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Thread: A Few(!) Questions About JBL L100

  1. #31
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    Koosha9876

    I bought my first L100s in 1971 with money I earned from managing the student radio station at college. I still have them, the original boxes, sales slip, paperwork, and manual. Many LPs from the time only sound right to me when played through these speakers. They came with a "lifetime" warranty, and JBL replaced one woofer for free when it failed several years later.

    My children, who are in their 40s now, grew up listening to these same speakers. I had these in my office for many years before moving to a new location.

    About a decade ago, I came across a similar pair in pristine condition which I bought off eBay for a ridiculously small amount of money. I'd heard other L100s that came from the later model runs with the offset drivers, but I always preferred the ones with inline drivers, so I grabbed this second pair as fast as I could.

    All of this is very subjective and simply my opinion. My expectation bias tells me that the original L100s are the best of the L100 variations. I've had many newer and more expensive JBLs over the years, and I've enjoyed most of them immensely. As time passed and I've moved up the JBL chain, I've sold a lot of very good speakers, but I'd never sell my straight line L100s.

    They just sound right!



    Quote Originally Posted by Koosha9876 View Post

    ((There were four versions of the L100:

    1) The very first model was the L100 Century made from 1971 to 1974. This model is very unique in many ways from the vast majority of L100’s found for sale today. Some call this model ‘rare’, yet in actuality it had the longest production run of all the models and many thousands were made. The main reason you do not see this version as much is they were far outnumbered by the enormous volume produced as the later models gained popularity. The most notable difference of this early model is the drivers are in a straight vertical row. Other differences exist in the crossover network, phasing of the transducers, and the cabinet bass port. Lower value capacitors and the use of an inductor in the LX12-10 network produced crossover points of 2.5K Hz & 7.5K Hz. All the drivers were in phase with each other, unlike the later models where the woofer and midrange are 180 out of phase. The bass port was only a small hole in the cabinet without an internal tube, and the tweeter was the LE20 round, not the LE25 square.
    And for my last question(It's really the last one and will hopefully clear all my confusions about L100 ):

    Was the LX12-10 crossover really better than the N100? and thus making the "original" L100 sound more musical(or better(?))than the later ones?(I've read these in some posts on AH,but highly doubt it...)
    Thanks again!
    Out.

  2. #32
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    Thumbs up Titanium Dome

    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dome View Post
    I bought my first L100s in 1971 with money I earned from managing the student radio station at college. I still have them, the original boxes, sales slip, paperwork, and manual. Many LPs from the time only sound right to me when played through these speakers. They came with a "lifetime" warranty, and JBL replaced one woofer for free when it failed several years later.

    My children, who are in their 40s now, grew up listening to these same speakers. I had these in my office for many years before moving to a new location.

    About a decade ago, I came across a similar pair in pristine condition which I bought off eBay for a ridiculously small amount of money. I'd heard other L100s that came from the later model runs with the offset drivers, but I always preferred the ones with inline drivers, so I grabbed this second pair as fast as I could.

    All of this is very subjective and simply my opinion. My expectation bias tells me that the original L100s are the best of the L100 variations. I've had many newer and more expensive JBLs over the years, and I've enjoyed most of them immensely. As time passed and I've moved up the JBL chain, I've sold a lot of very good speakers, but I'd never sell my straight line L100s.

    They just sound right!
    Thank you very much for sharing your experience with the original L100Continue having fun with them,sir
    Hopefully,someone who has heard both the original and later L100s can help us with their sonic differences...

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koosha9876 View Post
    Thanks,grumpy
    I agree with your sayings about 2213H, but to tell you the truth,I'm also one of those who wants exact specs
    These info,however,will definitely help me for a better purchase...
    Great recap Koosha9876. John

  4. #34
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    Thumbs up TNX

    Quote Originally Posted by jpw retired View Post
    Great recap Koosha9876. John
    Thank you,sir
    however,there's still one more unanswered question:The sonic differences between the original(with LX12-10)and the latest L100s(with N100)???

  5. #35
    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koosha9876 View Post
    Hello Y'all !,

    Was the LX12-10 crossover really better than the N100? and thus making the "original" L100 sound more musical(or better(?))than the later ones?(I've read these in some posts on AH,but highly doubt it...)
    Thanks again!
    more musical ???

    I can't recall the words "L100" and "musical" in the same sentence. If you do homework on the model, you'll find that their reputation (at least on LHF) is that they are "FAKE, BUT FUN".

    yes, I own a pair, tho in care of my son right now, yes..they are fun , but musical , but definitely FUN. I guess it's what type of music you will pump thru them.

    There are many different models of 3 way, 12 inch bookshelves made by JBL. I've gone thru 5 or 6 different models (L65,L100,4412,L166,120Ti and more that I've forgotten) , of them all, the only ones I've kept are the 120Ti's, which I consider the most musical. They come in mirrored pairs. IMHO, the 120 is second only to the $5,000 Century Gold model. It's also a fine teak veneer and quite handsome.

