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Thread: JBL speakers ain't no good for classical music?

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    JBL speakers ain't no good for classical music?

    Hi folks, several friends warn me JBL is best for jazz & rock, classicals will sound like hell, I'm not sure about this.

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    Senior Member Doctor_Electron's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Define Classical? Jazz? Hell?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnhere View Post
    Hi folks, several friends warn me JBL is best for jazz & rock, classicals will sound like hell, I'm not sure about this.
    I think that the characteristics of Classical Music, as well as those of JBL speakers, are "painted with a broad brush" by someone making that argument. I suggest you take a well recorded piece of classical, find a listener with a good system playing through some of the more excellent examples of JBL's. Then consider your own experience with that.

    When I had, ca. 1973, AR 3a's near all four corners of the room with an AR amplifier driving a pair each, I could crank up the volume and handily dismiss the notion that they sucked for rock. Because they were "East Coast"?

    Good thing I didn't know that at the time.

    Happy Listening ! - "DE"

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    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    That statement applied to the Decade L36/ Century L100.

    Not so the Pro 4315

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnhere View Post
    JBL speakers ain't no good for classical music?

    Hi folks, several friends warn me JBL is best for jazz & rock, classicals will sound like hell, I'm not sure about this.
    Sure, and Fords only work as taxi cabs!



    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

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    Senior Member DavidF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnhere View Post
    Hi folks, several friends warn me JBL is best for jazz & rock, classicals will sound like hell, I'm not sure about this.
    Ehhhh, what people say. I listen to symphonies, concertos, quartets, everything with my Array 1400 mock ups. No chesty males or shrieking violins, great soundstage, fantastic dynamics. All very well done.
    David F
    San Jose

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    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    'Nother one of those false binaries aka over simplifications. A better binary might be speakers for parties vs solitary meditative listener, i.e. dynamic mid-rangy vs compressed flat frequency response. Also, any edginess in the treble is merciless on violin, so paper or metal domes, metal diaphragms and horns can be a problem. Phenolic in AR domes and EV horns definitely made for a voicing that worked better for symphonic and chamber music. The JBL brand became associated first with a certain sound coming out of the fifties when the development of small three-way speakers came first in New England, and later with certain of its successful models. People cling to their categories. Why throw away a perfectly serviceable stress- and confusion-easing organizing principle and expose yourself to an unpatterned data field? Mix in a little cultural snobbery and Yankee vs. cowboy, and what you have is another ineradicable delusion.
    "Audio is filled with dangerous amateurs." --- Tim de Paravicini

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave
    <<<<SNIP>>>>,,,, and what you have is another immovable delusion.


    ( That there is a ) Lovely Bit of Prose!



    FWIW, I listen to a set of custom Altec/JBL MTM's & they excel at Classical, Opera & Jazz ( mind you, I don't want my classics played through a Muzak filter ) .

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    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earl K View Post


    ( That there is a ) Lovely Bit of Prose!



    Thanks, but then I went and changed it!
    "Audio is filled with dangerous amateurs." --- Tim de Paravicini

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    Will this ever end?

    I'm sure that most of us here have gone into an audio salon (that's all that is left ) and heard something like "....oh JBL, well they are just PA speakers after all. what you really want are these English speakers, made by Englishmen who are so SUPERIOR to us.".......or something like it.
    There have been some JBL's and Altec's in the past that were somewhat less than accurate, but then there are some other brands today that are somewhat less than accurate. The B&W 804d3 comes to mind. they have a rising mid and highs beginning at about 3k or so. As a classically trained musician I have played in many local orchestras and wind ensembles over the last 40 or so years, and my aged 4410,s sound just fine.
    I have not heard any newer offerings from JBL, so I'm not qualified to comment on them. I did hear the LSR 6332 in a music store so it was hard to tell exactly what it sounded like.
    So your friend is probably a victim of audio snobbery. Listen carefully and read Floyd Toole's book and you can find him on youtube. JBL's compare very well to the high price spread and cost thousands less.
    Sawdust is my co-pilot

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Kreamer View Post
    So your friend is probably a victim of audio snobbery.
    Or the echo chamber.

