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 Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365    Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:38 am

Sonic Encounters – JBL 4365

Sonic had the privilege to hear the JBL 4365 monitors from JBL-Japan. This pair, costing some US$14,000 in this town, was installed in a smallish 12 ft wide x 15 ft x 10 ft room, sparsely furnished and set up as a dedicated listening area for the JBLs. These are hefty devices and are beautifully finished – and they dominate room.






Photo: Harman-japan.co.jp

These are complex three-way speakers:





Diagram: my-hiend.com

The pair I heard was driven by 50W tube push-pull amps with a CD front end. The JBLs were mounted within 15” of the front wall, about 2.5 ft from each corner leaving 4+ft between the inside edges of the cabs. The front wall was concrete with plaster and paint finish and the listening chair was about 8 ft from the plane of the speakers.

Not to impose on the generosity of Sonic’s host, I played a couple of CDs – Handel’s Wassermusick (Pinnock/Archiv) and Gothic Music from the Notre Dame Era by David Munrow.

The presentation was unlike my semi-tuned system or the British BBC sound I am familiar with – Spendors, Harbeths, Rogers and Quads.

There is a sense of effortless dynamic range and volume capability. Unlike my Magneplanar 1.5QRs (even semi-tuned), there is a feeling of a total lack of inertia. The sound will go loud with no limiting or restraint. Without any tension or stress, listening to these speakers gives me the feeling that if the performer accidentally dropped a mike we would be deafened perhaps permanently. With my Magneplanar-based system, the worst is we will jump out of our chairs.

The JBL’s treble was extended, midrange was alive, bass tight and strong but didn’t go down deep – maybe flat to 45 hz but without resonances. But the main thing was the JBLs have amazing transient speed and attack without any smearing. You get an impression of tremendous clarity. They exemplify the best in studio monitors in that you will hear every detail, every tiny distortion, every edit in the tape. Nothing escapes the listener’s notice. But it is not fatiguing at all even after 30 minutes of listening.

Sonic was listening at levels similar to what I do at home – moderate levels about 75 dB average. Sounds are musical across the frequency range – the tiny bells in the Munrow recording have ring, extension, strike and pitch. Sonic’s Magneplanar 1.5QRs give ring and pitch but the leading edges of the transients are slightly duller and the extension slightly less. Voices are natural even with the horn midrange and vocal sibilants are sharp but not irritating.

The Near-Wall placement didn’t not create uneven bass. I could hear power in the bass vocalists in the choral works and the bass viol in the Pinnock/English Concert disk had power.

There were slight problems with imaging – for all the clarity, there was a step between the images on the speaker’s plane and the virtual stereo images which were recessed slightly behind the cabs and I found myself mentally trying to pull the centre image forward to the plane of the speakers. As the speakers had been recently installed, the imaging could likely be improved after some work on the placement. The other thing Sonic noticed was for all the detail and clarity, I had difficulty feeling there were human beings playing real instruments. What I heard was very detailed and “accurate” sound being projected at me.

I would praise and not criticize the JBL 4365. After all they are presenting musick as part of a chain. We should remember the lack of “the human touch” could be the mechanical sound of the CD player and Red Book digital. Don’t blame the JBLs for doing their job of conveying the input signal accurately to the listener.

There was also less ambience than audiophiles would like, almost no sound of the front or back walls so beloved of the high-end. Sonic is actually increasingly skeptical of ambience as I tune my own system. I mean, go to a good hall, listen to live unamplified music and you will notice that the music being played sits in a real space but there is no separate ambience audible in the hi-fi sense. We will say “wow! That was a great performance, the hall is great…”

We don’t say “wow! What wonderful ambience that enveloped me…” Ambience should not be something that can be commented on as a distinct entity (it shouldn’t stand our out on its own, and it doesn’t in real life).

