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numbers
02-04-2008, 10:20 PM
I'm a newbie to this forum but not to the JBL sound. The first pair of speakers I ever owned when I could afford a pair were the JBL L100s. I bought them in 1973 and kept them in mint condition for 25 years. I promised them to my son when he graduated from college and moved away from home in 1998. He had been using them for about 7 or 8 years by then. I've been an audiophile for 30 years and now I want another pair.

I have a question for you JBL L100 owners I hope you can help me out with. I know there are 3 versions of the JBL L100. I had the first version with the speakers in a vertical alignment. I believe these were only made through 1974 when JBL went to the off-set tweeter and mid-range. My question is this. I'm not playing shake-the-walls rock n' roll like I did in the 60s and 70s and am interested in knowing which version of the L100s has the warmest, richest sound. I remember them as great rock n' roll speaker with great bass. I also remember they were known as speakers that were all "boom and sizzle" but as I recall they also had a great mid-range.

Have any of you guys compared the sound of the different versions of the L100? If so, can you fill me in on the tonal quality of the different versions. It's been too many years since I've heard my original L100s. I can't remember the sound any more as they sounded hooked up to analog gear.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

BMWCCA
02-04-2008, 10:28 PM
Uh-oh! :slink:


Have you considered leaving your L100 experience as a lovely memory and moving up to some more "accurate" JBLs? I suspect you will in a few days after others respond to your post. I've owned nothing but JBLs for over fifty-years now but was never an L100 fan. Not that I didn't have plenty of friends who, like you, bought them back then, loved them, and still have them today. Welcome, and get comfortable!

Fred Sanford
02-05-2008, 05:42 AM
Do a search here, there's plenty of reading that can help you. Look for Zilch plugs and swerd crossovers in particular. Sounds weird, but I'm serious.

I've got two pair of the later L100 Centurys, one alnico and one loaded with pro ferrite components. I've got maybe $75 invested into the set of 4, just so you know part of my motivation. There are also L110s, L46s and 4333As here, with 4408s some others I can't remember living here in the past. Initially, I didn't like the L100s at all, having been spoiled by the L110s and then the 4333As. Recently, I've found a home for one pair that seems to work well for me, and they're not bothering me at all- however, they're still my least favorite of the bunch...wait, I recently picked up a pair of HP420s, they're the least favorite now so the L100s are second.

I find the highs a bit lacking, don't like the woofers running full range (your old in-lines may have had better crossovers, read up on that), and probably just have better alternatives at hand, so they always seem to suffer in comparison. They sure are plentiful, so if the budget doesn't bother you, you'll probably get what you expect for a predictable amount of $. If you want advice on which models are best-for-the-buck, you'll get plenty of guidance here.

Good luck,

je

Here's a start for you:

http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=13105

http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=12036

http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=14672

http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=12864

http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=12864

numbers
02-05-2008, 05:58 AM
I find the highs a bit lacking

That's what I'm looking for. A speaker that is not white and bright.

What do you mean by the woofer running range?

Do you have the second and third generation models of the L100?

Thanks for your help.

numbers
02-05-2008, 07:08 AM
I'm looking for JBLs that have good bass and mid-range but roll off the highs. I'm not looking for extended highs. I learned 20 years ago that white and bright no longer sounds good to my ears.

Robh3606
02-05-2008, 07:27 AM
What are you listening to now?? That's going to influence your first impression if it's been a while. I would go for the latter models with ferrite drivers if you can. The woofers should be in better shape. The alnico's may be a bit demaged after 30 years.

Just get a stock pair and forget about mods for now. Any mods and they won't be L100's. Any crossover changes of plugs change the voicing. See if you still like them now the way you remember them.

Rob:)

numbers
02-05-2008, 08:01 AM
What are you listening to now?? That's going to influence your first impression if it's been a while. I would go for the latter models with ferrite drivers if you can. The woofers should be in better shape. The alnico's may be a bit demaged after 30 years.

Just get a stock pair and forget about mods for now. Any mods and they won't be L100's. Any crossover changes of plugs change the voicing. See if you still like them now the way you remember them.

Rob:)

I would never modify a JBL. I'm looking for a sweet bass and mid-range and highs that are rolled off, not extended. I guess my question is whether the original L100s fit that description better than the later L100 models?

Fred Sanford
02-05-2008, 11:15 AM
That's what I'm looking for. A speaker that is not white and bright.

What do you mean by the woofer running range?

Do you have the second and third generation models of the L100?

Thanks for your help.

I think I have cabinets/corssovers from the 2nd and 3rd consumer models, with pro-series components in the older ones and correct components in the newest ones.

The woofer in the typical L100 (don't quote me on the older in-line series) ran the woofers wide open- no low-pass crossover, they ran the full signal. To me, this is audible, and I don't like how these woofers overlap with the midranges. Personal preference.

If you read up on the Zilch-plugging info, you'll see that these speakers have somewhat artificially "enhanced" bass, which some folks love, but which can be tamed pretty well with a non-invasive, easy-to-remove and inexpensive plug.

Sounds to me like you'll be fine with any of the L100s, but Rob's question is a good one, 'cause it does depend on what you're currently used to.

je

Ian Mackenzie
02-05-2008, 07:41 PM
The L100 has continually evolved over the years in its pro version.

The 4312 was probably the best of the 43 series. Its a matter of taste.

Mr. Widget
02-05-2008, 08:49 PM
...am interested in knowing which version of the L100s has the warmest, richest sound.


That's what I'm looking for. A speaker that is not white and bright.


I'm looking for JBLs that have good bass and mid-range but roll off the highs. I'm not looking for extended highs. I learned 20 years ago that white and bright no longer sounds good to my ears.It sounds to me that you have a very good idea of what you want... get an early pair of L100s and enjoy them. :applaud:

A word of caution though, I'd bet you spent a fair amount of time enjoying those L100s in dorm rooms, bed rooms, or smaller den type rooms... in a larger room typical of a family room today they can tend to sound rather squawky and thin on the bottom.


Widget

Audiobeer
02-05-2008, 09:10 PM
Hopefully Bo will chime in here. He alone has been the forums advocate of the L100s. A great marketing succes for JBL. Everytime i try to bid on a on Ebay Bo snipes them. :)

numbers
02-05-2008, 10:33 PM
It sounds to me that you have a very good idea of what you want... get an early pair of L100s and enjoy them. :applaud:

A word of caution though, I'd bet you spent a fair amount of time enjoying those L100s in dorm rooms, bed rooms, or smaller den type rooms... in a larger room typical of a family room today they can tend to sound rather squawky and thin on the bottom.


Widget


Hi Widget-

The last time I listened to my L100s, it was in my son's den where he had them set up. The room was small when compared to a family room but with those 12" woofers, I have to say the bottom sounded pretty good. But then the room was small and you couldn't be very far from the speakers.

You're right about the room size. When they were my primary speakers back in the 70s and early 80s, I had them in rather small rooms that were a combination of my office and listening room.

In my experience, the JBLs have never thrown a wide soundstage. They are, for the most part, quite directional and definitely sound best in a smaller room. I would not put these in my main audio system but in a second system in a smaller room. I'm thinking that a full range speaker with a 12" woofer like the L100s would sound pretty good where I want to put them. I think they will be preferable to getting two-way monitors with a sub. I hope so.