i have heard it said on this forum that the 43xx series were not good imaging speakers compared to modern ones like vandersteens.
i couldn’t disagree more!!!!!
those monitors had excellent imaging...how do you think they became the choice of recording engineers around the world?
if i place a hi-hat 70 degrees to the left, it will be reproduced with every nuance exactly in the position it is assigned so clearly that you can physically see it. dido for every instrument in the entire spatial mix.
JBL’s are first and foremost professional recording studio monitors and they are designed to function in an acoustically correct environment, and as such do not respond as well as some other high end products in a home environment. studio monitors are meant to be flush mounted. if you play your JBL's in a regular home environment you are seriously degrading the sound.
want to talk poor imaging/ phase coherency? here is a simple experiment: set up your JBL’s outdoors placed against a wall or solid fence. after a careful but short listening session move them out to a position where there is no interference in all directions. (anechoic) you will be shocked at the difference. in the first example the back wall is totally out of phase with the box. multiply this with 3 separate cross over points and you have a poor imaging speaker.
a speaker is still a speaker. while modern speakers are advertised as phase coherent, this is not exactly accurate. anytime you have multiple speakers, where ever one driver takes over from another, you are introducing an anomaly. where modern speakers have an advantage is they tend to be two way, (plus sub) and right away cut down on problems due to their improved extended range. the only system that is truly phase coherent is a dual concentric system where the drivers are physically mounted into a single form, coupled with a sophisticated cross over, preferably an electronic outboard system with time aligned phase tuning. tannoy DMT's do this but, they do not represent an improvement over the 43xx series as they introduce other problems, namely a noticeable discrepancy between the size of the image of the horn and the speaker and vastly different tonality characteristics between the two drivers.
another consideration is psycho acoustics. have you ever wondered why on some days your JBL's sound phenomenal...clean, wide open with that rich textured effortless sound...the speaker just floats. on other days, the system doesn't quite sound the same...everything is there but, something is missing. this is due to a combination of psycho acoustics, humidity, program, phase coherence (more of a problem in a 4 way) and most of all gain structure. let me explain. a sound tech with 5 years pro experience will deliver a well balanced mix with decent tonality, similar to a musician who has reached a state of fluency where he can fly around a drum kit. this is quite different than an accomplished session man who can lay in a simple groove that sounds like pure musicality coming off his limbs. an accomplished recording engineer does the exact same thing! the goal is to perfectly place the mix in the monitor so it "floats" and achieves that effortless, full bodied sound. in other words, you build your instrument tonality and gain structure to achieve perfect phasing within the box. this is why JBL used to refer to their products as MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS...THEY WERE CALLED THE 43XX SERIES.
finally, i am not saying that the 43xx series was the be all and end all of monitors and speakers in general. today's systems on the ultra high end are superior because they benefit from 70 years of technology...but, keep that in perspective. newer does not automatically mean better. if you used vandersteens to mix a program and played it back on JBL's it's not gonna sound anywhere as good as the same product produced on a JBL and played back on a vandersteen.