View Full Version : New JBL 4348

Ken Pachkowsky
03-02-2005, 09:52 PM
Anyone have pricing on these new 4-way systems? They are available in North America.


Steve Gonzales
03-02-2005, 10:45 PM
Here is a link: http://www.audioheritage.org/html/perspectives/lht-2003/history.htm

03-03-2005, 02:54 AM
Here is a link: http://www.audioheritage.org/html/perspectives/lht-2003/history.htm
The pic at that link could use a little correction...:blink:


Steve Gonzales
03-03-2005, 03:11 AM
Really!, I almost thought that the new version was big as a house!, at least they give an idea of what the price is....;)

03-03-2005, 03:21 AM
I discussed this with Don long ago. seems that nothing has changed. Why Don?

03-03-2005, 06:37 AM
It seems that in audioheritage.org there is a little mistake :

" Pricing in Japan is rather high at 16,000,000 Yen or around $12,000US/pr. "

Happily, I think that it is 1,600,000 Yens instead of 16,000,000 http://audioheritage.csdco.com/vbulletin/images/smilies/biggrin.gif


03-03-2005, 08:57 AM
Anyone have pricing on these new 4-way systems? They are available in North America.

KenAccording to Harman Consumer Group they are not available in the U.S.

The worst news though is that none of the parts to build your own are in stock. They were all in stock the last time I checked. Nice project if one wanted the latest, greatest 4340-style monitor.

03-03-2005, 10:36 AM
"Hyeah...and monkeys might fly outa my butt."

Mr. Widget
03-03-2005, 11:10 AM
Other than the wanky little midrange horn (I have no idea what it sounds like that is purely a subjective aesthetic call.) it looks like it is made with the right stuff and may be a real performer. At $12,000/pair it may actually be a bargain. That seems like a lot of speaker.


03-03-2005, 11:15 AM
Those wanky little midrange horns go for $720.20 a pair.

In other words, you'll never see them for sale in the U.S.A. :p

03-03-2005, 02:04 PM
720 USD? Rebuilding them in Gold might save some money :idea:

Just joking. They are still cheaper than 2344 were back then.

Steve Gonzales
03-03-2005, 03:29 PM
W.T.F!! we're not gonna get some here???? :barf: . I don't understand HOW this continues to happen!!! If I've EVER had a gripe about JBL, it is this very thing!. U.S. sales BUILT JBL into what it is today. How can they snub the North American market??? Makes no friggen sense whatsoever! Not that if they sold it here I could afford a pair, but, in the Land O' Plenty, I don't think it would be far-fetched to think of at least a few hundred to a few thousand would and could. :blink:

03-03-2005, 04:33 PM
Anything is obtainable if you're really determined and have the funds. Sometimes these things find their way to the US after enough bugging the companies. An example is the Tannoy Prestige Series which was only available in Asia for sometime, but has eventually found its way into the US and Europe after enough people showed their interest to their hi-fi dealers.

In Japan the street price for the 4348 is $6,000 roughly. Figure you can import a pair from Japan if you have a friend out there and have them ship them to the US (declared as "$1000"). In the end you'd spend less than $8k for the whole deal and have yourself a pair of some lovely beasts.

If I were a wealthier man I would splurge myself on all sorts of monster speakers and hold public "testings" on weekends.

03-03-2005, 05:26 PM
I don't understand HOW this continues to happen!I'm getting the feeling that Harman knows their markets. Five guys in the U.S. wanting 4348's probably doesn't constitute a market. I have little doubt that if someone here had the cash and asked for a pair they'd end up getting a pair.

Steve Gonzales
03-03-2005, 05:38 PM
Don't you think that they should at least OFFER it?. Come on, I think if they would try to market it a bit better, it would sell on it's own merit. Certainly the Japanese understand this. I hear ya Giskard, but I don't buy the whole enchilada. Things that are worthy have a great way of selling themselves, so this type of marketing will NEVER allow for that to happen. Pretty SCREWED UP when a U.S. company just capitulates. We all know that the 4348 must sound amazing. Oh well, I guess we'll never have that opportunity.

