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Thread: Jbl S412p

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    Jbl S412p

    I picked up a pair of these "forgotten" older JBL Flagships a few days ago locally.
    The were the Flagship of the older Studio or S Series.


    I am VERY impressed with these speakers.
    I own B&W 801's
    They are my reference speaker that all speakers I buy get compared to.
    MOST speakers will not stand comparasion to a well set up B&W 801, for long.
    These JBL's suprised the hell out of me.
    Make NO mistake, this is an Audiophiles Speaker in every way.
    The wide baffle gives a big warm sound, with authority in the lower midrange.
    No thin sound here, even 4 feet out from the back wall!
    Not QUITE as 3 dimensional as the B&W 801's, but imaging is very good, and the overall sound is big and majestic.
    This JBL metal tweeter is devoid of harshness, unlike the Titanium POS Tweeter used in the JBL L7's I used to own.
    THAT tweeter had phase distortion problems you could HEAR
    Very FEW tweeters can match the B&W Tweeter, or even come close.
    This tweeter is sweet, shockingly detailed, and smooth.
    It lacks a LITTLE "air" compared to the 801 tweeter, but it is very close.
    I feel the JBL S412P's biggest strength is reproduction of timbre.
    It just sounds like Music.
    Like the 801, and VERY few other speakers, it has that oh so elusive elusive ability to sound "real" at times.
    Whoever voiced this speaker KNEW what music sounds like, and it is oh so evident the more you listen to this masterpiece.
    Guitar Solo's, Hand Claps, and Saxaphones have had me shaking my head in utter disbelief.
    HTF can JBL do this ?
    Voices have just a TOUCH of extra warmth compared to the 801's.
    Female voice is wonderfully reproduced.
    Take for example the Band Till Tuesday ?
    Remember them ?
    They do that song "Hush Hush, voices carry"
    That is a BITCH to get right.
    The Big JBL's are up to the task.
    Joan Osborne singing "What If God Was One Of Us" will give you goosebumps.
    Not only is she reproduced warm and romantically, but the guitar solo is clear outside and 5 feet back behind the left speaker.
    Sara McLaughlin is well done, as are every female vocalist I have tried.
    Even Patty Smythe singing "I am the Warrior" is "listenable".
    Quarter Flash singing "Gonna Harden My Heart" will make hair stand up on your arms when the Saxaphone Solo comes in.
    The Sax is convincingly rendered in that song.
    The intentional guitar "fuzzbox" distortion in Black Sabbath's Paranoid must be heard to be believed.
    Bass on these is ok, not particulary deep, maybe down to 35 or so ?
    But what is there is fast and tight, with decent impact.
    I have 25 CD's I use for speaker evaluation.
    MOST speakers can't get through the first 5 CD's before i hear problems compared to the 801's.
    I am happy to report that the JBL S412 passed ALL 25 CD's with FLYING colors vs the B&W 801's.

    A MOST impressive acheivement JBL !!!!


    I plan a more thorough review for these speakers, but I just wanted to share my excitement for them.
    These speakers are 10 years old, but can be found used in good condition if you look.
    HOW these ever "escaped" the Audiophile Press is beyond me ?
    JBL's sister company Infinity was getting ALL the "attention" back when these were made.

    Perhaps we passed these up because we thought they were just "Home Theatre Speakers" ??
    And Mass Produced JBL's sold at Best Buy CAN'T be "Any Good" right ?
    WRONG WRONG - Oh So very incorrect Guys !

    SEVERAL pairs of well known "Audiophile Approved Speakers" have come and gone through my home over the years.
    "Fallen Victims" of the B&W 801's that exposed them for the "Pretenders" they really were.
    I am happy to report the JBL S412p's have not only survived direct comparasion to the 801's, but have done so with flying colors.

    I plan on calling JBL after Memorial Day and FIND the Engineer responsible for the design of these speakers, IF he is still there ?

    Just to let him know SOMEONE appreciates his considerable accomplishment.

  2. #2
    Senior Member oznob's Avatar
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    Very nice review of a great speaker Chris! I have never heard that model but owned the model below the S412, the S312. I was very pleased with its overal sound, especially the puchy mid-bass. The only issue with the S412 that I have read is that some had amplifier issues and replacements were/are near impossible to find.

    That speaker has always intrigued me and I would love to hear a pair in proper working order. Glad to hear they gave the venerable 801 a rund for its money!

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    Quote Originally Posted by oznob View Post
    Very nice review of a great speaker Chris! I have never heard that model but owned the model below the S412, the S312. I was very pleased with its overal sound, especially the puchy mid-bass. The only issue with the S412 that I have read is that some had amplifier issues and replacements were/are near impossible to find.

