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Thread: JBL Brotherhood

  1. #1
    Senior Member pasadena's Avatar
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    JBL Brotherhood

    At long last I can now say that I have been inducted into the JBL Brotherhood with the long awaited arrivals of my JBL XPL-200A speakers.

    It's been almost 4 years since I started searching for the XPL's but I can say that its been well worth the wait. I bought the XPL's off Dennis Leisz, whom you may remember him with his M9500's and Mcintosh MC1201 mono's. Well, after almost 2 years of much deliberation and frustration, I finally managed to get Dennis to ship them to me to Australia.

    I was actually worried that my wife would string me up on a pole if they hadn't of sounded good as expectations were high. Afters years of spending countless hours searching for these babies, I had ranted and raved how good they were that I had put them up on a pedestal but a failure would have been catstrophic.

    I recently sold my B&W 801 Matrix Series 3 speakers along with the matching HTM matrix centre speaker to make way for the arrival of the XPL-200A's and the B&W Nautilus HTM1 Centre channel speaker. I've been fortunate enough to score a pair of MTX200 stands and the much sought after DX-1's, not one but two of them along the way and with the help of Greg Timbers, I was able to get my hands on two pairs of HF/LF internal cards for the DX-1's. Installing the speaker spikes with the disc protectors was tricky and fiddly and looks so much better than the stands sitting on cloth towels I had previously. I opted for the smaller protective discs to aid in the rapid transfer of energy to the floor.

    Listening to the XPL's was going to be the crunch test. When we removed the XPL's from their packaging and set them up, my wife was taken to the finish and how sublime they looked in the black lacquer finish. My former B&W 801's were ugly in my wife's eyes so this was a good start. When Dennis said they were in mint condition he was pretty well right on the money. Apart from a tiny crack and light scuff marks, I would rate them 9.8 out of 10. After spending a couple of hours assembling the stands and getting the speakers into place, it was onto the listening test.

    My equipment consists of a NAD 208THX amplifier, Denon DCD-S10 CD PLayer, loan Music Fidelity Dr. Thomas Pre-amdplifier, Pioneer DV-525 DVD PLayer and a Denon AVR-2800 receiver. My tests were divided into two sections. First test was using the CD player through the Denon and the second test was using the CD player though the Dr. Thomas pre-amplifier only. In both tests the NAD 208THX amplifier is connected via the pre-outs on the Denon.

    With much anticipation, I cranked the babies up with some tracks from Patricia Barber's Cafe Blue Hybrid SACD recording and I was impressed from the outset. My wife found them bright compared to the 801's and I would have to agree but even so, the mid and top end is absolutely amazing. The clarity and detail was uncanny, compared to the 801's sweeter and fuller midrange. Maybe I just wasn't used to hearing a more accurate speaker, which made me think the XPL's were bright

    The 801's excelled in the bottom end and I was expecting this to be so but after listening to the XPL's for a week now, I've come acustomed to the bass and prefer it to the 801's. I find the XPL's bass more difinitive and able to reproduce bass better for what it's worth. Whereas the 801's bass was tight but tended to be boomier and maybe too much come to think of it.

    When I connected the CD the player through the Dr. Thomas pre-amp/NAD amp and nothing else, image and clarity was even more startling. The soundstage was wider, deeper and reproduced with unbelievable detail, as if the performer was sitting there in front of you.

    As you can see from the pictures, I have both DX-1's out of their boxes but for now cannot use them until I can acquire a second stereo amplifier. Once I do manage to find one I will be able to test some theories regarding the DX-1's enhancement of sound to the next level as well as providing more depth/tightness in bass repoduction.

    I've been in discussions with Greg Timbers working out how to run 2 DX-1's in a balanced configuration. Greg's also given me some pointers on replacing the OPamps in the DX-1's for OP 275's and I 've also asked Greg to get back to me on possible mid bass driver replacements.

    I'm really excited now that I can contribute to this forum as a true JBL member.

    Cheers
    Pasaena.
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    Thumbs up Hey!

    Congrats on finally getting your XPL200s. You have been single-minded about it, and your persistence paid off big. They look great.

