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Thread: JBL 4344 - General production speaker or niche market

  1. #1
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    JBL 4344 - General production speaker or niche market

    Hi there
    I am collecting parts for an upcoming project, and I have my heart aimed towards the 4344 speaker.
    However, I cannot seem to find any JBL pro documentation of the 4344 (not MKII) speaker.
    I can only find the 4343 and 4345 in the Library.

    Was the 4344 aimed specifically to the Japanese market?
    I am from Denmark, where we in the seventies had a global JBL stock, and there doesn't seem to be any remembrance of the 4344 speaker at all.
    I haven't had any luck searching the forums for information about production years or similar for the 4344 speaker.

    My aim and goal is to build a clone as visually close to the original production as possible, but if the 4344 was aimed specifically to the Japanese market, or is a much later speaker, or is a Kendrick design, I might be more inclined to go towards the 4343B, however the prospect of finding JBL 2121h is scaring me. (I already have the 2122H on hand)

    Hope someone can shed some light

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    Try this link. I think you are right that it was a model specifically for the Japanese market.
    http://audio-heritage.jp/JBL/speaker/4344.html

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    Senior Member Odd's Avatar
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    Jbl 4344

    You can find a lot of info about 4344 on this page.
    Start here
    43XX (2235-2123-2450-2405-CC 3155)5235-4412-4406-4401-L250-18Ti-L40-S109 Aquarius lV

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd View Post
    You can find a lot of info about 4344 on this page.
    Start here
    Hi Odd - thanks for the link.
    However, I do have all info on plans, it is the release information I need:
    production year, target market and so on.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    http://www.audioheritage.org/vbullet...erences-Thread

    This is a resource thread covering 4343-4344

    Nearly all the factory 4343-4344 went to Japan

    The 4343 has an almost god like following in Japan

    The stock 4343 with some key updates is a stellar loudspeaker commanding the finest amplification as used in
    some of the most revered jazz clubs in Tokyo.

    The reference to Japan is irrelevant where the 2231-2235 woofer is used.

    The 4344 is a refined iteration of the 4343 in terms of crossover, the 10 inch mid and the 2235 which had improved power handling and small increase in Xmax

    Beyond that there are numerous diy enhancements that myself and others have covered in various threads.

    You really have a wonderful project ahead of you,

    My one bit of advice is take your time.

    The prior link is a good construction guide.

    If you require any technical assistance around the crossover or setting up send me a pm.

    I am currently developing a new active crossover that will raise as the bar on these 4 ways systems

    Edit l looked at your prior threads and your focus or approach seems to be pure replication.

    That’s fine but it’s not the focus held here in terms of audible improvements. Your analogy of a motor car is interesting if your are building a museum of the 43xx series but not appropriate if you plan to spend any length of time actually listening.

    The original 4344 design has parts that are no longer manufactured such as the crossover pcb, Biamp switch, Mylar capacitors, tapped inductors.

    Therefore it maybe easier to buy a stock 4343, examine all the parts and go from there.

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    Thank you very much for the link Ian
    There is one little bit of information in that thread, that has me stumped.
    I though that all 2231 were Alnico versions and that the Ferrite version of the 2231 was the 2235H - ie that there isn't such a thing, as a 2231H unit.
    However I might be very wrong, it just never occurred in any research

    Also thank you for the network guidance, I will definitely reach out to you about the network when that due.
    I am still collecting the drivers (trying to get NOS units) where possible, is really quite a journey...

    I just picked up these mint pairs of LE85:
    Name:  JBL LE85.jpg
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    The conversion from alnico to ferrite is a story on its own,

    Yes there was a 2231H because l owned them a long time ago.

    You may reach more solace in replication of the cabinetry.

    The factory cabinet were veneered chip board btw.
    The grill fabric might take some effort.

    The 2308 lens is NLA as a factory component but clones are available.