    That speaker has always intrigued me and I would love to hear a pair in proper working order. Glad to hear they gave the venerable 801 a rund for its money!
    They are AWESOME
    SOO Musical.
    I have a tech that can fix ANYTHING, so I fear not
    The S412's are in the other room playing Natalie Merchant as we speak!
    HTF the 412's ever "escaped" the audio press is beyond me ?
    Back when they were made, Infinity was getting all the attention
    They had the Canadiens, and all the NRC story stuff
    But I actually OWN the Infinity IL 60 that was made at the same time as the JBL S412P's.
    The 412 is so much more musical it is not funny.
    Actually, MOST of the time the 412 actually sound better then the Matrix 801
    ONLY on the BEST recordings does the 801 show it's slight superiority.
    I just LOVE thye S412P's

  4. #4
    Senior Member LowPhreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ka7niq View Post
    HTF the 412's ever "escaped" the audio press is beyond me ?
    Because JBL is not advertised much in the audio press, so they can't pay their bills by giving fawning reviews of them. There are too many others that are willing to pay for the ad space, and get a chance at a great review which will help to propel sales of a given component. Infinity, and some of the Canadian companies like PSB and Bryston however don't mind paying for a full-page ad in the glossies, so you'll see that stuff getting raved about more often. ie: you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

    Last JBL consumer speaker I saw reviewed in an audiophile mag was the L880 in Stereophile in 2006.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LowPhreak View Post
    Because JBL is not advertised much in the audio press, so they can't pay their bills by giving fawning reviews of them. There are too many others that are willing to pay for the ad space, and get a chance at a great review which will help to propel sales of a given component. Infinity, and some of the Canadian companies like PSB and Bryston however don't mind paying for a full-page ad in the glossies, so you'll see that stuff getting raved about more often. ie: you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

    Last JBL consumer speaker I saw reviewed in an audiophile mag was the L880 in Stereophile in 2006.
    VERY True !!
    I got caught up in the Hype myself
    I HOPE JBL survives.
    I hear Infinity is in trouble ??

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    Senior Member LowPhreak's Avatar
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    I don't know what's up with Infinity nowadays. Last set of them I had was the 10" 2-way RSa's many moons ago...
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Quote Originally Posted by LowPhreak View Post
    I don't know what's up with Infinity nowadays. Last set of them I had was the 10" 2-way RSa's many moons ago...
    The small Primus 360 is supposed to be a decent speaker for the money.
    The Interlude Line did not sell well.
    Floyd Toole is gone from Infinity, but some Canadiens remain.
    The OLD Infinity stuff was well regarded.
    But the sales are just not there for Infinity.
    Klipsch is kicking BUTT
    They BOUGHT Energy !!!
    I HOPE JBL can survive ??

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    Quote Originally Posted by oznob View Post
    Very nice review of a great speaker Chris! I have never heard that model but owned the model below the S412, the S312. I was very pleased with its overal sound, especially the puchy mid-bass. The only issue with the S412 that I have read is that some had amplifier issues and replacements were/are near impossible to find.

    That speaker has always intrigued me and I would love to hear a pair in proper working order. Glad to hear they gave the venerable 801 a rund for its money!
    I almost bought a pair of s/h S312's a few weeks ago for a £100, but the seller changed his mind about the sale. They struck me as being a lot of speaker for the money (they sold quite cheap new, i think), with 12" woofers, deep bass and 92db sensitivity (claimed).

    Haven't noticed anymore going s/h though. It seems they were on sale new on Amazon until fairly recently (now listed as unavailable)

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    A while back I had the opportunity to listen to a 7 way, $5600/copy set of Legacys in a 5.1 set up. I thought I was hearing something cool for a while, but as I listened to different things, they all sounded the same. By the time the afternoon was over, I was tired of them. I got home to my S412s, put something on. I could hear the sound of the music instead of the sound of the speaker. The Legacys were next to them.

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    What drivers were used in this series or speakers? (S310, S312, S412)

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    Senior Member LowPhreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ka7niq View Post
    The OLD Infinity stuff was well regarded.
    Yes I know, that's why I had the RSa's...one of the best sounding sealed-box 10" 2-ways I've ever heard, except I always wished they were mirror-imaged. Always wanted Betas or Gammas, then later Kappas. As if I could afford them back then. lol I do miss the EMIT's.

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    Senior Member Rusnzha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph856 View Post
    What drivers were used in this series or speakers? (S310, S312, S412)
    The only designations these had were part numbers.

    http://www.harmanaudio.com/search_br...&Parts=S412PBE

    http://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/s...Series+Exposed

  13. #13
    Senior Member oznob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusnzha View Post
    http://www.audioheritage.org/vbullet...ighlight=cf150

    You can go here and scroll down to S312 Studio and check the tech. sheet.

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    According to Harman's parts and accessories page, with the S412, the mid bass and tweeters are no longer available (disappointing considering they are not that old)

    With the S312, the drivers are available but not replacement networks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph856 View Post
    According to Harman's parts and accessories page, with the S412, the mid bass and tweeters are no longer available (disappointing considering they are not that old)

    With the S312, the drivers are available but not replacement networks.
    Those PolyPlas® drivers are in lots of enclosures, so I bet there's a compatible replacement out there with a slightly different number. The gold ones have different numbers than the copper ones, which have different numbers than the silver ones, which have different numbers than the black ones. There might be some minor cosmetic or frame differences, but I could drop the 8" woofer from my E50 into an S38 or S38II and you'd never hear the difference.

    The one thing that really has changed is the tweeter. There's no swapping there, but there are non-OEM units at some of the supply houses from time to time.
    Out.

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