03-03-2005, 05:44 PM
Don't you think that they should at least OFFER it?"Duh! Yeah!" said Cher Horowitz

03-03-2005, 05:50 PM
ROFL - Clueless is one of my fav movies of all time and I end up quoting it randomly...

aight I'm outtie

Steve Gonzales
03-03-2005, 05:57 PM
I thought that was the name of some Harman Executive!, not from some teen flick. I'm really not that worked up about it, Lou Dobbs made me do it!:blah:

Mr. Widget
03-03-2005, 09:27 PM
Don't you think that they should at least OFFER it?. Come on, I think if they would try to market it a bit better, it would sell on it's own merit. Certainly the Japanese understand this. I hear ya Giskard, but I don't buy the whole enchilada. Things that are worthy have a great way of selling themselves, so this type of marketing will NEVER allow for that to happen. Pretty SCREWED UP when a U.S. company just capitulates. We all know that the 4348 must sound amazing. Oh well, I guess we'll never have that opportunity.
You are right. It is another Multi-National Corporate conspiracy trying to teach us Americans a lesson!:blah:

What the hell do you think they are doing running a non-profit foundation? The Hercules system is available here. It is promoted here. They drag it around to trade shows. They can't sell more than a handful. Why in the world would they spend money trying to sell a nitch product like the 4348? Klipsch continued selling the "Heritage" line as long as the old man was around, but don't expect that to continue. JBL is in the business of staying in business. If some crazy fool offered to pay JBL for the tooling and place an order for the n-number of Paragons that would make them profitable, I am certain Northridge would once again build a Paragon, or a Hartsfield, or a flipping 4349... what ever!


BTW: Steve, I am most certainly not yelling at you or pointing at you. It is just that even within this group of die hard fanatics we hear complaints about the cost of diaphragms and recone kits. Some in this group even buy what they know to be inferior replacement parts but feel that almost as good for cheaper is the route that they would rather go. In this climate it doesn't surprise me at all that JBL has had to find other markets.

Charley Rummel
03-03-2005, 10:52 PM
As long as JBL is part of a brand management scheme in a conglomerate, 1) we'll almost never see the newer high-end models much talked about on this forum in North America; 2) and at more realistic price points.

Being personally involved in manufacturing, I can honestly tell you that I think the price points are intentionally inflated (and intentional scarcity is mainained- at least in North America) for the purpose of better market positioning of the other Harmon brands, and world-wide. Harmon has a tight lid on JBL, and to keep it from becoming a threat to the rest of their product line.

I'm happy my hobby focuses on classic vintage JBL, and besides, I like how it sounds:bouncy:


Steve Gonzales
03-04-2005, 12:04 AM
Widget, I almost thought you were yelling at me and pointing at me right up until the LAST where you said you were not. WOW!. I can't help but be disgusted with JBL's choice to market exclusively to some other country. That's not going to change no matter how much someone belly-aches about how nobodys buying their new stuff. I look at it like this: they have caused their own demise in the domestic market. Look how highly regarded their vintage stuff is, just on this site of a 1,000 plus members!. Most people can't afford a ZILLION DOLLARS for their THX stuff. The Northridge stuff, however well engineered, is CIRCUIT CITY!. The root of my gripe is that I know that if they designed something that even VAGUELY reasembled an L300 or a ( insert favorite here) ,but updated, then I believe they could capture some of what they lost, Westlake does it. That brings me to the 4348. Although it is still out of reach of most of us, at least they could offer it. I think it is more akin to the vintage stuff than the MEGA buck THX stuff. In my business, both good and bad news travels fast and I believe that to be universal too. You can't tell me that if they made a real effort to promote this speaker in the U.S., that it wouldn't be a smash hit amongst ANYONE with EARS!! I have followed audio since the early 70's to the present and I haven't seen a damn thing recently about JBL except for an occasional review for the K2 and that family of speakers. The rest of it is about surround sound baloney HTIB. So, from now on, there will be no additions to the Lansing Heritage in the domestic market. Fast forward 10 years: Ebay listing#556652244566 : You are bidding on a pair of vintage JBL CCMD 10" bass drivers from the Northridge series. Guaranteed no DOA, the dustcaps are dented but that doesn't affect the sound. This is a No reserve auction, Good Luck!.

That's NOT going to be my fault! ;)

03-04-2005, 01:33 AM
[QUOTE=dancing-dave]In Japan the street price for the 4348 is $6,000 roughly. ... In the end you'd spend less than $8k for the whole deal and have yourself a pair of some lovely beasts.[QUOTE]

In Japan, a pair is 1,600,000 yens ( retail price ), that is roughly US $ 15,000 or or Can $ 19,500 or Euros 11,500 or £ 8,000.

