discussing in the listening impressions section. So here’s some information on the items that makes the sound.
That is clearly a textile dome and it has rolled surround that means it is look bigger and helps push down the resonance frequency of the driver so that it can crossover lower. The dome sounds good, and I did so not hear any distortion from it while damaging my hearing with test tones.
No-one really cares about the driver though, the true star of the show may be the waveguide. I’m guessing you intend to know if it works.. well, yeah it works such as a fucking champ.
Freehand pointing a microphone at the speaker in a random ways comes home with among the better measurements I’ve ever recorded, this pattern control is god like. Bow right down to your brand-new waveguide overlord.
The woofer is a 5 inch injection molded poly cone with very soft butyl rubber surround. I’ve always liked poly woofers, which one plays clean and loud. no complaints because of its size it can a hell of employment.
The spider large and appears to regulate the woofer perfectly. There can be an extra backing magnet on the woofer, this increases magnetic force around the voice coil which supports efficiency. In addition, it helps cancel magnetic interferance beyond the speaker, which I’m guessing could possibly be one factor with it sitting a few inches from the amp board.
That is clearly a port, it’s a flared port, and appears to be tuned to an acceptable frequency. The -3dB point upon this speaker is 43Hz on the spec sheet, and I get accurately that in my own room.
In the event that you look closely you can observe just a little light bleeding from leading LED. I did so not notice this on my back walls in pitch darkness, so that it should not be a concern.
Balanced connection on the trunk of the amp in addition to a prosound/consumer level input sensitivity switch. The speakers ship with consumer mode as the default, and I did so have no issues using unbalanced RCA to 1/4 inch jack cables.
The energy switch is back here, and turning them on an off is a pain in the ass. Lucky for all of us they can be connected to a switched power bar or other remote AC switch since there is a soft start/delay when turning them on. The delay is long enough for me personally to turn using one speaker, walk to the other, transform it on, and then consider the first and wonder whether it’s going to start.. and then it can.
The trim controls aren’t to be touched.. they work just fine, however the speaker is indeed tonally correct out the box if you touch these you are making the speaker sound worse. Also, my measurements below 600Hz are simply completely random according to where in fact the microphone and speakers are put.
You understand those JBL guys make pro amps, and as part of Harmon there is also a few persons in the rolodex from companies like Crown, and Mark Levinson. Predicated on all of that I’ll have a stab and reckon that this is simply not an off the shelf part. The amps listed below are class D amps, 41 watts per driver, so 82 per speaker, or even more than enough to damage you and sound great carrying it out.
- press multiple times for extra silliness
It offers lights front dead center. They are to be used at night to align your ears to find the best imaging. They are bright, but similar to the waveguide they diffuse nicely and do not beam.
The fit and finish of the enclose is quite nice. The only problem I see this is actually the trim ring on the woofer is sort of shit and it appears like it really wants to rattle. If you would like to be “among those people” then you can certainly get out your 3mm allen key and make certain the woofer screws are snug.
The wood of the box will not seem to be very thick, and easily had to guess I’d say it is the normal cardboard junk I see on almost every cheap speaker from China. JBL was nice enough to cover the inner side walls with some form of black foam, uncertain whether it’s doing much, nonetheless it looks nice when you open the box.
Oh the humanity… the baffle is molded plastic that doubles as the waveguide, it’s about as thick as a milk crate, or around 1/8 inch, and appears to be glued to the wooden box.
Charles Sprinkle the designer of the waveguide said that the M2(high dollar version of the speakers) waveguide is filled up with epoxy on the trunk to eradicate ringing for the reason that waveguide can become a bell. From what I could tell this would be considered a pretty simple DIY upgrade to these speakers when you can source the epoxy rather than melt the baffle along the way. You will find a lip that follows the exterior edge of the baffle to add it to the wooden box, which means you should manage to just pull the plate amp from the back and fill it up compared to that point and await it to dry.
It is the best picture I possibly could manage of the trunk of the waveguide which ultimately shows ribbing and appears like someone took time to try to get this to as good as it may be given the material choice.
While there are downsides to presenting a thin plastic baffle JBL made lemonade out of lemons and took the possibility to physically time align the drivers. Time alignment signifies that the tweeter and woofer’s acoustic center are on a single vertical plane, something normally done on a set baffle speaker by tilting it back.
Well, that is my best attempt at simulating an effective sized desk setup. Speakers finished up a little significantly less than 4 feet apart and directly before the computers.
The foundation is a computer playing flac ripped from my small cd collection and high bitrate spotify. I switched between my receiver’s headphone output and a UCA202 DAC, both which sounded good, however the UCA202 has some buzz onto it when used the JBL’s. It appears like power interference as the noise get’s better the further from the computer I could get it.
Well, these sound good out the box. Not in a generic “it creates music good” way, but good on the amount of “In comparison to everything I’ve have you ever heard these sound good.” In this setup these speakers have significantly more detail than anything I’ve heard. Without doubt no shit detail, not colored rising response detail. It is the kind that you will get from a dead room with headlight beam dispersion speakers, but they are not headlights, which room is not dead.
The proceedings here’s that the direct sound from the speaker is tonally matched to the reflected sound, so everything gets covered in wonderfully neutral sound. This matches up with Harman’s research as the easiest way to listen to music, nonetheless it is a sea differ from solutions like I saw recently with the Von Schweikert VR4’s where they put a tweeter on the trunk of the speaker to improve the tone of reflected sound without addressing the forward sound dispersion.
You see that speaker way over there, well I could hear that speaker, and it sound good and neutral and I could hear every detail via it.
