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

  1. #76
    Senior Member Doc Mark's Avatar
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    Morning, All,

    I thought I'd already tossed in my two cents in this thread, but I guess not. Someplace here at LH, I have mentioned this before, but I'll have another go at it, just for grins!

    First contact with JBL's came with our band, "Finger Lickin' Good", went on the road in 1969. We needed a better rig for our bass player, and so got hold of three brand new JBL 15" woofers (don't even know what they were.... maybe D130's, or D140's..), and built a box the size of Manhattan in which to house them!! We didn't know squat about either speaker building, or impedance matching to amps, and so couldn't understand why we kept blowing up the Fender Bassman head that our bass man used!!

    Later, I got to enjoy a custom built system that my girlfriend's Dad, who was a local surgeon, had installed in the walls of their home, and fell in love with it! I know it was either JBL, or Altec, but never found out more about it. Still later, that same fellow allowed me to enjoy his "new" JBL's when I delivered his Jag up to Palm Desert, CA. They were L300's, and Doc G. played some outstanding music for my enjoyment that day! We listened to Dave Grusin, Miles Davis, Aaron Copeland's "Fanfare For The Common Man", and many other great things, and I was hooked for life on JBL, and in particular, those wonderful L300's!!

    Tried to build something like them, later, but they never sounded as good as the "real thing". Now, we finally own a fantastic pair of L300's, and are even more in love with them, than I was way back when I first heard a pair!! Yes, I know that other JBL systems have eclipsed them, in many ways, but to my ears, and also to Sweet Bride's, our L300's are still simply stunning, and we both dearly love them!! If you've already had to wade through similar BS from me on our fantastic L300's, I apologize! But, to us, they are still a wonderful set of speakers, and we enjoy them every single day! Is it possible that, someday, we might end up with something more new from JBL, like the 250Ti's? Sure. But, very probably not anytime soon! Until then, we'll happily "make do" with our beloved L300's!! Now, I have to remove the drivers to see if 3db down's #12 stamp is on any of them!! Cool!! Take care, and God Bless!

    Every Good Wish,
    Doc
    The only thing that can never be taken away from you, is your honor. Cherish it, in yourself, and in others.

  2. #77
    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    yeahh, it's an old thread, so what ?

    .
    my formative years (hs & above) were in Santa Barbara, I remember it as an audio desert. Not an audio store to be had , that I ever found (1964-8).

    Tho Dad was a respected doctor, he had a tube Sherwood receiver, dual TT , Uher R2R, and no name speakers. Not fine, but got me started.

    When I first had real money (in the USN) , the exchange offered good deals on gear that was new to me. Bought a big Pioneer receiver, Pioneer CS-77a speakers, Teac R2R and a Garrard () TT.

    Kinda outgrew that system quickly, tho it stuck around for a while. After my time with The Canoe Club, family had moved to Oregon and I relocated here (as nowhere else to go) . Many more audio stores . Hawthorne Stereo was the biggie JBL retailer. So it would have been late '72 that I heard my first L100's. Dealer even gave me a free JBL record (Sessions) to reward my demo.

    They were such a fuller sound than the Pioneers. WOW. I also had a demo at a different store for Ohm Walsh F's. Retraining and new job in the mids 70's put both those outstanding speakers out of reach.

    Grabbed some used AR-3's and they sufficed for a while.

    Finally, early 80's, scored my first JBL L100's , then later the F's.
    Many JBL's later (20,30 ??), the Centurys are gone* , but replaced with a better 3 way-12 incher (IMHO) .. 120Ti's. I like the "Ti" series and also have 18's & 250's. Besides the sound, I admire the engineering and cabinetry. Pure class.

    *L100's are in Chicago with my son and wowing his friends.

    still have L15,L19, projects to work on.
    I'm getting tired of Winning ....

  3. #78
    Senior Member martin_wu99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SEAWOLF97 View Post
    .
    my formative years (hs & above) were in Santa Barbara, I remember it as an audio desert. Not an audio store to be had , that I ever found (1964-8).

    Tho Dad was a respected doctor, he had a tube Sherwood receiver, dual TT , Uher R2R, and no name speakers. Not fine, but got me started.

    When I first had real money (in the USN) , the exchange offered good deals on gear that was new to me. Bought a big Pioneer receiver, Pioneer CS-77a speakers, Teac R2R and a Garrard () TT.

    Kinda outgrew that system quickly, tho it stuck around for a while. After my time with The Canoe Club, family had moved to Oregon and I relocated here (as nowhere else to go) . Many more audio stores . Hawthorne Stereo was the biggie JBL retailer. So it would have been late '72 that I heard my first L100's. Dealer even gave me a free JBL record (Sessions) to reward my demo.