$ 6,000 seems to be just for ONE 4348 :( , not for a pair. If that is the price for a pair, give me the address, I will order it today :D and it's not a joke !

03-04-2005, 02:07 AM
Steve, I share your sentiments, and I have taken the time to write and express my disgruntlement to JBL on many occassions. I have yet to receive a response, which perhaps, says something in itself. It's conceivable that some of us who have been so loyal to JBL, on some level, want some loyalty in return--you know, God Bless America--to hell with Japan. In all fairness, I'd like to hear more of their point of view regarding marketing decisions-- which is also why I wrote them repeatedly.

I believe that if one has the resolve, and the bank account to back it up, you can have just about any speaker you could want. Heck, I'm happy to have found a pair of L110s to work on. And I realize too, that it is in large part, the fact that they are no longer available, and decreasing in numbers, that adds to the pride of ownership. I would certainly like to see JBL offer a line of speakers intermediate to THX and Northridge in price. I would love to see what the engineers could do if not fettered by marketing decisions. I know too, that if that were the case, I'd have "speaker lust" even more so, and the L110s might not seem so worthy of my efforts and the attendant expense. Trying to keep gratitude in my attitude.

I once seriously considered befriending some Japanese college students at the university in my hometown and explaining to them that I had a "yen" for some Japanese JBL. I thought perhaps I could coax one or two of them into finding me some used models, and e-mailing me with the details. However, my modest income seldom wavers in it's ability to restore my sensibilities--mostly.


Steve Gonzales
03-04-2005, 02:36 AM
Thank you Scott. I must say that in one respect I must humbly disagree. Our Japanese friends might take offence to that one remark. It's not their fault. I understand what you are saying because I can read between the lines. I appreciate that Scott. I guess we all just want the good ol' days back, right?. Whatever the case is and why, at least we have what we have and we HAVE a lot!. As for your L110's, those are some great speakers!. I just sold my pair but I really was impressed with that punchy LE-111a bass! That smooth 033 on top and the work horse of the bookshelf line the LE5-10's. I was just telling a fellow member in a PM that we're all just passionate about this JBL stuff and that will heat things up if we're on the sh*t end of the stick. Never fear and be grateful for what we do have and the wonderful LHS to share, Peace.

Tom Loizeaux
03-04-2005, 05:24 AM
Does anyone know where the JBL 4348s are made?
If they're made in the US, it should be less expensive to buy them here then in Japan. I also feel it would be a simple matter for JBL to at least list these in their catalogue, even if it meant making them available on "special order". How could this hurt JBL's reputation?
Many companies offer an elite line or model, knowing they are not going to sell many of them, just to show that they are capable. This elevates the company's profile.
WE know what JBL is capable of because we've been exposed to JBL's great classics. Wouldn't JBL benifit from many more American's knowing about JBL's potential?

P.S. Though the 4348s look nice, I'm quite content with my pair of 4343s!


03-04-2005, 07:29 AM
P.S. Though the 4348s look nice, I'm quite content with my pair of 4343s!Yeah, one should probably A/B the 4348 with the 4343 or 4344 before committing. It would be nice to hear what folks in Japan have to say, you know they've done the comparison. It's pretty much a given that the transducers have greater power handling, lower power compression and lower distortion. My primary interest is in how the 4348 top end behaves.

Just so people are aware, the 4348 is a JBL Consumer Product and not a JBL Pro Product. The last JBL Pro 43xx Product that I can think of off the top of my head was either the 4344 or 4355. The 4344 MkII was also a Consumer Product.

Titanium Dome
03-04-2005, 08:20 AM
We talk (write) a lot about our passion for JBL, we do comparisons of the present JBL desert we inhabit versus the JBL paradise of the past, we question the distribution intelligence of Harman, we talk about the lobotomizing of engineers by marketing hacks, and more. Yet, the reality is that JBL presents a wide range of speakers in the domestic market.

Yes, it's true that all the expensive stuff looks like HT equipment, but if we examine it carefully, we can discern otherwise.

