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View Full Version : JBL 4401 tweeter replacement/substitution.



concretecowboy7
11-09-2009, 05:37 PM
Hi:
I am new to this forum. I have a solid background in audio but not much experience with speaker repair. I have used JBL speakers for years and always loved the way they sound. 2 years ago I found a pair of 4401 studio monitors in the garbage and began using them in my studio.
Recently, one of the tweeters began to sound harsh (at certain frequencies it begins to sound garbled like a bad mp3).

I spoke to a company called Orange County Speakers and they said it sounded like the diaphragm was shattered and that no parts are available.

1) Is this true?
2) Are there any parts available that make a good / better substitution for the original?
3) Are there JBL speakers that are comparable to these that are easier to find?

I work well with these speakers, the mixes I do on them translate well and I like their vibe.

Thanks for any input...I hope to be able to add to these conversations as I learn more.

BMWCCA
11-09-2009, 06:02 PM
Recently, one of the tweeters began to sound harsh (at certain frequencies it begins to sound garbled like a bad mp3).

Have you tried seeing if the L-pad is causing the problem? Maybe dirty? Have you switched the 034 from one side to the other to see if the problem follows?

http://www.jblproservice.com/pdf/Studio%20Monitor%20Series/4401.pdf

Fred Sanford
11-09-2009, 06:41 PM
034s are pretty easy to find, I've snatched up 4 of them in the last few years to have spares for my L46s & 4401s.

I've recently been using 033 tweets in my 4401s, 'cause I think they sound better and match my main monitors more closely (L110s). They are a little harder to find/more expensive/more efficient than the 034s.

033 tweets are adjustable to some degree when you hear the diaphragm buzzing a bit, not sure about the 034s.

je

A thread I had on my 4401s, some pics showing the 033s in 'em:

http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=23868

concretecowboy7
11-09-2009, 06:41 PM
I am not sure what the L-pad is. Is that part of the crossover? I removed the woofer and insulation inside to look for loose connections or bad components. I could not pull the tweet because I did not have an Allen key that small with me.
I know some of this info must be basic stuff for the experienced, but I am currently on the learning curve.
Thanks for the info.

concretecowboy7
11-09-2009, 06:47 PM
A thread I had on my 4401s, some pics showing the 033s in 'em:

http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=23868

I read that post in detail when I searched for an answer to this question, it was a bit over my head, but gave me the idea that there might be a sub for the 034.

I am searching ebay now for the 034. I looked in these classifieds also. Any other suggestions where else to look?

BMWCCA
11-09-2009, 07:34 PM
I am not sure what the L-pad is. It's the level control (potentiometer) attached to the small knob on the front of the cabinet that probably says "brilliance" or something like that next to it. Turn off the system and work the knob back and forth several times over its full travel. Then turn the system back on and see if you notice any difference. I suggested swapping the tweeters cab-to-cab to see if the problem is the tweeter, or the crossover, L-pad, wiring, amp, pre-amp, etc.

concretecowboy7
11-09-2009, 09:58 PM
Thanks...I figured out from other posts what that was and there is indeed some crackle when I work the knob back and forth. Is there a way to bypass it to check for a problem? Most audio people I know do not suggest squirting cleaner into pots. Is there any other method than working the pot back and forth?

I will swap the tweet into the other cab when I get back there with the correct tools. Great idea and good basic troubleshooting!

In the meantime, I have located a local pair of 4406 monitors at a reasonable price (125/pair). They seen like a very different monitor, should I start another post to discuss and compare these two sets of speakers? I would be very interested in peoples thoughts on this subject

Fred Sanford
11-10-2009, 03:29 AM
I read that post in detail when I searched for an answer to this question, it was a bit over my head, but gave me the idea that there might be a sub for the 034.

I am searching ebay now for the 034. I looked in these classifieds also. Any other suggestions where else to look?

If the 034 has been working well for you (and you've determined that it is damaged), put a "wanted" ad here in the classifieds- somebody might be sitting on one & not think about selling until you ask for one. If you REALLY like the 034, look for a matched pair, then you would have your old good one as a spare.

je

BMWCCA
11-10-2009, 07:40 AM
Thanks...I figured out from other posts what that was and there is indeed some crackle when I work the knob back and forth. Is there a way to bypass it to check for a problem? Most audio people I know do not suggest squirting cleaner into pots. Is there any other method than working the pot back and forth?Well, you could replace the pot but then why not try cleaning it first? Nothing wrong with using the correct type of cleaner/spray. Many here would likely recommend DeOxit, available from RadioShack as well as many others.

But if you're not at least gonna try to isolate the problem by swapping the "defective" tweeter to the other speaker, then I'll just shut-up...

concretecowboy7
11-10-2009, 03:15 PM
Nothing in any post said that I was not going to swap the tweet! In fact I tried to be a nice guy and compliment good basic troubleshooting skills.

I stated that I did not have the right tool with me to pull the the tweet and would do so when I had the correct tool. I was simply looking ahead to other steps that would complete the troubleshooting process.

I was fishing for opinions in regards to pot cleaner also because a lot of studio guys feel that the oils in the cleaners attract more dust over time than they clean and I was wondering what your opinion was.

concretecowboy7
11-10-2009, 03:35 PM
Actually I don't want that last post to sound too harsh...I appreciate all the help in furthering my knowledge on a topic I don't know much about.

