JBL Arena 130 vs... Ascend Acoustics CMT340SE?!? - Page 9 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #241 of 265 Old 12-21-2018, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
Here I’ll give you a quick summary

-Complements and suggestions
-Bashing of the Ascends
-Defending of the Ascends by Dave Fabrikant himself and others
-More complements
-Designing a new speaker to beat these XTonebox speakers (There’s a thread to go with it that’s full of bashing both ways)
-Updates
-Updates
-You

:P

But for the JBL’s bass extension, it wasn’t really heard as much as it was felt. It was interesting to say the least. If you are near Sonoma County, I invite you to come hear for yourself.

As for the graphs, I would NOT trust those at all They were taken in stereo so there’s going to be cancellations which is why I am taking mono anechoic measurements right now.
Thanks for the chuckle. Certainly no shortage of strong "down-from-the-mountain" opinions here on AVS (including my own I suppose. )
I was going to mention something about measuring in stereo but I see you have figured it out for yourself.

Truly thank you for the invite. Being an Audio/Video guy is a lonely, solitary hobby up here in Canada. I have gone to a few "Geek-meet play dates" as my wife likes to call them.
Always a learning experience.

I look forward to seeing your new and improved measurements.
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post #242 of 265 Old 12-21-2018, 11:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DavidK442 View Post
Thanks for the chuckle. Certainly no shortage of strong "down-from-the-mountain" opinions here on AVS (including my own I suppose. )

I was going to mention something about measuring in stereo but I see you have figured it out for yourself.



Truly thank you for the invite. Being an Audio/Video guy is a lonely, solitary hobby up here in Canada. I have gone to a few "Geek-meet play dates" as my wife likes to call them.

Always a learning experience.



I look forward to seeing your new and improved measurements.

Just got home, doing some quick check overs and about to upload them. It appears that the 800hz null is still there, but for both actually. Let me get them up.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #243 of 265 Old 12-21-2018, 11:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, the “Anechoic” measurements are officially uploaded, please enjoy and critique to your heart’s enjoyment. My first observations is a 600 hertz null for both of them. Odd, but possibly a measurement error. And as we can clearly see, the Ascend’s are quite flat and neutral, compared to the rising mids of the JBL’s. The 3 dB sensitivity difference is clearly visible. There is a huge bump at 44 hertz for the Ascends, again, most likely a measurement error, but I did say they are only accurate to about 150-250hz.

Anyways, please enjoy, I don’t plan on doing off axis measurements anytime soon, but maybe. I’ll have a lot of time on my hands this winter break. I’ll keep my mind open

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #244 of 265 Old 12-22-2018, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
Okay, the “Anechoic” measurements are officially uploaded, please enjoy and critique to your heart’s enjoyment. My first observations is a 600 hertz null for both of them. Odd, but possibly a measurement error. And as we can clearly see, the Ascend’s are quite flat and neutral, compared to the rising mids of the JBL’s. The 3 dB sensitivity difference is clearly visible. There is a huge bump at 44 hertz for the Ascends, again, most likely a measurement error, but I did say they are only accurate to about 150-250hz.

Anyways, please enjoy, I don’t plan on doing off axis measurements anytime soon, but maybe. I’ll have a lot of time on my hands this winter break. I’ll keep my mind open
The pictures/attachments are not coming through on this end.
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post #245 of 265 Old 12-22-2018, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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The pictures/attachments are not coming through on this end.





Can you see these?
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #246 of 265 Old 12-22-2018, 11:44 AM
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Can you see these?
Yes, thanks.
You were blasting them outside at over 95db. Your neighbors must have loved that.
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post #247 of 265 Old 12-22-2018, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes, thanks.

You were blasting them outside at over 95db. Your neighbors must have loved that.

Yep, especially when I measure them to 1 watt/2.83 volts... the highs especially were quite loud. I was a good 20 feet away from the speaker and I was still wincing. It’s amazing how sensitivity works, I can only imagine measuring a PSA or JTR speaker...

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #248 of 265 Old 12-22-2018, 03:34 PM
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[QUOTE=Russdawg1;57312614

Can you see these?[/QUOTE]

Did you use any smoothing?

