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Thread: So, is JBL going to be releasing new speakers anytime soon?

  1. #16
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    Originally posted by Don McRitchie
    Personally, I would love to see JBL re-enter the high end market domestically, but I have to admit, I have a hard time seeing the economics of it being worthwhile.
    What you're saying makes alot of sense, but it could still be worthwile according to the "Race on Sunday, sell on Monday" device.

    (Some time ago I was hunting for old JBL horns and at a major Disco equipment rental company they guy (in the early twenties) upon my question replied: "Hey, JBL don't make PA stuff - it's a car stereo company, man." Scary!)
    Treble is my job, bass my passion.

  2. #17
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    JBL was a lot like McIntosh in that their products were leaders in their segment, a little pricy and lasted virtually forever. Once their somewhat limited audience made a purchase, they were likely to keep it for a generation. Good for us, not for them! Meanwhile competition was knocking on their door in the form of heavily discounted Japanese imports then and a thousand high end niche makers today. I don’t think many of us could afford or justify paying for that level of quality today and that only limits the customer base further. Hence the current disposable home audio via “Best Buy”.

  3. #18
    RIP 2010 scott fitlin's Avatar
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    Yeah........

    Originally posted by Bestsmurfs
    JBL was a lot like McIntosh in that their products were leaders in their segment, a little pricy and lasted virtually forever. Once their somewhat limited audience made a purchase, they were likely to keep it for a generation. Good for us, not for them! Meanwhile competition was knocking on their door in the form of heavily discounted Japanese imports then and a thousand high end niche makers today. I don’t think many of us could afford or justify paying for that level of quality today and that only limits the customer base further. Hence the current disposable home audio via “Best Buy”.
    Not so much that there arent many or any who could afford to pay for the level of high quality, if that statement is true, then companies like Wilson, B & W, Avant-Garde, etc must not be selling product!

    But, what I do know is the sheer volume of product, cheapie product, sold through outlets like best Buy and Circuit City more than makes up for them not having a top of the line consumer high end line! And of course, not only do they sell tons of plastic speakers, the profit margin is higher for them!

    Car Audio. JBL is selling tons of car audio! TONS!

    So, they make enough pro and touring gear to be a visible leader in the field, and sell tons of cheap product off the name!

    It seems to be a proven formula for doing buisiness! Every tour company has tons of vertec and crown! people go to concerts, and nightclubs and see and hear JBL, then ................

    Not to mention Harman Intl seems to always have enough money to buy up every once famous audio brand!

    Look at Crown under the tutledge of Harman! Crown always made top flight pro amps. Owning Crown at one time meant you had to spend some money. Now Crown has all the entry level and lightweight light priced amps, and every mobile DJ, and cost conscious club and whatever, has Crown amps! They sell so many CE series, and XLS amps it isnt funny!

    They no longer " Have " to make stuff that appeals to us.

    This is the way it is! They are selling alot of stuff, just not the kind of stuff we want.

  4. #19
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    I don't know that they've really left the hi-end home market. You've got the very hi-end K2 stuff, then you have the relatively mid-priced Performance series, and also the Synthesis series for HT.

    It seems more like they have no real idea how to market this stuff successfully, or at least I've never seen this stuff promoted anywhere but their website. But then again - maybe the message IS getting to the desired audience, (which might not be us...), and maybe they ARE successful, as far as achieving what they want to do.

    I agree, an evolution of the earlier 44xx stuff might have been nice, but I think JBL really believes in the superiority of this newer stuff, and until I'm in a position to make direct comparisons, I'm not really qualified to argue...

    John

  5. #20
    RIP 2010 scott fitlin's Avatar
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    I dunno...

    I look at it like this! Nightclub sound was once almost exclusively JBL. Most of the famous disco designers used JBL drivers, horns and tweeters. Some took JBL cabinets and designed their own application specific, enlarged copies of JBL designs. But it was almost all JBL at one time. But these days there arent as many clubs opening up every year as there was 25 years ago.

    Cars! Everyone seems to be buying high power booming car systems! Millions of young people across the entire country doing up their cars with supersound! Seems to me this, financially beats the hell out of a possible 4 or 5 clubs opening in each city every year! lets face it, when we were 20 we wanted, or lusted for a big pair of JBL,s. These days the kids want car bass, and lots of it, and amps to push em to the limit!