What's the heart of the Synthesis Hercules? The K2 S9800, a breathtaking music speaker. A pair of these has been offered on eBay and AudiogoN for well under $20k, with no takers. Horns, baby, horns! and a 1500AL for ***'s sake.

What's the heart of the TiK Series, which can be configured into an HT system? The Ti10K, a wonderful music speaker, with a fit and finish that must be seen to be believed. Recently a pair of these $2500+ each speakers on eBay went for $2600. (Da^^it! I missed the end of the auction and lost by a couple bucks!) Mutlidriver tri-ampable, baby!

What's the heart of the Performance Series? The stacked PS1400 + PT800 tower, which is bar none the best music speaker I've ever owned and descendent to the 250Ti. Even their "factory refurbished" models at 1/3 off (that puts them in the $1000 range) put a chill in the spine of JBL nuts, who just won't pay that much. Ti, baby, Ti! and pistonic drive and IsoBaffle and Le14H-3s for crying out loud.

Well, I have more to say, but I actually have to do my job now, so I'll catch you all later.

(Not disrespecting anyone, just working toward a point that's not obvious yet... :blah: )

03-04-2005, 08:34 AM
Hello, I am JH, a new comer here. (this is my very first post.)

I think, 4348 is made in the US since most high-end JBLs sold in Japan are made in the US.

Just I got an idea to get latest models from Japan. There are many Japaneses who are crazy at and seek for vintage JBLs, and they are willing to pay how much they may cost. Okay, if you have or get rare vintage JBLs, post ads and ask buyers to pay by 4348 or other latest JBLs.http://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/images/smilies/smile.gif

I was quite surprised when I got to know such latest JBLs are not available in the hometown of JBL.

I wanted t post several pages of current Japan JBL catalog (total 12 pages) here but failed...... don't know whyhttp://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/images/smilies/blink.gif I will post it sooner or later.

Recently, 4338 (3 way model, 54.9 x 92.1 x 37.5, 63.4kg) and 4318 (3way same size as 4312) are introduced. Just for your informationhttp://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/images/smilies/applaud.gif

03-04-2005, 08:44 AM
(Not disrespecting anyone, just working toward a point that's not obvious yet... :blah: )One thing that is blatantly obvious is that the days of being able to walk into the neighborhood Audio store to see and hear all the JBL's in their replendent glory are gone.

Maybe people find it irksome that not every single model JBL makes today is available at least somewhere in the U.S. to see and hear, whether a purchase is in their future or not.

03-04-2005, 08:51 AM
Hello, I am JH, a new comer here. (this is my very first post.)Hello and welcome to the site!

Recently, 4338 (3 way model, 54.9 x 92.1 x 37.5, 63.4kg) and 4318 (3way same size as 4312) are introduced. Just for your informationhttp://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/images/smilies/applaud.gifThat 4338 looks like a nice update to the L300/4333.

03-04-2005, 09:07 AM
That 4338 looks like a nice update to the L300/4333.Is that 650,000 for one speaker or two? 650,000.00 JPY = 6,223.39 USD

If that's for the pair, that's probably pretty close or even better to an inflation adjusted pair of L300's. I've no doubt the technoloy/fidelity improvement is well worth it, but if that's the price each, I just don't think the American market will pick up on it, other than those that travel in the K2/Synthesis circles...

I may have to track down current pro component prices, just to get an idea what building "current" versions of 4333/4343 would come up to...


03-04-2005, 10:09 AM
Well this is just my two cents but the current prices that jbl is asking are most likely fair market value. I am not in the market for any of there current lineup. But if I was in the market for the new product's from JBL I would shop around for the best price and just buy it. About Westlake's if your pissed off about the JBL prices you do not even want to look at westlakeshttp://audioheritage.csdco.com/vbulletin/images/smilies/blink.gif I remember Ken P. Saying the ones he had were going for $60.000 and they are not even the top of the westlake line. Maybe we should look at the prices of pick up trucks and cars. What were they selling for in the 70's??? What are they selling for now??? I drive all over the U.S.A. and Canada and everyone is Driving brand new rides. I had the pleasure of getting a inside look at one of our forum members new van. If the shaw of iran was still around he would be tooling around in one of these.I guess it all depends on what turns your crank and what your priorities are.Seems to me the asian market is where it's at and the north american market is not as far as speakers go and JBL know's it.http://audioheritage.csdco.com/vbulletin/images/smilies/blah.gif

Mr. Widget
03-04-2005, 10:11 AM
Now we're talkin... bag that silly little honkster. :applaud:

Ok, I realize that by pushing the crossover point up you can get away with a mid horn with lower cut off... but I bet this bigger brother sounds better.

