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View Full Version : JBL Decade Series (L16/L26/L36)



Nightbrace
02-17-2007, 06:49 PM
For a long time I have recommended all of the Decade series speakers to those on a budget (especially as sattelites for a HT set-up), but have not spent the time to critically listen to them all to know what the "real-world" differences are between them (L16/L26/L36). I also hope to discuss the differences, if any, between the "newer" L26A and L36A's.

To satisfy my own curiosity with the recent comparisons made between the L26 and L36, a friend of mine let me borrow his L26's for the weekend, and tomorrow I'll be doing some critcal listening to compare my L36's to his L26's. Both speakers are 100% stock with only refoams done.

I'll be using my Nakamichi PA-7 amp, Phase Linear 2000 pre, Sony CDP-C701ES CD transport and DAC for the comparison along with a AMCO CM20 switcher with the speakers voume matched with a analog Radio Shack SPL meter (hardly perfect I know), but I can get it close enough. The listening room I'd consider to be a medium room and similiar to a normal family room or den. L-pads will be set at 0 on both pairs for this evaluation with the pre amp settings at flat or 0 as well.

I hope to get my hands on a pair of L16's as well to add to this thread, as I have already gone through this procedure a few years ago with different gear with the L19's and 4301B's against the L16's, but would like to comment on the Decade Series only in this thread.

I always considered the L19/4301 to be "similiar" to the L16, but recent rummaging through these forums says that the differences are less subtle than what I recall. This makes me want to go back and listen to these speakers (L19/4301) as well, but given that they are not a part of the Decade series I cannot consider these speakers in this discussion unless its to compare them against the L16's and not the entire Series as a whole.

http://www.lansingheritage.org/images/jbl/specs/home-speakers/1974-decade/page1.jpg

I'll also be posting the specifics of these speakers including the technical information of each, pictures, and what I've created with my "special" L36's which have taken the original design and incorporated "newer" components for better overall performance.

Any comments and opinions on similiar comparisons of the speakers within this series would be appreciated! Along with any worthwhile upgrades that anyone else has tried with speakers in this series.

I'm curious to see if your guys' findings are similiar to mine, and if we can come to the agreement that this series is indeed one of the best values in audio. I have thought this for a LONG time, ever since first hearing my first pair of L36's.

Ecstatic Xoul
02-17-2007, 07:13 PM
looking forward to reading about this, I finally got my first pair of L-36's after months of waiting (and months of lurking on this forum!)

Nightbrace
02-17-2007, 07:18 PM
looking forward to reading about this, I finally got my first pair of L-36's after months of waiting (and months of lurking on this forum!)

Good to hear :applaud:. The L36 was my first JBL speaker and was how I "caught the bug" too..

Wornears
02-17-2007, 08:45 PM
My first JBLs were L-26. Played them for a couple of years, blew out a tweeter (fixed free by JBL even though it was obvious I had abused it). Very nice speaker, but can't fill a room without straining -- but what could one expect? I'd buy another pair if they came my way.

Traded them in on new L36s in 1977. My son has them now. A lot of sound for the money. Better balanced than an L-100 IMO.