    Computers! Everyone has them, we all use them, even us! And everyone needs a set of speakers for the computer! How many units can be sold annually, and these cost very little to manufacture!

    In terms of volume, the two aforementioned markets blow consumer hi fi away! But, your right about the fact that they dont really market the K2 very aggressively!

    I dont think its the lack of " know how " when it comes to marketing, if thats true, why do they market their pro stuff so well, and why do they make and market the stuff for Japan like they do?

    I think they know very well what they do, and they do it because they sell so much of it, and the American market has shown them that they can!

    Still, I wish they had one really kick ass tradtional, legacy JBL speaker available!

  6. #21
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    OTOH

    I also feel that all the people who buy JBL car audio, and Best Buy stuff, are the type of people who didnt buy JBL 20yrs ago. So, if anything, they may have widened their marketing!


  7. #22
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    Originally posted by Don McRitchie
    Personally, I would love to see JBL re-enter the high end market domestically, but I have to admit, I have a hard time seeing the economics of it being worthwhile.
    Fine. I buy the amortization of product development costs argument. However, by the same logic, NOT marketing already developed and manufactured products sold in other markets such as Japan and Europe domestically makes no sense.

    Clearly, these do not directly compete with their "commodity" consumer offerings. Like Synthesis, they could be sold through other distribution channels (or even direct) without impacting Circuit City and Best Buy. They need such channels to move their current high-end product anyway.

    Why not supplement with these additional products, increasing the volume and spreading the amortization more broadly, thereby improving margins on international sales as well?

  8. #23
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    I'm not sure if it is clear, but the K2 speakers (S9800,S5800) are for sale in the US and Canada. In the US, it is mainly though the Synthesis dealer network. However, if you are so inclined, you can buy the S9800 online:

    http://www.harmanaudio.com/search_br...9800WG&status=

    The remaining Japanese systems tend to be designed specifically for that market with a unique voicing that is not intended to be neutral or flat. I'm not sure if many on this forum would appreciate that sound.
    Regards

    Don McRitchie

  9. #24
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    Don, not hi-end, but just stuff that doesn't suck! I am talking about stuff to compete with the Klipsch RB-75's and the like.

  10. #25
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    They would be competing with their own Harmon brands Infinity and Revel. The pro audio gives them the name recognition to impress concert go'ers and the plastic consumables give them a product to sell the masses. The high end of audio is very overcrowded with a staggering number of overpriced speakers. It would be nearly impossible for JBL to break into this snobbish / elitist group with the JBL logo and frankly why would they want to when they have Revel? They already have the much larger consumable market.

  11. #26
    RIP 2010 scott fitlin's Avatar
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    Exactly!

    Originally posted by Bestsmurfs
    They would be competing with their own Harmon brands Infinity and Revel. The pro audio gives them the name recognition to impress concert go'ers and the plastic consumables give them a product to sell the masses. The high end of audio is very overcrowded with a staggering number of overpriced speakers. It would be nearly impossible for JBL to break into this snobbish / elitist group with the JBL logo and frankly why would they want to when they have Revel? They already have the much larger consumable market.
    This is exactly what I have said in an earlier post!

    People go to nightclubs, and concerts, and see the name JBL, and then, when they are shopping at Circuit City or best Buy and see the three letters, JBL, they buy! The plastic Best Buy offerings are NOT what any of US would purchase, but you wouldnt believe how MUCH of this plastic stuff they sell!

    Build a nightclub, and JBL will practically GIVE you a soundsystem for almost free to get the name JBL in there, because it doesnt matter! What does matter is the amounts of plastic consumables they are able to sell from visibility the name gets in venues and arenas!

