View Full Version : Jbl l3

06-15-2010, 08:36 AM
I found a pair of near-mint condition JBL L3's about an hour away from me on Craigslist for $100.

I'm curious if this is a nice speaker for the price. I just got a deal on an Onkyo SR-608 for $260 shipped, so am looking for new floor speakers to accompany my Klipsch Synergy-12 subwoofer that was handed down to me for a 2.1 setup. I primarily listen to music. I know the Onkyo isn't the most musical of receivers and is mainly for HT, but I'm hoping it could power these nicely if I were to get them.

Currently I have a pair of Sony SSF-5000 floor speakers, and am curious if people think that I would be happier with the JBL L3's. I see a lot of reviews for them and people seem to be happy with them, but I am hoping I have the power to run them along with them being a worthwhile upgrade from my SSF-5000's.

I should probably point out I mainly listen to hip-hop/rock, and I listen to it loud. So I'd of course want the speakers to be able to power through that without any problems. :)



06-15-2010, 08:53 AM
I know nothing about your Sony speakers and little about many others, though I have heard every speaker in the L1,3,5,7 family. I'm very impressed with the L1 and you can read a lot here about how much respect LH members have for the L5 and L7. Most of the traffic on the L3 seems to be about problems with "woofer" surrounds that apparently have not plagued the other models. Maybe it's the sample size, or the use this example was put through (dance studio with no sub) but I don't recall seeing any problems listed with this same 708G-1 driver in the L7 where it operates as a low-mid-range.

I can't answer whether or not they'll be an improvement for you but I can tell you I paid $90 for a new-in-box pair of L1's and would do it again in a heart beat. I've heard the L3s and balked at a $150 asking price because I didn't feel they were an improvement over the L1s. I'd likely consider a pair just to complete the "family" but my gut tells me it'd have to be no more than what you're paying for them since my $100 modded L80T/T3s blow them away.

06-15-2010, 08:59 AM

Thanks for the response. My father was a big JBL fan and I found these and am thinking I may go ahead and take a look. Like I said, these will be accompanying a sub, so aslong as they go loud and can handle it, how much the lows can handle doesn't play as big of a role as sound clarity, and how much they can handle as far as power goes and if they can get to huge sound levels without any problems.

The Sony SSF-5000's I have are a very-very entry level Sony speaker and are not very good. They retail for about $90-100 for the pair and are just basic floor speakers. They have served me well though, and were able to go as loud as an old Pioneer receiver could drive them before clipping and sounded great for the price in the end.

So based off of the numerous reviews, and the quality of JBL products, I'm hoping the hour drive & $100 will get me a nice floor speaker that can last me awhile. I was originally going to buy a pair of Polk Monitor 70's which I would assume can out perform these, but I am on a tiny budget and if I can deal locally and get a deal on a nice pair of speakers for what I'm using them for, I'd be very happy, and be able to enjoy them much sooner.

All opinions are very very welcome! The more reviews/replies I get, the better I feel about driving up to give these a listen (and hopefully followed by a purchase).



06-17-2010, 08:45 AM
I have a pair of mint L60's, which is what the L3 evolved into. My speakers but out a lot of bass for just an 8 inch woofer, and they sound very nice when powered by my Audio Note tube amp. These are back up speakers that I don't use that often because I have a pair of big Altec's that just sound effortlessly wonderful.
If the L3's are in good shape I'd be all over that deal.

06-17-2010, 07:01 PM
I have had a pair of L3s for quite a few years. They have been moved from place to place in the house and have never disappointed me. I need to refoam the woofers in the L100t3s I had as the front speakers in a 5.0 HT setup and stuck the L3s in their place for temporary duty. They have amazed me with the bass they can put out thanks to a rather large cabinet for a two way 8" design. I find the L3 to be a very versatile speaker. Kind of a jack-of-all-trades and master of none speaker. I would be all over another pair for $100. For that price it is a great pair of speakers, IMO.

06-18-2010, 10:16 AM
Hey guys!

