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Thread: Recommendations for JBL speakers (home theater & music)

  1. #1
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    Recommendations for JBL speakers (home theater & music)

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm new here and I'm sure you've seen this question umpteen billion times. But I thought I'd ask anyways. I'm setting up a home theater / music playing area in my new apartment and I decided to take the route of trying to go with some classic speakers.

    After a little bit of research I think I'm pretty much settled on the fact I'd like to get some classic JBL or Altec Lansing's. The details

    Amp = Pioneer VSX-24TX

    Room size = 19x14

    Musical preferences include, Alternative (Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz etc), Alternative Rock and Classic Rock, as well as some nice smooth jazz a lot of the time in the evening.

    Again, I'm also wanting to incorporate the speakers as home theater stuff (fronts and surrounds), but my priorities are

    1) Make the music I listen to sound ungodly awesome
    2) Make watching movies a little more fun

    Honestly not really sure what my budget *should* be, but I need to start somewhere and I understand these systems are typically better built over time and saving money for better quality components. Although, keep in mind this will be in a small apartment and I don't want to wait 5 years before its all done.

    I need to start with at least front (stereo) speakers first and go from there.

    What kind of recommendations can you guys make? (I found a nice set of JBL L96's on craigslist for $75 for the pair, is something like that pretty good?)

    Thank you all for any info you can provide!
    *Building budget home theater system*

  2. #2
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    Altec 16" duplex speakers (e.g., 604s) are very nice; they were the standard in recording studios in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. A pair starts at $1K - $1.5 K before you find cabinets. Very efficent, dynamic and natural sounding.

    JBL studio monitors (4312s) are a 12 inch 3-way system that commonly sell on E-Bay complete for around $300 a pair. They are better suited for an apartment, I suppose. They are not particulaily dynamic as some of the systems with HF compression drivers, IMO.

    Dispite what you might hear from others, the non-vintage professional series drivers from JBL are VERY top notch and do not carry the stigma of inflated prices that some older desirable JBL antique systems have. I have a pair of 15s w/ HF compression drivers/horns and they kick butt Vs. the vintage JBL stuff! These components are sold new on the net for $700-$800 per side.

    I still like the old stuff, too, however. Some of the big JBLs like the L300 commonly go for $3,000 or more depending upon their condition.

    Altec voice of the therater (VOTTs) are 15s with compression drivers and horns are nice but require big cabinets and they are less suitable for appartments, I suppose. These go for around $1K-1.5K.

    The biggest pain now-a-days is shipping. Big systems require costly shipping so many people sell the drivers separately on E-bay. I assembled a JBL monitor 4312 from components and it is a pain! If you can avoid this, do so.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhatcher View Post
    I decided to take the route of trying to go with some classic speakers.
    Why?
    Quote Originally Posted by dhatcher View Post
    Thank you all for any info you can provide!
    JBL Performance Series.

    Specifically the PC600, PT800 and PS1400

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4313B View Post
    Why?JBL Performance Series.

    Specifically the PC600, PT800 and PS1400
    Good question. I guess I just wanted to do something a little bit different and have an air of history to the setup? No real reason other than that I suppose. I definitely don't think vintage is necessarily better than new, or vice versa. Just looking for something with a little more classic feel?
    *Building budget home theater system*

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhatcher View Post
    Good question. I guess I just wanted to do something a little bit different ...
    I'll say.

    I just barely googled that VSX-24TX (I don't know consumer stuff... ), and there were a disproportionate number of "trouble" hits.

    Unless you already own it, I'd search for something more reliable...
    bo

    "Indeed, not!!"

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    Too late, I already own it, heh.
    *Building budget home theater system*

  7. #7
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    Dhatcher, you didn't mention a couple of things. First, how much are you willing to spend? From what I gather, you're looking at the L-96, which is a vintage bookshelf speaker with a 10" woofer. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're looking at getting pretty good sound from a vintage speaker and not spending a whole lot of money.

    Nothing wrong with that. The vintage JBL bookshelf speakers, like the L-96, 4310's, 4311's, L-100's, L-110's and others are great speakers. They called them bookshelf back in the day, but they are at least 45 pounds apeice. From the selection, you'll get decent enough bass down to 45 hz, but don't expect anything lower than that, unless you bump up the speaker size.

    If you want a large speaker for a decent price, the L-100T's can be had for $300 to $400. The construction quality is not what it was in the 70's, but the components are decent enough, especially with the 2214H woofer. Other bargain floorstanders are the L-5 and the L-7 (bargains in that they are underappreciated, they are great speakers). Typical price is $400-$600 a pair.

    Do the research. There are certain 'consumer' JBL's that you'd be wise to pass up on. Also, most of the bigger floorstanders require some pretty good wattage to go through them, so a good high powered amp or reciever is worth the money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regis View Post
    Dhatcher, you didn't mention a couple of things. First, how much are you willing to spend? From what I gather, you're looking at the L-96, which is a vintage bookshelf speaker with a 10" woofer. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're looking at getting pretty good sound from a vintage speaker and not spending a whole lot of money.

    Nothing wrong with that. The vintage JBL bookshelf speakers, like the L-96, 4310's, 4311's, L-100's, L-110's and others are great speakers. They called them bookshelf back in the day, but they are at least 45 pounds apeice. From the selection, you'll get decent enough bass down to 45 hz, but don't expect anything lower than that, unless you bump up the speaker size.

    If you want a large speaker for a decent price, the L-100T's can be had for $300 to $400. The construction quality is not what it was in the 70's, but the components are decent enough, especially with the 2214H woofer. Other bargain floorstanders are the L-5 and the L-7 (bargains in that they are underappreciated, they are great speakers). Typical price is $400-$600 a pair.

    Do the research. There are certain 'consumer' JBL's that you'd be wise to pass up on. Also, most of the bigger floorstanders require some pretty good wattage to go through them, so a good high powered amp or reciever is worth the money.

    Thank you for the info. I'd be looking to stay under a $500 cap for the first set (front L&R) speakers.
    *Building budget home theater system*

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhatcher View Post
    Thank you for the info. I'd be looking to stay under a $500 cap for the first set (front L&R) speakers.
    Keep in mind that vintage systems quite often have maintenance issues. For reference, OCS charges $256 to recone one LE10H-1 in an L96. The L96 is a twenty-five year old loudspeaker system.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4313B View Post
    Keep in mind that vintage systems quite often have maintenance issues. For reference, OCS charges $256 to recone one LE10H-1 in an L96. The L96 is a twenty-five year old loudspeaker system.
    Very true and a good point. Most of the time, a simple refoaming gets your average vintage JBL on its way (as long as the suspension or spider isn't worn out). Yet, it's still amazing how many of these 25 year old (and older) systems are still working well (mine included). They may not match the sound that latest technology offers, but if you shop carefully, they'll meet the need and then some.

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    looking for advice

    My 4312s, which I purchased in 84 still work great. They have been pushed with carver, pioneer, Yamaha, and Now Denon... 3808 for the curious.
    Im using them in a HT system as front L/R and am looking for a more invisible soundstage by upgrading the Center. What Timbre matches well with these old dogs.
    Thanks

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