    The 2307 is still available as SH on eBay

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Mackenzie View Post
    The conversion from alnico to ferrite is a story on its own,

    Yes there was a 2231H because l owned them a long time ago.

    You may reach more solace in replication of the cabinetry.

    The factory cabinet were veneered chip board btw.
    The grill fabric might take some effort.

    The 2308 lens is NLA as a factory component but clones are available.

    The 2307 is still available as SH on eBay
    Lenses and horn are already in my possesion. (Although it is the H91 horn)

    Funny about the 2231H - never knew that! - exciting to see what the differences are between the 2231H to 2235H is.
    The chip board is a tall order, because of the density used. Will need to source high-density chip-board or maybe mix chip-board and MDF to the required density.
    Grill fabric is already home (sourced together with a good friend, who has been restoring other JBL's).

  9. #9
    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    exciting to see what the differences are between the 2231H to 2235H is
    It's just limited to the differences between cone kits as the frame will accept both with no issues.

    Rob
    "I could be arguing in my spare time"

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    But to be authentic a 4343 should have alnico baskets right��.

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    Senior Member martin_wu99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by santashooter View Post
    Hi there
    I am collecting parts for an upcoming project, and I have my heart aimed towards the 4344 speaker.
    However, I cannot seem to find any JBL pro documentation of the 4344 (not MKII) speaker.
    I can only find the 4343 and 4345 in the Library.

    Was the 4344 aimed specifically to the Japanese market?
    I am from Denmark, where we in the seventies had a global JBL stock, and there doesn't seem to be any remembrance of the 4344 speaker at all.
    I haven't had any luck searching the forums for information about production years or similar for the 4344 speaker.

    My aim and goal is to build a clone as visually close to the original production as possible, but if the 4344 was aimed specifically to the Japanese market, or is a much later speaker, or is a Kendrick design, I might be more inclined to go towards the 4343B, however the prospect of finding JBL 2121h is scaring me. (I already have the 2122H on hand)

    Hope someone can shed some light
    I think 4344 is for all the market,4344mkii is for Japanese market.
    For which market is not so important,the most important thing is which one is the best among 4341,4343,4344,4344mkii?and why?
    46 lover

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    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    But to be authentic a 4343 should have alnico baskets right��.
    Sure but the ferrite baskets have the advantages of lower distortion and are immune from de-mag. With old alnico baskets you don't know what you have as far as flux in the gap. So unless you are a stickler for complete historical accuracy I would go for the new and improved H baskets. If you have the A's certainly use them by get the flux levels checked before you drop a fresh re-cone kit into them.

    Rob
    "I could be arguing in my spare time"

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    I guess it all depends on what one wants to accomplish.
    For my project, I am aiming towards authenticity and that the production should be close to the "mojo" and sound from the same period as the speakers I like from JBL where built. (4333, 4341 and later 4345).
    AFAIK 4344 is a later thing?

    I usually don't get really excited about any gear that are much later than 81.

    None of my friends in this hobby and fellow JBL enthusiasts in Denmark know about the original 4344 - it wasn't a thing you talked about or gasped over. (I wouldn't know as I wasn't born back then)

    I might be a bit of a nut in this hobby, but I go for authenticity and originality before performance - of course sometimes with a tradeoff, but I like things to tell a story

    From what I've gathered the 4343 should be all alnico, but the 4343B is the Ferrite counterpart, caused by the unavailability of Cobolt from the mines of Zaire (Later Congo), caused by the civil war in that country in 77/78.

    I don't really give "which is better" that much of thought - they are different and have different features. I have listened to both 4333 and 4341 on multiple occasions, but never 4343 or 4345.
    For my project I think I will go for 2231, 2420 and 2405 all Alnico. And then buy the 2122H as a substitute until I find the 2121 for a somewhat digestible price. IF I locate the 2231H instead I might be aiming for 2121H - then we are down to wether I build 4343 or 4343B. and the 2122H are not bad to have on hand for a future 4345 project

  14. #14
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martin_wu99 View Post
    I think 4344 is for all the market,4344mkii is for Japanese market.
    For which market is not so important,the most important thing is which one is the best among 4341,4343,4344,4344mkii?and why?
    I have listened to all this series for hours in the last 40 years and build diy clones of the later three. I have also listened to the stock 4331, 4333, the 4345 and the 4338 and 4348.

