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View Full Version : Sovereign II'S how do they rate?



kingjames
11-30-2005, 06:27 PM
Ya, it's only me again, I told you all that I bought those Sovereign II'S off of Ebay and Audiogon from Chicago, well I think it is the best damn speaker I ever heard, I am playing the Soprano's theme song on them and I am playing this song over and over and over that my wife is ready to throw me out of the house. My questions are as follows, how do these speakers rate compared to most JBL'S? Can someone tell me the year of manufacture? The serial numbers are consecutive 10659 and 10660.These have the early style lenses with the wood slats , are the wood slats pretty rare? What can you guys tell me about these baby's? These things look that they just came off the showroom floor and I feel very lucky to have them. And to think that I was only an L100 fan??Please let me know your thoughts on these and please point me into the direction for some literature on these.Thanks alot. Let me say that the only thing better than JBL'S is this Forum!

:applaud:

saeman
11-30-2005, 08:01 PM
The SOv's you have were made late 67 - mid 68, based on the serial numbers on the components and the cabinet features. Sov II's were offered from 1967 thru 1970 in their product catalogs (not a long run) and may have been available later on a special order basis. They were not as popular as the bigger Sov I's and not many were made. I have spoken to several old time JBL dealers that don't remember seeing more than a pair or two. The Sov I's were only a few bucks more and bigger is better, right. The C61's did sell to those who liked the design but lacked the space for the bigger version. All that I have seen have the energizer cutout on the cabinet back, which was a feature that went away in about 1972. Your pair is odd, being made from Red Oak instead of White Oak. All Sov I's, Sov II's and C68 equipment cabinets that I have seen were made from white oak. It is fairly well known that JBL would fill any custom order that came along, including orders for different and exotic cabinet woods. Your pair may have been a special order ?? If you ever find a pair of Sov's in Teak, Rosewood or Ebony let me know - my check book will be yours.

In comparison to other JBL's of that period, you will find that the Sov II's with the S7 system sound good but they lack in the low end. The LE15A will produce but the Sov II cabinet volume is not enough. Even by JBL's recomendations for minimum internal volume for the LE15A, the cabinet is too small. They put the S7 system in it anyway - what the hell - it's still sounds pretty good - just won't pass the "Purist Acid Test". Remember - they only have to sound good to you. The C61 and the Apollo were both offered for their period style and were built generic to house several systems other than the S7. I have a bunch of stuff that will out play my Sov II's but they're still keepers.

Regards - Rick http://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/images/smilies/bouncy.gif

kingjames
11-30-2005, 09:14 PM
I think your right about the low end, maybe the box isin't big enough, but I really don't care because they sound perfect to me. I think what you mean is that the base is not punchy, here I will agree, however I don't see it has a big concern to me.Thanks for the low down on these as I know you would be the one who knew about them. I guess all I really wanted to know is how they compare to other vintage stuff? Are the wood slats a plus or minus in this series, and Pete said they were quite rare for this series.What are your thoughts on this? I think the cabinet work on these are like brand new and what a piece of furniture. I was browsing through the board and came across your rebuild project of the 4350's using rosewood and can see why you would be looking for a pair of these with that wood. That wood is absolutely beautiful.Thanks for your time Rick, and I was just asking people what their thoughts were on this particular series. Thanks for the info! Jim

Mr. Widget
12-01-2005, 11:18 AM
My questions are as follows, how do these speakers rate compared to most JBL'S?They are nice examples of a classic design. You can find JBL speakers that go deeper in the bass and higher in the highs, but if you like them then you made the right choice.:)

Finding a pair in that condition is a real bonus.


