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Thread: When JBL was JBL...Your first Encounter

  1. #46
    Senior Member vettedrummer's Avatar
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    First JBL exposure

    I think it was about 1962 or 3 My uncle, who was a big HiFi fan, had just picked new set of JBL C-38's. I remember the blast of that 15" D130 woofer. The way it moved the grille cloth and how you could feel it moving the air. The JBL's were driven by Sherwood tube separates. Man that was it. Not to long after that my Dad got us a set of those C-38 JBL's and that's the sound I grew up with. If it didn't sound like that it wasn't any good. Our JBL's were driven by Fisher tube gear.
    K2S5800,Proj Array1000,880,1500,SynthesisTWO,250Ti,240Ti,120Ti& 18Ti,S38,Libra,Ti2K,Dorian,L36,88,99,100,300,Jubal ,Apollo,4425

  2. #47
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    Circa 1977, I bought my first pair of real loudspeakers at Audio Systems on Independence Boulevard in Charlotte , NC USA (see youtube for an Audio Systems commercial from those days). They were JBL L26s with orange grills. The other option was Large Advents, but I was running a poor little Pioneer integrated amp with 15W per side and felt I needed the higher efficiency of the ported JBLs. I had them about a year and traded for a pair of L40s and upgraded to a Kenwood amp and later a Harman-Kardon HK505. I kept the L40s and the HK until the early 90's when I bought Snell Cs and B&K separates and gave the retired gear to my brother.

    Recently I bought a pair of L65 Jubals (a grand total of US$10 for the set), and rejoined the JBL family. Right now I'm listening to the JBLs and Wayne Shorter, Jaco, Zawinul, et al play with Weather Report on Heavy Weather. It's an LP I've owned since it was released and it feels pretty good to be back in the 70's.

  3. #48
    J.A.F.S.
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    Talking 2231A s

    I still have an ORIGINAL set of 2231As that I purchased wayyy back in the early 1970s...still working well in 8 cu ft cabinets with PR15c passive radiators.

    Amazed I'm still alive!
    Tim

  4. #49
    Senior Member bigstereo's Avatar
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    Sometime around 1980/82. While serving in the US Marines, Malcolm R. Nelson, a fellow jarhead buddy of mine was putting together his dream stereo system. He knew what he wanted and every time we deployed to the far east over a period of three years he would by another piece or two. The components were all TOTL Japanese stuff. His final purchase was a brand new pair of L150's at the Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange for $425.00 each. I went with him the day he bought them. Those were the first consumer JBL's I ever heard. This system was set up in an open barracks. It was an awesome thing to hear. That's where my affection for JBL speakers started.

  5. #50
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    First JBL Contact

    Hi,
    I think it was a review of the L100 in HiFi News. The reviewer (Ralph West I think) was amazed at the power levels and efficiency of the speaker (but not the smoothness).
    Later, living in Munich, I heard a demo in a VERY good studio of a pair of L300s. They were the reference that I used until, years later, I fetched a pair from France and rebuilt them. There is still the JBL punch that I find hard to explain. Later I rebuilt a pair of L110 (they are in France now), a pair of L70s (sold). In each case there was not only the familar sound and balance, but the JBL smell. In fact in my garage now are a pair of stripped 4343s and I can recognise them by the smell .. which I think is wood/glue/fibreglass.
    As soon as Ian has finished the cross-overs for me I hope to get the 4343s back into bi-amped action.

    George

  6. #51
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    Hi...

    It was January of 1972. I hired on with JBL in the QA dept. because there were no openings at the time for a design draftsman. They were still at 3249 Casitas Ave then.

    I inspected tens of thousands of loudspeakers, pole pieces, alnico magnets and phasing plugs. It was all done by ear then, with a frequency generator, doing a DC to Light sweep, listening for voice coil rubs and "chips in the gap". I took in returns and made determinations as to repairs being done in or out of warranty. Back then, if a Jim Lansing "Signature" speaker came in not working, and had not been abused, we fixed it for free, sometimes even changing the pot/magnet structure since the then 20 to 30 year old parts were no longer available.

    There is not a JBL speaker I see today that I don't look for my inspection stamp, number 12, somewhere on the frame !! Vintage, of course!

    Later, I got into the engineering dept, first as a draftsman, doing cabinets, schematics, PC board layouts and such. Then, I moved into the lab as electronics technician.

    My last position was as product safety coordinator, primarily getting our stuf through UL, CSA, VDE, OVE, SEMKO, NEMKO, DEMKO....and you get the picture!

    I was a part of some great product lines, like the Decade series, the L100 Century, 6000 series electronics, including the 6233. Also the L300, L400(OOPPS!), L166, L212 and most of the 43xx studio monitor series.

    I simply refuse to believe anybody did sound better than JBL!!

    I was a plankowner at the Northridge facility after returning from active duty in the Navy

    It was the time of my life for 8 years, and many of my colleagues, new to JBL then , have become the Gurus of professional audio today.

    I am honored to have had the experience, and although new to the forum, very much like what I see!

    Thanks,

    Rick

  7. #52
    4313B
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    Nice!

    Welcome Rick

  8. #53
    Senior Member edgewound's Avatar
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    That's a great intro, Rick.

    You just know we want to hear....er, read...more.

    L400? Hmmm...Sounds like a consumer 4345?

