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Thread: JBL 4312A v.s. the audiophile

  1. #1
    Junior Member plasticempire's Avatar
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    JBL 4312A v.s. the audiophile

    Is it just my imagination or does this speaker kick major ass for the price? I've experimented with more expensive audiophile brands in the past and finally decided I needed to take a different approach. I love my other gear:

    Conrad Johnson PV10A tube preamp
    Conrad Johnson MF-200 power amp
    Rega P3 turntable w/ Grado Reference Platinum cartridge

    but I never was very happy with the speaker end of the equation until now. I mostly listen to rock music and want to get as close as possible to the original master recording (what the band heard when they were in the control room). I finally thought to do some research and discovered what makes perfect sense - many of the albums I listen to were most likely recorded in studios using JBL's. The 4312A's seemed a logical place to start. They have the punch and low end I was looking for plus the detail my system can reveal. I found them in mint condition for $500 and am now a believer.

    I wonder why the audiophile world doesn't recognize these speakers. In my opinion, JBL owners seem to be fans of music. Audiophiles often come across as equipment snobs who look down on rock and roll. Long live rock!

  2. #2
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plasticempire View Post
    I wonder why the audiophile world doesn't recognize these speakers. In my opinion, JBL owners seem to be fans of music. Audiophiles often come across as equipment snobs who look down on rock and roll. Long live rock!
    Maybe because the 4411, 4412, and 4412A go deeper on the bottom and are more accurate? I like rock, but I also like jazz, new-age, etc. Fine speakers they are, but the 4312 series were "control" monitors in the JBL parlance. The 4412/As were "studio" monitors developed later for a flatter response curve most call more "accurate". The reason many like the sound of the 4312 is because it was designed to have a more "forward" midrange and a rise around 40Hz. JBL says this was done to mimic the then-industry-benchmark Altec 604 monitor. You'd be correct in saying many of the recordings from the mid-80s back were engineered on such control monitors but that doesn't necessarily translate perfectly to your living room unless you're sitting at a bench with those speakers right in front of your head.

    I'll take issue with your statement that the audiophile community doesn't recognize the older JBL monitors simply by saying your willingness to pay the price you paid proves they have retained value today based on someone's published opinion. Your definition of audiophile and the distinction you draw between "equipment snobs" and "music lovers" might be a bit biased. But so is mine. I usually think anyone who lists Conrad Johnson in his system description is as an equipment snob.

    I congratulate you on a good start in the JBL experience. I think you can learn a lot about your new find here on this site in both the archived posts and the indispensable library. Hopefully this won't be your last pair of vintage JBLs.

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plasticempire View Post
    Conrad Johnson PV10A tube preamp
    Conrad Johnson MF-200 power amp
    Rega P3 turntable w/ Grado Reference Platinum cartridge

    I finally thought to do some research and discovered what makes perfect sense - many of the albums I listen to were most likely recorded in studios using JBL's. The 4312A's seemed a logical place to start.

    I wonder why the audiophile world doesn't recognize these speakers.
    Sounds like you're an audiophile to me... you don't have your little JBLs plugged into a recent issue AVR or listen to MP3s.

    As to why more people don't listen to those particular speakers? For '70s rock, you are spot on... most was run through a pair of these or a JBL cousin, and '70s rock sounds good on them, but there are other speakers that also kick butt and yet will also show off the finesse in some other music types. For years I was under the impression that two systems were necessary... one for kick butt rock and one for more "audiophile" fare... and while that is likely true at the real world economic end of the spectrum, you can find very large and very expensive speakers from Wilson, Avantgarde, and several others that can do both.


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    Junior Member plasticempire's Avatar
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    Since you both put it that way I guess we're all audiophiles to a certain degree. I mean here we are geeking out on a forum.

    As far as my gear goes I have to say I've literally had a few 'serious' audiophiles refer to my Conrad-Johnson gear as appliances. I even had one salesperson tell me that if I want to listen to rock music loudly he couldn't help me!

    I play in a rock band for a living and produce our albums. Perhaps with the 4312A's I'm responding to what my ears are used to hearing in the studio. All I'm trying to get across is that they sound right to my ears as compared to what I've tried in the past and they didn't cost nearly as much. It's a starting point. Maybe some day I'll jump up to a pair of big blue JBL's. Point is I'm now a fan and it isn't because some audiophile type turned me on.

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plasticempire View Post
    I play in a rock band for a living and produce our albums. Perhaps with the 4312A's I'm responding to what my ears are used to hearing in the studio.
    You might find this conversation interesting. One of the professional producers on the panel also uses 4312As in his office.

    http://philoctetes.org/Past_Programs...uality_Matters

    The conversation is 2 and a half hours long. Much is the stuff that has been discussed in many audiophile get togethers and other venues, but I found it interesting just the same.

