JBL speakers with Naim?

Hey

Wondering if anyone is using JBL speakers with Naim amps?

I’ve an itch to scratch and find it impossible to demo the JBL S4700.

I loved my L1’s back in the early 90’s and the reviews I’ve seen for the S4700 sound like they would appeal.

Currently, I’m not using Naim, but likely to go 552/300. Just want to compare that amp with the new Chord offerings first.

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Pretty sure @Richard.Dane has (or had) a pair of classic JBLs and is a big fan.

It’ll work. I use the Array 1400s. The only thing I had to change were the Powerline cables, which is a great cable, and suited to speakers with smaller drive units.

Well there was also the seating position that had to go further back into the room because the waveguide design for the midrange and treble conditions the sound for scale, but at a distance from the speaker.

I’ve a friend with a 252/135s and it’s brilliant there as well.

Basically, if the S4700 is a Greg Timbers’ design you are safe.

I like JBLs - they’re fun. I do have a couple of pairs of classics - 4311s and L110s, but currently not being used. I would dearly love a pair of restored 4343s though - far more serious. They might just be all the JBL I could ever want…

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I drive JBL speakers with 252/300. They are large horn drivers with 100dB efficiency. They are used with a bespoke crossover. The result is fantastic.

Which ones?

JBL 4648A / JBL 2446H / JBL 2404H
They replace a pair of Sonus Faber Guarneri evolution but when I moved from an appartement to a house they were not large enough to fill the room. This system of classic horn speakers were a revelation for me!

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I currently have a pair of L100’s and really like them. Work very well with my Supernait and Rega TT. Plenty of refinement, plenty of oomph, a lot more speed than I was expecting but above all a very live sound with an amazing soundstage.

Had some SVA2100’s before, but they were a very different kettle of fish.

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I auditioned 4367 just before the lockdown and am waiting for restrictions to be lifted to arrange a home dem. I posted my thoughts on the dem but very little interest from the forum. I thought they were incredible and though not auditioned with Naim, I thought the were a good match to the generally accepted Naim ethos of getting the foot tapping and as close to live music as possible. My only doubt at the time was an artificially large (HUGE!) soundstage but the demo room was huge so results could be different at home.

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I think generally, JBL is a little bit of an unknown in UK compared to the US and Asia. I’m in Singapore (well am American, who lived in UK for +20yrs and now in Singapore) and the speakers are highly respected, as you said the sound stage is astounding and some of the most foot tapping speakers around.

Very well suited to Naim in my eyes.

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I have JBL Decade 36s that are driven from a powerful Nait 2. Excellent!

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More to the point, in the UK it is known for car audio and is unfortunately popular with a certain type of lout (“I got me some two fousand watt JBLs in my decked out Nova mate!”)

That just about kills a brand in the UK. I’ve not lived in the UK for over 20 years but back then, JBLs were a boy racer’s badge of louty honour. Preferably with a massive JBL sticker across the entire back windshield. Totally interchangeable brand with Cerwin Vega and Jamo at the time.

I didn’t realise JBLs were any good until I moved to far east and heard them in serious systems.

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I have also been out of the UK for over 20 years but I do remember the 4 wheel bass bins you mention - I had forgotten all about that, you could have a point! It would be a shame if thats the understanding people have of JBL as they deserve a listen. I can understand (as with all speakers) that some may not get on with the presentation and prefer something more “intimate” but when I read descriptions of DBL sound (I have never heard them) I could apply the descriptions quite easily to the 4367; many seem to lament the demise of the DBL and hold it in extremely high regard in a Naim context.

This is my first post on the Naim Forum.

I was never a fan of JBL or Naim and on previous occasions when I audition them separately I was not particularly impressed or compelled to buy such brands.