    I will say this about the brightness issue: The Ti midrange and tweeter will make a bright room brighter. From what I can see, your room will tend to be bright anyway, so I'd expect the sound to be quite bright at first. As you say, you grow accustomed to it over time, and it is excellent, revealing, well-imaged sound.

    There are many things you can do to the room if you want to tone it down a bit, but as my ears age, I like to keep things bright, if you know what I mean.

    Yes, now that you have them, you must share all your inside information as you move forward with the DX-1s and the possible driver replacement.

    Once again, I am very happy for you. You've been patient and committed to this acquisition, and it's satisfying to see your quest fulfilled.
    In.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Don C's Avatar
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    Very nice!

  4. #4
    RIP 2009
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    Congrats on getting them set up! And don't forget - you promised you'd get me some pics and measurements on those stands.

    Quote Originally Posted by pasadena
    I 've also asked Greg to get back to me on possible mid bass driver replacements.
    Ask Greg how he thinks the 706G-1, (From the L1 and L5), might work for mid-bass - it will bolt right in. I plan on trying it on my XPL200A's sometime. Here's more on the comparison with the existing 115H-1: http://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/s...&postcount=112

    John

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ken Pachkowsky's Avatar
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    Congrats

    I know the feeling of waiting for something you long for and am happy you have found it. The system looks great. I can tell from the pictures that brightness would be an issue. Some nice thick area rugs would be good.

    Anyway, welcome to the insanity...

    Ken

  6. #6
    Steve Gonzales
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    Very Cool

    Man, are those beautiful or what!? Congratulations down under .

  7. #7
    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    Hey that's great!!! I am happy you got them. They look great!! Thanks again on helping me with the DX-1.

    Rob

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Very nice setup..wish my room was as tidy...

    Ian

  9. #9
    Dis Member mikebake's Avatar
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    Make the rooom less sterile/bouncy/shiny. It should help. That floor looks like a killer.

  10. #10
    Member bone215's Avatar
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    wow, is that a NEC powered subwoofer I see there in that picture?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Don C's Avatar
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    I had noticed the upper midrange emphasis, and commented on it in my review, you probably saw that in the archives. Having now had a look at the frequency response plots in the technical reference section, we can all see that this was false, the response is about the flattest that I have ever seen. I have gone back to my original theory, that the emphasis is caused by the wide dispersion of the dome midrange, compared to the cones that I was used to.
    My solution was just to punch up the bass a bit to balance it out, and to get used to it. More recently, Giskard has coated the inside of my midrange diaphragms with a thin coating of Aquaplas. It's a complete cure, the transformation is really remarkable. It makes the speaker very neutral. But at the same time, I sometimes miss the boldness of the old domes, it's as though the speakers lack character now, they sound just the same as lot of other speakers. But if Giskard ever decides to participate in the forum again, I'd reccomend asking for the treatment.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don C
    (snip) ...a thin coating of Aquaplas. It's a complete cure, the transformation is really remarkable. It makes the speaker very neutral. But at the same time, I sometimes miss the boldness of the old domes, it's as though the speakers lack character now, they sound just the same as lot of other speakers.(snip)
    This is exactly why I didn't want the AquaPlas. The tonal character of the 095Ti is distinctive as noted. One of the reasons I have so many JBLs is that each has its own personality, and the 095Ti/046Ti combo is really unique.

    However, if you want to change the sound, AquaPlas will do it, though it's not a haphazard job and worth having done by someone who knows how as Don suggests.
    In.

  13. #13
    Dis Member mikebake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bone215
    wow, is that a NEC powered subwoofer I see there in that picture?
    I had two of those for years.

  14. #14
    Senior Member pasadena's Avatar
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    Thanks TD and for everyone else’s feedback. J

    It has been a long journey and to think almost 4 years ago to go with a friend's advice that the XPL's were better than my, at the time B&W 801's was absurd but a big gamble that paid off handsomely. It was not until I read a review of the XPL's on Audioreview that sealed my fate. The reviewer, Jeff (is this person a member here?), also had my 801's and compared them to the XPL's and was astounded by them, especially when hooked up with the DX-1. Once I read that, I was off and running circumnavigating the internet in pursuit of the XPL’s.