Ti Dome did bring up some good points... even when this stuff is available at 1/2 or more off in the second hand US market people are not tripping over themselves to get it.

One thing that is blatantly obvious is that the days of being able to walk into the neighborhood Audio store to see and hear all the JBL's in their replendent glory are gone.

Are there any neighborhood Audio stores left anyway? Come on guys this is the next millennium. The only company making real cash in audio is a funny little computer company that stole the walkman market from Sony while THEY were living in the past.


Titanium Dome
03-04-2005, 02:12 PM
Okay, let's combine these two:

One thing that is blatantly obvious is that the days of being able to walk into the neighborhood Audio store to see and hear all the JBL's in their replendent glory are gone.

Maybe people find it irksome that not every single model JBL makes today is available at least somewhere in the U.S. to see and hear, whether a purchase is in their future or not.

Are there any neighborhood Audio stores left anyway? Come on guys this is the next millennium. The only company making real cash in audio is a funny little computer company that stole the walkman market from Sony while THEY were living in the past.


When Apple finally figured out that the authorized retail channel concept was not working out, it decided to open its own stores. Whereas once people could find a few Apple products here and a few broken ones there, now there was a place to go where everything was available, and these stores were put in demographically significant areas so that anyone, Mac user or not, could walk in, see the entire line, and find something that they might be able to use: iPod, PowerBook, iMac, digital camera, software, printer, etc. People are encouraged to come in, browse, use the stuff, and stay as long as they want.

Now speakers may be seen as a harder sell in that environment, but I think it's worth consideration. An Apple PowerBook can be a $2600 purchase, a G5 could go over $3000, an an XServe might hit $5000+.( I know because we just bought one.) By going to the Apple Store, I could see the entire line, try it out, and get what I needed. And I didn't have to subsidize the middleman (distributor).

Obviously Harman would need to do its research at least as well as Apple, but most Apple Stores were profitable within a year of operation, and traffic and revenue keep growing.

One other thing: JBL like Apple is a vertical company, in that it does pretty much the whole widget. It makes the speakers, builds the cabinets, assembles the product, and prepares it for distribution. The thing it doesn't really have is the true retail presence, which we've sort of been grousing about.

(An online store is not a retail presence in my mind.)

So should JBL continue to compete for space with consumer-priced competitors in low margin stores where only the mass market shops, usually for a bargain, or is there another way? Should it follow Apple's example and build its brand with a few dedicated shops where, once even one product (iPod) or two (Mac Mini) take off, then suddenly BB, CC, GG, Target, Robinson-May, and everyone else (even HP) suddenly want to sell the product?

Just more speculation on a theme... ;)

Steve Gonzales
03-04-2005, 02:33 PM
It looks like it is also a Japan only market. Does anyone know ?. Looks like my marketing strategy IS working! In Japan.......:(

Earl K
03-04-2005, 02:38 PM
Aesthetically, a good looking horn - gotta love that . :)

Steve Gonzales
03-04-2005, 03:51 PM
[QUOTE=Giskard]One thing that is blatantly obvious is that the days of being able to walk into the neighborhood Audio store to see and hear all the JBL's in their replendent glory are gone.