    And as I said before, car Audio, man they are selling SO MUCH car audio its outta sight. When I was 20, I wanted ( wished ) a pair of L-300,s of my own! Todays 20 year old wants subwoofers for the car with 5ft of excursion, 2000 watts power handling, and be able to be felt and heard from 5 blocks away! Everywhere you go these days how many cars do we pass on a daily basis, that have boomin mega car systems? From here to timbuktu, guys are spending hundreds of millions annually on car audio, as compared to audiophiles buying an expensive pair of fantastic speakers, and having and using them for the next ten years, who basically only buy once! Every year a whole new crop of new drivers get thier licenses, get cars, and need car sound to compete with their freinds, and pick up chicks, etc! The ones who already have entry level car systems, and have saved some more money are upgrading! MASSIVE MARKET! And with the popularity of SUV,s what some people are putting in the vehicles for sound and vision is ridiculous! But the amount of money spent is overwhelming!

    Even Crown has a car amp!

  12. #27
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    Exactly Exactly! I was restating your point because it is so true and some people are having a hard time accepting it. The JBL we knew and loved has changed! That pretty much leaves us with fond memories of JBL's 1970 home speaker line-up and the hope we find some mislabeled treasure on eBay before it moves to Asia. Even the current JBL pro is moving down market via “Musicians Friend”. In the meantime, some of us have a dreaded small audiophile system tucked away (B&W) that we listen to when no one from Lansing Heritage is watching.

  13. #28
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    Cool

    Going from the low to the high, JBL home audio currently has

    Multimedia Series (Computer speakers)
    SCS Series (satellite/sub HT)
    Control Series (compact)

    Soundpoint Series (in wall)
    Northridge Series (very diverse full line)
    HTI Series (in wall)
    Studio Series (wall mountable speakers/sub)

    HT Series (basically SVA1500s + sub)
    Performance Series (Ti drivers in unique enclosures + subs)
    TiK Series (sculpted, Euro statement speakers)

    K2 Series (expensive, powerful flagship speakers)
    Synthesis (ultimate HT/music system)


    So there's something from $99 to $150,000 on the list. The first three are IMO disposable; the next four are entry to mid level; the next three (HT, Performance, TiK) are upper level, and the last two are high end. Maybe the TiK belongs in high end, too, but I don't think so.

    What's really missing is a type of speaker rather than a particluar price point. It seems to me that some of us are looking for an updated version of designs we admire and covet, and since it's not there in the line, the line seems to have holes in it.

    Despite the absurd difficulty of finding some Performance Speakers to actually audition, let alone purchase, I was able to stay in the JBL family and get a fantastic step up from my older L7/L5 set up and my SVA1800s, too.

    Yes, I do get tired of the black vinyl look, but the Performance Series in Cherry is very fetching and even the black ash requires a long look to determine whether it's real or not. (I had to turn the thing upside down and look for a raw edge.)

    As others have posted, I'm not convinced that JBL could generate sufficient sales to warrant a more diverse line, especially at the upper end. Still, having the choice to purchase other designs already in production seems like a no brainer. If we didn't like the sound, then at least we could take the enclosures and begin our own tuning.
    In.

  14. #29
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    Maybe at some point the beancounters at Harman will permit a return to the JBL golden days. Perhaps not. The markets have changed and so has the world and even the many ways which people listen to music. Back in the day music was played in a room with an amp and 2 speakers and maybe one had a good car stereo.

    Now, there are so many options. A buddy of mine has a car and suv accessory shop and he is amazed at how much $$$ kids and 20 somethings plunk down for car stereo equipment. Some will throw a grand at a clunker and the car is worth less than the car stereo. They gotta have it. This is a very big big market alone.

    And there are so many ways that music is listened to. Alot listen to it on their computers. In their cars. Walking around etc. HT is another "gotta have it". So there are alot of different applications for products for a company to develop and market for that market. Again, we are not talking about quality....we are talking about $$$. A return on the $ spent. And alot of junk is peddled and sold.

    In the home speaker market there is a bewildering glut of speakers and a very fragmented, yet large market. Price point is important. Lottsa units to move.

    I don't think JBL will ever return to the preminence it once enjoyed, although they seem to have some good high-end offerings now. Their "golden age" is, I think gone. Yet, from that time there are some great relics to find.

  15. #30
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    Looking for You!

    kenratboy,
    I don't think Klipsch is building any Reference in Northridge. Take your medication. Your friends are looking for you over at the Klipsch Forum.

    As always,
    Analogman

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