    Acoustically, I realise that I have one of the worst types of rooms possible. Frequency response and effects would be a shocker. My wife and I love timber floors, which we have throughout the house, but it was also from a health perspective that timber floors were chosen over carpet. We bought our house with carpets and slate already installed on top of the timber floors. We just simply ripped them all up and polished up all the boards and they came up a real treat. Personally I hate carpet and being asthmatics you can see why.

    Having said this, if our next house permits the use of a room solely for Home Theatre, I’m all for treatments, carpet, etc, much like a cinema should look and feel. I personally like the sound that comes off timber floors but because I have no other options at hand that I’ve learned to live and come accustomed to the sound.

    From the first photo, the room extends to the left as much again as what you and forms the hub of our house. This room contains a kitchen to the far left as well as the family meals area but the area where we sit to watch movies is quite large in itself. As there is no immediate wall next to the left speaker, sound waves is going to be disproportionate. I would have placed a coffee table between us and the TV but having 3 girls we decided that they need room to run around in. The downside is that this room is where all the fun and play occurs and I’ve really put it upon myself to instil a recipe for disaster. It only takes a simple accident for the kids to inflict damage on the speakers so I’m toying with fate. Anyway, I’ve drummed it enough into them to respect furniture and to stay away from all the equipment. So far, fingers crossed J

    If I had it my way, I’d have a separate room for Home Theatre and the other for 2ch. My home theatre would’ve housed my B&W 801’s and the XPL’s in the 2ch room. As this is an unrealistic approach (maybe if I win the lottery), one room will have to suffice!! J I likened my 801’s to Luciano Pavarotti and hence nicknamed them my Pavarotti’s. They were big, heavy and produced a big beautiful sound with such ease, much like Pavarotti. J The XPL’s would be comparative to a modern day Tenor with gusto and boldness and the sounds they deliver is truly far reaching. They leave you wanting for more.

    If the sound I’m getting from my XPL’s using my current setup is great, I can only imagine what would be possible with the DX-1 and quality equipment installed. I’m already drooling at the mere thought of achieving audio nirvana but at what cost?

    I can see that my system will evolve over the next year or so in somewhat slow fashion. I’ve decided to leave the pre-processor and screen as one of the last items to purchase due to the up and coming release of the new surround formats to accommodate high definition and the ever changing HDMI interface. As I love both 2ch and home theatre so much, I’ve come to some conclusions as to how I can have both systems running together, in harmony. For now, my main goal will be to utilise the DX-1’s and that means purchasing a second 2ch amplifier.

    I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but Australia is literally the last pit stop to anything on this earth. This includes hi-fi and home theatre equipment. It costs a damn fortune to buy anything here as they mark up their prices so much that I see no point in even contemplating buying anything locally. To get a good deal and access to lots of other equipment not released in Australia, I need to look overseas. The greatest attraction is the price. Even after shipping costs to get the goods here to Australia, it is still half cheaper than what I would pay locally.

    As there are budget constraints, this leaves me with few options. The other issue I have with buying equipment from the U.S is our differences in power voltages. U.S is typically 110v and Australia 230/240v. If I do purchase equipment say from the U.S, they either need to have a multi-voltage or a multi-tap power supply.

    The DX-1’s manual states that I can use a single channel’s from an amp for either high frequency or low frequency. The manual also states to use bridged amplifiers for low end use. The manual then goes on to state that the DX-1 should be placed closest to the pre-amp minimizing long IC runs and that the DX-1 should be no closer than 12” from an amplifier due to magnetic interference. This leads me to a number of problems.

    My aim is for my pre-pro to reside in the centre of the setup and a DX-1 on either side feeding amplifiers also located on either side next to the speakers. The DX-1 was to sit above the amplifier but after reading the DX-1 manual, it said not to. This setup would then require short IC’s (1m/3ft) from the DX-1 to the amplifier and a short speaker cable (1.5m/4.5ft) from the amplifier to the speaker. This then leaves a long IC run from the pre-pro to either side to the DX-1’s. No longer than 2m/6ft. The problems lies connecting the DX-1’s directly to each other for a balanced connection and not knowing whether or not the DX-1 is powerful enough to drive IC’s over 2m/6ft is debatable. Only something Greg Timbers may be able to answer. The one possible way around this is to build a custom balanced XLR cable that would connect the two together.