Ahhhh.... Those were the days!!!!!! I'm starting to sound like my Father. But really, wasn't that COOL!. I actually used to play hooky to go to Bakersfield Audio and absolutely marvel at all the Great JBL models, they would even discuss and demonstrate them for me even though they knew I didn't have a dime. I would then peddle my Schwinn all the way across town to Casa Moore Stereo, just to hear the Mighty Altec 19's. The salespeople there had a pro Disc Jockey friend who did some fantastic Vinyl to Reel to Reel transfers and they used to demo the 19's with a Technics RS1500US and boy did THAT just do it for me!! This very thing is why I am so sad about the state of affairs in the domestic market. What happened?. I guess all those little snot -nosed kids turned out to be Harvard MBA's and put the Almighty DOLLAR bottom line -period- new aged, global- CRAP into the mix. Do I blame them?. No one thing can be blamed. As many of you have so rightly pointed out, JBL went where the MONEY is. There are so many of us on this site that are blameless. Widget, you nailed it, if I'm being truthful, it is that, by and large, the American Consumer is generally to blame. We want it cheap and a lot of it, as Widget correctly asserted. Walmart "think" is America "think". Somewhere down the line we lost track, AND our Market, for what appears to be Awesome incarnations of the Legendary Models of great days gone bye. So, you see, that I'm not on a soap box just to cry FOUL!. No, I just echo what Giskard so eloquently stated. You've got to admire the Japanese, they didn't steal the market, they just continued to SUPPORT IT!. And for their unwaivering loyalty, LOOK WHAT THEY GET!!!!. I think what really stirs so much emotion from this small community is that we are witnessing the first big salvo in what is sure to be a long line of "can't ever haves"-at least without going through a lot of international mumbo-jumbo and extra $$$$. I think that if you didn't at least feel a little disappointed about it, you'd better check your pulse.....

Mr. Widget
03-04-2005, 04:06 PM
You know there is also the changing times. Call it fad or fashion. In the 70's when JBL ruled the Earth (think dinosaurs here) home entertainment, i.e. stereos were all the rage. Even my dad who doesn't give a damn about music felt compelled to enter an audio shop and buy a system that cost him a month's wages. I of course applauded his decision and soon began upgrading his stereo for him. :) For the record my practically deaf parents currently have a NAD system with Klipsch Belle clones I built for them.

So yesterday a buddy came over to borrow some shop time. I suggested he take a minute and give the Project May system a listen. Yes he was blown away. Yes he had exactly the right expression on his face. Yes in the 70's he had a Sansui etc. system. He has the means to buy what he would like, he owns multiple homes, drives a Ducati and Porsche Boxter, and yes he owns a Bose surround system. When I said I guess you forgot what good can sound like his reply was, "That was amazing!" ...will he sell his Blows system? Not a chance in hell. He has no interest in this shit.


Steve Gonzales
03-04-2005, 04:17 PM
Still, it blows me away to think that in a country of 300,000,000 PLUS, that we lost a market for a couple thousand pairs. You ARE right Widget. Hell, when I was an installer for NW Sony Only (sorry), I retrofitted a TON of Dr.Bloses' sh#ttie lil' cubes. As I said before, I am thankful for what I DO HAVE and for the ability to share this common bond amongst like-minded people. That is all I REALLY need anyways. Break a leg this weekend Bud.

Titanium Dome
03-04-2005, 09:42 PM
If you frequent other forums like I do (and I know you do), then you know that some Americans are willing to spend an unseemly amount of money for speakers that I would consider marginal at best. Heck, some folks will even spend thousands of dollars to buy speakers over the internet--speakers they HAVE NEVER HEARD but took another fan's word that they were terrific.

I tried for a while to evangelize JBL on AVS Forums, but discussions on the higher end stuff died after a few posts. The only thing any one talks about over there in the JBL line is the Northridge E Series, and all too often it's "I heard these JBLs at CC and they sounded great but instead should I get these Rockets/Axioms/Athenas/whatevers that I've never heard but the threads are buzzing about them?" BTW the threads are usually buzzing from company reps that are juicing up the brands with testimonials.

There are so many more speaker brands today and lines within those brands that JBL doesn't have a chance of getting the traction it once had. Anybody with a jig and a mitre saw can buy components and build speakers, then sell them on the Web. Get a fews hacks to praise them, and you've got the speaker flavor of the month. They don't have to sound good, they just have to LOOK like they sound good. "Sh!t, what great looking speakers. I bet they sound GREAT!"


I see that Harman's Revel brand is going down market with a new line that looks a lot like a hybrid Infinity/JBL with a price in the $1200/pr bracket.

:wtf: is that all about? Well, how about the high end stuff isn't generating volume sales in the US, so let's go to the consumer's level.


Another JBL episode in the making at Harman?

Ken Pachkowsky
03-04-2005, 10:27 PM
I sure stired up a hornets nest here!

NO WAY, would I have ever been in the position to buy my Westlakes if they were over the 10,000.00 mark. As it was, I pushed my budget to the limit.