The JBL 4365s have opened my ears to a different presentation of reproduced music and Sonic now has some new objectives to tune to. My thanks to my good host for the opportunity to hear these great speakers.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365    Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:22 am

Hi Zonees

Here’s the frequency response of the JBL 4365 from the Italian Hi-Fi Magazine Audio Review (May 2012).  The upper trace is the in-room response and lower trace the response under anechoic conditions.  See a smooth in-room response with bass down to 32 hz and a mid through treble response correlating well with what the speaker sounds like.  The treble response under anechoic conditions shows up the reflections in the horn but the off-axis characteristics are very good.







Source: www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?33024-why-does-JBL-4365-only-rank-10th-in-Japanese-eyes/page2 posted by “qcieri”

And here is a picture of a system with the JBL 4365s from: www.review33.com/avforum/index.php?topic=71140506231740&item=&page=1





Notice the violin is there to “colour” the sound -- it has no strings.  Using violins and instruments to flavor the sound is commonly seen among some strands of Asian audiophiles.  To Sonic’s ears there is a difference made but the character imposed by the violins pervades everything and soon becomes tiring.  I wonder what spatula is for?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365    Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:59 am


Greetings Zonees

Sonic had the opportunity to hear the smaller brother of the JBL 4365 -- a smaller stand-mounted version of this speaker. This driven by an all tube amplification system, pentode power tubes with a SACD front end.

The speakers were about 3 ft from the front wall and about 5 ft apart at the inner edges due to the relatively small listening room. The owner had damped the wall behind the speakers with Sonex foam.

If Sonic is vague about the conditions and some details it is for the privacy of the owner and in gratitude of the hospitality shown to me.

I liked the clarity of every line of the music and the lightning transient response of the speakers. There was weight and the bass extension was good, along with impact of the bass drum. Some of the percussion of Latin music could be quite hair-raising even at what would be "reasonable" levels, not tinnitus inducing playback levels. The ease of the transient rise and slam is something wonderful.

The imaging was problematic though -- something which always made Sonic refrain from pulling out the plastic/cheque book for JBLs.

It is this: __----__

Images recorded or panned at the speakers positions were "on" or "slightly forward" of the cabinets while the virtual images that form from the stereo that stretch between the speakers are stepped back to the behind the cabinets or a foot or so back of the cabinets. I tried through the listening session to use mind power to imagine the step away but could not.

Sonic supposes with lots of Tuning and help from Mr Green, it will be possible to get the soundstage to run across the plane of the speakers or in a line behind it, like what Sonic did with the Magneplanars (also with lots of work).

But then if those JBL speakers were in my room and I maybe could sit 10 -- 12 feet from them and the soundstage may not have that step and might jell nicely wall to wall.

Sonic likes the sound of JBLs. Will the day come?

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365    Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:24 am

Greetings Zonees

JBLs are getting to be cult items with vintage models going for scary prices.  There is a “pre-owned gear shoppe” in this town with a Paragon for sale. Sonic cannot tell the condition – the drivers are enclosed with the cabinet that integrates both channels into one housing.
 
Paragon


And I won’t want to ask the price.  There is also at least another pair of monitors in the store (possibly 4333s).

High-end audiophiles I speak to often turn their noses up at JBLs. They say things “piercing midrange”, “bright”, “no depth, no width”, “good for pop and rock”, “rough not musical”, “coloured”.  Sonic thinks that I have not read any US hi-end mag reviewing JBLs positively or without some major reservation – on the other hand UK’s Hi Fi News and Record Review has given solidly good reviews to several JBL models.

Having heard several models I would like to propose these thoughts on JBL Monitors:

a.     they are flat through the midrange to the treble.  Many speakers have a small dip of a couple of dBs in the upper mids/lower treble.  The “Gundry Dip” which makes such a speaker less “in your face”, more distant and more pleasant to listen to. A question Sonic asks “is musicality a form of compromised accuracy?”  Sonic’s system is finally projecting its soundstage forward and I am listening to Sviatoslav Richter playing Beethoven’s 6 Variation in F on an Original Theme Op. 34 (Musical Heritage Society LP). The piano is forward of the speaker plane and I can hear lots of detail.  It takes some getting used to but ultimately this might be the sound the microphones picked up.

