JBL vs Infinity, what is the differance? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 26 Old 05-02-2009, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I know JBL and Infinity are owned by the same parent company.
Are there any real differances between JBLs and Infinitys speakers.
Or do they have the same guts on the inside.

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post #2 of 26 Old 05-02-2009, 12:01 PM
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Very different for the most part, but differences vary on a model by model basis. Mainly, Infinity is a lower-cost line. The 2 companies were acquired by Harman International at different times, and still maintain different models with a few exceptions. Revel is also a Harman company, and a few of the Revel models share drivers and technology with a few of the JBL models.
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post #3 of 26 Old 05-02-2009, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

Very different for the most part, but differences vary on a model by model basis. Mainly, Infinity is a lower-cost line. The 2 companies were acquired by Harman International at different times, and still maintain different models with a few exceptions. Revel is also a Harman company, and a few of the Revel models share drivers and technology with a few of the JBL models.

So Revel is the high end, JBL mid range, and Infinity is for the masses.

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post #4 of 26 Old 05-02-2009, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacoboy View Post

So Revel is the high end, JBL mid range, and Infinity is for the masses.

All three sell pricey speakers, particularly Revel and JBL. And all three sell inexpensive lines for "the masses."
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post #5 of 26 Old 05-02-2009, 01:19 PM
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Infinity also makes audiophile speakers. I wouldn't place them in any particular order, though Revel does make some very expensive home speakers.

JBL makes speakers for anything audible, from iPods to outdoor rock concerts. Revel and Infinity are geared to stereo music and home theater.
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post #6 of 26 Old 05-02-2009, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacoboy View Post

So Revel is the high end, JBL mid range, and Infinity is for the masses.

I'm sure that most owners of JBL's Synthesis and Array lines would take exception to that. Revel is a boutique line. There's really no comparison of the 3 lines since they originated separately. JBL has certainly been around the longest of virtually any speaker line being sold today, and has by far the largest collection of hardware lines if you include Pro and mobile lines.
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post #7 of 26 Old 05-02-2009, 01:45 PM
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It really doesn't matter. They're all very well engineered speakers for the most part. Whatever you're price point, you'll likely find a competitive offering from at least one, if not all of the three.
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post #8 of 26 Old 05-02-2009, 04:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

Mainly, Infinity is a lower-cost line.

No, this is absolutely not the case. At a given price point, Infinity tends to have the higher level offering. Also, several Infinity speakers (such as the CSW10 subwoofer and a couple of the inwalls, not to mention the entire Beta series) went directly or indirectly over to Revel. Revel indeed has taken some technology from JBL, but Infinity shares more. The "OCC" material used in many of the performa and concerta series is the same thing as CMMD from infinity. Also, the Infinity primus series is thought of as better than the equivalent JBL line (the name escapes me).

So, to say that "JBL is mid-range and Infinity is for the masses" is not correct.
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post #9 of 26 Old 05-02-2009, 05:01 PM
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Looks like the only thing anyone will agree on is that they are 3 pretty different lines of speakers.
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post #10 of 26 Old 05-02-2009, 10:07 PM
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My understanding is that the Revel F12 is very similar to the Infinity Beta series.
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post #11 of 26 Old 05-02-2009, 10:23 PM
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Having owned quite a few of both JBL and Infinity over the past 10 years, I'll take Infinity over JBL. But thats just my choice. I auditioned, in my BR setup, the JBL Northridge series E50 3 way bookshelf speakers against the Infinity Interlude IL30s, 2 way towers. Well, I've sold the E50s and enjoy the IL30s nightly. Maybe a comparison between a bookshelf and a tower isn't fair, but a comparison between a 2 way and 3 way perhaps isn't either.

The highs from the 1" CMMD tweeter is clear and precise. The highs are much less bright than the 3/4" from the JBL. Both are titanium tweeters but the Infinity is more natural sounding. I get better bass from the 6 1/2" woofer than I do from the 8" from the E50. Just a better build/designed speaker IMO. Not that the JBL E50 does not sound good. It does.