Westlakes prices for new HR1's at 60,000.00 (including the 4 way HRX crossover) is simply out of the realm for home use. And John is right the HR1 is second from the top. The SM1 is 90,000.00 with black wrinkle paint cabs and 120,000.00 with walnut cabs. Hmmm 30,000.00 more for walnut...gimme a break. They do come with a custom 5-way crossover similar to the HRX. The HRX is now 12,000.00 as well. Went up 3,000 in the last year.

I keep my eye on Ebay for BBSM Westlakes. These can be a bargain at times and are damned fine sounding speakers.

By the way, if you are a well established member of the forum and live close by I would be happy to have you over to listen to the HR1's.


03-05-2005, 05:42 AM
By not catering to U.S. enthusiast, I think JBL hurts their brand in the long run. In high end circles you rarely hear their name mentioned. Eventually, this may lessen the value of their brand and may effect sales in the future. This effect may even transfer over into pro sales. It may take a while, but it may happen.

Just because things might be going well now (has anyone been following HAR stock for the last few years), does not mean they will stay that way. Altec had a huge market share in the 60's and 70's and let it all slip away. New competition may emerge in the future and do the same to JBL. Unfortunately, in todays world of industry consolidation and the large regulatory burden placed on business, it makes it that much more difficult for new companies to get started. Perhaps this new competitor will come from China.

I am sure there are some at JBL today that can excuse their diminished market share in the consumer end of the business. I am sure this market share must be much less than it was in the 60's or 70's. They probably have lots of excuses. However, I think the JBL consumer division is being mis-handled. My friends all have Bose systems. NOT JBL. Word of mouth among the enthusiast crowd might influence the less interested in buying more JBL products.

In the meantime we will just have to buy JBL's new pro-products (which are very good) and vintage consumer models. I am sure most of us on this forum suffer from too much JBL gear rather than too little.

Charley Rummel
03-05-2005, 07:38 AM
Originally Posted by Giskard
One thing that is blatantly obvious is that the days of being able to walk into the neighborhood Audio store to see and hear all the JBL's in their replendent glory are gone.

One of my acquaitences who owns a 3-store chain in the Chicago, area which caters exclusively to high end audio and (later) home theatre and has been around since the late '60's, told me that one fine day in the late '70's (right after the Beatrice acquizition :banghead: ) the Man from JBL stopped by to meet with them to introduce himself (their previous rep had just lost the line) and explain a new marketing plan in which JBL was going to require all of their dealers to carry their up and coming new line of mid-line and economy products as well as the high end stuff if they expect to remain JBL dealers. Since this wasn't pursuant to their business plan, and the Man conducted himself in a way that was a little too cavalier for their liking, they made their decision in under 2 seconds to drop JBL all together.


03-05-2005, 07:53 AM
I've heard the same story unfortunately.

Tom Loizeaux
03-05-2005, 08:56 AM
So Ken, many of us JBL owners wonder (and dream) about Westlakes. You've owned big JBL studio monitors and now have the Westlakes. We've followed your crossover work and know that you've labored to get your Westlakes in top form. Could you please tell us how you think they compare to the large JBL studio monitors.


03-05-2005, 10:31 AM
many of us JBL owners wonder (and dream) about WestlakesWe do? :coolness:

Tom Loizeaux
03-05-2005, 05:06 PM
I do believe that many of us would be excited at the prospect of getting a pair of large Westlake monitors! I feel they are the extension of JBL's studio monitor efforts. I've only heard a few in recording studio environments, but I've been impressed! Westlake approaches their monitor design with a "no holds barred" mentality. They select the ideal components from TAD, Gauss and JBL to achieve what they feel is the state of the art in studio playback. Many feel their Westlake large wood horn is superior to any other.

For me, though I appreciate their pursuit, I'm content to stay with what I can justify and find I'm quite happy with vintage JBL 4343s.


Steve Gonzales
03-05-2005, 06:06 PM
I've expressed my belief (ad nauseum) about an individual's PERSONAL preference(s) , but, the fact that Ken has owned about every big 43xx JBL and decided to give Westlake a try, does raise that question. I think I'll take him up on that offer to go hear em'. It was mentioned that the 4348,4338 and other new "studio monitors" are really CONSUMER models, including the 4344mkII. As Johnny Carson used to say: "I did not know that".

Ken Pachkowsky
03-05-2005, 09:45 PM
Nice to hear from you Tom.

Wow, thatís a great question and one I am happy to answer.