I read that 1/12th octave for in room but none for outside.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #249 of 265 Old 12-22-2018, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Did you use any smoothing?



I read that 1/12th octave for in room but none for outside.

No smoothing and I believe it was 1/24 for the in rooms. Might have forgotten already lol.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #250 of 265 Old 01-20-2019, 11:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Sad to see these go...

Gave them one final song as a salute and packed them up to be sent back to HQ.

I highly recommend these at $99.
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #251 of 265 Old 04-26-2019, 04:08 PM
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Sad to see these go...

Gave them one final song as a salute and packed them up to be sent back to HQ.

I highly recommend these at $99.

I recently picked up the white Arena 130's and the 125c center channel. Frys.com clearance prices had the 130 for $99.90/pair and the 125c was only $45.31. So far I've been pretty impressed with these speakers, even compared to the Studio 2 line. The 130 is closer to neutral than the Studio 230 and the vocals don't seem quite as forward with the 130's. Good bass response and I like the white cabinets. From what little I've heard in-store of the Elac B6.2's, these JBL's seem fairly comparable, maybe a little less warm. If anybody is looking for some solid speakers at a low price, check around to see if you can find the Arena series on sale/clearance.

Subs>RBH I-12e, I-12. HSU VTF-15H mk2. Monolith THX 12(x2), THX 10(x2). XTZ 1X12. SVS PB-1000(x2). Speakers>JBL Studio 270/235c/230/225c. Sony CS3/CS8/CS5. QA 3020i/3090Ci, 2020i/2000c. Monolith Cinema 5bs. Polk RTiA1/CSiA4. Other Audio>Sony MDR-Z7m2,V6, XB900n,700,XB32,XB31. Sennheiser HD58X,HD4.50,PC37X. HiFiMAN HE4XX. Philips SHP9500. SIVGA SV004. SA HDTwo. HyperX CloudPS4. TB Elite AtlasAero. LG FH6,RK8,RK7,PK5. HK Onyx Studio4(x2).
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post #252 of 265 Old 04-26-2019, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I recently picked up the white Arena 130's and the 125c center channel. Frys.com clearance prices had the 130 for $99.90/pair and the 125c was only $45.31. So far I've been pretty impressed with these speakers, even compared to the Studio 2 line. The 130 is closer to neutral than the Studio 230 and the vocals don't seem quite as forward with the 130's. Good bass response and I like the white cabinets. From what little I've heard in-store of the Elac B6.2's, these JBL's seem fairly comparable, maybe a little less warm. If anybody is looking for some solid speakers at a low price, check around to see if you can find the Arena series on sale/clearance.

They look great setup in your room!

Glad to see another person liked them. I too was extremely surprised by their performance for $99, but I needed to realize that these are actually $300 speakers.

For $99 they are amazing. For $300, I’d have to look away.

Enjoy!

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #253 of 265 Old 04-26-2019, 06:12 PM
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They look great setup in your room!

For $99 they are amazing. For $300, I’d have to look away.

Enjoy!
They were OK for 1 day, but they had to leave fast -- too coarse and grainy for me and lacked refinement -- but for $100 a pair, a real good deal -- no way would I take them over the Studio 230 .... but I do understand and see why many people do like the Arena speakers, and the Arena is better than some former JBL entry level speakers of the past.
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post #254 of 265 Old 04-26-2019, 06:53 PM
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They were OK for 1 day, but they had to leave fast -- too coarse and grainy for me and lacked refinement -- but for $100 a pair, a real good deal -- no way would I take them over the Studio 230 .... but I do understand and see why many people do like the Arena speakers, and the Arena is better than some former JBL entry level speakers of the past.

Not really getting any "grainy" sound out of them from what I've heard. Like I mentioned previously, they seem a little less forward for vocals than the Studio 230. The 230 tweeter seems to have a bit more detail, but with that comes a bit of harshness and sibilance. I got the 230's EQ'd pretty well to sound good, but the Arena 130's seem to do well with less EQ needed. It's a little too early to say, but I'm not so sure I wouldn't choose the Arena 130 over the Studio 230. They certainly do have some differences in their sound characteristics. For $100/pair the Arena 130's are darn good. I'm pretty sure I could be perfectly happy with the Arena 130/125c combo for $145 compared to the Q Acoustics 2030i/3090Ci combo that cost me over $300 more.