However, my perception changed about a year ago after auditioning a Naim XS integrated with a pair of large JBL 1400 Array Speakers. Seemed like an odd combination using a modest integrated on a large more costly speaker, but the sound was simply more engaging compared to the more expensive Luxman 700 pre/power amp and Mark Levinson integrated. So impressed with the Naim/JBL combo I purchased the JBLs with a Supernait 2 with HiCap Dr instead. At home, this combo continued to satisfy so much so I caught the Naim itch and recently purchased a NAC552 and NAP 300Dr. I haven’t had the chance to use the 552/300 with JBLs as I’m stuck in Australia with the amps until the Pandemic subsides. I live in Samoa. I have no doubt the 552/300 with its greater refinement and tighter grip will complement the JBLs full-body balanced sound, beautifully.

I suspect like most brands not all JBLs sound the same but as @Future Classics pointed out there’s something special about the JBL speakers Greg Timbers designed. I’ve read he and Greg Moro were involved with developing the Studio 580 and 590 as well as the 1400 Project Array and Project Everest speakers.

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I agree with the car boot observation. I’ve always thought of JBL as little better than disco bins.

To hear they go well with NAIM and that Richard Dane likes them is… unusual.

How queer! hqdefault

A lot of people will have heard JBL in the UK without realising - just not in home audio.
Most cinemas have JBL horn systems lurking behind the screen and the professional “Control” series are often deployed in theatres for balconies and centre-fill across the stage.
I have a pair of the Control One speakers - little plastic boxes with rubber corners which sound far bigger than you’d expect and being front ported are ideal for tucking on a shelf, which is exactly how they are used in our static caravan.

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You see a lot of classic JBL monitors here used with valve amps.

I’d quite like to give a pair a whirl but there isn’t much in the new range that can rock out on a 10w amp.

Mike, I have to admit, up until about 20 years ago I too looked somewhat askance at JBLs. When out in the States, I discovered that there were two somewhat polarised views on good sound; the east coast sound - the accent on low coloration, top button done up, shirt tucked in; and the west coast sound - coloration be damned, we want bass and dynamics, hawaiian shirt, flip flops. My idea of JBL at the time was that it seems to fit more comfortably into the “west coast sound”.

And then one day, chatting with a Hifi distributor friend, he said that if I ever came across a pair of JBL 4343s then I should grab them without hesitation. I felt this was rather interesting and a bit “left field” coming from him; he had some fantastic truly fabulous pieces of hifi in his main system - Audio research SP10, Big Stax electrostatics, that kind of thing - so I took notice. And then one day I did come across a pair; rescued from the Deutsche Schallplatten plant and recently restored (but sadly not for sale). They looked big, bluff, imposing, and er… blue! They were playing from a relatively modest Naim system. The CD was Neil Young’s Sleeps with Angels. The track playing was Trans Am. I know the album and the track so very well - I sat there transfixed, with the hairs on my arm prickling; it was so alive and immediate. At that moment I realised what my friend had been talking about and I’ve never looked at JBLs in the same way since.

Since then I bought a mint pair of L110s but with rotted bass foam surrounds (still awaiting me getting them fixed), and the JBL 4311s that Martin Birch had in his studio. The latter are very much in the “west coast sound” mould, but they’re fun, and it’s kind of cool to think that numerous Deep Purple, Rainbow and Black Sabbath albums may well have been mixed and mastered on this very pair of speakers. However, the 4343s remain something very special, and while I’ve heard elements of them in various big modern JBL demos I’ve heard since, nothing has got quite as close to that feeling I got listening to that pair playing Neil Young that day.

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Recently discovered poem by A. E. Houseman, suggesting a love of early audio reproduction…

“Blue Remembered JBL’s”…


I owned these lovely JBL L 16 speakers 1978-1984 on the end of a Hitachi turntable and amp and they were very musical and boogied very well. One day a friend kindly leant me his Linn Sondek and they sounded REALLY great. If there were a tidy pair around I would love to get them on the end of a Nait 2 as they seemed undemanding in terms of power demands. Not the most clinical sound but lots of fun.

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