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Thread: JBL 4430 vs S3100 vs S2600 in home

  1. #1
    Senior Member vernb's Avatar
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    JBL 4430 vs S3100 vs S2600 in home

    I have just been so very lucky to try out first the JBL S3100 then S2600 and 4430. For many years I have had B&W 801F and been very pleased with their sound, not their efficiency at 82db. I have been dreaming about the S3100 ever since I heard it very shortly in a shop here in Denmark back in 1997.

    Since I thought it would me too expensive for me I kept searcing the Internet for its little brother S2600. But suddenly last month I found a pair of S3100, bought them at a very reasonable price and took them home.

    My living room is 4x4.5m an I am app. 2.5m from the speakers, they have app. 2m between them.

    Sound was amazing, with a huge soundstage (compared to the 801F) and an attack/dynamics I have never experienced before. They could sound a little edgy on my Aragon 4004mkII/Aragon 24k amp, but when hooked up to Threshold Fet Ten and SA/3 there was nothing to complain about.
    But these speakers are absolutely huge, and I felt they looked too big in my small room. So there I was, having found the ultimate speakers but not liking their BIG looks.
    I sold them to a guy in Portugal and found myself a pair of S2600 (actually just 25km from my home) at the same price. I took them home and hooked them up to my Thresholds, and a bit disappointed I was. They had the same great midrange as S3100, better bass, they where smoother (never edgy), but didn't have quite the attack and soundstage of the S3100.
    Well then lucky me. I was trying to sell my 801F and suddenly a guy called me up. He wanted to try these B&Ws since he had bought a pair of old JBLs that he never got around to fix. I asked what they were, and he told me they were 4430 in bad condition and in need of new foam surround on the woofers. We agreed to make an even swap. Both were happy and exited. 2 days ago I got in my 4430 with new surround on them (cost me 150 euro plus 3 hours driving).
    I hooked them up and listened with my eyes closed. WAUW. I had to open my eyes and make sure they weren't S3100. They had the bass, attack, soundstage and dynamics just like the S3100, only difference was:
    S3100 can sound edgy when played loud
    4430 can have that horn sound when played loud (they actually sound awful when played really loud, where both S2600 and S3100 can play very loud without sounding bad).
    Now I also tried S2600 and 4430 on Luxman SQ38FD, Luxman SQ38 signature and finally Rogers E20a tubeamps (I really wanted to be Japanese and sat on the floor). Amazing sound. the best I have ever had. I Thank the Gods for Horns and Tubes....(and for giving us Count Basie & Ella Fitzgerald).

  2. #2
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    Welcome and it's good to hear you are enjoying your JBL ride! I use a pair of 4430's in my home theatre, they can really shine, especially when seating locations are not always optimal.

    Now, I need to get on top of my soap-box, because I recently upgraded the crossover capacitors to Hovland for the horn and Solen on the woofer. If you think they are good as-is, wait until you hear them upgraded! Charge coupled is highly recommended around here too, but a little more difficult to implement.

  3. #3
    Senior Member vernb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chas View Post
    Welcome and it's good to hear you are enjoying your JBL ride! I use a pair of 4430's in my home theatre, they can really shine, especially when seating locations are not always optimal.

    Now, I need to get on top of my soap-box, because I recently upgraded the crossover capacitors to Hovland for the horn and Solen on the woofer. If you think they are good as-is, wait until you hear them upgraded! Charge coupled is highly recommended around here too, but a little more difficult to implement.
    Where can I get a drawing of x-over upgrade? I would like to try it out

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    Quote Originally Posted by vernb View Post
    Where can I get a drawing of x-over upgrade? I would like to try it out
    The schematic is here: http://www.jblproservice.com/pdf/Stu...ies/4430LR.pdf

    Hovlands are pretty big, but they will fit on the board. Note: I also removed the small bypass capacitors as well. It's a good idea to hot glue the new ones to the board. Also, the PCB holes need to be slightly enlarged for the heavy stranded Hovland lead wires.
    I did not change the 20 uf bi-amp capacitor C7, because I don't bi-amp mine.
    I changed the 6 uf and 2 uf in the high pass/eq network using Hovland and used Solen for the low pass woofer filter. I didn't bother changing the cap in the zobel network across the woofer. Frankly, I didn't see the point, although some may argue with that decision.

    Make sure you clean the switch while you have the network out. It was a major source of trouble for me when I first got mine.

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    Hovland and Solen caps

    Quote Originally Posted by vernb View Post
    I have just been so very lucky to try out first the JBL S3100 then S2600 and 4430. For many years I have had B&W 801F and been very pleased with their sound, not their efficiency at 82db. I have been dreaming about the S3100 ever since I heard it very shortly in a shop here in Denmark back in 1997.

    Since I thought it would me too expensive for me I kept searcing the Internet for its little brother S2600. But suddenly last month I found a pair of S3100, bought them at a very reasonable price and took them home.

    My living room is 4x4.5m an I am app. 2.5m from the speakers, they have app. 2m between them.

    Sound was amazing, with a huge soundstage (compared to the 801F) and an attack/dynamics I have never experienced before. They could sound a little edgy on my Aragon 4004mkII/Aragon 24k amp, but when hooked up to Threshold Fet Ten and SA/3 there was nothing to complain about.
    But these speakers are absolutely huge, and I felt they looked too big in my small room. So there I was, having found the ultimate speakers but not liking their BIG looks.
    I sold them to a guy in Portugal and found myself a pair of S2600 (actually just 25km from my home) at the same price. I took them home and hooked them up to my Thresholds, and a bit disappointed I was. They had the same great midrange as S3100, better bass, they where smoother (never edgy), but didn't have quite the attack and soundstage of the S3100.
    Well then lucky me. I was trying to sell my 801F and suddenly a guy called me up. He wanted to try these B&Ws since he had bought a pair of old JBLs that he never got around to fix. I asked what they were, and he told me they were 4430 in bad condition and in need of new foam surround on the woofers. We agreed to make an even swap. Both were happy and exited. 2 days ago I got in my 4430 with new surround on them (cost me 150 euro plus 3 hours driving).
    I hooked them up and listened with my eyes closed. WAUW. I had to open my eyes and make sure they weren't S3100. They had the bass, attack, soundstage and dynamics just like the S3100, only difference was:
    S3100 can sound edgy when played loud
    4430 can have that horn sound when played loud (they actually sound awful when played really loud, where both S2600 and S3100 can play very loud without sounding bad).
    Now I also tried S2600 and 4430 on Luxman SQ38FD, Luxman SQ38 signature and finally Rogers E20a tubeamps (I really wanted to be Japanese and sat on the floor). Amazing sound. the best I have ever had. I Thank the Gods for Horns and Tubes....(and for giving us Count Basie & Ella Fitzgerald).

    Hi !

    Would you be so kind to let me know where to get these Holand and Solen caps for the 4430 at a "good" price" ? I live in Norway and are in the process of fixing my 4430 so new caps mounting would be fine. I'm eager to hear what you hear !

  6. #6
    Senior Member pos's Avatar
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