    They were such a fuller sound than the Pioneers. WOW. I also had a demo at a different store for Ohm Walsh F's. Retraining and new job in the mids 70's put both those outstanding speakers out of reach.

    Grabbed some used AR-3's and they sufficed for a while.

    Finally, early 80's, scored my first JBL L100's , then later the F's.
    Many JBL's later (20,30 ??), the Centurys are gone* , but replaced with a better 3 way-12 incher (IMHO) .. 120Ti's. I like the "Ti" series and also have 18's & 250's. Besides the sound, I admire the engineering and cabinetry. Pure class.

    *L100's are in Chicago with my son and wowing his friends.

    still have L15,L19, projects to work on.
    I like this old thread,I like all these first JBL stories,Mr.Bond
    I first knew JBL was early 80s,when i have read a audiophile magazine which have a top speaker list,JBL 4208 on it,it is called big belly, so i looked for 4208 in every audio shop all over the city,4208 sounded so bright when playing Kenny G saxophone,so i like it very much,my next JBL is L80(euro),very smooth and punchy
    46 lover

  4. #79
    Member Pigboat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SEAWOLF97 View Post
    .
    my formative years (hs & above) were in Santa Barbara, I remember it as an audio desert. Not an audio store to be had , that I ever found (1964-8).

    Tho Dad was a respected doctor, he had a tube Sherwood receiver, dual TT , Uher R2R, and no name speakers. Not fine, but got me started.

    When I first had real money (in the USN) , the exchange offered good deals on gear that was new to me. Bought a big Pioneer receiver, Pioneer CS-77a speakers, Teac R2R and a Garrard () TT.

    Kinda outgrew that system quickly, tho it stuck around for a while. After my time with The Canoe Club, family had moved to Oregon and I relocated here (as nowhere else to go) . Many more audio stores . Hawthorne Stereo was the biggie JBL retailer. So it would have been late '72 that I heard my first L100's. Dealer even gave me a free JBL record (Sessions) to reward my demo.

    They were such a fuller sound than the Pioneers. WOW. I also had a demo at a different store for Ohm Walsh F's. Retraining and new job in the mids 70's put both those outstanding speakers out of reach.

    Grabbed some used AR-3's and they sufficed for a while.

    Finally, early 80's, scored my first JBL L100's , then later the F's.
    Many JBL's later (20,30 ??), the Centurys are gone* , but replaced with a better 3 way-12 incher (IMHO) .. 120Ti's. I like the "Ti" series and also have 18's & 250's. Besides the sound, I admire the engineering and cabinetry. Pure class.

    *L100's are in Chicago with my son and wowing his friends.

    still have L15,L19, projects to work on.
    WOW, >>Santa Barbarian= Silver Spoon Surfer Dudes&HOT Chicks ...yes & yes2
    Plus Doctor's Spoiled Brat.

  5. #80
    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pigboat View Post
    Plus Doctor's Spoiled Brat.
    Spoiled ? NO - $200 car after HS, he ponied up half.
    Brat ? NO
    No help after 18.

    It wern't no picnic.
    Only real benny was living in a nice place.
    I'm getting tired of Winning ....

  6. #81
    Member Pigboat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SEAWOLF97 View Post
    Spoiled ? NO - $200 car after HS, he ponied up half.
    Brat ? NO
    No help after 18.

    It wern't no picnic.
    Only real benny was living in a nice place.
    Please don't misunderstand me.
    Just fing with you.

    We ?

  7. #82
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    In the mid '70s till the early-mid '80s was my "stereo as a hobby" era. I Would listen to equipment in the stores (many stores) then buy something based on that and would live with it for a while until I found/heard something I liked better (or technology came out with some new shiny thing).

    So I'm going to preface this with in the '70s you had some good funk and yes, even disco. I was very much into the bass sound. So while I listened to the JBL "L" series like the L100 and L60...at the time, the L100 was probably out of my price range, the speakers that I homed in on were Cerwin-Vega (remember too, we would be in the height of Sensurround at that time too so CV was getting a rep for delivering bass). CV's high HF was always a bit more strident than I liked but the bass did not disappoint. My second set of speakers from CV were the S-2 and they sounded pretty good (still have them, in fact). They were one of CV's better offerings, in my opinion. On the pro side, most everything was Altec. Cinemas were mostly Altec VOTT stuff and even PA systems I saw/hear a lot of A7s, 604s and such.