Widget

saeman
12-01-2005, 01:32 PM
King Jim - In response to your question - How did they compare to other's in JBL's line at the time - consider the following: In 1967 JBL didn't have a pro lineup, no 4343's, no 4315's, only the Ricky Ricardo looking stuff with silver legs, etc. They had hugh success with the 130A's and 175's but they were all in plain wrappers. The Paragon was in the lineup but expensive. Throwing the Olympus, Sovereign and Verona (furnature styled cabinets that sounded good) on the market was a big deal and they sold a bunch of them collectively. The S7R/S8R was a new twist and the Oly's and Sov's were their TOP of the line speakers. They didn't offer anything that was better. Pro models didn't hit the market until mid 74'. Many of these are no doubt better sounding than your Sov's but keeping things in date order, your Sov's were one of the best sounding systems for their time. I can't think of any other way to make a comparison for you.

4313B
12-01-2005, 01:34 PM
Nicely put.

kingjames
12-01-2005, 02:15 PM
Thanks for your thoughts on my Sov II'S.

spkrman57
12-01-2005, 02:58 PM
King Jim - In response to your question - How did they compare to other's in JBL's line at the time - consider the following: In 1967 JBL didn't have a pro lineup, no 4343's, no 4315's, only the Ricky Ricardo looking stuff with silver legs, etc. They had hugh success with the 130A's and 175's but they were all in plain wrappers. The Paragon was in the lineup but expensive. Throwing the Olympus, Sovereign and Verona (furnature styled cabinets that sounded good) on the market was a big deal and they sold a bunch of them collectively. The S7R/S8R was a new twist and the Oly's and Sov's were their TOP of the line speakers. They didn't offer anything that was better. Pro models didn't hit the market until mid 74'. Many of these are no doubt better sounding than your Sov's but keeping things in date order, your Sov's were one of the best sounding systems for their time. I can't think of any other way to make a comparison for you.

What was JBL's favorite cabinet for the E130, and which cabinet was sold the most as sometimes the favorite cabinet would not be the optimum size.

I will be installing a pair of E-130's in cabinets soon and was wondering what options I have for these. I will be crossing over at either 800hz or 1600hz(still in planning stages) to a compression driver and horn.

Sorry for detour on this thread:o:

Ron

Ron

saeman
12-01-2005, 05:56 PM
Ron: I can't help you on that one. I do not have any experience with the E series drivers. My interests have always been with 70's home and pro monitors and derivatives thereof. There are certainly some guys on the forum better rounded than me that will answer your questions. Log into technical and repeat your request. Rick

saeman
12-01-2005, 06:10 PM
KINGJAMES - Just an afterthought on your excitment with your Sovereigns - Look through all of JBL's catalogs in the Library when you have time. See if you can find another vintage pair of speakers that exhibit the style and attention to detail that the Sovs do. I've owned several Olympus and Apollo pairs, not for their style but likely because I thought I should due to their scarcity. Compared to the Sovereign they look like a big wooden bird cage. Likely over half the sound emitted from the drivers bounced back into the cabinet off all the fretwork in front of them. Those who tried to listen seriously removed the grilles and many never put them back on. Not the same with the Sov's. The pleated cloth is a classic still today. The Verona is pretty too but JBL never found their way clear to horn load the L71 so it didn't compete well with the Sovereign. It appears that you were not specifically looking for Sovereigns when you bought this pair however you may well have bought the best example of their craftsmanship from the 70's. Of course this is just my opinion.

kingjames
12-01-2005, 06:33 PM
I knew what I wanted when I bought these. I bought them because of their age.their craftsmanship and ,because they were JBL. I knew that all the heavy speakers of the 60's and 70's were something to get, ya. some sound better than others,but I wasn't concerned about having the best pair I was only concerned with having a pair. I am very happy with these,I have no regrets and I can honestly say that I would have paid $2000.00 for them. I know they are not the best made by JBL, but then again what is the best? How many people can afford the Paragon's or the 4350's? I have to say that if I compare the craftsmanship of the one's that I have say to the 4350's than I have that pair beaten hands down.The 4350's though powerful and much better driver's than say my Sov II'S I think the cabinet work on mine is much better than the 4350's.In my opinion any JBL product from the 60's and 70's is worth having, and if at first you don't like the sounds of the ones you buy then just listen a little longer and you will get used to it.