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post #12 of 26 Old 05-03-2009, 09:17 AM
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All of this debate shows it totally depends on what speakers you are comparing.
JBL has the whole pro audio division, and some uber-expensive stuff most people have never heard of. When you compare the entry level consumer gear of both companies, I think you'll find comparable design principles and execution. As you move up, the distinctions grow.
The one thing the companies do have in common is R&D--Harman International's measurement and evaluation procedures might be the best. I don't know if overall philosophy has changed since Floyd Toole retired. Anyway, with both companies, you can generally be sure you are getting a meticulously engineered speaker at a value price that measures well on and off axis, and can sound good in most real rooms.
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post #13 of 26 Old 05-03-2009, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post

Having owned quite a few of both JBL and Infinity over the past 10 years, I'll take Infinity over JBL. But thats just my choice. I auditioned, in my BR setup, the JBL Northridge series E50 3 way bookshelf speakers against the Infinity Interlude IL30s, 2 way towers. Well, I've sold the E50s and enjoy the IL30s nightly. Maybe a comparison between a bookshelf and a tower isn't fair, but a comparison between a 2 way and 3 way perhaps isn't either.

The highs from the 1" CMMD tweeter is clear and precise. The highs are much less bright than the 3/4" from the JBL. Both are titanium tweeters but the Infinity is more natural sounding. I get better bass from the 6 1/2" woofer than I do from the 8" from the E50. Just a better build/designed speaker IMO. Not that the JBL E50 does not sound good. It does.

Lets compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges.
I can give you examples of very good speakers from all three companies. The Interludes would indeed be better than the E series.
And the Infinity MTS Preludes, available about 8 years ago, was one of the best systems I've ever heard. Unfortunstely, there are no more Infintiy or JBL dealers around here anymore, so I haven't heard the newer Infinity series.

But I would compare the JBL Performance Series to the Preludes. The PS is also very similar to the Revel Gem 2 models.

Of the three companies, JBL speakers cover a much wider price point, from very cheap to very expensive top-o-line. The lower E series/Venue/ES series to the top with the K2 and Everest II, the Everest being $30K/ea.

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post #14 of 26 Old 05-03-2009, 11:11 AM
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Yeah, it's tough to compare JBL vs Infinity.

JBL is pretty much THE standard when it comes to pro-audio, but pretty much a joke in car-audio. For home audio, their studio series has been respectable...well as respectable as it can be for being sold at Best Buy. I think eventually they dropped the studio series and only sold the Northridge series, which is ok. I liked their HTS line back in the day.

Infinity has had some very excellent speakers in the past and on average, comparing all their products vs. all the products JBL has made, I would put them a notch above. For normal consumer affordable gear, their RS line was good and so were the Interludes, Alpha's, and the Beta's. I've not heard any of their new stuff past Beta. I wasn't a fan of the Primus series when it came out. It was also cheaper than the Beta's.

Although I do own both JBL (S36awii, N26awii) and Infinity (Beta 20's, Entra one's, SW-12, and some in-wall and in-ceiling) products, I perfer Infinity. However, even though the s36's are all-weather speakers I bought to put by the pool, they sound real good and I highly recommend them for outdoor applications, so long as you can live with a lack of bass. The N26's I'll never buy again. Their lousy enclosure KILLS the sound quality.

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post #15 of 26 Old 05-03-2009, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Looneybomber View Post

Yeah, it's tough to compare JBL vs Infinity.

JBL is pretty much THE standard when it comes to pro-audio, but pretty much a joke in car-audio. For home audio, their studio series has been respectable...well as respectable as it can be for being sold at Best Buy. I think eventually they dropped the studio series and only sold the Northridge series, which is ok. I liked their HTS line back in the day.

There's the problem, Best Buy. They only sold the low end JBLs, and for many young people, that's the only JBLs they've ever seen.

Back when JBLs were sold at CC they sold the top of the line (250Ti in the late '80s).
But, going the other way, even though CC still sold the Infinity line in 2000, they didn't sell the Preludes, I had to go all the way over to San Jose to audition those.

Most people (99%) who are into audio, have never seen, much less heard the JBL Performance Series. First they were only sold through Synthesis dealers and then online.
Tweeters did have the PS until they went out of business, but Tweeters were not nation wide.
And the new LS horn loaded systems have yet to be sold in NA.

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post #16 of 26 Old 05-03-2009, 11:47 AM
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I bought my HT's from a Synth dealer unseen and unheard. But, I knew JBL sound and knew what I was getting. He didn't discount from the MSRP, but he did hand deliver them to my door.

4D makes a good point we've discussed on the "official" JBL thread, that their better sounding speakers are simply hard to find (and hear). They're sought after in Japan, but unknown here.