    So moving into the early '80s...my fixation on bass subsided, my bank account grew and I started to audition speakers again. The ones I fell in love with were the JBL L250s, which I got in 1983, complete with the B460 subwoofer (so I still liked the bass!). I still love the L250 and still have them (and the B460). They were the standard by which I judged all other speakers...until last year.

    The JBL M2. That is the first speaker that I've heard that really bested the L250, for me. In fact, the M2 might be too good. Despite being close to 40-years later in life, the M2s reveal so much more detail to my aged years than the L250s did back with my young ears. When listening to music on the M2s, you hear EVERYTHING (you can hear punch-ins/outs easily, every edit done to the recording is pretty well revealed). Whatever is on the recording, they are going to deliver, like it or not. I'm looking forward to plowing through my record and CD collection with them (and movies).

  8. #83
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    Dad was a JBL fanatic since the 60s. He used them exclusively for his MI cabs for both guitar and bass. First experience I had with JBL was when dad bought his first real home system JBL L65, powered by Sherwood S-9910.

    Dad passed away last year after a 10 yr battle with Multiple Myeloma, but about 2 years before that, he passed his receiver and the JBLs on to me.

    About 80% of the used pa speakers and components I have is JBL that I've acquired over the last 25 years from decommissioning various installs. I do some live audio engineering, and I think the best sounding guitar amp I had roll through the club I tech at was a vintage Fender loaded with two E120s.
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  9. #84
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    1987, I was 16. Three encounters in one day.

    1. JBL L100T hooked to a Denon/Nakamichi system playing "Ballerina Girl," off a Lionel Richie album. I was awestruck. I became an audiophile from that day forward.

    2. Then on the "PRO" section of the same store-- 4 double J-box bass bins with (8) 18" woofers, a pair of trapezoid boxes with (4) 12" drivers for midrange and a pair of huge silver bullets for tweeters. The system was for a club install. Quad amplified with (4) UREI power amps. I remember the building shaking and the power LEDs on the UREIs barely lit.

    3. Then, on to another store-- a pair of JBL 240 TIs were playing a Madonna concert on laser disc, projected to a huge screen. I was transfixed.

    It was an unforgettable day. I found my IKIGAI.

  10. #85
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    Joliet, Illinois....my home town. In 1973 I was 20 years old, working my way through college at a 7-UP bottling plant and making decent money for the first time in my life. I visited a downtown Wurlitzer store which sold a combination of professional musical instruments (organs, pianos, guitars, etc.) and quality stereo equipment, featuring the entire JBL line and McIntosh products. Those were the days when JBL was considered a "fair trade" item...a term entirely new to me. IIRC the "fair trade" price of each L100 was $278, and there was no room for bargaining.

    At that time quadraphonic sound was the rage. The cost of four L200s, the speaker which I was truly drooling over, was out of the question so I concentrated on the L100, figuring while I could (barely) afford to buy my first pair then, maybe I could afford the second pair later. The salesman pulled the grilles off a pair of L100s and cranked up "China Grove" by the Doobie Brothers. I believe he was driving them with a Mac amp with about 150 WPC and they sounded fabulous; I had never imagined speakers could sound so impressive. The incredible woofer excursion was what convinced me they must truly be something special. I had to have them.

    About six months later after I moved out of my parents' basement and into my own apartment, I bought the second pair. I still have all of them, and in fact a few years ago I finally found a very nicely preserved pair of L200Bs....so it all worked out in due time.

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPie View Post
    Joliet, Illinois....my home town. In 1973 I was 20 years old, working my way through college at a 7-UP bottling plant and making decent money for the first time in my life. I visited a downtown Wurlitzer store which sold a combination of professional musical instruments (organs, pianos, guitars, etc.) and quality stereo equipment, featuring the entire JBL line and McIntosh products. Those were the days when JBL was considered a "fair trade" item...a term entirely new to me. IIRC the "fair trade" price of each L100 was $278, and there was no room for bargaining.

    At that time quadraphonic sound was the rage. The cost of four L200s, the speaker which I was truly drooling over, was out of the question so I concentrated on the L100, figuring while I could (barely) afford to buy my first pair then, maybe I could afford the second pair later. The salesman pulled the grilles off a pair of L100s and cranked up "China Grove" by the Doobie Brothers. I believe he was driving them with a Mac amp with about 150 WPC and they sounded fabulous; I had never imagined speakers could sound so impressive. The incredible woofer excursion was what convinced me they must truly be something special. I had to have them.

