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I recently read on this forum that JBL's have the reputation of being a good rock & roll speaker. Is that true, and if so, why is that?
 

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They are referred to that way in a semi-joking context. They have a very forward sound, with a pronounced high end and thumpa-thumpa bass. Most rock and rollers find speakers with a flatter, more accurate frequency response to sound dry and dull, even though it is reproducing the sound more accurately.


When I sold hi-fi ages ago, the rock guys loved the JBL and the classical/jazz guys loved the B&W.


Personally, I'm a rock/jazz guy, and like speakers more balanced than JBL.
 

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This myth is perpetuated from the "West Coast Sound" era of JBLs, which is a distant memory. With Floyd Toole at the helm, recent JBL's are nicely balanced and sound good with all types of music, If you want to knock your socks off with not a lot of power, I'd say look elsewhere: Klipsch, Cerwin-Vega!, and Acoustech come to mind.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonygeno
This myth is perpetuated from the "West Coast Sound" era of JBLs, which is a distant memory. With Floyd Toole at the helm, recent JBL's are nicely balanced and sound good with all types of music, If you want to knock your socks off with not a lot of power, I'd say look elsewhere: Klipsch, Cerwin-Vega!, and Acoustech come to mind.
Hey, thanks for the jog down memory lane! I haven't heard "West Coast Sound" in years, but I remember the debates between it and the "East Coast Sound" (or the "Boston" sound) of the AR , Advent and KLH camps. Your description is quite accurate.


Of course JBL does make some decent speakers these days and I agree with your other recommendations.


Just a side note, and I'm not recommeding anyone do this, but given a good well balanced speaker and an equalizer, you can recreate the "West Coast Sound". You run the risk of frying the tweeters and blowing out the woofers, but, well, it is possible.
 

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I had the JBL 4311 in my bedroom when I was in high school.

These were excellent speakers for vintage rock'n'roll!

Geez, I wish you could still get a speaker this nicely made for $800!
http://www.audioheritage.org/images/...431x_small.jpg


Another good one was the Cerwin Vega S1 "Loud.Speaker".

A smallish, but massively constructed system with bass that could knock the wind out of you at high levels. (97db/w/m)

They had a bag of compressible gas inside the enclosure called "thermovapor suspension", said to increase the effective internal volume of the cabinet.

These suckers could duplicate the gut-punching physical impact of live rock bass guitar/kickdrum better than anything I've heard since.
http://www.byrographics.com/media/20...illede_024.jpg
 

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If you want to Rock-n-Roll, check out some Cerwin-Vegas.


I still have a pair of Cerwin D-9's (15-inch woofers) in the back room. Man do those things crank out the volume!! If memory serves, they have like a 101dB/w/m efficiency. Driven by the old Yamaha M-80 @ 250 w/ch, they made some serious noise!! Talk about major drum impact...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great responses, guys, and great pics, snickelfritz. Thanks.


It's interesting to hear what the old stereotype of a good rock & roll speaker is. I definitely am a rock & roll guy. I think I would have liked the old JBL sound back in my college days. But now I too like it more balanced. Now I am more into the soundstage and hearing the actual drums and other instruments that comprise the bass instead of hearing just a blob of thumpa-thumpa bass.


But, now I am curious about that "West Coast Sound" and the equalizer recreation. Do you do that by giving the equalizer a smiley-face distribution. You know, where the slider for the lowest frequency and the slider for the highest frequency are set almost at their max gain (usually close to +10 dB) and the sliders on each side gradually go down towards 0 dB in the middle such that the whole pattern looks like a smile on a smiley face. The reason I ask is because back in the 80's, during my college years, I always used an equalizer with my stereo and that's the pattern that I used. I know some people say that that pattern is good for low listening levels to compensate for deficiencies in human hearing at low sound levels. But, I used to use those equalizer settings for all volume levels. Once you get used to it, a flat distribution sounds, well, flat. Anyway, just curious if what I was listening to was known as the "West Coast Sound".
 

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The "smiley face" on the equalizer is pretty much what I was referring too. This was done, of course, without any SPL meter or test tones. In one very rough sense, it was a type of "loudness compensation" for listening in the dorm during study hours---well, technically nothing was supposed to be on unless you were using headphones but few people obeyed rules at Rutgers in the '70's. But I digress.


During "normal" listening, it was all thumping bass and sizzling highs---not even close to accurate, balanced sound but it was sure fun. Even today in my weaker moments, I confess to running the SVS subs a little on the hot side---it wasn't my fault--I found a DVD-A of the Ventures doing "Pipeline".
 

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I have a pair of JBL L3's that I haven't used in awhile...but man these speakers were great...come to think of it I don't use them anymore...I should put them on Ebay.
 

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Very few companies have the history, legacy, diversity, and influence in the realm of sound reproduction that JBL has. To reduce it to "West Coast Sound" or "Rock 'n' Roll Speakers" is the kind of thing that gets me writing 3000 word posts. :rolleyes:


Okay, I'll keep it short. :p


JBL has been a preferred speaker for musicians, sound engineers, recording studios, concert halls, stadiums, movie theaters, arenas, and home entertainment for over 60 years. Its product line has always been varied and broad, from sub $100 speakers to systems that sell for over $100,000.


Its current consumer product line (13 speaker lines) runs from the Northridge E Series to the exquisite Performance Series to the world-class K2 Series to the $150,000 Synthesis Hercules. These speakers all benefit from the world leading research and technology developed by JBL under the Harman International umbrella, which includes Infinity and Revel speakers, too. The speaker design, testing, and manufacturing facility in Northridge, CA is the gem of American sound design.


More technological innovation, more design patents, more driver diversity, more speaker lines, and more heritage than any other American line, more American made drivers and enclosures--all make it a great brand and a true American success story.


JBL can rock. It can also sing, soothe, croon, swing, and romance. It's a great speaker company. :)
 
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