    Do tell.....please?
    Edgewound...JBL Pro Authorized...since 1988
    Upland Loudspeaker Service, Upland, CA

  9. #54
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    Hi, Edgewound.........

    Well, almost. It was actually an attempt to consumerize the 4340. It was planned as a 4-way with a 15" woofer, a 10" mid bass, a driver/horn midrange, and a slot radiator tweeter. More importantly, it was going to look, architecturally like a thousand miles an hour, pretty typical of Doug Warner's and Arnold Wolf's designs of the day.

    And, it did...But it was so expensive to produce, that it was just not feasible to think it would sell in large numbers to the home hi-fi market.

    Coupled with the fact that the "Golden Ears" just never really cared for the sound of it. I seem to remember some problems getting a network to make it viable, but it just never worked out. And at that time, JBL was very much attempting to really nail the consumer market, and they moved on to other approaches, such as the Prima. Although a number of us viewed the Prima as the "poor man's" JBL...In all fairness, we got some good technology out of that program for later development. Just look at the LE-25 tweeters, and the manufacturing uses of synthetic materials, less expensive and better sounding transducer magnet assemblies/materials and so forth.

    It's tough to depart from the norm, but you have to keep an open mind, and you have to build for your markets.

    Rick

  10. #55
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    Rick, any pictures of the L400 hidden away???

  11. #56
    Senior Member Woofer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyoz View Post
    Rick, any pictures of the L400 hidden away???
    .... or even a rough sketch'll do if you don't.
    You've really aroused my curiosity, as I'm sure others also.

    Cheers.
    I might be deaf, but I can still hear da bells! (Quasimodo)
    .... Oh, and the Kick Drum.

  12. #57
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    The only reference to it on this site is here (in the sidebar on the RHS)

    http://www.audioheritage.org/html/pr...bl/everest.htm

  13. #58
    Senior Member Woofer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyoz View Post
    The only reference to it on this site is here (in the sidebar on the RHS)

    http://www.audioheritage.org/html/pr...bl/everest.htm
    Thanx for that...
    Lucky I got a great sense of imagination! LoL
    I might be deaf, but I can still hear da bells! (Quasimodo)
    .... Oh, and the Kick Drum.

  14. #59
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    Smile

    Hi, Woofer and Andyoz....

    Naw, no pix....but you can search the JBL history pages, and at the end of the Aquarious series diatribe, there's a shot of a cabinet, I think on a flatcar, covered with a tarp, that might be the prototype....remember, we were trying to consumerize a monitor, so the cabinet would just have been the run of the mill 43xx series box with a new baffle, perhaps Finland Birch, as we liked to do in those days. We could cut them, beat them, mold them, without them falling apart, and they would convey the sound we'd ultimately get with the particle board/veneer finish. (Both inside AND out, I might add.

    But remember, we still believed, in those days, that form followed function, rather than the other way around. So, any pictorial representation of the cabinet would have existed as renderings only, and I never saw what you would consider a "prototype" of the final consumer ready cabinet. It just never got that far......But, remember, right after this interlude came the L300 3-way, and several 4-way monitor systems....So again, we learned from our mistakes!!

    So, even if you never see it, you can bet your bottom dollar that you've heard the result, one way or another, in subsequent efforts by JBL!!

    Rick

  15. #60
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    Hi, everybody....

    Rick here again. I just had a few thoughts to share with you as to why JBL made certain moves in the mid-70's that may seem a little strange to you out there.

    First of all, and those of you under 50-60 years old may not remember or realize this, came the Fair Trade Laws. Basically, the government said that in order to insure fair competition, you need to sell your products within the following (arbitrary, by the way) guidelines. This basically equated to allowing foreign markets to compete with us in sales of consumer gear.

    Many at JBL, myself included, felt that, if we make a product that the public clamors for, then who are you to tell us how much we are permitted to sell it for? Well, ultimately, that question fell on deaf ears, and JBL and Harman-Kardon were forced to "play ball". What else could they do ?? They were, after all, in the business to make money.....With all due respect.

    The second thing that happened was that Jimmy Carter was elected and tapped Dr. Sydney Harman to be his under-secretary of state. What that meant was, that Syd hed to divest himself of his holdings while he served the Carter Administration.

    So, we were acquired by Beatrice Foods. A top 10 Fortune 500 company, to be sure, but very LOW, LOW,LOW technology. They just never understood the realities of the Hi-Fi market.

    The first thing they did was predict sales plateaus for the LE-8T and the L100, and the new 6233 Power Amp! And, accordingly, dictated a schedule by which we would stop making and selling them.

    The LE-8T and L100 were our bread and butter products at the time.......JBL might still be making them for another 10 years if that had not happened!!

    The 6233 was a dual channel, 300 watt per professional power amp, that could bridge to over 700 watts!! With a toroidal power supply, one of the first, that weighed less than 25 pounds!! And, we got it certified by every safety agency on the planet, and did so while producing it on a single chassis!!! It was a milestone, and would have marked JBL's re-emergance into the Pro electronics market.

    Some good folks left after that, tired of seeing their designs shelved.

    Anyway, I pontificate, and I apologize for that.....But you have no idea how good it makes me feel to see the hard-core JBL nuts out here, like myself, who know how to walk the walk......who are loyal because the product was and still is superior.....Technology may change, but attitude and approach....Well, may that never change.

    Thanks for listening,

    Rick

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