JBL L150A floor speakers from the 80's and what center speaker? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings all, this is my first post here, and I am truly a noob when it comes to home audio so please be gentle...

I have a set of JBL L150A floor speakers that were produced back in the early 80's that I will be using as my front left and right speakers. I recently purchased a Harmon Kardon AVR 146 5.1 receiver and have run into a few questions on where to go with my surround sound build, namely what center speaker to go with.

In my search for a center speaker, an employee from Fry's told me that the Polk CSi a4 would be a good choice because they blend in well with my JBL's or any speakers. I am sort of skeptical though because from the research I have gathered here, it seems that matching the same brand of speaker is very important for overall sound quality.

So now I am confused as to what center speaker to go with. Should I go with the Polk or stick with the JBL motif and go with a JBL center for my setup? Does anyone have experience with the L150A's I am using? My room is about 10x8 and I have wood floors. If you need pictures I will post them up later today after I get home from work. Also, I will be using the system for listening to music mostly, a lot of trance and a lot of female vocals. If you need more information, please let me know. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 11:08 AM
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Would have been a good question for the JBL Owner's thread.

I have a collection of old JBL speakers from the same line, including L150As. (they all use the same mid and HF drivers). I wound up building a custom center for use with them, then the project got sidelined due to crossover issues.

The most frequently recommended center for JBL's these days is the current LC2 model. I can't think of a reason not to suggest it for the L150As. It won't be a perfect voice match, but any decent AVR with a EQ setup routine will be able to match them pretty well.

Also consider using no center, "phantom center mode", and at least try that for a bit. In a small room, it's a very viable option.

I'll add that a 10x8 room is not large enough for the L150A to really do it's stuff.
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Any other suggestions for a good center speaker? So far I have been looking at these center speakers:

-Polk CSi A4
-JBL LC-1
-" " LC-2 (not sure if I really need a 4 way speaker, I have a sub)
-Energy CC50 (I like the product description and price, but know nothing about it)
-some sort of Harmon Kardon to complement my HK AVR 146 receiver maybe. again, don't know too much about them or have heard them.

I need your guy's expertise here. thanks.
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is a picture of my setup. The center speaker would have to go behind my laptop. and yes, my room is messy and very small.
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mangosalsa View Post

Here is a picture of my setup. The center speaker would have to go behind my laptop. and yes, my room is messy and very small.


OMG I have a pair of those got them in '78 while in Guam, almost got the 220's. Hell those are way to big for that room you will not really get to hear them shine. I don't use mine anymore since they are just too big for any spaces in my house, so they sit as the foam around each driver rots, so sad. As for a center, i'd get one with big drivers to help balance the the mains (if that's possible)

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post #6 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
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haha, yes, they are quite big in my room. I'm not even sure if these speakers produce sound that is up to par with the newer models of speakers out these days. These are speakers my father used back when I was a child. Makes me wonder if I should keep these and use them or if I am better off getting newer and smaller speakers.
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 06:26 PM
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Forget a center in that situation, it won't do you any good. Just run phantom center mode and enjoy. And no, you're not getting anything close to what these speakers are capable of. They need a large room and at least 200WPC do do anything remarkable.
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
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bummer. I thought I could use these since they were just lying around taking up space. Now they're taking up space in my already small room. Not sure what direction take from here.
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mangosalsa View Post

haha, yes, they are quite big in my room. I'm not even sure if these speakers produce sound that is up to par with the newer models of speakers out these days. These are speakers my father used back when I was a child. Makes me wonder if I should keep these and use them or if I am better off getting newer and smaller speakers.

Well if they were you dad's speakers, you should keep them around. They do need some maintenance though, like the foam surrounds being replaced on the woofers. They are also worth quite a bit if the cabinets are in good shape, but shipping is not to be attempted by the inexperienced.

If JBL tried to build that speaker today, with equivalent quality in the drivers and cabinet, they would cost a few thousand each. New retail was $750 each in 1982. They are not "state of the art" by today's standards, but they can still kick some butt and will handle virtually unlimited power. If you're in a major metro area, they could bring close to $1000/pair today in pristine condition. In other areas, $500/pair might be top end.

You're in what's called a "near field" listening arrangement there, these speakers are not built for that. But even if they were, being that close to them eliminates the need for a center. Just run in "phantom center" mode and the center channel get's divided between the L-R speakers and may even sound better.

If you want to sell them, go to the Lansing Heritage forum and list them for sale with a good set of photos and your location.
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for all the guidance rdgrimes. This noob appreciates it very much. I haven't received my receiver yet, it should be arriving within the next two days and I will have to give the "phantom mode" a try. The Harmon Kardon AVR 146 has this mode? I hope it does.
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post #11 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 06:57 PM
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Oh, and either get that printer off the top of the speaker, or be sure there's a good barrier under the printer to keep the ink off the walnut. (American Black Walnut veneer)
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post #12 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 08:32 PM
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Hell I would not worry about the lack of room for these little boys, crank them till your ears bleed. It would be nice to have a large space to hear them roar but you don't have that. If the driver edges need replaced you can get that done or DIY, its' not that hard and the cost is about $25 a driver, partsexpress has a kit for the 12". The biggest room i ever played them in was only 15x20, and I did get a window to break, used my Sansui 33000 to power them, that's an old school receiver 300wpc , still have that too

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post #13 of 13 Old 06-12-2012, 06:27 AM
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I have owned these amazing speakers for over 30 years and they still are a treasure. Replacing the foam surrounds on both the active and passive woofers are necessary, but well worth the time and investment. When I first purchased them, little was known or publicized about an additional speaker, something called a sub-woofer. It is really the missing component to these heirlooms. I actually had placed them in storage for the past 6 years, not having the location to properly use them. During that time, I have learned to both appreciate and admire the function of a GREAT sub-woofer to complete the sonic range of these speakers. When I recently moved I knew these speakers would come out of storage, and I would be able to, not only hear their remarkable clarity and range, but have the missing subwoofer added to the set. I was apprehensive hooking them up to a new Pioneer Elite AV unit, and the Dayton 15" / 850 watt sub that I had put inside a JBL subwoofer box. I put a couple of different style CDs in the player and hit PLAY. Euphoria! That missing musical/ bass element that I knew should be there materialized... and I was in sonic heaven. Ahhhhhhhhh YES ! And, yes, I have the JBL center speakers available.... but these L150A s and the sub woofer, by themselves are perfection. Hang on to them, you will NEVER find their match in most folk's price range. Thanks for bringing up the topic.
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