    About six months later after I moved out of my parents' basement and into my own apartment, I bought the second pair. I still have all of them, and in fact a few years ago I finally found a very nicely preserved pair of L200Bs....so it all worked out in due time.
    Currently: L300, L200B, C40 Harkness (030), DIY Altec A7, XPL140

  12. #87
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    My first encounter with JBL was in 1990(i know...shocking). A friend had purchased a new pair of Studio Monitor 4412s and subsequently lent them to me for a few weeks. My then current speakers were pretty average Marantz LS950S. After swapping the JBLs in i was completely blown away. How could speakers sound so amazing i thought to myself. I must have a pair....or something similar. I returned the JBLs to my friend and never reconnected my Marantz. I didnt want to disappoint myself with the sound. About a month later i was frequenting one of my local Hifi Shops and they had a pair of traded in L80Ts on Display. They were in great condition....i grabbed them then and there. I was extremely happy with them...but again...upon frequenting another hifi store. I found a pair of traded in L100Ts. I had to have them,so i sold the L80Ts and grabbed the L100Ts. These built on what the L80Ts did well.....i was absolutely happy with them for the next 20 or so years...until i picked up a pair of L100S(L100T3)Equivalent speakers...i still kept my L100Ts. I eventually added to them with a pair of Teak 250Tis. This was definitely a big step up from the L100T/S. I added a second pair of 250s...the 250Ti Classic Edition. Throw in 18Ti's and multiple L20Ts and here i am today...living the JBL dream. The one speaker i dont own...but had use of for a year(looked after for a friend)....but would love to own...was a pair of XPL200s. That was a very nice sounding JBL 4 way speaker. One Day.
    Currently own and use JBL 250Ti,250Ti Classic,18Ti,L100T and L20T

  13. #88
    Senior Member markd51's Avatar
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    With me it was around 1973, MusiCraft in Chicago, Ill.
    My first buying experience was buying 4 JBL L-26 Decade Speakers, and a Sansui QR6500 Receiver. Later went through a few different 4 channel Tape Players, Akai, then TEAC, finally settling with the 3340S Deck.

    Upgraded to a Marantz 4400 Quad Reciever, but that didn't hold up long, 6 or 7 months later I dumped it in trade at MusiCraft due to CRT issues. It was then an upgrade to 2 McIntosh 2105 Amps, and a Bose 4401 Quad Pre-Amp.

    Within a year, and due to MusiCraft's trade-up program, keeping all boxes and paperwork for the L-26 Decade Speakers with full cost trade in value on them, I upgraded then to 4 JBL L-65 Jubal Speakers ($396 ea). I still have those 4 Jubals and the boxes they came in. They are still in superb, ultra clean condition with their original Blue Grills

    I was going to again do the MusiCraft trade-up program and then buy 4 JBL L-300 Summit Speakers ($1050 ea out the door) but it never transpired. Oddly, I did not savor the sound of a new pair of L-300's as I auditioned and A-B'ed them against a pair of the L-65's in store, the bass seemed very wishy washy, and muddy oddly in comparison, like the bass drivers had issues or inadequate being driven by a Mac MC-2205 Amp, but the salesman told me those L-300's were only one day old! Maybe not broken in ?, or ? Plus the cost of staying Quad was becoming pretty "hefty" for admission! I was only 20-21 years old at the time.

    Those L-300's had the 136A Woofers in them, not the 2235H.

    The L-65 Jubals and MC-2105 Amps served me well for a good 40 years. The Mac Amps never required service under my ownership, but during their lifespan, the Jubal's 126A woofers required re-foaming, but instead I always had total re-cones done on them, and I believe that came to 3 times in my ownership. (Not cheap but not many back then were doing proper re-foams either, so preferred going full factory parts)

    Issues began to occur with the Bose 4401 Quad Pre-Amp at about the 26 year mark ICs kept failing, and I then upgraded and walked away from the quad system, and bought a new McIntosh MX-130 A/V Pre-Tuner to replace it.

    I later acquired a like new mint pair of JBL 4430 Speakers right from this site, from a seller in Cedar Falls Iowa, with freshly re-foamed 2235H woofers done by Orange County Speaker. I was then down to using only one of the MC-2105 Amps, but then upgraded in the Amplification department, and bought two brand new Bryston 7BSST2 Monoblock Amps. This is my current day set-up teamed with the McIntosh MX-130 Pre-Amp.

    Only one thing un-original on the 4430's were the Grills were re-covered in an attractive Gray-Silver Cloth, looked very nice, but knew that had to go at some point. Zilch was the person who helped me acquire the proper Dark Blue Grill Cloth, and they are now properly dressed! :-)

  14. #89
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    It was at the dawn of my career as a school boy in 1978 when I decided to build a silverface (CBS) Fender Dual Showman Reverb head clone, using EL34's instead of 6L6GC's, 'cause I didn't source a proper output transformer for 6L6's then. I also built a 3.75 cu ft cabinet along the 1975 plans that can be found here and loaded it with a K130, my first JBL ever. Some time later I found to be not that great guitarist and decided to swap for the bass guitar. Subsequently I built another enclosure and loaded it with a K140, which unfortunately turned out to be not as loud as the K130, but provided more authentical bass tones.

