Upgrading from the lowest quality JBL possible... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-22-2013, 04:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

About 10 years ago I purchased a trio of AV oriented JBL speakers from a HiFi shop that was in the process closing down. I got what I thought was a good deal at the time (about USD100 in 2002). While the setup was a floor demonstration unit, it looked to be lightly used. At the time it was a major upgrade for me and I was very pleased to become a JBL owner.

The set was composed of a CENTER, a LEFT and a RIGHT. All passive. No Sub.




- The CENTER unit is a JBL 1810 CENTER
- The LEFT and RIGHT units are JBL 1810 SURROUND

As these were floor demo units, so I did not get a box, manuals, etc. So, that's pretty much all I know about these speakers. I cannot find any product literature on this set of speakers anywhere. Apparently, they did not have widespread distribution. In fact, the only place where I can find them is on 2nd hand auction sites in mainland China. Wierd. Maybe these are fake JBLs?

The only thing that I can find online that even comes close to what I have here is the ARC and FLIX series.

Here's the ARC CENTER info:

JBL ARC CENTER Product Sheet

Here's the FLIX documentation:

JBL FLIX Product Sheet

My conclusion? The JBL 1810 speakers were/are probably the lowest end JBL speakers on earth.

Hahahaha - well, that means it can only be UP from here! Hey, perhaps some even feel that these speakers are not worthy of the JBL name...but they have stayed in good shape over the years and I do not want to throw them out. What I want to do is fix the problems they have.


The 1810 SURROUND
The 1810's SURROUND speakers actually sound pretty good for what they are, which is a single full range driver mounted in an unported, closed enclosure. Assuming they are basically the same as the drivers used in the ARC series, should have similar characteristics:



Please note that the above specifications is from the FLIX documentation. Seeing as these speakers have been used by JBL from the 1810 all the way to FLIX10 series, I doubt their characteristics have changed much.






My intention is to keep the 1810 SURROUND units exactly where JBL intended them to go - in service as surround speakers. In fact, I am seeking another set because my YAMAHA DSP-A3090 features a set of 7.1 speaker-oriented "expansion modes" which require a pair of "Front Effect" speakers:






The 1810 CENTER
While the 1810 SURROUND units sound good (even great), the same cannot be said for the 1810 CENTER. Frankly, it sucks.

Sometimes it sounds OK. Not often. Most of the time, it sounds like someone is yelling through a sheet of glass, which is weird because the unit has all the right stuff inside. Two full range drivers, one tweeter. It even has a bass reflex ported enclosure to help boost the punch of the little 4.5 inch drivers. In my opinion, too much.











Here are the CENTER specifications from the JBL ARC series documentation



Here are the CENTER specifications from the JBL FLIX-1 series documentation




Tweaking the 1810 CENTER
I am wondering if any of the JBL experts here can give me some pointers on how to improve the audio performance of the 1810 CENTER speaker? Here's the ideas I have so far:

A - Blocking the Bass Reflex Port
I used a toilet paper core (stuffed, of course, with toilet paper) to block the bass reflex port. It had a (slight) effect on the sound but not really all that much.


B - Stuffing with Filler


C - Painting the cone with Puzzle Finish (or Similar)


D - Adjustable Crossover


JBL 4206 MONITOR
I realize that none of the above 1810 units are "proper" main speakers. They are intended to augment an existing set of full range sound sources. So, seeing as I've decided to embark on this little High Fidelity journey, will be buying a set of JBL 4206 monitor speakers. Here they are - I intend to buy them tomorrow. They're in "as new" condition and will cost between USD100 and USD150 depending on how the haggling goes smile.gif

ED: They cost USD125



From what I have read about these speakers, they are good for a small footprint environment (my listening room / home theatre is tiny, only 9 feet by 8 feet. The listening area is only about 6 - 6.5 feet directly in front of the audio source and about 8 feet diagonally).

Apparently, the JBL 4206 MONITOR speakers have good range and will be a pleasure to listen to. I will be sure to let you know smile.gif


Thanks very much

Graham Leach
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-22-2013, 04:18 AM
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You can look around for the best prices. Consider L820s for L/R and the LC2 for the center. Upgrades from the L820 would be the L880 or L890.
Unfortunately, the Studio 1 series was recently discontinued (which is a step down the the Studio Ls but still quite decent).
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-22-2013, 05:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

I can pick up a couple of Monitor 4206 for about USD150.

Here's the listing (in Chinese) -> JBL Monitor 4206



They could they be used as LEFT / RIGHT for when the amp is in normal stereo mode, right?

This is like some amps have, a DIRECT mode. In Yamaha-speak it's called "effect off".

My listening distance from these speakers would be about 5 feet. They would be 6 feet apart.

Your thoughts?

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post #4 of 5 Old 01-22-2013, 06:28 AM
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I think that the center speaker is pretty much a losing proposition.

If you are reasonably satisfied with the sound of the two main speakers, I suggest that you invest $199 in a Cambridge S50 center speaker, which is an excellent unit with very nice clear sound quality.

It should be a huge improvement.

Maybe later on you might want to get a pair of Cambridge S30 speakers for the front pair and move the old speakers to rear/surround duty.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-22-2013, 07:08 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, if the center speaker is a piece of junk, is there any value in re-purposing the enclosure?

It's reasonably nice looking (MDF with black ash veneer), can take 2 x 4.5" drivers, 1 x 2" tweeter and has a ported, bass reflex design

Here's the original specs for the electronics:



Any suggestions as to what I could put in there?

I have a very comprehensive source of components only 20 minutes away and I know how to use a glue gun and a soldering iron smile.gif
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