BMWCCA
11-10-2009, 05:08 PM
Mine was a quick reply, too. Nothing meant by it other than to alert the regulars that I wasn't going to disturb their peace-and-quiet anymore.

You're unlikely to cause any problem using the correct Deoxit, assuming you can even get to the pots enough to shoot into them (you'll have to go inside, most likely after removing the woofers). But working them back and forth for a good while can't really hurt, either. Just do it with the power off until the noised quit. :)

Fred Sanford
11-10-2009, 05:53 PM
Be very careful & patient disconnecting the tweets, the terminals are on un-supported breadboard that can crack under strain. Ask me how I know. :crying:

je

BMWCCA
11-10-2009, 06:02 PM
Be very careful & patient disconnecting the tweets, the terminals are on un-supported breadboard that can crack under strain. Ask me how I know. :crying:Oh yeah, I forgot. Good point!

And don't try to straighten the connectors on the tweeters, either, even if they look bent-inward. Ask me how I know about that!

concretecowboy7
11-17-2009, 08:24 AM
Thanks for all of the info! I swapped the tweet into the other cab and the problem followed. Going to take the advice and post on the classified for some tweeters.

BMWCCA
11-17-2009, 09:14 AM
Thanks for all of the info! I swapped the tweet into the other cab and the problem followed. Going to take the advice and post on the classified for some tweeters.

Sorry to hear that. The 034 isn't all that common. You might want to check continuity/resistance across the tweeter's terminals. It's possible you have a broken wire from a terminal to the diaphragm and some here have managed to repair them with careful use of a small soldering iron. Worked for me on an 035Ti.

I don't see anywhere JBL recommends another tweeter as a suitable replacement but someone here may have some knowledge about that, in case you just can't find another 034. I know Fred has done some swapping/experimenting with 4401 tweeters. Since you have an L-pad, I'd tend to consider upgrading to an 035Ti which should fit and you could control it with the L-pad if it was too bright. Of course you'd want to do two of those...and I'm not the expert. :no:

Good luck.

Fred Sanford
11-17-2009, 11:34 AM
Sorry to hear that. The 034 isn't all that common. You might want to check continuity/resistance across the tweeter's terminals. It's possible you have a broken wire from a terminal to the diaphragm and some here have managed to repair them with careful use of a small soldering iron. Worked for me on an 035Ti.

I don't see anywhere JBL recommends another tweeter as a suitable replacement but someone here may have some knowledge about that, in case you just can't find another 034. I know Fred has done some swapping/experimenting with 4401 tweeters. Since you have an L-pad, I'd tend to consider upgrading to an 035Ti which should fit and you could control it with the L-pad if it was too bright. Of course you'd want to do two of those...and I'm not the expert. :no:

Good luck.

I looked at that option quickly, but didn't test-fit it. On this cab, the woofer frame overlaps the tweeter plate, there may be clearance issues with the 035Ti. The screws also don't line up, I think, more importantly the routing for clearing the terminals might be off. My 035TiAs are out of my L20T3s, I might be able to take a closer look at this soon.

One way to increase your odds with the 034 hunt is to list/learn the various models that used it- there are plenty of folks that will advertise an "L46 tweeter" instead of an "034".

And, yes, I've fixed the 034 with the broken terminal & wire...crudely, but it functions just fine. I'm sure it can be done more carefully & neatly. If I dig out my 035s I'll look to see if the repaired 034 is in the same vicinity.

je

BMWCCA
11-17-2009, 02:14 PM
And, yes, I've fixed the 034 with the broken terminal & wire...crudely, but it functions just fine.

"Does not affect the sound." Oh yeah, that's a smashed dome!

Fred Sanford
11-17-2009, 02:41 PM
"Does not affect the sound." Oh yeah, that's a smashed dome!

Nice! :D Nah, the "crude" part was how the new terminal was mounted/strain-relieved with hot glue. The sound actually survived intact. It's a spare, now.

je

BMWCCA
11-17-2009, 03:14 PM
Nah, the "crude" part was how the new terminal was mounted/strain-relieved with hot glue.That's how they did them originally, which is part of the problem. I think I put one back with JB Weld once. Duco cement another time. I much prefer the rivets of the 044s. Plastic is plastic and there's just not that much you can do about it except leave it alone and hope it doesn't get old.

concretecowboy7
11-27-2009, 09:02 AM
Thanks for all of the help! I found a set of 034 tweets on ebay last week and got them installed yesterday. They both work fine and am happy to have the speakers up and running again. I will keep the other 034 as a spare and do some troubleshooting on the other one to see if there is anything I can do.

The next project I might undertake is to re-foam the surrounds. One of the speakers has a small tear that somebody repaired with a dab of silicone (I dug these out of the trash).

I will do a search for a thread for that and check back in.

Now that I have a spare pair of 4406's I think I can take the other out of service to do the refoam project.

Fred Sanford
11-27-2009, 03:08 PM
Thanks for all of the help! I found a set of 034 tweets on ebay last week and got them installed yesterday. They both work fine and am happy to have the speakers up and running again. I will keep the other 034 as a spare and do some troubleshooting on the other one to see if there is anything I can do.

The next project I might undertake is to re-foam the surrounds. One of the speakers has a small tear that somebody repaired with a dab of silicone (I dug these out of the trash).

I will do a search for a thread for that and check back in.

Now that I have a spare pair of 4406's I think I can take the other out of service to do the refoam project.

That's the way to do it...and the way to get yerself addicted...we approve. :applaud:

je