Trouble in Paradise, or the Harshness
Despite the fact that the sound measures flat and sounds correct I get the impression that there surely is an excessive amount of information in the upper midrange, particularly in drums and vocals. First impression was that is a side-effect of the dispersion and my ears simply need to get accustomed to the sound, therefore i did.
I’ve had these speakers for some days now, and I’ve paid attention to them for approximately 100 hours. It’s a constant marathon of messing with positioning, taking measurements, dicking with the hi and low gain/cut switches, playing test tones, playing the same songs again and again trying to nail down what it really is that bugs me about these speakers. I’ve even called in help, my buddy Scott paid attention to them and after calling me crazy now plans to get these speakers from me when i finish the review, replacing my DIY Madisound speakers and his HK3490 amp in his living room. These speakers are that good.
The only one who in anyway agreed with me was my lovely wife. Now my partner is normally not the type to state anything about my speakers apart from I have way too many, and has essentially the most untrained ear out of anyone I understand. Significantly less than 4 minutes to be in the area with the speakers she said that it sounded too crazy like things were everywhere. I took that to imply that she heard a similar thing I did so, then she left the area and I got eventually to work.
Powered with what I took as support from my loving wife I took a stab at making a correction for these speakers. They measure pretty damn flat to start out, and the on axis and off axis sound interact hand in hand to make a uniform flat sound for the area. Correcting Sir Andrew Jones speakers is a very important factor, but I’m going to commit heresy by putting cosmetic on Harman’s baby and eqing probably the most naturally flat speakers I’ve ever find. My self justification is that if JBL had DSP in the budget they might have used it, and the M2’s use DSP so it is fair game.
Enter the EQ
Starting the EQ process I’ve no idea what I’m looking for, everything looks good and I believe my measurement setup is garbage below 500Hz, and above that inadequate to be 100% sure something is from the speaker or from the area. I begin by just trimming the above 10k to create it flat and I hear nothing, nothing at all. This isn’t an excessive amount of a surprise as there isn’t much up there in music and it’s really not precisely a beautiful realization that I cannot hear a 3dB shift at 15kHz. well at least it looks nice on the graph.
Going for a more heavy handed approach I go full retard and smash it flat right down to 800Hz merely to see imagine if anything happens. Well, I take exactly what is a +-2.5dB response and make it +-.5dB. The largest change is a little spike centered at 1350Hz. I adapt everything back again to level to be able to not wreck havoc on the tone. I permit the EQ and… again nothing… well I’ll just listen for a bit.
I QUICKLY heard it, it is the slightest sound of distortion that was there is currently gone. This change is indeed slight that while I could A/B it, it’s depends what song is played how long it will require me. It’s actually better to spot off axis vertically(operate before the speakers) which might be why my partner heard it when she passed through the area.
Listening position measurement of before and following the correction.
OK, in order that spike at 1350Hz isn’t my room, it is the speaker behaving badly. Let’s see if we are able to find the source.
Listed below are the close mic measurements of the drivers.. all looks good, however the port is putting out sound in the number of interest. Let’s see plugging the port does us any favors.
Well, the port isn’t the source, easily had to guess I’d say that something in the box is ringing and causeing this to be sound, but it may be the drivers themselves. A knock privately of the speaker after learning about the budget construction provides metallic ringing to it, maybe the amp board resonating. I cannot be certain, but I’ve rejected the drivers in the effected range and today I cannot hear it, so maybe it’s something as simple as edge defraction. Maybe some JBL waveguide designer will spot this review and either i want to know I’m an idiot or tell me what I’m hearing.
Living Room Setup
These speakers become big shit on the desktop, so it is time to take them to the ground and punish them publicly to see what they are able to take when provided room to execute. I’ve got them plugged straight into the RCA output from my aging squeezebox and I’m going to be cranking to volume yourself on the trunk of the speakers. No DSP correction, just raw performance.
The imaging will there be, the waveguide competes perfectly with the RAAL tweeter on the Selah Mejor’s for imaging and smoke it for detail in my own shity living room.
Bass perfomance is put to the test, and it falls apart a lttle bit occasionally sounding compressed when I crank the quantity to couch shaking levels. A higher pass filter would definately help tidy up the bass response, however the tweeter is still performing to task, clean and perfect without compression.
My expectations for living room system is that it will be able to entertain a crowd of drunk persons dancing around like idiots… this is merely about loud enough, and it has more in it as I’m not hearing distortion.
Applying for grants the JBL LSR308
My buddy Scott will be picking the up LSR305’s soon and I anticipate dealing with the JBL LSR308’s as my next review when I get the money together. When you are thinking about picking the 308’s up just consider they are freaking gigantic, think 90’s bookshelf speaker huge. I’m uncertain how I’ll fit them at work for testing, and if indeed they employ the same construction methods they could have structural issues that are not turning up on the 305 with it’s smaller everything.
Update: JBL LSR308 review is performed
The JBL LSR305’s have changed my mind in what frequent directivity can do. Although you may have a kicking HiFi now you might like to pick up a couple of the JBL LSR305’s as something to test. For the price then one you can send back again to Amazon without issue it’s sort of silly never to do it. I’ve never tested anything so uniformly flat both on / off axis in the treble range, plus they have a huge amount of detail within with the reflected sound and direct sound both being damn near flat it creates for a fresh experience. The areas that it is lacking are in euphoric’s, and a realistically sized/shaped sound stage, but closer than normal placement to side walls and running with some toe in appears to greatly help with those issues.