    I learned about it here:

    http://www.audioheritage.org/vbullet...d.php?p=234239


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    Junior Member plasticempire's Avatar
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    Very interesting to watch. I actually worked with Greg Calbi (the moderator) a few years back. He's a smart guy and his mastering studio at Sterling Sound is pretty sweet. Thanks for passing that along.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plasticempire View Post
    Since you both put it that way I guess we're all audiophiles to a certain degree. I mean here we are geeking out on a forum.
    Well... it degenerated down to that. The original intent was to merely provide qualified answers to pertinent questions within the original scope of this specific website. It all went straight to hell from there.

    But as several members have pointed out, it can't all be just sterile Q & A.
    Quote Originally Posted by plasticempire View Post
    As far as my gear goes I have to say I've literally had a few 'serious' audiophiles refer to my Conrad-Johnson gear as appliances.
    Yeah, I finally realized that it wasn't anyone else's business what gear I had. It just isn't. No matter what you have someone else is going to denegrate it. And to what end? It's all just a bunch of fun, but goofy, toys we play with regardless of price. None of it beats the real thing.

    I've gone to more than my fair share of those "audiophile" get-togethers and they are definitely NOT better than a sharp stick in the eye.

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    Unabashed Speakerholic cosmos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    You might find this conversation interesting. One of the professional producers on the panel also uses 4312As in his office.

    http://philoctetes.org/Past_Programs...uality_Matters

    The conversation is 2 and a half hours long. Much is the stuff that has been discussed in many audiophile get togethers and other venues, but I found it interesting just the same.

    I learned about it here:

    http://www.audioheritage.org/vbullet...d.php?p=234239


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    That is a great conversation... surely worth a listen to anyone interested in music, at least reproduced music and brings many different perspectives to the forefront.

    In the end, it's all about enjoyment and fun. There is no conveyable right or wrong. Each of us have opinions of to what, where, when and how we listen and it's all good as long as we enjoy it..

    Personally, I hate the word audiophile. Somehow it conveys a upper level of enjoyment not attainable by the masses, yet music is about the people. People can enjoy music played on some pretty low level music.. I remember as a young feller listening to Motown on CKLW AM on a transistor radio at the pool... Was I an audiophile then? Hell no and I hope I am not one now, even though I know much more about musical reproduction... I also remember hearing Chicago Transit Authority for the first time on one of those fold out record players and it was fantastic. A memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.

    Please do not mis-understand.. I am not equating the 4312A to a transistor radio or a fold out record player and I have enjoyed 4312As on many occasions. The point is, if you like it, it is great.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmos View Post
    Personally, I hate the word audiophile.
    It's kind of creepy if you ask me...

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    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    Personally, I hate the word audiophile.
    All it means is loves audio. I certainly do.

    Rob
    "I could be arguing in my spare time"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robh3606 View Post
    All it means is loves audio. I certainly do.
    Ok, thanks for that update Rob.

    It's still kind of creepy.

    If I need a label I'm a musicphile I guess... I get enough audio (aka flak) from the peanut gallery.

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    cosmos

    Have you been to this site?

    http://www.thebig8.net/

    I started listening to CKLW AM800 around 1960. Living across Lake Erie near Toledo gave us a very strong signal. CK was everywhere.

    When I got my brand new L100s in 1970, I tuned the Kenwood KR-6160 receiver to CKLW to listen to CKLW first, even before hooking up the Dual 1219 to listen to Shades of Deep Purple. (I first heard "Hush" on CKLW.)
    Out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robh3606 View Post
    All it means is loves audio. I certainly do.

    Rob
    Agreed. Unhappily, it's been misappropriated by those who love equipment, brand name, cost, and exclusivity to the detriment of the simple love of musical sound. Today it's more a point of contention than a point of agreement.

    Still, I love music, even trance on my iPod and JBL Creature. I consider them the tools of an audiophile as much as my multi-thousand dollar set ups or original L100s.

    Audiophile has a bad rap and bad rep because it's misused by snake oil salesmen, so I understand why people are so averse to using it, even though it's only a word.
    Out.

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    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dome View Post
    Agreed. Unhappily, it's been misappropriated ... to the detriment of the simple love of musical sound. Today it's more a point of contention than a point of agreement.

    Still, I love music, even trance on my iPod and JBL Creature. I consider them the tools of an audiophile as much as my multi-thousand dollar set ups or original L100s.

    Audiophile has a bad rap and bad rep because it's misused by snake oil salesmen, so I understand why people are so averse to using it, even though it's only a word.
    Still, it's like calling yourself a music lover ...
    even thats misunderstood because some folks have really crappy tastes in music!
    2ch: Oppo, Acurus RL-11, JBL 240ti, Heath AS101, Carver TFM-25,Von Schweikert VR4
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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4313B View Post
    It's kind of creepy if you ask me...
    I agree. And, despite the intrinsic innocuous intention, "philatelist" sounds even worse!

    It's all Greek to me!
    Or should that be Geek?

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