b.     the JBLs might be just very accurate and transparent showing up the sound of the reproduction chain they are hooked up to.  I heard 43xxs (it was the mid-sized monitors, I am not familiar with the model numbers) with very powerful transistor amps with lots of negative feedback, thick speaker cables and the sound was like the audiophile mags suggested – piercing mids, hammering bass and yet opague that prevented me from hearing into the recordings.  Then on another occasion, Sonic heard a pair of large JBLs with double bass drivers per cabinet (looks like a 4351) driven by homebrew tube amplifiers and the sound was tonally accurate from bottom bass to the extreme treble, beautiful tonally with slam and effortless speed and a curtain of sound across the room.  That experience set Sonic’s compass of what a system should do to deliver musick.  You see the audiophile hi-end press think this way “we have our zillion $ reference gear and garden hose cables with 10 kg network boxes, so if the JBLs sound bad with these the JBLs must be no good”.  Sonic asks “what if, as the Tune shows, that these zillion $ high mass reference gear with cables with 22 lb network boxes are really giant musick blockage devices that actually kill sound, then the JBLs might be in fact showing them up for what they really are”.

c.     what if our ideas of soundstage width, imaging, depth, mid/treble projection, bass, midbass sound (most high-end audiophile systems are too lean…from Robert E Greene…why is it that those who influence Sonic’s listening sensibility the most are called Green/Greene?) and tonality have been so shaped by high-end audiophile magazines and their demigod reviewers that whenever we are presented with something sounding different we think it must be wrong. But it is a mismatch with our presuppositions only.

Of course those who assess the performance of older speakers like vintage JBLs (or any old speaker for that matter) must make sure they are not damaged, the crossover component are still within spec, cables and joins not corroded and drivers have been refurbished correctly or are in good condition (the surrounds, cones, dust caps etc).

Sonic learnt some time ago that JBLs have been used for classical music (I forget the source of this information though) though I am not surprised.

I must try to get a listen to the Paragons….

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365    Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:26 am


Greetings Zonees who like JBLs

These speakers, when set up and amplified, well have a wonderful property that many listeners (and Sonic) keep talking about – the “ease” of the sound.

Michael – you have heard lots of these monitors. What do you attribute the “ease” to?

It cannot be low driver mass because if that were the case, electrostatics like Quads and planar-magnetics like the Magneplanars would display the same or even greater "ease" than JBLs given the planars/'stat lightweight diaphragms. Quads and Magneplanars, to Sonic's ears, do not exhibit this "ease" though they have musically attractive qualities of their own.

How do you relate “ease” to the Tune and how can Zonees attain it with your products?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365    Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:09 am

Greetings Zonees

Sonic constantly marvels at how our Japanese "audio-brethren" manage to shoe-horn huge speakers into such tiny rooms.

Of audio legend is one Masanobu Oue-san who owned a large Japanese bread and pastries factory near Osaka. Oue-san lived in a small space on the first floor of his factory. He collected professional tape recorders such as Amepx, Scully, Studer and Telefunken (according to Monsieur Jean Hiraga).  In Mr Oue's tiny listening room were two huge Tannoy Autographs spaced 55 cms apart and he listened 1.8m (about 5ft) from them. Oue-san considered this kind of listening a great advantage where hearing very small details in the sound became possible.

Here are 3 pictures of a room with JBL 4365s.  I wonder what the sound (tone) and soundstage was like in this room -- Sonic meaning this question in a respectful and good way.



For more pictures go here: www.sound-tec.com/2012/07/mcintosh-c22mc275jbl4365majik-ds.html

Be thrilled!

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365    Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:55 am

Greetings Zonees who are JBL-fans!

Here is another picture of a Japanese JBL 4365 installation -- you'll notice there are is another JBL pair in the picture as well as a room acoustic baffle very typically used for room control in that country.  

Sonic is rather interested to see how Japanese audiophiles ("audiofans" as they put it) approach room control and acoustics. There might be much we can learn from their way of doing things.

Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/audio_jbl/59946405.html



Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365    Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:29 am

Greetings Zonees

Sonic has not posted here for some time, though I got something for relevant to this thread for good Zonees today.