Also, though some boutique lines make $100K+ speakers, there is no end to what you could spend on JBL's. They're found in the finest movie theaters in the world -- or wherever high SPL's are needed.

IMHO if you want movie theater sound, then get some JBL horns, and you will never again feel like you can't turn it up louder without distortion (or blowing your speakers).

They're like my black babies, that never stop asking for more juice.
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post #17 of 26 Old 05-03-2009, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by 4DHD View Post

Lets compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges.
I can give you examples of very good speakers from all three companies. The Interludes would indeed be better than the E series.
And the Infinity MTS Preludes, available about 8 years ago, was one of the best systems I've ever heard. Unfortunstely, there are no more Infintiy or JBL dealers around here anymore, so I haven't heard the newer Infinity series.

But I would compare the JBL Performance Series to the Preludes. The PS is also very similar to the Revel Gem 2 models.

Of the three companies, JBL speakers cover a much wider price point, from very cheap to very expensive top-o-line. The lower E series/Venue/ES series to the top with the K2 and Everest II, the Everest being $30K/ea.

Like I said, IMO. (Should it have been IMHO?)

I've heard the MTS Prelude series too. Very much like the Interlude series and I believe they used the same or similar drivers, the CMMD drivers, IIRC. The CMMD is used in the Interludes, anyways.

But, comparing a 2 way to a three way, I did expect the E50 to hold its own. It did not. Too bad JBL didn't stick with the 1" titanium tweeter they used in the Studio series that the Northridge series was loosely modeled after, and mostly cosmetic. That is where most of the difference between the two was noted. More bass from a (smaller) tower driver isn't unusual.

I also used the S Center with my IL40 mains. The S Center is a very good center for the price I paid, $129/shipped, and matched the Interlude's 1" titanium tweeter nearly perfectly.

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post #18 of 26 Old 05-03-2009, 12:59 PM
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When a speaker company has one series and more/less dupicates it, but at a lower price point, something has to give. Changing from a 1" pure Ti to a smaller Ti-laminate is just one of many ways to lower the price point. A current case in point, the Studio L series and the newer, but cheaper ES series.

And comparing a two-way and a three-way doesn't always mean the three-way will be better.

But with the way things are right now, at least around here, can't audition either JBL or Infinity w/o drivng 150~400 miles. or buying online w/o an audition. Sign of the times, I guess.

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post #19 of 26 Old 05-03-2009, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by 4DHD View Post




But with the way things are right now, at least around here, can't audition either JBL or Infinity w/o drivng 150~400 miles. or buying online w/o an audition. Sign of the times, I guess.

I'm in the same boat. So, I bought a pair of Emotiva 8.3s and the ERD-1 surrounds and I'm using an AV123 bigfoot center. All with the hearty recommendations of fellow AVS members as there were no places nearby to audition these speakers. And I could not be happier! They are all performing better than I had expected. I may change out the Bigfoot for an Emo 6.3 but for now it stays, slowly crushing my 15+ year old entertainment center!

Damn it anyways, I was quite happy with the IL40/IL30 with the S Center before I came here!

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post #20 of 26 Old 05-03-2009, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLKstudios View Post

I bought my HT's from a Synth dealer unseen and unheard. But, I knew JBL sound and knew what I was getting. He didn't discount from the MSRP, but he did hand deliver them to my door.

4D makes a good point we've discussed on the "official" JBL thread, that their better sounding speakers are simply hard to find (and hear). They're sought after in Japan, but unknown here.

Also, though some boutique lines make $100K+ speakers, there is no end to what you could spend on JBL's. They're found in the finest movie theaters in the world -- or wherever high SPL's are needed.

IMHO if you want movie theater sound, then get some JBL horns, and you will never again feel like you can't turn it up louder without distortion (or blowing your speakers).

They're like my black babies, that never stop asking for more juice.

Oh yeah, like I said, when it comes to pro use (which I should include cinema) they're the standard. However, I'm not a fan of horns and typically don't think too kindly of them in home environments. Wave guides could be the exclusion, but they're technically not horns.

There are other ways of reaching insane SPL's that, to me, sound better than horns...costs however, will be higher.

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post #21 of 26 Old 05-03-2009, 07:25 PM
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I have the studio series of jbl's and also own the N38II's and yes the lower end tweeters of the northridge and other lower models pretty much suck in my opinion. the N series were muffled and not open. The LS series are beautiful though. don't know they're like.

