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Thread: JBL4311b vs JBL L220

  1. #1
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    JBL4311b vs JBL L220

    I know, I know...

    can't compare pears to apples but, long story short, I bought my 4311b when I was a teen (and am not anymore since long time), never had the space to position them the way they should but finally I tried to sit them on a chair about 20in off the floor and upside down as to have mid-highs hear level, well, first of all bass sounded like disappearing (normal if comparing at when they were 4in off the floor) then I switched from a transistor amp (an old Adcom GFA535) to a tube (chinese made Aeron AP890 with push-pull KT88) and first time since I own them I had to turn mids and highs pads way low (and it proofs they still work after over 30 years!!!).

    What I don't like, and didn't expect to be that different, is that the 4311b don't really give a wide and deep scene (they are over 3' off of side walls and a couple off of back one), I heard a friend's setup which is almost 5-6x more expensive than mine and I could see the singer, the instruments and the scene was way deep, I don't expect that but at least a bit of it (I can sure see the singer's voice and the instruments but the scene is way compressed in both width - about 5' between speakers - and depth).

    Most of the music I listen to is electronic like rock from the 80' and 90' (Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, U2, Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield - uhm, this I don't think falls into rock but anyways...) but I don't dislike at all some jazz and, yes, Frank Sinatra (which I love to mimic when listening to...) and there it feels like listening to the iPod, no width, no depth...

    I have the chance to get a pair of L220 and before I go on site to test them (suspensions to be redone and a bad paint job applied from the owner) I'd like to know if they could improve the scene given the same electronics (AR SP9 preamp and Aeron AP890 amp, source either Sony CD-P X505ES or FLAC music through a still to come dedicated DAC) and given the same available space. They would allow me to skip making stands for the 4311b and, at the end, ripping just a little more space (width and depth) but should still stand same height as the 4311b should to properly sound, would the expense payback in listening quality?

    Grazie

    Giovanni

  2. #2
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    There is a lot to unpack there.

    Question 1: Speaker location.

    Yep, getting them up off the floor will reduce their bass output. It will arguably improve it, but it will also reduce it. The 4311X speakers do not really have much in the way of deep bass, if you load them in a smaller room, or get them close to a boundary this will be partially masked.

    Question 2: Should you consider "upgrading for the 4311B to the L220?"

    I don't think it'd be a marked improvement in the areas you are looking for except perhaps better bass. For all the talk of time alignment etc., I think the L220 is still not going to offer the imaging you are looking for.

    Question 3: Electronics?

    I definitely think that most affordable digital gear falls far short of creating stage depth and holography. Not everyone cares about these areas, but if you do you will need a decent digital chain. Good analog gear may have other problems, but they tend to excel in this area.

    The easiest way to achieve the type of imaging you are describing is to use better than average digital gear or good analog gear and look at small two way mini monitors like those produced by Sonus Faber and many others. These really "disappear". Of course they won't blow you away with dynamics, SPL, or bone crushing bass.


    Widget

  3. #3
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    1: Speaker location.

    Room is quite small, maybe 15sq meters, as said above distance off rear wall is couple feet whilst from side ones is little more, in the 4-5 feet range and that's it. I don't need big spl but am used to the JBL bass and wouldn't go back! Even tho the 4311b don't go that low I wouldn't trade their bass for a two way stand speaker unless using a sub but this is not the point since I have the option of getting the L220 at a very good price or another choice would be Martin Logan Sequel 2 but out of my budget and too big and difficult for my room.

    2: upgrading is not the right description but makes sense, would get the L220 because they are on site and good deal but I don't expect them to sound like my friend's Sonus Faber with totally different electronics and budget, there the sound is really amazing and the stage is unbelievable but for my kind of music is a little meh, as usually there is a tool for every taste but I am just debating if should I go for the L220-

    3: electronics, I forgot to mention there also is a Gyrodec in the chain and some old records but I am kind of a mix between that (once I get a new belt and shell wires) and FLAC but, still, at my friend's place with streaming music I can see quite a stage, is the L220 too old of a project/speakers/network to reproduce such a scene or weren't they designed with that purpose?


    Grazie


    Giovanni

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    There is a lot to unpack there.

    Question 1: Speaker location.

    Yep, getting them up off the floor will reduce their bass output. It will arguably improve it, but it will also reduce it. The 4311X speakers do not really have much in the way of deep bass, if you load them in a smaller room, or get them close to a boundary this will be partially masked.

    Question 2: Should you consider "upgrading for the 4311B to the L220?"

    I don't think it'd be a marked improvement in the areas you are looking for except perhaps better bass. For all the talk of time alignment etc., I think the L220 is still not going to offer the imaging you are looking for.

    Question 3: Electronics?

    I definitely think that most affordable digital gear falls far short of creating stage depth and holography. Not everyone cares about these areas, but if you do you will need a decent digital chain. Good analog gear may have other problems, but they tend to excel in this area.

    The easiest way to achieve the type of imaging you are describing is to use better than average digital gear or good analog gear and look at small two way mini monitors like those produced by Sonus Faber and many others. These really "disappear". Of course they won't blow you away with dynamics, SPL, or bone crushing bass.


    Widget

  4. #4
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    From your response it sounds like you really want to get the L220s and are hoping for confirmation that this is a good idea.

    I’m not the guy who will make that recommendation, however I’m sure there are others that would.


    Widget

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    From your response it sounds like you really want to get the L220s and are hoping for confirmation that this is a good idea.

    Iím not the guy who will make that recommendation, however Iím sure there are others that would.


    Widget

    If I had the money I'd probably go for a couple of small bookshelves to save space but am not in that position so the question is just if I would get any improvements on the "soundstage" if I switch to the L220, I will still go and give them a test ride at my friend's place with music I know to find out, the deal is a good one to let it go but that doesn't mean I HAVE to get them

    Grazie

  6. #6
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Can you bring your 4311Bs over to your friend's house and insert them into that system to perform a better comparison?
    If you can set this up, it should give you the best answer to the question is the L220 the direction you'd like to go.


    Widget

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Can you bring your 4311Bs over to your friend's house and insert them into that system to perform a better comparison?
    If you can set this up, it should give you the best answer to the question is the L220 the direction you'd like to go.


    Widget

    This actually is a great suggestion, I'd not bring my 4311 over because they are little below 45 pounds each but he also has a couple of LX100 Century on sale and they should very much sound like mine so I could compare the LX100 and the L220 to check if there is a difference in the soundstage (which I believe there will not be unless to a certain degree), I will also test the MartinLogan Sequel 2 but they are not part of the game, too big and difficult to position and am also afraid that both the panels need being changed and that my tiny KT88 push pull could not be enough to drive them even tho it was the one used by the owner to drive those speakers (I bought the amp a month ago off of the same person who's selling the other stuff among which the L220, the LX100 Century, ML Sequel 2, vintage Sansui Pre-Amp...).

    Thanks for a precious suggestion!!!

    Giovanni

    p.s. in my dreams I would have a couple of Klipschorn with a tiny tube amp and an Oracle Delphi xx spinning in fact many a times I debate myself to sell the Gyrodec or trade it for a Delphi which is a dream I carry on since my teen age

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