    I DO regret selling the L166 Horizons tho.
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  6. #36
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    Moving a little off topic with discussions of fun vs musical, but I would agree that the L-100 (any version) tended to be more fun than musical with some frequency response bumps in the bass, midrange and treble as well as higher sensitivity/output adding to the excitement. When I think of the term "musical" as applied to describing a speaker, I think of a speaker that is warm in balance, often compressed with soften attack and that never offends. Musical to me, does not mean accurate or neutral. In the 1970's very few loudspeakers were accurate or neutral by today's standards, all clearly colored in my opinion when compared with modern well executed speaker designs. Since low coloration was really not available back in the day, people were free to pick the sound they liked best, resulting in some polarization in the consumer audio world. Hence the well known East versus West Coast sound as personified by AR, KLH and Advent (East) and JBL, Altec (West) respectively. That's what I love about the better modern JBL designs, they have the excitement and fun but low coloration and naturalness as well.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpw retired View Post
    That's what I love about the better modern JBL designs, they have the excitement and fun but low coloration and naturalness as well.
    Ditto!

    But I still have my L100s and get a kick out of playing them... not as often as I use my modern JBLs, but they are fun.


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  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpw retired View Post
    I think of a speaker that is warm in balance, often compressed with soften attack and that never offends. Musical to me, does not mean accurate or neutral. ... .
    agree with most of your post. I HAD 4410's which were accurate & neutral , BUT they weren't much fun to listen to.

    I knew they were made for studio mixing and I thought that they could be tamed in a home environment , but they stayed true to their nature.

    The L166 Horizons had many of the same characteristics of the L100, but were a bit more refined , they were gobs of fun too. . doesn't LHF have a thread about 3 way 12 inch bookshelves ?

    In my HT , I also had some AR towers that had a passive 8 inchers and powered 8 inch subs. They are stupendous for movies , but I use that system more for music and they didn't do that very well. Replaced by a/d/s towers which are great on music and passable on movies.
    I'm getting tired of Winning ....

  9. #39
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    Musical ??

    Colleagues: I have always had a difficult time with the term musical applied to audio equipment. To me it's either accurate or not. My listening habits are classical music and I have a degree in music which undoubtedly colors my thoughts on the subject. I find a speaker like the older L series difficult to listen to, especially at concert volume, and speakers like B&W, just don't sound right. I do use 4408's and 4410's (with LE10's rather than 127's ) for the front and I like them better than anything that I can afford, because every everything is in it's place. (and they appeal somewhat to my long suffering wife's sense of scandinavian sensibilities).

    So I guess that Musical is a rather nebulous term, and we're all different especially me.

    So drink wine, and rock on.

    Ed
    Sawdust is my co-pilot

  10. #40
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    When l think musical and accurate it's a compromise between tonal accuracy and speed in terms of decaying resonances

    Tonal accuracy to me means smooth linear response.

    Accurate means fast and very good self damping of the diaphragm.

    Many good loudspeakers that aim at tonal accuracy are very forgiving and don't sound lifelike because of the relatively heavy cones.

    A quote from a well known loudspeaker designer Dr Rod Crawford formally of Linn:
    'My previous preference had been for the BBC sound which emphasised good tonal balance whereas the Linn sound emphasises being very fast/foot-tapping ability, so we needed a light, stiff sort of driver. The down-side of this, however, is that light, stiff cones tend to 'break-up' chaotically at the top end if you're not very careful. Anything rigid, once it starts to resonate, gives you a very strong resonance so we had to use fairly high-order (fourth-order) crossover

    We are not talking about Linn but an inherent trade off.

    Aside from voicing the 4310 to sound like an Altec 604 the L100's efficiency cones at a price. Break up and resonance decay.

    The L100 attempts to do both the above but not well enough.

    I like the lively nature of the L100 but the comparative light cones suffer break up and lack of self damping.

    The original tweeter in particular was not accurate.

  11. #41
    Senior Member DavidF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Kreamer View Post
    Colleagues: I have always had a difficult time with the term musical applied to audio equipment. To me it's either accurate or not. My listening habits are classical music and I have a degree in music which undoubtedly colors my thoughts on the subject. I find a speaker like the older L series difficult to listen to, especially at concert volume, and speakers like B&W, just don't sound right. I do use 4408's and 4410's (with LE10's rather than 127's ) for the front and I like them better than anything that I can afford, because every everything is in it's place. (and they appeal somewhat to my long suffering wife's sense of scandinavian sensibilities).

    So I guess that Musical is a rather nebulous term, and we're all different especially me.

    So drink wine, and rock on.

