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 Sonic Encounters -- JBL 4365

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Sonic.beaver



Posts : 2044
Join date : 2009-09-18

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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Join date : 2009-09-18

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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Sonic.beaver



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Join date : 2009-09-18

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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Sonic.beaver



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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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Sonic.beaver



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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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Sonic.beaver



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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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