I recently found in The JBL Story – 60 Years of Audio Innovation, by John Eargle, that was test charts comparing a woofer with alnico magnets and one with ferrite magnets configured in their Symmetrical Field Gap structure.

They switched when alnico was hard to source due to civil wars in Africa in the 1970s.

Here are the test charts from Page 63 of the book:



The upper chart is the alnico and the lower one the SFG ferrite.

Comparing the frequency response across the test band from 20hz – 20khz, the responses are identical with the SFG ferrite version rolling off slightly faster below 50hz.

For a 10 watt input, the SFG ferrite version was less efficient by -2db.

What surprised Sonic was the very high distortion of the alnico driver across the band from 20hz to 2khz.  The SFG ferrite had distortion levels typically -10db better than the alnico.

A -10db change in 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion is SIGNIFICANT. We need to however remember in this test two things changed – the magnet material and the geometry of the motor.  

What is worth considering is in the SET and retro-craze in the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was a claim that alnico had a stronger flux density and was better, making more musical sounds and out came alnico speakers costing some 3x more.

Was this another fad? Was the harmonic richness attributed to alnico due to higher levels of 2nd harmonic distortion? Whatever it was, this test shows that a properly designed ferrite motor is as efficient and linear as alnico with much lower distortion.  

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365    Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:55 am


TWO LISTENING IMPRESSIONS OF THE JBL4365

Source:[url= http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?33024-why-does-JBL-4365-only-rank-10th-in-Japanese-eyes/page8] http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?33024-why-does-JBL-4365-only-rank-10th-in-Japanese-eyes/page8[/url]

Impression 1:

Posted by qcieri on August 3, 2013

The listening sessions were performed by two different listeners in different rooms: the engineer that did the technical test (G. Matarazzo) and one of the most experienced listeners of the magazine (M. Cicogna). I report hereafter just the main comments of Mr. Cicogna (sorry for my bad English, with a little help by Google Translate  Very Happy  ).

*************************************************

I am immediately impressed by the accuracy of the mid frequencies range of 4365. The music sounds clear, bright and very present.

The initial tracks of my selection are in fact dedicated to the Baroque repertoire, small instrumental groups and original instruments recordings, which are often among the most difficult to manage with the necessary balance.

Here we are on the right side (if you care to use that term) of "monitor", in the sense of a speaker capable of highlighting the contents of the disc, while maintaining with the software of good quality that natural pleasantness that the major manufacturers of loudspeaker systems have been able to guarantee.

My choice of piano in this period is centered on Decca recordings, a rich selection that allows us to enjoy the wide range of repertoire from Mozart to the twentieth century. Even at a moderate volume the left portion of the keyboard is solid and consistent, you do not feel imbalances in the transition between a range and the other. While the powerful octaves at low frequencies (Liszt) allow to appreciate the rich glaze of the Fazioli piano, the other more intimate passages of Chopin's poetry allow to read the meaning of the musical phrases without any trouble.

In concert (Brahms, Gershwin) the JBLs make clear the different rooms in different acoustic recordings, offering from time to time the correct balance between soloist and orchestra. There is no room for interpretation "bloodless" and indeed the 4365 reveal mediocrity. Who wants a "accommodating" speaker will do well to look elsewhere.

To move the woofers, nothing is better than "Fanfare for the Common Man" or "The Rite of Spring".

Decisive impact, with attacks steady to really high listening levels too. Just a slight inertia of the woofer damping, but it is better so than with those very small woofers that someone calls "controlled".

Good extension at the bottom end, although not outstanding in absolute. There are, however, very few significant music signals in the first octave and with 4365 the pedals of the organ in the church of St John the Divine (Telarc) are truly authoritative.
Extraordinary realism of orchestral timpani, thick and able to come out on a real level without distortion. An undeniable strength of this speaker.

Also with Telarc jazz-fusion acoustic-electronic you can increase the volume to very high level for the maximum satisfaction. I appreciate the solidity of the sax, blown and intense at the center of the sound stage.