    Ed
    Yes, "musical" is thrown around a lot. Seems often when some audio component doesn't hit all of the audiophile checkpoints we can always say it's "musical". Really it is only that the system of components has the ability to align with enough of our sensory cues to convey a musical representation. Given the right source, of course. Since, as you suggest, we all have different sets of musical experiences it's therefore difficult to make the term universal in use. For me, it is simply means that the sound is good enough to get equipment out of the way and allow me to focus on the music.
    David F
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  12. #42
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidF View Post
    Yes, "musical" is thrown around a lot. Seems often when some audio component doesn't hit all of the audiophile checkpoints we can always say it's "musical". Really it is only that the system of components has the ability to align with enough of our sensory cues to convey a musical representation. Given the right source, of course. Since, as you suggest, we all have different sets of musical experiences it's therefore difficult to make the term universal in use. For me, it is simply means that the sound is good enough to get equipment out of the way and allow me to focus on the music.
    I agree musicality is a widely banded around.

    In terms of the industry magazine reviewers see fit to jade the audiophile while the term is used by the audio mafia in marketing literature.
    Unfortunately people buy off reviews and magazines. Some even audition off Youtube clips.

    For the listener musicality tends be associated with emotional engagement.
    Head nodding, toe tapping excitement and what not seem to be common indicators.

    For the manufacturer I doubt there is universal agreement on what constitutes musicality.
    Do they care? In fact I think it gets quite murky.

    For example the other day I met an audio amplifier designer Huge Dean of Aspen Amplifiers (1).
    Quote "He said getting the spectral distribution of distortion right was paramount to the musicality of an amplifier".
    But I thought "no distortion" was the aim? Or does that sound boring and un interesting?

    Apply the same approach to loudspeakers and you might end up with something that has some "nice sounding" attributes on particular kinds of music to suck you in but in fact it can't play all genes with any degree of realism. I wrote an article once for the Melbourne Audio Club magazine extolling the virtues of large JBL monitors that said as much. There was political fall out in the Club after the article was lifted by then editor Greg Borowman and published in Australian HiFi.

    I have the same problem with small single ended triode amplifiers. Nice on folk and acoustic but falls in a screaming heap otherwise.
    Somethings are best unsaid but the true believers get it.

    Then of course the is the live performance. it could be a busker, a jazz quartet, the opera or a solo act.
    What gets me is a lot of the crap about this topic goes out the window once you actually hear something live, up close and personal.
    For example, once hearing the acoustic guitar or the sax you soon realise its louder than you can possibly imagine the level of your stereo in your own home.
    But its so pure and clear and it doesn't hurt your ears. The instruments have a presence that is captivating.

    Quite a while ago I think it was in 2007 myself and some other forum members visited Steve Schell's home Long Beach which is an audio museum in its own right and heard his large conical horns and the smaller Iconic. It was a very interesting day and I don't think I have heard anything quite like to since. Steve spent a good while explaining the history of horn loudspeakers to me earlier in the afternoon. It all made sense.

    Putting the WAF aside bookshelf loudspeakers (1- 2 cu ft3) don't cut it.
    I recall walking out of there thinking bigger is better.





    (1) Huge Dean is a highly successful designer and marketer of high quality diy amplifier kits (no affiliation)

  13. #43
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    Yes, yes, all of this is just fine, but if you were hooked into rock in the "Made loud to be played loud!" era of The Who, Led Zeppelin, The James Gang, Deep Purple, Grand Funk Railroad, etc., then this is the speaker that Michael Marcus said in Rolling Stone would "...knock you on your ass!"

    Um, if you can still hear, that is.
    Out.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koosha9876 View Post
    Thanks for the info, my friend
    but weren't any of the later LE25s, like LE25-2,-4,-6 used in later L100A(Late Model)s ?
    It's likely that different versions of the LE-25 were used as the model progressed. I clearly remember LE-25-4's, but I never saw a LE-26.
    I was told by my then JBL sales rep that different versions of drivers were used with small changes to the cone, pot, voice coil or cone material etc, so the driver could be tailored to whatever speaker it was going in. The L-100's LE-5-2 midrange, for example, had a cast pot over the magnet making for a heavier cooler looking driver. Other JBL models also used the LE-5 midrange but without the pot. The pot discouraged stray magnetic field to the point where a screw driver would not stick to it but would on the non cast pot LE-5's.

  15. #45
    Senior Member Ed Zeppeli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Mackenzie View Post

    Apply the same approach to loudspeakers and you might end up with something that has some "nice sounding" attributes on particular kinds of music to suck you in but in fact it can't play all genes with any degree of realism. I wrote an article once for the Melbourne Audio Club magazine extolling the virtues of large JBL monitors that said as much. There was political fall out in the Club after the article was lifted by then editor Greg Borowman and published in Australian HiFi.
    Any chance this article is available online someplace?
    DIY Array, 2242 sub, 4408, 4208, Control 8SR, E120 Guitar cab, Control 1, LSR305.

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