Originally Posted by Mudslide
Though I've listened to and owned many JBL models, I've not heard any of the P-Series. Would you please compare and contrast their sound with other JBL's you have or had at hand? Thanks.
On the Lansing Heritage site (http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/
) I did some of this with top JBL four-ways, and I'll reproduce it here. I compared the legendary L250 (1980s) to the XPL200 (early '90), L7 (mid-late '90s) and later the Performance Series stack (2000s).
Comparing and contrasting the four-ways I have in the dungeon/shop/garage illustrates why I like so many different speakers. None is perfect because there is no perfect sound, except perhaps the original performance...maybe.
L250: It's a beautiful, smooth, balanced speaker with prodigious output. It's weak in the highs by my standards, and the midrange is a bit "tight" and breathless compared to the others. The midbass and woofer are just about perfectly matched, and they are powerful performers.
XPL200: Due to personal preference, the Ti tweeter and midrange sound the best to me. They're open, spacious, articulate, and alive. Their clarity is unparalleled in this group (but the Performance Series will beat them.) Sadly, the midbass is an underachiever and disappoints, while the 12" woofer is an agile performer whose output is quite adequate if not outstanding.
L7: The tweeter is very nice of course, and the midrange is full and front, though the XPL's combo is better. The midbass is just as nice sounding as the L250's and the woofer is every bit as strong as the L250's with the added benefit of covering a narrower frequency band. It is articulate, sharp, and controlled; yet it can really kick out the bass when called upon.
In most rooms, the XPL200 will be a good performer, easily sounding better than the other two in many installations.
The L250 will win in any larger environment. By its very physical appearance it will command the space, and the sound will live up to the appearance. It can create an awesome presence, even today. It will gag in a small environment, strangled to death by the room's choke hold.
The L7 in the right room and set up correctly will knock either of these two out of the house. However, it will take more time and effort to achieve this, and if you're just going to compromise and make them go where they look the best to keep the peace, then don't bother.
Asked to add the Performance Series to the equation:
Unfortunately, I've not had them in the same room running the same gear, so I can only give a comparison based on indirect evidence. As you know, this process is rife with all kinds of problems.
Anyway, my impression is that the Performance Series stack has most of the positives and few of the negatives of the other four-ways discussed here. It has the open, spacious, articulate clarity of the highs and mids of the XPL200, with a little less brightness. It has the powerful midbass of the L250 and L7. It compares favorably to the bass of the L250, with the LE14H-3 outperforming its sibling in its modern iteration. It beats the XPL200's bass, and is as nimble as the L7's, but not quite as much of a full impact at the low end as the LE120H-1 provides when the L7s are properly set up and the woofers are working together. OTOH, my recent addition of the HTPS400 handily remedied this slight deficit.
Looking just at the L7 and the PS stack, I'd line it up this way. The 035TIA is technically a better tweeter, and the 704G and 708G-1 composite drivers are very good, but the PT800's Ti trio really has so much better uniformity of sound that it's far more appealing to me. From 130Hz to 22kHz, the sound is very much the sameand it's a sound I love.
The cabinets are quite different, the L7 being narrower
I really dig the LE14H-3 and think it's one of the best, but I suppose it's inhibited a bit by the PS1400 enclosure. The LE120H-1 seems ideally set in the L7 cabinet, and, again, the side-firing reinforcement is a sonic blessing (OR a huge, irritating, evil curse if set up wrong).
The PS stack is the winner to my ears, but not by that much. If you consider L7s have gone for as low as $250 a pair, the value equation turns upside down. As a stereo pair, the L7 gives up very little, and gives a bit back, too.
If I could only have one pair for stereo, L7s or PS stacks... hmmm.
In a HT environment, PS all the way.
Hope this answers well enough.