    The amplifier and the K130 enclosure are sold since decades. But I still own my K140. Once I had to replace it's dustcap, as I hadn't provided any protective grille or something like that and accidentally got it damaged (dented). The K140 plays well to date, but houses in another 3.75 cu ft enclosure with a 24" x 24" square front instead of JBL's 24" x 30". The older enclosure is loaded by two EVM12L's now and is sitting on top of the K140 when I'm playing.

    I'm hoping to find two used K120's or E120's in good condition to get them installed in one more 3.75 cu ft box, just to compare their sound with the EVMs'.

    Right to my birthday party last week I've finished two subwoofers, 2225H's in 4 cu ft BR enclosures. What a convincing bass sound that they provided!

    Best regards!

  15. #90
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    My first JBL

    I am not really sure as to the actual first time I encountered a JBL product in service, but all my early encounters were formative, to put it mildly. I was a teen in the '60s. My best guess would be in a Fender amplifier that was constantly over driven.
    I worked at a music store and saw daily failures that professional musicians brought in for us to fix, so they could continue their work tonight.

    I remember an early Leslie with a destroyed fifteen of some sort being re-fitted with the only other speaker the guy (Leslie owner) had. It was a non-original re-coned D130 that went into this old organ speaker. The guy had saved it from a church system because it still worked. It looked ancient and ugly, but it worked. No telling who re-coned it or when, but it made that damn Leslie scream. even in its compromised state.
    A couple of weeks later he was back with his D130 blown, but this time it was a burned VC, not a destroyed cone. I convinced him to send his speaker back to JBL to have it re-coned properly and in the meantime, we could rent him a replacement speaker. (we did those things back in the early '70s) I had them put a K140 in it, thinking that the bass speaker might hold up fine. It did!
    He came back the next day with his mouth wide open, but still trying to talk.
    He wanted to keep THAT speaker and have us upgrade his HF driver, because he now had just a massive bass speaker and he could barely hear any highs.

    Now we all know those K140s don't really do anything down low, but as a Hammond B3 player in a hard rock band who could suddenly "keep up," This guy was beside himself.

    Edit: I almost forgot to mention (I was studying acoustics and such at the time) I sold him on the notion that he could still get almost the same "Leslie Effect" by surrounding it with larger cabinets and the Leslie would still rumble the sound around. I was right. He tried it that day before he left with a large Fender bass amp and 4x15 K140 cabinet next to his Leslie, basically tripling his power and the sound still danced around with the interference from the Leslie's rotating motion. He started saving money for a Fender.


    I was already collecting K140s (and eventually a bunch of E series products, etc) for my own outdoor sound reinforcement system, buying a few when ever I could, building four per enclosures as I could afford.
    I worked for several companies doing the same thing. One set up was all CTS (baby sister factory to Eminence, local) and they had the spray and pray approach, thinking that an impressive quantity of enclosures was equal to decent sound. It all made loud noises, but I would not say the sound was good. Then one day I was on the board at an outdoor Chili Cookoff or something playing mainly Mexican music and I had to ask why is that side twice as loud as this side, from a center perspective.

    The guy in charge said something like how the boss was trying out these "new" JBL things and two of the boxes over there were loaded with these expensive JBL things. Not worth the money, he said, too expensive. The CTS drivers were like $30 and those crappy JBLs were about $100, seems stupid!
    And yet, from 100 feet away, I could hear four JBL K140 drivers overtaking 36 15" CTS drivers. It was set up with 20 - 15s on each side with 2 - 15s per enclosure and two of the enclosures were loaded with JBLs.
    Walking up close to the stack, it was easy to hear a huge difference in the performance of those four drivers. XO point was about .5K to the tops.

    I already knew I was on the right track, assembling my system around JBL quality, but that day was just another deep confirmation. These guys could have spent about the same money and had a system that was more efficient, lighter, easier to set up, less mass to haul AND it would have sounded better.
    Most all the systems around at that time were powered by Crown DC300s.
    I got my hands on 8 McIntosh MC2500 amps, still looking for the ultimate Magic during the times. It was awesome, but the Macs were just too heavy to be practical on the road at 130 lbs each. Two of those in one rack was beginning to be unwieldy.
    I kept two of the McIntosh amps and I still use them after all these years, powering some JBLs.

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