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Thread: JBL L Series (1990s)

  1. #61
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    Smile Spotlight on L7s (15)

    The LF network was easy to remove, so I took it out for better illustration. From the back, it looks like any other JBL bi-wire/bi-amp terminal.
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  2. #62
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    Smile Spotlight on L7s (16)

    These two views show the top and side respectively. It's easy to see that the black and red HF leads pass right through to connect to the HF network above.
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  3. #63
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    Smile Spotlight on L7s (17)

    From the back, the LF network is revealed. There's something interesting there.
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  4. #64
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    Smile Spotlight on L7s (18)

    What's this? A jumper. This must be the internal modification JBL talks about when true external bi-amping is desired.
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  5. #65
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    Smile Spotlight on L7s (19)

    To save anyone searching, here's the schematic for the networks. These are obviously a big part of what make an L7 an L7, and they are more sophisticated than the L5 four-way networks.
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  6. #66
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    Smile Spotlight on L7s (20)

    Comparing and contrasting the four-ways I have in the dungeon/shop/garage illustrates why I like so many different speakers. None is perfect because there is no perfect sound, except perhaps the original performance...maybe. :dont-know

    L250: It's a beautiful, smooth, balanced speaker with prodigious output. It's weak in the highs by my standards, and the midrange is a bit "tight" and breathless compared to the others. The midbass and woofer are just about perfectly matched, and they are powerful performers.

    XPL200: Due to personal preference, the Ti tweeter and midrange sound the best to me. They're open, spacious, articulate, and alive. Their clarity is unparalleled in this group (but the Performance Series will beat them.) Sadly, the midbass is an underachiever and disappoints, while the 12" woofer is an agile performer whose output is quite adequate if not outstanding.

    L7: The tweeter is very nice of course, and the midrange is full and front, though the XPL's combo is better. The midbass is just as nice sounding as the L250's and the woofer is every bit as strong as the L250's with the added benefit of covering a narrower frequency band. It is articulate, sharp, and controlled; yet it can really kick out the bass when called upon.

    In most rooms, the XPL200 will be a good performer, easily sounding better than the other two in many installations.

    The L250 will win in any larger environment. By its very physical appearance it will command the space, and the sound will live up to the appearance. It can create an awesome presence, even today. It will gag in a small environment, strangled to death by the room's choke hold.

    The L7 in the right room and set up correctly will knock either of these two out of the house. However, it will take more time and effort to achieve this, and if you're just going to compromise and make them go where they look the best to keep the peace, then don't bother. They will suck, and you'll say they are shitty and shrill, and you'll call me a dumb ass who doesn't know what he's talking about.

    These are a rare and unique departure in JBL speaker design. I think the reality check for JBL was that the average person was not going to (be able to) set them up correctly, and then the dumbasses were going to whine and complain and rate them poorly. So why bother?

    I have hope that there are people here who would take the time to understand the L7 and take the time and energy to do it right. People who are willing to work to get better sound. People who understand that the room is part of the process, especially with an innovative design approach. People who get why so many people buy Bose and some of the other popular crap brands because they sound the same no matter where you put them or how little effort you put into it. People who own and enjoy L1, L3, and L5 pairs and can see that these wonderful boxes are just the design leftovers from the great and challenging L7, the best expression, the finest example, and the highest achievement of the JBL L Series (1990s).

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  7. #67
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    Ti Dome - thanks for such a detailed review!

    One thing I'm thinking of trying is switching the 6" 116H-1 mid-driver in the XPL200A's I have with the 6" 706G-1 driver from the L series - it's a much heavier duty driver than the 116H-1. See here: http://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/s...&postcount=112

    John

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    Smile Interesting idea

    I'd like to hear how it compares.
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  9. #69
    Senior Member JBLnsince1959's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dome
    Comparing and contrasting the four-ways I have in the dungeon/shop/garage illustrates why I like so many different speakers. None is perfect because there is no perfect sound, except perhaps the original performance...maybe. :dont-know

    L250: It's a beautiful, smooth, balanced speaker with prodigious output. It's weak in the highs by my standards, and the midrange is a bit "tight" and breathless compared to the others. The midbass and woofer are just about perfectly matched, and they are powerful performers.