I got my new Onkyo receiver and have been playing with it on my junky $80 a pair retail Sony SSF-5000 floor standing speakers and definitely think that it could push the JBL's very nicely!

I'm going to checking them out around 4pm today.

I really appreciate the responses. I think I will be very happy with them. :)

The only thing wrong with them (for the $100 price) is there are a few blatant scratches on the top of one. Would you guys think a wood-magic marker would take care of that?

I also had another idea of possibly getting 2 pieces of nice, thin, perfectly sized foam and gluing it nicely on the top of each speaker. It would be cleanable, removable glue that would do no harm to the speakers themselves.

Just a few suggestions that popped up in my head. But as far as the speakers themselves, and what not go. There has only been 1 owner and they have been very well taken care of. The guy who owns them works on speakers for a living so I'm assuming everything as far as the foaming goes is in near-pristine condition.


There is the Craigslist post I'm following up on. It has 4 pictures and it looks to be in great shape. I will of course, get a listen upon picking them up and he said if I'm unhappy he will refund me.


06-18-2010, 01:38 PM
Rather than gluing foam on top, you might be interested in paying a glass shop to cut two small pieces of smoke glass that would cover the tops of your speakers.
They'll usually provider free spacer discs of clear plastic, and - it looks good, and protects the tops from the occasional plant or glass/bottle of beer!

JBL even did some glass top speakers from the factory!~

Check the thread:

06-18-2010, 02:36 PM
Hey guys!

I got them! They sound amazing!

I wasn't very impressed when I listened to them on his equipment but now that I got them home and I'm pushing them with my Onkyo receiver...oof. :) and I haven't calibrated them yet with Audessy. It's still setup for my Sony's.

That glass idea is solid! I'm going to look up on that ASAP. Thanks a ton!

04-25-2013, 06:47 PM
A hi-fi nut in nearby Richmond, VA, listed a pair of L3s for $150. I asked if he'd take $100 to help pay my gas bill getting there and back and he agreed. Went down Tuesday to pick them up. I knew I was in good company when he rolled in in a BMW E36 convertible nearly as old as my E34 5-series. Turns out he was thinning the herd to help with the purchase of a new bicycle. His hi-fi room included Cornwalls, KG2s, 4312s, and Sansui speakers along with a Dynaco and a whole bunch of older receivers. A true kindred spirit!

These are in great shape, after a bit of attention, and complete my L-collection as I now have 2-pair of L7s, one pair of L5s, these L3s, a NIB pair of L1s and my total L-series expense sits at less than $800. What fun it is to hoard. :bouncy:

04-27-2013, 10:55 PM
I resurrected a Soundcraftsmen system that had been laying dormant for years: Pro-Control-Four, Pro-EQ 44, and Pro-Power-Four. I thought this would make a good amp for comparing the L3s to other JBL due to the A-B speaker switching. The L3s were certainly impressive for a hundred-bucks but once I began switching them back and forth with the L5s I soon lost interest. The have an almost over-powering low-end in comparison to what they're lacking in the mid and even high range compared to the L5s. I soon took them out of the rotation and subbed in some 4412As just for grins. Lovely speakers but if anything even they show off what stellar performers the L5s really are. Amazing!

So I'm happy with my recent L3 purchase but it really reinforced my long-held opinion that they are the worst balanced of the '90s L-series. The L1 still plays beyond all expectations and the L5 never ceases to amaze. I don't dare play the L7s for fear of reprisal from the other residents of my small house. Maybe another day. Makes me wonder how well the L3 could have worked out had they only spent a bit more and made it a three-way. The darn cabinet is certainly big enough. There's plenty of real-estate in there to have squeezed in a 704G then they'd have had basically the upper-half of an L7 or a quasi three-way L5. The L3 cabinet is nearly as large as the L5 anyway. The L5 cost 50% more than the L3 so there was room to slot-in a slightly more expensive version of the L3. The L3 cost 50% more than the L1, too, and the L7 was nearly 50% more than the L5 but really the bargain of the bunch when you look at it that way. Ah, the good ole' days!