I use bookshelf (monitor) speakers as mains. When used with a sub, I find that I don't miss out on anything a tower speaker could give me, have more flexibility with placement and find that it's usually cheaper in the long run as well for the same quality.
I don't have JBL's but have heard the S-38 is a fine speaker and you should have no problems using them as mains.
With a good sub a lot of bookshelves can sound just as good if not better than a lot of floorstanders. I have Paradigm Mini-monitors up front and an SVS 20-39PC+ and it sounds awesome. If your primarily a HT person.....good bookshelves give the same qualitiy and performance as big floorstanders.....Keep in mind though....you MUST have a good sub and your system calibrated!
i think a lot of people use bookshelves as mains, particularly people with size constraints and budget constraits
personally i'm too poor to own towers since i'm a student
i use energy c-1's as mains and mirage avs's for c/sr/sl and a nicely modded audiosource sw-15, as i'm usually listening to music in 2 ch and dont really care much about ht sound quality
i like it.
i think i read someone on one of these forum sites whosaid that bookshelves ahve better sound stage imaging since the sound sources are closer to being a point than with towers, don't know if its true, but if it is there another perk to having bookshelves
I use a pair of Yamaha NS-6390s in one of my rigs. Very musical and actually extend pretty well into the bass region, but lacks any real punch down there, especially in some HT applications. So, yeah, even a decent low end bookshelf can be fine mains. Your JBLs spec out almost identical to my Yamahas, so likely you'll get even better performance than I do, especially given the JBL look to be designed to handle about 50% more power (but you're paying for it; the 6390s can be had for $80 at Best Buy right now). I'm sure you'll enjoy them, though you'll likely want to start researching subs too for an eventual upgrade.
I have been using those very JBL S-38II speakers as my mains because (1) my wife's huge entertainment unit would not allow the use of towers, (2) I needed speakers that were designed to rest on their sides due to space constraints in the wall unit (I had read on this forum that placing a speaker on its side when it was designed to sit vertically will negatively affect sound imaging), and (3) I wanted a sealed or front ported speaker to reduce the potential problem with a rear port in the tight space available in the wall unit. The JBL S-38IIs met all of these requirements, and coupled with my HSU VTF-2 sub, I think they do an excellent job.
However, I initially bought the JBL S-36IIs, which sounded thin. I would not recommend them. The S-38s are much, much better.
I guess I'll be the trouble maker. I have four Home Theater Direct Level II bookshelf speakers and a SVS 25-31pci. Although they sound pretty good for HT, it think the bookshelf speakers for mains are missing something. My old Cerwin Vega's floorstanders sound better for music - and get much louder.
I've got bookshelf speakers for mains on one receiver and they do fine, unless you have no sub. Speaking of Cerwin Vega, I still have the AT 15" pair I have on my other receiver. Before the days of surround sound and home theater and multispeaker setups(more than 2 spkrs), these very, very good.
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