    XPL200: Due to personal preference, the Ti tweeter and midrange sound the best to me. They're open, spacious, articulate, and alive. Their clarity is unparalleled in this group (but the Performance Series will beat them.) Sadly, the midbass is an underachiever and disappoints, while the 12" woofer is an agile performer whose output is quite adequate if not outstanding.

    L7: The tweeter is very nice of course, and the midrange is full and front, though the XPL's combo is better. The midbass is just as nice sounding as the L250's and the woofer is every bit as strong as the L250's with the added benefit of covering a narrower frequency band. It is articulate, sharp, and controlled; yet it can really kick out the bass when called upon.
    So Dome, how would you compare the PS series to these speakers? ( just to complete the 4-way discussion)

  10. #70
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by JBLnsince1959
    So Dome, how would you compare the PS series to these speakers? ( just to complete the 4-way discussion)
    Unfortunately, I've not had them in the same room running the same gear, so I can only give a comparison based on indirect evidence. As you know, this process is rife with all kinds of problems.

    Anyway, my impression is that the Performance Series stack has most of the positives and few of the negatives of the other four-ways discussed here. It has the open, spacious, articulate clarity of the highs and mids of the XPL200, with a little less brightness. It has the powerful midbass of the L250 and L7. It compares favorably to the bass of the L250, with the LE14H-3 outperforming its sibling in its modern iteration. It beats the XPL200's bass, and is as nimble as the L7's, but not quite as much of a full impact at the low end as the LE120H-1 provides when the L7s are properly set up and the woofers are working together. OTOH, my recent addition of the HTPS400 handily remedied this slight deficit.

    Looking just at the L7 and the PS stack, I'd line it up this way. The 035TIA is technically a better tweeter, and the 704G and 708G-1 composite drivers are very good, but the PT800's Ti trio really has so much better uniformity of sound that it's far more appealing to me. From 130Hz to 22kHz, the sound is very much the same—and it's a sound I love.

    The cabinets are quite different, the L7 being narrower

    I really dig the LE14H-3 and think it's one of the best, but I suppose it's inhibited a bit by the PS1400 enclosure. The LE120H-1 seems ideally set in the L7 cabinet, and, again, the side-firing reinforcement is a sonic blessing (OR a huge, irritating, evil curse if set up wrong).

    The PS stack is the winner to my ears, but not by that much. If you consider L7s have gone for as low as $250 a pair, the value equation turns upside down. As a stereo pair, the L7 gives up very little, and gives a bit back, too.

    If I could only have one pair for stereo, L7s or PS stacks... :dont-know

    In a HT environment, PS all the way.
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  11. #71
    Senior Member macaroonie's Avatar
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    The last word. well maybe not.

    Dome is dead right with regard to placement when the woof is side firing as I have found out. Its not an unsurmountable problem but it does need addressed or it all falls apart.
    I thought you all might like another look at my babies. 4315s in disguise.
    The rework has rendered fantastic imaging that was a bit suspect in the originals ( wide baffle effect ), other than that these are stock. Greedy for power though.
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    Thumbs up

    When I first saw your beauties, I thought, there's an L7+ if I ever saw one.
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  13. #73
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    L-7 information

    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dome View Post
    If one believes that the speaker is one of the better contemporary designs in the JBL portfolio, as I firmly do, then those questions are for people who just don't get it.
    I've read everything I can find on the L-7 but I'm just not sure it I should pull the trigger on a set nearby. I understand the placement issues, power requirements, etc., I'm just not sure if I'm the right owner for a pair. Intrigued, for sure, but hesitant. Any chance Dome can PM me for a one-on-one off-list? I don't see any way to PM him. Anyone else with experience and expertise with these step-children feel free to reply.

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  14. #74
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    The first question I'd ask is "Why do you want a pair?"

    If the answer is "I just want to see what they're like," then go ahead and purchase them. That's the only way to know. If you pay $500 or less you should be able to get most of your money back if you don't like them.

    If the answer is something like "I think they'll be great speakers at an unbeatable price, but I'm afraid I might be wasting my time," or "What if TiDome's crazy and these speakers are cheese?" then there are ways to narrow the decision process.

    ROOM:
    1. What is the size, shape, and layout of your room?