Subs>RBH I-12e, I-12. HSU VTF-15H mk2. Monolith THX 12(x2), THX 10(x2). XTZ 1X12. SVS PB-1000(x2). Speakers>JBL Studio 270/235c/230/225c. Sony CS3/CS8/CS5. QA 3020i/3090Ci, 2020i/2000c. Monolith Cinema 5bs. Polk RTiA1/CSiA4. Other Audio>Sony MDR-Z7m2,V6, XB900n,700,XB32,XB31. Sennheiser HD58X,HD4.50,PC37X. HiFiMAN HE4XX. Philips SHP9500. SIVGA SV004. SA HDTwo. HyperX CloudPS4. TB Elite AtlasAero. LG FH6,RK8,RK7,PK5. HK Onyx Studio4(x2).
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Are there any deals to be had on Arena 130s still? I know Fry's blows them out occasionally, but they typically won't ship it to you - local pickup only.

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post #256 of 265 Old 07-01-2019, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Not too sure. They usually pop up on the Harman or JBL website.

Occasionally you can find Refurb Studio 230’s for $160ish on EBay, which are better than the Arenas.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #257 of 265 Old 07-01-2019, 05:48 PM
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Are there any deals to be had on Arena 130s still? I know Fry's blows them out occasionally, but they typically won't ship it to you - local pickup only.
Fry's actually has the white ones available right now to ship for $59. I'm not sure if that is for a pair or each as it doesn't seem to state. I checked the black ones and they were not available to ship.
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post #258 of 265 Old 07-01-2019, 07:23 PM
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Fry's actually has the white ones available right now to ship for $59.
Yeah, it shows as available to ship, but when you try to place an order, it actually does not allow you to do so. Fry's website sucks.

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Yeah, it shows as available to ship, but when you try to place an order, it actually does not allow you to do so. Fry's website sucks.
Ahh crap man. I’m sorry
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post #260 of 265 Old 07-11-2019, 06:37 AM
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Ended up ordering the black Arena 130s for $120 shipped. Maybe not the best deal, but not terrible. Looking forward to hearing them. They may end up being my garage speakers, paired with a sub.

The white ones are $99 shipped at Fry's currently.

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post #261 of 265 Old 07-11-2019, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Ended up ordering the black Arena 130s for $120 shipped. Maybe not the best deal, but not terrible. Looking forward to hearing them. They may end up being my garage speakers, paired with a sub.



The white ones are $99 shipped at Fry's currently.

Awesome, hope you enjoy them!

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #262 of 265 Old 07-24-2019, 06:08 PM
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@Russdawg1 :

Just curious, did you end up keeping the JBLs? If so, has your impression of them changed at all in the 8 months since you first wrote this review?

I have just ordered a pair of Arena 170s, $70 each shipped from JBL, allegedly refurbs. These will go into the guest bedroom that will double as a dedicated HT room in my new place next month, with my Chane A2.4 as the center, so I was mainly looking at the financial and aesthetic advantage of having them instead of buying a pair of the Sony Cores plus an extra pair of stands and I figure that the 170s (which appear identical to your 130s other than being in a tower cabinet) should be equal or better than the Cores. (The BMRs will stay put in the living room for music only.)

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #263 of 265 Old 07-24-2019, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
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@Russdawg1 :



Just curious, did you end up keeping the JBLs? If so, has your impression of them changed at all in the 8 months since you first wrote this review?



I have just ordered a pair of Arena 170s, $70 each shipped from JBL, allegedly refurbs. These will go into the guest bedroom that will double as a dedicated HT room in my new place next month, with my Chane A2.4 as the center, so I was mainly looking at the financial and aesthetic advantage of having them instead of buying a pair of the Sony Cores plus an extra pair of stands and I figure that the 170s (which appear identical to your 130s other than being in a tower cabinet) should be equal or better than the Cores. (The BMRs will stay put in the living room for music only.)

I did not keep the JBL’s unfortunately. No need for them, but the extra long trial period they gave me was great. I think it ended up being a bit longer than 3 months. Talk about awesome. My thoughts did not change from the first listen to the last listen if that helps.