These are speakers for connoisseurs, who don't retreat when they encounter strong flavors. At this price I cannot imagine other so generous competitors.

Impression 2:

On October 2, 2013, member ngccglp said (on the same thread):

I tried the 4365 extensively I find them to be lean sounding compared with the older 43 series. Initially I thought it might be because it does not have the mid bass driver, but then my impression of my 4333 tells me that that the 4365 was voiced in a certain way, more accurate perhaps, but lacking in "whoomp" of the older series.

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365    Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:14 pm

Hi Sonic

The JBL sound has certainly been a part of my listening life (and still is). I have several times through my experiences wanted (not sure needed would be the right word) to bring that particular memory lane back to enjoy, even if for a brief listen. The JBL sound, from the "real" monitors up, always has that same lean and mean character to them, however as the drivers age take on a maturity that tends to fill in some of the gaps. Choosing a certain model always depends on how patient we want to be and how long we have to live Shocked . For a listener like myself, I enjoy hearing things break in, but for many, life is just too short to get around to a JBL driver's ability to bring that low end or more relaxed sense to develop. The flip side of this of course is the joy future generations can have with the same speaker their Dad or Grandfather owned and not many companies can make that claim.

Except for the few "marketing the brand" models that JBL has come out with a JBL listener can always expect to enjoy that "JBL sound", without worrying about a deviation from some of the original ears. A JBL, or Klipsch or a few other lines are like the guy pulling up to another Harley guy, they know what they have and why they have it.

Cool study

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365    Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:16 am

Understanding the Sound of JBLs

Sonic finds how Michael compared JBLs to Harleys to be near poetic: “....a JBL listener can always expect to enjoy that "JBL sound", without worrying about a deviation from some of the original ears. A JBL, or Klipsch or a few other lines are like the guy pulling up to another Harley guy, they know what they have and why they have it.”

To understand  the sound of JBLs, here are some descriptions from UK’s HiFi News and Record Review, spanning JBLs that are super expensive (the Everest DD67000) to affordable (the Studio 580s). Within these comments, as Zonees read and consider, you will get something about the sound of JBLs.

Sonic from first hand listening finds these descriptions well-considered. For sure, JBLs can be wonderful though also hair-raising with the wrong gear and room:

The JBL Project Everest DD67000 – John Bamford, August 2014


“the Everest similarly puts you in the hot seat of a studio control room – but with additional scale and effortless bass power and dynamics. Treble, in particular, is fabulously lifelike. Play easy-on-the-ear recordings like ‘No Sanctuary Here’ from Chris Jones’ Roadhouses & Automobiles [Stockfish Records SFR 357.6027.2] and you’ll certainly consider the sound ‘nice’ – as you wallow in rich, deep and thickly-textured bass, a warm midrange and appealingly delicate, sparkling highs.

But there’s nothing sweet or delicate about the manner in which the Everest recreates the blast of a trumpet, the wail of a soprano sax, or the sound of wooden sticks striking percussion. The timbre and transient attack of instruments is shockingly real.

There is a downside: hearing the true nature of a recording can often result in disappointment. Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ from 1972’s Talking Book [Motown 157 354-2] was torn apart layer by layer by the Everest. Wanna hear how low-fi delity, tinny, and coarse the recording of the brass is? How about those biscuit-tinlid drums? Admittedly the bass walloped away agreeably and the track boogied, but it sure sounded of its age…..”

The K2 S9900 – John Bamford, August  2010


“….what grabbed me from the minute they were first playing music in my room was their extraordinary transparency to source recordings. This is going to sound clichéd I know, but time after time I found myself observing hidden details that I simply never knew were there, despite my privileged position of having played host to countless high-end audio components over the years.