    2. Do you have the space to place them 3 feet from the walls, both behind and to the side?

    3. Will you be able to avoid placing anything directly between them?

    4. Can you get at least 6-8' back from the speakers when they're optimized with 10-15 degrees of toe-in?

    EQUIPMENT:
    5. While they'll play with as little as 35-40 Watts, do you have an amp that can deliver an honest 100+ Watts (good), 200+ Watts (better) or even 300+ Watts (best) per channel?

    6. Will your amp/pre or receiver allow you to do some bass management and also allow you to tame the tweeter if necessary in a bright room? Having a variable HF center point (a la parametric EQ) will help.

    SPEAKERS:
    7. Are you willing to have a set of speakers whose midrange and midbass drivers are essentially unrepairable? There are no recone options that I'm aware of for these two drivers, and I'm not aware of any replacements for the surrounds either. Once any remaining new replacement drivers are gone, only used drivers will be available on the open market.

    8. Are the L7s in question a mirrored pair? Do they come with the plastic bases? Are the grilles in decent shape? Are the binding posts solid? Is the price for the pair $600 or less? If no to any of these, think before you buy.

    I've disabled PM for a number of reasons, and currently have no plans to reactivate it. Like any community, it only takes one nasty member to ruin an experience. Sorry. I'm glad to engage folks with questions/comments in the public forms, though.

  15. #75
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dome View Post
    If the answer is something like "I think they'll be great speakers at an unbeatable price, but I'm afraid I might be wasting my time," or "What if TiDome's crazy and these speakers are cheese?" then there are ways to narrow the decision process.
    I've carefully read all your placement issues and solutions, as well as your links to the reviews from others. I'm intrigued, mostly because of these discussions. I currently don't have the space even for what I own already but there's this six-acre lot across the street I've owned for fifteen years intending to build a new house on if I ever get settled down enough from sending kids off to college (one in, one going next year, another in 2012!!!). One design goal is a room large and flexible enough to play with and enjoy my systems. I'm obviously patient. So this is mainly out of long-term curiosity and the hope that I'll really enjoy them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dome View Post
    EQUIPMENT:
    5. While they'll play with as little as 35-40 Watts, do you have an amp that can deliver an honest 100+ Watts (good), 200+ Watts (better) or even 300+ Watts (best) per channel?

    6. Will your amp/pre or receiver allow you to do some bass management and also allow you to tame the tweeter if necessary in a bright room? Having a variable HF center point (a la parametric EQ) will help.
    I run all Crown amps; D150s (2xSeries II, 1x original version), DC300A-II, and a PS-200. I'm patiently looking for another 300 so I'll be able to bi-amp and if necessary tri-amp, or bridge four amps in bi-amp mode so I'm thinking there's enough power available. I run three Soundcraftsmen pre-EQs (1xPE2217, 2xDX4200) so I can fiddle with EQ and do so regularly just to compensate for whatever bonehead mixed the original material I'm listening to. That should at least get me started.

    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dome View Post
    SPEAKERS:
    7. Are you willing to have a set of speakers whose midrange and midbass drivers are essentially unrepairable? There are no recone options that I'm aware of for these two drivers, and I'm not aware of any replacements for the surrounds either. Once any remaining new replacement drivers are gone, only used drivers will be available on the open market.
    To be honest, this is what really worries me. I can re-foam my many 128Hs, and my D130s seem to plug-away forever (they've been in my family since new in '57), but is there no way these will be supported by spares in the future? I drive cars older than these speakers (and some older than the 030s!), and I value support for tradition and heritage from my manufacturers. This aspect could be the straw...

    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dome View Post
    8. Are the L7s in question a mirrored pair? Do they come with the plastic bases? Are the grilles in decent shape? Are the binding posts solid? Is the price for the pair $600 or less? If no to any of these, think before you buy.
    Well, okay, someone would have found them anyway. These look as nice as any I've seen, they're within a couple-hour drive, and even the B-I-N price is reasonable. Of course someone's bound to hit the first bid soon (or the BIN, now that I've pointed it out here) so it may all be moot momentarily: L-7

    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dome View Post
    I'm glad to engage folks with questions/comments in the public forms, though.
    Thanks! And thanks for the food for thought, too bad I can't just hear a set to help make the decision. Oh well, we'll let fate and the hand of Ebay decide.

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