Westlake simply spanks JBL in enclosure construction and design. There horns can take "somewhat" harsh sounding compression drivers and smooth them out like a baby's bum (I think Widget would back me up on this). In fact the only thing I would change on my Westies is the 2441 to a TAD 4003 and add a pair of 076 for the extreme highs.

They apply 2 inches of a plastized goop to the inside of the cabinets that simply render them acoustically dead. I can use my turntable on top of the cab and not get feedback through the cartridge and that is simply unreal. My 4350's had a peak around 200+ hz that was a bear to work around and eliminate. The 4345's where my favorite JBL large format monitors. It was hard to pass them along "although they went to an excellent home". The 2245H and 2122 are a great low end combo as you are all aware. I found the 2421B a bit harsh but it was not horrible by any stretch. The 2405 is of course a damned nice tweet.

JBLís have never been known for having great imaging. I have never heard a JBL 43 series monitor that has a soundstage and imaging like these ďperiodĒ. Perhaps the newer MTM systems do, but I have never heard them.

Another place Westlake stands out is in there electronic designs. The HRX crossovers are built out of very exotic parts that are difficult to find. The boards are hand stuffed and each driver is tested and electronically matched to that channel. All drivers are serialized to a specific cabinet and crossover card. I have tried several crossovers and always go back to the HRX for its sound characteristics. It is transparent with beautiful imaging. I am hoping this new 5-way Ian is helping me build will compare to the HRX because I do want to add my 076ís to the system.

Once again, I invite anyone who is a solid member of the forum to drop in and have a listen.

Hope that answers your question Tom.


Ian Mackenzie
03-05-2005, 11:55 PM

B/n the lines I can tell thought long and hard about that post..politically correct!:applaud:

Perhaps you can email me a Keymap of LAX to Westlake Mansions in anticipation of a visit later this year!

On my list of things to do is to trial a constrained layer of mineral loaded polypropolyene and lead sheet in my 4345. There is no doubt an acoustically dead enclosure reduces audible colouration.

I was looking at the Harman Japan site last night and can't but be jealous of the Japanese home users. The designs appear tailored and voiced to the ear of the local market.


03-06-2005, 03:37 AM
Westlake simply spanks JBL in enclosure construction.This is one area where the DIYer is at an advantage. Although many of the JBL enclosures are better than average they are still "mass produced". I'm sure even the very expensive K2-S9800 enclosure could benefit from tweeks such as the goop.

JBL has always put a significantly greater portion of the pie into their transducer designs. Of course TAD and Westlake would be shadows of their current selves without the solid base JBL has built for both of them. Both are quite indebted to Lansing's legacy. Aren't we all? :)

Steve Gonzales
03-06-2005, 03:50 AM
Top of the line Westlakes are in the $120,000 range. Man, I could build something special too with that kinda LOOT! More power to them. It's easy to "spank" somebody for an extra $75K ++++ :blink: . The talk about enclosure dampening has made me wonder if DynaMat would be a good choice. When the Car audio guys build a good system, they always line every possible surface with this stuff. Could it do wonders for the DIYer's?

Ian Mackenzie
03-06-2005, 04:15 AM
That's fair comment, although as you progress up in price so does enclosure quality with premium loudspeakers and so does their mass (weight) generally.

However the laws of supply and demand explain that as price increases demand reduces.

Perhaps its reasonable to assume then Westlake monitors are not mass produced, (at least the larger more expensive models).

When you think about, it shear economics would make such enclosures an awkward business case to manufacture with the labour,materials and transport costs to deal. JIT or make to order would be the only viable solution.

The average consumer may also find handling the heavy cabinets inconvenient.

Looking at a recent copy of Absolute Sound, an audiophile magazine that features exotic and expensive speakers like Wilson's its probably fair to say that none of the so called hi end HiFi commercial speakers with soa enclosures are mass produced. (Wilson audio pioneered non resonant enclosures using special materials, its no surprise all their designs there are extremely heavy for their size compared to any other brand).

In one of The Widgets Project May posts there was an excellent link to enclosure damping, perhaps The Widget can re post this on the public forums.


Ian Mackenzie
03-06-2005, 04:35 AM

You could buy a set of Halcro Amps and Wilson Puppies and change left over for Giskard to have a round the world holiday for that money.

Time for a raffle......