…..during the weeks that the K2s have been in residence. Recordings I thought I knew intimately have been openly exposed, revealing previously unobserved details of production techniques applied to instruments. Indeed, these K2s provide a level of transparency through the midrange and treble one might normally associate with a sweet-sounding electrostatic panel. What they do is illuminate a recording’s individual constituents, exposing the subtlest of details such as reverberation tails disappearing all the way down to silence. Stereo imaging and the recreation of image depth is fantastic, doubtless due to the dispersion characteristics of the horns causing me to hear more direct sound from the transducers and less reflected sound from the side walls than I’m accustomed to in my listening room.

Meanwhile the brilliance of the K2’s high frequencies makes the sound of a wooden stick striking a cymbal or drum skin uncannily realistic. The sound is brightly lit, yet this K2 pulls off a neat trick of also being forgiving of harsh recordings and never ‘shouting’. I wouldn’t have thought it possible for a speaker to be so analytical while being so thoroughly musical and easy-on-the-ear in equal measure. “

The Studio 580 – Keith Howard, November 2011


“….as with all speakers having a rising treble response that you aim to tame by listening somewhat off-axis – is getting the toe-in right. There’s always a concern with controlled directivity horns that this won’t curtail treble energy as required, but you can adjust the 580’s perceived tonal balance benefi cially by toeing it such that the axes of the stereo pair cross behind the listening position. In practice the adjustment is quite critical – I settled for just being able to see the inner tapering side panels. Of course, you could also over-rotate the speakers so that their axes crossed in front of the listening position – an arrangement I like less because it widens the spectral disparity between the direct sound and fi rst side-wall reflections, rather than reducing it.

Play pink noise through the 580 and it’s obvious that it has a distinct treble ‘character’ – (I) enjoyed the ….tuneful bass.
 
The nearfi eld measurements show that the roll-off begins quite gradually at about 90Hz and doesn’t achieve the full 24dB per octave roll-off of a refl ex-loaded design until below 30Hz, so clearly the bass alignment was chosen with an emphasis on good transient response.
As it also was on ‘Double Trouble’, ripped from Eric Clapton’s Just One Night [Polydor 531 827-2]. This slightly raw but thoroughly compelling live rock recording is exactly the type of source material you’d expect the 580 to thrive on, and it does. From the moment the Budokan Theatre audience starts to whistle and cry, you sense that the 580 is in its element. Then it’s ‘One, Two, Three’ and the band’s entry confirms that this JBL is both well able to convey the frisson of live performance and, as claimed, very happy to play loud.
The Thiel CS1.6…has a precision the JBL lacks – something which counted against the 580 on chamber music like Natalie Clein’s playing of the Kodály Epigrams [Hyperion 16/44.1 download] – but it could show the CS1.6 a trick or two on larger-scale material.

It’s not for everyone, the Studio 580. If you insist on the cleanest, most extended treble, then the distinct character of its hornloaded tweeter will likely put you off. While not as coloured as some JBLs have been, the 580 is not squeaky clean. But – more importantly for many – it’s a lot of fun. Outgoing by nature, it shines on well-recorded rock material but is also surprisingly adept at big classical pieces.



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365    Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:16 am

Hi Sonic

Sonic sends mg an email explaining the thread on JBL, to which I say "no need". JBL is as legitimate in my book as any other high end audio speaker line, in some cases many times more. It's one of the few speaker lines I actually keep around for referencing.


Andrew Staub with my JBL and MGA Rev6.

I'm a student of recording, and because of this have respected the fact that many of the recordings we listen to are made with JBL monitors somewhere in the mix. For myself it's nice to take refresher courses in mid to modern recording 101. It helps in learning about recording choices to not only play things back in real space settings but also to find out why those choices were made. For example: if you go to any well done JBL studio and listen to vocals you will hear the vocal at about expected size as real. When you get home however the vocal playback is much bigger, taking up a far bigger space in your stage. The Audiophile will say "which is correct"? Well there really is no correct other than the full space full size recording itself. But, this doesn't imply that the JBL rendition doesn't play a role. From the engineers point of view the vocal is as big as he wants it in the studio control or mastering room and to him that's the parameter he wants to work around. Is this accurate? From that engineers working paradigm, yes. We need to remind ourselves that studio engineers are rarely home listeners, in the sense of replaying the whole stage.

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