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post #22 of 26 Old 05-03-2009, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by WormInfested View Post

I have the studio series of jbl's and also own the N38II's and yes the lower end tweeters of the northridge and other lower models pretty much suck in my opinion. the N series were muffled and not open. The LS series are beautiful though. don't know they're like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Looneybomber View Post

Oh yeah, like I said, when it comes to pro use (which I should include cinema) they're the standard. However, I'm not a fan of horns and typically don't think too kindly of them in home environments.

JBL horn systems, imo, are much better than Klipsch horns, for home use. Of the Klipsch I've heard it doesn't take long for ear fatigue to set in.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by WormInfested View Post
I have the studio series of jbl's and also own the N38II's and yes the lower end tweeters of the northridge and other lower models pretty much suck in my opinion. the N series were muffled and not open. The LS series are beautiful though. don't know they're like.
I will let you in on some "inside information" since you seem to have an open mind, and post here quite a bit. The JBL S Series with the ORIGINAL Copper Colored drivers were better then the series II's you now own.
If you take a look at the Ports of the older S Series speakers compared to the newer Series II's, you will see the ports have been changed.
BOSE was threatening to sue the **** out of JBL for copying their port design, so JBL changed it.
But to not seem like they were "trembling in fear of BOSE", JBL went and changed the drivers as well. Unfortunately, the new drivers were just not as good as the ones they replaced.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you ever get the chance to sell what you now have, and pick up the older series 1's with the copper colored drivers, I think you will like them, even better
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ka7niq View Post
I will let you in on some "inside information" since you seem to have an open mind, and post here quite a bit. The JBL S Series with the ORIGINAL Copper Colored drivers were better then the series II's you now own.
If you take a look at the Ports of the older S Series speakers compared to the newer Series II's, you will see the ports have been changed.
BOSE was threatening to sue the **** out of JBL for copying their port design, so JBL changed it.
But to not seem like they were "trembling in fear of BOSE", JBL went and changed the drivers as well. Unfortunately, the new drivers were just not as good as the ones they replaced.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you ever get the chance to sell what you now have, and pick up the older series 1's with the copper colored drivers, I think you will like them, even better
Wow - Nearly 8 year thread revival.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ka7niq View Post
I will let you in on some "inside information" since you seem to have an open mind, and post here quite a bit. The JBL S Series with the ORIGINAL Copper Colored drivers were better then the series II's you now own.
If you take a look at the Ports of the older S Series speakers compared to the newer Series II's, you will see the ports have been changed.
BOSE was threatening to sue the **** out of JBL for copying their port design, so JBL changed it.
But to not seem like they were "trembling in fear of BOSE", JBL went and changed the drivers as well. Unfortunately, the new drivers were just not as good as the ones they replaced.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you ever get the chance to sell what you now have, and pick up the older series 1's with the copper colored drivers, I think you will like them, even better

I do own the copper version of the 38's and have them in the rear. I wasn't sure what I'd find out there in the used market but I was coming across just a few things silver. shortly after acquiring stuff the copper ones started appearing for a brief time. I missed the boat but I figure I might get a few down the road. the main thing I can tell that is different between the two besides the obvious aesthetics and flared port is that the midrange driver is way different. I had to eq everything to get the first version to match up. other than that eh they're close. quality wise the first is better though.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by WormInfested View Post
I do own the copper version of the 38's and have them in the rear. I wasn't sure what I'd find out there in the used market but I was coming across just a few things silver. shortly after acquiring stuff the copper ones started appearing for a brief time. I missed the boat but I figure I might get a few down the road. the main thing I can tell that is different between the two besides the obvious aesthetics and flared port is that the midrange driver is way different. I had to eq everything to get the first version to match up. other than that eh they're close. quality wise the first is better though.
All of the older JBL S Series Speakers with the copper colored drivers were good.
I once owned the Flagship JBL S412P that has a powered subwoofer, so it is a true 4 way speaker. Because I also owned B&W Matrix 801's back then, something had to give, so to make this woman happy, I basically gave away my JBL S 412's .
Had JBL given the S 412 a really powerful subwoofer like Infinity was able to do in their Infinity IL 60, I might have kept the JBL's. But the subwoofer in the 412's is the speakers weakest point.
It is only about 150 watts or so, with a so so driver.
No match for the subwoofer and amplifier in the Infinity IL 60
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