Waiting to hear your thoughts on the 170’s. I think you’ll enjoy them. For how cheap they are sold, they are well worth the money. I’m wondering if it’ll have the same bass trait I found with the 130’s. They do look nice I must say. That’s one thing that surprised me than anything.

I guess that’s the only thing that changed from the first to the last listen, my thoughts on how ugly they were!

The went from unbearably horrific to look at

To alright, these can stay

I liked them with the grille off even!

I hope you enjoy yours. And welcome back!
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #264 of 265 Old 07-24-2019, 07:45 PM
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@Russdawg1 :

Just curious, did you end up keeping the JBLs? If so, has your impression of them changed at all in the 8 months since you first wrote this review?

I have just ordered a pair of Arena 170s, $70 each shipped from JBL, allegedly refurbs. These will go into the guest bedroom that will double as a dedicated HT room in my new place next month, with my Chane A2.4 as the center, so I was mainly looking at the financial and aesthetic advantage of having them instead of buying a pair of the Sony Cores plus an extra pair of stands and I figure that the 170s (which appear identical to your 130s other than being in a tower cabinet) should be equal or better than the Cores. (The BMRs will stay put in the living room for music only.)
I'm not OP but I did order some Arena 180 refurbs for my living room. Build quality is what you'd expect for the price point and they look unremarkable at best and inoffensive at worst. Vinyl wrap is the usual black oak and the grill is a bit chintzy feeling and has silver stripes at the top and bottom that some might not like. One of mine is perfect and the other is 9.5/10 though they both came in generic boxes, so definitely refurbs

I echo Russ's general opinions of the Arena's sound - pretty open and natural, with good tonal balance and solid imaging. Bit lighter in the low mids relative to my Revels and also a touch lighter in the bass and extension than the Jamo S809s they replaced, but they are much more neutral than the Jamos (treble is much less harsh) and the soundstage is larger as well. They're used primarily for media viewing and I find them more pleasant for this in my 2.0 setuo than the Jamos with better stereo separation along with better imaging and the 809s are now functioning as surrounds with my C2 and M16/JBL 530 front stage. I'd actually prefer the Arena 180s for this as well but the 809s are much more stable with their outriggers/extended feet, so since my surrounds are sort of in the open the 180s would be easily knocked over by my kids.

For your application I imagine you'll be perfectly satisfied for the money spent.
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post #265 of 265 Old 07-24-2019, 08:20 PM
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My Arenas 130 took out my old Yamaha V471. I set them to "Large" because I wanted to hear what they are capable of in full range. I cued up some bass heavy tracks, and it just so happened that "Bass, I love you" was the first one. I started playing it in stereo mode with volume at -20 dB. It sounded pretty quiet, so a few seconds later I increased it to -10 dB, and then a few seconds later the receiver shut down, never to turn back on again. Goodbye, Yamaha!

Has anyone seen an impedance graph for these speakers? Checked with a DMM, I get somewhere around 4 Ohm, although I know that is not an accurate way to measure speaker impedance and actual impedance will vary over the frequency spectrum, but even so, an 8 Ohm rated speaker should have read a bit higher than what I got with a DMM. The Yamaha was not designed to handle 4 Ohm speakers, but still, I was really surpised it died in a matter of seconds. Something definitely shorted inside. There was no heat. No burnt smell. Nothing.

The night before I had the Arenas running hooked up to a small Onkyo executive system stereo mini-receiver, and they played fine.

After the Yamaha incident, I connected them to a Pioneer HT receiver and they played very nice. I enjoyed the balanced sound with respectable amount of low end when played at higher volume. In a smaller room, just for music listening, I think I'd be OK running them without a sub.

The one thing that surprised me was their size. I did look at the dimensions before buying them, yet I was still shocked when I unpacked them. These are the largest bookshelf speakers I've ever owned.

Looks wise, they're fine, with grills off or on. But taking the grills off is a major PITA. They just refuse to come off, and when they do, they take some of the plastic grommets with them, so I have to pull the grommets off the grill nipples and stick them back into the speaker enclosure holes. This is how you tell these are really bottom of the barrell speakers. Alas, for garage duty (eventually), they'll do fine for me.



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