    Silver wire sounds bright, tubes sound mellow, mosfets sound tube like, vinyl sounds more real... all of these can be proved and disproved with the right examples, but a lot of people hear these phrases which sound reasonable and they get repeated over and over again.


    Widget

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    Senior Member hsosdrum's Avatar
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    Accuracy comes in many flavors. Although we tend to think of accuracy as first being neutral frequency balance, equally (if not more) important is dynamic accuracy: the ability of a speaker to faithfully reproduce both the very large and very small volume contrasts that are a vital aspect of a musical performance. This is where JBL speakers have always excelled, especially at getting the smaller dynamic nuances (microdynamics) right. By that I mean (amongst many, many things) the texture of a finger against a guitar string, or the quality of breath as it passes over a flute's mouthpiece. Many speakers that are prized for having neutral tonal balance simply do not convey these subtle but vital aspects of a musical performance. For me, these are the things that transport me away from listening to a recording in my living room to being in the same space/time in which the music was created.

    It has been my experience that all other things being equal, the more electrically sensitive a speaker is (the larger the percentage of electrical input power it converts into air pressure variations) the better it is able to convey these very small dynamic nuances. To me this makes intuitive sense: the less power that is required to get the speaker to move, the more it will be able to react to the very small input power fluctuations that represent these small dynamic nuances. This is especially true at lower listening levels. We've all heard speakers that didn't "come alive" until played at louder volumes. This is because they don't begin to reproduce the microdynamics until we feed a fair amount of power into them. High-sensitivity speakers like vintage JBLs don't need to be played loud to sound "real" because they're sensitive enough to get the microdynamics right at lower volumes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnhere View Post
    Hi folks, several friends warn me JBL is best for jazz & rock, classicals will sound like hell, I'm not sure about this.
    Try this: listen to some speakers, JBLs included, and decide for yourself if you agree with their bias/opinions (and be sure to ask then: based on what do they say what they say?), then you'll be "sure" if you agree on their assessment or not

    Oh yeah, and reading about how speakers sound (versus actually listening to them with your own ears) also "will sound like hell" and maybe even take you there, especially with "classicals"

    It's been my experience that that is a better way to go than listening to what "friends" read and then burp back up; better to listen to the actual speakers (as in loudspeaker systems, not talkers) Almost as bad as making broad based indictments and forming prejudices based on magazine reviews (or what friends and internet know it alls have to offer)

    What JBLs do these several friends own and can share a listening audition with you (or do they/have they owned and lived with any) to make such a proclamation? Can they demo some of them for you?

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    hsosdrum
    Accuracy comes in many flavors. Although we tend to think of accuracy as first being neutral frequency balance, equally (if not more) important is dynamic accuracy: the ability of a speaker to faithfully reproduce both the very large and very small volume contrasts that are a vital aspect of a musical performance. This is where JBL speakers have always excelled, especially at getting the smaller dynamic nuances (microdynamics) right. By that I mean (amongst many, many things) the texture of a finger against a guitar string, or the quality of breath as it passes over a flute's mouthpiece. Many speakers that are prized for having neutral tonal balance simply do not convey these subtle but vital aspects of a musical performance. For me, these are the things that transport me away from listening to a recording in my living room to being in the same space/time in which the music was created.


    Yes indeed.
    Sawdust is my co-pilot

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speakerdave View Post
    Phenolic in AR domes and EV horns definitely made for a voicing that worked better for symphonic and chamber music.
    But, I also love my JBL phenolic-dome tweeters! Some of my favorites. And the key is they can be more forgiving on poor recordings, which maybe is what the OP here is reflecting. Garbage in, garbage out.
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

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    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    But, I also love my JBL phenolic-dome tweeters! Some of my favorites. And the key is they can be more forgiving on poor recordings, which maybe is what the OP here is reflecting. Garbage in, garbage out.
    Yes, I agree. I was referring, perhaps not explicitly enough, to the period, the sixties and into the seventies when I think JBL was acquiring its skewed reputation, before the L166, 4313 and L212.

    Edit: Not sure what other ones there are.
    "Audio is filled with dangerous amateurs." --- Tim de Paravicini

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