    Because the reference is to the stock factory product at the time the release of each in the series was a unique system with outstanding audio reproduction. They all share smooth wide band reproduction, transient response, clarity and low intermodulatiom distortion. The inclusion of the 10 inch midrange results in smooth performance, instantaneous transient response, instrumental clarity, vocal definition and dimensional accuracy of each system.

    As new materials were developed and advances made in crossover design and refinements to drivers meant the sound character of the stock systems evolved over the years. The introduction of the diamond surround HF diaphragm initially in aluminium alloy was a refinement and later the introduction of titanium HF diaphragm at the time were advancements. Some people hold preferences for the earlier diamond surround aluminium alloy diaphragm. The 10 inch mid also evolved with iterations that reduced cone break up modes.

    In each system the key to the performance is the total integration of the drivers. By deliberately restricting the operating bandwidth of each driver to the range that it was designed for results in maximisation of
    individual driver transient performance.

    You really have to listen to each system yourself.
    I love them all and l think you will to.

    I have not discussed modifications here because the discussion is focused on the authenticity of each model in the series.

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    Thanks for the input Ian!

    I agree with you, and I look forward to building and getting my own 4343 or 4343B set.

    for me, this hobby is about learning and listening to things the way they were intended to sound "back then". My interest and hobby lies in this journey of discovery and experience with specific product.
    The reason I am cloning is simply that these complete system are impossible to find in stock condition in Denmark. The only 4343 set I know of in Denmark, is a heavily modified set.
    Also, importing a pair of speakers on the plus side of 200lb's with taxes on top, is a nightmare.

    Drivers on the other hand is another task completely - in Denmark we were blessed by having JBL professional warehouse in the 70's, so a lot of pro drivers are actually on the market locally, and they are much easier to import.
    So since I have dreamed of a 43XX system for the last 7-8 years, I've decided to clone a stock model. Build it like a complete replica, with everything as original and authentic as possible.
    If, for some reason when I'm done, I am still looking for something else or different, I will look for something else or different at that time

    for me it is a bit like working with old cars:
    For some, the thrill is in having and appreciating the stock Jaguar E-type V12, it won't go very fast, the brakes are a mess compared with todays standards and you'll spend more time under the hood than in it.
    Others like the idea of going fast on a budget, and like to improve upon the weak spots of the Jaguar to build a hybrid that performs to todays standards and can be used as daily driver.
    They both have an appreciation for the car, but with totally different perspectives - the first would never dream of improving the brakes, and would much rather buy a second, new car as a daily driver, than modify his piece of history. The second would think the jaguar has potential not yet realised.
    I am very much like the first guy, with my hobby - I understand the journey towards "better" - but for me, history and "this is how they were intended to sound" weighs more

    At a recent meet-up in Denmark for hifi-enthusiast (last weekend actually, we do it yearly) we were introduced for two completely different systems in the demo, one were a Japanese-imported TOTL Accuphase + pioneer exclusive setup. opposite it we had one of the two prototype amplifiers built by Rasmus KjŠr before he sold his design to Ortofon (later the KS591 and KS601 tube amplifiers). These were two widely different systems - one was the high-end Japanese equipment you couldn't buy in Denmark in the late 70's. the other was a piece of Danish hifi history with one of 2 very important amps in that field. (along with custom built speakers and the Thorens TD-124, all pulled from the house were it was installed in 58-59)
    Both systems sounded nice, considering what they were and when they were built. But they spoke to the interest of vintage gear on different levels, and I am happy to have experienced both.

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