    What are everyone’s thoughts about short/longer IC’s or speaker cables? I’ve been told that generally IC’s should be no longer than 2m or 6ft in length. How short should cables be as well, are there limitations to how short they can actually be? This is dependant on the pre-amplifier and whether or not it is capable of supplying enough voltage to drive an IC over 2m OR if the cables is of HIGH enough quality to enable an IC to be driven over certain cable lengths.

    I have researched a number of solid state amplifiers and have so far come up with Bel Canto’s second generation Evo’s, Cinepro’s 12KSE/XC or 3k6MKIII amplifiers or maybe another NAD 208THX. I recently visited a hi-fi store and found out that some guy is trading in his McIntosh MC501 monoblocks. I’m scared to even think about how much they will cost but I reckon they would be a killer match for the XPL’s top end.

    I would prefer to get 2 stereo amps and vertically bi-amp the XPL’s and relegate the NAD 208THX to running my Nautilus HTM1 centre speaker and perhaps a subwoofer. I’ve thought about horizontally bi-amping the XPL’s but that would mean placing all amps in the centre with the pre-pro, which would then would mean I would not require the second DX-1’s and reverse my idea of using short IC’s and speaker cables wherever possible. Confusing?

    About having 2ch coexisting with Home Theatre, I’ve decided to start hunting down for a Sony TA-P9000ES 5.1 channel analogue pre-amplifier. This unit comes with a 5.1 HT bypass as well as 2 x 5.1 inputs for SACD and DVD-Audio players as well as a 2ch input to connect a CD player or another pre-amplifier. I’ve read that this is one of the best or better 5.1 analogue pre-amplifiers on the market, which acts as a hub to your whole setup, allowing 2ch and HT to coexist. The beauty of the Sony is that it can run passively, whilst using your CD player while the rest of system is completely turned off.

    Once I do manage to get my whole system up and running, modifications will be on the menu. They will be:
    1) Replacing all internal wiring of the XPL’s to pure silver….any ideas?
    2) Replace OP amps in the DX-1 and possibly installing an op amp on the low frequency card to boost the bass on the XPL’s
    3) If possible, replace Caps in the DX-1’s to Wilma Caps or of similar quality.....any thoughts on this one?
    4) Mid bass driver replacement. Not something I will attempt in a hurry.

    I have put forward these questions for Greg to answer. I will not receive a reply from Greg until November

    Anyway, I do not profess to being an audiophile nor do I have the technical nous of most members in this forum. However, I’m humbled to be amongst knowledgeable members and have actually learned a lot from reading all the posts posted here over these past 3 years.

    Keep up the great work guys. J

    Thanks and cheers
    Pasadena.

  15. #15
    Senior Member pasadena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bone215
    wow, is that a NEC powered subwoofer I see there in that picture?
    Hi Bone215,

    It is indeed an NEC SW-400. The sub was relegated to storage some 3 years ago after I recevied my B&W 801's. The 801's bass extension was so damn good that I had no need for an external subwoofer. In any case, the NEC just didn't cut it and was therefore removed.

    The NEC lasted about 6 months after I bought it off a cousin when the driver fried itself. I replaced the driver with a JL audio driver but the resulting sound was too boomy and lacked any control or finesse.

    It was not until I was watching a few movies with the XPL's that I concluded that they could not deliver those last few ounces of bass required to drive modern day actioned pack movie sound tracks. And so the NEC was ressurected.

    For music, the NEC stays off but for movies I'm happy to leave it running as it does make some difference and gives those movies added ooomph!

    Later on down the track I hope to purchase a subwoofer but it's not going to be an easy decision deciding what to get.

    If I can find a sub that performs extremely well with music and home theatre then I'll be extremely happy. I've heard so far that paradigms performly excellently for music and HT. Then there are other great names such as Velodyne and M&K that will perform just as well.

    Is there anyone here that may offer any advice as to which subs perform well in both music and HT? What subs are you running and reasons for choosing your sub?

    Cheers
    Pasadena.

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